When your flagship product's name becomes far better known than your company's name, it's likely time for a corporate identity makeover. That's the logic behind LongTail Video's official name change today to "JW Player" as company CEO Dave Otten told me last week. JW Player is the company's hugely successful video player, now used by over 2 million sites. The company has also changed the name of its online video platform, Bits on the Run, to "JW Platform."
Video-on-demand and pay-per-view provider iN DEMAND has chosen software platform Clearleap to help it move to an all IP terrestrial distribution network for multi-screen delivery. Under the deal, Clearleap will handle 4,000 hours of HD and SD movies per month that iN DEMAND distributes to its cable operator affiliates for their transactional, subscription and free VOD offerings.
Clearleap's CEO Braxton Jarratt told me that iN DEMAND will be able to now limit its use of satellite delivery mainly for live events. Clearleap's management platform is layered on top of iN DEMAND's IP infrastructure, giving the company a single user interface to manage all of its content for quick delivery in multiple formats to cable operators. This is critical to support VOD viewing by subscribers on TVs and other connected devices.
In another sign of how TV and online video are continuing to converge, LiveRail is announcing this morning support for TV-style advertising pods in online video streams, using real-time bidding. The new feature means that content providers can programmatically sell and insert multiple ads in a given ad break, increasing monetization opportunities for long-form content absent additional users or viewership.
While preserving a positive user experience is critical, the reality is that as content providers have continued to push long-form programs online, the hunt for additional revenues has only intensified. According to recent research from FreeWheel, long-form ad loads were up 12% in Q2 '13 year-over-year to nearly 12 ads per 20-minute or longer stream. However, the increase doesn't appear to be affecting the viewer experience yet, as completion rates for mid-roll ads (the most likely place to insert ad pods with multiple ads) stood at 97% for 15-second ads and 91% for 30-second ads.
I'm pleased to present the 199th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. In this week's edition we discuss the new "See It" tool announced in a partnership between Comcast/NBCU and Twitter.
Beginning in November, certain tweets about TV shows will carry the "See It" button. When users click on it, they will be given choices to watch the program now on their mobile device, tune their Comcast X1 set-top to that channel to watch on TV, set their DVR or receive a reminder (more about how See It works here).
Colin and I both like See It's potential to convert the "chatterfest" that now regularly occurs on Twitter around TV shows and live events (sports, award shows, etc.) into higher viewership. Tightly coupling social discovery and the opportunity to immediately watch is very compelling. If Twitter can show See It can actually driving viewership (note, still a big "if"), it would become a very important promotion tool for the TV industry.
We also discuss how See It works with authentication/TV Everywhere, the critical role that Comcast's new IP-based X1 set-tops play in enabling See It, how the rest of the pay-TV industry might adopt See It, and the potential to spread See It to other social sites. See It's widespread adoption will require a lot of TV ecosystem support, but if its value is quickly proven, we believe that could happen.
(Last - Colin and I will both be participating in BroadbandTV Con in Hollywood Nov. 4-6. Come meet us! VideoNuze readers get $75 off conference registration using the code "VideoNuze." Colin will also be hosting a pre-conference workshop.)
Click here to listen to the podcast (17 minutes, 19 seconds)
Multiscreen video ad solution provider Mixpo is introducing today VideoVerify, a new video ad verification tool to combat fraud and substantiate video ad quality. VideoVerify assesses, in real-time, the quality of non-premium, long-tail video ad inventory on video ad exchanges. Based on data that VideoVerify provides, media buyers can block suspicious sites, or conversely, increase exposure on well-performing sites.
VideoVerify works by comparing current ad behaviors against a database of benchmarks Mixpo has built from hundreds of billions of video ad impression records over the past few years. The database includes in-stream, in-banner and in-app ad formats. Mixpo noted that this big data analysis has only recently become possible, and is enabled using Amazon's Redshift cloud-based data warehouse service.
I'm pleased to present the 197th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. At Advertising Week this week in NYC, the dominant theme I heard about was programmatic video advertising. Though it's an important and growing part of the larger video advertising space, it's still early days, so even the very definition of "programmatic" doesn't seem to have clear consensus.
In this week's podcast I explain the 3 main elements of programmatic as I understand them: automating certain buy/sell processes, using data to improve targeting and optimize yield/ROI, and using dynamic pricing models like real-time bidding. Depending on who you talk to, programmatic can refer to one or more of these elements.
One of the key topics of the week was how programmatic can be used by "premium" video content providers/publishers. In the podcast I also discuss this in-depth. I'm personally continuing to get my head around programmatic, so if I've misstated or mischaracterized anything, let me know and/or leave a comment!
Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 22 seconds)
Here's a great example of how robust the cloud has now become: thePlatform, a leading online video publishing company, is announcing a new "Virtual TV Framework" today, that allows pay-TV operators to deliver their FULL linear and on-demand services via the cloud, to any connected/mobile device. Until now, pay-TV operators have mostly offered only VOD or a limited set of linear channels as part of their TV Everywhere initiatives. Now the new Virtual TV Framework will allow them to replicate ALL of their services for cloud-based delivery.
Why does this matter? Because cloud-delivery makes it easier for pay-TV operators to enhance their subscribers' experience with existing services and to develop new ones, while also reducing delivery costs. It's no secret that the landscape for video services has become much more competitive with the advent of innovative OTT options from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and others, so consumers are expecting more from their pay-TV operators. As well, given the high price of pay-TV service, delivering more value has become a key industry priority - this is the essential role of TV Everywhere.
Adobe is announcing today that Turner Broadcasting is its latest customer of Adobe Primetime, the company's multi-screen TV Everywhere and monetization solution. Turner will be using Primetime to power TNT and TBS apps and web sites, along with the Primetime player and dynamic ad insertion, PayTV Pass authentication and Primetime DRM.
Jeremy Helfand, VP Adobe Video Solutions, told me that until now Turner had been using a combination of home-grown and point product solutions, which are being replaced with the Primetime suite. Turner has been the earliest and staunchest supporter of TV Everywhere among cable TV networks, going back 4+ years to the high-profile joint news conference with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes and Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, announcing the initiative.
Video ad tech provider Videology is unveiling "Revenue Engine" today, a new product for video publishers to drive premium programmatic ad revenues. Scott Ferber, Videology's chairman and CEO, told me last week that although the vast majority of Videology's business is servicing the demand side (agencies and advertisers), it is expanding its supply side technology offerings to help video publishers gain equal footing in the booming online video ad market.
In our discussion Scott emphasized one particular feature of Revenue Engine - the ability for publishers to do scenario modeling of different variables in order to gain recommendations for optimal inventory pricing. The system works by including available inventory, prior performance data, buy-side criteria and other factors such as minimum pricing requirements.
AOL held its first "Programmatic Upfront" tonight, bringing together a packed house of agencies and brands to hear multiple executives and guest speakers pound home a double message that data and automation are poised to revolutionize advertising, just as they have done on Wall Street. From a purely news standpoint, AOL announced 3 specific things:
1. Clients will be able to buy reserved premium AOL inventory programmatically through the company's AdLearn Open Platform (AOP) beginning January 1, 2014.
2. Major agencies including Accuen, Amnet, Havas Media, Horizon Media and Magna Global have all made programmatic commitments for 2014 (sizes not disclosed), with DigitasLBi, Razorfish and VivaKi considering.
3. New features in AOP including real-time bidding through private marketplaces, cross-screen inventory buying with frequency and optimization, and availability of all ad units for programmatic buying.
Jivox has announced that its interactive video ad platform Jivox IQ now supports content marketing and data driven feeds, both of which can dynamically update ads in real-time. As Diaz Nesamoney explained to me, both are meant to deliver ads that are more timely and relevant to users, across different ad formats and on multiple devices.
Diaz noted that content marketing, which has become a huge industry theme, blurs the line between ads and editorial. With Jivox's new content marketing features, advertisers are able to update their ads/content continuously while their campaigns are underway. The benefit is that ads can change without the traditional step of changing tags. These updated content streams work in 45+ different ad units, such as pre-rolls, display, mobile, etc.
I'm pleased to present the 196th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. Colin was at the big IBC event in Amsterdam last week and today we discuss 3 of his key themes: how Amazon Web Services (AWS) has become deeply immersed in the online video industry, the rollout of HEVC (high efficiency video coding) plus 4K TV, and the prevalence of multi-screen video solutions.
Colin explains how AWS has succeeded in online video, particularly with cloud-based transcoding that leverage its elastic computing resources. This is a theme I hear repeatedly as well and wrote about recently with T3Media's integration with AWS.
Colin then discusses how HEVC is rolling out, but notes continued industry reservations about 4K TV. Last, Colin observes that multi-screen video solutions were on display everywhere at IBC. With the rise of mobile phones, tablets and connected TV devices, multi-screen has become mainstream. One thing Colin notes was nowhere to be found at IBC was 3D, which he views as now dead on arrival.
Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 2 seconds)
SpotXchange has announced its publisher-side programmatic video ad platform today. Mike Shehan, SpotXchange's CEO told me that key differentiators are strong transparency, improved yield management and deal management controls. Mike said that video syndicator NDN (#6 ranked property by comScore in July) has been using the platform exclusively since the summer and has seen a big boost in its yields.
With the SpotXchange platform, publishers are able to expose and manage select inventory to all demand-side sources such as ad networks, demand side platforms (DSPs), agency trading desks and the SpotXchange marketplace. Mike said numerous features are aimed at alleviating publishers' traditional concerns that programmatic creates possible channel conflict with direct sales efforts.
Interactive video advertising provider Innovid, and technology giant Cisco have unveiled a new partnership today at IBC meant to deliver interactive, contextual video ads to second screens.
As Innovid's CEO and co-founder Zvika Netter explained to me, the proof-of-concepts at IBC show how Innovid taps in, via API, to a Cisco-powered metadata stream associated with a pay-TV operator's services to TVs and second screen apps. The metadata allows Innovid to deliver interactive iRoll ads to the second screen apps that are synched with ads that are running on TV. A second proof-of-concept also shows this done by location. Second screen apps from pay-TV providers have become a key priority as part of their TV Everywhere initiatives.
Ooyala is showing a new mosaic player, giving viewers the option to watch up to 5 live or on-demand video streams simultaneously. The company has also released its Q2 2013 Global Video Index, with new data reinforcing the growth of mobile and tablet video.
The mosaic player (see screen shot below) will first be available on the desktop, and subsequently will roll out on tablets, smartphones and connected devices. Ooyala's director of products Sudhir Kaushik showed it to me last week and explained it is mainly intended for sports broadcasters looking to provide multiple camera angles and/or sports fans trying to watch multiple games at once. Sudhir touted the increased monetization opportunities that the mosaic player creates, as well as the personalization for users. All of Ooyala's analytics are included in the mosaic player.
T3Media has integrated its cloud-based T3 Library Manager content management solution with Amazon Web Services (AWS), so that common clients can seamlessly connect to their Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier accounts. Mark Lemmons, T3Media's CTO, explained to me that the company's content provider clients gain a new level of scale and control over their storage and compute resources with the Amazon integration.
Taboola, which now serves 3 billion video and article recommendations per day across a wide network of publisher sites, is unveiling "Taboola Choice" this morning. Taboola Choice allows users to proactively filter out unwanted video and article recommendations, so that these will not be seen on any publisher sites which are subsequently visited. By adding this feedback loop, Taboola's recommendations become more precise over time, resulting in a better user experience and more efficiency for both content providers and publishers.
Startup Cognitive Networks has announced that its Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology has been integrated by LG, making it the first big Smart TV manufacturer to deliver "enhanced TV" experiences.
As Michael Collette, CEO of Cognitive explained to me in a recent briefing, the company makes Smart TVs aware of what content is being displayed on screen instead of being "blind" as they currently are. Cognitive's ACR works by packaging pixel map information from the screen and sending it to the cloud where it is compared to an index of known fingerprints. The resulting data is fed in real time via Cognitive's "ENGAGE" API back to the Smart TV so that app providers can provide interactive experiences to viewers.
A viewer finds an online video, clicks play and increasingly, expects a TV-like experience. Hundreds of millions of times per day around the world, this sequence of events happens, and it's only growing in frequency. While surging demand is great for the overall ecosystem, network providers / broadband ISPs are continually struggling to keep up with spiraling traffic, pressed to invest in their networks to create more capacity while still maintaining a strong ROI.
Therefore, any incremental improvement in networks' efficiency in delivering video traffic can quickly add up to huge cost savings, and that's exactly what Qwilt, which has raised another $16 million (led by Bessemer Venture Partners and bringing to $40 million total raised to date), does. Qwilt is in the "transparent caching" business, with networks deploying the company's software solution on off-the-shelf hardware at the edge of their networks to deliver the thin slice of most-frequently viewed video to their users.
Beachfront Media, which last month announced its Beachfront.iO mobile video ad platform, is introducing a new interactive video unit, enabling features to drive deeper brand engagement (see samples here). Advertisers can select up to 4 different calls to action to add to their pre-roll ad, including Facebook/Twitter links, click-to-call buttons, map-it functions and links to app store for further downloads and others. A "skinned final screen" is also available for enhanced branding.
Topics: Beachfront Builder