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Is Cable’s ‘TV Everywhere’ Strategy Finally Poised to Take Off?

It’s been six years since the cable biz first started working on “TV Everywhere”: services that let subscribers stream TV content to multiple Internet devices, designed to ensure people will stay in the pay-TV fold. But only now is TVE on the cusp of becoming mainstream, according to a new study.

In 2014, about 13% of pay-TV subscribers on average per quarter used TV Everywhere, according to Adobe Systems’ annual digital-video benchmark. While still relatively small, that was double the figure from a year prior — and 2015 may be the year TV Everywhere usage “crosses the chasm,” to climb up to 20% of all pay-TV customers, said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst for Adobe Digital Index.

“TV Everywhere ballooned in size in 2014 versus the year before,” Gaffney said. She cited the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, with Comcast and NBCUniversal heavily promoting TVE during the event, as well as the FIFA World Cup as driving up usage: “Because of major sporting events during the year, people learned how to use TVE.” According to Adobe, pay-TV subs watch 3.2 times as much sports content online than movie content.

Adobe’s report analyzed 2.1 billion authenticated video views in 2014, up 266% from 574 million the year before.

“The reason we think (TV Everywhere is) going to get into the area of 20% of households in 2015 — even without big sports events — is because the media companies are seeing great results,” Gaffney said.

In terms of device usage, Apple’s iPad is the most popular screen to watch TV Everywhere, with viewing on the tablets representing 29% of TVE videos viewed in Q4 2014. Overall, mobile devices are becoming more popular for TV Everywhere, and Adobe projects mobile TVE views will surpass desktop usage by Q4 2016. Larger device-screen sizes, such as with the iPhone 6, push up time spent viewing videos, Gaffney noted.

Roku is the most popular connected-TV device with 7% of TVE views followed by Apple TV at 5% and videogame consoles at 2%.

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