For anyone who has ever endured seeing the same ad over and over again when watching an on-demand TV program, here's welcome news: ad tech provider BlackArrow has introduced a new audience-based frequency capping feature that enables advertisers to manage the number of times an ad is seen by a unique household, audience segment or device. The feature is part of the newest release of the BlackArrow Advanced Advertising System.
EchoStar, which is DISH Network's main technology partner, has selected Conviva to guarantee video quality of DISH Network's 2 main TV Everywhere services, DISH Anywhere and DishWorld. The former provides live and on-demand access to DISH's programming while the latter is focused on international programming delivered online.
EchoStar will use Conviva's Intelligent Control Platform to optimize streaming video quality in real-time, on a per user basis. Conviva's platform monitors stream quality at an the individual user level, anticipating problems and preemptively optimizing by adjusting the bitrate, content delivery network and other parameters. An analytics suite gives content providers insight into the performance and viewership of their video.
Late yesterday Australian telecom provider Telstra acquired online video publishing platform Ooyala, by increasing its ownership stake from 23% to 98%, through an investment of $270 million (the purchase of the incremental 75% stake implies a total enterprise valuation of $360 million. Though Ooyala's revenues are undisclosed, as one point of comparison, Brightcove's current public valuation is approximately $200 million).
Subsequent to the deal's closing Ooyala will become a subsidiary of Telstra and will operate as an independent business with existing management and brand. This is a model that has worked successfully for thePlatform, another major OVP which was acquired by Comcast back in 2006. Ooyala will become part of Telstra's new Global Applications and Platforms group, which is investing in companies that are "adjacent to Telstra's core business, where software disrupts traditional business models."
Watching online video on connected TVs is now completely mainstream, as evidenced by Hulu noting that 62% of its views are on connected TVs. This powerful trend makes delivering immersive HTML5 video ad experiences to connected TVs and pay-TV set-top boxes an imperative for advertisers to accomplish their reach and frequency goals.
At the recent Video Ad Summit, Active Video demo'd how they're solving this problem, by rendering ads in the cloud and then delivering them - with full interactivity - to any type of set-top box. In the demo, ads from American Express and L'Oreal illustrate how it works. The Active Video presentation followed one by Quiznos, showcasing their "Toasty.TV" campaign, which would be a perfect fit for a living room experience.
After a short medical leave last week, I'm back in the saddle and have many new videos to share of last month's Video Ad Summit. One of our morning case studies focused on Land Rover and how online video advertising can be used for "mid-funnel" success - combining the best of video's branding reach with the potential of direct-response advertising's lead generation.
The combination of changing viewer behaviors and new technologies has made monetizing video more complicated than ever. Whether you're a video industry incumbent or a new startup, learning how to monetize video has become a top priority and a key challenge.
To help address these questions, and present real-world success stories, I'm pleased to highlight a complimentary new white paper from Kaltura, which I've collaborated on, called "Smart Video Monetization - Striking the Right Balance."
Video ad manager Vindico has unveiled MatchPoint, a customer relationship management tool that enables advertisers to more efficiently target existing customers with online video advertising campaigns.
With MatchPoint, the advertiser uploads specific customer data (e.g. email address, phone #, etc.) which Vindico then matches against 1 billion profiles in real-time to provide demographic and psychographic information about the advertisers' customers. The results can then be used to zero in on particular audiences to target for customized campaigns across numerous inventory sources.
I recently had the pleasure being interviewed by my former colleague Howard Homonoff for his weekly "Media Reporter" show at the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information which he produces in addition to his consulting practice. In the interview we touch on a broad range of topics including how technology is helping traditional TV, the impact of online video on pay-TV operators and networks, online originals, NewFronts, rise of devices and mobile viewing, net neutrality, industry deals and much more.
The interview runs about 28 minutes.
Topics: Net Neutrality
Clearleap, a multiscreen platform provider for pay-TV operators and content owners, has hired Joe Oesterling as its first Chief Operating Officer. Oesterling comes to the company from managed service provider Cbeyond, where he was EVP of Technology and Operations and spent 14 years helping build the company from startup phase to $500 million in annual revenues.
Online video platform provider Kaltura has acquired Tvinci, whose technology powers pay TV and content provider linear and OTT services. Terms were not disclosed. Ron Yekutiel, Chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Kaltura told me yesterday that the Tvinci technology gives Kaltura the ability to support customers' paid live/linear video services in addition to ad-supported VOD.
This is critical because in Ron's view, longer-term, the ability to support the full breadth of services and business models from the cloud will be the defining advantage. Ron sees this most particularly in the media business, which has been Tvinci's focus, but also in education and enterprise, other verticals that Kaltura serves.
Ever wonder what your friends and neighbors are watching on TV right now and whether you're missing something hot? Well, cable operator Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico is rolling out an HTML5 app to all of its 350K subscribers there, which will allow them to view a customizable mosaic of the most-watched TV networks at any moment, with 1-click access to tune in themselves.
The "Social Content Navigator" app is a new guide concept that Liberty has created with ActiveVideo to enhance the value of cable-TV subscriptions and better compete with both satellite and OTT providers.
Pay-TV operators are in a race to stay competitive and improve their services, rolling out advanced advertising, content recommendations, improved video-on-demand services, TV Everywhere, etc. While data is the foundation for all these types of services, because pay-TV operators have had so many different silos of data, they have been unable to fully tap into them.
To address this problem, BlackArrow has announced that its BlackArrow Audience 2.0 data management platform (DMP) is now available. The platform includes Profile Manager, which enables pay-TV operators to consolidate their first-party subscriber data and third-party data in one place.
Two key infrastructure players in the digital video ecosystem, thePlatform and Adobe, are announcing a strategic partnership to help accelerate major media and pay-TV operators' plans for multiscreen video delivery. The companies have integrated Adobe Primetime and thePlatform's mpx video management system to form a complete solution, which the companies will jointly sell.
In a briefing, Ian Blaine, CEO of thePlatform and Ashley Still, director or product management at Adobe, told me that the companies have been collaborating for some time, most recently on NBC Olympics' multiscreen delivery of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The new integrated solution is meant to productize these prior collaborations and provide customers with faster time to market, better viewer engagement and lower total cost of ownership.
Among the apps launched this week on Amazon's new Fire TV was the ACC Digital Network, a joint venture between Silver Chalice and Raycom Sports. ACC Digital Network is the Atlantic Coast Conference's multimedia destination featuring live streaming and other original programming. In addition to being online, it also recently launched on Apple TV.
To get up and running quickly on Fire TV, SportsLabs, a division of Silver Chalice, turned to 1 Mainstream, a platform for deploying HD video services on a variety of connected TV and mobile devices that launched last December. I caught up with Rajeev Raman, 1 Mainstream's CEO (and previously head of product at Roku), to learn more about how the company is helping content providers quickly build and deploy apps.
The march of content providers into the living room is getting yet another boost as JW Player, whose video solution is used by thousands of content providers, will support Chromecast. JW Player's CEO Dave Otten and creator Jeroen Wijering told me yesterday that the beta is underway with 5 different content providers implementing JW Player with Chromecast support, which will go live over the next several weeks.
JW Player will support VAST-compliant advertising, so that video ads will be viewable on TVs when playing through Chromecast. As this demo video shows, JW Player has also enhanced its ad implementation by enabling companion banners to appear on the device driving the Chromecast, so users can engage with the advertiser as their video ad plays on the big screen.
Vubiquity has announced AnyVU Cloud, a new cloud-based, multi-device video services platform providing both linear and on-demand content. In addition, the company has announced Akamai as its first partner, dubbing the combined solution "content-as-a-service." It is directed to existing pay-TV operators, content owners and OTT providers for a range of monetization models.
AnyVU Cloud is a milestone for Vubiquity in evolving from the traditional business of managing and delivering video primarily to set-top boxes for incumbent providers to operating in a far more complex landscape in which video is delivered over IP networks to multiple devices by multiple providers with widely varying business rules and monetization.
Conviva has released its 2014 Viewer Experience Report, finding that of the 45 billion video views in 2013 that it analyzed, 26.9% were impacted by buffering, an improvement from 39.3% in 2012, while those impacted by low resolution delivery also improved, to 43.3% from 63% in 2012. Offsetting these was a rise in video start failures from 4% in 2012 to 4.8% in 2013.
As consumers shift their viewing to online from traditional TV, they bring along expectations of the seamless experience, so the Conviva data is critical to understand how well these expectations are being met. In fact, Conviva found that online viewers expectations are actually rising as they shift to online.
5 Steps to Making Multi-Screen Video Work with the Cloud
As we charge into 2014, pay-TV operators aren't just toying with the idea of granting consumers access to content from a variety of connected devices; it is now the standard. This shift in viewing consumption has driven operators and technology partners to 'look under the hood' of their platforms and re-assess content delivery and management schemes.
The biggest concern facing operators is how the industry can protect content when being delivered over different devices. How can operators achieve the right content protection mix and content management scheme in a scalable fashion while ensuring a consistent user experience? The answer could be found in the cloud. Following are 5 key steps to consider for making multi-screen video work with the cloud:
Video curator Magnify.net drew 18.7 million unique visitors for the 30-day period ending February 12, 2014, up from 6.1 million uniques in the same period of 2013, a 209% increase (see chart below). Magnify.net's CEO Steve Rosenbaum shared the results with me and explained that the significant rise was due primarily to the launch of new publishing partners such as AARP, New York magazine, Grind Media and others, plus the broader adoption of video viewing on desktops and mobile video and one video in particular going viral.
For a glimpse into cloud computing's significant contribution to the successful scaling of online video advertising, yesterday BrightRoll shared some details of its relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS) which it has been working with since 2008. According to BrightRoll, AWS now processes 30 billion data points per day in order to deliver 3 billion video ads per month. BrightRoll said in 2013 it delivered over 23 petabytes of content, which will double in 2014. In a related case study, Kenneth Cheung, BrightRoll's senior director of engineering said that "If AWS didn't exist, BrightRoll would be a different company."