YES Network CEO Suggests 'TV Everywhere' Could Have Piracy Issues

Tracy Dolgin, chief of the YES Network, offered several reasons this week why "TV Everywhere" still poses significant hurdles for the industry. Two have been cited before, but there was one that appeared to make its public debut: a risk of piracy.

Unless cable operators make broader efforts to determine exactly who is accessing the content, there is a risk of consumers gaming the system, Dolgin said.

"You actually have to know who's watching, not someone they've given their pass code to," he said at an Advertising Week event.

"TV Everywhere" is the industry initiative where cable and other operators make networks available to viewers on multiple platforms, so long as they go through an authentication log-in process to prove they also have a TV subscription.

But what if the keys are passed along through a college dorm or at a book club? Cousins on the West Coast have almost certainly handed over a Netflix password to kin back East.



So far, with TV Everywhere still establishing itself, any bootlegging has probably been minimal, but a more precise authentication process -- and who knows how that would work -- may be needed. Don't bet against the engineers at a Cablevision or Verizon coming up with the functionality. But preventing people from giving a friend access when they're paying $150 a month for TV service might not be the best PR move. 

The YES Network Dolgin leads is a regional sports network in the New York area, which airs about 130 Yankees games a year and a slew of other programming.

The Turner networks, along with HBO and ESPN, have been among the programmers who have experimented with TV Everywhere, which could gain increased interest as consumers enjoy watching on iPads and maybe the new Kindle. 

Yet, YES's Dolgin also mentioned two other potential hold-ups -- albeit well-trodden ones -- that may make content providers reticent about allowing a Dish Network or Cox to make their programming "globally" available.

Agreements need to be cut that give an economic benefit to the networks and operators. And, networks want sturdy viewership metrics, so they can monetize the consumption with advertisers.

"We would be out of or minds to allow our content to migrate (to) all platforms until the data is being used," he said.

Nielsen has launched a system that can meld TV and broadband viewing together to produce a single C3 rating, which can then be used as market currency.

To a degree, YES Network has been involved in some TV Everywhere-type initiatives. Outside the New York area, an package allows consumers to view Yankees games. In the YES home market, games are available for streaming on broadband through deals with multiple operators.

There, consumers need to prove they also receive the network on TV. And unlike other TV Everywhere packages, they must also pay an added access fee.

On the FAQ page for the service, a question is "May I share my account with others?"

Answer: "No. Sharing of your username and password is strictly prohibited."

2 comments about "YES Network CEO Suggests 'TV Everywhere' Could Have Piracy Issues".
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  1. Brian Hayashi from ConnectMe 360, October 7, 2011 at 2:37 p.m.

    Google has recently implemented its two-step authentication process for any apps outside of its primary domain. When you attempt to use an app, it send you a six-digit number to the owner's mobile phone via SMS text messaging. You must then enter that six-digit number in order to complete authentication.

    Is it perfect? No. But people on the West coast will start thinking twice if their phone starts blowing up every time someone of the East coast wants to borrow their Netflix account for an hour.

  2. Don Bowman from CIG, October 17, 2011 at 2:05 a.m.

    So if I invite a dozen people to my house to watch an episode of some popular show, I don't know if each one of them has access to cable at home or not... and I don't care. The cable company can't require them to authenticate their access before watching it at my home... and there's nothing illegal about me recording it and loaning that copy to a friend(s) so they can watch it in their own home.

    So what is different with the online scenario where my dozen friends watch the same show via my cable access... only online from different places? As long as the authentication prevents more than one logon from a user at the same time, then the network gets credit for 12 views online as opposed to one for the crowd at my house. Use an IP address recognition cookie to weed out multiple views by the same source and call it a win for viewers who can't be in front of their TV when shows air.

    If it's not illegal for me to have a party and watch TV, then don't call it piracy for me to have a friend use my TV Everywhere logon to catch a cool show that they missed in primetime.

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