Turner taps Synacor to support TV Everywhere push

Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 05-03-2012

Turner Broadcasting System has selected Synacor to enable its TV Everywhere push for authenticated online viewing of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Synacor also will integrate Turner's embedded video player into participating operator portals.
"Our goal with Synacor is to create flexible approaches to authentication, enabling more content to distributors who chose to utilise their platform," said John Harran, vice president, business development and multi-platform distribution for Turner Broadcasting. "With Synacor, we can deliver rapid-deployment solutions that allow cable, satellite and telco providers the ability to offer their subscribers authorised access to our popular programs, including the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship, on a larger scale than ever before."
As previously reported, Turner Broadcasting is putting online access to coverage of the upcoming March Madness behind a pay wall in an effort to encourage cable subscribers to make use of TV Everywhere services.
Consumers will be able to follow the action online at the TBS Web site for the premium of $3.99. But pay-TV customers who authenticate into a TV Everywhere portal using their cable or satellite credentials will be able to see the NCAA games for free via PCs, laptops, mobile handsets and tablets.
It's goal, Turner said, is to encourage TV Everywhere uptake for cable and satelliet companies, who are banking on the multiscreen initiative toward off competition and cord-cutting pressure from over-the-top (OTT) rivals like Hulu.com. There are around 100 million cable subscribers in the United States, of which 77 million have access to TV Everywhere. Of those, only about half have signed up to use it.
Fellow broadcast rights holder CBS meanwhile is not following TBS' lead, and its games will remain free online. The NCAA Web site will no longer show the games at all.
The 64-team college basketball tournament showcases the power of sports programming for pay-TV operators. The championship game often draws more than 20 million viewers. The online feeds have steadily grown in popularity as well. Last year, viewers watched 13.7 million hours of streamed video, up 17% over 2010