In contrast to an earlier presentation by Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said that TV Everywhere will take as long as three years to take hold.
Viacom, which includes major cable networks like BET, MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, has offered its programming to distributors on an authenticated basis, but Dauman, speaking at the Deutsche Bank Media & Telecom conference in Palm Beach. Fla., said there are still several issues to work out.
Earlier in the day at the conference, Time Warner chairman and CEO Bewkes called for all major networks to offer more authenticated content, or face the consequences of dwindling viewers.
"It's been a slow process mostly because there have been issues with technical capabilities on the part of many distributors," Dauman said, adding that Viacom has authentication deals with FiOs and Cablevision and he expects more deals to happen in the future.
" I think for the kind of full robust capabilities in a majority of the distribution universe to occur, it's going to be a two- to- three year process," Dauman said, adding the slowdown is more due to issues surrounding technology and marketing plans from various distributors rather than a reluctance from content providers. But the Viacom chief said TV Everywhere is good for both the content and distribution industries.
" Anytime you can get more avenues to distribute your content, it's ultimately an incremental opportunity," Dauman said. "You're seeing healthy competitive pressure coming from the digital side. To the extent that accelerates some of the traditional distributors and what they're doing, that's only good for content companies."
Dauman said he is seeing "improving tone" in advertising in the current quarter as opposed to last quarter, adding that the auto, food and beverage segments are strong.
"If the macroeconomic indicators continue to do better as the year progress, I think we'll see progression in that direction as we go forward," Dauman said.
Dauman didn't offer any new insight into its Nickelodeon networks ratings shortfall in the past several months - which Viacom attributed to faulty Nielsen ratings measurement. Nielsen has stood by its data, and denied that it is at fault for the ratings decline.
"We're attacking [the ratings decline] by continuing to invest in programming and we'll tackle that as the Nielsen sampling evolves over time," Dauman said. "We don't like it, but we'll deal with it and it will improve."