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Saturday, November 1, 2014

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Analysis for 'Communications'

  • Perspective What's this? Panel of Digital Influencers and Innovators Articulates Video's Growing Impact

    I recently gathered an influential group of online video experts at the new Sherpa Studio in New York City to discuss the future of video delivery, mobile video platforms and live streaming technology trends as part of our Digital Innovators x Influencers (DMX) event series.
     
    The group of panelists included Ian O'Brien, Executive Director, Multimedia Services, JPMorgan Chase, Mike Covino, Director, Credit Suisse, Darren Hodgdon, COO, United Healthcare Community Plan (United Health Group), Adam Cricchio, Vice President of Creative and UX, WeightWatchers.com, as well as Antonette Alonso, Director Enterprise Video Services Infrastructure, North Shore-LIJ.
     
    The group drew interesting conclusions and highlighted new ways that video is impacting businesses and consumers.

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  • Survey: 60% of Marketers Using Video in Email

    The Web Video Marketing Council (WVMC) has released its 3rd annual report on online video marketing showing that 93% of respondents are using online video for marketing, up from 84% in 2012. Also, 71% said they are increasing their budgets in 2013. The report surveyed over 600 marketing professionals about their use of online video in mostly B2B and some B2C organizations.

    One of the more interesting findings was that 60% of marketers are using online video on e-mails, an increase of 8% from 2012. About 82% said that integrating video with email marketing was either “effective” or “very effective” and has had a positive impact on sales and marketing.

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  • Netflix's Q2 Video Q&A is a Model For Others to Follow

    Late yesterday Netflix reported its Q2 2013 results that were mostly solid, although U.S. net subscriber additions were a little lower than many expected. Beyond the results themselves, it was the method by which they were discussed that was noteworthy - for the first time via a live-streamed video Q&A session, powered by Google Hangouts (embedded below). CEO Reed Hastings, CFO David Wells and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos were peppered with questions from CNBC reporter Julia Boorstin and BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield.

    As Hastings said upfront, the format was meant to emulate a more informal, "fireside chat" style discussion, as opposed to the typical, highly structured quarterly audio conference call with Wall St. analysts. No doubt reactions to the video Q&A are subjective, but I liked it a lot and believe it should be a model for other companies to follow. Importantly, the Q&A was another example of the expansive role online video can play not just in entertainment, but also in communications.

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  • Facebook-Skype Integration Could Be Next Big Inflection Point for Video Use

    Facebook and Skype introduced an elegant integration earlier today which allows Facebook members to easily video chat with each other. The demo looks slick; you simply go to a friend's profile page or find them in the chat window, click on the video camera icon and are connected. One big benefit of the integration vs. the way Skype ordinarily works is that you can instantly communicate with your friend on Facebook that you want to have a video call and if the friend doesn't have the Skype plug-in they can download it in 20-30 seconds and get started.

    By taking a lot of the friction out of video chatting, and by exposing this feature to Facebook's 750 million users, this new feature could become the next big inflection point for online and mobile video usage. Over the last 5 years online and mobile video usage has exploded, and arguably YouTube, Hulu, Netflix and Apple have been the main drivers. YouTube's user-generated and sharing roots exposed tens of millions of people to watching video online in the first place. Then Hulu and Netflix capitalized on this awareness by making household-name premium quality video available. Apple has played its part introducing mobile devices (iPhone, iPod, iPad) that enable more convenient, flexible viewing.

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  • Comcast and Skype Partner for TV-Based HD Video Calling

    On the eve of the Cable Show, Comcast and Skype are announcing a partnership that will enable TV-based HD video calling. Comcast subscribers using the new service will be able to make Skype video and audio calls while at the same time watching TV. On-screen caller ID will pop-up when a Skype call is received. A Comcast spokesman told me last week that customer trials are set to begin soon (word actually began leaking out last week).

    For Skype, the partnership is another route into the living room as it seeks to become a ubiquitous communications platform. Early last year Skype announced it was working with Samsung and Panasonic to embed the Skype app in certain connected TV models, and it also offers a variety of HD web cams for sale on its site. For Comcast, Skype is an enhancement to its Xfinity TV service and mobile app that creates some interesting new integrated communications and social media experiences.

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  • Skype 5.0 for Mac Launches With Slick Group Video Calling

    Yesterday Skype took the beta label off its 5.0 version for Mac users, which it originally began testing last Nov. 5.0 sports the ultra-cool group video calling feature that Skype unveiled at CES a few weeks ago. Group video calling allows up to 10 Skype users (though Skype itself recommends no more than 5) to watch each other while talking. Skype had earlier released a neat video (below) of various ways group calling can be used. The only bad news is that group video calling requires subscribing to the "Premium" package for $9/mo, or buying a day pass for $5.

     
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