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TV Everywhere Hits a Speed Bump

TV everywhere viewing is still on the upswing, but its growth rate fell off sharply in the second quarter amid ongoing authentication struggles and the lack of a major “tentpole” event, according to the Adobe Digital Index’s latest U.S. Digital Video Benchmark report.

Even without the help of a big TV event like the Olympics, credentialed viewing of authenticated pay TV content online still managed to rise 63% year-over-year, Adobe said. The software maker based its findings on 159 billion online video starts and 1.49 billion TVE authentications from second-quarter 2014 to Q2 2015. As a point of comparison, though, TVE usage soared 246% when Adobe posted similar year-on-year results for first-quarter 2013 through Q1 2014.

Tentpole TV events aside, the report showed that there’s possibly some “friction in the process of setting up TV Everywhere or figuring out which device you want to use might be starting to cause a slowdown,” Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst for ADI, said in the report. “We think generally the demand is there, but we may have reached a tipping point where to get to the next level it needs to be simpler to sign in.” While in-home automated authentication has helped to make the process easier, companies such as Synacor are developing automated sign-on systems for out-of-home TV everywhere access, a move that could give the overall numbers a boost.

About 12.7% of pay-TV viewers watched content on their devices in second-quarter 2015, per the ADI, a 19% year-over-year gain but down 4% from first-quarter 2015.


The report also found that Apple’s iPad was the top device used to view TV everywhere content, with about 22% of users tapping in via Apple’s iconic tablet. That was followed by PCs (18.3%), the iPhone (18.2%), the Apple TV (12.8%), Android devices (9.1%), Macs (7.4%), Roku (6.8%), gaming consoles (2%), Amazon Fire TV (1%), and smart TVs (0.7%).

Looking beyond authenticated TVE services, the primary vehicle for watching TV sites is the PC, as the platform averaged 1.68 starts per month, versus 0.44 for smartphones and 0.94 for tablets.

For online viewing of TV-over-the-Internet sites, which do not require authentication, mobile accounted for 21% of viewing — a rise of 35% for smartphones and tablets combined, the report found.