'tv everywhere' Rolling Forward
Today our world is very different than a year ago. The momentum is evident in every aspect of our industry. The cable platform is transforming into a world-class digital consumer experience. Content providers are delivering a burst of innovative programming for what many consider the new golden age of television. The marketplace is rich with opportunity, even as competition expands rapidly. We're in the midst of a never-seen confluence of content choices, expanded services, customer-first attitudes, technology advances, competition and cooperation. The result is a mix of consumer delight, anticipation, and even a bit of confusion.
At CTAM, we believe the cooperation between content providers, cable companies and suppliers to accelerate awareness and usage of “tv everywhere” (tve) is a major contributor to the industry's forward momentum. Quietly during the past few years, tv everywhere technology was developed, the trend-setting programming deals were slowly getting done, dreams were becoming reality and early-adopters started excited whispers. Now it's time for the industry to unite and give full voice to the tve experience–or give way for others to take the advantage of our momentum.
The strategy is simple: build a best-in-class viewer experience and relentlessly promote it, individually and cooperatively. Hard at work on the tactics is a blue ribbon 25-person tve steering committee, drawn from 20 companies, large and small, cable to content providers. Last month, we announced the first phase of user experience recommendations for building a frictionless “Sign In” verification process, with more UX improvements already in development for mid-year delivery.
In addition, the group recommended adoption of tv everywhere as the overall category name, giving the industry a mark for national awareness-building efforts, while all the individual tve brands live comfortably under it. Even more significant, the CTAM Board of Directors made a commitment to drive awareness and usage of tv everywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent of all cable customers by the end of 2014, with 75 percent of member companies in the space participating. Finally, due to a unique partnership with Adobe Primetime, CTAM will provide aggregated data from across the industry related to tve usage, and regularly report on the progress of our collective efforts.
But this is only scratching the surface of the complex work to be done. It's going to take the full force of our industry's energy to accomplish these aggressive goals. Yet, we believe there are three elegantly simple, yet powerful arguments for us all to put serious muscle behind making tv everywhere a success.
* Strengthening a Sturdy Business Model: tv everywhere strengthens the cable value proposition, bolstering customer retention and acquisition efforts. Research shows that tve significantly impacts positive perceptions of service providers.
* Competition: Consumers are rapidly adapting to video consumption on mobile platforms and digital delivery systems outside of the cable business model. Much of the content is an older “window” by-product of cable and lacks any of the excitement of live sports, special events and news.
* Monetization: Early research suggests that the majority of tv everywhere viewing is incremental to existing viewing, adding monetizable impressions. With the advances in dynamic ad insertion and solutions for audience measurement, the potential to drive revenue growth through tve is very real.
In short, the time to move forward with tv everywhere is now. The technology platforms developed by the cable industry are ready, and they offer a spectacular experience. Cable television content has never been better or more abundant. Most importantly, as customers become more aware of this great service that comes as part of their existing cable subscription, they are using it more–and loving it.
(John Lansing is the president and CEO of CTAM).