Cable Operators

TV Everywhere Picks Up Speed

9/19/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

The “TV Everywhere” walled-garden party
is getting more crowded, as the industry looks to load up
the authenticated-video buffet table — and to keep people
paying for cable TV.

In the latest moves, Cablevision Systems climbed on
board the TV Everywhere bus with Turner Broadcasting
System, offering access to the programmer’s full suite of
online video services, and Hispanic broadcaster Univision
said it’s focused on delivering a TV Everywhere product
with the debut of three cable networks early in 2012.

Cablevision’s iO TV customers can now watch fulllength
episodes from TBS, TNT, CNN, Cartoon Network,
Adult Swim and TruTV on the Web and on iPads,
iPhones and iPod Touch devices — over any Internet connection.
That’s in contrast
to Cablevision’s
Optimum App, which
provides 300-plus linear
channels and video-
on-demand titles,
but only within a subscriber’s
home.

Still, many consumers
balk at the high
cost of pay TV, which
TV Everywhere by itself
does nothing to
address. Up to 20% of
U.S. cable, satellite and
telco TV subscribers
may cancel service in the next few years, primarily because
they find multichannel video services too expensive, according
to survey results issued by Credit Suisse last week.

More broadly, Cablevision’s strategy is to deliver any
video content, including over-the-top services, to subscribers
to any device they want, chief operating officer
Tom Rutledge said, speaking last week at the Bank of
America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment
conference. By embracing “over-the-top,” operators
could mitigate rising programming costs, he said.

“Our goal is to put everything that’s on the Internet on all
the screens in the house,” Rutledge said. “We’re moving rapidly
to make that technology work even better, and we think
within a matter of months we’ll have a very robust system
where customers can take their Netflix product, whether
they have a device that carries Netflix or not, or Hulu or any
other over-the-top service and put it on the TV.”

Turner, with the Cablevision TV Everywhere deal done,
last week launched a series of 11 ads promoting the authentication
services for TBS and TNT, provided through
eight cable, satellite and telco TV affiliates.

The ads feature talent from the two networks, including
TBS’s Conan O’Brien. Spots began airing Sept. 12 across
several Turner networks, including TNT, TBS, CNN, HLN,
CNN Airport, TruTV and Adult Swim. The programmer is
not providing details about the value of the campaign, according
to spokeswoman Karen Cassell.

In addition to Cablevision, the TNT and TBS authenticated
services are available through Comcast,
DirecTV, Dish Network, Cox
Communications, Suddenlink
Communications, Verizon
Communications’ FiOS TV and
AT&T’s U-verse TV. Conspicuously
absent is erstwhile corporate
cousin Time Warner
Cable.

The TNT and TBS spots tout
an array of ways for viewers to
watch full episodes, clips and
other content from any Internet
connection and via multiple
devices. Turner, which has
led the TV Everywhere movement
among cable programmers,
also posted a tutorial showing viewers how to log in
to the TV Everywhere websites and apps.

Univision, for its part, expects to debut an authenticated
component alongside its planned launches next year of
Univision TL Novelas — slated to bow in the first quarter
— as well as Univision Deportes and a still-unnamed news
channel, according to Univision president of distribution,
sales and marketing Tonia O’Connor.

“TV Everywhere is absolutely the focus for our company,”
said O’Connor, who spoke last week at an event hosted by
the New York chapter of Women in Cable Telecommunications.
Viewers “want to watch their novelas on the Internet
… There’s a lot of pent-up demand.”

Univision has not announced distribution deals for
those networks. Th e company declined to say whether it
is requiring TV Everywhere access as part of those agreements
or offering it as a carrot to affiliates to gain carriage.

Univision’s TV Everywhere apps will provide access to
primetime dramas, news and sports (primarily soccer), which
largely have been unavailable anywhere except on the broadcaster’s
linear TV service. The company has the exclusive distribution
rights to about 90% of its content, O’Connor said.

“Our content has never been syndicated,” she said.
“We’re probably one of the only [broadcast networks] that
has not made our content available for free on the Internet.”

Moreover, Hispanics overindex on mobile and broadband
usage, O’Connor noted, making them a ripe audience
for TV Everywhere services. “Over-the-top providers
have shown us that consumers want their content when
they want it, where they want it,” she said.

Univision is expecting to generate ad revenue from the
TV Everywhere apps, whereas video-on-demand has been
a disappointment, O’Connor said. “I really hope TV Everywhere
is not what we experienced with VOD,” she said.
“Operators did not promote it” and there was no advertising
model.


Mike Farrell contributed to this report.
September