NAB 2015

Broadcasting’s Inevitable March To TVE

While panelists couldn’t agree on how much it will cost stations to add streaming, they were unanimous in their conviction that such a move is inevitable. “We’re very, very bullish on the continued growth of more and more video content being consumed [via streaming],” said Disney’s J.R. Grant. “We want to put the content in front of as many eyeballs as we can.”

A panel of experts on TV Everywhere was unable to answer a key question: The cost to TV stations for launching and sustaining a streaming TVE service.

The cost question arose during a Wednesday session at the NAB Show in Las Vegas in which the progress of TV Everywhere was discussed and assessed by four panelists, none of whom, it should be noted, represented the interests and concerns of TV stations.

The panelists were: Paul Mears, SVP of client engineering for Nielsen; Keith Wymbs, chief marketing officer for Portland, Ore.-based Elemental Technologies; Campbell Foster, marketing director for Adobe Media and Ad Solutions; and J.R. Grant, VP of production and technology for Disney ABC Television Group.

Moderator Sam Matheny, NAB’s chief technology officer, is the one who asked the cost question. After a moment or two of awkward silence, one panelist blurted out: “It’s all over the board.”

The answer reflected the many complexities and unknowns for TV stations as they attempt to figure out the ramifications for them in diving into the TVE business. While the panel might not have had a ready answer for the cost question, they all agreed that on-line streaming of TV content is growing and here to stay.

“We’re very, very bullish on the continued growth of more and more video content being consumed [via streaming],” said Disney’s Grant. “It’s a very complex ecosystem,” he said, referring to the many types of devices consumers are using to access streaming content and, more to the point, the challenges of measuring the many forms of viewing for the purpose of monetizing these new sources of viewership.


The panel did have an answer to the question of how TV stations can make money from TVE after it’s up and running: Local ad avails — whether sold specifically for the stream or simply carried over from the linear content where they first appeared.

“Right now, the easiest way to monetize it is to dynamically insert all the ads in the live stream,” Grant advised. “It all depends on where you can make more money. If you’re selling an ad at $25 CPM for your linear, and you want to continue getting that within C3 or C7, keep doing that. If you’re getting $40 CPM for dynamically inserted ads … then by all means, insert the ad dynamically. It just depends on where you’re getting the most cash.”

Adobe’s Campbell made the assertion that TVE is “just now starting to see broadcast-size audiences,” which means, to him, that TVE “is starting to [become] meaningful for advertisers.” However, he cited only a tiny handful of examples where a TVE stream garnered audiences in the low millions — portions of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, last year (most notably the Games’ opening ceremonies) and Major League Baseball’s opening-day games earlier this month.

He said MLB opening day drew a streaming audience in the low 2 millions across all platforms (reflecting multiple games) — a figure that most national TV networks would consider less than “broadcast-size.”

Why is the growth of TVE and other streaming services inevitable? Because its spread serves the interests of content producers and providers such as Disney, for example. “We want to put the content in front of as many eyeballs as we can,” Grant said. “At the end of the day … we’re just trying to get as many eyeballs aggregated as possible.”

Read TVNewscheck’s other NAB Show digital coverage here. Find our full convention coverage here.

Comments (7)

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Grace PARK says:

April 16, 2015 at 10:13 am

Why does everyone in this industry continue to press a business model (TV ads) that streaming’s popularity continues to prove is unacceptable to viewers? Time is the new currency, and prime time is now one-third dedicated to the money tree. I mean, I get that we’re in this to make money, but we crossed the line with viewers so long ago that it’s downright silly to continue it – especially in the one place where the people formerly known as the audience have run to escape the bombardment. Why anybody thinks this will “work” is beyond me. The programming of television, with a few noted exceptions, simply isn’t THAT compelling or scarce to “force” people to watch all those ads. If your future depends on growing a mobile audience in order to serve them ads, good luck.

    Matthew Castonguay says:

    April 16, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Terry, without commercials, baseball games would be like, two hours…and the last 5 minutes of a basketball game wouldn’t take anywhere near half an hour. We simply cannot have that.

    Jeff Groves says:

    April 16, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Every year whenever ABC shows The Ten Commandments I break out my DVD and play it at the same time their version starts. When my DVD copy ended their version still had 93 minutes to go. The difference in time is the MINIMUM amount of time spent on commercials (And it was most likely more than that because of editing and time speeding). What, me spend 93+ minutes watching commercials? Sorry ABC (and all other networks), I have better things to do.

Julien Devereux says:

April 16, 2015 at 10:35 am

I was watching TV a couple of nights ago and saw the first shot in the Network’s war on affiliates AND their own networks. A commercial for HULU. Not only was the spot for HULU, but it emphasized the ability to watch TV shows from other networks. This is a commercial that is basically saying, ON TV, “Turn off your TV and grab your device. You’ll never have to turn your TV on again because everything you want to watch is here!” That’s as stupid as radio taking ads for Pandora. They’re selling their futures for a few meager bucks today.

    Brian Bussey says:

    April 16, 2015 at 10:46 am

    I recently got into it with a digital person on my staff about covering a hot program on a competiting network. Digital people fail to grasp the concept of “competing network”. Of course they are on salary on dont have a firm grasp on where their “salary” comes from….

    Matthew Castonguay says:

    April 16, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Most stations/networks have long taken ads for other viewing options (not their most direct competitors such as competing network affiliates), as long as they are not day/date specific tune-in ads.

Jeff Groves says:

April 16, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Yes Terry, Viewers have had it with being “bombarded” with the INSANE amounts of advertising that “Appointment TV” tosses at them. They have also ran away from Pay-TV providers that charge Triple-Digit Fees for the “Privilege” of watching their commercial-infested programming. I know because I am one of them. I “cut the cord” a little over eight years ago, and I still pay for the “privilege” of watching my favorite programs, but not via streaming. (With my luck advertisers will have streaming services include commercials, with no way to “Fast-Forward” through them). Since cutting the cord, my programming is procured through home video(Mostly DVD, but with some Blu-Ray and some “Old-Fashioned” VHS as well). When I switched to total home video in 2007 it cost about as much as what it cost to subscribe to a Pay-TV provider. Since then I still spend the same amount of money to procure my programming, which is now less than HALF what a subscription to Pay-TV costs. I also have a benefit streaming doesn’t have. After I finish watching a program, I GET TO KEEP IT!