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As cord cutting grows, paywalls continue to grow on video applications

While consumers are clearly wanting more viewing options and freedom, TV executives have responded by placing a growing number of restrictions on the applications. Restrictions such as waiting extra days for new episodes, being only able to watch select episodes of select seasons and being required to buy expensive, bloated TV packages for any on-demand library.
By
July 5, 2014
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For years now, TV executives have been slowly warming to the notion that cord-cutting is alive and growing. Therefore, over the years we have seen a number of mobile video apps require cable account information if the customers wants to watch episodes of a show on the network.

While consumers are clearly wanting more viewing options and freedom, TV executives have responded by placing a growing number of restrictions on the applications. Restrictions such as waiting extra days for new episodes, being only able to watch select episodes of select seasons and being required to buy expensive, bloated TV packages for any on-demand library.

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Yet even today, data from the TDG Group shows that only 45% of the top 15 multichannel TV subscribers offer TV Everywhere services to their subscribers. Why?

TV executives continue to believe that by placing as many restrictions on cord-cutters, they will discourage people from not doing such a thing. In reality, it is simply allowing piracy to flourish and confusing customers with which networks have which agreements with which cable company in which city.

Stats

For example, ABC Online:

ABC has teamed up with a number of TV providers, including Comcast, AT&T and even Google Fiber, to offer authentication, and Hulu offers authentication through AT&T, Cablevision and Verizon. However, no similar agreements are in place for DISH, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable, meaning that customers of these providers will have to wait a week for new ABC episodes as well. – DSLReports

According to TechCrunch, WatchESPN had a record 1.7M concurrent viewers during the second half of the United States & Germany match last week. Univision Digital also broke records by showing 750,000 live streams for the USA vs. Germany match. So many people were watching the matches on WatchESPN that the cable authorization page went down, blocking some customers from viewing WatchESPN.

Now, after the World Cup has been a massive success with customers on their phones, tablets or computers, TV companies have now succeeded in having the rest of the matches put behind a TV paywall.

This move mirrors what CBS did for the NCAA Basketball Tournament. If you had a cable subscription, you could watch all games on your mobile devices/computer. If not, you could watch just three hours of games being aired on TBS/TNT/TruTV before being forced to authenticate.

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To this day, nobody has been able to explain to me why the initial Final Four games were on TBS and not CBS. The cable companies have just one aim in these moves: protect the old business model.

According to a recent survey by video search firm RAMP, just 4% of cable consumers even know their login information.

The low awareness and usage of authenticated multiscreen services “is partially due to the TV Everywhere user experience,” said Tom Wilde, CEO of RAMP, a company that counts FoxNews, ABCNews and NBC among its customers. “In most cases, there are few compelling reasons for consumers to engage with and return to their cable provider’s online experience. In addition, cable programmers seem to be missing key opportunities to strengthen their brands and affinity with viewers by delivering more compelling experiences than traditional linear TV offers.” – Multichannel

It’s 2014 and yet we still look at “TV Everywhere” as an experience that is “bound to not work seamlessly for the consumer,” as Daniel Frankel, editor of Fierce Cable notes.