Growing TV Everywhere Adoption to 70%, Part 3: Reducing Sign In Friction

Do you want TV Everywhere to reach 70% of pay-TV subscribers by the end of 2017? I’ve outlined here why this is possible and I’ve shared some ideas for getting over the first hurdle to adoption, which is the awareness hurdle. However, before investing significantly in driving awareness, there’s another hurdle to address. It’s the cumbersome sign in process where pay-TV subscribers have to enter in their username and password in order to watch TV Everywhere.

The current state of TV Everywhere sign in

Currently, TV Everywhere sites and apps ask pay-TV subscribers to sign in with a username and password once every 30 days, on average. If pay-TV subscribers switch to a different TV Everywhere site or app, they may be asked to sign in again. Consumers do not like these sign in requirements and they’re causing consumers to go elsewhere to view entertainment content.

Put yourself in your subscribers’ shoes for a moment. Joe comes home from a long, hard day at work and tries to catch up on his favorite show from a TV Everywhere app on his Roku box. He hits the sign in wall and gets frustrated that he can’t just watch the shows he’s paying for. He exits the TV Everywhere app and opens YouTube where he watches a video blogger he likes instead.

Studies from CTAM and Hub Research have confirmed consumers’ propensity to leave TV Everywhere apps and sites, and seek alternative sources of entertainment, when they come to a sign in wall. Specifically, studies have shown:

Research shows that the majority of online TV viewers would rather watch free or pirated video than enter a username and password to watch premium TV online.

The ideal TV Everywhere sign in experience

In place of the current sign in experience, the ideal experience would be for viewers to move directly from discovering shows to watching shows without hitting a sign in wall at all.

If watching TV Everywhere was more like watching traditional cable or satellite TV — where there is no username or password to enter — viewers would use it more and be happier with the experience. In addition, all efforts to drive awareness of TV Everywhere would be more effective because users would easily progress along the TV Everywhere journey from awareness, to trial, to repeat usage.

The benefits of reducing sign in friction

There’s a lot to gain by reducing sign in friction. It makes pay-TV subscribers more likely to try TV Everywhere sites and apps and become repeat users. In turn, this leads pay-TV subscribers to become more loyal to their pay-TV provider and to TV networks. For instance, research by The Diffusion Group identified four ways that using TV Everywhere improved consumers’ perceptions of pay-TV providers and TV networks, which are illustrated in the chart below.

Change in consumers’ perceptions due to TV Everywhere use

Q: To what extent has your use of these [TV Everywhere] TV streaming apps changed your perception of the following?

Impact of TV Everywhere Usage on TV Brands

Source: “Streaming Video Survey Analysis,” by The Diffusion Group, January 2016.

Three ways to reduce sign in friction

The industry has at least three ways to move closer to the ideal sign in experience. Industry players can use Home Based Authentication (HBA), support single-sign on, allow persistent authentication, or implement all three options.

Let’s look at these options in more detail.

  1. Use Home Based Authentication
    With Home Based Authentication (HBA), sites and apps that support TV Everywhere can verify subscribers’ access from within the home without asking for a username and password. When one leading multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) implemented Home Based Authentication (HBA), it saw an 82% increase in unique users of TV Everywhere and a 32% increase in engagement with TV Everywhere. This  infographic covers everything you need to know about Home Based Authentication including how to get started. 
  2. Support single sign on
    Single sign on is an authentication process that permits a user to access multiple sites and apps. It can allow a pay-TV subscriber to authenticate once and then jump from site to app to site watching whatever TV Everywhere content that they want without running into any sign in walls. It can work with Home Based Authentication so that a pay-TV subscriber can access the hundreds of TV Everywhere sites and apps from home without ever having to enter their username and password. Or, it can work outside of the home by asking just once for a username and password and then applying that verification to all TV Everywhere sites and apps.
  3. Allow persistent authentication
    Persistent authentication is a capability that keeps audiences logged in forever. Instead of timing privileges out at the end of a viewing session or at the end of a day or even after 30 days, it can keep subscribers authenticated as long as their TV Everywhere consumption adheres to the rules. For example, as long as subscribers don’t participate in password sharing, pay-TV subscribers that are authenticated once can stay authenticated.
  4. Implement all of the above
    The ideal TV Everywhere experience, where viewers can move directly from discovering shows to watching shows without hitting a sign in wall, can be accomplished by implementing Home Based Authentication, single sign on, and persistent authentication. Home Based Authentication would allow pay-TV subscribers to access TV Everywhere sites and apps without having to enter a  username and password. Then, single sign on would let pay-TV subscribers navigate all TV Everywhere sites and apps as an authenticated user. Finally, persistent authentication would keep pay-TV subscribers authenticated forever. Overall, this will provide a welcoming experience to new TV Everywhere users and will help retain existing TV Everywhere users.

Working together to grow TV Everywhere adoption to 70%

This is the third article in a four-part series that aims to spark the actions that will help the pay-TV industry take TV Everywhere adoption to new heights. In the first article, I provided an overview of the awareness, sign in, and discovery stages of consumers’ TV Everywhere journey. In the second article, I shared some ideas for increasing consumers’ awareness of TV Everywhere. In this article, I covered how to reduce sign in friction. My next and final article in the series will explore what needs to happen with content discovery in order to drive adoption.

Horia Galatanu

About Horia Galatanu

Horia Galatanu is Senior Product Manager for Adobe Primetime entitlement where he leads the strategic vision, product roadmap, priorities and key industry partnerships for Adobe’s TV Everywhere efforts. He has led the team from idea to eventual position as the industry’s leading solution for TV-E. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences including OATC, CTAM, Streaming Media and TVOT and has spoken at TEDx about how easy it is to dismiss great ideas that don’t fit your viewpoint. Horia is a computer scientist by background and in the past, has led technical teams on online video. He has a bachelor’s and master's degree in computer science from the Polytechnic University of Bucharest.

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