One of the great riddles of the past few years is whether Netflix is friend or foe to the U.S. television industry, including broadcast TV networks, cable TV networks and pay-TV operators. Over the years, Netflix has downplayed in many ways its disruptive potential to the TV industry (my personal favorite is when CEO Reed Hastings would say "We're more of a bicycle to their car" in comparing Netflix to pay-TV).
But with Netflix tacking on another 2.3 million subscribers in the U.S. in Q1 '15, bringing its total to 41.4 million, the question is taking on increasing urgency. How should the TV industry REALLY think of Netflix? Below I share what I think are the best "friend" and "foe" arguments, concluding with my own assessment of what Netflix really is now.
Vessel announced a new financing this morning, which sources close to the company pegged at $57.5 million. The round was led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), which has also invested in Netflix, Twitter, Snapchat and other consumer-facing media companies. Prior investors Benchmark, Greylock Partners and Bezos Expeditions also participated. Total funding for Vessel now stands at approximately $134.5 million.
I'm pleased to present the 269th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Colin and I were both at the NABShow this week. I was hosting the inaugural NAB's inaugural Online Video Conference, which featured over 40 industry executive speakers. In today's podcast we share 4 main takeaways from the NABShow, including the shift to cloud/IP, the rise of TV Everywhere, the personalization of video and why drone-based video is so compelling.
Listen in to learn more!
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Video supply side ad platform Altitude Digital has raised $30 million from FastPay, a provider of liquidity and financial workflow solutions to the media industry. The new funds will be used for growing Altitude's ARENA platform and data infrastructure, expanding mobile capabilities and growing internationally. The new financing brings total capital raised to date to $45 million.
Topics: Altitude Digital
Crackle is introducing a new linear TV feature dubbed "Always On," which will begin streaming a scheduled program whenever a user opens Crackle. The move gives viewers a TV-like experience in addition to the 100% on-demand experience that Crackle has been. Crackle will launch Always On exclusively on Roku devices in May, with other platforms to follow during the summer.
Always On helps differentiate Crackle and appeal to TV-oriented ad buyers, a stated goal when it decided to pull out of the NewFronts this year. The hybrid linear/on-demand approach will be powered by Adobe Primetime under a broader deal also announced yesterday. Adobe Primetime will provide playback, ad insertion and DRM for Crackle.
Categories: Indie Video
Akamai has integrated Adobe Primetime ad insertion into its network to enable server-side online video advertising. Red Bull Media House and Turner Broadcasting are both trialing the joint solution.
While other server-side ad solutions exist, John Bishop, CTO of Akamai's media business told me last week he sees this as a "Server-Side 2.0" offering because the ad requests run directly through Akamai's CDN, thereby eliminating slower communications paths that can hinder scalability.
Watching TV programs and movies on TVs has fallen by 13% during the past year globally, with usage among 14-17 year-olds down 33%, 18-34 year-olds down 14%, 35-54 year-olds down 11% and 55+ year-olds down 6%, according to Accenture's new "Digital Video and the Connected Consumer Report."
Even though viewing on TVs is dropping, consumption is migrating to other devices. Accenture found that 89% of viewers watch long form video on connected devices. However, these viewers cited numerous problems with their streaming experiences: poor Internet service (51%), too much advertising (42%), buffering (33%) and loss of audio (32%).
As the NABShow gets underway, broadcasters around the world are under intense pressure to deliver their content in new and innovative ways. One great example of early success is in India, where the country's largest broadcaster, Star India, recently launched Hotstar, a free, ad-supported mobile-first video service, supported by the Accenture Video Solution software platform. Last week, Francesco Venturini, Accenture's Global Managing Director, Media and Entertainment, brought me up to speed.