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Time Warner CFO: TV Everywhere Not Resonating With Consumers

21 Nov, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Time Warner CFO John Martin

Despite media company’s first-mover support for TV Everywhere, widespread consumer adoption of pay-TV’s antidote to SVOD remains elusive.

Technology’s ongoing transformation of home entertainment, including access to repurposed content via TV Everywhere platforms, remains an anomaly among consumers, Time Warner CFO John Martin told an investor group in Barcelona, Spain.

Speaking Nov. 21 at the Morgan Stanley 2013 Technology Media & Telecom confab, Martin said acceptance and rollout of TV Everywhere among multichannel video program distributors and content holders has been adequate. Taking the message to the consumer hasn’t been so successful.

“The problem … is that it still hasn’t resonated with consumers; consumer awareness is still very low, distributors I think have been very slow to embrace a user-experience that consumers would really find attractive,” Martin said.

He said the authentication process (enabling MVPD subscribers to access content on portable devices) remains uneven from distributor to distributor, coupled with the fact that license rights to content have made the experience less than transparent.

The CFO, who will transition to CEO of Turner Networks in January, said there exist myriad examples of seamless on-demand content viewing options — notably among TV Everywhere competitors such as Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime Instant Video. Indeed, Netflix has sought to bundle its service with pay-TV operators — a tactic thus far only embraced by cablers in the U.K. and Sweden.

Martin said Time Warner has granted TV Everywhere rights to virtually every distributor with the exception of former subsidiary Time Warner Cable, which he said has been unwilling to sign agreements the other distributors been willing to sign. He said the emphasis among content holders and distributors shouldn’t fixate on how much incremental revenue can be extracted from platforms, but rather, cooperating to produce a better value-proposition to consumers.

“Look, we only believe more firmly in [TV Everywhere] than ever before, meaning that we know that a greater percentage of video consumption going forward is going to be … on demand,” Martin said. “[But] there is a window of opportunity here that I think the industry needs to see because it’s not going to last forever.”

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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