On the heels of 21st Century Fox COO Chase Carey calling TV Everywhere the next big thing at the UBS investor conference this week, cable execs in programming, strategy and operations took on the topic at Wednesday’s TV of Tomorrow conference in NYC. Here are their thoughts.
 
The Future of Authentication
 
According to Jeremy Helfand, vp of Adobe Primetime, the process should be seamless. “We need to remove the consumer from the authentication process,” he recommended, via auto-authentication. Some industry cases—like the Olympics’ TVE activation—have shown great results, he said. Sherry Brennan, svp, sales strategy and development, Fox Networks mused that there ought to be a way for set-top boxes to pair themselves with the device you’re using. But Matt Strauss, svp and gm of video services, Comcast Cable pointed out that authentication itself isn’t a problem; outlets like Twitter and Facebook require it, for instance. Comcast’s solution is in-home authentication through its Home Pass service. But there needs to be an identification process, he warned. “If you want personalization we need to know who you are,” he said. The next evolution will entail personalization to a greater degree.
 
TV Everywhere Device Usage
 
“The big TV in the living room is generating the most buzz right now…. It’s a great aggregator of content,” said Chris Faw, svp, operations, Time Warner Cable Media, noting that his research shows that consumers watch on average five hours of TV a day. But devices are entering the room, and the MSO is still working on the monetization model for that, he said. The good news: Thanks to targeting, ads are becoming more relevant to consumers.
 
Strauss gave credit to those new devices. “No doubt tablets and smartphones have been a catalyst for TV Everywhere,” he said. But what’s perhaps more interesting is that the vast amount of consumption is happening in the home, he added. In terms of live linear content versus TV everywhere content, he admitted that it hasn’t reached “true parity,” though the MSO does have 20,000 assets available and just launched live TV on 35 channels. That pattern of change will be interesting to see, Helfand noted, as more assets become available for TVE and the balance shifts.
 
Working With OTT Partners
 
Brennan believes programmers should work in tandem with OTT partners. In fact, part of why Fox didn’t sell Hulu is because the company recognized that Hulu is a great aggregator as well and that it “brings a new media cache.” That perception is very useful, she said.
 
TVE in Five Years
 
“You’ll see more ubiquity in the experience across all different platforms,” predicted Mark Garner, svp of business development, analytics and distribution marketing, AETN. Moreover, he expects a “sea change” in the way consumers discover content. Brennan imagines that the concept of TV Everywhere will be moot. People will consider everything—including Netflix and other video platforms—television, rather than just a portion of it. It’s an industry term, she said, and the very young already perceive one medium. Helfand concurred: “It’ll just be television. And it will be highly personalized.”

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