Can TV Everywhere stop the cord-cutting trend?

Jim O'NeillCord-cutting popped back up in the news last week when Canadian research firm Convergence Consulting Group issued a study that purported some 800,000 households in the U.S. had ditched their connections to cable TV over the past two years. (See story below.)

It made big news, made the rounds, then disappeared. There was barely a mention of it at the NAB conference in Las Vegas, where you would have thought it would have been fodder for online video proponents who were there and that companies like Microsoft, which was promoting its Mediaroom play, would have felt compelled to at least make some challenge to the findings.

Nada. Not a thing.

It's not like the U.S. is unique in cord cutting. Our neighbor to the north is seeing a surge in online video viewing and a concurrent decline in time spent in front of televisions for the first time ever, according to a study from another Canadian research firm, Ipsos Reid. "If you're not a big television watcher, can you justify paying $30 a month, $50 a month, $80 a month for television when you watch one show a night, one show a week? The reality is that show might be available online," said Mark Laver, associate vice-president of Ipsos Reid. "There are people who are going to say, 'I don't need cable."'

On Tuesday, at what ostensibly was the crack of dawn in Las Vegas, FierceIPTV hosted a breakfast and panel on TV Everywhere that was sponsored by Brightcove and SeaChange. Panelists included Eric Elia, VP of TV solutions at Brightcove, Yvette Kanouff, SeaChange's president, Dan Daines, CEO of Episode Media Group and Colin Dixon, senior partner at the Diffusion Group.

One of the common currents throughout the discussion--and one of the few topics that all agreed on--was that until the industry looked at delivering a value proposal that made sense to consumers, TV Evereywhere--in any form--was going to face a long road to adoption. SeaChange's Kanouff, for example, said consumers would remain wary of any plan that didn't make sense as an economic issue.

Brightcove's Elia said telcos, once afraid of TV Everywhere because it was a technology with which they were unfamiliar, now are afraid of being left behind if they don't adopt it. Consumer-centric packages, he said, will help them gain ground.

Out on the show floor, "consumer value" was a phrase that was thrown around by most vendors, some who obviously believed it more than others. What do you think? What drives--or stalls--TV Everywhere? Do the cord-cutters win, or does the industry figure out what it is that consumers really want? Lemmeno!-Jim

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