Commentary

Deep Thinking On Second Screens And TV Everywhere

There really are a lot of controversial things about how video is delivered and displayed, but here’s a real PR headline that would never get my attention except to laugh at it: "Consumers Still Prefer Televisions over Tablets and Smartphones for Video Content."

This bulletin, from Parks Associates, was going to be more fully discussed today at a conference sponsored by Cablefax, which I’m sure will be filled with truly noteworthy information about the mix of screen sizes and how it’s reordering the way we view things.

As this litte blurbette points out, broadband households spend about 1.3 hours per week watching video on a tablet and 1.6 hours watching on a smartphone, but that’s compared to “almost 20 hours per week on the television.”

The Parks data notes that tablet viewing has tripled since 2010, and for smartphones, video viewership has doubled. But in the end, neither one of them can duplicate the sheer joy of the visual experience you get from that ginormous TV in the living room. The Parks research and the Cablefax event will discuss how all those screens are going to get along with each other.

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Tremor Video’s Doron Wesly has done some great research on just how the whole viewing thing goes down in the average home, and came up with the really un-startling conclusion that viewers are practical. They watch what they can, and so when they can or must, smartphones and tablets are just fine. Otherwise, bigger is usually better. But that still leaves a lot of space for the little video guys, obviously.

I don’t personally remember this, but theater owners were once frantic, believing TV would be the ruin of the cinematic experience (as they like to call it). That didn’t happen.

But it would be smart if content providers (them) and content users (us) would make better use of some of the tools that can make the mediasphere go round.

The Diffusion Group’s Michael Greeson says, for example, that the whole TV Everywhere revolution seems to be proceeding more on the pace of the 100 Years War because the TV Everywhere purveyors are doing such a horrible job marketing it. Jeff Baumgartner, from Multichannel News, believes just the opposite. The trouble with TV Everywhere, he concludes, is authentication, the laborious (?) process of proving you’re a cable subscriber.

“While I agree that the actual act of logging in is easy enough, not everyone knows what their TVE-facing user names and passwords are, and having to track down that information is still a time-consuming, mind-numbing chore,” he writes.

I don’t know about you, but my user names and passwords for TV Everywhere sites are brainlessly easy. So I’m more with Greeson, who points to TDG stats that show something close to 94% of users think it’s really easy, or at the worst, not very hard, to get to your TV Everywhere apps.

More likely, the trouble with TV Everywhere -- beyond a lousy generic name -- is inconsistent goods. Various TV Everywhere purveyors give a lot of content or not much, in a timely way, or not so much. It’s good or it’s bad. Hard to find, usually.   

If TV Everywhere was the name of a hotel chain, you wouldn’t go there.

All of that bad marketing creates opportunities for digital-only video makers. But they’d be better off, too, if the TV Everywhere crowd would do a better job of checking some people in.

pj@mediapost.com
3 comments about "Deep Thinking On Second Screens And TV Everywhere".
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  1. Michael Greeson from TDG, September 18, 2014 at 8:10 p.m.

    Nice piece, PJ. Jeff does really take the opposite position, but instead says "It’s too early to take authentication off the hook or to declare that it’s now a non-issue." But he has no evidence for the position, only the all-too-frequently-cited anecdotes about one's personal experience. As well, he missed a key point in my press release: that, despite the fact that authentication is generally viewed as a non-issue, 85% of TVE Users indicate that automating authentication would improve the service experience. My point was that authentication is NOT the culprit for poor service uptake, but IS an opportunity to enhance TVE.

  2. Michael Greeson from TDG, September 18, 2014 at 8:13 p.m.

    Correction: I meant to say "Jeff does not" take the opposite position. Would be nice to have an edit function in your comment section.

  3. pj bednarski from MediaPost.com, September 19, 2014 at 8:15 a.m.

    Thanks, Michael, and you're absolutely correct. He did not take really blame authentication fully...and an edit function would be great for the comment section. I'l pass it on. Thanks...

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