TV Everywhere’s high priest Bewkes keeps preaching

April 29, 2009

One day soon you’ll be able to watch your TV everywhere: online, on-the-go, your phones, just about everywhere and Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes wants you to know about it and believe it.

Bewkes, perhaps relieved to talk about something other than how best to get rid of AOL , took the opportunity on Time Warner’s first quarter earnings call to share more of his vision for how he plans to free your favorite TV shows from the shackles of the cathode ray tube box (yes, some of us still own those).

The way Bewkes sees it if you’re already subscribing to a TV channel at home, you should be able to watch it for free on broadband from any provider, wherever and whenever you want.

As he told analysts on Wednesday:

Over 90% of U.S. households already paying for television, programmers will be able to give consumers even more for their money. There’s a tremendous level of interest in TV Everywhere across the industry, and we’re working with several distributors on a trial slated for the second half this year.

But Bewkes was light on the details, such as how you overcome the technical challenge of “authenticating” subscribers’ access to programming when they might take video from one company; Internet from another and wireless connection from a third provider. Bewkes told analysts:

It seems pretty simple from the network’s point of view, it’s also pretty clear any channel network that’s got dual revenue streams has clearly got a benefit in making that channel and brand loyalty move across any platform or device because if I just speak for our company, it’s good for TNT or HBO that if you’ve got it in your home you can watch it out of your home and on (video on demand), and that we can then maintain the subscription payment you’re already making and the ad sales cross platform ability that’s in the media.

What seems to be simple is the principle, say most analysts, but execution may be another thing. Sanford Bernstein Michael Nathanson thinks Bewkes is probably looking at the bigger picture. Sometimes saying the right things can almost be as important as execution, said Nathanson.

I think what Time Warner is talking about in trying to examine what these digital models are and trying to ensure there is no value destruction is the right thing. Even if it doesn’t amount to anything I still think there’s value in trying to educate the market and some of its competitors about they should approach it.

(Photo: Reuters)

2 comments

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[...] they’ve slated the second half of 2009 to begin a trial with several distributors for their “TV Everywhere” initiative (the ability to watch TV anywhere, on any device, at anytime). As of April 30, Disney finally [...]

TV everywhere as concept is not a fresh idea, nor is it an earth shattering new discovery. If universal authentication is their only answer, then they are clearly missing a critical element in their considerations – who will pay for the TRANSPORT of content across multiple platforms? Universal authentication merely solves one part of the puzzle. Even with universal authentication and multi-platform delivery capabilities, the economics of online video delivery remain the same – someone ultimately has to pay for the end mile of delivering these video experiences to the consumer wherever. To draw an analogy – So far, all we’ve heard about this initiative is akin to saying “now that we have the warehouses (hosting), the cargo cars(video files), the train stations (screens on mobile, online etc), the ticket booths (authentication) hence TV will be everywhere. Who is going to pay to supply and maintain the Locomotives (CDNs) and the railroad tracks (Internet infrastructure & ISPs) to get this content to consumers? ISP’s are now getting burned by users who are intensive users of high bandwidth services like video, and are scrambling to find a way to limit or price that, so the idea that this would not affect consumers is misleading at best.

Posted by Roark S | Report as abusive

Miranda here- I think that TV Everywhere is a ground breaking technology that most people will become users of. With today’s generation being a generation that never stays in one place for to long, this is going to take off. So many people have to travel for work, family and leisure. Why pay for something that you cant take you? Now you don’t have to. I have to say that only a small percentage of users use enough bandwidth to cause pain to ISPs. Thus the reason some companies have implemented usage caps, however most people don’t go near the amount of usage it takes to cause problems to the ISP back-end infrastructure. Being an employee of DISH, I had experience with this function before I even purchased it and now that I did; it runs so much smoother than I initially thought. It all takes knowledge and understanding of what you are getting and how to utilize it to the best way possible. I love it, especially when we go on road trips! It definitely came in handy now during the holidays!

Posted by MirandaSB | Report as abusive