Cable Show 2012: Streamlined Authentication Process Needed for TV Everywhere

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TV Everywhere has made significant progress in the last two years, but still faces challenges when it comes to awareness and adoption, according to the executives speaking on the "Video That Goes 'Click': TV Everywhere and the Connected Viewer" panel here Tuesday afternoon.

In a conversation moderated by The New York Times' Brian Stelter, HBO co-president Eric Kessler said, "Where we need to improve as an industry is the registration/sign-up process," noting that the TV Everywhere experience is not consistent across cable affiliates.

"The biggest impediment to successful adoption of this is getting people into the system," said Matt Bond, executive vice president, content distribution, NBCUniversal, though he noted that "huge strides" have been made in the last 18 months.

Executives said TV Everywhere was very reminiscent of video on demand, where adoption lagged until enough content got on it.

"I think the same thing will happen with TV Everywhere," Kessler said. "Awareness will increase dramatically as more networks get on it."

NBCU will rely heavily on its coverage of the Summer Olympics in London, which, for the first time, will feature every event online to authenticated cable subscribers, to promote awareness of its TV Everywhere services.

"The Olympics is something that has really broad reach," he said. "It's a great opportunity to promote and push the product forward."

While there is not currently a standard to measure and rate viewing on TV Everywhere devices, it does give programmers access to other useful viewing data.

"The nice thing with IP is we know exactly how many people are watching," said Mike Hopkins, president, affiliate sales and marketing, Fox Networks. "We think if we can do this right, get the experience right, the advertising will follow."

Bond agreed: "It will be a big positive for advertising when it gets to scale."

Though the executives agreed the authentication process needs to be streamlined and standardized, overall TV Everywhere is a positive for the cable industry and the sooner it can be executed, the better.

"It's something that is a solvable problem," said Bob Wilson, senior vice president of content acquisition, Cox Communications. "I sense a growing momentum. In two to three years we'll be there."

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