More news in the white-hot live-streaming space, as YouTube announced yesterday support for 360-degree live-streaming as well as spatial audio (which will initially be for on-demand streams only). In a blog post, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan said that YouTube will use 360 streaming itself for coverage of select performances at Coachella this weekend.
I interviewed Neal on-stage at the NABShow Online Video Conference, as part of his kickoff keynote yesterday and he noted that 360-degree streaming will work for viewers on multiple platforms without any new hardware (distinguishing it from 4K and VR, for example). YouTube is also easing the path for content creators by offering the 360 capability at its YouTube Space studios and by working with camera makers via its Live API.
IBM Cloud Video has announced Comic-Con HQ and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. as new customers. A partnership of Comic-Con International and Lionsgate, Comic-Con HQ will launch on May 7th with both SVOD and ad-supported options. IBM will provide subscriber and content management, billing, and live streaming across devices. For CBC, IBM will power the ad-supported service that includes 600 different series, online and on mobile devices.
Amazon has launched an $8.99/month standalone plan for its Prime Video service, breaking it out of the overall Prime service for the first time. The company is also offering a $10.99/month option for Prime itself, a first time departure from the traditional annual approach.
The standalone plan for Prime Video means that for the first time Amazon’s video service can be valued by consumers on an apples-to-apples basis with other SVOD services without being clouded by other Prime benefits. By bundling video with Prime Amazon was able to introduce video to millions of Prime subscribers without them having to make an incremental purchase decision, enabling buzz to build about Prime’s original programming.
Akamai has opened a Broadcast Operations Control Center (BOCC) in its Cambridge, MA office, making a multi-million dollar investment in delivering over the top video at a quality level better than broadcast and cable TV. I received a tour of the BOCC last week from Matt Azzarto, Akamai’s director of media operations, who oversaw the BOCC’s construction over the past 6 months and will run it going forward. Matt came to Akamai from NBCU where he was a long-time broadcast systems engineer.
I'm pleased to present the 318th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First up this week Colin and I dive into the Parks data from yesterday revealing that just 5% of US broadband homes subscribe to one or more of the 98 SVOD services other than the big three (Netflix, Amazon and Hulu). We agree that the data underscores just competitive it will be for the 98 and growing) minnow SVOD services to breakthrough.
One of those 98 services is Sling TV, which this week announced the beta of a new $20/month multi-stream service that includes select Fox networks. While Colin believes it’s a smart move by Sling TV to further segment the market, I view it as both confusing and also counter to Sling TV’s brand proposition, at least as it’s currently offered.
By separating the Fox networks and ESPN networks on 2 different tiers, Sling TV is in effect forcing sports fans to take both. That means $40/month for just the 2 base packages, and, as best I can tell there are 22 other networks that are duplicated in both tiers (meaning dual subscribers are in effect paying twice for them).
It’s hard to see how this represents breakthrough value and simplification of TV. Rather it just seems like unnecessary confusion, likely driven by Disney and Fox licensing restrictions to hedge against Sling TV becoming too popular.
Listen now to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 51 seconds)
Here’s a measure of how dominant the big three SVOD services (Netflix, Amazon and Hulu) are in the US: according to new OTT data from Parks Associates, just 5% of all broadband homes subscribe to one or more of the 98 SVOD services available in the US aside from the big three. Among the 98 services Parks counted are high-profile offerings like HBO Now, CBS All Access and Sling TV.
At the end of 2015, there were approximately 96.3 million broadband homes in the US, according to Leichtman Research. So that would mean that about 4.8 million broadband homes were subscribing to one or more of the 98 SVOD services outside of the big three. Parks did not specify the actual subscriber levels of any of the 98 SVOD services.
Stre.am, which has offered free mobile live-streaming to consumers, is looking to help brands and media companies capitalize on the live-streaming craze by introducing Stre.am Enterprise.
CMO Will Jamieson told me that that two distinguishing features are that Strea.am Enterprise provides a full solution so that content providers can incorporate their live-streams into their own web or mobile properties. In addition, Stre.am has built its own media server that uses RTMP, so it can deliver live streams with sub two-second latency, critical in mobile gaming / eSports apps.
As video viewing on Facebook has soared, the company has been dogged by “freebooting,” whereby certain users rip copyrighted videos from YouTube and re-post them natively on Facebook. The problem has been widely reported and was perhaps most famously documented in a blistering critique last August by Hank Green (in that piece, Green highlighted data that in Q1 ’15, 725 of the top 1,000 videos on Facebook were freebooted, accounting for 17 billion views).
Being perceived as a place where copyright piracy is rampant is obviously detrimental to Facebook’s efforts to court brands, celebrities and publishers, an initiative which has dramatically ramped up as the company has prioritized video. All this is why Facebook’s announcement yesterday of its new “Rights Manager” tool is an extremely important first step in helping legitimize Facebook as a publisher-friendly video platform.
Categories: Social Media