After some hiccups, the pay-TV industry seems to be making significant progress when it comes to authentication, with record streaming audiences for the Rio Olympics and World Cup. What’s a key remedy for the typical poor user experience of TV Everywhere? “Simplified sign-on solutions, like home-based authentication, mobile single sign-on, and social login,” authentication service provider Synacor CEO Himesh Bhise told us. Without easy sign-in options, “people are giving up on watching TV Everywhere,” he said, noting Synacor has seen up to 50% of potential TVE viewers, with a given TV provider, abandon the process at the log-in screen. “50%. It’s that hard,” he said. For MVPDs, TV is only one application, he said. “They offer a greater variety of services and subscriptions that also need to be managed with easy logins.” The company scored a contract with Apple last year to provide cloud-based authentication service to drive Apple’s Single Sign On for Apple TV and iOS. Apple has since upgraded its simple sign-on feature: Starting in Dec, subs to DirecTV, DISH and other major MVPDs will just sign in once on Apple TV, iPhone and iPad to access to apps that are part of their pay-TV subscription. Synacor’s cloud-based advanced authentication technology, dubbed CloudID, works around pay-TV ops’ proprietary and sometimes incompatible technologies to allow consumer access, whether through WiFi networks, on connected TVs or on mobile across both Apple and Android devices. Bhise said other features key to smooth implementation of authentication services include flexibility and adaptability. That’s why Synacor’s platform was designed with a flexible layer atop a solid core of authentication functionalities, he said. Equally important is reliability and durability. “Geo-dispersed and redundant servers create reliability even if a hurricane threatened to take a large swath of the country offline,” said Bhise. He noted Cloud ID is currently supporting HBO and in the last quarter, Synacor inked a new Cloud ID contract with a subscription-based OTT video provider, a telecom operator and a regional cable provider. Today, Synacor authenticates some 85mln pay-TV HHs in the US through Cloud ID. Through its participation in the Open Authentication Technology Committee, an association of programmers, MVPDs, vendors and system integrators, Synacor is working with Comcast, Adobe and CTAM on a home-based authentication feature aimed at bringing the Single Sign On experience to the entire industry, Bhise said.

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