Adobe Systems wants to hold the keys for the pay-TV industry's "TV Everywhere" party.
The software company, whose Flash media platform powers most Internet video sites, announced the Adobe Pass authentication service, which lets cable, satellite and telco TV subscribers access premium programming from a variety of Internet-connected devices.
In fact, Adobe Pass has already been launched: The charter customer for the authentication product is Turner Broadcasting System. Turner's TV Everywhere sites for TBS, TNT, TruTV, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim all use the Adobe Pass system to connect with pay-TV providers. MTV Networks also is using the Adobe Pass system.
On the provider side, Adobe has integrated with Comcast, Dish Network, Verizon FiOS TV and Cox Communications to let their respective subscribers log in once to Turner's TV Everywhere sites -- or other Adobe Pass participants -- without having to re-enter their credentials on the other sites.
Adobe Pass "makes MVPD integrations more simple, which enables us to get to market quickly and serve customers the content they want, where they want it," Jeremy Legg, Turner Broadcasting System's senior vice president of business development and multiplatform distribution, said in a statement.
The service also lets Turner more quickly provide content to the "new smartphones, tablets and Internet-connected TVs hitting the market," Legg added.
Adobe's model is to charge cable programmers a fee based on the number of user "play" requests that the company processes. Todd Greenbaum, senior product manager for Adobe Pass, declined to provide details.
There's no charge for the pay-TV providers to integrate with Adobe Pass to have their subscribers validated for partner websites (such as Turner's TBS.com/tveverywhere or TNT.tv/tveverywhere) -- but there is if they are using it to serve content from their own websites, Greenbaum said.
Adobe Pass uses Flash Access for enhanced security as well as HTML5 for devices like Apple's iPad and iPhone that do not support Adobe Flash. Content owners can deliver content across multiple platforms, including Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Blackberry and Google TV. With Flash Player 10.1, built-in client-side security enables fraud prevention by binding the user to their device so limits can be set on devices per household account.
"With every single play request that requires a user to be authenticated we do a check to make sure they're still a valid customer," Greenbaum said.
Adobe has also lined up Brightcove and Limelight Networks as initial "enablement partners" for Adobe Pass.
Brightcove plans to integrate the Adobe authentication system into its online video publishing system to offer new TV Everywhere services to broadcasters, cable programming networks and distributors. The Brightcove TV Everywhere authorization service with Adobe Pass is expected to become generally available in the second half of 2011.
"TV Everywhere is a major step forward in the online digital transformation of the TV industry," Brightcove vice president of TV solutions Eric Elia said in a statement. "Most of the top TV brands we work with are planning or executing TV Everywhere projects right now, so the Adobe Pass technology is coming to market at the right time with an innovative approach that solves real problems."
Limelight, for its part, will support Adobe Pass in the Limelight Video Platform, the video publishing platform the company obtained through its acquisition of startup Delve Networks.