European broadcast and entertainment giant RTL Group has bought a 65% stake in online video ad platform SpotXchange for $144 million, plus an earnout based on performance and an option to buy the remaining 35%. SpotXchange will continue to operate as an independent company, with CEO Mike Shehan saying that funds will be used to accelerate growth, particularly in Europe.
I'm pleased to present the 228th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week we first discuss how broadband's penetration in the U.S. is closing in on that of pay-TV's. New research from Leichtman Research Group revealed the top providers added nearly 1.2 million broadband subscribers in Q1 '14 (the best quarter in 2 years), as compared with around 260K pay-TV subscribers. The biggest ISPs now have approximately 85.5 million broadband subscribers, whereas the top pay-TV operators have 95.8 million subscribers.
All of this is relevant because it demonstrates how broadband has become a de facto parallel video distribution platform - the fundamental underlying infrastructure for online video. Many of us take robust broadband almost for granted now, yet in reality it wasn't that long ago that broadband wasn't mainstream and high-quality online video quite scarce.
We then move on to talk about Netflix's big expansion into 6 new European countries. Colin lays out the case why to be bullish on the expansion, while also noting the new challenges Netflix will face.
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European video ad tech provider Videoplaza announced this morning that it has launched Aunia, a private, invite-only video ad marketplace for Spain's largest broadcasters. Videoplaza Founder and CEO Sorosh Tavakoli told me yesterday that Spain's challenging economic environment and the broadcasters' desire to tap into programmatic revenue motivated the initiative.
I'm pleased to present the 211th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
In today's podcast we review Netflix's stellar 2013 results, particularly focusing on international. Then we discuss how Verizon will use OnCue, part of the Intel Media assets it acquired earlier this week. Colin sees them as key to upgrading the current FiOS service. I think that's right short-term, but longer-term I see Verizon using the assets to launch a nationwide virtual pay-TV services delivered over both wired and wireless networks. If Verizon does, it could really shake up the industry.
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Late last week research firm IHS and video ad platform provider Videoplaza released a new report asserting that video content providers need to become "audience architects" - mining their user data to fully capitalize on the shift to programmatic trading of video advertising. The report is based on IHS's forecasts of the Western European video ad business, but many of its conclusions are equally applicable to US-based video content providers.
IHS believes the primary driver of change is the exploding array of video-capable devices, which in Western Europe it forecasts growing from 340 million in 2008 to 1.1 billion in 2017. As video consumption away from TVs increases, and in particular moves to mobile devices, new challenges around limited ad space and lower ad loads have arisen.
I'm pleased to present the 205th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Colin is in London this week and shares observations on the intense battle for broadband subscribers in the U.K. BT has been aggressively laying fiber in a bid for broadband subscribers. It recently spent about 1.4 billion pounds on soccer rights to supply its BT Sport channels. Colin says BT has seen lift in both broadband and pay-TV subscribers as a result. One wonders whether Google could try something similar here in the U.S. by bidding for NFL and other rights somewhere down the road?
Speaking of the NFL, it and Major League Baseball were in the news this week for filing a brief with the Supreme Court urging review of broadcasters' challenge to Aereo. The leagues basically asserted that if Aereo is deemed legal, more of their games will migrate to cable, which of course has been happening anyway. Meanwhile Aereo's lead investor Barry Diller said this week he could see a 35% adoption rate for Aereo long-term, primarily driven by millennials. This would be hugely disruptive if it were to happen.
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Akamai is announcing this morning that it has partnered with Turk Telekom to build and manage an operator content delivery network (OCDN) in Turkey. Turk Telekom will be deploying Akamai's Aura Spectra, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution whereby Akamai dedicates servers for the company's use, which are then maintained by Akamai along with its CDN software.
Teads.tv, a provider of innovative video ad units, has raised $5.2 million in a Series A round by Partech Venture and Elaia Partners. As I wrote several months ago, Teads' big differentiator is that it enables premium text-based web pages to carry video ads as well. So in other words, rather than a premium publisher having to create expensive video in order to tap into the booming demand for online video ads, it can monetize existing web pages this way. the video ads only become visible when a pre-determined about of content has been consumed. Teads ads can also run in slideshows, music, video and social media.
ActiveVideo Networks has scored a big win, announcing that Liberty Global, the largest international cable operator with over 24 million subscribers, has chosen ActiveVideo's CloudTV software to enhance Liberty's rollout of Horizon TV, its next-gen video platform. Sachin Sathaye, ActiveVideo's VP of Strategy and Marketing, told me that Liberty will use CloudTV as a complement to Horizon for existing set-top boxes and connected TV devices (i.e. where new Horizon STBs aren't deployed). Services will include cloud DVR, VOD navigation and advanced apps. Timing for rollout hasn't been disclosed yet.
Online video platform provider Ooyala has released its Q1 '13 Global Video Index, showing, among other things, that mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) accounted for more than 10% of online video views in the quarter, a new record. The total share of tablet video viewing alone grew by 33% in Q1.
It's not just the number of views that are up for mobile, but also time spent: watching long-form video (10 minutes or longer) on mobile devices grew from 41% of all time watched in Q1 '12 to 53% of all time watched in Q1 '13, an increase of 29%. Digging in deeper, for tablets, 25% of all viewing time was for content 60 minutes or longer.
Teads.tv, a French ad tech provider, has an interesting solution to the scarcity of premium video ad inventory: enable premium text-based web pages to carry video ads as well. In-page video ads and rich media units have been around for a while for a similar purpose, but Teads.tv's "InRead" unit is a different approach that I believe nicely balances advertiser concerns about viewability and performance with publisher/user concerns about experience.
U.K. based online video ad technology provider Videoplaza is unveiling Karbon 2, the next generation of its sell side ad management platform today. In addition, the company is launching Karbon Data Alliance, a network of data partners that enable Videoplaza content publisher customers to better analyze their audiences and create targeted monetizable segments. Karbon Data Alliance includes data management partners Nugg.Ad, Meetrics, Enreach, Eyota, Bluekai and others TBD.
It wasn't that long ago when the back-end delivery systems for traditional pay-TV services and those for over-the-top video services were quite distinct. Ditto for the in-home set-top devices that viewers use to receive these disparate video services. But as pay-TV operators continue to standardize on IP, the cloud becomes ever more pervasive and devices more powerful, those distinctions are melting away.
The latest example comes this morning from the UK, where thePlatform, a U.S.-based Comcast subsidiary, has announced that its mpx video management system is now powering key elements of BT's actual TV services, BT Vision and YouView from BT. According to thePlatform, mpx is supporting BT's video workflow, coordinating playback data with recommendations engines and enforcing video rights for subscribers. mpx has been integrated with BT's existing systems for content delivery, set-top boxes and user experience.
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)
I'm pleased to present the 154th edition of the VideoNuze-TDG podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon, senior analyst at The Diffusion Group. This week finds Colin in Copenhagen, in the middle of the Nordic region which is seeing a lot of OTT activity from Netflix, HBO Nordic and others. Colin provides an update on what he's learned.
In addition, we discuss YouTube's declining market share, which in September stood at 33.2%, down from 53.1% as recently as July. I delved deeply into all of the year-over-year data this past Monday. Colin adds another dimension to the analysis, saying that this reflects a shift away from viewing short clips, toward longer-form viewing.
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Video technology provider NeuLion is powering China Network Television's (CNTV) streaming coverage of 5,600 hours of live coverage of the London Olympics, via a new premium service called CNTV 5+ VIP. The service, which is free, has exclusive streaming rights in China. CNTV 5+ VIP is yet another example of how central streaming will be to this summer's games, which start later this week.
Chris Wagner, NeuLion's EVP and co-founder, told me last week that while streaming is ubiquitous in China, what's noteworthy about CNTV 5+ VIP is that it is adaptive and will deliver an HD experience, streaming at an average of 1.6 mbps, compared to most online video in China which is 300-500 kbps. NeuLion is ingesting the linear broadcast and specific event video, encoding and distributing via its CDN as well as providing the video player technology.
I'm pleased to be joined once again by Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group, for the 140th edition of the VideoNuze-TDG Report podcast.
In this week's podcast Colin and I discuss NOW TV, which Sky, the big British satellite-based pay-TV operator, launched on Tuesday. Initially the service allows unbundled access to Sky Movies, a collection of around 600 early window movies, on either a monthly subscription or a la carte rental basis. The big breakthrough here is that traditionally Sky Movies was only available if you first subscribed to the basic service, which costs around 60 pounds/month.
Colin views the move as an attempt to re-start growth at Sky, moving the company beyond the approximately 10 million subscribers it has, mainly by appealing to broadband-only households. Clearly in NOW TV's cross-hairs are both Netflix and LoveFilm. More broadly, Colin and I discuss how NOW TV might or might not be a model for U.S. pay-TV operators to consider. I wrote earlier this week that with the cost of pay-TV service continuing to rise and consumers' expectations shifting, it's time for the industry to present more flexible pricing and packaging options to subscribers.
Listen in to learn more.
Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 36 seconds)
I'm pleased to be joined once again by Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group, for the 126th edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for Mar. 23, 2012. This week finds Colin in London, providing him an even better perspective on our first topic this week, Sky's new over-the-top service called NOW TV, which it will launch this summer. Colin is bullish on NOW TV and likes the lessons it provides for U.S. pay-TV operators.
I'm pleased to be joined once again by Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group, for the 125th edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for Mar. 16, 2012. This week finds Colin on business in Brazil, and he's been doing some sleuthing on how Netflix's rollout is going there. Back on the domestic front, we also discuss Intel's rumored TV plans and the latest on Aereo's rollout.
Colin reports that anecdotal feedback on Netflix's content selection in Brazil is underwhelming as it is perceived as mostly older titles. He raises the critical question of whether Netflix was wise in choosing not to partner with any established players which might have brought content as well as an understanding of local conditions. Colin points out that the landscape is very different in Brazil vs. the U.S., with pay-TV penetration of just 20% and over-the-air broadcast viewing dominant. All that said, Colin has heard that Netflix is advertising heavily to build its brand. And Brazil is of course an enormous market, representing big long-term opportunities.