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.
Programmatic TV technology provider clypd has raised a $19.4 million Series B round to expand all departments in the business, and enter new markets in Europe and Asia-Pacific. With the new round, clypd has raised approximately $30 million.
European broadcaster RTL Group led the round, with participation from prior investors. RTL has become a very active investor in U.S. online video and technology companies, buying a 51% stake in multichannel network BroadbandTV for $36 million in June, 2013, a 65% stake in programmatic video ad platform SpotXchange for $144 million in July, 2014 and acquiring fashion and beauty MCN StyleHaul for $107 million in November, 2014.
I'm pleased to present the 268th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
HBO Now launched this week and after giving it multiple tryouts, I'm very impressed. As we discuss, and as I've written previously (here, here and here) I think HBO Now is going to be a big winner, and is going to gain subscribers well beyond the 10 million broadband-only households that HBO CEO Richard Plepler relentlessly says are its target market.
In particular, I think entertainment-focused, budget-minded and younger viewers will find HBO Now very attractive (especially in combination with Netflix and other OTT services). Inevitably this will accelerate cord-shaving, cord-cutting and cord-nevering.
Colin agrees and shares his own HBO experience this week, using it via Sling TV. This is not HBO Now, but rather HBO content integrated into Sling TV (including the linear feed). Colin reports it too was a mostly positive experience. The ability to access HBO via a "skinny bundle" creates still further pressure on the traditional pay-TV model.
All in all, Colin and I believe HBO Now will become a key driver of change in the pay-TV industry. The HBO Now storm is blowing in; just how much havoc it will wreak in the industry is the big open question.
Listen in to learn more!
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YouTube is poised to be the next major content provider to join the great subscription VOD land grab for consumers' video spending. Per a Bloomberg report yesterday, YouTube has sent a letter to its content creators sharing its intention to launch an ad-free subscription service, though neither the price nor launch date was specified. Content creators would keep 55% of subscription revenue based on their pro rata viewership.
Plans for a YouTube subscription service were initially mentioned by its CEO Susan Wojcicki last October at the Code Mobile conference.