Troubles for cable TV operators trying to extend their product coverage via the TV Everywhere concept may be a thing of the past as authentication software is catching up to customer demand. During the Olympic Games cable customers were able to watch streaming content via multiple devices realizing an increase in authentications that were 10 times the normal rate. That, in itself, is a historic number compared to lackluster performance of the TV Everywhere concept to date. Is this the break-through the cable industry has been anticipating? It may be just the tool to curb cord-cutting, at least somewhat.
Cable Partners Up
With help from Adobe Pass 2.0, released by Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) on Aug 29, content is now easier to authenticate on all devices if you are both a TV and Internet customer, without using a password, as long as customers are authenticated with their cable service provider. The Adobe authentication software was tested during the recent Olympic Games for both Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), making for a resounding success for Adobe, cable operators and customers. Adobe’s software for TV Everywhere is now integrated with more than 150 pay TV providers supporting over 40 sites, and mobile apps for 25 major networks.
Adobe’s Project Primetime touts solutions for cable operators promising increased broadcast reach, lower operating costs, with the ability to integrate advertising into the mix. These are the three phrases operators want to hear, reach, low-cost, revenue. The solution even complies with copyright/DRM must haves for distributors. Project Primetime is a management based system that makes it easy for cable companies to integrate digital content for customers on all devices and platforms.
With both management and authentication solutions at hand, operators can truly say, TV Everywhere is here. Going forward with programming like college sports being a top agenda for customer viewing solutions, the above partnership and promises to be a catalyst for customer retention cable has been looking to address.
What Customers Want
What do customers want from a TV Everywhere concept? Primarily, ease of use, simple authentication, and HD quality programming anytime-anywhere. That scenario has eluded cable operators since the initial announcement of content viewing as an everywhere solution. Finding the right encryption process to include all the above requirements has not been easy. In addition, bringing programmers on-board as partners, convincing them to buy into both internal and external viewing platforms for content, was a monumental undertaking.
Stemming the Cord-Cutting Trend
The cable industry may be looking at the TV Everywhere promise as a more realistic solution from a cord-cutting standpoint, especially by younger Internet savvy consumers. The key, as cable seems to realize, is the ease of use and access for its existing customers while hoping to lure younger audience. Having technology that even older cable customers can navigate successfully is a huge leap forward.
What cable must do next is unlock the potential of a reasonable priced bundling strategy. Doing so in a continued weak economy would go a long way to stem defections to disruptive technologies that will eventually work out both ease of access and price point flexibility. While cable is making some in-roads with TV Everywhere, making it easier to access, keeping customers happy is an ongoing and evolving process. It cannot do it on technology alone; it must do it with customer-relationship-management and flexible pricing as well.