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Analysis for 'Tanglewood'

  • August '08 VideoNuze Recap - 3 Key Topics

    Welcome to September. Before looking ahead, here's a quick recap of 3 key topics from August:

    1. Advertising model remains in flux

    Broadband video advertising was a key story line in August, as it seems to be every month. The industry is rightly focused on the ad model's continued evolution as more and more players in the value chain are increasingly dependent on it. This month, in "Pre-Roll Video Advertising Gets a Boost from 3 Research Studies," I noted how recent research is showing that user acceptance and engagement with the omnipresent pre-roll format is already high and is improving. However, as many readers correctly noted, research from industry participants must be discounted, and some of the metrics cited are not necessarily the best ones to use. I expect we'll see plenty more research - on both sides of pre-roll's efficacy - yet to come.

    Meanwhile, comScore added to the confusion around the ad model by first highly ranking YuMe, a large ad network, very high in its reach statistics, only to then reverse itself by downgrading YuMe, before regrouping entirely by introducing a whole new metric for measuring reach. In this post, "comScore Gets Its Act Together on Ad Network Traffic Reporting," I tried to unravel some of this mini-saga. Needless to say, without trustworthy and universally accepted traffic reporting, broadband video is going to have a tough slog ahead.

    2. Broadband Olympics are triumphant, but accomplishments are overshadowed

    And speaking of a tough slog, the first "Broadband Olympics" were a huge triumph for both NBC and all of its technology partners, yet their accomplishments were overshadowed by a post-mortem revenue estimate by eMarketer suggesting NBC actually made very little money for its efforts. This appeared to knock broadband video advertising back on its heels, yet again, as outsiders pondered whether broadband is being overhyped.

    The Olympics became a hobbyhorse of mine in the last 2 weeks as I tried to clarify things in 2 posts, "Why NBCOlympics.com's Video Ad Revenues Don't Matter" part 1 and part 2. These posts triggered a pretty interesting debate about whether technology/operational achievements are noteworthy, if substantial revenues are absent. My answer remains a resounding yes. But having exhausted all my arguments in these prior posts, I'll leave it to you to dig in there if you'd like to learn more about why I feel this way.

    3. Broadband's impact is wide-ranging

    VideoNuze readers know that another favorite topic of mine is how widespread broadband's impact is poised to become, and in fact already is. A number of August's posts illustrated how broadband's influence is already being felt across a diverse landscape.

    Here's a brief sampling: "Vogue.TV's Model.Live: A Magazine Bets Big on Broadband" (magazines), "Tanglewood and BSO Pioneer Broadband Use for Arts/Cultural Organizations," (arts/culture), "American Political Conventions are Next Up to Get Broadband Video Treatment," (politics), "Citysearch Offering Local Merchants Video Enhancement," (local advertising) and "1Cast: A Legit Redlasso Has Tall Mountain to Climb" (local news).

    I expect this trend will only accelerate, as more and more industries begin to recognize broadband video's potential benefits.

    That's it for August and for the busy summer of '08. Lots more action to coming this fall!

     
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  • Tanglewood and BSO Pioneer Broadband Use for Arts/Cultural Organizations

    Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), and also the host of world-renowned musical training programs, has expanded its use of broadband video, helping pioneer how arts and cultural organizations can tap into the power of this new medium. I talked recently with Rich Bradway, Associate Director of Ecommerce and New Media to learn more.

    First, for those unfamiliar with Tanglewood, it is a lush former estate in Western Massachusetts' Berkshire Mountains containing an outdoor theater and other performance buildings. Open only for the summer, it hosts a mostly classical program, but also features performances by the contemporary Boston Pops and others like James Taylor (whose annual concerts draw over 20,000 fans). For many the Tanglewood experience means elaborate picnics on its expansive lawn, followed by a moonlit night or lazy afternoon of beautiful music.

    This summer, the BSO has created TanglewoodWebTV.org, with its first "episode" around the centenary of the birth of Elliott Carter, a well-known composer who's being celebrated in Tanglewood's 2008 Festival of Contemporary Music. Previously the BSO has launched BostonPops.TV, and both are powered by PermissionTV. Rich explained that Tanglewood and the BSO are using broadband to build awareness, reach a younger and more global audience and drive new revenues.

     

    The episode includes performances along with interviews, documentaries and behind-the-scenes footage. The presentation is very non-linear with an overlay menu providing easy navigation to other video segments, so the user can sample at will. Rich said prior to launch the episode was seeded with archival video, and then during the Festival week it was updated continuously. Since broadband is new for the Tanglewood team a key goal was understanding what's involved in the digital media workflow and how to scale the process over time.

    With BostonPops.TV and TanglewoodWebTV.org, the BSO is helping prove in broadband's benefits for other arts and cultural organizations. Yet, as Rich and I talked, I mentioned that it seems to me the really big opportunity here is to stream live concerts from Tanglewood, and then make them available on-demand afterwards. This would extend the full Tanglewood experience to remote users in the same way that the Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts of the New York Metropolitan Opera have been doing for decades. Consistent with that model, the streaming should be free and sponsored, rather than paid by the user.

    Rich said that the BSO and Tanglewood have been doing the spade work to enable paid concert downloading, focusing on both technology infrastructure and addressing rights issues with the orchestra itself. Rich reminded me that this is all very new territory for a traditional organization. I understand that and the value of a "walk before you run" approach. Still, for arts and cultural organizations like the BSO and Tanglewood, broadband is presenting exciting opportunities to extend their brands and build new revenues; I believe that these should be pursued as aggressively as possible.

    What do you think? Post a comment.

     
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