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OnScreen Summit 2011: Kent: TV Everywhere is ‘Vitally Important'

In order to "maintain this great ecosystem" that the television industry has, Phil Kent, chairman and CEO, Turner Broadcasting System, touted TV Everywhere as a way to keep pace. "I think TV Everwhere is all about sustainability."

That came during the "Acquiring Dramas, Comedies, Movies And More In A Competitive Marketplace" discussion during B&C/Multichannel News' OnScreen Summit Thursday in NYC.

Kent said that there are three "buckets" of consumer behavior: 1) Watching shows during their scheduled airtime 2) Watching shows, but not during scheduled airtime or even on a television set and 3) Owning box sets of entire series to watch at their leisure. "There are very good monetization models for bucket 1 and bucket 3," said Kent. He said that TV Everywhere is built "so that we can satisfy that consumer behavior (bucket #2) in a legal way and in an easy-to-use way."

While some have wondered why the TV Everywhere movement hasn't fully caught on, Kent said that in the three years since its inception, TV Everywhere is now available in over 70 million homes. "Name for me a consumer product or service that in three years, has gone from an idea... to available in over 70 million homes, 70% of the footprint," said Kent.

Even though availability has been successful, Kent pointed out that adoption, on the other hand, has been disappointing. "In terms of availability, it's been a tremendous success; in terms of adoption, it has not a success at this point," said Kent. "It's been disappointing." He explained that two main reasons for low adoption are not enough content and it being marketed poorly.

He said that the authentication process for viewing content should be streamlined. "Wouldn't it be a great thing to have a single white sheet of paper that said ‘Here's how you go and register so you can get all this great content that's available now,'" said Kent. "I have yet to see a single distributor in any aggressive way put that out there." Kent said that Turner would adopt that strategy.

Kent said the biggest roadblock in terms of content seems to be that content providers wait until their channel agreements are up for renewal to negotiate TV Everywhere deals, thus slowing the process. "I don't think you have to wait for your four or five year channel renewal deal to come up with an operator to start letting our customers get access to this content," said Kent.