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A&E Networks: The Problem with Measuring TV Everywhere

Consumers have seen premium pay TV channels embrace TV Everywhere initiatives much more than basic cable channels have, and the reasons all come down to money.

At the recent Streaming Media East conference in New York City, Seth Metsch, vice president of legal and business affairs, and the digital media counsel for A&E Networks, first explained what TV Everywhere is:

"What TV Everywhere means is the relationship as a cable network that I am going to have with a cable or satellite provider or MSO to distribute content everywhere to our paying subscribers," said Metsch.

HBO has made a splash in TV Everywhere with its HBO Go app, while basic cable channels have been more cautious. The reason, Metsch explains, has to do with advertising.

"The difference between HBO Go and the broadcast and basic cable networks is HBO doesn't have advertising as part of its revenue model," said Metsch. "HBO makes the same amount of money from you whether you watch on your iPad or watch on TV. There's no impact on the revenue, which means their investment in programming can be the same. There a good argument to be made that if they enhance their subscriptions and have more subscriptions because of their apps, then they'll have more revenue to invest in programming."

For ad-driven channels like those owned by A&E, the lack of online video measurement makes it harder to sell ads for streamed programming.

"Agencies buy commercials on television based on Nielsen ratings. Our networks are Nielsen rated, and that's what they look at. Nielsen doesn't capture it everywhere," Metsch said. While Nielsen computer software is available, he thinks few would want to use it. "I think everybody does something on the web that they don't necessarily want to have tied to them and announced for survey results."

The iPad is the chief mobile device for online viewing, and collecting data about iPad viewing is currently impossible.

"No third-party has software that runs in the background on the iPad," noted Metsch. "Apple doesn't allow that in its ecosystem. If Nielsen was going to effectively measure let's say iPad viewing, every single iPad app would have to have Nielsen embedded into it and turned on." That includes web browsers on the iPad.

For the full panel discussion, watch the video below.

The Business of TV Everywhere

Programmers and service providers have begun to strike deals that are making TV Everywhere a reality. But what business models will be the impetus for more deals that will make even more content available? What will this mean for traditional streaming video providers and the technology companies that support them? Finally, how are the over-the-top players going to fare against competition from the incumbents on this front? This session looks at how the market for TV Everywhere is evolving, the business challenges that need to be overcome to reach maturity, and how to measure success.

Moderator: Jonathan Weitz, Partner, IBB
Speaker: Keith Wymbs, VP, Marketing, Elemental Technologies
Speaker: Bruce Eisen, VP, Online Content Development and Strategy, DISH Network
Speaker: Seth Metsch
, VP, Legal & Business Affairs & Digital Media Counsel, A+E Networks

Speaker: Michael Fisher, Sr. Director, Business Development, Sling Media

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