January 28, 2016

TV Everywhere Is (Finally) Coming

Nielsen’s new Total Audience Measurement system (TAM) is due to roll out in the next few months, and with it will come some exciting changes in the MVPD’s TV Everywhere (TVE) platforms. Once Nielsen is measuring the millions of tablet, smartphone, PC, and connected-TV views, the networks will lift the myriad of restrictions they have placed on them and TV Everywhere will become the useful, advanced, TV-of-the-future tool it was meant to be.

What will this mean for the industry and the folks at home? Lots of big changes are on the way.

Every Channel at Any Time
Quantum viewing (the ability to watch any time, any place, on any device) will become the norm, as the new TVE systems will allow users to seamlessly switch between devices while giving them access to both operator VOD and content recorded on home DVRs. Initially this will only be in-home as the systems will pull content wirelessly from the set-top box, but this functionality will gradually move to cloud-based servers as legal issues get ironed out.

Some MVPDs are already starting to introduce this functionality. For example, Verizon FiOS now allows users of its mobile app to access their DVR content from anywhere. That’s a significant change that makes the app much more valuable to FiOS TV subscribers.

New and Improved Program Guides
The new TV Everywhere apps won’t be bound by the legacy agreements that stifled innovation on the set-top box, so we will finally see interfaces that reflect the way people watch TV today. That means recommendation-based program guides, the type you currently see on Netflix, Hulu, and other web-based services. These new guides will permit deeper interaction with shows, calling up additional content and social media feeds.

Streaming Services, Too
MVPDs are now inking deals with OTT SVOD services (e.g., Netflix) that allow them to sell these services directly to their broadband and pay-TV customers. This is a win all around: MVPDs get to keep these SVOD viewers within their ecosystem, using more broadband (which is a major profit center), while the streaming services get additional sales and marketing support. Consumers win too, as they can access all their programming from a single interface and pay for all their television viewing with a single bill.

The Growth of Addressable Advertising
Advertising will be the one area most affected by the shift to TV Everywhere. Because viewers are able to watch on a time-shifted basis, we will see much greater adoption of addressable advertising. This allows brands to target ads to specific audience segments based on demographics, time of day, location, and device. This will allow for better targeting and, in theory, the networks will be able to run fewer, better-targeted commercials aimed at viewers who are watching on their own schedules.

At the same time, programs that are being viewed in real time will have the same commercial load regardless of whether they are being accessed via the set-top box or via the TV Everywhere app. This is already starting to happen. For example, CBS will be running the same national ads on its Super Bowl broadcast regardless of whether the viewer is watching off an operator set-top box, a streaming device, a PC, or a mobile device.

2016 will be an exciting year for the television industry, as many of TDG’s predictions of previous years will come to pass.

Stick with TDG and stay ahead of the curve.

Alan Wolk is one of the industry’s most influential thought leaders and futurists. He writes frequently on advertising models, OTT and social TV.

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