News

Keep ‘Everywhere’ Simple

3/30/2010 6:54 AM Eastern

New York — A panel of top
technology executives said that
for “TV Everywhere” — the cable
industry’s subscription online
initiative — to become a reality,
distributors will have to make it
simple to use, pack it with compelling
content and offer it at a
reasonable price.

The technology for TV Everywhere,
which would enable cable,
satellite and telco customers
to access the same programming
available through their home
subscriptions on their PCs, has
been around for years. But one of
the roadblocks has been how to
monetize the service.

At a standing room-only Multichannel
News/Broadcasting & Cable
“TV Everywhere & Anywhere”
breakfast panel here last Wednesday
(March 24), Avail-TVN chief
technology officer Mike Kazmier
said his company is banking that the
prevailing model will be a hybrid of
three models that are already in use:
an operator-centric model like Comcast’s
Fancast online video service,
which is controlled entirely by the
service provider; a programmer-centric
model that is specific to a particular
network or event, like HBO Go,
where the content provider controls
the front end; and a subscriber-centric
model, like the Sling Box, where
the customer is in control.

Jan Steenkamp, Irdeto vice president,
Americas, said although the
basic technology has been in place
for TV Everywhere for a while,
there are still challenges; mainly,
creating standards to ensure a
uniform user interface and crossplatform
compatibility with all
devices. But Steenkamp said the
goal of full TV Everywhere deployment
is not one that will be
reached quickly.

“I actually think TV Everywhere
is a long-term marathon
that is going to affect the media
landscape for the next 20 years and
will change the way people consume
media,” Steenkamp said.

EchoStar Technologies national
accounts executive Margit Tritt
said her company’s Slingbox technology
is one way that distributors
can off er TV Everywhere functionality.
EchoStar is working with several
pay TV providers to integrate
the Sling technology into set-top
boxes, she added.

Tritt acknowledged that viewers
watching TV programming on
non-TV devices is still in the early
stages. But she added that could
change dramatically once distributors
embrace the technology fully,
using digital video recorders as
an example. According to Echo-
Star research, customers are willing
to pay between $5 and $15 per
month for a TV Everywhere service,
around the same as most distributors
charge for DVR service.

“People are willing to pay,” Tritt
said.

September