How is TV Everywhere going? It depends on what major media company you run.
If you’re Jeff Bewkes of Time Warner, who has been championing the idea of allowing pay TV subscribers to view their shows anywhere on any device at any time, the picture is rosy. If you’re Chase Carey of News Corp., it’s stuck in the mud.
Both executives were asked about TV Everywhere during their quarterly earnings calls with securities analysts Wednesday. Here is what they had to say.
“I prefer to call it authentication because I think it’s a better phrase as you move forward into an array of digital platforms, how you package it and trying great value out of it.”
“So I think it’s a good thing. I think it has struggled to get going. I think to some degree it’s been encumbered by a cable industry that tries to create too many walls around it. . . And I think it will be a good thing if we get some traction. But I think at the end of the day its success is going to be built on making it a good experience for the consumers and if you don’t they’ll turn to find other options. . . The distribution industry ought to find a way to make it more open and enticing and appealing and an opportunity for consumers. And let those who do a good job succeed because at the end of the day consumers are going to migrate to the experiences they value and like.”
“But I think authentication is an important initiative and something we’d like to see succeed even it’s a little frustrating. it’s been talked about for two years and still hasn’t yet gotten very far.”
“This year, we’ll continue making progress in rolling out TV Everywhere at both Turner and HBO.”
“Turner ended 2010 with TV Everywhere versions of our networks available to over 45 million households. And by the middle of 2011, we expect to have agreements covering 70 million homes. HBO GO is now available to over 40% of its subscriber base and is on track to be available to the overwhelming majority of its subscribers in the next few months.”
“So I would just make a point as this thing is rolling out, HBO is probably in the lead and Turner is probably second. It really is the fastest deployment in pay TV history, far faster than VOD or DVR. And so it’s getting out there in basic cable the fact that we’ve got roughly half the country, 70% by the spring or summer doing this, you now have to have usage and interfaces follow. But it seems to be inevitable, and it seems to be something that there’s going to be tremendous excitement and as viewers get used to seeing programming this way, there’s be going to be huge demand throughout the distribution plan to really expedite.”
An analyst asked Bewkes why he thought his competitors have been so slow to follow his lead, with no other basic cable networks on Comcast’s Xfinity iPhone app.
Bewkes replied, “I thought most of them have that. We don’t, obviously, manage those. I thought all of them were following that. I fully expect to say they’re there.”