Following are 3 video predictions for 2012 from Ian Blaine, CEO and co-founder of thePlatform, a leading white-label video publishing company. Ian provides further thoughts on 2012 here.
1. The turf war over input A continues in 2012. With tech heavy-weights like Microsoft, Apple and Google all looking to take the role of "input A", the major cable operators are now trying to keep the newcomers at bay by investing in enhancements to keep their subscribers happy and paying. These aren't necessarily mutually exclusive efforts, but it will change the landscape. I expect to see interesting bed-fellows emerge as this market continues to shake out - think Verizon and Microsoft Xbox. So what might this all mean to the industry at large? Media companies will have more routes to reach consumers on TVs than ever before, and operators of all flavors will have to innovate - and innovate quickly - to stay in the game. This will also make rights negotiations over content more intense and competitive, which brings me to my next point. 2. Content will remain THE driving force for the entire video ecosystem. We saw some blockbuster content deals in 2011, with some interesting forays into exclusive windows from Netflix and Hulu. Comcast/NBCU sent a strong message with the lock-up of TV rights for several Olympics to come. I think this will heat up significantly in 2012. Everyone at the negotiations table is more savvy, and there will be a big push to extract as much value as possible for content and content distribution. The equation looks like it's tipping in favor of the content since there are many distributors willing to write big checks. But content owners will have to carefully evaluate their options, balancing premiums for exclusivity vs. the benefits of a wider reach. 3. In 2012, video players will get smarter. Sometimes distributors expect files, sometimes feeds, sometimes players. But increasingly, it seems like content owners want more control over their own branding and advertising. I think that there will be a push in this direction, but for content owners to succeed, video players will need to render on all important devices, handle various forms of authentication, and intelligently enable ad serving that can adapt based on the syndication outlet and the revenue share deal. This means we'll see smarter players and smarter services behind them.
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