Is TV everywhere a result of threat from OTT providers like Netflix, Hulu , LoveFilm , YouTube and alike or is it to realize the true value of content through “long-tail” approach or is it a move to appease growing consumer dissent frustrated on behalf of high cable bills? Well the answer could be a combination of one or more but it is undoubtedly one of the core strategic developments across major cable providers – something prominent in their roadmap to be delivered over next few years depending on the competition, regulation and technology cycle they currently find themselves in.
What is TV Everywhere
To begin TV Everywhere seems more of a misnomer since the platform is more about content been ubiquitous – “Content Ubiquity” seems more logical but it may not sound the perfect marketing catchphrase.
Comcast and Time Warner were the early proponents but it is largely seen as the magic bullet from Cable operators to protect their existing business model and in some sense prevent repeat in video the fate met by music industry. The initiative proposes to offer more value to existing cable subscribers by extending subscribed content to additional connected devices under online and on-demand model while maintaining the sanctity of content within Cable providers walled garden. Although most of the current offerings do have limitations by being bounded to home network with prerequisite of broadband and cable subscription from the same provider – there are still reasons to welcome “walled garden TV Everywhere” initiative.
TV Everywhere: Consumer Expectation
Customers are a difficult breed, and the section which matters most to this segment are cord cutters and the professed cord cutters. Yes they are fragmented and confused but they still want to weigh the available options and choose what fits the bills and their entertainment needs. While consumer have a simple expectation – If I pay for a subscription then I should have the choice to watch it anytime on device of my choice with the rationale that I pay for “content subscription” and should not be bounded to the device where I intent to consume the content. Although it sounds simple from consumers perspective it has ocean of intricacies embedded at service providers end with respect to security, authentication, subscription fees, legal agreement with content owners, and rating system among others.
Above expectation has gained strength as user habits (added with current state of economic factors) have changed– with foremost being mobility and capable consumer devices where more and more content is been consumed away from the TV on connected devices including laptops, ipad, tablets, game consoles, smart phones etc. While there are loads of free programming available, advent of commercial paid la carte offering available from major OTT providers have further fuelled the necessity to demand more value from subscription. In short consumers want more control, more choices and fair return value for the paid subscription price!
Open Questions and Contradictions
Major Cable vendors like Comcast, TWC, and Dish among others are embracing TV everywhere but there are still lot of open questions around sustainability and success of TV everywhere initiative, actual volume of content which providers intent to make available through the platform, extension of service to non-cable consumers for online access only and basic reasoning that how mature or superior is the model compared to OTT itself?