Authentication is not the hurdle for TV everywhere
Michelle Clancy
| 18 September 2014
TV everywhere (TVE) is finally gaining consumer acceptance: according to research from The Diffusion Group (TDG), only 7% of TVE users now view the process of authentication negatively, with less than 1% ranking the process as 'very difficult.'

"From a consumer's perspective, this is simply 'logging in,' like they do several times a day for a variety of Web services," said Michael Greeson, TDG president and director of research, in a statement. "It is a commonplace activity which we consider a normal part of using the Internet."

He added: "Unfortunately, authentication has been demonised by industry executives as a key reason TVE use is not more widespread. Unfortunately, pointing to authentication as the cause of slow TVE uptake is a red herring, distracting attention from the real culprits: poor marketing and the inconsistent availability of the newest shows."

Greeson noted that even among former and would-be TVE users, having to authenticate in order to view their home TV programs online is not viewed negatively. Only 11% of former TVE users point to authentication-related factors as the reason they stopped using the service, while 9% of non-users said similar factors have kept them from engaging TVE.

If not authentication, what then is responsible for the slow uptake of TVE? According to TDG's research, non-users are more likely to cite a lack of interest in viewing TV programmes on small screens; the perception that viewing TVE is not compelling; and a poor understanding of the availability and benefits of the services.

Greeson is quick to point out, however, that this data should not be misconstrued as suggesting that automating authentication would go unnoticed. In fact, 82% of tablet and smartphone TVE users see automatic authentication that is, no longer having to enter a user name and password to access video content as an enhancement to the service.

"While logging in to access home TV content is rarely viewed as a hassle, eliminating this step altogether is viewed as an important improvement," said Greeson. "For those looking to differentiate their TVE services be it an operator or a pay-TV network fully automating authentication is a step in the right direction."

The research complements a recent Viacom survey that revealed that the proliferation of video-capable devices and sources like TV everywhere is having a positive impact on viewership and fandom. Compared with the situation a few years ago, the vast majority (79%) of viewers say having more ways of accessing shows helps them try more programmes and 78% wouldn't have become fans of some shows if they couldn't watch in multiple ways.