Yesterday marked another milestone in online video's continuing evolution as 8 million concurrent live streams of Felix Baumgartner's Red Bull Stratos Mission were delivered (note that's according to YouTube, but has not yet been independently verified). I was one of those live streams, gathered with my family around my Mac watching the jump unfold on YouTube in full screen mode.
I figured a lot of people were also watching, so what really hit me was the quality of the stream - no buffering, no audio/video synch issues, no pixelation, nothing. Just a seamless high-quality feed for the full hour we watched. In my experience, that would be noteworthy even if only a small audience was tuned in and it was on-demand. The fact that it was done with 8M live concurrent streams seems quite significant.
Categories: Live Streaming
Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group and I are back for the 151st edition of the VideoNuze-TDG podcast. This week Colin and I first discuss YouTube's curation plans which I wrote about yesterday. I've received a number of emails about my post, with most readers intrigued by the idea, and wanting to learn more. Colin likes YouTube's curation direction too, seeing it as a reminder of the value of programming.
Colin then walks us through some of the interesting reactions he got on a panel he moderated at the TV Next conference, "The Rise of the Next-Gen Operator." He asked the question - imagine its 2022, what does a pay-TV operator look like? Listen in to learn more.
Last but not least, Colin is moderating a session for Ooyala at next week's Digital Hollywood. Ooyala is offering complimentary admission to the conference in exchange for completing the form located here.
Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 15 seconds)
YouTube has gained a huge amount of publicity for its original channels initiative, which was expanded internationally earlier this week. Now, according to an article by Magnify.net's CEO Steve Rosenbaum in Forbes yesterday, another critical and emerging YouTube strategy is "curation."
YouTube is the 800 pound gorilla for video uploads - with 72 hours added every minute - and the idea behind curation is to get users to cull through that massive video library to either add to their own channels and/or to build new ones, using others' videos.
comScore released its August '12 data on online video usage last week , making it a full 12 months since it changed its reporting methodology. Looking over the data, there are a few things worth pointing out.
First is that AOL has had a very strong year, increasing its videos delivered from 408 million in Sept. '11 to 725 million in Aug. '12, a 78% jump (see chart below). That's the best growth rate of any of the top 10 sites from Sept. '11. It's also the second consecutive month that AOL was in second place to YouTube, the industry's perennial leader. AOL has put a huge emphasis on video, launching the AOL On Network last April, along with a slate of original programming.
YouTube's new app for the iPhone and iPod touch is now live and available for download. The news comes a month after Apple said it wouldn't include its own YouTube app in the next version of iOS, thereby paving the way for YouTube to build and deploy its own.
In a blog post, YouTube described some of the key benefits of the new app: tens of thousands more videos, a channel guide with swipe navigation, enhanced search tools and the ability to share videos via Facebook, Google+, Twitter, email and text. I'm not an iPhone user (though plan to be shortly), so I haven't been able to test the new app. However, the description suggests a lot of commonality with the Android app I'm accustomed to, though the UI does seem a bit different.
If you were trying to tune out last week, whether lying on a beach or on a family getaway, you didn't miss all that much exciting online video-related news. However there were some items worth noting and below I've highlighted five that caught my eye.
Variety is reporting on an internal Hulu memo indicating that the imminent buyout of Hulu's private equity partner may spark a series of changes, including the possible departure of CEO Jason Kilar and modifications to its content licensing arrangements with its broadcast network TV owners. Kilar has done an excellent job with Hulu, creating a top-notch user experience that is monetized through both ads, and more recently through subscriptions at Hulu Plus. Kilar has more than defied the skeptics who dismissively labeled Hulu "Clown Co." prior to its launch.
Nonetheless, there can be no disputing the fact that Hulu's essential asset from the outset has been exclusive next-day access to programs from Fox and NBC (now Comcast) and more recently, Disney/ABC. Broadcast TV is still by far the most popular programming around, and even though Hulu has added dozens of content partners, including a high-profile deal with Viacom, the reality is that for many Hulu users, it's a destination to catch up on their favorite broadcast programs.
I'm pleased to be joined once again by Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group, for the 144th edition of the VideoNuze-TDG Report podcast. In this week's podcast Colin and I first discuss Google's recently-announced changes to how its search results are determined. Google will now factor in instances of copyright infringement to demote bad actors in its results. Colin sees the change as due to Google's interest in deepening relationships with Hollywood, where YouTube's business is increasingly pointing. However, there has been some dispute about just how much impact Google's change will have on results in YouTube.
Next up we discuss the idea of Apple building set-top boxes for the cable TV industry, which the WSJ wrote about yesterday. I add some further detail to my post ("Apple to Make Cable Set-Top Boxes? Not. Going. To. Happen.") which Colin mostly agrees with, however noting that Apple could add real value to cable's anemic VOD navigation. It's been fun to read all the coverage of the Apple-cable development; I'm clearly among the strongest skeptics. Perhaps I'm missing something big here, though I don't think so. Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 53 seconds)
Click here for previous podcasts
The VideoNuze-TDG Report podcast is available in iTunes...subscribe today!
(as noted in the podcast, we were each using new microphones this week and Colin's audio setting is a little low; we'll adjust next week)
No doubt you've already heard that Apple will not be including its native YouTube app in the next version of iOS that will officially launch this fall. Apple said its license for YouTube, which it held since 2007, when the iPhone launched, has expired. From my vantage point, this seems like a rare win for all stakeholders: YouTube, Apple, iOS users, YouTube's content partners, advertisers and even other video content providers.
At last month's VideoNuze 2012 Online Video Advertising Summit, our closing session was a big picture debate on the future of online video advertising, featuring AOL's Frank Besteiro, NBCU's Peter Naylor, TiVo's Tara Maitra, TubeMogul's Brett Wilson and YouTube's Suzie Reider, which I moderated.
One of the things the group addresses is whether buyers of online video advertising will prefer an impression-based model (akin to traditional TV advertising) or an engagement-based model (akin to search and other forms of online advertising). I believe it's a key question as it goes to the heart of how video advertising will work and the experience viewers will have online. Within this larger question is the omnipresent issue of measurement - when will there be an accepted currency for online video advertising, and what will it be?
It's no secret that with consumer behavior fragmenting over different video sources and media-related activities, advertisers are having a tougher time than ever reaching their targeted audiences. Especially elusive are younger, lighter TV viewers. No surprise, these lighter viewers skew younger with about 31% of 18-49 age group in the category. They're also choice targets for advertisers: they're wealthier, more educated and more diverse.
To help prove the efficacy of online video advertising as a method for reaching these viewers, yesterday Google/YouTube and Nielsen released new research demonstrating that lighter TV viewers (who average 39 minutes per/day) are more effectively and cost-efficiently reached with online video advertising that compliments traditional TV advertising.
I'm pleased to be joined once again by Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group, for the 131st edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for May 4, 2012. This week Colin and I discuss how fundamental battle lines have been drawn between the traditional TV ecosystem vs. the numerous digital outlets that are launching online-only original programs. To be more specific, the former group seems intent on erecting ever-higher paywalls to access its programs, which is in turn opening up a gigantic opportunity for free, ad-supported programs to be provided by the latter group. How this battle unfolds will have far-reaching and profound implications for everyone involved.
For the traditional TV ecosystem, there appear to be two core drivers at work; first, the desire by broadcast TV networks to morph themselves into cable TV networks, and second, the role that TV Everywhere is taking on as a foundation of paywall economics.
Google has taken the beta tag off of AdWords for video, opening up the ad platform targeted to small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to run video ads on YouTube. To help drive interest, Google is also offering $50 million of free advertising credits to prospects. I wrote about AdWords for video last September when it was first announced, and I continue to be enthusiastic about its potential to broaden video-based advertising to SMBs for which traditional TV advertising was out of reach.
Yesterday YouTube got a lot of coverage of its new licensing deal for hundreds of movies from Paramount because separately, the studio's parent company, Viacom, has been involved in a bitter copyright litigation with YouTube for years. While it's noteworthy that the parties are able to do business despite suing each other, the bigger questions here are whether YouTube's initiative to rent Hollywood movies makes sense and can succeed?
Five of the top 10 online video destinations - AOL, Hulu, Microsoft, Yahoo and YouTube - are joining with ad agency Digitas to launch the first-ever "Digital Content NewFronts" (DCNF). The DCNF's goal is to "shape a new and practical marketplace for connecting the wealth of native digital content with brand marketers and their media and marketing agencies." From April 19th to May 2nd, each of the 6 companies will host a day-long event in NYC showcasing their programming and ad opportunities. The DCNF actually builds on the 1-day NewFront event Digitas has been holding for the last 3 years.
I think the combined approach of the DCNF is the right idea at the right time. Given the wealth of premium original online video that each of the 5 destinations is pursuing - all of which is ad-supported - the DCNF could become an important catalyst in educating advertisers and agencies about these new opportunities and therefore why they should shift some of their spending. As I've recently written, a bevy of Hollywood A-listers and others are getting involved in original online video productions, helping create a "virtuous cycle" of anticipated growth.
The Wall Street Journal has launched its WSJ Live YouTube channel this morning, debuting "Off Duty" a companion video series to the popular lifestyle section in the newspaper's Weekend Journal. The WSJ Live channel is the latest addition to YouTube's 100 original channels strategy. In addition to Off Duty, the WSJ Live channel features NewsHub, Digits and Mean Street, three other on-demand/live video series that are found on the main WSJ.com site and more recently the WSJ Live iPad app.
There are many exciting things happening in the online video industry, but to my mind, none is more noteworthy than the radical transformation of YouTube. YouTube is shedding its scruffy adolescence and seeking to redefine what entertainment means in the online video era. In fact, with each passing day, it becomes more evident that YouTube is building a parallel universe to the traditional world of cable TV, targeting niches that have long been mined by a multitude of specialty channels. This theme will crystallize as 2012 unfolds.
YouTube's 100 new channels of original online-only content have begun rolling out and will continue to do so throughout the year. For a relatively modest $100 million (by Google's standards!) YouTube is getting first dibs on programming that is laser-targeted at valuable niches. Importantly, it is helping galvanize a community of content creators who have either not been a part of the traditional pay and broadcast TV ecosystem, or are seeking a new, less constrained environment to play in, or both.