Welcome to 2013! If you were mostly checked out over the past 1-2 weeks (or were only paying attention to the fiscal cliff roller coaster), you didn't miss a whole lot in the video world. However, there were 5 items that caught my attention which I briefly describe below:
Intel TV - Coming Soon, or Not
Ahead of next week's CES, there were a flurry of stories (here, here and here, for example) about Intel Media, which is developing an over-the-top video service and set-top box aimed at would-be cord-cutters. Led by former BBC iPlayer head Erik Huggers and staffed by a group of tech/device/UI veterans, Intel Media's aspirations had been leaked throughout 2012. Now, if you believe the latest rumors, launch is on the horizon. What it will be exactly, and how well it will compete with a raft of existing OTT services and devices is still unclear, however.
I'm withholding judgment on Intel Media's potential, except to say that absent a strong incumbent ecosystem to draft off (as Apple TV has), a corporate parent willing to spend gazillions experimenting (as Google Fiber has), a huge installed base (as Xbox has), or an existing business to leverage (as Netflix has done with its DVD base), plus various other advantages, the odds of success are quite long.
Netflix Hit By Streaming and DVD Outages
For some Netflix streaming users, the Grinch arrived on Christmas Eve as the company experienced an untimely outage for about 10-12 hours. In this case it wasn't Netflix's fault, but rather Amazon's, which offered a mea culpa, in the form of a long blog post that pinned the blame on its "Elastic Load Balancing ("ELB") service. Apparently Netflix also had a problem on the DVD side of its business on Dec. 31st as well, with its site temporarily unavailable. Cord-cutters beware: OTT services aren't yet as stable as traditional pay-TV.
Disney Continues TV Everywhere Leadership With Charter Deal
Just before 2012 closed out, Disney and Charter Communications (the 4th largest U.S. cable operator) announced a deal that, among other things, brings all of Disney's authenticated "WATCH" TV Everywhere services to Charter subscribers. For Disney, it's the sixth top 10 pay-TV operator to adopt the company's multi-platform offerings (following Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Cablevision, Verizon and others) and further validates the company's leadership role in the evolving world of TV Everywhere (for more on this, download the complimentary "Ultimate Guide to TV Everywhere).
TubeMogul Raises Another $20M
In one of the biggest financings in the video ad tech space in 2012, just prior to Christmas, video ad platform provider TubeMogul announced it raised another $20 million, led by Northgate Capital. TubeMogul's PlayTime platform, which includes media buying, ad serving, targeting, optimization and analytics, has become a consistent comScore top 10 deliverer of video ads in 2012, specializing in real-time bidding ("RTB") and optimizing brand impact. TubeMogul has emerged as a key player in bridging the worlds of TV and online video advertising, working extensively with agency trading desks tasked with clients' online video media buying.
Gangnam Style Tops 1 Billion Views
What would 2012 be without one last Gangnam Style milestone? Sure enough, right before Christmas, the quirky music video from South Korean artist PSY, topped the 1 billion views mark, making it the most-watched single video of all time. What more can I say?