The prevailing access model to TV Everywhere services will continue to be federated identity for delivering multi-screen viewing options to end-users, according to a recent study.

The Diffusion Group (TDG), a digital media analyst and market strategy firm, says by 2016 most consumers will subscribe with a content distributor, what TDG calls an Operator, to access TV Everywhere services as opposed to directly contracting with content providers. The model involves content programmers (channels such as HBO), content distributors (cable or other PayTV service providers) and end-users

The report also says more than 30 million households will use operator-provided TV Everywhere services by 2016 to access video programs on net-connected devices.

The scenario is not surprising as the authentication and authorization model to access programming has been trending toward federation for years.

The battle between cable providers and Web-based content distributors (known as over-the-top providers) for online control over TV shows and films is well documented, but the sub-script has become an identity play around access control.

“Operators will provide a branded, authenticated “gateway” through which consumers access the content. In other words, if a consumer does not subscribe to the content through a PayTV operator, TV Everywhere access will not be permitted,” TDG said in a news release.

Colin Dixon, a senior partner at TDG and author of the report said, "This multi-screen, multi-source paradigm will gain traction over the next few years, due primarily to a shift in viewing models, from a ‘...content-centric model  - where the viewer seeks to find the content  - to a viewer-centric model  - where the content seeks to find the viewer.’ In this quantum video universe, multiple sources appear on the TV screen and on-demand availability matters more than the source of content.”

Dixon notes, however, that while TV Everywhere’s forecasted 30 million plus households for 2016 is not insignificant, the competition, in the form of over-the-top providers such as Netflix and Hulu, will have nearly 90 million households.

The battle, however, is not solely being pitched over households but includes content. Cable and PayTV operators are leveraging existing contracts with providers, while the over-the-top competitors continue to scramble for content contracts.

The over-the-top providers currently lag in depth of content and are often under availability restrictions which govern when they have access to video content. 


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