“TV Everywhere (TVE)” services have begun to pick up momentum among programmers and pay-TV providers, according to some industry executives who have seen a surge of interest among subscribers, especially on major stories such as the recent Boston bombing and its aftermath shown on CNN.
Up till now, TV Everywhere has been mostly a video-on-demand service, a way for subscribers to watch replays of their favorite shows on second screens. But with CNN and ABC leading the way, live-streaming of linear channels is starting to gain market traction.
The Diffusion Group surveyed 1,000 online video viewers (which represent close to nine in ten adult broadband users) as to their perceptions regarding the delivery of live linear content via a TVE service. Instead of only having access to on-demand content (which comprises most of today’s TVE offerings), they would receive real-time TV transmissions over broadband so that they can access live TV on any net-connected device. More than 80% of respondents rate anywhere/anytime live linear access to their pay-TV channels as valuable. And nearly two-thirds (64%) ranked the real time TV application as highly valuable.
“We think that the time spent will be very high, particularly as people flow between devices,” CNN Digital’s Alex Wellen said. A DISH Network executive predicts that TV Everywhere will become particularly popular among out-of-home mobile device users.
“The piece that becomes more important for broadcasters is going to be whatever happens with mobile, the ability to get live broadcast signals on a mobile device,” says Barry Lucas, SVP-research, Gabelli & Co., who has been following the TVE action.
“I think we’re likely to see all of the networks make live TV Everywhere available,” adds Will Richmond, who writes about digital video on his VideoNuze blog. “It’s a way of bringing back some of the live viewership and blunt some of the appeal Aereo is sucking out of the market.”
Aereo is the Barry Diller-backed IP service that is offering all consumers access to real time video signals of local network affiliates (over the air broadcasts) for a monthly fee. It has drawn legal challenges from the networks because of its refusal to pay rights fees to them. Yet it is now expanding beyond its orginal New York city area.
“While we are still in the very early days, the feedback we’ve received has been very positive and we are working diligently towards increasing distribution of these services in more markets across the country,” says Ben Pyne, president, global distribution, Disney/ABC Television Group.
Mike Biard, EVP-distribution, Fox Networks, said, “Access to local news programming on whatever device is in hand will be huge, but we think sports is the giant killer app for live streaming.”
And we certainly agree! In fact, live sports is the reason many people subscribe to cable, satellite or telco TV. And this author would ONLY consider buying a smart phone if it could receive live games (MLB, NHL, NBA, NFL) in real time (with good video quality) via 3G/4G or WiFi.