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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Analysis for 'Google'

  • Google/YouTube: We're TV's Best Friends

    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.

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  • Does the World (Or Even Google) Need Android TV?

    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.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #219 - YouTube Apps, Google-Viacom Settlement, Pay-TV-Tablet Downloads

    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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  • Nest Plus Chromecast Has Interesting Possibilities for TV

    When Google drops $3.2 billion in cash on an acquisition, as it did yesterday with Nest Labs, maker of the Nest self-learning thermostat, you know there are some big, long-term visions playing in the background.

    Most of the reviews I've read involve the companies capitalizing on the still nascent "Internet of things," where all devices are intelligently connected, exchanging valuable information that improves our lives. Even though Google and Nest were pretty vague in their joint announcement, I more or less buy into this rationale for the acquisition.

    But, looking at the deal through my video-centric prism, I can also see some interesting possibilities coming from a tight integration between Nest and Chromecast, Google's hot-selling connected TV device.

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  • 6 Things Google Really Got Right With Chromecast

    I've been happily using my Chromecast both at home and on the road for 3 weeks now. Chromecast is not quite perfect, but it's an exemplary first version and no doubt destined to get even better. I think there are at least 6 things Google really got right with the device, as follows:

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  • At Least 5 Big Challenges for a Google-NFL Sunday Ticket Deal

    The Internet has been buzzing this week with the idea that Google may bid for the NFL's Sunday Ticket package, which is with DirecTV through the 2014 season. The root of the buzz is a story in AllThingsD that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with Google's CEO Larry Page and YouTube's head of content Robert Kyncl and that one of the things they discussed was Sunday Ticket.

    Did they seriously discuss Sunday Ticket or was it the last item on a list of things they were spitballing? Who knows. But let's assume for a moment that Google actually WAS interested in Sunday Ticket. Could it happen and does it make sense?

    There's certainly no financial impediment for Google. DirecTV pays about $1 billion/year currently. Even if Sunday Ticket's value increased by 50% (which is less than the 60-70% increases the broadcasters and ESPN paid to renew their NFL deals in the past 2 years), it would still be small change for Google. Rather than the money, I see at least 5 big challenges Google (and the NFL) would have to surmount:

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  • Just When TVs Were Getting Smart, Chromecast Will Make Them Dumb Again

    By now, you've no doubt heard and/or read something about Google's clever new Chromecast HDMI device, a $35 media streamer introduced yesterday (Google's intro/demo video embedded below). Chromecast has a lot going for it, and could well become Google's first big hit product in the living room. If it does, there will be at least one significant consequence: instead of TVs continuing to become "Smart TVs," they are going to become dumb yet again. This would be a huge blow to TV manufacturers who have labored to convince consumers to spend extra to derive the benefits a Smart TV offers.

    I don't think Google set out to kill Smart TVs with Chromecast, but I have no doubt the team recognized some of the serious shortcomings of today's Smart TVs and sought to capitalize on them. At the top of the list of Smart TVs' limitations are lack of integration with other devices, narrow content offerings and inability to entice developers.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #188 - Mixed Prospects for Apple and Google in TV

    I'm pleased to present the 188th edition of the VideoNuze weekly podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week rumors were once again flying about Apple and Google looking to enter the pay-TV industry, which Colin and I separately wrote about here and here.

    In our discussion, Colin notes that any potential move would be expensive, given the need to carry many networks in a typical bundle. Colin also believes that Apple's rumored plan to compensate networks for ads skipped in a premium service it may offer has some merit based on his back-of-the-envelope analysis. But Colin is skeptical the networks will be interested in shifting their model away from advertising.

    I see it the other way around; given high DVR penetration, networks could be intrigued by the idea of moving more of their economics to fees. The problem is I just don't see how the economics would work for Apple or consumers.

    Regrettably, all of this is based on rumors so we readily admit we don't have solid facts on which to base our arguments. And that's why I consider Apple and Google's pay-TV aspirations to be the industry's longest-running soap opera.

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 53 seconds)


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  • Best Soap Opera: "Google, Apple and the Mission to Disrupt Pay-TV"

    It's time for the latest episode of the industry's best and longest-running soap opera, "Google, Apple and the Mission to Disrupt Pay-TV." New reports this week (here and here) suggest that the two tech giants are once again angling to get a piece of the pay-TV industry, which, despite already being under attack from all sides, appears to be holding its own.

    As in the past, the current episode is based only on "people familiar" with the discussions Google and Apple executives are each having with pay-TV industry players. Google and Apple executives as usual are offering "no comment." The new episode features twists to keep all of us engaged. Apple is reportedly contemplating a "premium" version of its service that will allow users to skip ads, with Apple compensating TV networks for lost ad revenue (not to spoil the drama, but it's awfully hard to see how the math would add up on such a plan or why the networks themselves would go for it). And Google has reportedly even demo'd its product (shocking!), though no details on what it is or how it is different were released.

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  • US Open Tennis Scores With Google Hangouts

    These days you can pick any sport and you're guaranteed to find examples of how online video is improving the fan experience. Beyond improved access, through live streaming to multiple devices, and post-event catch-up through highlight clips, another dimension of online video's value is now also emerging - fan engagement and interaction. A perfect example of this is the US Open tennis tournament's first-time use of Google Hangouts during its men's and women's finals matches.

    Recently, I caught up with the two US Tennis Association executives responsible for the hangouts, Phil Green, senior director, advanced media and Peter Dopkin, director, strategic and business development, advanced media, to learn more. Listening to the strategy behind the hangouts, and how they were executed, what struck me is that in the digital age, forward-thinking sports executives are able to bring the fan, analyst and game together as never before.

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  • VideoNuze-TDG Report Podcast #144 - Google Demotes Copyright Infringers; Apple's Set-Top Box Dreams

    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)




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    (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)

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  • VideoNuze-TDG Report Podcast #142 - NBC Olympics Streaming; Pay-TV Losses; Aereo's Low Pricing

    I'm pleased to be joined once again by Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group, for the 142nd edition of the VideoNuze-TDG Report podcast. In this week's podcast Colin and I first discuss NBC's Olympics video streaming. Despite some high profile criticism, we agree that NBC has actually done a pretty good job and has laid a foundation for live streaming to be an expected part of all Olympics coverage in the future.

    Next we review Q2 '12 results from some of the largest pay-TV operators. Video subscriber losses continue, although Q2 is historically a soft quarter. Colin notes that recent TDG research shows the pay-TV value proposition is increasingly challenged and he believes that means higher churn is ahead, with bigger opportunities for OTT options.

    Speaking of those options, Aereo announced new low-cost plans and both Colin and I agree that they're a clever way to reduce entry barriers and increase viewing flexibility. It's still early, but we like Aereo's odds of success.

    Last up, we note the early demise of the Nexus Q media streaming device, a product that both us called a dud a couple of weeks ago.  

    Listen in to learn more.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 43 seconds)



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  • Google and American Express Discuss "My Business Story" Initiative's Success [VIDEO]

    Recognizing that online video isn't just for big media brands, last year Google and American Express teamed up to create "My Business Story," a video tool for small businesses to create and post free videos that connect them with new and existing customers. At the recent VideoNuze Online Video Advertising Summit, Lauren Goody, Google's Group Manager, Account Solutions and Rachel Chan, American Express's Director, US Media & Integrated Marketing Platforms discussed the initiative's success with Mark Robertson, founder and publisher of ReelSEO.

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  • VideoNuze-TDG Report Podcast #138 - Underwhelmed by Google Nexus 7 and Nexus Q

    I'm pleased to be joined once again by Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group, for the 138th edition of the VideoNuze-TDG Report podcast.

    Today we discuss two new products that Google introduced this week, the Nexus 7 tablet and the Nexus Q media streamer. Viewing both through the lens of online/mobile video, I think both products are duds, and are generally inferior to other competitive products already available, especially those from Apple. A particular source of concern for Colin and me is the lack of differentiated content. For instance, the Nexus 7 offers no unlimited viewing plan like Amazon Prime for the Kindle Fire, the device it is most similar to.

    Colin is less skeptical, and has even ordered a Nexus 7, though more for professional reasons than anything else. However, he's completely underwhelmed by the Nexus Q, thinking the entire whole home audio product category isn't really addressing a strong consumer need. Further, maybe Google has a master plan it's not sharing, but to both of us, the company's silence on how Google TV fits with the two Nexus devices suggests a real lack of coherency in Google's approach to digital media. Listen in to hear all of the details.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (18 minutes, 45 seconds)




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  • Google/YouTube: Research Shows Lighter TV Viewers Primed for Online Video Ads

    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.

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  • Google Opens Up AdWords for Video, Offers $50 Million of Credits to Try It

    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.

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  • Globally, YouTube's Market Share is 20 Times Its Nearest Competitor's

    I've often said that YouTube is the 800-pound gorilla of online video, but I was always basing that on its share of the U.S. market. Now, with comScore's first-ever release of global data from its Video Metrix service, it's clear that YouTube is in fact planet earth's 800-pound gorilla of online video.

    As seen in the chart below, in October YouTube delivered almost 44% of the 201 billion videos viewed globally, nearly 20 times as much as China's Youku, which was in second place with 2.3%, and nearly 7 times as much as the #2-5 players. Since the global market is so fragmented, based on some assumptions I've made, it's quite possible that YouTube has more market share globally than the top 100 video sites, combined. Wow.

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  • 3 Video Predictions for 2012: Jim Louderback, CEO, Revision3

    Jim Louderback, CEO of Revision3, an independent special interest video network, kicks of VideoNuze's year-end feature of posting the top 3 video predictions for 2012 from executives around the industry.

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  • Google To Go Over-the-Top and Compete With Pay-TV Operators? Don't Bet On Success.

    Is Google planning to go over-the-top and compete with pay-TV operators for subscribers? That's the tantalizing possibility the WSJ is reporting this morning, though its article is long on speculation and short on hard facts and on-the-record sources (as best I could tell, the only concrete thing reported is that Google has hired Jeremy Stern - a former colleague of mine at Continental Cablevision - who's "spearheading talks with media companies"). Regardless, the possibility that Google could be looking to disrupt the pay-TV business, using its own high-speed fiber network in Kansas City and maybe elsewhere, deserves attention if for no other reason than the fact that its deep-pockets and robust ad model would potentially allow it to cause trouble for incumbents.

    "Potentially" is the operative word however, because any subscription TV service Google would offer would only be as good as the channels it could deliver (see Sezmi's recent retreat for proof of that). As such, the critical question here is whether the most important cable network owners - Disney, NBCU, Viacom, Time Warner, Fox, Discovery, Scripps, A&E Networks, AMC Networks, numerous regional sports networks (RSNs) and others - would agree to deals with Google. Though they would no doubt be enticed by Google as another well-funded buyer, barring some huge unknown, I'd bet that most would say "Thanks, but no thanks," effectively stymieing the search giant's ambitions.

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  • As Viacom-Google Appeal Begins, Question Remains Why Can't They Make a Deal?

    Remember Viacom's $1 billion copyright infringement suit against YouTube initiated 4 1/2 years ago, which was decided in Google's favor last June? Well, it's alive and well, and this morning the parties will appear for short oral arguments in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, as Viacom begins its appeal of the decision. Of course Viacom has every right to keep pursuing the matter, but what I've wondered about from the beginning of this case is why haven't the parties been able to make a mutually beneficial business deal so that they can put the litigation aside. As the online video market has matured over the past 4 1/2 years, with the potential dollars up for grabs growing, it's become an even bigger mystery to me.

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