What Is TV Everywhere? Why Isn't Everybody Watching It?

Back when, if you wrote about roller-blading, you were sure to get a letter from some lawyer type at Rollerblade telling you that they were the biggest brand for what is actually known as in-line skates.

I bring it up because new data from GfK relates to the Rollerblade problem, or more accurately, the sad lack of a Rollerblade problem. GfK's new data says only 25% of consumers have ever heard of “TV Everywhere,” though pretty clearly, many of them are using it.

There are two current reports on TV Everywhere and despite those figures above, GfK's is much more positive, especially the part that says that 53% of consumers in pay-TV homes have used TV Everywhere authenticating to watch TV shows on laptops, mobile devices or connected TVs. That’s up 10% since 2012.

You could argue (but I’ll do it for you) that’s still pretty lame considering that TV Everywhere is a free add-on that makes watching TV fare online pretty darn simple.

Whatever it's called..  Maybe they call it “the app I have on my phone so I can get that cable network,” which is not very snappy, but it works for them. Smokey the Bear, officially, is Smokey Bear and the feds still get mad when people screw that up. But I think the point is, he’s a nice bear that reminds us to prevent forest fires.

Consumers are sending would-be TV Everywhere programmers a smoke signal of their own. They may not be getting TV Everywhere because they ... just don’t get it.

Discovery CEO David Zaslav has been throwing gauntlets down all over the place trying to get more cable networks and operators to clear up a basic TV Everywhere problem: The industry itself hasn’t defined TV Everywhere, resulting in this... thing that is wildly uneven.

Because every TV Everywhere site or app offers a lot more, or a lot less, than every other one.

“Is it the last season or the last 30 days of content?” Zaslav asked at a Morgan Stanley conference earlier this year.  “Consumers, when they go to TV Everywhere, have to have a sense of what they’re getting.”

So far, then, we've identified two TV Everywhere problems: What it's called. And what it does. Otherwise, perfect.

Another report, from Adobe Digital, says just 13.6% of the people who subscribed to a pay TV service in the third quarter used a TV Everywhere service. That stat seems to be at odds with the GfK study.

But what those two studies put together means is that some consumers may have downloaded a TV Everywhere app and used them some, but not very much, at all, most of the time. Indeed, when GfK asked respondents to talk about their monthly usage on various platforms, that stat did get down to 13%-15% range.  

Jeremy Helfand, Adobe vice president, told the the Wall Street Journal, that lack of awareness and a hodgepodge of program offerings because of rights issues may be stopping TV Everywhere from being much of anything. GfK's users think it's easy enough to use--except for the authentication part, which about 60% think is a confusing hassle. (It isn't, but no one asked me.) 

Still, TVEverywhere is kind of a mess, which has a way of giving native streaming purveyors a leg up. As Zaslav seems to have been arguing all along, consumers have a crystal clear idea about Netflix and Hulu and that may be why, in all age brackets, the old line pay-TV industry's awkward foray into streaming is really kind of pathetic.
3 comments about "What Is TV Everywhere? Why Isn't Everybody Watching It?".
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  1. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, December 16, 2015 at 4:39 p.m.

    Discovery CEO David Zaslav nees to understand the scarcity of attention on Mobile and Cable has not been a consumer's best friend customer service wise or value wise.

  2. Chuck Lantz from, network, December 17, 2015 at 8:41 a.m.

    The final paragraph of this article perfectly illustrates and answers the author's question: "Still, TVEverywhere is kind of a mess, which has a way of making native streaming purveyors a leg up."

    If someone on your side had taken the time and effort to proofread that sentence and correct it before publication, it would make sense. 

    In the same way, if those providing and managing TVEverywhere would take the time to check every step the consumer must take in order to easily use the product, and eliminate the maddening hurdles, such as having to constantly re-enter user-names and passwords, once, twice and sometimes three times for each viewing session, maybe more people would use the damn thing(s).

    And if that hint didn't sink-in, let's try this one;  One of the better methods used to quit smoking is to put the pack of cigs someplace that's difficult to easily access, like way in the back of a drawer in the garage or something similar. So, if making access difficult is a good way to make people stop a very addictive habit, it's obviously also a great way to drive users away from TVEverywhere.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 17, 2015 at 10:25 a.m.

    The reason there's so much confusion about "TV Everywhere" is obvious. this is merely a gimmicky, catch-all, cutsey , promotional term that describes all sorts of TV/viedo viewing options, all lumped together as if they were a single entitity. They aren't. It's a lot like the much discussed "Internet Of Things" --or IOT---another catch-all term that confuses most people. These may be handy shortcut  designations for the PR and trade press people to banter about but we would be far better informed if we stopped being so vague and all-encompassing in our discussions---like all of the fuss about "data"---and got more spoecific so people would have some idea what we are talking about.

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