Executives from Disney, Turner, and Comcast were in unanimous agreement that we are only two years away from 75 percent of TV content being available online and on mobile devices. At the Elevate Video Advertising Summit in New York this afternoon, Matt Strauss from Comcast Interactive Media, Jeremy Legg from Turner, and David Preshlack of Disney and ESPN predicted that TV "everywhere" was imminent, and that in the same time frame the networks will be almost completely agnostic about where and when their video content is being viewed.
"It's interesting to think of what the definition of a TV is," said Comcast's Strauss. "My kids think an iPad is a TV. People don’t think of TV anymore, they just think of video. For us, in the broader context of what we’re doing, we’re beginning to migrate everything to Internet video."
There are hurdles, of course. Negotiating broadcast rights across platforms is a big one, as are the looming threat of broadband usage caps and fees.
Nonetheless, to hear these executives tell it, universal TV is an inevitability. As the line between traditional TV and Web video blur, it will no longer make sense for networks to distinguish between TV and every other video-capable device. This means migrating not only single programs to the Web—along the lines of what Hulu, Apple, and others do now—but also letting viewers access traditional linear television from mobile phones, iPads, and computers.
"I feel like were in the first inning of what TV everywhere can become," said Strauss. "But consumers want to be able to watch what they want to watch."