Analysis for 'Technology'
Wednesday, November 5, 2008, 9:59 AM ET|
Periodically VideoNuze makes complimentary research available that is beneficial to our audience of broadband decision-makers.
Today I'm pleased to offer for complimentary download a handy one page digital media workflow "snapshot" created by Marketing Mechanics, a consulting and market intelligence firm run by Ellen Grace Henson. The snapshot identifies features and capabilities for over 20 broadband technology companies.
Ellen has been in and around the digital media industry for many years in product management and marketing roles and has lately consulted with Kontiki and Move Networks among others. She reached out recently to familiarize me with her work and to share the snapshot. Though she readily concedes the document is not meant to be comprehensive, it provides a very good framework for making sense of the crowded broadband landscape.
The ecosystem of companies supplying necessary products and services to content creators who want to capitalize on broadband's rise is complex and dynamic. I'm often asked for data and comparisons of industry vendors; I think the snapshot can begin to fill that role. It will no doubt evolve over time, as the industry changes and customer requirements grow.
The snapshot dates to when Ellen was consulting for Kontiki (when it was owned by VeriSign), but it was updated as of September 2008. Ellen pulled together the information by talking directly to the companies cited; by definition that means readers will need to carefully assess the data in the context of their own experience and knowledge.
Readers will also quickly notice that not all companies in the space are included; the snapshot is very much a work in process and Ellen will continue adding companies and information to it. In fact she envisions a hybrid business model where paying market intelligence subscribers would get more granular and complete competitive detail. For more information, please feel free to contact Ellen directly. Also, keep an eye on the firm's web site (where this download is also available) for future updates.
Companies: Marketing Mechanics
Wednesday, July 30, 2008, 10:17 AM ET|
Here's another example of the multiple cross-currents in the broadband video market.
Just last week I reviewed new Magid research showing that short-form dominates broadband video consumption. Now this week I received news from Swarmcast which provides a high-quality streaming delivery platform, revealing that the average length of live streams it's serving for its customers now averages more than 75 minutes, suggesting the long-form opportunity is now firming up. An apparent contradiction? Yes. An actual contradiction? No.
What's happening is that while short-form still accounts for the vast majority of viewing instances, there are now marquee events from Swarmcast customers like MLB.com being streamed live that are generating sustained viewership. Swarmcast provides multiple examples of events that it has streamed which lead to the 75 minute average:
- July 15 - All-Star Game
- July 14 - Home Run Derby
- July 3-6 - Rothbury Music Festival
- June 28 - Nelson Mandela's 90th Birthday celebration
I think the success in live streaming events speaks to broadband's convenience. While TV is clearly the preferred viewing device, if you don't have access to one when a compelling event is on, or that content provider has chosen to stream it instead of broadcasting it, broadband is incredibly convenient.
Even so, what's traditionally held back longer-form consumption is low-quality delivery. This is the problem Swarmcast has focused on. I've seen examples of some of their events and the quality is impressive, even at scale. So as content providers recognize that they can indeed stream high-quality long-form events, interest will build. The next key challenge of course will be monetize these streams.
MLB has been a poster child for succeeding with the subscription model, leveraging its loyal fan base and exclusive games. While their brand is unique, it seems like there should also be pay-per-view opportunities for high-profile live events, akin to what has worked on cable (e.g. wrestling, boxing, music, etc.). Outside of the paid model, if audiences can be built for free events, advertisers will also take interest.
Swarmcast's customers' success in longer-form live streaming is again showing that despite the current popularity of short-form, broadband is still evolving, opening up diverse opportunities for content providers.
What do you think? Post a comment.
Thursday, October 18, 2007, 12:42 PM ET|
It's funny how often I'll be talking to someone and they will casually start interchanging the terms "IPTV" and "broadband video/online video/Internet TV".
Yet it's important to clarify that there are differences and they do matter. While some of the backend IP transport technology is common between IPTV and broadband video, the front end technology, business models and content approaches are quite different.
In presentations I do, I distinguish that, to me at least, "IPTV" refers to the video rollouts now being pursued by large telcos (AT&T, etc.) here in the U.S. and internationally. These use IPTV-enabled set-top boxes which deliver video as IP packets right to the box, where they are converted to analog video to be visible to the viewer. IPTV set tops have more capabilities and features than traditional MPEG set-tops, and telcos are trying this as a point of differentiation.
However, at a fundamental level, receiving IPTV-based video service is akin to subscribing to traditional cable TV - there are still multi-channel tiers the consumer subscribes to. And IPTV is a closed "walled garden" paradigm - video only gets onto the box if a "carriage" deal has been signed with the service provider (AT&T, etc.). IPTV can be viewed as an evolutionary, next-gen technology upgrade to existing video distribution business models.
On the other hand, broadband video/online video/Internet TV (whatever term you prefer) is more of a revolutionary approach because it is an "open" model, just like the Internet itself. In the broadband world, there's no set-top box "control point" governing what's accessible by consumers. As with the Internet, anyone can post video, define a URL and quickly have video available to anyone with a broadband connection.
The catch is that today, displaying broadband-delivered video on a TV set is not straightforward, because most TVs are not connected to a broadband network. There are many solutions trying to solve this problem such as AppleTV, Microsoft Media Extender, Xbox, Internet-enabled TVs from Sony and others, networked TiVo boxes, etc. Each has its pros and cons, and while I believe eventually watching broadband video on your TV will be easy, that day is still some time off.Many people ask, "Which approach will win?" My standard reply is there won't be a "winner take all" ending. Some people will always prefer the traditional multichannel subscription approach (IPTV or otherwise), while others will enjoy the flexibility and features broadband's model offers. However, for those in the traditional video world, it's important to recognize that over time broadband is certainly going to encroach on their successful models. Signs of change are all around us, and many content companies are now seizing on broadband as the next great medium.UPDATE: Mark Ellison, who is the SVP of Business Affaris and General Counsel at the NRTC (National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, an organization which delivers telecom solutions to rural utilities) emailed to clarify that it's not just LARGE telcos that are pursuing IPTV, but many SMALLER ones as well. Point well taken Mark, it was an oversight to suggest that IPTV is solely the province of large telcos like AT&T.
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