Questions about the overall user experience could get in the way of mass adoption of TV Everywhere-type services, a panel of TV executives told audiences at today’s Future of Television conference in New York.
While panelists agreed that there is a great opportunity for broadcasters and cable programmers to profit off the availability of broadband video services tied to users’ cable subscriptions, most believed that the success of such services would depend on companies’ execution in rolling them out.
“The biggest risk to the industry is if it’s not done well,” said Dave Evans, senior vice president of broadband for Cablevision’s Rainbow Media Holdings. “If it’s not done well, consumers won’t use it.”
The biggest questions revolve around the overall ease of use for the service, which could hamper adoption if users find it too difficult to authenticate with their ISPs or are unable to reach content that they should have access to.
“The opportunity is there, and it’s real, and it’s something to get behind. The biggest challenge is that it’s got to be a solution that offers a very easy and compelling user experience,” said J.B. Perrette, president of digital distribution for NBC Universal.
But with so many players involved in creating these services, and so many platforms to extend these services to, execs warned that the complication involved with rolling TV Everywhere out could create issues, particularly as competitors try to create differentiated experiences that could be confusing to consumers.
“We have to be careful that the competitive nature of this ecosystem doesn’t create an issue,” Perrette said.
Other issues remain, such as a lack of standards and agreement about how to measure audiences watching programs on TV, online or on mobile devices. The measurement issue in particular could hamper content companies’ ability to effectively sell advertising across multiple platforms.
“I think that ratings and the ability to have customer insight is a critical piece of the equation,” said Kelly Day, executive vice president and COO of digital media and commerce for Discovery Communications. Later, she reiterated that the measurement agencies have a lot of work to do to measure across multiple different audiences “We don’t think Nielsen is moving fast enough to count TV, VOD and online [together],” she said. (To learn more about Nielsen’s measurement of TV Everywhere, check out the ratings company’s presentation at the recent NewTeeVee Live.)
Murali Nemani, director of service provider video marketing for Cisco, pointed out that technology already exists to measure user engagement directly from the set-top box, and that his company and others were working to extend that intelligence into the network and other devices.
But, he said, “Technology is only as good as the fundamental business models that can support it. The big challenge for us is, how do we look at the ecosystem and talk about how value is being created by technology to enable a rich consumer experience? Content will continue to proliferate across different ecosystems. The question is what is the model under which these new business models can emerge?”