Summary:

The cable world is adopting TV Everywhere as a way to provide more content to pay TV subscribers, but until lately the typical sign-on process hasn’t been very user-friendly. Akamai is hoping to change that with a new offering for pay TV providers and cable networks.

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The cable world is increasingly adopting TV Everywhere as a way to provide more content to pay TV subscribers, but there’s been one major hold-up in consumer adoption: the typical sign-on process isn’t very user-friendly, and in many cases doesn’t work across multiple sites. Well Akamai, among others, is hoping to change that, with a new offering for pay TV providers and cable networks to simplify the login process for their users.

Akamai has teamed up with Synacor, a provider of TV Everywhere authentication solutions, to launch the new offering. Synacor has been in the business of creating web portals for cable companies like Charter Communications and others, and as a result, has been building sign-on solutions for pay TV operators that wish to roll out their own TV Everywhere services. Earlier this year, it even created a division devoted entirely to TV Everywhere initiatives.

The joint solution will take advantage of Akamai identity services, enabled by a set of standards-based APIs, and Synacor’s authentication platform. The hope is to provide a standards-based way for operators and programmers looking to roll out TV Everywhere services to do so without the hassle of building out their own authentication system. The single sign-on option will also improve the customer experience, by remembering the user login info and minimize disruptions if he or she switches between supported TV Everywhere sites.

The offering also provides smart identity provider discovery, which will surface only relevant providers (e.g. only those that operate near the consumer’s physical location), as well as viewing continuity — that is, the ability to pause a piece of content on one device and pick up watching it on another.

Akamai will be demoing the technology at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas this week, hoping to create interest for the solution among operators and programmers. But it’s not the only technology provider looking to improve the authentication process for consumers. Last month, Adobe announced its own TV Everywhere solution, called Adobe Pass, that has been chosen by Turner Broadcasting, among others, to make sign-on easier across multiple cable sites and operator portals.

However, while Adobe’s TV Everywhere technology is already being used by some companies, Akamai’s authentication solution won’t be ready for sale until later this year.

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