Building a viable business model for TV Everywhere is a tedious and complicated process, with authentication and measurement issues the leading prerequisites for achieving the ultimate goal of content ubiquity.
That was the conventional wisdom shared by panelists during Monday’s Authenticate Me, Baby: Consumer Behavior in the TV Everywhere Era session.
“Content is out there on multiple devices, and the value is making sure people have access to content and that the measurement of views has currency. We can’t stick our heads in the sand,” cautioned Mike Biard, EVP of distribution for Fox Networks.
The cable industry, along with its programming and advertising partners, may not have a choice but to foster the growth of content across multiple platforms, said Ron Lamprecht, EVP of digital distribution for NBC Universal.
“Consumers expect to see content everywhere and we’re simply following our consumers. We have no choice. We must be in it.”
Being in it means developing a workable means of authenticating and measuring audiences and who gets paid for what, which lies at the heart of issue.
“TV Everywhere has always been referred to as a product, but it’s a process and moves independently. iPad, Xbox and others have complementary business models, so we must work within their eco-systems. But authentication is new and it’s very hard,” said Jeremy Legg, SVP of business development and multiplatform distribution for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Hard or not, the risk will be worth it, explained Marcien Jenckes, SVP and GM of video services for Comcast Cable.
“Ubiquity of content and authentication across the board are very important so we have to take the risk and offer the multiple platform experience.”
Digital rights are part of the TV Everywhere equation as well. Added Jenckes: “Rights are very multi-tiered and some content providers don’t have rights to some content. But we’re closer than we’ve ever been to delivering a full experience and to critical mass.”
The advertising piece to the model remains a puzzle, however, with the ad industry having to make some hard decisions.
“Now the ad industry is having to make decisions on how ads are bought and sold—digital or linear,” Legg noted.
And the technology? “We’re not fully in control of the technology. There are too many devices and we don’t control the full path. So it’s up to programmers and distributors to come up with the technology, and that will take time,” Lemprecht said.
In the meantime, the stakes are rising, concluded Rob Thun, EVP of business operations for Univision Communications.
“These are table stakes down the road. There’s not a direct ROI for TV Everywhere yet, but we know we need to be there."