TV Everywhere: The Great Unwatched

A report out last month from Hub Research shows that the term TV Everywhere is just confusing to consumers. There’s your Shinola news lead of the week.

Probably people in the business just roll their eyes when they hear that but given how much new has happened with video in just the last two or three years, it’s hard to fault consumers for not being up with the lingo.  

According the Hub survey titled TVE: The Big Story, 17% of respondents who think they have a strong understanding of what TV Everywhere is think it refers to services like Netflix and Hulu.

And why not?  If you go to those online content providers, you can choose episodes or entire seasons of television. That’s TV, right? And it’s TV that’s not on TV, and so that’s…everywhere.


The problem might be that TV Everywhere providers, even for the 29% who have some knowledge of it, have a tough time competing with those services, particularly Netflix, this report says. 



TVEverywhere purveyors are perceived to have less TV available than Netflix, which makes what should be an exciting new online viewing avenue seem a little like an old piece of white bread.

Hub surveyed 1,148 viewers, aged 16 to 64, who watch at least five hours of TV a week and also do watch some content online.  

The survey says 43% of respondents haven’t used a TV Everywhere app in the last six months. (This survey happened a month before the World Cup, it should be pointed out.)

But—and this seems significant—of those who do use it, half of them are heavy users.  So about 25% have come around the curve. 

You’d think MVPDs would be more excited. Among those heavy users, 83% say TV Everywhere makes it more likely they won’t stop the service. And this survey says, 82% of heavy TV Everywhere users say they think their cable or satellite service is a good value, much higher than non-users.  (Officially, I doubt this figure with all my heart and soul. Nobody is happy with their cable or satellite service.) 

Like a lot of reports that note factually what you might already know intuitively, mostly, consumers think the features they like best from TV Everywhere is the ability to watch all past episodes of a show (79% find that some version of appealing) and to be able to watch on all types of devices (also 79%).

What I like about this report is that consumers sound mostly rational. They understand, by and large, that TV Everywhere services won’t let them see current episodes right away—they’re willing to wait a few days.  And in fact, while they’d like a library of shows, they’re already getting that from Netflix, and this survey says, they’re pretty happy with Netflix. (Which I’d say is bad news for TV Everywhere.)

The last few slides from the abstract of the study are my favorites. They seem to indicate that TV Everywhere is still a hassle.

Hub says 38% want there to be asked a minimal number of questions for authentication; 34% want that information to be stored in memory. And 31% have an even more basic desire: They would like to be reminded exactly what it is they can get from their TV Everywhere provider.

Like so much of the online growth curve, what marketers may be missing is something very basic: simple definitions, simple instructions. It seems pretty basic. Maybe marketers should call it TV Everywhere Someday.

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