| LOS ANGELES, July 20
LOS ANGELES, July 20 As consumers flock to
streaming video services like Netflix, the cable
industry has struggled to regularly attract customers to its own
online viewing options. This summer, networks and distributors
will unite in a marketing campaign to try and change that.
Studies show less than half of pay TV subscribers
consistently use what media companies call TV Everywhere, a
platform to watch live and on-demand programming on computers,
tablets, Internet-connected TVs and mobile phones. Operators
acknowledge that many customers do not know it exists.
From July 26 to August 8, cable distributors and networks
will fill TV screens, websites and social media with messages
encouraging customers to "watch on the go" through their apps
and websites, Anne Cowan, a spokeswoman for the Cable &
Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM), told
Participants include Comcast Corp and its
NBCUniversal unit, Cox Communications, Mediacom, A&E Networks,
Time Warner Inc's Turner Networks and HBO, and
The campaign is designed to catch people on summer vacation
with phones and tablets in tow.
TV Everywhere began in 2009 as a response to on-demand
services such as Netflix. Examples include the HBO Go, Watch
ESPN and Xfinity TV apps.
Cable operators hope the platform will help prevent "cord
cutting," or dropping of pay TV packages. The TV Everywhere
capabilities are added to a pay TV subscription at no extra
"We need to become much more consumer-centric and be where
consumers want to be," said CTAM President and CEO John Lansing.
"TV Everywhere is that product for our industry."
About 13 percent of pay TV accounts were logged in to TV
Everywhere content at least once a month during the first
quarter of 2015, according to Adobe, which provides
software for the platform. It is unknown how many people watched
In an online survey in January by HUB Research and
commissioned by CTAM, 34 percent of pay TV subscribers said they
had used TV Everywhere at least several times a month.
Proponents say awareness and use are rising quickly. The
number of videos played on TV Everywhere platforms increased
nearly 300 percent in the 12 months through March, Adobe said,
lifted by sporting events such as the Olympics and World Cup.
Satisfaction surveys also show that people who use it are
happier with their cable packages, Lansing said.
There are still holes in the offerings. Not all networks are
watchable on all devices. Cable customers have an average of 60
networks available on five devices, CTAM said. Some can be
watched only inside the home.
A complicated sign-in process also frustrated customers, and
operators have moved to simplify it. Comcast, for example, no
longer makes subscribers enter a customer number for the Xfinity
TV app. It also automatically connects customers to the app when
they use devices connected to their home wi-fi network.
Comcast promotes TV Everywhere through "watchathons" that
offer a range of free content for a limited time. One-third of
Comcast's video customers use TV Everywhere each month, said
Matt Strauss, executive vice president and general manager of
Comcast Cable's video services.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Diane Craft)