A+E Networks launched its TV Everywhere Android apps last week, following the rollout of its iPad and iPhone apps starting in December. They allow users to watch full episodes of hit shows, clips and movies without authenticating through their cable providers, but signing in to Xfinity TV from Comcast, DirecTV and others unlocks additional content. AETN has noted more than 5 million downloads since December, with the apps accounting for a third of all video viewing in April. CableFAX caught up with David Zagin, president, distribution to discuss the company’s TV Everywhere initiatives.
What is the strategy behind offering full episodes of your programming without authentication? Was it a challenge getting participating distributors on board?
The strategy of providing full episodes without authentication is to use these platforms for promotional and sampling purposes with the objective of getting consumers to watch the programs on our linear networks. The authentication universe is too small, so it is important to provide a limited amount of content in front of the wall to help increase awareness.
What’s the biggest challenge to authentication right now?
The biggest challenge is educating consumers on the benefits of TVE, followed by making the authentication process easier for consumers. Lastly, it is important to have a robust content offering which will bring consumers back to TVE.
Do you have plans to monetize TVE in the future or will it remain a value-add?
We are having conversations with all Distributors around TVE. We feel it is an important part of our overall deal discussions and it brings real value to our distribution partners.
Multiplatform measurement is an industry challenge that has not yet been solved. What do you think needs to occur for the industry to agree on a standard method of measuring multiplatform viewing?
We all know the issues around Nielsen measurement. That has been discussed quite a bit over the past couple of years. We do need a metrics to measure the viewing or it threatens to limit the amount of content that is made available via TVE due to the difficulties of monetizing the content in the ad community.