Comcast, Turner, NBC, Fox execs: TVE authentication must be easily accessible

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Industry executives on a panel here at The Cable Show said one of the main challenges of TV Everywhere is creating authentication methods that allow consumers to access the content they want on any screen in or out of the home.

The participants of the "Authenticate Me, Baby: Consumer Behavior in the TV Everywhere Era" panel included Mike Biard, EVP of distribution at Fox Networks, Marcien Jenckes, SVP and GM of video services at Comcast Cable (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Ron Lamprecht, EVP of digital distribution at NBCUniversal, Jeremy Legg, SVP of business development and multiplatform distribution at Turner Broadcasting, and Rob Thun, EVP of business operations at Univision Communications. New York Digital Editor of Variety magazine Todd Spangler moderated.

At the beginning of the panel, Jenckes addressed the economic aspect of the TV Everywhere revolution, saying he believes the market segment is lucrative but also expensive for operators, programmers and distributors.

"I think everyone makes money from TV Everywhere," he said. "The reality is that programmers get paid from distributors and affiliate fees, [but] content's worth a lot of money, and every year content costs and customers' expectations for what they get for their subscription bundles go up."

Legg added the advertising market is fragmenting. "Moving onto these other platforms is important if you want to have a robust linear business," he said. "It's all linked. TV Everywhere has always been referred to almost as if it were a product. It's not a product, it's a project."

Thun noted companies are expecting to dole out some money to fuel the process of creating convenient methods of TV Everywhere authentication.

"We recognize that these are investments that we need to make in our future," he said. "To a degree we're eating some of those costs, [and] there's not a direct ROI."

All of the panelists agreed that easy authentication, whether in-home or remote, is a necessary part of the TV Everywhere puzzle.

"Consumption is up, live and on demand," said Biard, adding, "the issue we have is the way people are consuming is very different than the way they have historically. We're taking it on faith that if we build it, the advertising revenue will come. This is all about taking risks. The whole space is about taking risks."

Lamprecht added that the quality is equally as important as the quantity when it comes to content.

"All of us are trying to optimize and customize for [different] platforms," he said. "You can get a very different experience on an iPad versus one on the TV."

Special Report: Growing pains: Auto login driving advances in TV Everywhere authentication

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