Only 7% of TV Everywhere users view the process of authentication negatively, with less than 1% ranking the process as “very difficult,” according to The Diffusion Group.

This runs counter to claims by industry leaders that authentication is a cumbersome process and an obstacle to expanding TVE use.

Authentication is an electronic process by which Internet-enabled devices (PCs, tablets, smartphones, and increasingly TVs) are validated to permit online access to programmes included in traditional home pay-TV services. In most cases, authentication requires a would-be viewer to enter their account number/user name and password.

“From a consumer’s perspective, this is simply ‘logging in,’ like they do several times a day for a variety of web services. It is a commonplace activity which we consider a normal part of using the Internet,” noted Michael Greeson, TDG president and director of research.

“Unfortunately, authentication has been demonized 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 notes 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 programs on “small screens”; the perception that viewing TVE is not compelling; and a poor understanding of the availability and benefits of the services. “These are marketing challenges, not technical challenges.”

Greeson is quick to point out, however, that this data should not be misconstrued as suggesting that automating authentication would go unnoticed. Just the opposite is the case. 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,” says 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.”