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.
Late Friday afternoon, Bloomberg reported that Facebook had dropped out of the bidding for streaming rights to the NFL’s Thursday night package. That news followed Recode’s report from last month that Apple had also withdrawn. With two of the most likely candidates now gone, the only digital players remaining who are both big enough to afford the deal and for whom it potentially makes enough strategic sense are likely Verizon, Google and Amazon (I’m excluding Yahoo since its own instability almost certainly precludes a bid).
I'm pleased to present the 310th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week Colin and I recap our experiences streaming the Super Bowl to the various devices we tried. As I wrote on Monday, overall I thought the streaming quality was quite strong, with latency being the primary issue. Colin’s experience was more mixed, with his good old over-the-air signal the strongest.
No surprise, the size of the audience streaming the game set a new record with nearly 4 million unique viewers, up about 60% vs. last year. But I was a bit surprised it wasn’t even bigger given the breadth of OTT options. Unfortunately CBS didn’t provide any details on streaming by device. We discuss the factors that drove audience one way or another.
With the Super Bowl behind us, all eyes turn to the NFL’s pending OTT deal for its Thursday Night package. There are so many potential bidders in the mix who can leverage the games to their advantage.
Listen now to learn more!
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Overall, the quality of streaming of last night’s Super Bowl was strong, although I experienced inconsistent latency across different devices I was using. As shown in the images below, I set up an informal lab in my house, with the game on Comcast, via X1 (center), Roku TV (left rear), Amazon Fire TV on an Insignia (right rear), CBSSports.com (front left and right) and Verizon Go90 (front center).
As can be seen, each device is lagging behind the CBS broadcast feed on TV and to a different extent. I measured the latency at a few points and it seemed to get worse as the game progressed. For Lady Gaga’s national anthem, the Roku and Amazon feeds were approximately 40 seconds delayed, but by the end of the game, each was over a minute delayed. The online streams were approximately half this delay and the Verizon stream still slightly better.
FreeWheel has released its Q3 ’15 Video Monetization Report (VMR), which reveals the continuation of a number of important industry trends. Both ad views and video views grew 28% vs. Q3 ’14, consistent with growth rates seen over the past few quarters.
Live video was once again the fastest-growing genre, with a 113% year-over-year growth, compared to 30% for long-form and 9% for short-form. Sports was again the biggest driver of live with 63% of sports video viewed live, compared with 17% of news video viewed live (other genres were in low single digits). News had the biggest proportion of short-form (76%), while Entertainment (60%) ad Kids (59%) had the biggest proportion of long-form.