TV Everywhere Viewing Is Growing But Still Too Difficult To Access – TCA

By David Lieberman, Dominic Patten

How badly have cable and satellite companies botched their rollout of TV Everywhere streaming? Pretty badly, according to some data out today from Adobe. The media data company discussed the issue at Nielsen’s TCA presentation this morning.

Adobe said today at the summer sessions at the Beverly Hilton that 14.7 million households — about 13% of the 112 million pay TV households in the U.S. and Canada — actively use TV Everywhere. The number has tripled over the last two years. But it’s still way behind Netflix, which has 41 million subscribers in the U.S.

There’s a lot of content available on TVE with more than 100 channels feeding 300 sites and apps on all platforms. But it’s hard for people to find what they want. Nielsen urges providers to make it easier for people to log in, provide a common experience across apps, and promote the offerings.

Most TVE fans watch on an Apple device — a potentially worrisome fact as the electronics company works on a streaming platform that might compete with cable and satellite. Some 30% watch TVE on an iPad, 18% use an iPhone, 10% use Apple TV, 3% use a Mac, and 1% use an iPod.

Mac use fell from 8% last year while Apple TV’s share doubled. After Apple, 17% use an Android device, 7% use a PC, 8% and use Roku, while gaming consoles and Smart TVs each had a 2% share.

Nielsen also has disturbing news for programmers who believe that they can syndicate shows to subscription VOD services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu without cannibalizing their core, ad-supported shows.

The online platforms “appear to displace live TV viewing,” Nielsen says. Average daily live TV viewing declines about 6 minutes to 435 when a household subscribes to SVOD.

There’s a subtext to Nielsen’s data release. It’s eager to refute the charge by TV networks and others that it doesn’t count non-TV viewing — and that’s responsible for the dramatic recent declines in broadcast and cable ratings. Nielsen has said that networks and advertisers define what goes into the ratings, and their own rules prevent the company from adding digital viewers to the tally.

Aiming for later this year, Nielsen and Adobe will launch their Digital Content Ratings which provide a unified metric for content and ad viewing on mobile devices and PCs and well as TVs. This is “a big step forward” for Nielsen, BMO Capital Markets’ Daniel Salmon says. But with all of the metrics around digital, it won’t necessarily “solve questions of a single, cross-screen currency.”

Underscoring the need for a more expansive view of ratings, Nielsen today noted that viewing on Web-connected videogame consoles and multimedia devices is growing. A little more than 29% of U.S. TV households use a set that’s connected to the Internet, up from 26.4% in early 2014. By contrast, use of DVRs and DVD players is down or flat — especially among young viewers.

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