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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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  • Despite Online Video's Massive Growth, Startups Like Back9 Network Still Seek Old School Pay-TV Deals

    Signs of online video's growth and vibrancy are everywhere these days, but certain startup content providers still believe the surest road to success is by landing old school distribution (or "carriage") deals with large pay-TV operators. That was the message at last week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger from Jamie Bosworth, Chairman and CEO of golf lifestyle focused Back9 Network.

    When asked at the hearing why Back9 Network couldn't just operate as an online video service, Bosworth said that "while online viewership is increasing, the average American still watches 20 times more video content via television and the advertising rates mirror that as well." Bosworth's issue is that because Comcast's NBC Sports group owns and distributes Golf Channel, the big cable operator has little incentive to add another golf-oriented network. Further, if the TWC merger were approved, it would stifle TV competition to a vast part of the American population.

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  • Putting the Silly Debate Aside: Online Video and TV Advertising Are In Fact Complimentary

    Reading through a WSJ article yesterday, "Advertisers' Dilemma In Online Video - Reach or Frequency?" it struck me once again how silly it is to keep reinforcing a debate of online video advertising versus TV advertising. Five years ago this debate may have had some merit. But in 2014, savvy advertisers know it's really online video advertising and TV advertising. The two are highly complimentary and are actually blurring as many of the traditional distinctions between them continue breaking down.

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  • Google/YouTube: We're TV's Best Friends

    Late last week Google released research demonstrating the growing impact that YouTube and Google are having on TV show viewership and engagement. Per the chart below, Google found that for a sample of 100 broadcast and cable networks, TV-related activities on Google and YouTube for May-December 2013 were up sharply across 5 different metrics vs. the same period of 2013.

    The biggest gainer was TV-related watch time on YouTube, which was up 65%, followed by TV-related engagement activities on YouTube (up 56%) and TV-related searches on YouTube (up 54%). The big driver of searches was mobile devices, which experienced a 100%+ growth rate year-over-year.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #222 - How Long-Form Online Originals Are Changing the Game

    I'm pleased to present the 222nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week we first discuss Sesame GO, a new SVOD service from Sesame Workshop, as a starting point for a broader discussion about the increasing proliferation of high-quality online content.

    Colin points out that new entrants to long-form content, like Xbox Studios and Yahoo (per a report from WSJ earlier this week) are adding to the volume of TV-style content online. Just this week at MIPTV, online providers Vice Media, Maker Studios and Dailymotion all did first-ever screenings at the international TV market. Colin sees this trend starting to impact pay-TV, as users still must use different inputs on their TVs to watch online content.

    All of this is part of the broader topic of whether OTT services, with high-quality long-form content, will actually find their way into the pay-TV world at some point. I've been skeptical of this in the past, but as programming costs continue to soar, I'm evolving my thinking.

    We wrap up with Colin providing an update on Fire TV, which he's now had a chance to use.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 14 seconds)



    Click here for previous podcasts

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    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today!

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  • Early Bird Registration Now Open for June 25th VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit, 10 Initial Sponsors On Board

    Early bird discounted registration is now open for the 4th annual VideoNuze Online Video Advertising Summit on Wednesday, June 25th in NYC.

    The Ad Summit will once again be a highly-focused, immersive day with industry leaders from brands, agencies, content providers, technology companies and others in the ecosystem. Last year's Ad Summit drew over 350 attendees, featuring 40+ speakers and I'm confident this year's event will be even better. Detailed program info will be posted soon; executives from Comcast, Conde Nast, Digitas, eMarketer, Forrester, News Corp., Starcom MediaVest, Weather Company and others are among those participating.

    I'm thrilled to have 10 fantastic companies on board as initial sponsors. These include Title Partner ILoveVideo.tv/Castaclip; Headline Partners Active Video, Brightcove, Eyeview, FreeWheel, LiveRail, TubeMogul and Videology plus Branding Partners Innovid and Mixpo. All of these companies are key players in the online video advertising ecosystem and I'm honored they've decided to be a part of the Ad Summit.

    The online and mobile video landscape is more vibrant than ever, with both high-quality online original programming and monetization opportunities proliferating. Yet we're still in the early innings and the opportunity to learn, share and build relationships makes the Ad Summit a must-attend event for industry executives.

    This year's Ad Summit will be held during CE Week, a weeklong event in New York City presented by the Consumer Electronics Association, producer of International CES. Last year CE Week attracted 6,000+ technology leaders. As a bonus, all Ad Summit attendees registered by June 11th will be provided a badge to attend CE Week exhibits and free conferences.

    If you'd like to learn more about speaking and sponsorship opportunities, please contact me.

    Register now and save!

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  • Perspective What's this? True Multi-Channel Advertising is Still Elusive in Video

    In today's connected world, a multi-channel strategy is an important area of focus and logical aspiration: Marketers looking to engage the uber-linked consumer base are hungry for the right recipe. Ad tech suppliers gear more of their development efforts to the cause each quarter, and agencies tout their growing multi-channel capabilities to deliver on its promise. We are believers in the potential to thread messages to consumers on various devices throughout the day via advanced campaign and creative capabilities.

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  • Does the World (Or Even Google) Need Android TV?

    Since a report appeared in The Verge over the weekend about a new Google initiative called "Android TV" I've been puzzling over the question of whether the world (or even Google) really needs this device. Ordinarily I'm all for innovation, but the (admittedly preliminary) description of Android TV, makes it awfully hard to understand Google's bet here, especially as the momentum and adulation for Chromecast keep growing.

    No doubt, Google's primary motivator is to gain the upper hand in the biggest gold rush since the advent of the Internet itself: ownership of the digital living room. Broadband's presence in the living room is getting stronger each day, putting everything up for grabs: how viewers will interact with programming and TVs, where their finite subscription dollars will be allocated, how advertising will work and importantly, which devices will control the experience. With tens of billions of dollars already sloshing through the living room, it's a massive market opportunity that appeals to giant companies as well as startups.

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  • Sesame Workshop's New "Sesame GO" SVOD Service is a Key Test Case for Standalone Viability

    In a key test case of whether standalone SVOD services can succeed, even when well-branded and targeting appealing audiences, Sesame Workshop has unveiled its own service today, dubbed "Sesame GO." The ad-free service carries a $3.99/month or $29.99/year fee and includes the newest full-length episodes of Sesame Street, a catalog of Sesame Classics and two seasons of Pinky Dinky Doo.

    Sesame GO uses Kaltura's MediaGO, a "Netflix-like" OTT solution for content and service providers to quickly launch SVOD services.

    At first blush, Sesame GO's ad-free, child-centric UI, featuring popular content, would seem like a pretty strong bet. However, Sesame GO is entering an increasingly competitive landscape for online kids content created partly by Sesame's own licensing practices.

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