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TV Everywhere: A Q&A with Synacor’s Michael Bishara

We had the opportunity to chat with Michael Bishara, the company’s TV Everywhere visionary and innovator, and the Synacor’s senior vice president of product and general manager of TV Everywhere. Previously the senior vice president of HBO Broadband products, including HBO GO, Bishara is an expert when it comes to perfecting a user’s experience with content, apps and services.

Check out this in-depth interview to get the scoop on how TV Everywhere is disrupting the market when it comes to content delivery and consumption across multiple screens.

NewsCred: What is the core, most basic need you’re solving? Why is TV Everywhere significant?

Michael Bishara: You can’t forget the TV in TV Everywhere. Think of the value proposition of a physical TV set in your living room – it’s about instant gratification, it’s about all content served up in one place. What TVE is, at its core, is taking that complete experience and making it available wherever the consumer is. That to me is what we’re aspiring to do while optimizing the experience across devices for the consumer. What we are really trying to satisfy is the consumer need to enjoy something and be instantly gratified.

A lot has been lost in translation when it comes to multiple devices and the relationship between devices. The best TVE experience is when the consumer doesn’t have to do anything at all other than enjoy their favorite show.

The industry is taking great strides to try to close some of these gaps. Let’s look at the three core areas: One is simple in nature, creating awareness. Consumers need to know they can have a terrific experience on an iPad or on a mobile phone and get to watch whatever they want, where they want to watch it. But two, it’s also about getting people through the front door. We’re talking authentication and authorization. That’s that pathway. And three is search and discovery, finding and consuming the content.

Consumers will gravitate toward the best TVE experience. So it’s vital they know it exists, have a super-easy way to access it and have an enjoyable experience finding their favorite TV shows and movies. Want to turnoff consumers? Make them struggle to find credentials and multiple passwords, and then make it hard to find their shows. Consumers have paid for the content and are entitled to it. Watching TV is fun. Serving up a fun and simple to use TVE experience is the top priority.

NewsCred: What are the biggest challenges facing TV everywhere from network standpoint, adoption standpoint and media standpoint at large?

Bishara: The TVE ecosystem is complicated and fragmented. It’s not easy to implement TVE. But Synacor makes all those difficult things easier on behalf of our cable, satellite, telecom and consumer electronics customers—we do all the heavy lifting. And because Synacor is behind-the-scenes, our customers get all the credit with their consumers while also keeping control of those consumer relationships.

NewsCred: What is the goal with device optimization?

Bishara: It may be simply connecting to the content you want to watch, and it may be, you don’t know what it is you want but you want to be connected quickly. The act of searching and finding stuff should be as fun as it is to watch the content and give you a reason to keep coming back. We look at laptops, tablets, mobile, connected-TVs; they all have their own parameters as well as looks and feel. Even so, the TVE experience is about quickly navigating to entertainment—the consumer’s shortest path to fun.

NewsCred: How did your time spent at HBO inform your role at Synacor?

Bishara: HBO and Synacor both have an intense focus on the consumer. Synacor is a B2B company, but really we’re a B2B2C company. Our products are touching the end-user, so we have to take that to heart.

NewsCred: You mentioned measurement, how do we really quantify the value of engagement or value of eyeballs to content?

Bishara: The industry is working on the standardization of that “currency.” Is it a view and the time spent engaged, or the reason someone viewed it? Standardization of that “currency” across platforms needs to be formalized so advertisers can get onboard with it. Consumers are moving to TVE and consumption across multiple devices, and the industry will of course require this consumption to be monetized.


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