Executives admit that TV isn't everywhere yet

By Ryan Nakashima

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, June 11 2013 2:15 p.m. MDT

Turner's TBS and TNT are set to host live feeds on mobile devices out of the home starting this summer, Legg said, but only for Comcast subscribers at first.

Executives from Univision, NBCUniversal and Fox all said they wanted to start live feeds of TV programming to mobile devices within the next 12 months.

Yet another hurdle to that plan is the acquisition of sports rights.

Fox, for example, would like to offer live football games on mobile devices, but its negotiations with the National Football League might not be complete in time for kickoff this fall, said Mike Biard, executive vice president of distribution for News Corp.'s Fox Networks.

The top 10 ad-supported pay TV networks on average offer some kind of mobile viewing to only 4 in 10 subscribers, according to Bill Niemeyer, senior analyst with research firm The Diffusion Group. By contrast, about 7 in 10 subscribers of premium pay networks such as HBO, Showtime and Starz have mobile access. The study excluded ABC, CBS and NBC because they allow certain shows to be watched for free on mobile devices even without a pay TV subscription.

Niemeyer said the delay in the spread of TV Everywhere is mostly the result of networks and content owners haggling over the value of online audiences, even though both sides have the most to gain from expanding TV to mobile devices. Meanwhile, Netflix continues to gain subscribers, while the pay TV subscriber base is stagnant. Netflix now has more subscribers than Comcast, the nation's largest TV provider.

"There's a feeling of fiddling while Rome burns," Niemeyer said.

At the Cable Show panel, executives from Univision, Fox and NBCUniversal all gave themselves low grades when asked how complete their own TV Everywhere offering was.

Fox's Biard said consumers have been frustrated because the experience from the pay TV operator has been "hit and miss."

"The fact is, consumers don't expect to get it everywhere from their pay TV operator today," Biard said. "They've grown to expect it from Netflix and Hulu Plus and some others."

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