15 May 2013

The Way to Implement TV Everywhere - TBS and TNT Live Streaming

Today, as part of the springtime-in-New-York TV upfronts, Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting announced that it will be live streaming TBS and TNT on a 24/7 basis this summer. This is what TV Everywhere should look like.
There are several great things about a live stream:
  1. The content offering is understood by the viewers.
  2. The advertising is already included and understood by both the buyers and the viewers.
  3. The advertising is not subject to skipping and not because functionality that viewers expect has been defeated.
  4. There are no bad interfaces or navigation issues to be overcome -- launch the app, watch the channel.
  5. To the extent that the live stream has appeal to a different set of advertisers, substitute ads can be included in the stream.
Yes, Nielsen measurement of this viewing may not happen instantly. That, however, is solvable and will be solved shortly (if it hasn't been already). Also, the networks themselves will have extremely reliable viewership data about these live streams since they will be serving them, or paying for that serving themselves.

Congratulations to Turner for sorting out the rights issues and getting this done and for ESPN's spade work on WatchESPN. Live TV viewing is a perfect package of content and advertising. It is a package in which advertisers have supported great content for decades. On-demand is wonderful for users, but the role of advertising in it is much trickier and, advertiser support of it has lagged. It would seem that the television industry is well-served creating new, more convenient ways to watch live television and that's just what TBS and TNT have done here.

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