Video service providers and a Sony exec detailed how they are keeping up with customer demands for TV Everywhere services at the IP&TV World Forum yesterday.
TV Everywhere services are top of mind for video service providers, and moderator Colin Dixon, senior partner of advisory services at The Diffusion Group, asked the panel to detail their plans in light of the 10-year deal Comcast recently wrapped up with Disney.
AT&T's Jeff Weber said he expected similar deals to be struck because TV Everywhere services are what customers want, and they provide value to all of the parties involved.
It's also clear that devices, such as tablets, are driving TV Everywhere by complementing or enabling content on TVs. Weber said tablet devices "will control the TV experience in U-verse" and deliver video content anywhere in the nation to AT&T customers.
TV Everywhere is architecture, and not a "thing," according to Weber.
"There's no question that pay-TV operators have to deliver to all of the devices to compete well," Weber said.
Cox Communications' Lisa Pickelsimer, executive director of video product development, said TV Everywhere isn't a question of technology, but of gathering up the video rights. Weber said all TV Everywhere content from video service providers needs to be authenticated.
Pickelsimer said that video content needs to be served up to customers in an integrated fashion through similar interfaces across devices, and there needs to be tools and mechanisms for seamless searches. She also said metadata was important and that having standards for integrated searches would open up the deployments of TV Everywhere services.
Sony Networked Entertainment chief operating officer Shawn Layden agreed with Pickelsimer on making the services easier to use. Sony is working on integrating its music, videos and games into one Web portal.
YouTube's Francisco Varela, global head of platform and games partnerships, said YouTube has always been about providing video anywhere, but that YouTube wants to be more than "dogs on skateboards."
YouTube is working on original content, such as cooking and Hispanic shows, that are in niches too small to be served by the likes of Comcast or AT&T. YouTube is also working toward using HTML5.
As for social media, Weber said he initially wasn't a big fan initially "because it seemed so forced on TV," but the U-verse tablet app lets a customer interact with friends on Facebook without disrupting what's on a TV.
"It's the best of both worlds without forcing it," he said.
AT&T is providing free APIs to developers to help develop social and video applications.