TV Everywhere Makes Strides Against OTT Rivals: Study

If TV Everywhere aims to help traditional pay TV providers fend off a surge of over-the-top competition, new data suggests that the needle is moving in the right direction.

Consumers continue to gravitate to authenticated streaming services that complement their video subscription bundles. Although adoption hurdles remain, overall authenticated video usage climbed 467% over a 24-month period, according to Adobe’s 2014 U.S. Digital Video Benchmark Report.

Major sporting events continue to serve as the primary TVE catalyst — about three times as many TV Everywhere users watch sports as watch movies.

But viewership is rising in other content categories, such as episodic broadcast and cable TV, per Adobe, which based its new findings on 191 billion total online video starts and 2.67 billion TVE authentications.

Adobe’s analysis found that 12.5% of pay TV subscribers were actively viewing TVE content in the fourth quarter of 2014, up from just 4.4% of subscribers in the first quarter of 2013.

Overall for 2014, an average 11.6% of subscribers regularly viewed TVE content, suggesting that TVE is “only a few quarters away” from shifting from a platform for early adopters to one that is used by the early majority, Adobe said.

But it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. Adobe acknowledged that convincing users to set up TVE accounts remains “a bit of a hurdle.”

Those who make the jump tend to return frequently, as consumers logged 2.1 billion authenticated video views in 2014, up 266% year-over-year.

On average, 13 million viewers logged in at least once per quarter during 2014 to watch TVE content, Adobe said.

“From an aggregate perspective, the frequency with which viewers are logging in and engaging with premium subscription-gated content is growing rapidly,” Adobe said. “This behavior is a primary reason why TV Everywhere is becoming more mainstream. To make it sustainable, developers need to provide deeper value to TV Everywhere.”

Getting consumers to get set up for TVE is just one hurdle. Once operators and programmers get them there, they must also maintain a high level of quality to keep them there.

In a separate study, Conviva, an OTT vendor that works with Liberty Global, HBO and NBCUniversal, found that 29% of streamers will abandon ship if they encounter buffering and other tech ailments, and 75% will give up within just four minutes if the video experience is poor.

At the device level, the iPad remains the most popular for TVE streaming, with a 29% share of authenticated video starts in Q4 2014, according to Adobe.

The iPad’s hold could slip a bit, though; Adobe said it sees the category of gaming consoles and OTT devices achieving a 20% share of TVE streaming this year as consumers tap products such as the Google Chromecast, Roku devices, Apple TV boxes and gaming consoles to fulfill their video needs.

Adobe added that it believes the proliferation of new devices and faster connections will drive mobile to overtake desktop video viewing by the fourth quarter of 2016.

Adobe also said it expects TVE active viewership to reach 18% by the end of 2015, driven by auto-authentication and social logins, and aided by marketing campaigns from content companies and multichannel distributors.