By: Tim Young
I got a call today. It was from your couch. It misses you.
You guys used to be old pals; you and your couch. You'd placed it in a position of honor in your house, directly in front of your other close friend: Mr. Television.
The three of you, together, had perfected the viewing experience. You had the video and sound polished to the point that rivaled the theater, but the snacks were cheaper and, thanks to couch, the seat was way more comfortable.
Those were good times.
Things are different now. You've traded in the 52 inches of high-definition glory that Mr. Television provided for the portability of an iPad. The sound, once rich with earth-shaking bass projected for the neighborhood to hear, is now delivered with only the gusto your ear buds can manage.
And goodness knows where you're sitting...
You're one of a still relatively small, but growing, number of folks who are embracing the promise of TV Everywhere.
The capital T, capital V, capital E program, known as TV Everywhere, began as an idea from Comcast and Time Warner to retain customers as more and more consumers were opting for a better mobile experience than they had previously been offered by their cable providers. By allowing subscribers to access content via desktop and mobile apps after undergoing an often-rigorous authentication process, cablecos can provide an amped-up version of Hulu, giving customers more of the shows they want when they want them.
Since then, a wide variety of other pay-TV operators have followed suit, and the popularity of apps, like HBO GO, demonstrates a demand in the market that was not always obvious.
However, to date, TV Everywhere has not quite lived up to its promise. That's why Turner Broadcasting has just started blitzing the airwaves with commercials intended to educate cable subscribers on the promise of TV Everywhere, from how to get started with the service to the sorts of programs that are available online.
They've even enlisted Conan O'Brien to help spread the word.
The benefits of additional TV Everywhere use are clear for content providers. Ratings matter, and as more and more users opt out of appointment-based viewing of even popular programs, content producers are eager to find ways to keep their ratings on pace with their actual viewership.
The Turner programming contains the same ads online as it does during its regular run, and Nielsen includes those views in their ratings, provided the shows are watched within a few days of the regular air date.
“If they watch ‘The Closer’ on Wednesday on their iPad, we get as much credit as if they watched at 9:06 on Monday night.” Steve Koonin, President of Turner Entertainment Networks told the New York Times. Service providers, meanwhile, get to tap into the Hulu zeitgeist, meeting customers where they are in terms of demand and potentially expanding their reach to include customers on the go.
Naturally, however, critics of the initiative abound.