Coincidentally, while I was in Israel a couple of weeks ago for the Video Trends conference, the country’s Antitrust Authority opened an investigation into Google and its dominance of the Internet advertising market as a restraint of trade.
The investigation was prompted by a complaint from Artimedia, a global company that entered the Israeli online video advertising market 3 years ago. Artimedia is backed by Singaporean investors, mainly by Mr. Ching Chiat Kwong, chairman and CEO of Oxley Holdings, which is publicly traded in Singapore Exchange market (SGX:5UX). I interviewed Artimedia’s CEO Gal Turjeman to learn more about the investigation. Following is an edited transcript.
No surprise, at last week’s SHIFT // Programmatic Video & TV Ad Summit, the “duopoly” of Google and Facebook came up repeatedly on stage, mainly in the context of how they’re pursuing TV ad dollars and what the TV industry is doing to defend itself. In fact, the whole concept of “programmatic TV” - TV networks data-enabling and automating /streamlining the ad transaction process - pretty much captures what the industry is doing to become more competitive.
But as I listened to and participated in the SHIFT sessions, one consideration kept coming back to me as possibly being the biggest single influence over how TV advertising evolves in the coming years: the idea that Google and Facebook are single entities, while the TV industry is fragmented with many different powerful players, each with their own agendas, capabilities and resources.
Last Friday, while most of the world was focused on the presidential inauguration, Google announced that YouTube advertisers will now be able to target their ads based on users’ past Google searches, as well as their demographic information. Depending how this is executed, there could have significant upside to YouTube’s advertisers, further incenting them to shift budgets from TV to YouTube.
In a blog post, YouTube’s director, product management Diya Jolly provided the example of a user who is searching for winter coats on Google and is then presented with video ads by a particular retailer on YouTube. No doubt we have all had the experience of searching for a product, only to have ads immediately start appearing in web sites we subsequently visit. The same would now happen, but with video ads on YouTube.
I'm pleased to present the 344th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week was busier than usual in the video industry and on today’s podcast, Colin and I discuss a number of news items that hit our radar. First we talk about the new Google-CBS deal for the upcoming Unplugged skinny bundle. Next up is VUDU’s Movies on Us, new free, ad-supported VOD service which we both think has potential. We then dig into Facebook’s new feature for advance scheduling and promoting live broadcasts. Finally we review LeEco’s new content and TVs (Colin attended the company’s big launch event this week.)
Clearly there was a lot happening this week as major players in the video industry continue jockeying for position. One news item that broke after we recorded is the rumor about AT&T acquiring Time Warner. That type of deal would be straight out of the Comcast-NBCU playbook and could trigger even more distribution-content tie-ups.
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Each week brings more innovation, product announcements and new business models to the ever-changing video industry. This week was certainly no different, and news from 3 companies - Google (a deal with CBS for its Unplugged skinny bundle), VUDU (a new ad-supported on-demand movie offering) and LeEco (a range of new products from the Chinese giant, including TVs and content) - caught my attention. Each has the potential to cause further industry disruption, or amount to nothing. Below I share thoughts on each.
Late Friday afternoon, Bloomberg reported that Facebook had dropped out of the bidding for streaming rights to the NFL’s Thursday night package. That news followed Recode’s report from last month that Apple had also withdrawn. With two of the most likely candidates now gone, the only digital players remaining who are both big enough to afford the deal and for whom it potentially makes enough strategic sense are likely Verizon, Google and Amazon (I’m excluding Yahoo since its own instability almost certainly precludes a bid).
TV programmers like Viacom and AMC are in the same position that print companies like The New York Times and Conde Nast were ten years ago. As consumers moved to reading content online, the legacy publishing companies figured they could replicate their business on a new channel. No one could believe that a tech company with no real content could compete for brand advertising budgets. We all know how that played out.
Now, consumers are cutting the cord and moving to digital channels to watch TV. There is more to lose on both the buy and sell side during this time around. TV advertising is considered by advertisers to be the holy grail of inventory, and they don’t want to lose it any more than the TV companies do. However, the siren song of audiences at scale and with technical ease could change their minds.
Despite all the advances in online video in recent years, which have been wide-ranging across technologies, business models and consumption habits, most publishers' approach to mobile video continues to fail. While many feel that 2015 is the year of digital video, the industry won't have truly arrived until we're able to solve our mobile problem, and several other lingering challenges.
These challenges were discussed last month in JW Player's second annual JW INSIGHTS conference, which brought together video experts, influencers and partners from a cross-section of companies including Google, Popsugar and Verizon to discuss the state of the online video industry and the factors that are still holding it back from even greater growth.
Categories: Mobile Video
We all know the Internet is big - some 3.5 trillion web pages big, by the latest comScore estimates. But you wouldn't know it by looking at the current state of the online video market.
Nearly a decade after advertisers started batting around the idea of the Internet's "long tail," highly branded video publishers have yet to grasp the meaning of the phrase. The online video market is now pulling in over $6 billion. That's not bad. But with an injection of democracy, the market could grow to three times that size in very short order.
I'm pleased to present the 254th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
As is our custom for the final podcast of the year, today Colin and I discuss our top 10 online video stories of 2014. Needless to say, it was an incredibly busy year for online video, making it quite a challenge to narrow our list to just 10 top stories. If you disagree with any of our choices, then as always, we welcome your feedback.
Stepping back and reviewing the list, I think there's an argument to be made that when observers look back 10-20 years from now, 2014 could well be viewed as the big turning point for online video - the year when all of the critical pieces to online video becoming a completely mainstream experience fell into place. These pieces include viewer acceptance, burgeoning content, robust monetization, wide deployment of connected devices and mobility. At a minimum, buckle up, because the stage has been set for a huge 2015.
Colin and I would like to thank all of our listeners for tuning into our podcast this year, and wish all of you happy holidays!
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.
Late yesterday, the NFL announced it renewed its "Sunday Ticket" deal with DirecTV for a reported 8 years at $1.5 billion per year, a 50% increase over their prior deal. Going back about a year, there were rampant rumors that the Sunday Ticket package could go to an OTT player, with Google being the name most often mentioned.
In reality, though, there was virtually no chance Sunday Ticket was going to go to OTT, and so the DirecTV renewal comes as no surprise. As I wrote over a year ago, there were at least 5 big challenges to a Google-NFL deal in particular. These essentially boil down to a combination of online video not being mature enough yet to exclusively handle marquee sports broadcasts and the incumbent TV ecosystem desperately needing to retain marquee sports broadcasts like Sunday Ticket.
Roku has announced that it has sold over 10 million of its players in the U.S. cumulatively since it shipped its first one in 2008. Roku last reported sales of 8 million units in January '14, which means the company has sold approximately 2 million units year-to-date (Roku has previously said it sold around 3 million units for all of 2013).
Roku was an early entrant in what has developed into an intensely competitive connected TV space. Apple, whose Apple TV device was famously referred to as a "hobby" by the company (though no longer) has over 20 million users. Google hasn't released any numbers for Chromecast yet, but undoubtedly its sales are well into the millions also (Google is also launching Android TV). And Amazon launched Fire TV this past spring.
Amazon will acquire Twitch, the live-streaming video game platform, for $970 million. Until very recently Google was heavily rumored to be acquiring Twitch. Twitch is Amazon's 2nd-biggest acquisition ever, after its $1.2 billion purchase of Zappos in 2009. Twitch enables users to live-stream and record themselves playing video games, which tens of millions of monthly visitors watch.
Twitch is Amazon's biggest investment in online video to date and follows other video initiatives including Prime Instant Videos, an escalating slate of original programs, numerous high-profile licensing deals (including for various HBO programs and for the PBS drama "Downton Abbey") as well as the recent launch of the Fire TV connected TV device.
Late last week, Visible Measures released its quarterly Branded Video Report for Q2 '14, finding that branded videos were watched 2.8 billion times, an increase of over 50% vs. Q2 '13. The big driver of the record quarterly views was the World Cup, with videos related to it accounting for 19%, or almost 555 million of the views.
Nike was by far the biggest winner of World Cup related branded videos, with nearly 259 million True Reach views during the quarter, 84% of which were from its eight World Cup videos. Nike wasn't even an official World Cup sponsor, but its videos received 2.5x the 103.7 million views of adidas, which was the official sponsor and landed the brand in 3rd place for the quarter.
Categories: Branded Entertainment
Last week's Video Ad Summit program included two sessions on programmatic video advertising, one of the biggest trends in the business today. The morning session focused on the buy/agency side and included executives from Harmelin Media, TubeMogul and Xaxis. The afternoon session focused on the sell/publisher side and included executives from Google, LiveRail, VEVO, Videology and Weather. Both were moderated by Ashley Swartz, CEO and founder of Furious Minds. Videos of both sessions are below.
BrightRoll announced a number of new and expanded partnerships this morning at its BrightRoll Video Summit, all intended to accelerate programmatic video advertising. They include:
comScore and Nielsen - Integration of comScore's Validated Campaign Essentials (VCE) and Nielsen's Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) so buyers can tap into this measurement data in planning, targeting, optimizing and reporting on their campaigns. Access to the data is being provided free to buyers.
Google - A programmatic integration with DoubleClick so that video ad buyers using BrightRoll will be able to gain real-time access to high-quality inventory in the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, which includes YouTube.
BlueKai - Last, BrightRoll announced that mobile audience targeting is available, with BlueKai as the first 3rd-party mobile data provider that has been integrated. Others are expected this year. The mobile capability means buyers using the BrightRoll platform will be able target audiences beyond desktops, on smartphones and tablets. BlueKai includes 20,000 data categories in a marketplace of 70 million unique iOS and Android users.
(Note: I'm attending the BrightRoll Video Summit this morning and will be continuously tweeting highlights at #BRVS.)
Late last week Google released research demonstrating the growing impact that YouTube and Google are having on TV show viewership and engagement. Per the chart below, Google found that for a sample of 100 broadcast and cable networks, TV-related activities on Google and YouTube for May-December 2013 were up sharply across 5 different metrics vs. the same period of 2013.
The biggest gainer was TV-related watch time on YouTube, which was up 65%, followed by TV-related engagement activities on YouTube (up 56%) and TV-related searches on YouTube (up 54%). The big driver of searches was mobile devices, which experienced a 100%+ growth rate year-over-year.
Categories: Video Search
Since a report appeared in The Verge over the weekend about a new Google initiative called "Android TV" I've been puzzling over the question of whether the world (or even Google) really needs this device. Ordinarily I'm all for innovation, but the (admittedly preliminary) description of Android TV, makes it awfully hard to understand Google's bet here, especially as the momentum and adulation for Chromecast keep growing.
No doubt, Google's primary motivator is to gain the upper hand in the biggest gold rush since the advent of the Internet itself: ownership of the digital living room. Broadband's presence in the living room is getting stronger each day, putting everything up for grabs: how viewers will interact with programming and TVs, where their finite subscription dollars will be allocated, how advertising will work and importantly, which devices will control the experience. With tens of billions of dollars already sloshing through the living room, it's a massive market opportunity that appeals to giant companies as well as startups.
I'm pleased to present the 219th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia, who was at the TV Connect conference this week in London. First, up, Colin shares some of what he heard from Francisco Varela, YouTube's global director of platform partnerships. Francisco talked about YouTube taking back development of their apps from Smart TV manufacturers so users can have more immersive experiences.
We then turn our attention to the settlement of the Google-Viacom litigation, over alleged copyright infringement by YouTube, dating to 2007. It's legitimate to ask if there was ultimately any point to the litigation. As I explain though, I agree that at a minimum the litigation accelerated the development of YouTube's Content ID system which has been very valuable to the entire ecosystem.
Last, we also discuss new research from Vubiquity which found that 58% of respondents said they're interested in downloading TV shows and movies included in their pay-TV subscription. This echoes my bullishness on TiVo Stream's download feature which I've found extremely useful.
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