Skip to main content

TV Everywhere Gets Traction — Finally

Buoyed by more content and greater consumer awareness, the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing last week said eight months into its efforts, it is charting significant progress toward its goals of boosting TV everywhere sign-in and usage across the cable industry.

CTAM has launched a new consumer awareness tentpole initiative, a campaign outlining the significant benefits and value proposition of TVE.

The move comes as Netflix and Amazon continue to add subscribers and other over-the-top providers are joining the fray. To fortify a collection of current, approved promotional assets for media placement, CTAM has built a near-universal and secure e-form that makes it easy for content providers and MSOs to participate in the campaign.

For cable operators, it’s a simple problem with a maddeningly complicated answer: How do we let paying subscribers know they already have access to favorite shows on favorite devices?

The campaign’s core messaging emphasizes the ease of the sign-in process to verify customer status and clarifies how TVE content can be accessed earlier than on other online and mobile platforms. The idea of illustrating the viewing possibilities comes alive in a campaign with a “You Could Be Watching TV” theme and the hashtag #youcouldbewatchingTV.

“Netflix didn’t invent this,” John Lansing, CTAM president and CEO, said. “Cable providers are offering a better product, with a more diversified programming offering that includes live sports and news, all at no additional costs.”

When CTAM initiated its educational campaign last April, its stated goals were to drive aided awareness of TVE, which was only at a 20% level, to 65% by January 2015, and to push usage among cable subscribers familiar with the platform to 55%. By mid-October, a study conducted by Hub Entertainment Research indicated, aided awareness had climbed to 54% of the survey group, while 49% said they had used TVE to view TV content at least once in the past six months. (Despite the gains, Sling Media launched an anti-TV everywhere campaign recently.)

Boosting the drive was Fox Networks’ “Stream It and Dream It Sweepstakes” promotion that ran last month, touting such authenticated streaming apps as Fox Now, FX Now, Nat Geo TV, BTN2Go and Fox Sports Go. The two-week initiative, which also granted non-subscribers a two-hour temporary pass, sought to drive TVE awareness and usage while also offering participating users/ viewers a chance to win $25,000.

Aligned with CTAM-led tactics, the Fox sweepstakes paid dividends; it reached 3 million unique users and generated 56 million total impressions, boosting promotional value for Fox Networks and its distributors, whose combined bases exceeded 100 million homes, according to the marketing group.

Outreach is being managed by CTAM and The Lippin Group, which are working to educate consumers and promote available TVE content. The results thus far have yielded the placement of TVE streaming highlights in mainstream TV and lifestyle sections in newspapers, including The New York Times and USA Today.

“We have also gained with influencers and bloggers reaching 25-to-39-year-olds,” CTAM senior vice president of communications and marketing Anne Cowan said. “This is a group that loves to watch online.”

Moreover, CTAM wanted 75% of its 23 member companies participating in the TVE space to adopt the sign-in recommendations developed by a steering committee in conjunction with OATC, NCTA, CableLabs, Adobe and member partners. Through mid-October, all CTAM TVE companies were using some to all of the best practices, at an average of 52% overall.

“We set out at the beginning of the year to have a measureable impact on awareness and usage of TV Everywhere — and given this unprecedented industry participation and support, we have done just that,” said CTAM chairwoman Gemma Toner, senior vice president of business insights and strategy at Cablevision Systems. “This initiative from CTAM, designed to drive usage and awareness among consumers, will help to elevate this product category now and into the future.”

Recent Hub Research showed that 61% of millennials reported that access to TVE services made them feel more positive about the TV provider, and 56% said the same about the network they’re watching.

“TVE users ascribe greater value to their cable packages, with millennials, the most at-risk group, having the most positive reaction to TVE,” Lansing said.