The Streaming Media West Conference just wrapped in Huntington Beach, CA, and “Friction-Free TV Everywhere Authentication” was one of many lively panels on issues facing the industry.
The panel included members of the Open Authentication Technology Committee (OATC), an industry body charged with setting best practices for a more seamless TV Everywhere (TVE) experience.
TV Everywhere was originally developed to increase the pay-TV value offering to consumers by allowing them to access network programming across devices via their pay-TV provider credentials. However, a lack of consumer awareness for TVE and basic difficulties in the consumer credential-based authentication process are among the key factors inhibiting TVE growth (active TVE use stands at about 13% of North American pay-TV households). As the panel noted, it’s an industry problem demanding industry solutions.
James Hutchins, Principal Product Manager Identity Management at Synacor discussed network or home-based authentication (HBA) based on a user’s IP address as a way to ease authentication challenges, and the future may bring more long-lived device registration bound to a user, one-time use codes in lieu of traditional passwords, and binding of social credentials to MVPD ones.
The panel discussed tentpole events--particularly live sports events-- as key drivers of TVE use and encouraging stickiness, and improving the experience on mobile and connected TV devices will continue to help drive growth in use.
Although recent reports have indicated that Millennials are more likely to use pay-TV once they become aware of TVE, other challenges exist. The panel noted that these include content discovery within the TVE ecosystem due to fragmentation, handling parental controls and personalization with HBA use, the ability of small pay-TV distributors to prioritize HBA, and consumer messaging for out-of-home TVE use.
Improvements are sure to come, as the pay-TV industry is relying on multi-screen offerings like TVE to help keep potential cord-cutters happy in the days ahead.