Brands, publishers and celebrities are all experimenting with Facebook Live, to see how live-streaming can help them connect with their target audiences. One interesting example that hit my radar is Lowe’s home improvement stores, which, this past Saturday night, used Facebook Live to broadcast a 45-minute show featuring HGTV’s “Property Brothers” to reveal a sample of Black Friday sale items.
In the video, Drew and Jonathan Scott open a series of boxes which often contain gentle pranks (e.g. a marching band, confetti, puppies, etc.) as well as actual products that will be on Black Friday sales (e.g. wine chiller, combination tool kit, Roomba vacuum cleaner, etc.). For much of the video, the brothers are ad-libbing, casually jibing each other and keeping the show moving along.
I'm pleased to present the 347th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
On this week’s podcast we discuss Facebook’s video ambitions. Colin was in London at the OTT TV World Summit where he saw a fascinating presentation by Matthew Corbin, who’s in global product marketing for Facebook. Colin shares highlights of what he learned, including how Facebook thinks of itself as the “world’s discovery agent.” Matthew said Facebook thinks of itself “not as a broadcast network, but as a network of broadcasters,” which feels like an apt description. Combined with Facebook’s targeting capabilities, this translates to lots of potential.
On Facebook’s Q3 ’16 earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg also highlighted how he wants video to be at the center of all of Facebook’s apps and services. It’s becoming clearer that the primary way Facebook is going to be able to continue its torrid revenue growth is by shifting over more TV ad spending, hence the push toward video.
After discussing Facebook, we shift gears and spend 5 minutes reviewing the excellent Comcast-Netflix integration which I wrote about earlier this week.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 26 seconds)
Aiming for simplicity, popular online video platform provider JW Player has introduced JW Live, a cloud-based, live streaming service for content providers. JW Live is meant to be an out of the box service that is integrated with the JW player and platform, enabling content providers to easily power up live streams for their audiences.
JW Live is the latest effort to popularize live streaming, a category receiving a lot of attention these days, primarily because Facebook is aggressively pursuing it with Facebook Live. JW Live is another example of how technology providers are positioning themselves to assist content providers in powering their own businesses, as opposed to becoming solely reliant on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and others which offer large audiences, but risk undermining control over revenue generation and loyalty.
Topics: JW Player
At last, Election Day is here. Tonight tens of millions of Americans will be avidly following the returns. But rather than everyone huddling around their TVs to their favorite TV network to get the updates, tonight there will be an abundance of live streaming from a variety of traditional and digital news outlets, capitalizing on capabilities available from Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. As a result, how Americans keep track of who’s winning will be more varied than ever.
I'm pleased to present the 344th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week was busier than usual in the video industry and on today’s podcast, Colin and I discuss a number of news items that hit our radar. First we talk about the new Google-CBS deal for the upcoming Unplugged skinny bundle. Next up is VUDU’s Movies on Us, new free, ad-supported VOD service which we both think has potential. We then dig into Facebook’s new feature for advance scheduling and promoting live broadcasts. Finally we review LeEco’s new content and TVs (Colin attended the company’s big launch event this week.)
Clearly there was a lot happening this week as major players in the video industry continue jockeying for position. One news item that broke after we recorded is the rumor about AT&T acquiring Time Warner. That type of deal would be straight out of the Comcast-NBCU playbook and could trigger even more distribution-content tie-ups.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (26 minutes, 17 seconds)
Facebook released an important feature yesterday, enabling certain content creators to schedule and promote Facebook Live broadcasts in advance. While a lot of the hype around live-streaming has been about capturing breaking news - with streams spontaneously discovered - as I explained a few months ago on our weekly podcast, the bigger application for live-streaming is for broadcasts scheduled in advance and promoted to content creators’ fans.
The first of the three presidential debates is coming up on Monday night, and in addition to the spotlight being on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, it looks like a big focus will be on live-streaming. That’s because Facebook, YouTube and Twitter - each of which is pushing hard into live-streaming - will stream the debates, in partnership with a variety of major media companies.
YouTube will be streaming in partnership with PBS, Fox News, The Washington Post, Bloomberg and Telemundo as part of its #voteIRL initiative. Facebook has once again partnered with ABC News (as it did for the conventions) to stream the debates, which it will enhance with viewers’ comments and conversations in Facebook Live. Finally, as part of its previously-announced partnership, Twitter will be streaming Bloomberg TV’s coverage of the debates.
Text-to-video creation platform Wibbitz has released new research this morning indicating enthusiasm for live video as a news source. Wibbitz surveyed 1,000+ 18-65 year-olds in the U.S. about how they’re responding to live video, chatbots, wearables and virtual reality as a way to get the news, and therefore where publishers may want to invest.
Live video was the only one of the 4 technologies that engenders more positive than negative feelings as a means for getting the news (though not by much, just 30% to 25%). Wearables was the least well-suited for news, with 57% having a negative feeling, vs. 16% positive. 66% of respondents thought live video was the most useful for keeping up with the news, 4x that of wearables, which was second. 52% also thought live video is the most entertaining option for keeping up with the news, compared with 35% for VR.
Categories: Live Streaming
Earlier this week AdAge reported that Facebook confirmed it is running tests of mid-roll ads in live streams by certain publishing partners. The ads can appear 5 minutes into the live stream and can run for a max of 15 seconds. The ads are drawn from promoted video campaigns already running on Facebook, but advertisers are able to opt out if they’d like.
The test is clearly just a toe in the water for Facebook in inserting ads in live streams, which to date have run ad-free. But, to the extent that the initiative develops further, and possibly evolves to allow pre-roll ads, it would signal an important step forward in Facebook monetizing its live streams and becoming an even bigger player in online video advertising.
Akamai’s network investments are paying off as the company keeps delivering ever-greater levels of concurrent live sports streams. The latest example occurred with last weekend's Euro 2016 Portugal-France championship match where Akamai delivered a peak of 7.3 Tbps during overtime. That level beat the 2014 Argentina-Netherlands World Cup final which achieved a 7.0 Tbps peak.
Akamai said that over 3.3 million concurrent streams were delivered at peak across 35 rights-holders globally. Akamai’s VP, Product Management Corey Halverson told me in a briefing that a number of network investments in quality and reliability have been instrumental in supporting the record streaming activity.
I'm pleased to present the 328th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
It’s been a milestone week for live-streaming, starting with news that Facebook is spending $50 million with media partners to create content for Facebook Live. Then there was C-SPAN live-streaming the Democrats’ gun protest sit-in via Facebook Live and Periscope after C-SPAN’s cameras were shut down.
Meanwhile, adding more momentum to live-streaming this week, Tumblr announced that it would support live-streaming via YouNow, Kanvas, Upclose and YouTube. And then just yesterday, YouTube announced that it will soon introduce mobile live-streaming within the YouTube app - arguably a catch-up move given Periscope, Meerkat and others already enabling this for a while - but significant given YouTube’s massive scale. Last but not least, game 7 of the NBA finals garnered WatchESPN its largest audience ever for an NBA game, with nearly 1.8 million viewers.
In today’s podcast we discuss Facebook’s live-streaming moves and the industry’s broader opportunity. I continue to be very bullish on live-streaming’s potential and believe we’ll see a lot of interesting applications of it going forward.
Listen now to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 31 seconds)
Yesterday morning, just after I posted “5 Reasons Why Facebook Spending $50 Million on Live-Streaming Content is So Smart,” C-SPAN’s cameras in the U.S. House of Representatives were turned off by House Speaker Paul Ryan as Democrats began a sit-in to protest gun control legislation not being brought to a vote. But then, an extraordinary thing happened: various Democratic Representatives began live-streaming the protest via Facebook Live and Periscope, with C-SPAN picking up the feeds.
The WSJ is reporting that Facebook has signed deals with almost 140 media companies and celebrities, committing $50 million for guaranteed live-streaming content for Facebook Live. A straight average would value each partner’s deal at over $350K, but as expected, certain partners are getting a disproportionate share.
According the paper, the top 15 providers account for $21.4 million, or almost 43% of the total $50 million. At the top of the list are BuzzFeed ($3.1 million), NY Times ($3 million) and CNN ($2.5 million). I’d guess there are others at the bottom of the list whose deals are in the low 5 figures.
I’ve been enthusiastic about Facebook Live and see at least 5 reasons why the company investing $50 million (which is chump change given 2015 revenue of nearly $18 billion) is so smart:
At this month’s F8 conference, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg gave a big boost to the burgeoning business of live-streaming online video when he said it was a “top priority” for the company. The company has assigned 150 engineers to live-streaming, changed its News Feed algorithms to give live video higher visibility, and is paying several notable publishers (including the New York Times, BuzzFeed and Vox) to create original programming for the format.
That’s a serious commitment by the planet’s biggest social-media company. More interesting, perhaps, is what’s not yet attached to the Facebook offerings: figuring out how to pay for everything. The answers will help determine whether live streaming video becomes only a gimmick used by well-funded brand experimenters or narcissistic hobbyists. Done right, it could supercharge a bracing new platform with its own stars, best practices and yes, monetization schemes.
Categories: Live Streaming
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.
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.
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.
I'm pleased to present the 317th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Live-streaming was in the headlines this week as the NFL announced Twitter as its partner for Thursday Night Football games and Facebook unveiled a slew of new features for Facebook Live.
On this week’s podcast, Colin and I discuss details of both of these initiatives, comparing and contrasting the upside. Colin is more enthusiastic about the Twitter-NFL deal, which is still a bit of a head-scratcher for me. Conversely, I’m very bullish on Facebook Live and believe it’s a natural extension of how Facebook is already used. The live-streaming battle will heat up further when YouTube launches its own live feature soon.
All of this means that live-streaming is poised to become a much more mainstream activity going forward.
Listen now to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 51 seconds)
A year ago, in “Mobile Live Streaming Looks Like An Important New Video Category,” I asserted that, after playing around a bit with Meerkat and Periscope, I was convinced that live-streaming had huge potential. I envisioned lots of interest in both personal and professional uses across breaking news, promoted broadcasts and companion streams to larger events.
Fast forward to yesterday, with Facebook launching a slew of new live-streaming features to Facebook Live, building on its initial launch of live video as part of Mentions last August. With Facebook doubling down on live video, I think it’s pretty clear this is a category that is poised to soar, as infinite applications crop up.
Underscoring once again how unpredictable the online video space is, Twitter has emerged as the unlikely winner of the rights to stream NFL Thursday Night Football (TNF) games for the 2016-2017 season. Just yesterday I wrote that with Facebook and Apple bowing out, the bidding likely came down to Amazon, Verizon and Google, with Verizon the most likely winner for a variety of reasons.
On the one hand, Twitter’s interest in streaming the TNF games makes sense, as recently returned CEO Jack Dorsey has publicly stated that a top 2016 priority is live streaming, including leveraging its Periscope product. The 10 TNF games give Twitter a marquee property to highlight live streaming, which complements Twitter activity around all games. And Twitter already had a deal in place with the NFL for highlight clips.