Video ad technology provider BlackArrow has announced Virgin Media as its first European customer, signaling a broader international expansion starting in 2015. BlackArrow will be powering dynamic ad insertion on Virgin's VOD TV platform and its Virgin Anywhere multi-screen service. Virgin, which was acquired by Liberty Global last year for approximately $16 billion, has deployed its digital TV service to 5.3 million screens in the UK.
There's no doubt connected TV devices will be one of the hottest gifts this holiday season, as online video continues to evolve from an early adopter desktop behavior to a mainstream living room experience. But even the prices of connected TV devices plunge and consumers' enthusiasm builds, the space continues to be marked by the drip, drip, drip inefficient process of one-off additions of video apps to specific connected TV devices.
In fact, if you follow the market closely, you'll notice that seemingly each week there are a handful of announcements regarding a specific video app (or group of them) becoming available on a certain connected TV device(s). For example, in last week's news, Amazon Instant Video became available on TiVo Roamio/Mini devices, and HBO Go became available on Xbox One.
Video ad tech is a very hot space currently with lots of deals and financings, with the latest being Eyeview, which this morning announced a $15 million financing from existing investor Marker LLC. The new funds bring to $34.5 million the total amount the company has raised.
Eyeview describes itself as "fusing the effectiveness of TV video branding with the efficiencies of digital personalization." It does this by taking a standard TV ad or other video creative and dynamically customizing it to target individual viewers. The customizations can vary by things like specific advertiser offers, geography, viewer behavior, weather conditions, calendar events, etc. Basically any type of trigger that would help to drive engagement and take the video ad experience far beyond what's typical on TV.
Advertising on YouTube offers a ton of potential, but remains a complicated endeavor, creating friction for prospective buyers. To simplify things, Pixability is introducing v3 of its platform, which aims to optimize YouTube TrueView ads by enabling programmatic management of AdWords for Video buying. Bettina Hein, Founder and CEO of Pixability and Andreas Goeldi, CTO, demo'd the new features for me, explaining how they create new value for YouTube advertisers.
"Content is King." No, wait, "Distribution is King." No, wait, "Content and distribution are equals and need to work together." And on the debate has raged for years about what's at the core of the media and entertainment industry's success. Meanwhile, Netflix keeps proving that data is fast becoming the real king, with profound implications for all players in the industry.
The latest evidence of data's ascendance and Netflix's ability to harness it is the company's new 4 movie deal with Adam Sandler. Opinions about Sandler are all over the board, but in a must-read interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix's content head Ted Sarandos neatly summed up why Netflix made such a big commitment to him:
"The more global we become, the more access we have to global behavior data so we can see what people are watching all around the world. Very uniquely, he (Sandler) stands out for his global appeal to Netflix subscribers. Even movies that were soft in the U.S. outperformed dramatically on Netflix in the U.S. and around the world."
I'm pleased to present the 242nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Colin joins from Norway this week, after attending the huge International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam earlier this week. Colin was impressed with what he saw and today we discuss what he perceived as the 4 biggest technology themes there: (1) end-to-end multiscreen solutions, (2) hybrid pay-TV and OTT services, (3) cloud delivery and (4) content security. Colin also highlights a number of companies and their products that hit his radar.
Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 25 seconds)
JW Player has raised a $20 million Series C round, led by existing investor Greycroft Capital and Greenspring Associates, with participation from Cueball Capital and e.ventures. The company intends to use the proceeds to drive global growth, expand sales, marketing, product and engineering, and further develop its SAS platform.
The company said its player delivers almost 5% of all streamed video, with 900 million people per month using JW Player to watch video on over 2 million web and mobile sites. An enterprise side of the business now serves 200 companies in the Fortune 1000. Sample customers include POPSUGAR, Zynga, Fujitsu, Thomson Reuters, Philips and many others.
Topics: JW Player
Extreme Reach has announced a single workflow solution to execute and measure TV and online/mobile video ad campaigns. The solution unifies traditionally disparate buying and operational functions, as advertisers seek to reach consumers across multiple screens. Extreme Reach asserted the new solution could reduce workflow by up to 50%.
Elemental Technologies, which has been known for its software encoding solutions, has broadened its product portfolio with the introduction of Elemental Delta, a comprehensive video delivery platform. Elemental Delta is for telco, OTT, broadcast, satellite and mobile operators seeking to deliver time-shifted TV including VOD, start-over TV and nPVR, across multiple devices.
Topics: Elemental Technologies
Kaltura has announced Kaltura OTT TV, a solution integrating pay OTT TV technology from recently acquired Tvinci, with its own video platform. Kaltura OTT TV is targeted to pay-TV operators looking to offer multi-screen OTT services on a paid and/or ad-supported basis.
Kaltura OTT TV supports server-side and native ad insertion for live and VOD content, in-app purchases, DRM, social features including Facebook login and recommendations and an electronic program guide. Each family member can set up an individual profile for personalized service and behavioral tracking across multiple screens.
Adobe announced this morning that its Primetime DRM solution supports emerging HTML 5 standards, with Firefox being the first browser in which it will be implemented. The move broadens Adobe's DRM approach beyond its traditional Flash-only focus. As Primetime DRM is adopted in other browsers (which Adobe said is forthcoming), content owners will be able to protect their premium online video content in web experiences, which could lead to less emphasis on today's approach of building standalone video apps.
Over the last several years, the TV landscape has changed at an almost frenetic pace. Everything from the shows we watch to the devices we watch them on looks different than it did just a decade ago. More and more of us own TVs that facilitate choosing from an unprecedented amount of content that we can watch on our terms. In fact, a recent study revealed that the number of American households with Internet-enabled TVs has doubled in just the past four years, from 24 percent to 49 percent.
Connected TVs, however, are just one of a deluge of new products and services that are quickly shaping consumer behavior and bringing about massive change. So much in fact, that the TV viewer of the future will look very different than she does today. She’ll be savvier and more discerning than her contemporary counterpart… and she’ll need to be, in order to navigate the labyrinth of options available to her. Read on for four predictions on what she’ll look like.
thePlatform has announced a larger multi-year relationship with existing customer BT under which its mpx system will provide video publishing for BT TV. Going forward, BT TV will be hosted at thePlatform's European data center. To date, BT has been using mpx to manage its IP-based TV service, which has over 1 million subscribers in the UK.
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.