I'm pleased to present the 180th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. There was a rush of interest around live streaming this week. Among the news items: ABC,TNT and TBS announced live streaming of their linear feeds; YouTube expanded its live feature and Brightcove launched a new live module, which followed thePlatform doing the same last week.
For live streaming TV, neither Colin nor I believe it will have broad appeal, with the possible exception of sports and maybe certain breaking news/events. It's no secret that on-demand, time-shifted viewing has surged in popularity, due to DVR penetration above 50% of U.S. homes and the widespread availability of TV programs online for on-demand use. So in a way live streaming TV is trying to put the genie back in the bottle - getting on-demand viewers to go back to linear.
The fundamental inconsistency to me in this is that if you're tech-savvy enough to be drawn to live streaming on an iOS device, you're even more likely to now be a mainly on-demand viewer. And for those not tech-savvy, who still do enjoy linear viewing, well, why do you need an live streaming app when you can just watch on your TV as you always have? Even the sports use case is a bit thin as watching out-of-home for most will be very expensive given mobile data rates, and most mobile device viewing happens in the home anyway.
Nonetheless, Colin and I describe all the reasons we think other TV networks are likely to roll out live streaming in the coming months as well. Maybe we're missing something, but it strikes us that these will have more to do with PR (countering Aereo for example) and supporting TV Everywhere/retransmission consent negotiations and won't end up resonating broadly with users. More interesting I think is the CW's move to make its shows available free next day on-demand via Apple TV and other devices which seems in synch with users' expectations.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (17 minutes, 17 seconds)
ABC will enable live-streaming of its programs through its iOS app, moving beyond an on-demand only programming model for the first time. The "Watch ABC" live feature will no doubt please a subset of the people who have downloaded the ABC app 10 million times to date and who still value live viewing. But Watch ABC will also likely puzzle and irk some users when they discover they must be authenticated as a pay-TV subscriber in order to access the live stream.
In fact, requiring authentication for Watch ABC is just the latest evidence of TV Everywhere's tightening grip on broadcast TV. Another recent example was NBC making large portions of last summer's Olympics available only to authenticated pay-TV subscribers. In addition, Fox has maintained an 8-day exclusive window for pay-TV subscribers for almost 2 years.
I'm pleased to share Howard Homonoff's second piece on Aereo today. The first was "Here Are Aereo's Legal, Policy and Business Paths Forward." Howard is Principal/Managing Director of Homonoff Media Group LLC, a management consulting firm focused on traditional and digital media content distribution, social media analytics and regulatory strategy. He is a frequent industry speaker and producer/host of Media Reporter, starting soon on cable systems throughout New York City.
Inside Retransmission Consent - Aereo’s Biggest Threat to Broadcasters
by Howard Homonoff
Technology startups, by definition, often challenge the status quo - striving to deliver products or services that are better, faster, and/or cheaper than existing approaches. Yet, given the long odds against startups’ success, incumbents don’t often go on the warpath against startups in their space until the startup has at least demonstrated some genuine traction or ability to disrupt that status quo.
In this context, the intense opposition to Aereo from the broadcast industry is unusual. Aereo has been deployed in just one market and hasn’t disclosed any metrics about customer adoption (unattributed numbers suggest negligible penetration to date). Yet broadcasters have launched vigorous litigation (thus far unsuccessful) and executives have threatened to abandon their decades of traditional broadcast-based business models in favor of cable-based delivery if Aereo is ultimately deemed legal.
Why is it that broadcasters are so up in arms about Aereo? The answer, I believe, is that Aereo directly challenges a concept known as retransmission consent. As a close observer of Aereo’s coverage, I’ve been struck by how little attention retransmission consent has received, and how little it seems to be understood. Below I address 3 questions: What is retransmission consent? Why was retransmission consent originally created? Why is it viewed as so vital by the broadcast industry?
I'm pleased to share that Lori Conkling, NBCUniversal's EVP of Strategy and Business Development for Media Innovation and Cross Company Initiatives, will be a featured speaker at the June 4th Online Video Ad Summit in NYC. Lori joined NBCU recently to drive strategy and monetization of the company's cross-platform content. In her role, Lori is also a key executive in advanced advertising, content windowing and mobile. Lori previously ran distribution at A&E Networks; at NBCU she reports into Lauren Zalaznick.
At the Video Ad Summit, I'll be interviewing Lori about the choices and challenges involved in architecting a successful cross-media strategy. Today, media companies have unprecedented opportunities to engage with their audiences, but determining which ones have the best ROI and should be pursued is harder than ever. In the interview, expect insights about changing consumer behaviors, the shift to on-demand viewing, second-screen apps that work, effective monetization, TV Everywhere, mobile/connected devices and lots more.
Early bird discounted registration for the Video Ad Summit is available until May 17th. You can save $100 by registering early, and as an added bonus, all early bird registrants will be eligible to win a Samsung 40-inch Smart TV, presented by VideoHub. We'll do the drawing just before lunch. Startups and students are eligible for even deeper discounts, contact me to learn more.
I look forward to seeing you on June 4th!
I'm pleased to present the 176th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. In the past 2 weeks, Aereo has touched off an escalating war of words between it, the broadcast TV industry and other interested parties. Today Colin and I review some of the recent back-and-forth in this battle.
News Corp. COO Chase Carey kicked things off in remarks at the NABShow last week, threatening to move Fox to cable if Aereo was deemed legal. CBS and Univision later backed him. This week broadcasters petitioned for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to hold a full or "en banc" review of their decision, a strategy my colleague Howard Homonoff suggested they could pursue in a contributed piece on Tuesday. In the petition, broadcasters stated that "unless reversed, (the court's prior decision for Aereo) would wreak commercial havoc" on the industry.
For its part, Aereo took the extraordinary step of taking out a full page ad in the NY Times on Tuesday, in which it said "54 million Americans use some sort of antenna to watch TV." Aereo is appealing directly to consumers, essentially trying to paint the broadcasters as stifling innovation and being anti-consumer. Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia also said this week that broadcasters would face a serious policy fight if they tried switching to cable.
Last but not least, the dispute got personal as well, as Leo Hindery, a former cable executive, and now media industry investor, called Aereo lead investor Barry Diller's involvement "despicable" and "tawdry." That was after he labeled Aereo a "pissant little company" that is stealing copyrighted material because it's not paying retransmission consent fees.
All of this over a company that hasn't yet even demonstrated its value proposition resonates with consumers! Imagine what happens if/when it does.
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(Apologies in advance, Colin's audio isn't very good this week.)
Today, I'm pleased to introduce Howard Homonoff as the newest VideoNuze contributor. Howard is Principal/Managing Director of Homonoff Media Group LLC, a management consulting firm focused on traditional and digital media content distribution, social media analytics and regulatory strategy. He is a frequent industry speaker and producer/host of Media Reporter, starting soon on cable systems throughout New York City.
Here Are Aereo's Legal, Policy and Business Paths Forward
By Howard Homonoff
If you're an Aereo follower, then no doubt you're aware of the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in favor of the company in the WNET v. Aereo case. So now that the court has spoken, we can all be happy to have that legal stuff out of the way, right? Well…sorry, but at best, we’re at the end of the beginning (and maybe not even that) of the legal, policy and business confusion surrounding Aereo and its implications. Having seen the music business lowered as a canary into the mine of digital content disputes years ago, we should be prepared for a long, complex, multi-jurisdictional battle on these issues.
So what might we expect now in the post-2d Circuit environment? Let’s look at this through the 3 key venues where this will play out: the courts, the policy arena, and the negotiating table:
A new survey of local TV stations by video marketing platform provider Mixpo has found that between 58%-70% of local TV stations' online tune-in campaign budgets (depending on market size) are allocated to online video ads. Fully 85% of local stations intend to use online video advertising for tune-in campaigns in 2013.
Keeping this in perspective though, online advertising still only represents 14%-24% of local stations' tune-in ad spending, with stalwarts radio and cable still leading. However, online advertising already has strong buy-in from stations, with between 86%-100% reporting that they'll use it in 2013. And online advertising is poised to get a greater share of stations' ad budgets, as between 36%-57% of stations said they intend to increase online ad budgets. Video advertising would be a clear beneficiary of such moves.
Yesterday's victory by Aereo in federal appeals court is certain to have at least one consequence: it will put retransmission consent fees into the spotlight. For those unfamiliar with "retrans" as it is known, these are fees that broadcast TV networks and stations have negotiated from pay-TV operators. Much like the fees pay-TV operators pay to carry cable TV networks (e.g. MTV, USA, ESPN, etc.), retrans allows operators to carry broadcast networks.
Retrans fees are already a billion dollar plus revenue stream for broadcasters and by some estimates, could be a multiple of this in several years. Broadcasters see the payments as vital to keeping them on parity economic footing with cable networks. Conversely, operators see retrans as a broadcast subsidy, effectively inflating their already bloated programming costs. Retrans has been at the heart of most of the blackout battles between broadcasters and operators over the last several years.
Today contributor Alan Wolk provides a hands-on review of Aereo. Alan is Global Lead Analyst at KIT digital. He frequently speaks about the television industry in general and second screen interactions in particular, both at conferences and to anyone who'll listen. Recently named as one of the "Top 20 Thinkers In Social TV and Second Screen" Alan is one of the main architects behind the award-winning KIT Social Program Guide and writes about the television industry at the Toad Stool blog. You can find him on Twitter at @awolk
If you are interested in contributing to VideoNuze, please contact me!
Aereo: The Hands-On Review
by Alan Wolk
I’ve been testing out Aereo for the past two weeks (see video below), ever since they expanded their service area to include the entire New York metropolitan area. I tested it at home where I have a blazing fast 50 Mbps FIOS connection using both their new Roku app and my iPad 3, and outside the house, where I rely on a Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 with 4G service. (Well, when 4G is available, that is.)
Interface: The interface on the iPad and iPhone are fairly similar. There aren’t that many channels: Aereo has fleshed out the over-the-air offering with iON and a couple of foreign-language offerings, but most users are going to be looking for content from the Big 4 networks and PBS.
On the Roku app, the channels are arranged in Roku’s linear filmstrip layout, so that getting from one end to the other is quite a hassle.
Flipping through yesterday's Best Buy circular, I noticed an ad (see below), which I believe is indicative of the type of pitches that are going to become increasingly prevalent to prospective cord-cutters and cord-nevers. The ad offers a packaged discount to an over-the-air ClearStream HD antenna from Antennas Direct with a TiVo Premiere and highlights logos from Netflix, Hulu Plus and Pandora. While the ad doesn't explicitly say "Dump your expensive pay-TV service now!," it has several key messages that might as well.
I'm pleased to present the 169th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. First up today, we review the latest video industry litigation, Cablevision vs. Viacom. We mostly agree that major industry change is unlikely to occur due to the litigation, but rather, over time, the expense of pay-TV and appeal of OTT alternatives will drive changes in consumer choices, which in turn is what will change the pay-TV industry's dynamics.
Speaking of changing dynamics, it's no secret that live TV viewing is under huge pressure as viewers turn to on-demand choices and DVR usage. To help reverse things, Colin discusses an interesting new initiative announced this week by Fox and Watchwith. Fox will be syndicating its FOX NOW "sync-to-broadcast" second screen companion content via Watchwith to numerous network partners such as Shazam, Viggle, ConnecTV and NextGuide, helping drive higher usage and monetization. As Colin wrote earlier this week, it's a clever way of proliferating FOX NOW content and improving the live experience.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 21 seconds)
Aereo announced this morning that it has expanded service to 19 million residents in 29 counties in the New York City metro area, moving Aereo beyond the 5 boroughs. The move is part of Aereo's nationwide expansion to 22 additional markets throughout 2013.
In addition, Aereo took the wraps off its first consumer marketing initiative, with executions emphasizing its live, DVR and portability features. The ads will be placed on billboards, phone kiosks and main transit points in NYC. Importantly, they each carry the company's tagline: "Live TV. Online. No Cable Required." which pointedly positions the company as a cord-cutting option (see below for an example), as I explained recently would happen.
I attended the D: Dive Into Media conference earlier this week for the first time. It is mainly a series of one-on-one interviews with senior executives from a variety of media and technology companies, plus networking. Overall it was a great conference, and it's hard to beat a couple of days in beautiful Dana Point, CA, especially when coming off a blizzard in Boston.
My main interest was the video-related sessions, and from those I had 6 takeaways which I share below (along with selected session video clips), in no particular order:
Broadcast TV networks continue to find themselves in the middle of a ton of innovation, as clever entrepreneurs look for ways to help viewers discover and consume their content. The latest entry in this space is a startup called Fredio ("FREE-d-oh") which announced its launch at CES. Fredio enables viewing on smart TVs of freely available TV programs that are posted online.
The proposition is relatively simple: all broadcast TV networks, and some cable TV networks (for certain shows), have been putting their episodes online for years now. But if you want to watch them you're typically limited to viewing on your computer, tablet or smartphone. If you want to watch on your smart TV, you're out of luck because no apps exist, with the exception of Hulu Plus, which requires a subscription
Fredio aims to change that by creating a free app for smart TVs that crawls the web for free TV shows. The app then categorizes them by network, allowing quick search and personalization through a straightforward UI (limited online demo here). You'll also be able to search Fredio online or on its tablet/smartphone app, select shows there and have them ready to play on your smart TV. When a show is selected, Fredio simply calls the network's web site to initiate the stream.
I'm pleased to present the 162nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon, who is back from spending several days at CES. Though Colin concedes he didn't see anything that really "blew his socks off," he does share specific reactions to what he saw in second screen apps, UltraViolet, home gateways, Ultra High-Definition TVs, Google TV and incremental improvements in Smart TVs.
One thing that did get Colin jazzed was Near Field Communications (NFC), which allows devices to talk to each other, simply by touching. Colin describes it as "magic" and was quite impressed.
We then shift topics to discuss Aereo, which earlier this week announced a new $38 million financing and plans to expand to 22 metro areas in 2013. As I wrote, I think that as Aereo's awareness increases this year, it's going to challenge pay-TV because it effectively eliminates the broadcast TV reception element of pay-TV's value proposition. By "hollowing-out" this important feature, Aereo will cause many pay-TV subscribers to question whether they really need/value the myriad cable networks they don't really watch. Given pay-TV's escalating cost and Aereo as an alternative, many people could begin to scale back.
Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 31 seconds)
LiveU, which pioneered live video streaming over cellular connections, is on a huge roll, now serving 500+ broadcasters in 70 countries worldwide, according to COO and co-founder Avi Cohen, whom I spoke to yesterday. Given that growth, it's no surprise that the company raised another $27 million earlier this week, a noteworthy round given current market conditions.
I'm pleased to present the 155th edition of the VideoNuze-TDG podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon, senior analyst at The Diffusion Group, who joins from London. First up this week, we discuss AOL's video success and the larger concept of video syndication. Earlier this week, AOL revealed that its video revenues jumped from $10 million 2 years ago to $100 million in 2012, largely due to syndication. Colin and I dig into why syndication is so compelling and what's ahead.
Next up, Colin shares insights he gained from a presentation at the OTTTv World Summit in London by Marina Kalkanis, Head of the BBC's Programmes OnDemand Core Services team, which is responsible for the media and metadata services supporting BBC online. Marina's team oversaw BBC's online simulcast and on demand streaming of the London Olympics.
Colin was impressed by the scale of the BBC's Olympics operation and how video was consumed online and on mobile devices. One key takeaway - BBC found online/mobile complimenting linear TV, similar to NBC's experience in the U.S.
Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 11 seconds)
Univision has launched its ambitious UVideos online and via mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. Announcing UVideos, Univision cited Nielsen research that 60% of Spanish-speaking Hispanic consumers like to share video clips with friends online, with 60% of them saying they want more Spanish-language digital video.
When visiting UVideos for the first time, Univision has helpfully posted the splash screen below with navigation cues called out to orient new users.
Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group and I are back for the 152nd edition of the VideoNuze-TDG podcast. This week Colin and I first share our reactions to the launch of Boxee TV earlier this week. Colin is struck by Boxee TV's unlimited video recording feature, the first that either of us have seen. Colin also points out potential challenges with upstream bandwidth that could be a challenge for Boxee TV recording programs at HD quality. Overall though, Colin likes Boxee TV's direction and believes it's a better strategy for the company than the original Boxee Box.
As I wrote earlier this week, I see Boxee TV in the context of innovation happening with broadcast TV and DVR. Along with Simple.TV and Aereo, consumers are gaining more control of their broadcast TV experience. In addition, they're all overlapping to an extent with Hulu and Hulu Plus which already offer unprecedented access to broadcast TV programs. It's still too early to tell which of these approaches will succeed, but Colin and I share our predictions.
Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 39 seconds)
Odd as it may seem on the surface, the intersection of broadcast TV and the DVR has become a hotbed of innovation. Yesterday brought the latest player in this space, Boxee TV, which followed news earlier this week that Simple.TV has begun shipping, which itself followed the launch earlier this year of Aereo.
While each has its own unique approach, they all fundamentally provide viewers more flexibility to record and play back broadcast TV programs by leveraging over-the-top, broadband delivery, while seeking to undercut the price of a monthly subscription to pay-TV. They are all segmenting the consumer market, pursuing a cohort of "cord-cutters" and "cord-nevers" open to alternatives to pricey multichannel TV bundles.