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Analysis for 'Android'

  • Disney-Google Deal is a Big Win for Consumers

    If you have kids that love to gorge themselves on Disney, Pixar and Marvel movies, then today's news that Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) has been integrated with Google Play, allowing Android users full access to their purchased movies, is a huge win.

    Since February, when Disney Movies Anywhere launched, movies have only been viewable on the web, in iTunes and on iOS devices. Given the close Disney-Apple relationship, it made a ton of sense for Disney to launch DMA with iTunes. However, there's a big mobile world beyond Apple devices, with comScore reporting Android accounted for 51.5% of smartphones in July '14 and IDC recently reporting that iPad market share has dropped to less than 23%. Getting beyond Apple was clearly an imperative for DMA.

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  • AOL Video Goes Mobile with New iOS and Android Apps

    AOL has announced this morning new iOS and Android apps that provide access to over 420K curated videos from its AOL On Network. AOL is including videos from its owned properties such as Engadget, TechCrunch, HuffPo Live and partners like Martha Stewart, Travel Channel and E!.

    I've been playing around with the app a bit on my iPad this morning and it's a strong user experience. Upon launch, a set of highlight videos moves across the screen, with others displayed below. At left there's an icon which allows the user to pick videos from among 14 channels like Business, Food or Parenting. At right there's an icon that allows the user to go directly to certain content properties and/or search within them. The videos can then be sorted A-Z, by date, or by number of views. I only have one nit which is that there's no persistent "home" icon to get back to the starting point (you have to navigate to "Top Picks").

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  • Brightcove Expands Beyond Video, Introduces "App Cloud" Platform

    Brightcove is introducing a new product this morning called Brightcove App Cloud, a platform which allows content publishers to build and manage apps and "touch" web sites for iOS and Android devices. The move is the first product expansion beyond video since Brightcove's inception. Brightcove is also announcing that it has changed the name of its video platform to Brightcove Video Cloud and that it is positioning the company as a "cloud content services company." Brightcove's SVP of Marketing Jeff Whatcott brought me up to speed on all the moves late yesterday.

    The App Cloud initiative is based on feedback from content customers that it is becoming increasingly necessary for them to develop content experiences for smartphones, tablets, connected devices and social media sites like Facebook, all of which go beyond traditional web sites. However, these requirements have introduced massive complexity and cost to content publishers, forcing companies to choose between creating low-end apps using "app factory" tools (as Jeff described), or more custom experiences leveraging native SDKs. This tradeoff between the former's strong affordability and reach vs. the latter's flexibility and power has created what Brightcove sees as a gap in the market for a robust "app platform."

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  • HBO GO Launches on iOS and Android Devices: A Necessary But Insufficient Step

    Today marks the "official" launch of HBO GO - the premium cable network's authenticated TV Everywhere service - on mobile devices running iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod) and the Android OS, although it has been technically available since late last week in the iTunes App Store and Android Market. HBO signaled May 2nd as the date of availability in a teaser video posted last month on YouTube, and I'm guessing a press release will be forthcoming.

    With the iOS/Android rollout, HBO has taken a necessary, but insufficient step toward improving its standing in a world that has grown dramatically more competitive in a very short time. HBO GO, which is only available to HBO subscribers, and even then, only to those whose pay-TV operator has a deal to authenticate HBO GO, is narrowly focused on delivering more value to those who have already  chosen to subscribe to HBO. As HBO co-president Eric Kessler told the NY Times in February, "It's about enhancing the satisfaction and continuing the life cycle of the subscriber."

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  • Android Market to Roll Out Movies?

    Engadget had an intriguing blurb this week regarding the availability of book downloads now being available in the Android Market. More interesting is the existence of a new movie-related URL in Android Market, along with one for music. With the surging popularity of Android devices, including the new Xoom tablet from Motorola plus lots of others, some type of movie service would seem inevitable.

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  • CES Takeaway #3: Mobility is Video's Next Frontier

    (Note: Each day this week I'm writing about one key takeaway from last week's CES 2011. Also, next Wednesday, January 19th, The Diffusion Group's Colin Dixon and I will be hosting a complimentary webinar, "Demystifying CES 2011," in which we'll discuss key CES highlights and answer participants' questions.)

    One of the clear trends that emerges from the video-related product announcements at CES 2011, and in the months leading up to it, is that mobility is video's next frontier.

    Just as online video adoption grew out of massive online Internet use, mobile video consumption is going to ride the tremendous wave of mobile Internet use. And by many accounts mobile Internet usage is on the cusp of a massive expansion. The analyst Mary Meeker believes that by 2014 there will be more mobile Internet users globally (about 1.6 billion) than desktop Internet users. In just the past year, the number of Americans who have used the Internet from their mobile phones has increased from 32% to 40%, with those reporting they accessed the 'net several times a day from a mobile phone jumping from 24% to 43%, according to Pew.

    Unquestionably the big growth in mobile Internet use has been facilitated by the explosion of video-friendly smartphones and tablets. Indeed CES could have almost been renamed "Tablet-Fest 2011" as numerous tablets were introduced, all seeking to imitate the iPad's huge success. In 2011, IDC predicts 330 million smartphones and 42 million tablets will be sold worldwide. In the U.S., Nielsen estimates that by the end of 2011, smartphones will have a greater market share than feature phones. Certainly Verizon's iPhone announcement yesterday is another smartphone accelerant, with Verizon loyalists finally gaining access to the iconic device. A recent study from MeFeedia underscored Apple's role in driving mobile video adoption: 43% of mobile video usage was from iPhones and iPads, with Android bringing in 21%. In addition to the proliferation of devices, the rollout of speedy 4G networks will make mobile video consumption easier and more pleasing to viewers.

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  • Comcast To Offer Live, VOD Access on Tablets

    Comcast is announcing this morning that it will allow subscribers to stream live programs to their iPads or Android tablets later this year (no definite time disclosed). While the caveat is that only in-home usage will only be permitted, the benefits are still meaningful. For instance, subscribers who were paying for (or considering paying for) additional outlets in 2nd and 3rd rooms, which are only casually used, could now save money by not taking service in those rooms and using their iPads instead.

    Further, subscribers can now watch in rooms that possibly didn't even have a TV. I'm familiar with this example, as I've used my iPad to watch Netflix content in various areas of my house that don't have TVs or cable service. Presumably the roadmap calls for out-of-home viewing as well, giving it full Sling-like benefits (at no additional cost). That would provide even more value to tablet owners.

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  • Online/Mobile Video's Top 10 of 2010

    2010 was another spectacular year of growth and innovation in online and mobile video, so it's no easy feat to choose the 10 most significant things that happened during the year. However, I've taken my best shot below, and offered explanations. No doubt I've forgotten a few things, but I think it's a pretty solid list. As much as happened in 2010 though, I expect even more next year, with plenty of surprises.

    My top 10 are as follows:

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  • Comcast Launches First Android Xfinity Mobile App

    Three weeks after launching its free Xfinity mobile app for Apple iOS devices, today Comcast introduced the Android version of the app. From a video features perspective, the iOS and Android versions line up pretty closely, including search and browse of the On Demand catalog, remote DVR programming and a searchable guide to local listings. All of these are handy, but as I wrote a few weeks ago, the big win for Comcast and its customers will happen when it's possible to actually watch a TV show or movie selected using the app (that capability is coming soon and is part of the larger TV Everywhere strategy).

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  • 5 Items of Interest for the Week of Oct. 4th

    It's Friday and that means that once again VideoNuze is featuring 5-6 interesting online/mobile video industry stories that we weren't able to cover this week. Have a look at them now, or take them with you for weekend reading!

    Verizon to Launch 4G LTE Networks in 38 Markets
    Verizon will enable 5-12 megabit/second mobile data speeds in 38 markets, reaching 110 million Americans by the end of the year. The 4G technology, known as "LTE" promises a major new growth opportunity for HD mobile video, making smartphones and tablets even more appealing as video viewing devices.

    Time Warner Sees Ally in Web
    Time Warner's CEO Jeff Bewkes understands the Google TV value proposition, explaining that it will help program discovery and provide another option for paying subscribers to view. Those sentiments echo what I said in my initial thoughts on Google TV, that incumbent TV networks should be enthusiastic about Google TV because it doesn't disrupt their business models, but - by fully tying in the Internet - creates all kinds of new on-screen engagement opportunities. I expect other TV networks will follow soon.

    Sony's Crackle movie and TV streaming service debuts on Android phone app
    In a sea of new Android app releases, the new app from Crackle stands out because it offers streaming of full-length TV shows and movies on all Android devices. I sampled it this week on my Droid X and the video quality was outstanding. With the launch of LTE from Verizon later this year (see above), the quality bar will be raised further. Given Android's momentum, all premium quality video providers (e.g. TV networks, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, etc.) should be optimizing their content for it.

    Rupert Murdoch: Simultaneous Theater-VOD Release 'a Big Mistake'
    A word of caution from News Corp head Rupert Murdoch: so-called "premium VOD" - where theatrical release windows shorten to allow for a new high-priced home VOD option - is a mistake. Murdoch didn't give further details, though he does see some window compression happening. I continue to argue premium VOD would be a wrongheaded move by pay-TV operators who should be focusing on new ways to deliver more programming for lower prices (to compete better with Netflix, etc.) than less programming for higher prices.

    Ford revs up Web series
    The latest branded entertainment entry is from Ford, which has partnered with the producers of "The Amazing Race" to create "Focus Rally: America" a new series serving as pre-launch marketing for Ford's new Focus cars that will be featured on Hulu. Ford will use the series to highlight the SYNC and MyFord Touch entertainment/navigation options. Branded entertainment continues to gain steam as an augment to traditional TV advertising as the format allows brands to tell a fuller story in a more immersive context than 30-second TV spots allow.

    What do you think? Post a comment now (no sign-in required).
     
  • For Mobile Video, Primetime Continues to be Most of the Time

    Rhythm New Media's Q2 '10 mobile video advertising report, which is being released this morning, continues to show how mobile video consumption is spread throughout the day. Unlike online video or traditional TV, where there's a large difference in viewership between the 8pm-11pm primetime daypart vs. other dayparts, the Rhythm data (see below) shows a more even distribution. Rhythms data is based on about 1 billion content views and 75 ad campaigns run during the quarter. Adam Wright reported similar findings in Rhythm's Q1 '10 report.


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  • 7 Quick Reactions to Hulu Plus

    Hulu unveiled its much-rumored subscription service this afternoon, dubbed "Hulu Plus." I haven't used the new service, but based on the explanation and the teaser video, here are 7 quick reactions:

    1. Is there consumer demand for Hulu Plus? - This looms as the fundamental question that will be answered as Hulu Plus rolls out. From CEO Jason Kilar's blog post, it appears that, at least initially, Hulu Plus is a bet on consumers having an appetite for a library of broadcast network programs since that's all that's been highlighted so far. Hulu identifies about 2,000 library episodes in addition to current seasons. Unless Hulu Plus really beefs up its catalog, it won't be long before the library holds few surprises for returning visitors.

    2. Hulu Plus lacks many of Netflix's advantages - It's tempting to think of Hulu Plus competing directly with Netflix, and to an extent of course they're after the same general target consumer. But Netflix has several very significant advantages: a brand that's identified with subscriptions and 14 million+ currently paying subscribers, a deep DVD library of 100,000+ titles (which has every single episode Hulu Plus will be offering), a streaming library of 17,000+ titles (offered at no extra cost to subscribers) and integrations with all the same devices Hulu Plus is touting (except the iPhone, which is coming soon). Further, Netflix has far deeper resources; it is a public company with a $6 billion market cap that spends $250 million/year on marketing and has publicly-stated commitment to obtain more streaming rights from Hollywood. With Netflix on one side and cable on another, it's unclear how Hulu Plus will expand its menu. I don't see Hulu Plus diminishing Netflix's rapid growth.

    3. Ads in Hulu Plus would be a big-time buzz-kill - I did a double-take when I first read this line in Jason's post: "Hulu Plus is a new revolutionary, ad-supported subscription product that is incremental and complementary to the existing Hulu service." Whoa - are there going to be ads in Hulu Plus? That will be a flat-out non-starter for many prospective subscribers. Yes, I know about ad-supported cable networks, but that's for first-run programming, not for library or catch-up fare. Hulu Plus must be an ad-free zone. Meanwhile, it's important that Hulu still prove the 100% ad-supported business model for its existing experience. With much in flux regarding ad loads there's new messaging Hulu will likely be rolling there too.

    4. Why wasn't Android or Google TV mentioned? - Is it a little weird that there was no mention of Android or Google TV in today's unveiling? I think so. Android is fast-gaining on the iPhone (surpassed by some metrics) and Google TV is poised to make a big splash in the fall. Why no mention? Is there an anti-Google bias at work?

    5. Hulu Plus adds more support for HTML5 - Hulu Plus is another boost for HTML5 and another small dent for Flash. By making Hulu Plus available on non-Flash supported Apple devices, the it seems the Hulu team has been willing to make the investment to diversify beyond Flash, which it has used since launch.

    6. Comcast must already be considering how it exits the Hulu joint venture - When the Comcast-NBCU deal clears, Comcast will inherit NBCU's ownership stake in Hulu. With Hulu Plus it's hard to see why Comcast will want to retain that stake. There's no discernible benefit to Comcast owning a minority position in a new over-the-top subscription service that whets the appetite of potential cord-cutters. It's one thing for selective NBC programs to be freely available for catch-up on Hulu.com, but a deeper library in a paid subscription service? No way, especially not as Comcast is trying to build value in its own TV Everywhere service.

    7. Hulu gets credit for a well-executed launch - Stepping back, the Hulu team deserves credit for keeping its subscription under tight wraps and executing a solid launch. There have been no shortage of rumors, but to my knowledge there haven't been any specifically identifiable leaks in the Hulu ship. That's a big accomplishment, especially when you consider how many people must have had knowledge of the plans. The launch includes a well-articulated CEO message, a nicely-done sizzle reel (that is in Flash, which makes it not viewable on the iPad or iPhone!), several device integrations and a roadmap of add-ons, and a slow-rollout plan that will generate excitement among early adopters.

    There are still many unknowns about Hulu Plus, but for now this is plenty to chew on.

    What do you think? Post a comment now (no sign-in required).
     
  • Verizon Launches Droid X; Video is a Key Proposition in Battle with iPhone 4

    Verizon officially unveiled its latest Droid smartphone this afternoon, the Droid X from Motorola, running Google's Android 2.1 mobile OS (with an upgrade to Android 2.2 planned for later this summer). I've been following coverage this afternoon, and aside from all of the other cool new features, what resounds most for me is how video-focused the device is, and how strongly Verizon will be promoting this. 


    I've previously said that video would move to the forefront of the ferocious smartphone battle underway between Google (with Android) and Apple (with the iPhone). With the Droid X launch, and the recent HTC Evo from Sprint (which I've been testing and will report on next week), plus numerous others to follow, I'm convinced that we are now getting into the thick of things.


    From what I've read about the Droid X, there are 3 dimensions of the video proposition, each of which stacks up differently with the iPhone 4: (1) shooting video, in 720p HD, (2) watching video on the device's 4.3 inch 854 x 480 resolution screen, and (3) connecting the device via DLNA over a home network or via an HDMI-out port to your widescreen TV. 

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  • Brightcove Extends Platform to Serve Android Mobile Devices

    Brightcove is announcing this morning that it has extended its platform to serve Android mobile devices, the latest sign of momentum behind Google's mobile operating system. The new functionality includes an SDK for Android and new mobile templates for Flash Player 10.1, which together cover the spectrum of video viewed in apps and in browsers. Brightcove's president David Mendels provided further insight in a briefing last week.

    What Brightcove is now doing for Android mirrors what the company did for the iPhone last November in the Brightcove 4 launch. Resources included in the Android solution are pre-built components for playback, content discovery, and connections into the Brightcove Media API. Next on the Android support roadmap are easy sharing to social media sites, improved navigation and discovery. For Flash 10.1, Brightcove has created a set of templates that will adapt to mobile devices and their playback context. These include right-sized player controls and a UI for smaller mobile screens. Flash 10.1 is now available for Android devices running Android 2.2 ("Froyo") and is also supported on BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, Symbian and others.

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  • Kyte is Bullish on Android; Releases New SDK and App Framework

    Further expanding its mobile offering, Kyte announced this morning both an SDK and an "App Framework" for the Android OS. The SDK eliminates a lot of the complexity for developers to do custom implementations of Kyte-powered video and interactivity for their Android apps. The "App Framework" provides a template with pre-built modules (e.g. video playback, UGC video integration, commenting and chat, location-based events, Twitter and RSS readers) so new Android apps can be quickly built and released.

    Kyte's COO Gannon Hall told me yesterday that both are comparable to the previously-released iPhone and BlackBerry SDK and Mobile App Frameworks. Examples of how the templatized iPhone App Framework have recently been used include UMG's Lady Gaga app and MTV's "Hope for Haiti" digital telethon app, which Gannon said was built in record time.

    Gannon said the Android moves are further validation of Kyte's positioning as a "360 degree solution," helping companies easily deliver video to consumers everywhere they want. He sees continued fragmentation across operating systems, devices and formats as some of the tectonic "Apple/Google/Adobe/fill-in-the-blank" battles sort themselves out.

    Gannon explained that even as Kyte has been expanding its social and set-top box functionality recently, it has seen the most growth in mobile. He's particularly bullish on Android, calling out last week's NPD research that Android was the #2 selling smartphone OS in Q1 '10, behind BlackBerry, but ahead of the iPhone. He also compared Android in certain ways to Windows, much like Will has as well, but added that because Android is open source, it allows developers to enhance and improve it - a big distinction from Windows. Note - the buzz around Android and video will grow much louder later today as Google and partners Intel and Sony announce their "SmartTV" initiative, built on the Android platform.

    Regardless of the underlying technology, consumers just want video wherever they are. That's why, as these technologies segment and codecs continue to compete for dominance, OVPs that offer solutions to help content creators navigate through the myriad of technologies and cost-effectively deliver robust apps will have the competitive advantage.

    What do you think? Post a comment now (no sign-in required).

     
  • iPhones vs. Android Phones - The Competitive Battle is Underway

    A report from market research firm NPD earlier this week, showing that in Q1 '10, sales of smartphones running the Android operating system outpaced the iPhone by 28% to 21% (though both were behind RIM at 36%), highlighted something that I've been thinking about a lot lately: could it be that Apple is about to replay in smartphones its losing fight from the past against Microsoft-Intel in desktop computers?

    While plenty is different about today's Apple, the basic contours are similar. Apple, the vertically integrated and control-oriented hardware/software/service company has a well-loved, but extremely narrow smartphone product line. Meanwhile, smartphones based on the Android OS are sprouting like wildflowers, riding a wave of broad OEM adoption, wider customer choices, heavy purchase incentives by multiple carriers and diffused innovation (note Google is saying its partners are shipping 65K Android smartphones each day). Aren't these some of the main reasons why Microsoft and PC OEMs swamped Apple in desktop computers?

    I'm not suggesting Apple is headed for a fall any time soon, but one thing's for sure, Apple's early ownership of the smartphone category is over; the market has caught up. One area where we can expect the iPhone vs. Android competition to be particularly intense is in video. As the Evo's launch (see above) shows - better screens, network capacity and yes format support (i.e. Flash) are going to be pushed as proof points for sexy video apps. Meanwhile Apple has ensnared itself in the ever-escalating battle with Adobe over Flash, which is a huge distraction. It will be interesting to see how these iPhone vs. Android sales numbers unfold in 2010.

    What do you think? Post a comment now (no sign-in required).
     
  • VideoNuze Report Podcast #46 - January 22, 2010

    Daisy Whitney and I are pleased to present the 46th edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for January 22, 2010.

    Daisy gets us started today, discussing recent smartphone research from eMarketer. According to the research, in Q4 '09, the percentage of people saying they're interested in purchasing an Android phone jumped from 6% to 21%, while the iPhone's dropped from 32% to 28%, creating a narrow 7% gap. In addition, research on how the phones are actually used revealed extremely similar behavior, with usage skewed toward reading news on the Internet, using apps, social networking and IM.

    Daisy's takeaway is that this could be early signals that the smartphone market may be getting commoditized. I add that with the proliferation of Android phones, and the disproportionate amount of retail shelf space they'll soon take up, Apple could well find itself in the familiar spot of competing against a large and growing ecosystem of well-aligned competitors (i.e. similar to competing against the Windows ecosystem). Time will tell.

    We then switch gears and I add some more detail to Boxee's plan to offer a payment platform, which it unveiled this week. Boxee's move is yet another effort to shift the online video model from advertising, which has of course accounted for the dominant share of the online video industry's revenue to date. In addition to Boxee, this week we've also seen additional paid model initiatives: YouTube dipped its toe into rentals, rumors resurfaced of Hulu's subscription plans, and, outside the video space, the NYTimes.com's announced plans to erect a pay wall early next year. And that's all on top of TV Everywhere's rollout.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (11 minutes, 47 seconds)

    Click here for previous podcasts

    The VideoNuze Report is available in iTunes...subscribe today!

     
  • Google and Apple Collide in Mobile; Video Poised to Benefit

    Google and Apple both unveiled key mobile initiatives yesterday, underscoring the collision path the two companies are on, and how long-term, video is poised to benefit from their battle.

    First, as you no doubt already know, Google introduced the Nexus One, an Android-powered smartphone that it is selling directly to consumers. It is Google's first foray into consumer devices and many more products sure to follow. Meanwhile, Apple, in a rare significantly-sized deal, acquired Quattro Wireless, a mobile advertising company, for around $300 million. Quattro represents Apple's first real push into advertising, an important shift from its traditional iTunes-driven paid media model.

    With its own device, Google is primarily looking to compete against Apple's iPhone, which has practically owned the U.S. smartphone market since its introduction 2 years ago. And Apple, with a toehold in the exploding mobile advertising market, is positioning itself to disrupt Google's planned dominance of mobile advertising through its pending $750 million AdMob acquisition. If Apple were to make additional acquisitions, particularly in the online video advertising space, that would further strengthen its position.

    Mobile video is poised to be a real winner in the Google vs. Apple face-off. At a minimum, the two companies' considerable marketing spending (plus those of competitors Palm, RIM, Nokia and others) will mean smartphones in millions more consumers' hands, dramatically expanding the video-ready universe. In addition, the experience of watching mobile video will just keep getting better. For example, the Nexus One's screen resolution (480x800) surpasses the iPhone's (320x480), which only means Apple will need to up the ante even further with its next generation. The range of video applications is sure to surge as more and more players stake out their ground.

    Importantly, because there are no powerful incumbent distributors in mobile video - as there are in the living room, with cable/satellite/telco - I believe there is more flexibility in how premium video can be distributed to smartphones. Until recently mobile was an "on-deck" world where everything had to be approved and carried by the wireless carrier. But mobile is quickly evolving to take on open Internet-like characteristics, where applications and services are not gatekeeped by a distributor. In short, mobile looks to be more like online distribution than traditional video distribution. As power in mobile shifts to players like Apple and Google, it should also be a wake-up call to the FCC, whose planned wireless carrier-focused net neutrality paradigm already looks out of date.

    While there have been recent rumbles about Apple doing something with subscription video for the living room, instead the company likely has more latitude in mobile to go well beyond the pay-per-use iTunes model, especially if it can also bring in advertising. Meanwhile, by having its own device and operating system, Google is optimizing the YouTube mobile experience. As this YouTube blog post points out, the Nexus One is an improved way to search, view and upload YouTube videos. With YouTube enjoying such benefits not just on Nexus One, but on all Android phones, YouTube becomes an even more valuable partner for premium content providers looking to generate mobile usage.

    Google and Apple will be jousting for years to come in the mobile space. The opportunities for growth for both companies are sizable. I fully expect that video is a going to be an increasingly important part of the battle.

    What do you think? Post a comment now.

     
  • Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010

    It's time to say goodbye to 2009 and begin looking ahead to 2010.

    2009 was yet another important year in the ongoing growth of broadband and mobile video. There were many exciting developments, but several stand out for me: the announcement and launches of initial TV Everywhere services, the raising of at least $470 million in new capital by video-oriented companies, YouTube's and Hulu's impressive growth to 10 billion streams/mo and 856 million streams/mo, respectively, the iPhone's impact on popularizing mobile video, the Comcast-NBCU deal, the maturing of the online video advertising model, the proliferation of Roku and other convergence devices and the growth of Netflix's Watch Instantly, just to name a few.

    Looking ahead to next year, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about video's growth: the rollout of TV Everywhere by multiple providers, the proliferation of Android-powered smartphones and buildout of advanced mobile networks, both of which will contribute to mobile video's growth, the launch of Apple's much-rumored tablet, which could create yet another category of on-the-go content access, the introduction of new convergence devices, helping bridge video to the TV for more people, new made-for-broadband video series, which will help expand the medium's appeal, and wider syndication, which will make video ever more available.

    In the midst of all this change, monetization remains the fundamental challenge for broadband and mobile video. More specifically, for both content providers and distributors, the challenge is how to ensure that the video industry avoids the same downward revenue spiral that the Internet itself has wrought on print publishers.

    Regardless of all the technology innovations, high-quality content still costs real money to produce. If consumers are going to be offered quality choices, a combination of them paying for it along with advertising, is essential. While it's important to be consumer-friendly, this must always be balanced with a sustainable business model. In short, no matter what the size of the audience is, giving something away for free without a clear path for effectively monetizing it is not a strategy for long-term success.

    VideoNuze will be on hiatus until Monday, January 4th (unless of course something big happens during this time). I'll be catching my breath in anticipation of a busy 2010, and hope you will too.

    Thank you for finding time in your busy schedules to read and pass along VideoNuze. It's incredibly gratifying to hear from many of you about how important a role VideoNuze plays in helping you understand the disruptive change sweeping through the industry. I hope it will continue to do so in the new year.

    A huge thank you also to VideoNuze's sponsors - without them, VideoNuze wouldn't be possible. This year, over 40 companies supported the VideoNuze web site and email, plus the VideoSchmooze evenings and other events. I'm incredibly grateful for their support. As always, if you're interested in sponsoring VideoNuze, please contact me.

    Happy holidays to all of you, see you in 2010!

     
  • 2009 Prediction #2: Mobile Video Takes Off, Finally

    As promised, each day this week I'm sharing one prediction for 2009, with each one getting progressively bolder as the week progresses (and yes, I'll concede - as a number of you privately pointed out to me - yesterday's forecast that the Syndicated Video Economy would grow in '09 was a pretty wimpy start). So moving out a little further on the limb, today's prediction #2 is that video delivered directly to mobile/wireless devices will take off in '09, finally.

    For those of you who have been following mobile/wireless video delivery, this has been a market that's perpetually been "just around the corner." In fact, a little over a year ago when I was planning VideoNuze, several people suggested that I shouldn't just focus on broadband delivery (as I define it to mean high-speed wired delivery of video to a home or business), but also mobile/wireless video. But after doing some due diligence I concluded that the market wasn't there yet, and that the vast majority of new video activity would be focused on wired broadband. Indeed, I think that's how '07 and much of '08 have shaped up.

    However, having tracked recent activity in the mobile video space, I think '09 is going to be a big year of growth and recognition for this new medium (in fact, an old friend gently chastised me over lunch last week for even drawing a distinction between wired and wireless delivery, saying, "come on, it's ALL broadband!" I think he makes a very fair point.)

    What has traditionally held back mobile delivery are a lack of video-capable devices, voice and text-focused wireless networks and a closed "on-deck" paradigm, which is the wireless carrier's version of the cable and satellite industry's proverbial walled-garden.

    These limitations have now been mostly addressed, or are in the process of being addressed. On the device side, the most notable video-capable device is of course the iPhone, which by my calculations has already sold over 13 million units and is on its way to almost 20 million by the end of the year. Everyone I know who has an iPhone - especially kids - are infatuated with the video feature (if you've never seen it, especially now using AT&T's 3G network, get thee to an Apple store immediately!). In '09, the iPhone is poised for even greater popularity as Wal-Mart begins stocking it, possibly for just $99. Recession or not, the iPhone is going to remain white hot.

    Not to be lost in the iPhone's phenomenal wake are many other new video-capable phones. There's of course the new G1 from T-Mobile, powered by Android, Google's new mobile OS. I got my first look at one last week, and though not as sleek as the iPhone, I was able to watch excellent YouTube video. There are plenty of others to choose from as well, including the Samsung Propel, the LG Incite, the new BlackBerry Storm and the latest mother-of-all-phones, the Nokia N64, which comes with 16GB of internal memory (enough for 40 hours of video). Whereas many of us today carry phones incapable or barely capable of viewing video, in '09 the replacement process will be in full swing.

    Of course, all the cool devices in the world don't matter unless you have a robust underlying network and the freedom to view what you want. On this front, the wireless carriers' push to build out their next generation 3G networks finally allows sufficient bandwidth to view high-quality video (though not HD yet). Next up is 4G, first from Clearwire, the SprintNextel-Intel-Google-cable industry consortium that's deploying its WiMax network with speeds of up to 6 Mbps downstream being promised. There's also MediaFLO, Qualcomm's mobile broadcasting platform that has steadily built out an ecosystem of technology, carrier and content partners.

    Last but not least are the consumer-focused services and applications. Until recently, this market has mainly consisted of packaged subscription services like Verizon's VCast and MobiTV, which itself recently announced more than 5 million subscribers. The combination of new devices and networks promises to bring an increase in on-demand, web-based, ad-supported video consumption (plus paid downloads to be sure, courtesy of the iPhone mainly). Another interesting twist is the advent of live broadcasting from mobile devices, powered by providers like Qik, Kyte and Mogulus. These all supercharge the Twitter micro-blogging phenomenon.

    All of this underscores why the distinction between wired and wireless broadband really becomes meaningless over time. The mobile experience is going to seem more and more like the one you have sitting at your computer, with the added benefit of portability. To throw a blue-sky variable into the mix, one wonders if at some point you'll simply plug your phone into your TV and watch streamed or downloaded video that way, rather than through a set-top box or a wired broadband connection. There's a convergence concept for you!

    Years in the making, mobile/wireless video is finally upon us, and '09 is going to be a big year. That's good news for all of us as consumers, and it surely means I'll be working a lot harder to stay on top of things.

    What do you think? Post a comment now.

    Previous, Prediction #1: Syndicated Video Economy Grows

    Tomorrow, 2009 Prediction #3

     
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