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Cable companies have been talking about creating “TV Everywhere” for awhile now, and it’s clearly something consumers want. But there’s still a lot of content that isn’t available. Now Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) is moving into the act with its “Adobe Pass” program, hoping that it can push through the barriers that have stopped TV Everywhere from more rapid adoption. It has already signed up Turner Broadcasting and MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA) to use Pass to show a wide array of content to verified cable customers, and the tech company is says it will announce additional network partners soon.
Adobe is walking a bit of a tightrope, balancing the competing interests of TV networks and cable companies. The main sticking point with TV Everywhere is that cable companies want a reliable way to authenticate users-that is, make sure that they’re paying subscribers-before programming gets doled out online. TV networks, meanwhile, want as many viewers as they can get in any medium. But since it’s their lucrative contracts with the cable companies that do the most to pay the bills, they can’t just “go rogue” and offer the same content through their own website without limitations.
There are some TV Everywhere offerings already, like the programming offered by Comcast’s Fancast network. But a lot of networks would prefer to offer their shows through their own sites, for branding purposes. Adobe’s Pass program is designed to allow them to do that while reassuring the cable companies that participate that only verified cable consumers are getting the programming. The cable companies handle the actual customer data, and get the service for free-it’s the TV networks that pay Adobe for these services. One advantage that Adobe has here is that it’s a technology company that doesn’t have intentions of getting into the content business itself.
For now, MTV Networks is using the system, and so are five channels within Turner Broadcasting: TNT, TBS, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, and TruTV. Pay TV providers working with Adobe include Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA), DISH, Verizon, and Cox. (Not all of those channels work with every pay TV customer, however-MTV, for example, is only open to Verizon FiOS subscribers and certain “select Beta Comcast” subscribers.)