TV Everywhere still an inconsistent experience plagued by 'rickety' tech, Fox exec says

SAN FRANCISCO--It was an industry panel convened to discuss the recent progress of the pay-TV industry's long-struggling TV Everywhere initiative (TVE). But even some of TVE's key backers remain mired in frustration over the initiative's vast complexity. 

While 18 percent of pay-TV subscribers are using TVE services monthly, average TVE consumption--outside of major sports events like March Madness--"doesn't look mainstream yet," noted Hardie Tankersley, senior VP of Innovation for Fox Broadcasting, speaking rather critically of the initiative on a TV of Tomorrow conference panel here titled "TV Everywhere: Maintaining the Momentum."

In fact, "the authentication numbers are significantly below" what might be considered mainstream use, he said. "There could be a million reasons why. There are lots of rickety things in the system."

The initial login process remains a key challenge for TVE, Tankersley said, with consumers having to not only download myriad apps from various programmers and operators, but also secure authentication credentials from their pay-TV provider. 

Explaining to the average consumer how to authenticate for TVE services is a "very complicated message to get across," he said. "I've tried to write this ad a number of times--it's a very hard concept, we have to get to a point where we can sell it."

It's exactly that complexity, he added, that's preventing pay-TV operators and programmers from promoting TVE services more.

"And I think that's why the uptake is not completed," Tankersley noted.

Kalash Kumar, director of product management for Adobe Primetime, sat beside Tankersley on the panel. Kumar quoted recent first-quarter statistics from Adobe that showed marked usage of TVE products. For example, in the first quarter of this year 45 percent of pay-TV consumers used an authenticated multiscreen service through their pay-TV provider. 

But the Fox executive said programmers are still grappling with how to consistently translate the look and feel of their network brand through TVE amid myriad pay-TV operator platforms and devices. And monetization through advertising, while improved, remains challenging.

Summed up Tankersley: "I feel like I spend an enormous amount of my day trying to explain to my bosses why it doesn't look like TV."

Related articles:
Tennis Channel teams with NeuLion to expand streaming service to new devices, markets
Synacor announces TVE tech deal with Mediacom
Adobe: Only 12.5 percent of pay-TV subscribers are 'active TV Everywhere users'

Suggested Articles

Blockgraph has partnered with TVSquared to provide omni-channel TV measurement and audience activation.

The CEOs of AT&T, Charter and Comcast this week presented varying visions for the future of pay TV at their respective companies.

Charter doesn’t think it needs its own video streaming box and believes its video app strategy and third-party agreements are enough.