Analysis for 'TDG'

  • Just 7% of TV Everywhere Users Cite Authentication as Main Challenge

    Industry research firm The Diffusion Group has found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, authentication is not blocking broader consumer acceptance of TV Everywhere services. TDG found that just 7% of TVE users perceive the TVE authentication process as "difficult" to "very difficult" while over two-thirds (68.4%) said it was "easy" to "very easy." Nonetheless, 82% of TVE users said eliminating TVE log-in entirely would be an important enhancement.

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  • 4 Items Worth Noting from the Week of August 3rd

    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!
     
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  • New Complimentary TDG Research on Over-the-Top Video Services

    Continuing a past VideoNuze practice of making key data available from industry research firms, today I'm pleased to provide a dozen excerpt slides from The Diffusion Group's recent study, "Consumer Interest in OTT Video Services." TDG is one of the leading firms studying broadband adoption and shifting video consumption habits (and is also a long-time VideoNuze partner). These slides are from TDG's Q1 '09 proprietary survey of 2,000 U.S. adults, the results of which have only been shared with its paying clients to date.

    Click here to download the slides

    "Over-the-top" is an industry term for any video provider (e.g. free, paid, on-demand, live, streaming, etc.) using the broadband infrastructure of an unaffiliated ISP to reach their intended audience. Since most broadband ISPs are either cable companies or telcos who also offer their own subscription multichannel video services, the idea is that these new services (e.g. Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Amazon VOD, etc.) are provided "over-the-top" of these broadband/video incumbents, directly to broadband-enabled audiences.

    With the proliferation of convergence devices (e.g. Roku, Xbox, AppleTV, etc.) OTT video is increasingly getting all the way to viewers' TVs. Many of you have heard me talk about how powerful and unprecedented broadband's "openness" is in the traditionally tightly controlled video industry. Like the Internet itself, broadband's openness is foundational; it has enabled a totally new and free-flowing relationship between video content providers and viewers.

    There's been no shortage of buzz that OTT providers could disrupt the multibillion dollar per year subscription TV business, enticing subscriber's to "cut the cord" on incumbent cable/telco/satellite providers. I've weighed in multiple times on the likelihood of cord-cutting, originally laying out my arguments last October in "Cutting the Cord on Cable: For Most of Us It's Not Happening Any Time Soon." With cable's TV Everywhere services now gaining steam, I think the likelihood of cord-cutting en masse is even more remote.

    Nonetheless OTT remains a genuine long-term threat for many good reasons. So TDG's survey is a welcome effort at quantifying consumers' potential interest in OTT services, at various price points and in multiple types of offerings. TDG identifies 4 audience segments: "Replacers," "Supplementers," "OTT Optimals," and "Non-OTT Consumers." The survey tests demand for paid OTT services at various price points, revealing each segment's willingness to pay. Each segment is motivated by different reasons, meaning that OTT service providers are going to have to be very disciplined about understanding who exactly they're targeting and how to generate appeal.

    No doubt there will be plenty more research on OTT and cord-cutting yet to come. For anyone thinking about these market opportunities, I think the TDG research is very useful.

    Click here to download the slides

     
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  • Words Matter: Rethinking Messaging for Home Networks

    I am pleased to welcome Michael Greeson's second contribution to VideoNuze. Michael is president of The Diffusion Group, a leading analytics and advisory firm helping companies in the connected home and broadband media markets.

    Words Matter: Rethinking Messaging for Home Networks

    Michael Greeson, President, The Diffusion Group

    Since its arrival in the consumer market earlier this decade, the home network has been envisioned as a linchpin for the delivery of all types of IP-based residential services including video, data, entertainment, control, and communications. Despite this lofty vision, however, home network diffusion has fallen far short of expectations. Why has this happened?

    For mainstream consumers, the phrase "home network" still spurs comments such as "never heard of them," "sounds too complex for me," or (worst of all) "don't see much value in having one." So how can these perceptions be changed? Here are a few thoughts that, while far short of being exhaustive, are no doubt relevant to this discussion.

    (1) Ease-of-use must be a common property of every device and service. We've been talking about plug-and-play forever yet we're light-years away from making it a reality. A "solid-state experience" is essential to mainstream diffusion, meaning that home networks must be as easy to connect and use as yesterday's consumer electronics.

    (2) There must be a compelling array of benefits uniquely enabled by home networking such that consumers feel they must have one. In this area, bridging broadband video directly to the TV could be particularly valuable.

    (3) Market messages must reject the language of networking - in other words, stop calling it a "home network."

    This last aspect is especially important, for regardless of how the technology and cost structures improve, if marketers aren't crafting their messages in language that speaks to consumers, all this innovation is for naught. To give you an example of just how important the issue of messaging is for the future of home networks, consider the following. During a recent national survey we conducted, consumers were informed of what a home network is and does (and in very simple language), then asked how likely they would be to purchase a home network in the next six months. The phrase "home network" was used three separate times in the description. The result? Only 11.1% expressed any degree of interest, with only 4.4% being highly or extremely likely to purchase.

     

    Right after this first question, we asked their interest in purchasing a solution that enabled them to wirelessly connect their desktop and notebooks PCs to the Internet from any room in their home - we didn't use the phrase "home networking" nor did we explain in any detail the virtues of owning a home network. We simply asked about the likelihood that they would purchase a "wireless Internet solution" sometime in the next six months. The results? More than 54% expressed an interest in purchasing, with 36% being highly or extremely likely to purchase. That's a five-fold increase in total interest and an eight-fold increase in high levels of interest - simply by removing the phrase "home network" and focusing on one particular application that we believed to be of primary importance to today's consumer.

    Think of it this way: I might have no interest in a home network (assuming I actually know what a "home network" is and does), but I am extremely interested in an inexpensive, easy-to-set/easy-to-use solution that allows me to wirelessly connect to the Internet regardless of where I am in my home. This may be particularly true for mainstream apps like video.

    Whether in marketing CE devices or political candidates, sometimes we need to be reminded of just how much words do matter.

    Click here to learn more about TDG's new report, "The Future of Home Networks"

     
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