Friday, January 14, 2011, 10:51 AM ET|Posted by Will RichmondEven though I was very focused this week on the CES "takeaways" series, there was still plenty of news happening in the online and mobile video industries. So as in the past, I'm pleased to offer VideoNuze's end-of-week feature highlighting 5-6 interesting online/mobile video industry news items that we weren't able to cover this week. Enjoy!
Level 3 fights on in Comcast traffic dispute
Level 3 is showing no signs of relenting on its accusations that Comcast is unfairly trying to charge the CDN for Internet traffic it delivers to Comcast's network. In an interview this week, Level 3 said it may use the "Open Internet" provisions of the FCC's new network neutrality rules to press its case. Level 3's challenge is coming at the 11th hour of the FCC's approval process of the Comcast-NBCU deal; it's not really clear if Level 3 is having any impact on slowing the approval, which appears imminent.
Comcast-NBCU deal challenged over online video proposal
Speaking of challenges to the Comcast-NBCU deal, word emerged this week that Disney is voicing concern over the FCC's proposed deal condition that would force Comcast to offer NBC programming to any party that had concluded a deal with one of NBC's competitors for online distribution. The Disney concern appears to be that the condition would have an undue influence on how the online video market evolves and how Disney's own deals would be impacted. While the FCC should be setting conditions to the deal, the Disney concerns highlights how, in a nascent, fast-moving market like online video, government intervention can cause unintended side effects.
YouTube is notching 200 million mobile video views/day
As if on cue with my CES takeaway #3, that mobility is video's next frontier, YouTube revealed this week that it is now delivering 200 million mobile views per day, tripling its volume in 2010. That would equal about 6 billion views per month, which is remarkable. And that amount is poised to increase, as YouTube launched music video site VEVO for Android devices. YouTube clearly sees the revenue potential in all this mobile video activity; it also said that it would append a pre-roll ad in Android views for tens of thousands of content partners.
Google creates video codec dust-up
Google stirred up a hornet's nest this week by announcing that it was dropping support for the widely popular H.264 video codec in its Chrome browser, in favor of its own WebM codec, in an attempt to drive open standards. Though Chrome only represents about 10% market share among browsers (doubling in 2010 though), for these users, it means they'll need to use Flash to view non-WebM ended video. There are a lot of downstream implications of Google's move, but for space reasons, rather than enumerating them here, check out some of the great in-depth coverage the issue has received this week (here, here, here, here).
Netflix usage drives up Canadian broadband bills
An interesting test of Canadian Netflix streaming showed that a user there might have to pay an incremental $12/month under one ISP's consumption cap. That would be more than the $7.99/mo that the Netflix subscription itself costs, leading to potential cord-shaving behavior. This type of upcharge hasn't become an issue here in the U.S. because even ISPs that have caps have set them high relative to most users' current consumption. But if streaming skyrockets as many think it will, and the FCC allows usage-based billing, this could fast become a reality in the U.S. as well.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 9:53 AM ET|Posted by Will RichmondToday I'm pleased to offer a guest post from Jeff Malkin, president of Encoding.com. With all the recent news around video codecs, formats and corporate battles, the world is getting increasingly complicated for content providers looking to benefit from the shift to online video. Encoding.com is in the middle of this action and today Jeff cuts through the noise and provides some recommendations for success.
How to Navigate the Video Format Battlefield
by Jeff Malkin
For content publishers and consumers, there is chaos in the video ecosystem, and it's going to get worse before it gets better. No doubt you've been reading about HTML5 vs. Flash vs. Silverlight (and recently, WebM), Apple vs. Adobe, H.264 vs. VP8, iPhone vs. Android, Do-it-Yourself vs. OVP.
Whether serving tens or thousands of videos, maximizing viewership with reasonably high-quality videos across web and mobile devices is the new imperative. With so many permutations of video codecs, formats, containers and features, it's confusing to design a video workflow that's cost-effective, flexible to change with the evolving formats and scalable to meet your growth requirements. With this post, I offer a couple of recommendations to help simplify the array of options currently available.
Case in point: Just when it appeared that H.264 was emerging as the video codec leader, primarily because of YouTube support and strong backing by Apple on its devices, Google went and threw an open-sourced VP8 codec into the ring via the recently announced WebM project, a new video format launched by Google with support from other leading industry players such as Mozilla, Opera Software, Brightcove and Encoding.com.
While both H.264 and VP8 are good quality codecs, only VP8 is currently royalty-free and therefore has a great opportunity to emerge as the new leader within the next year or two. However, for web distribution today, we recommend encoding your videos using the H.264 video codec in an .mp4 container. This is a high-quality output format already supported by Flash, and the leading HTML5 browsers including Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer v9.