Next TV: 'TV Everywhere' Needs More Uniformity

Panelists Agree Content, Advertising Platforms Need Standardization, Measurement
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New York -- When it comes to TV Everywhere content and advertising, the media industry and Madison Avenue need to be as one.

That was the prevailing sentiment among executives on the “TV Everywhere: Disruption, Innovation & Invention” panel at the Next TV Summit, sponsored by Multichannel News and B&C, here on March 21.

Although they acknowledge the platform is still in incipient stages, executives said the dispersal of content in different places and various windows are holding back the advance of TV Everywhere.

Michael Bishara, vice president and general manager of Synacor, said that in TV Everywhere’s current state the authentication process to get “through the door is counter-intuitive to notion that TV is fun,” but that will eventually work itself out. In the interim, subscribers must navigate “four apps, three websites and other different players” to find the platform’s namesake content.

Bishara said the industry must continue to work to make the content as unified as possible. It makes sense, he said, for consumers to find it in one place and add the Internet’s "search and find” aspects, noting the industry has “to marry those capabilities together.”

Jon Heller, co-CEO of FreeWheel, said there needs to be “one order, one ad sales, one subscription." He said the industry needs to move faster with rights and window negotiations because the longer it takes to settle on more uniform business rules could result in consumers going “somewhere else.” 

Randy Lykes, chief technology officer at Viamedia, who says the rep firm's client base views TVE as an opportunity to increase revenue, agreed, saying the industry could lose “subscribers out of the gate” if different programming is “blacked out. We have to make it as easy as possible for them.”

Thomas Siegman, senior vice president of client services at RSG Media Systems, said that despite discrepancies in some providers holding streaming, but not 4G rights, digital video opportunities in general and TVE in particular are presenting real opportunities in both the commercial and premium network sectors. He said only 6% of advertising dollars are currently being allocated against online video, which is now “a top three experience. There is an arbitrage opportunity there.”

In the premium realm, subscribers in the past often cancelled a service after a popular series ran its original course. “HBO Go stops churn. When Sex and the City ended, many dropped the service,” he said, alluding to the platform's role in maintaining higher retention rates. “[Subs] are watching more HBO than before [on the different platforms]. There is real money now.”

Peter Bryant, senior vice president of business development at Vubiquity, formerly known as Avail-TVN, said his progeny and other children feel digitally entitled, but they have no idea that their parents pays a distributor $100 per month for all the features and services,

Nevertheless, Bryant said that presents the industry with a chance to train the next generation on content and experiences provided by distributors. He said that “a nine-year-old knows to go to a Comcast app gives the cable company and opportunity to tap into” into a long-term subscription TV relationship.