Panel: Managing Expectations TVE’s Biggest Challenge

New York – As streaming video and TV Everywhere make up an increasingly large part of total traffic on the web, managing internal and user expectations continues to be the biggest challenge for the service, according to a panel at the Business of Live TV Summit here today.

Online video is growing, according to research from Cisco Systems, making up about 66% of Internet traffic and is expected to rise to 79% by 2018. At the same time Ultra HD video, currently accounting for less than 1% of traffic should rise to 11% by 2018 while standard definition video (64%) and HD video (36%), should reverse roles by 2018, with HD video making up about 52% of IP video traffic.

But as traffic demands increase, so does the cry for better quality and innovative uses for the technology on both the consumer and network side, said panelists at the Live TV Summit’s Streaming Live Productions Online panel.

NBC Sports Group vice president of technology Eric Black pointed to NBC’s Barclays Premier League soccer coverage, which included the use of a tactical camera that showed the action from a perch above the field (pictured). Black added that technology spurred questions on how much more could the network do.

NeuLion executive vice president and co-founder Chris Wagner said how much is usually answered by the type of sport and the costs associated with it. However, he added that advances in technology allow for good quality even on a low budget. For example, he said Cablevision Systems’ MSG Varsity network can spend as little as $500 per high school sports match for that network, while the costs rises considerably for college and professional sports.

Fox Sports senior vice president mobile and advanced platforms Clark Pierce said that managing user expectations also is a challenge, especially with TV Everywhere. Fox’s TV Everywhere offering is authenticated – as are most – which sometimes presents challenges for viewers who believe they shouldn’t have to sign in with a password and user name just to get service that they already pay for. While tentpole events like the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup have helped drive awareness for TV Everywhere, even those events presented a challenge for the network. And Pierce noted that Fox's streaming rights for NFL games don't include mobile rights. That, he said, immediately caused viewers to ask why they couldn’t watch the same matches on their phones that they were watching on their desktop computers and tablets.

“Managing to that, marketing to that is a huge challenge,” Pierce said.