Mobile Video

Is TV Everywhere Going Nowhere?

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Cable Show -- Although pay-TV providers have been diving into the multi-screen video market for several years, TV Everywhere still appears to be nowhere in most customers' minds. Only 26 percent of U.S. consumers are now aware that their video service provider offers TV Everywhere services, according to the latest study conducted by Parks Associates. While this total is up notably from 18 percent a year ago, it means that nearly three-quarters of consumers still don't know they can get multi-screen video service. Speaking on a Cable Show panel this week, Brett Sappington, director of research for Parks Associates, blamed the low consumer awareness rate largely on the cautious, even lackluster marketing strategies of service providers. He said many providers "really didn't want to go to market until they knew that it was running. It was kind of a slow start for many." Sappington said many pay-TV providers also haven't done much to market their multi-screen offerings because they don't make any money from them. He noted that some pay TV executives, including one Dish Network executive, told him that if they were going to pay for a 30-second TV commercial, they preferred to promote a service that would produce revenue for the company. Further, Sappington said, some providers promoted TV Everywhere service only to those customers who seemed likely to pay extra fees for programming on multiple screens. Most multi-screen services were initially designed to stave off competition from such aggressive over-the-top (OTT) video providers as Netflix, he noted -- so most pay-TV providers are only now starting to consider the monetization of multi-screen video. But they're considering it seriously. "This is a building full of people asking how the hell am I going to make money on mobile screens," Sappington said. The Parks Associates study indicates that once video subscribers learn about their pay-TV provider's multi-screen fare, they often sign up for it. In the study, 15 percent of all consumers, or about 60 percent of those who are aware of the TV Everywhere service's availability, said they actually use it. That's up from 11 percent in early 2012. Sappington said TV Everywhere viewers are neither no more nor no less likely than regular cable subscribers to cut the video subscription cord. Somewhat surprisingly, he said, they also make about the same income as the average cable subscriber. But, Sappington noted, TV Everywhere users tend to be several years younger than other cable customers, are more likely to have kids and generally own more Web-connected devices. They are also much more likely to subscribe to premium services, spend more than average subscribers on their premium services and spend more time overall watching video content. "These are people that just love video," he said. "In essence, they are cable's best customers. They love video from every source, and one of the things cable provides have is a lot of content." In particular, Sappington advised cable operators to look at how much TV Everywhere subscribers watch on-demand programming. He argued that operators could use VoD on multiple screens to generate more revenue. "While TV Everywhere itself may not be monetized in some way, a lot of that [VoD] spending may be optimized" with multi-screen, he said. Speaking on the same panel, executives from LG Electronics, Cox Communications and Arris spoke about and demonstrated new IP video gateways for the home. They said that while headed gateways, which connect directly to TV sets like set-top boxes, are currently more popular, headless gateways, which are centralized, uber-boxes that don't connect to TVs, are the technology of the future. Ed Shrum, senior director of strategy architecture for Cox, said the MSO will start deploying headed gateways later this month. He said Cox aims to introduce headless gateways early next year. Kurt Hoppe, director of smart TV innovation and new business for LG Electronics, said the big CE manufacturer intends to offer the cable market IP gateways, mini set-top boxes and smart TVs. "We can certainly manufacture products in all different sizes and shapes, and we've been doing this in 100 different countries," he said. "So I think what we think is the ultimate vision is a smart TV connected to one of those video gateways." — Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading
straightcomment 8/1/2013 | 7:39:42 PM
re: Is TV Everywhere Going Nowhere? A data point: NASCAR on WatchESPN TVE app is awesome.
Anthony Smith-Chaigneau 6/17/2013 | 8:26:49 PM
re: Is TV Everywhere Going Nowhere? Ironically these are services that the consumers are 'demanding' or so we are led to believe. The reality is that we finish work, travel home, often later and later. We get home tired and then we put on the Big Screen in order to chill out. That is only after we have greeted the family, walked the dog, prepared dinner and so on...
derac7020 6/17/2013 | 2:35:45 PM
re: Is TV Everywhere Going Nowhere? Unless your traveling and want to catch a game or are under 25 watching video on a 3.5" screen isn't all that appealing. Its clearly a generational thing but the sales of big flat screen ought to tell folks that bigger screens are better for most of today's viewing experiences. Hey, what someone has to invent is a way to stream from your smartphone to the flatscreen in the hotel room.
Jonathon Barbato 6/15/2013 | 4:31:27 AM
re: Is TV Everywhere Going Nowhere? I was Head of Marketing at Starz Movie Channel when the industry launched VOD in the early 2000s and only now, over 10 years later are consumers familiar with the platform, understanding the value proposition, and literally "getting it." Studios protecting their incumbent content revenue streams and cable providers taking a "slow but sure" approach start the lethargy, and it just plain takes consumers a long time to adapt/use new technology.

But I think the question is will that happen before Milennials find newer, cheaper and more interesting ways to get the content they want?
gconnery 6/14/2013 | 10:42:53 PM
re: Is TV Everywhere Going Nowhere? Its complex. Lots of people use free web mail services and get their cable/TV bills in the mail, so they probably don't even know how to login to their cable accounts online. And without that they can't validate their TV Everywhere experience.

Lots of complexity scares people away. Some shows you can watch online some you can't. HBO Go works with some providers but not others (Comcast). Some shows have multiple seasons available, some don't. The first time you look for something and don't find it, you're less likely to come back.

Streaming works within the home, but not when you're out and about when you might actually be interested in using it.
Cableco44 6/14/2013 | 7:51:04 PM
re: Is TV Everywhere Going Nowhere? Just a tad bit of consumer fatigue; Our devices have video channel apps; our wireless providers have video channel apps and our payTV provider has video channel apps. A couple hours of shopping through the non-apparent availability but now a new offering. I am price conscious but sign-up of all and cancel quickly what is not valuable. As a consumer we suspect but do not find out until several layers into sign-up what the fee will be. Then, we compare the very similar line-up between all three competing offers.

The 16% so far most likely have a little higher churn as the use the first available, then find out their favorite vendor finally turned it up. The next major percentage will be those who wanted it but will not buy until they know what they are buying. My guess here though, is we will be hard pressed to get near 50% of subscribers because there are not that many that can consume mobile/multi-screen in their commute or travels. Their lifestyle just not support that consumption. So what remaining percentage is left is valuable.

That is not to say, that my son and daughter will return to watching TV, all of their content is now on that other screen, not multi-screen.
philharvey 6/14/2013 | 3:21:45 PM
re: Is TV Everywhere Going Nowhere? Yes, but I can only read them on one screen, the iPad.
mendyk 6/14/2013 | 3:12:39 PM
re: Is TV Everywhere Going Nowhere? Read any good books lately?
philharvey 6/14/2013 | 2:13:36 PM
re: Is TV Everywhere Going Nowhere? I already enjoy multiscreen video. Netflix on my iPad, on my Apple TV and on my phone (when I'm traveling).
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