Comcast, NBC Have Learned Little, Still Cling Tightly To Broken 'TV Everywhere' Mindset

from the change-is-apparently-hard dept

For years the cable and broadcast industry has tried to pretend it's keeping pace with the times via an initiative called "TV Everywhere." TV Everywhere essentially lets cable subscribers watch a selection of limited content on limited devices -- if you have a traditional cable connection. The idea is that if you've got TV Everywhere, there's simply no need to wander off campus to enjoy streaming services from the likes of Netflix. But as we noted years ago, the idea was unlikely to accomplish much given it's based on DRM'd, restrictive walled gardens and unskippable ads -- precisely the sort of things that drive users to streaming alternatives and piracy in the first place.

Our skepticism appears warranted. A study from earlier this year indicated that 82% of consumers have no idea what TV Everywhere even is. While polite about it, the study concluded that this was because TV Everywhere as a concept just isn't implemented very well, and inconsistently across carriers. The study also noted that just 4% even knew what their cable credentials are. Companies like Sling have seized on the TV Everywhere dysfunction, going so far as to launch entire ad campaigns mocking the concept for being overly restrictive and just kind of annoying.

In an amusing attempt to right the TV Everywhere ship, Comcast and NBC Universal appear poised to launch a new TV Everywhere brand awareness effort. This will include, reports indicate, promoting the service via ads running the tagline "watch TV without a TV":
"The campaign, which carries the “Watch TV without a TV” tagline and will be backed by digital and on-air promos across NBCU’s portfolio, will focus on how consumers can access content across those channels and brands on a variety of connected devices as part of their existing pay-TV The new TVE consumer campaign, NBCU said, will be “laser focused on driving web traffic, mobile downloads, video views and increased engagement across NBCUniversal’s brands."
Rather amusingly, this concept of "watching TV without a TV" only goes so far, given that while NBC is finally offering some live streams of its content on the company's website as part of this new initiative, in good-old TV Everywhere fashion you still need a traditional cable subscription to access it. In twenty years the cable and broadcast industry's attempts to fight consumers at every step of the way (skippable ads, walled gardens, a la carte) will be part of a hilarious master class in what not to do when fighting disruption. At the moment however, most of the cable and broadcast industry just believes it's being incredibly clever and innovative.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Dec 2014 @ 8:59am

    will i see the ads as i stream iTunes/Netflix/Amazon?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mmrtnt (profile), 24 Dec 2014 @ 9:00am

    Minor Correction

    ...cable and broadcast industry's attempts to fight consumers at every step of the way (non-skippable ads, walled gardens, a la carte)...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mattshow (profile), 24 Dec 2014 @ 9:02am

    Because when people aren't buying your product, the problem isn't that you've created a crappy product that no one wants. It's a lack of advertising.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Dec 2014 @ 9:08am

    It may be that they are fighting a losing battle...

    But when you consider that they are making additional profits every one of those 20 years, it doesn't really seem that they're "LOSING" the battle.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    timmaguire42 (profile), 24 Dec 2014 @ 9:12am

    Roughly 24 hours after

    someone invents a browser that works on your TV, cable will be dead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Daniel, 24 Dec 2014 @ 9:24am

      Re: Roughly 24 hours after

      I don't quite understand what you mean. Most smart TVs have browsers built in? If you don't have a smart TV then the Xbox One, PS4, Amazon Fire Stick (TV), Apple TV, Roku, etc. have browsers.

      If anything, you can hook up a cheap computer with HDMI out to get a browser on your TV. There is even free software (XBMC) that will provide a media experience.

      Cable is already dead with the younger generations. The ones that don't see a point in paying $100/mo only to have commercials crammed down our throat. I refuse to pay for commercials... at least the obtrusive, excessive, and non-skippable kind. Youtube isn't even that bad.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Jeremy Lyman (profile), 24 Dec 2014 @ 9:29am

      Re: Roughly 24 hours after

      Cable TV isn't dead because it's more expensive to buy Internet without a TV subscription. Because they own all the tubes that come to your door and can raise the delivery price if you try to get your content from someone else.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        madasahatter (profile), 25 Dec 2014 @ 8:38am

        Re: Re: Roughly 24 hours after

        The bundle will be overall higher than anyone service. Plus in many areas there is DSL via POTUS available to provide a partial price control on cable companies. In even fewer, Google 1gig fiber is available.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 29 Dec 2014 @ 9:13am

          Re: Re: Re: Roughly 24 hours after

          "The bundle will be overall higher than anyone service."

          Not true. I am a cable TV subscriber precisely because it is less expensive in total to have internet + basic cable than to have internet alone. Where I live, Comcast is the only available broadband internet option. DSL can't provide service to either of my homes.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Jan 2015 @ 8:46am

        Re: Re: Roughly 24 hours after

        False. The price of standalone internet service is NEVER more expensive than the price of an internet/cable or internet/cable/phone bundle with the same internet speeds. For example, suppose I pay $100/mo for the fastest internet connection I can buy in my area. I could opt to buy the internet/cable/phone package from my provider for, say, $150/mo. The INDIVIDUAL PIECES are cheaper in that bundle, but I'm still paying MORE MONEY. Given that I do not watch television and do not need or want a land-line phone, the packages have no added value for me. I'm just going to be paying more for what I already have, which makes no economic sense.

        If you get value from cable or a land line, the bundles may be worth it to you. For me and for a sizable chunk of my generation, such bundles are literally laughable. The service providers are hilariously behind the times.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      James, 24 Dec 2014 @ 1:02pm

      Re: Roughly 24 hours after

      Uhm. My lg has a browser that works perfectly fine.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Angel (profile), 24 Dec 2014 @ 9:25am

    As long as they insist on people having to pay for a cable package instead of an internet only package, things like this will remain dead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Dec 2014 @ 9:29am

    🎄 🍴 ⛄ 🎁 ❄ 🎅

    Merry Christmas to Techdirt and all it's fantastic community.
    _____________________________________________________________

    At this point I could care less about what the broadcasting conglomerate does. Shows scaled to the lowest common denominator so that even the moron gets it. A steady line of advertisement and commercials with a short show to add a little interest. Between product placement and the commercial, it's no longer 20 minutes of commercials. Programming that occupies time in such a way that it's time wasted. They don't call viewers couch potatoes for no reason. Heaven help we should have new shows, instead a good portion of the year is taken up by reruns. If I've seen it, I don't want to see it again.

    I've never realized what peace there is without the constant bombardment of ads trying to grab your attention in a 30 second time span. Could it possibly get any more annoying?

    One thing for sure, me having a spy tv in my house will require them paying me. That's how little worth it is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 24 Dec 2014 @ 10:15am

    Heres some news for them...

    I much prefer legacy network broadcasts under the "Network TV Nowhere" plan.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 24 Dec 2014 @ 10:53am

    Multiple credentials

    Comcast doesn't seem to have thought about families. As far as I can tell, you have to use the Comcast account login, which means sharing this login with everyone in the same house. Any sensible scheme would allow delegation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      R.H. (profile), 24 Dec 2014 @ 11:08am

      Re: Multiple credentials

      Can you create sub-accounts with Comcast? I'm able to do that with Charter and each sub-account can access the 'TV Everywhere' features but, not the actual account information.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Whoever, 24 Dec 2014 @ 11:31am

        Re: Re: Multiple credentials

        Can you create sub-accounts with Comcast?


        I am not aware of any way to do this. It might be possible, but navigating Comcast's website is barely preferable to sticking pins in my eyes.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Dec 2014 @ 11:56am

    but...

    But I don't want to watch TV without a TV.

    I want to watch TV without a cable subscription.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 24 Dec 2014 @ 1:17pm

    With any luck, they will become obsolete and "Comcast Nowhere" will be more than just a pleasant thought.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), 24 Dec 2014 @ 2:24pm

    For me Comcast's live TV app on Android via my Comcast internet is a big buffering party.

    I get 1-2 min of via then buffer for ever. They don't play the commercials from the live TV station either which is odd. And if I try to reopen the stream I get a playback of what I had already watched.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Pronounce (profile), 24 Dec 2014 @ 3:38pm

    Good Ol' Days

    Remember the good ol' days of OTA, that weren't good at all, because your roof mounted antenna couldn't get a good signal? And after falling off the roof a couple of times you decided to join the community access television association that provided clear OTA TV from a centralized antenna via a cable network.?

    What ever became of that association whose mission it was to fix the technological issues of radio signal and help the masses with their television reception?

    It's my understanding that that association was formed specifically to help its customers and wasn't going to be about big corporate profits.

    Anyone know what happened to that idea?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Dec 2014 @ 6:46pm

    [Janie Crane presses a button on a television, turning it off.]

    Janie Crane: "An off switch?"

    Metrocop: "She'll get years for that. Off switches are illegal!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Coyoty, 25 Dec 2014 @ 10:08pm

    Min Headroom: 20 Minutes Into the Past.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jake, 29 Dec 2014 @ 4:14am

    I'd just like to point out that the BBC offers this same service for all its programming, without the commercials, for approximately US$20 a month. How much are you folks paying for cable?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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