Analysis for 'Technology'
Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 12:27 PM ET|
A new survey from SintecMedia indicates that a majority of TV executives believe their organizations are either not well prepared to sell advanced TV and digital video ads in one streamlined process (35%), or aren’t sure about their ability to do so (29%). Conversely 41% felt that their organizations are very well prepared to do so.
The new data comes as viewers, especially younger ones, are shifting their consumption to online in record numbers. Consequently, the need to reach audiences across screens, however they may be watching, is critical. That a combined 64% of executives are either not sure or not confident in their ability to sell cross screen ads in a streamlined manner is a worrisome data point.
Friday, August 14, 2015, 9:35 AM ET|
The range and quality of online original programs is unquestionably improving as investments by OTT services soar. What gets far less attention - but is equally important - is that the viewers’ actual experience watching these new programs must be high quality and free of buffering/other annoyances. The best content in the world will not make up for lousy delivery. Increasingly, a TV-quality level of experience is where viewers set their expectations.
Fortunately there was some good news this week on the quality of experience front, with Conviva reporting mid-year 2015 quality metrics gleaned from analyzing billions of video streams worldwide. Some of the key data points, according to Conviva’s mid-2015 Viewer Experience Report, were:
Thursday, May 29, 2014, 10:32 AM ET|
The combination of changing viewer behaviors and new technologies has made monetizing video more complicated than ever. Whether you're a video industry incumbent or a new startup, learning how to monetize video has become a top priority and a key challenge.
To help address these questions, and present real-world success stories, I'm pleased to highlight a complimentary new white paper from Kaltura, which I've collaborated on, called "Smart Video Monetization - Striking the Right Balance."
Monday, March 31, 2014, 10:09 AM ET|
Conviva has released its 2014 Viewer Experience Report, finding that of the 45 billion video views in 2013 that it analyzed, 26.9% were impacted by buffering, an improvement from 39.3% in 2012, while those impacted by low resolution delivery also improved, to 43.3% from 63% in 2012. Offsetting these was a rise in video start failures from 4% in 2012 to 4.8% in 2013.
As consumers shift their viewing to online from traditional TV, they bring along expectations of the seamless experience, so the Conviva data is critical to understand how well these expectations are being met. In fact, Conviva found that online viewers expectations are actually rising as they shift to online.
Adobe: Mobile Dominates as TV Everywhere Streams Double in 2013; Winter Olympics Next Up for PrimetimeTuesday, February 4, 2014, 10:45 AM ET|
Adobe has published its Q4 '13 U.S. Digital Video Benchmark report, finding that authenticated TV Everywhere streams more than doubled in 2013 to 574.2 million, up from 222.5 million in 2012. As the graph below shows, 73% of authenticated views occurred on mobile devices, 22% on desktop and less than 5% each on gaming consoles and connected TVs. For the mobile viewing, tablet share more than doubled vs. 2012 to 42%, with smartphone declining to 31%.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 8:37 AM ET|Posted by Jose Alvear
Video stream optimizer Conviva reported today that its Intelligent Control Platform processed over 45 billion streams in 2013, a 4x increase in the last two years. The streams were viewed across more than 1.6 billion devices, including PCs, tablets, smartphones and connected TVs, in 180 countries and through more than 400 premium media video players.
Conviva's platform monitors and optimizes the delivery of premium online video by content and service providers. The company said that in 2013 it made over 4 million preemptive, automated corrective actions per day for individual users, devices and routes which improved video experiences. Conviva's software analyzes and measures what viewers are watching, at every second checking for quality issues such as buffering, long start times, video artifacts, and stuttering.
Thursday, September 12, 2013, 10:51 AM ET|
Ooyala is showing a new mosaic player, giving viewers the option to watch up to 5 live or on-demand video streams simultaneously. The company has also released its Q2 2013 Global Video Index, with new data reinforcing the growth of mobile and tablet video.
The mosaic player (see screen shot below) will first be available on the desktop, and subsequently will roll out on tablets, smartphones and connected devices. Ooyala's director of products Sudhir Kaushik showed it to me last week and explained it is mainly intended for sports broadcasters looking to provide multiple camera angles and/or sports fans trying to watch multiple games at once. Sudhir touted the increased monetization opportunities that the mosaic player creates, as well as the personalization for users. All of Ooyala's analytics are included in the mosaic player.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011, 9:06 AM ET|If you're like me, then you've no doubt experienced the frustration of trying to watch an online video only to have it periodically pause and then re-start, sometimes repeatedly. The pausing triggers a decision of whether to hang in there and hope things improve, or just bail out and move on to the next activity. These "buffering" moments are the bane of the content provider's existence - suppressing viewership, reducing monetization and frustrating users. And the causes can vary, including possible issues with the CDN, broadband ISP, computer, player software, etc.
Though the buffering problem is omnipresent, I haven't seen its consequences quantified as well as on a free new infographic from video optimization technology provider Conviva. By embedding its software in client-side video players, Conviva has a unique view into users' video experiences across numerous content customers including HBO GO, ESPN, Netflix, Fox, NBCU and others.
When Conviva detects an issue with the user's video streaming experience, it intervenes appropriately, for example, switching CDNs, reducing the stream's bit-rate, diagnosing network-related problems and so forth. Conviva now optimizes more than 1 billion streams per month, which speaks to how widespread delivery issues are. The result is improved engagement - a higher-quality stream, better user experience and stronger monetization.
Among the key data points in the infographic:
Thursday, November 10, 2011, 9:24 AM ET|Taboola's video recommendation widget is now placed on pages of content publisher web sites reaching over 64 million U.S. unique users per month, according to Quantcast data. Adam Singolda, Taboola's CEO explained that the 64 million amount means Taboola's exposure is ahead of the uniques at popular sites like Bing, Pandora and CNET, and just behind Twitter, Wikipedia and Amazon, again, according to Quantcast data (see chart below).
Friday, July 8, 2011, 9:51 AM ET|MeFeedia released its latest analysis of HTML5 playback adoption, finding that 69% of H.264 (the dominant video format) video is now available for HTML5 playback. As the chart below shows, that's roughly 7x the level it was in Jan. '10, although adoption appears to be slowing a bit since Feb. '11 (see chart below). Separately, MeFeedia found that WebM, Google's open source format accounts for less than 2% of video, though that will increase as YouTube converts its videos to WebM
Friday, January 14, 2011, 10:51 AM ET|Even though I was very focused this week on the CES "takeaways" series, there was still plenty of news happening in the online and mobile video industries. So as in the past, I'm pleased to offer VideoNuze's end-of-week feature highlighting 5-6 interesting online/mobile video industry news items that we weren't able to cover this week. Enjoy!
Level 3 fights on in Comcast traffic dispute
Level 3 is showing no signs of relenting on its accusations that Comcast is unfairly trying to charge the CDN for Internet traffic it delivers to Comcast's network. In an interview this week, Level 3 said it may use the "Open Internet" provisions of the FCC's new network neutrality rules to press its case. Level 3's challenge is coming at the 11th hour of the FCC's approval process of the Comcast-NBCU deal; it's not really clear if Level 3 is having any impact on slowing the approval, which appears imminent.
Comcast-NBCU deal challenged over online video proposal
Speaking of challenges to the Comcast-NBCU deal, word emerged this week that Disney is voicing concern over the FCC's proposed deal condition that would force Comcast to offer NBC programming to any party that had concluded a deal with one of NBC's competitors for online distribution. The Disney concern appears to be that the condition would have an undue influence on how the online video market evolves and how Disney's own deals would be impacted. While the FCC should be setting conditions to the deal, the Disney concerns highlights how, in a nascent, fast-moving market like online video, government intervention can cause unintended side effects.
YouTube is notching 200 million mobile video views/day
As if on cue with my CES takeaway #3, that mobility is video's next frontier, YouTube revealed this week that it is now delivering 200 million mobile views per day, tripling its volume in 2010. That would equal about 6 billion views per month, which is remarkable. And that amount is poised to increase, as YouTube launched music video site VEVO for Android devices. YouTube clearly sees the revenue potential in all this mobile video activity; it also said that it would append a pre-roll ad in Android views for tens of thousands of content partners.
Google creates video codec dust-up
Google stirred up a hornet's nest this week by announcing that it was dropping support for the widely popular H.264 video codec in its Chrome browser, in favor of its own WebM codec, in an attempt to drive open standards. Though Chrome only represents about 10% market share among browsers (doubling in 2010 though), for these users, it means they'll need to use Flash to view non-WebM ended video. There are a lot of downstream implications of Google's move, but for space reasons, rather than enumerating them here, check out some of the great in-depth coverage the issue has received this week (here, here, here, here).
Netflix usage drives up Canadian broadband bills
An interesting test of Canadian Netflix streaming showed that a user there might have to pay an incremental $12/month under one ISP's consumption cap. That would be more than the $7.99/mo that the Netflix subscription itself costs, leading to potential cord-shaving behavior. This type of upcharge hasn't become an issue here in the U.S. because even ISPs that have caps have set them high relative to most users' current consumption. But if streaming skyrockets as many think it will, and the FCC allows usage-based billing, this could fast become a reality in the U.S. as well.
Friday, October 15, 2010, 10:06 AM ET|Continuing VideoNuze's Friday feature of highlighting 5-6 interesting online/mobile video industry stories that we weren't able to cover this week. Read them now or take them with you this weekend!
JetBlue Unvails Ads Created By Mullen
Take a moment to head over to YouTube today where JetBlue has bought out the top-of-page expanding banner for a hilarious new ad campaign, "You Above All," featuring a series of reality-style videos of New Yorkers in situations that mock the JetBlue competitors' service. The clever JetBlue campaign follows the head-turning Sylvester Stallone YouTube ad for "The Expendables" from a couple months ago and underscores the ascendance of YouTube as the #1 piece of online real estate for break-the-mold video campaigns for high-profile brands. Google is capitalizing on YouTube's appeal by featuring it prominently in its current "Watch This Space" ad campaign promoting the value of display advertising.
Google TV Guns for Cable Deals
And speaking of Google, with the recent introduction of Google TV, the company is reaching out to cable operators to ink integration deals similar to what it showcased with satellite operator Dish TV last week. Google TV offers tantalizing potential, particularly to smaller operators, to add Internet elements to their core video service, helping better compete with over-the-top entrants like Netflix. Conversely, as we saw this week with the funding/public launch of BNI Video (and in a series of separate product announcements coming next week), technology vendors are lining up to offer cable operators the ability to deliver their own Internet experiences. It's a very confusing time for cable operators, who must figure out whether to go it alone and invest heavily, or partner with a tech giant like Google.
comScore Releases September 2010 U.S. Online Video Rankings
comScore's video rankings for September yielded no big surprises, as Google/YouTube continued to be the dominant online video provider and Yahoo narrowly retook the #2 spot from Facebook. comScore changed the way it publicly reports its data this past June which has made it a little harder on independent analysts like me to show trending data as I used to do. Nonetheless, I'm hoping to have some new trending charts to share soon.
Blip.tv Predicts Best Quarter Yet for Web Creators
More encouraging news on the online video ad front, as video platform/distributor blip.tv said this week that Q4 '10 is on track to be its best quarter ever. Blip has been a very important player in bringing independent web series to market and its ability to monetize is a key driver of sustainability for many fledgling creators. Blip's news synchs with overall online video ad momentum in first half '10.
Introducing the JW Player for Flash and HTML5
4 Items Worth Noting for the Dec 14th Week (New pre-roll ad data, Paramount movie clips, Thwapr mobile, next week's preview)Friday, December 18, 2009, 10:02 AM ET|
Following are 4 items worth noting for the Dec 14th week:
1. New pre-roll data shows format's strength - Though many in the industry still scorn the pre-roll ad, this week 2 ad networks, ScanScout and YuMe, released data showing its continued prevalence as well as innovation that's improving its performance. ScanScout said its "Super Pre-roll" unit, which allows for integrating overlay graphics on the video that viewers can engage with, is driving 350% higher click-through rates compared with typical pre-rolls. In this example for Unilever's Vaseline, note how the creative nicely reinforces the messaging. The enhanced interactivity feels like the start of a new trend; another pre-roll that offers something similar is Innovid's iRoll unit. ScanScout separately announced this week a host of new premium publishers have joined its network.
Meanwhile YuMe released its Video Advertising Metrics Report for Jan-Nov '09, which showed that, at least within YuMe's network, 90%+ of all ads served were pre-rolls, with 30 second spots generating a 1.8% overall click-through rate, a 50% higher rate than the 1.2% that 15 second spots achieved. The volume of 30 second ads also grew 50% faster than 15 second volume in Q3 '09. Kids age 6-14 achieved a 3.7% click-through rate, the highest of any group, which YuMe's Jayant Kadambi told me could be explained by the more engaging nature of child-focused ads (e.g. click to play games, etc.). Jayant believes the sizable amount of existing creative for TV ads that can be easily repurposed for online is a key reason pre-rolls continue to dominate.
2. Paramount clipping site powered by Digitalsmiths is slick - I was impressed with a demo of Paramount Pictures' newly launched ParamountClips.com site that I got this week. The site is only open to Paramount's business partners, allowing them to either choose from an existing stock of clips from over 80 different Paramount movies, or to easily create their own. Desired clips are moved into a shopping cart and released for download, per previously determined licensing terms.
The site is powered by Digitalsmiths, which indexed all of the scenes from the movies using their proprietary recognition process, and then generated meta-data for each, which makes searching a snap. The new self-service site replaces the laborious previous process of a Paramount staffer working with each partner to extract jus the scene they want. As a result, a new highly-scalable licensing opportunity has been created. Paramount is taking advantage of Digitalsmiths VideoSense 2.5 release announced last week that is focused on clip generation, for both on demand and live streams, improved asset management and more integrated reporting.
3. Thwapr launches beta of mobile-to-mobile video sharing - Continuing the buildout of the mobile video ecosystem, Thwapr, a new mobile-to-mobile content sharing platform, launched its beta this week. Duncan Kennedy, Thwapr's COO told me that although there's been a proliferation of video capable smartphones, there's currently no easy, fool-proof way of sharing videos from one device to another (e.g. from an iPhone to a BlackBerry). Enter Thwapr, which lets the user upload videos to Thwapr and then have them shared with their contacts. Thwapr identifies the receiving phone's "user agent" so that it can dynamically decide the optimal format the video should be viewed in. The user simply clicks on a link and the video plays. I can attest that it worked beautifully on my BlackBerry Pearl.
Thwapr's raised about $3 million from angels and has a very strong team, including Duncan and others who worked on Apple's QuickTime. I'm a fan of how video, social/sharing and mobile intersect to create new opportunities, though there are business model unknowns. For now Thwapr is focused on a free ad-supported model, with a particular emphasis on geo-tagging videos to make advertising especially appealing for local merchants. Still, YouTube has illustrated how difficult it is to monetize user-generated content. Thwapr also envisions a business-grade option for real estate, travel, dating type applications which sound promising. I wonder too about whether a freemium model should be explored, though Duncan said Thwapr's analysis suggested this would be a relatively small opportunity. We'll see how things shape up.
4. Next week is 2009 wrap-up week on VideoNuze - Keep an eye on VideoNuze next week, as I'll be summarizing Q4 '09 venture capital investments and deals in the broadband/mobile video space, reviewing my 2009 predictions and looking ahead to what to expect in 2010. It's been an incredibly active year and based on the pre-CES briefings I've been doing, there's lots more to look forward to next year.
Enjoy your weekend!
4 Items Worth Noting for the Dec 7th Week (boxee's box, AT&T's iPhone woes, Nielsen data, 3D is coming)Friday, December 11, 2009, 9:27 AM ET|
Following are 4 items worth noting for the Dec 7th week:
1. Boxee's new box with D-Link - It was hard to miss the news from boxee this week that it will be launching its first box, in partnership with D-Link, in early 2010. Boxee has gained a rabid early adopter following, but the high hurdle requirement of downloading and configuring its software onto a 3rd party device meant it was unlikely to gain mainstream appeal. Strategically, the new box is the right move for the company.
For other standalone box makers such as Roku, boxee's box, with its open source ability to easily offer lots of content, is a new challenge (though note, still no Hulu programming and little cable programming will be available on the boxee box). The indicated price point of $200 is on the high side, particularly as broadband-enabled Blu-ray players are already sub-$150 and falling. Roku has set a high standard for out-of-the-box usability whereas D-Link's media adaptors have never been considered ease-of-use standouts. Boxee's snazzy, but very unconventional sunken-cube design for the D-Link box is also risky. While eye-catching, it introduces complexity for users already challenged by how to squeeze another component onto their shelves. If boxee only succeeds in getting its current early adopters to buy the box it will have gained little. This one will be interesting to watch unfold.
2. AT&T tries to solve its iPhone data usage problem - In the "be careful what you ask for, you might just get it" category, AT&T Wireless head Ralph de la Vega revealed an interesting factoid this week at the UBS media conference: 3% of its smartphone (i.e. iPhone) users consume 40% of its network's capacity. Of course video and audio capabilities were one of the big ideas behind the iPhone, so AT&T should hardly be surprised by this result. AT&T, which has been hammered by Verizon (not to mention its users) over network quality, thinks the solution to its problem is giving heavy users unspecified "incentives" to reduce their activity. No word on what that means exactly.
Mobile video has become very hot this year, largely due to the iPhone's success. But the best smartphones in the world can't compensate for lack of network capacity. While AT&T is adding more 3G availability, it's questionable whether they'll ever catch up to user demand. That could mean the only way to manage this problem is to throttle demand through higher data usage pricing. That would be unfortunate and surely stunt the iPhone's video growth. Verizon, with its line of Android-powered phones, could be a key beneficiary.
3. Q3 '09 Nielsen data shows TV's supremacy remains, though early slippage found - Nielsen released its latest A2/M2 Three Screen Report this week, offering yet another reminder that despite online video's incredible growth, TV viewing still reigns supreme. Nielsen found that TV viewing accounted for 129 hours, 16 minutes in Q3. While that amount is more than 40 times greater than the 3 hours, 24 minutes spent on online video viewing, it is actually down a slight .4% from Q3 '08 of 129 hours 45 minutes.
How much weight should we give that drop of 29 minutes a month (which equates to just less than a minute/day)? Not a lot until we see a sustained trend over time. There are plenty of other video options causing competition for consumers' attention, but good old fashioned TV is going to dominate for a long time to come. This is one of the key motivators behind Comcast's acquisition of NBCU.
4. 3D poised for major visibility - In my Oct. 30th "4 Items" post I mentioned being impressed with a demo from 3D TV technology company HDLogix I saw while in Denver for the CTAM Summit. This Sunday the company will do a major public demonstration, broadcasting the Cowboys-Chargers in 3D on the Cowboys Stadium's 160 foot by 72 foot HDTV display. HDLogix touts its ImageIQ 3D as the most cost-effective method for generating 3D video, as it upconverts existing 2D streams in real-time, meaning no additional production costs are incurred.
Obviously those watching from home won't be able to see the 3D streaming, but it will surely be a sight to see the 80,000 attendees sporting their 3D glasses oohing and aahing. Between this and James Cameron's 3D "Avatar" releasing next week, 3D is poised for a lot of exposure.
Enjoy the weekend!
Monday, November 9, 2009, 12:51 PM ET|
On Friday, Forrester Research released an analysis of 6 online video platform vendors. As with other comparison reports that come out regularly, Forrester's will have value as a starting point in evaluating options, but should be considered far from definitive.
With only 6 vendors evaluated, the biggest shortcoming of the new report (parts of which I've seen) is its lack of comprehensiveness. Selecting the field is always a key issue in any comparison process. And when trying to evaluate a market like online video platforms, with dozens of competitors, there's a natural tension between comprehensiveness and quality/cost. The broader the field that Forrester chose to evaluate, the more time-consuming and costly the report would have been to produce.
The downside of choosing only 6 is that a lot of other high-quality competitors, along with their particular strengths, are left out. This clearly skews overall conclusions. In Forrester's case it's also not entirely clear why the 6 - Brightcove, Ooyala, Kaltura, VMIX, Fliqz and Twistage - were actually chosen. For example, the report indicates that vendors that primarily focus on the high end of the market such as thePlatform and Digitalsmiths were not included. Yet arguably, Brightcove has as much focus on premium content providers as either of these companies do. thePlatform is also the most established player in the market, so to not include it means missing a critical market benchmark.
Forrester used 37 criteria to evaluate the vendors, grouped into 3 categories, Current Offering, Strategy and Market Presence. The sources of the data it used to assign scores to each vendor for the criteria were vendor surveys, product demos and customer reference calls. All of this is very useful, but it appears that Forrester did not do any hands-on testing itself. Having seen so many demos myself, I've come to believe that the only way to truly get a sense of the vendor's work flow and specific capabilities is to use with the platform directly. By definition demos are orchestrated to shine the best light on a platform's work flow; it's only through using one day-to-day that a nitty-gritty understanding can be gained.
Lastly, Forrester's conclusion that Brightcove and Ooyala are "Leaders," Kaltura and VMIX are "Strong Performers," and Twistage and Fliqz are "Contenders" feels like it could be more rigorous. For example, if statements like "stay away from these guys, they're truly inferior" or "if x, y and z features are critical to you, look no further" had been used, the reader would gain more clarity on where Forrester stands. Instead each vendor seems to have its own strengths, while weaknesses such as "...lack strong capabilities in areas such as distribution and scalability..." seem too high level.
All of this said, for customers looking for a first-cut evaluation of a limited segment of the market (which is how Forrester itself seems to be positioning the report), it is a useful tool. Whether it's worth the $1,749 asking price is another matter. I'd recommend also having a look at sources like VidCompare.com and the market snapshot from Marketing Mechanics.
What do you think? Post a comment now.
Companies: Forrester Research
Friday, October 9, 2009, 9:47 AM ET|
Following are 4 items worth noting for the Oct 5th week:
New research shows TV viewing shifting - Mediapost had a good piece this week on Horowitz Associates' new research showing that 2% of all TV programming watched now occurs on non-TV devices. This translates to 2 hours of the 130.2 hours of TV that viewers watch each month shifting. This top line number is a little deceiving though, as the research also shows that for viewers who own a PC or laptop, they watch 9%, or 13 hours of TV programming per month, other than on their TV. I plan to follow up to see if I can get breakout info for young age groups, my guess is that their percentages are even higher.
I've been very interested in these kinds of numbers because there has been much debate about whether making full-length programs available online augments or cannibalizes traditional TV viewing. The broadcast networks have forcefully asserted that it only augments. I agree online augments, but I've suspected for a while that it is also beginning to cannibalize. If networks generated as much revenue per program from an online view as they do from an on-air view this shifting wouldn't matter. But as I wrote in Mediapost myself this week, the problem is they probably only earn 20-25% as much online. TV viewers' shifting usage is a key area to focus on as broadband video viewership continues to grow.
PermissionTV becomes VisibleGains, targets B2B selling - PermissionTV, one of the original media-focused online video publishing and management platforms, officially switched gears this week, changing its name to VisibleGains. Cliff Pollan, CEO and Matt Kaplan, VP of Marketing/Chief Strategy Officer briefed me months ago on their plans and I caught up with them again this week. Their new focus is on enabling companies to provide their prospects with informative videos during the information-gathering phase of the sales process.
Cliff argues persuasively that in the old days the sales rep presented 80% of the information about a product to a prospect; now prospects collect 80% of what they need to know online, and the sales rep then fills in the blanks. Through VisibleGains "ask and respond" branching format, companies better inform their prospects, qualify leads and add personality to their typical text-heavy web sites. It's another great example of how video can be used beyond the media model.
Unicorn Media demo is impressive - Even as PermissionTV changes its focus, Unicorn Media is entering the crowded video platform space. I mentioned Unicorn, which was founded by Bill Rinehart, founding CEO of Limelight, in my 4 items post a couple months. This week I got a demo from CTO AJ McGowan and Chief Strategy Officer David Rice and I was impressed. Key differentiators AJ focused on were an enterprise-style user rights model for accessing the platform, APIs that allow drag-and-drop content feeds, and an "ad proxy" for configuring ad rules.
Most interesting though is Unicorn's real-time data warehouse feature, which provides granular performance data up to the minute. Data can be displayed in a number of ways, but most compelling was what AJ termed the "magic Frisbee," a clever format for showing multiple data points (e.g. streaming time, ad completes, # of plays, etc.) all at once, so that decision-makers can hone in on performance issues. AJ says prospects are responding to this feature in particular as assembling this level of information today often requires multiple staffers and data sources. David reports that Unicorn is finding its biggest opportunity is with large media companies that have built their own in-house video solutions, as opposed to competing with other 3rd party platforms. Unicorn doesn't charge a platform fee, instead it bills by hours viewed. Separately, I have a briefing next week with yet another stealthy platform company; there seems to be no shortage of interest in this space.
Vitamin D shows breakthrough approach to object recognition in video - Speaking of demos, Greg Shirai, VP of Marketing and Rob Haitani, Chief Product Officer from startup Vitamin D showed me their very cool demo this week. Vitamin D is pioneering a completely new approach to recognizing objects in video streams, using "NuPIC", an intelligent computing platform from Numenta, a company founded by Jeff Hawkins, Donna Dubinsky and Dileep George. Some of you will recognize Hawkins and Dubinsky as the founders of Palm and Handspring.
The demo showed how Vitamin D can recognize the presence of moving humans or objects throughout hours of video footage. While the system starts with the assumption that upright humans are tall and thin, it learns over time that their shapes can vary, if for example they are crouching, or carrying a big box, or are partially obscured behind bushes. Once recognized, it's possible to filter for specific actions the humans are taking, such as walking in and out of a door to a room. Vitamin D is first targeting video surveillance in homes or businesses, but as it is further developed, I see very interesting applications for the technology in online video, particularly in sports and advertising. Say you wanted to filter a Yankees game for all of CC Sabathia's strikeouts, or insert a specific hair care ad only when a blond woman was in the last scene. Vitamin D and others are continuing to raise the bar on visual search which is still in its infancy.Reminder - VideoSchmooze is coming up on next Tuesday night, Oct. 13th in NYC. We have an awesome panel discussion planned and great networking with over 200 industry colleagues. Hope you can join us!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009, 9:31 AM ET|
Yesterday was one of those days when meaningful broadband video-related news and announcements just kept spilling out. While I was writing up the 5Min-Scripps Networks deal, there was a lot of other stuff happening. Here's what hit my radar, in case you missed any of it:
Adobe launches Flash 10.1 with numerous video enhancements - Adobe kicked off its MAX developer conference with news that Flash 10.1 will be available for virtually all smartphones, in connection with the Open Screen Project initiative, will support HTTP streaming for the first time, and with Flash Professional CS5, will enable developers to build Flash-based apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch. All of this is part of the battle Adobe is waging to maintain Flash's lead position on the desktop and extend it to mobile devices. The HTTP streaming piece means CDNs will be able to leverage their HTTP infrastructure as an alternative to buying Flash Media Server 3.5. Meanwhile Apple is showing no hints yet of supporting Flash streaming on the iPhone, making it the lone smartphone holdout.
Hulu gets Mediavest multi-million dollar buy - Hulu got a shot in the arm as Mediaweek reported that the Publicis agency Mediavest has committed several million dollars from 6 clients to Hulu in an upfront buy. Hulu has been flogged recently by other media executives for its lightweight ad model, so the deal is a well-timed confidence booster, though it is still just a drop in the bucket in overall ad spending.
IAB ad spending research reports mixed results - Speaking of ad spending, the IAB and PriceWaterhouseCoopers released data yesterday showing overall Internet ad spending declined by 5.3% to $10.9B in 1H '09 vs. 1H '08. Some categories were actually up though, and online video advertising turned in a solid performance, up 38% from $345M in 1H '08 to $477M in 1H '09. Though still a small part of the overall pie, online video advertising's resiliency in the face of the recession is a real positive.
Yahoo ups its commitment to original video - Yahoo is one of the players relying on advertising to support its online video initiatives, and so Variety's report that Yahoo may as much as double its proportion of originally-produced video demonstrates how strategic video is becoming for the company. Yahoo has of course been all over the map with video in recent years including the short tenure of Lloyd Braun and then the Maven acquisition, which was closed down in short order. Now though, by focusing on short-form video that augments its core content areas, Yahoo seems to have hit on a winning formula. New CEO Carol Bartz is reported to be a big proponent of video.
AEG Acquires Incited Media, KIT Digital Acquires The FeedRoom and Nunet - AEG, the sports/venue operator, ramped up its production capabilities by creating AEG Digital Media and acquiring webcasting expert Incited Media. Company executives told me late last week that when combined with AEG's venues and live production expertise, the company will be able to offer the most comprehensive event management and broadcasting services. Elsewhere, KIT Digital, the acquisitive digital media technology provider picked up two of its competitors, Nunet, a German company focused on mobile devices, and The FeedRoom, an early player in video publishing/management solutions which has recently been focused on the enterprise. KIT has made a slew of deals recently and it will be interesting to watch how they knit all the pieces together.
Product news around video delivery from VBrick, Limelight and Kaltura - Last but not least, there were 3 noteworthy product announcements yesterday. Enterprise video provider VBrick launched "VEMS" - VBrick Enterprise Media System - a hardware/software system for distributing live and on-demand video throughout the enterprise. VEMS is targeted to companies with highly distributed operations looking to use video as a core part of their internal and external communications practices.
Separate, Limelight unveiled "XD" its updated network platform that emphasizes "Adaptive Intelligence," which I interpret as its implementation of adaptive bit rate (ABR) streaming (see Limelight comment below, my bad) that is becoming increasing popular for optimizing video delivery (Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, Apple, Akamai, Move Networks and others are all active in ABR too). And Kaltura, the open source video delivery company I wrote about here, launched a new offering to support diverse video use cases by educational institutions. Education has vast potential for video, yet I'm not aware of many dedicated services. I expect this will change.
I may have missed other important news; if so please post a comment.
Friday, September 18, 2009, 10:07 AM ET|
Following are 4 news items worth noting from the week of Sept. 14th:
1. Ad spending slowdown continues - TNS Media Intelligence reported that 1st half '09 U.S. ad spending declined 14.3% vs. a year ago, to $60.87 billion. Spending in Q2 '09 alone was down 13.9% vs. a year ago, the 5th straight declining quarter. The only bright spots TNS reported were Internet display ads (up 6.5%) and Free Standing Inserts (up 4.6%).
Rupert Murdoch and others in the industry have lately been suggesting that advertising is starting to improve and that the worst is behind us. But TNS SVP Research Jon Swallen was less sanguine, saying only that "Early data from third quarter hint at possible improvements for some media due to easy comparisons against distressed levels of year ago expenditures." While the online video ad sector has held up far better than most, the ad spending crash has caused many in the industry to re-evaluate whether ad-only models are viable, particularly for long-form premium content online. Subscription-oriented initiatives will only intensify the longer the ad slowdown lasts.
2. Veoh's court victory is important for all in the industry - I'd be remiss not to note the significance of U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz's granting of Veoh's motion for summary judgment, effectively throwing out Universal Music's suit alleging Veoh had infringed UMG's copyrights. Judge Matz articulated the specific reasons he believed Veoh operated within the "safe harbor" provisions of the DMCA.
As a content producer myself (albeit at a completely different level than a music publisher or film studio!), I've generally been a huge advocate of copyright protection. But the fact is that DMCA - for better or worse - set out the rules for digital copyright use and they must be enforced clearly and forcefully. Anything less leaves the market in a state of confusion, with industry participants wary of inviting costly, time-consuming legal action (Veoh has said the UMG suit cost it millions of dollars in legal fees). For online video to thrive the rules of the road need to be well-understood; Judge Matz's ruling made an important contribution toward that goal.
3. Digitalsmiths announces new senior level hires - This week Digitalsmiths announced that it has brought on board Josh Wiggins as its new VP, Business Development, West Coast and two others, who will collectively be the company's first L.A.-based presence. They'll report in to Bob Bryson, SVP of Sales and Business Development.
I caught up with Digitalsmiths' CEO Ben Weinberger briefly, who explained that with tier 1 film/TV studios and other content owners (news, sports, etc.) the company's major focus, it was essential to have a full-time presence there staffed with people who know the industry cold. Ben reported that the company has honed in on target customers who have very large files, have video as their core business/revenue center, require sophisticated metadata management and often need a rapid video capture, processing and playout workflow. Digitalsmiths is proving a solid example of how to effectively differentiate through product and customer focus in a very crowded space. Announced customers include Warner Bros., Telepictures and TMZ.com, others are in the hopper (note Digitalsmiths is a VideoNuze sponsor).
4. New EmmyTVLegends.org site is a worth its weight in gold - On a somewhat lighter note, this week the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation unveiled EmmyTVLegends.org, which offers thoughtful, introspective video interviews with a wide range of TV's most influential personalities. If you have nostalgia for the classic TV shows from your youth, or just appreciate the amazing talent that has made the medium what it is, this site is for you. It is remarkably well-organized and accessible and brilliant proof of online video's power in presenting invaluable material that was previously available only to a lucky few.
I happily got lost in the site listening to Alan Alda talk about the fabulous writers of M*A*S*H and Steven Bochco describing the magic of "Hill Street Blues." I searched by "Happy Days" and quickly found the exact clips of Ron Howard talking about the role of his "Richie Cunningham" character in the show's arc and Henry Winkler revealing the influence of Sylvester Stallone on how he developed the voice of "Fonzie." Mary Tyler Moore is irresistible discussing specific scenes of the Mary Tyler Moore show and her poignant memories of Mary Richards navigating the working world. Kudos to the Academy, the site is a gem.
Enjoy the weekend and L'shanah tova (Happy New Year) to those of you, who like me, will be observing Rosh Hashanah this weekend!
Friday, September 11, 2009, 8:06 AM ET|
Daisy Whitney and I are pleased to present the 31st edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for September 11, 2009.
This week Daisy and I first discuss my post from yesterday, "StudioNow Begins March Into Video Platform Space with AMS Launch." For those not familiar with StudioNow, it has been operating a network that links geographically-dispersed video professionals with its clients' projects using a backend work flow/project management platform.
Yesterday the company launched its Video Asset Management & Syndication Platform ("AMS"), which its clients can use to manage, transcode and syndicate their videos. It's a clever move by StudioNow, and I believe paves the way for the company to compete more directly in the video management and publishing platform space. StudioNow will benefit by leveraging its position as a trusted partner to content providers and directories which it serves on the video creation/production side.
We then discuss the new Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) which was just announced yesterday. CIMM brings together 14 different broadcast and cable TV networks, media agencies and advertisers to create new audience measurement for TV and cross-platform media. CIMM intends to run pilot studies focusing on TV measurement through set-top box data and cross-platform media measurement. It's hard not to see CIMM as a "Nielsen-killer" though CIMM has asserted that it should not viewed as such.
With so many companies involved, Daisy is skeptical of the venture's likelihood of success and favors a more market-driven solution. I think it actually can succeed, but only if the partners are truly committed and invest accordingly. I haven't followed measurement that closely, but in my view the partners' commitment level will likely be correlated to the level of dissatisfaction they each have with Nielsen, and this will determine CIMM's eventual success. More detail in the podcast.
Click here to listen to the podcast (15 minutes, 1 second)
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Friday, August 7, 2009, 9:34 AM ET|
Following are 4 items worth noting from the week of August 3rd:
1. Research, research, research - For some unknown reason, there was a flurry online video-related research and forecasts released this week. In no particular order:
eMarketer was out with a new forecast indicating 188 million online video viewers in the U.S. in 2013.
Veronis Suhler released its forecast of 2009-2013 communications industry spending, showing advertising shrinking as a percentage of total spending.
PWC's UK office released its 2009-2013 forecast, which also anticipates declines in advertising.
CBS's research head David Poltrack used detailed data to explain the company's online video strategy and buttress its argument that in a TV Everywhere world, it should be compensated for its content (slides are here, via PaidContent).
Ipsos found that Americans streamed a record amount of TV programs and movies, doubling their consumption from Sept '08 to July '09.
Yahoo and a group of research partners released data finding that 70% of online video consumption happens throughout the day and night, as opposed to traditional TV viewing which is concentrated in the prime-time window.
Last but not least, TDG released excerpts of its research on "over-the-top" video services, available for download at VideoNuze.
2. Unicorn Media launches, hires ex-Move Networks executive David Rice - It will be hard for some to believe there's room for yet another white label video publishing and management platform, but startup Unicorn Media is going to try elbowing its way into the crowded space, with a specific focus on large media companies. I spoke with Unicorn's executive team this week, led by Bill Rinehart, who was the founding CEO of Limelight.
Unicorn is positioning itself as the first "enterprise-grade" solution, staking out key differentiators such as enhanced analytics/reporting, faster/easier transcoding, improved APIs for content ingest/management and more flexible monetization/ad queuing. I have not yet seen a demo, but I'm intrigued by what I heard. The company has raised $5M to date from executives/angels and has a staff of 25. David Rice, formerly Move's VP of Marketing has come on board as Chief Strategy Officer. Given the team's industry expertise and relationships, this could be a company to watch.
3. Google acquires On2 Technologies and other encoding-related news - The blogosphere was in a flurry about Google's $106M acquisition of video compression provider On2 Technologies this week. Speculation flew about Google open-sourcing On2 new VP8 codec, which could potentially force a new standard to emerge as a challenge to H.264, today's leading codec. This is important stuff, though a little further down the stack than I usually focus, so I refer you to Dan Rayburn's analysis of the deal's implications, which is the best I've seen.
There was other news in the emerging cloud-based encoding/transcoding/delivery market this week, as Encoding.com announced a new premium service with tighter service level agreements (4 minute max wait time and 50 Gbyte/hour/customer throughput). Encoding.com's Gregg Heil and Jeff Malkin explained the company is using the new SLAs to move upmarket to service tier 1 and 2 media companies. Separate, Encoding.com's competitor mPoint's CEO Chiranjeev Bordoloi told me they're now on a $3M annualized revenue run rate as cloud-based alternatives continue to gain acceptance.4. Don't try this at home - On a lighter note, there's been no shortage of knuckle-head stunt videos we've all seen online, but this one is near the top of my personal favorite list. Do NOT try replicating this over the weekend!
Video Research Around the Web
- As streaming surges globally, Roku is falling behind abroad Protocol
- World-Wide Streaming Subscriptions Pass One Billion During Pandemic WSJ
- Cable Now Controls Nearly 70% of U.S. Fixed Broadband After Biggest Year Since 2008 Next TV
- Cord Cutting’s Worst Year Ever: Analyst B&C
- Disney Plus Will Surpass Netflix in Customers by 2026, Research Company Says Next TV
- Tubi Says Streaming Rose 58% In 2020, With Half Of Viewers Younger Than 35 Deadline
- U.S. SVOD Revenue Spiked 39% in Q3 to $5.5 Billion Next TV
- What Are Consumers Willing To Pay For Ad-Free TV Content? Mediapost