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Cable Technology Feature Article

August 28, 2009

Verizon Launches "TV Everywhere Trial"

By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor

Verizon (News - Alert) says it has launched a trial of TV delivery on a device and place-shifted basis to users of Verizon Wireless devices or broadband services. The "TV Everywhere" test initially features content from Time Warner's (News - Alert) Turner networks, TNT and TBS.
Trial participants will be able to watch the programs on their personal computers or laptops, at home or away, using any broadband connection.  Using their Verizon Online user names and passwords, participating FiOS (News - Alert) TV customers will be able to access the online programming at the networks' Web sites as well.
The test does not mean "the end of linear TV," but more the ability to watch more programming "on demand," on multiple devices or connections, at multiple locations. Service providers will be sure to require a linear video subscription as the ticket to using the place-shifted, device-shifted features.
Still, the test is an important step towards more-convenient use of content that users already have paid for. TV Everywhere preserves the core multi-channel video business model, but extends it in ways that are more convenient and user friendly.
The more disruptive potential move, that of making virtually all professional content available on demand, remains relatively far off in the future, as neither distributors nor content owners will be in any hurry to risk damage to their current business models.
Though change tends to happen more quickly these days, "impulse pay per view" has been thought about and tried in the cable TV industry for decades, with modest financial success. And that seems to be the big hurdle. Value chain participants have not figured out how to make as much, or more money, delivering content on demand, as compared to a linear format.
Not until that problem is solved, or not until the core business model erodes so severely that the risk of doing nothing is greater than the risk of chaning, will widely-available on-demand programming be provided.

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Gary Kim is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tim Gray