The NFL announced yesterday that it plans to exclusively stream a single game next season, a week 7 matchup from London between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The October 25th game will still be televised in the 2 home markets, starting at 9:30am ET, but elsewhere it will only be available online (though the NFL hasn't yet signed a digital distribution partner).
Brian Rolapp, the NFL's EVP, Media, characterized the move as mainly an experiment, meant to impart as much learning as possible (he also maintained that TV is still the best distribution option). That sounds right to me, though how much can really be learned from streaming a single game is a bit unclear (e.g. advertiser interest? technical or delivery quality? audience size?).
2014 was the year during which the "Big Game" became the "Really Big Game." From the Super Bowl and Sochi Olympics kicking off the year, to the college football Bowl Season closing it out. One could hardly turn around in 2014 without hearing of another programmer boasting cutting-edge streaming coverage of tent-pole sporting events or unprecedented depth of exposure for previously hard-to-find games.
Live sports serve a dual function for programmers trying to expand their digital footprint. In addition to bringing significant numbers of viewers to ultra-premium, high-CPM ad inventory, live sports have also been deployed as an entry point - hooking new adopters and indoctrinating digital viewing habits.
Clearleap has announced a cloud-based multiscreen sports solution to support live-streamed games, near real-time highlights/clips and personalized playlists. Clearleap's Sports and Live TV Solution targets sports-oriented TV networks which recognize that today's fans demand always-on access across their multiple devices.
The new Clearleap solution enables networks to ingest, process and deliver live and on-demand sports streams, supported by a network operations center aiming to provide 99.999% uptime. Obviously when it comes to live sports any hiccup in a live-stream that could risk missing the big play would be catastrophic. Clearleap provides a dashboard to manage and monitor real-time analytics of video delivery.
September is here and that means summer 2014 is in the rear-view mirror. For online video and the broader video ecosystem, it was another busy few months, as viewers around the world continue to shift their consumption patterns, with many companies scrambling to keep pace. Below I've distilled my list of the 10 biggest online video stories of the summer - read on and let me know if I've missed something!
TV Everywhere proponents will find a lot to like in FreeWheel's newly released Q2 2014 Video Monetization Report. Ad views on authenticated on demand long-form plus live-streaming content grew 619% vs. Q2 '13. Fully 38% of these content formats' ad views now come via authentication, up from just 8% a year ago.
Live content was up 201% year-over-year, with 81% of live ad views attributable to sports. Q2 included marquee events like World Cup, NBA and NHL playoffs. The share of live content's ad views vs. total ad views increased from 8.1% in Q2 '13 to 18.3% in Q2 '14.
I'm pleased to present the 235th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First up this week, Colin recaps how well the recently wrapped-up World Cup did with live-streaming. As Colin notes, the final game delivered 1.8 million concurrent live viewers. Also interesting was how mainstream streaming mid-day games seemed to become. Unlike March Madness games, which have always been streamed in the workplace somewhat surreptitiously, World Cup streaming seemed completely acceptable.
Continuing our sports theme, we then turn to a WSJ article this week which revealed that the NBA is seeking to double the approximately $930 million per year in TV rights fees it receives from Disney/ESPN and Time Warner/Turner when these deals expire after the 2015/2016 season.
If the NBA were to succeed, and gain $2 billion or so in fees, that would translate into around $20 per year for each of the approximately 100 million U.S. pay-TV subscribers (even more when you factor in the pay-TV operator's retail margin).
The dirty little secret of these super-expensive sports deals is that ALL subscribers pay - whether you're a fan or not - meaning the "sports tax" on non-fans is getting bigger all the time. With escalating pay-TV bills, the big question is whether non-fans will become heavier cord-nevers and cord-cutters.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 5 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 232nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
The World Cup is in full swing and as many predicted beforehand, live-streaming is a crucial part of how fans are following the action. Colin notes that Akamai (which is responsible for a lot of the live-streaming globally), said that back in the 2010 World Cup, the peak bandwidth used was 1.4 terabits/second. Akamai was expecting that level to quadruple this year.
Sure enough, in current group play, the Brazil-Mexico game already almost reached that target, registering 4.59 Tbps. That level will surely be exceeded as play moves on to the knockout stage (in which Colin's beloved England is unlikely to be participating).
A key part of the World Cup's streaming success is due to the proliferation of mobile viewing devices, and we next discuss data Ooyala released this week revealing that mobile's share of online views increased from 3.4% in Q1 '12 to 21.5% in Q1 '14. Live-streaming in particular was a big-driver, and that's mainly sports. We dig into the details.
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More evidence this morning about mobile video's surging adoption: in its Q1 2014 Global Video Index, Ooyala found that 21.5% of all online video views occurred on mobile phones and tablets, up from just 3.4% in Q1 2012. In addition, in Ooyala's prior Q4 2013 report, it predicted that by end of 2015, 37% of all video viewing will be on mobile devices, and by the end of 2016 it would be up to half.
I'm pleased to present the 230th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week found Colin at the BroadbandTV Con event in Santa Clara where he was impressed by the 2 keynotes, by Eric Berger, EVP, Digital Networks, Sony Pictures Television (Crackle) and Roy Sekoff, President and Co-Creator of HuffPost Live. Eric and Roy provided insights about their strategies and the audiences they're pursuing. Both services are highly successful in their own ways. Colin shares his observations, and compares and contrasts the two.
One commonality is that both services are free to viewers and ad-supported, which brings us to our next topic, PwC's growth forecast for online video advertising, which I covered this week. We dig into the details and other PwC numbers. Even though PwC projects video ad spending will more than double, to $6.8 billion in 2018, Colin actually believes the forecast is too conservative. He explains why and what would really impress him.
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The Internet has been a boon to sports fans, with the new "Know the Fan" report from Sporting News Media, Kantar Media Sports and SportBusiness Group revealing that approximately 2/3 of U.S. sports fans follow sports online. In particular, 38% of fans who watch sports video online cited live-streaming of games/events as their top activity (up from 33% in 2013), followed by short highlight clips (31%) and videos of sports news (27%).
Topics: Sporting News
The streaming industry is currently undergoing incredibly exciting and important changes that are affecting the way viewers consume content. As 'appointment TV' continues to fade, the fact is live events and sports are some of the only real appointments consumers are keeping. These live events are the driving force shaping the streaming industry; giving way to a new era of live interactive digital viewing and monetization of content with added benefits of increased time spent online, more user analytics and ultimately revenue growth.
FreeWheel has released its Q4 '13 video monetization report, revealing among things, that ads viewed in live streaming jumped 148% vs. Q4 '12, and now account for nearly 10% of ads viewed in online video streams served by pay-TV operators and TV networks. Related, ad views in authenticated, TV Everywhere content rose 268% vs. Q4 '12. Overall, ad views were up 30% year-over-year. Brian Dutt, who manages Advisory Services at FreeWheel and oversaw the report, shared more detail behind these and other data being released.
Here's one measure of how popular live streaming is becoming: according to Akamai, yesterday's concurrent men's quarter-final hockey games from Sochi drove 2.5 terabits per second of peak usage on its network, almost 3 times the peak usage of 873 gigabits per second that Akamai saw during the men's 100 meter final, which Usain Bolt won, during the London 2012 games. It's also 56% higher than the 1.6 Tbps peak Akamai delivered during the USA-Russia hockey game last Saturday (which NBC separately said attracted 600K online viewers via its "Live Extra" app). Update - NBC says yesterday's USA-Czech Republic game alone delivered almost 800K online viewers, a new record for "Live Extra."
The Internet has been buzzing this week with the idea that Google may bid for the NFL's Sunday Ticket package, which is with DirecTV through the 2014 season. The root of the buzz is a story in AllThingsD that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with Google's CEO Larry Page and YouTube's head of content Robert Kyncl and that one of the things they discussed was Sunday Ticket.
Did they seriously discuss Sunday Ticket or was it the last item on a list of things they were spitballing? Who knows. But let's assume for a moment that Google actually WAS interested in Sunday Ticket. Could it happen and does it make sense?
There's certainly no financial impediment for Google. DirecTV pays about $1 billion/year currently. Even if Sunday Ticket's value increased by 50% (which is less than the 60-70% increases the broadcasters and ESPN paid to renew their NFL deals in the past 2 years), it would still be small change for Google. Rather than the money, I see at least 5 big challenges Google (and the NFL) would have to surmount:
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.
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Following is a contributed post by Mio Babic, who is the founder and CEO of iStreamPlanet, the leader in live linear streaming solutions including the soon to be released Aventus live video workflow solution.
Multiscreen Live Linear - Consumer Values and Perceptions
by Mio Babic
Recently iStreamPlanet partnered with The Diffusion Group to better understand the opportunity in delivering a multiscreen live linear experience to multiple devices. As digital media innovators it’s easy for us to get excited about moving the technology forward, and while we see 24/7 live linear streaming as the next step in the OTT evolution, we wanted to verify that we are creating technology for an experience that consumers desire, and therefore profitable for our customers in the media industry.
Categories: Live Streaming
Live streaming is continuing to get a lot of mind share these days from both content providers and technology companies. The latest example in the latter category is Brightcove, which yesterday introduced in beta the Brightcove Video Cloud Live, a module to support live streaming across multiple devices.
A key part of Video Cloud Live is the recently announced Brightcove Zencoder Live Transcoding service, which provides live transcoding as a scalable API. This obviates the need for content providers to purchase and maintain their own hardware for encoding live events. This in turn reduces cost and complexity of running live events, making them far more feasible to offer to viewers. The Zencoder service also produces multiple adaptive bitrate streams so that users on various devices get the right stream for them.
Traditionally most online video has been on-demand, but recently that has begun to change with more live events delivered online all the time. The trend has been driven primarily by sports, news and music, but other categories like entertainment are also following along.
For content providers, live presents numerous new workflow complexities vs. on-demand in areas such as encoding, ad insertion, stream management, metadata, device support, etc. To address this complexity and try to streamline workflows, thePlatform is today introducing a single web-based console in its mpx platform that can handle key tasks including signal acquisition and encoding via an integration with Elemental (so encoding can be managed within the console), dynamic ad insertion and metadata creation plus archiving to VOD for replays.
LiveU, which pioneered the bonding of cellular broadband cards to enable flexible live mobile broadcasting, has gained a huge following among TV networks and stations. Now it has introduced a new, even lighter-weight backpack unit that enables any content provider - no matter how small - to affordably become a live mobile broadcaster.
At the recent NABShow, Ken Zamkow, director of sales and marketing for LiveU, brought one of the new backpacks, the LU40-2 ("LU40 squared") by the VideoNuze booth and showed it off. It weighs less than 10 pounds and is very compact, allowing up to 13 cellular channels and controllable through a smartphone interface.
At the NABShow last week I did a short video interview with Albert Lai, Brightcove's CTO for Media and Broadcast. In the interview, Albert explained Brightcove's expanded TV Everywhere integrations with Adobe Pass and Akamai's Sola Vision Identity Services.
It's well understood that if content providers are to distribute to multiple devices via TV Everywhere, security and authentication are paramount. By integrating with Adobe and Akamai, Brightcove is trying to provide its content customers with multiple authentication choices depending on their preferences, helping reduce friction in TVE rollouts.