I’m pleased to present the 454th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Colin’s site published a provocative piece this week focused on whether YouTube is doing as much as it should for its vast network of content creators. In our first segment this week we debate this question. Colin asserts YouTube isn’t, while I counter it’s likely doing as much as it feels it needs to, and especially focuses on its biggest creators. We do agree that with YouTube’s audience still growing and advertisers returning, the question may be moot anyway.
We then dig into this week’s deal by Brightcove to acquire Ooyala’s OVP business, joining two traditional competitors. For me the deal illustrates the rising bar video platforms must meet for both publishers and users, driven by in-house technology found in Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube and others and the need for greater scale. From a strictly financial standpoint, Brightcove’s move seems savvy and opportunistic.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 3 seconds)
Brightcove has inked a deal to acquire Ooyala’s online video platform (OVP) business for $15 million, with $6.25 million paid in cash and the remainder in Brightcove stock. The deal joins two companies that were among the earliest entrants in the video platform industry in the mid-2000s and competitors ever since.
Ooyala had been previously bought by Australian telco Telstra in a couple of moves in 2012 and 2014 for over $300 million. Then it and other Telstra video investments were written down completely in 2016 and 2018, resulting in over $500 million in charges. Last fall Ooyala was spun off to management.
One of the highlights of last week’s SHIFT // Programmatic Video & TV Ad Summit was a joint presentation from Brightcove (Mike Green, VP, Marketing and Business Development, Media), SpotX (Kevin Schaum, Sr. Director, Mobile and Connected TV) and the IAB Tech Lab (Amit Shetty, Sr. Director, Video & Audio Products) on how server side ad insertion (SSAI) adds value to programmatic for both linear and on-demand advertising.
For those not familiar with SSAI (also known as “ad stitching”), this is a process for inserting ads into a piece of content (frequently long-form). There are multiple benefits of SSAI including better user experiences, reduced buffering, extended device reach, elimination of ad blocking and lower cost of deployment. Mike, Kevin and Amit elaborated on how these benefits are even more valuable for programmatic, especially in live and in skinny bundles, while also noting some of the key outstanding challenges.
The presentation clearly communicated how the industry needs to work together to evolve video advertising given new viewer behaviors, device proliferation and publishers’ pressures to fully monetize.
With the video now!
Brightcove has announced the beta availability of a new transcoding approach it calls Context Aware Encoding, which aims to save customers money through reduced storage and delivery bandwidth, while still optimizing visual quality.
Context Aware Encoding optimizes a video’s parameters including resolution and frame rate, plus codec parameters including bitrate, codec profile and level in order to create a set of specific adaptive bitrates. All of this is done by analyzing the video using machine learning to optimize it for devices and bandwidth.
Online video platform Brightcove has announced Brightcove Live, a live streaming solution that includes server-side ad insertion, cloud DVR, content encryption, on-the-fly clipping and VOD asset creation. Brightcove Live can be deployed as a standalone service and also as part of Brightcove’s broader Video Cloud platform, which means it taps into all of Video Cloud’s technology tools and partnerships.
Brightcove has published a manifesto highlighting ad-supported online video’s challenging economics and proposing improved viewing experiences, ad optimization and reduced operational complexity as critical solutions. While observing that online video usage has clearly “crossed the chasm” to become a mainstream experience, the manifesto notes that “the extreme concentration of ad dollars among a few mega companies” (citing Morgan Stanley research that 85% of incremental spending goes to Google and Facebook) will ultimately mean fewer content options.
I'm pleased to present the 348th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
We lead off this week with a cord-cutting update, based on reported Q3’16 results from the 11 largest pay-TV operators in the U.S. Video subscriber losses expanded a bit, to 255K in Q3 ’16 vs. 210K in Q3 ’15, with a continuing shift to cable operators and away from satellite and telco. As I wrote on Wednesday, depending on how the DirecTV Now, Hulu and YouTube skinny bundle launches in 2017, subscriber losses could accelerate.
We then shift to discussing new TiVo survey data that provides insights about online video viewers’ tolerance for ads. As Colin points out, despite respondents stating they have a low tolerance, their behavior suggests otherwise. That suggests there’s more potential for ad-supported premium video, in addition to the SVOD model that has thrived.
Speaking of ads, I also point out the surprising research from Brightcove this week, that 46% of people who watched a branded video on a social platform then made a purchase. That’s the kind of performance that gets marketers’ attention and could portend an increase of more TV ad dollars moving to social.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 24 seconds)
Here’s an eye-opening data point: according to new research from Brightcove, 46% of respondents said they made a purchase as a result of watching a branded video on social media (with 53% of U.S. respondents doing so). And another 32% of respondents said they considered doing so. The data shows the increasing importance of social media as an influential platform for marketers and the power of branded videos - as opposed to conventional 15 or 30-second ads - as a key purchase motivator.
With marketers increasingly concerned about ROI on their spending and consequently shifting dollars into digital media, the research only magnifies the challenge TV networks face in retaining advertisers’ allegiance.
Seeking to simplify and cost reduce the process of launching new OTT services, Brightcove and Accedo have partnered to introduce Brightcove OTT Flow, powered by Accedo, a turnkey OTT solution for media companies.
The solution was developed in response to the companies’ recognition that the OTT launch process typically involves numerous technology providers and custom development which in turn lead to steep development and maintenance costs plus long timelines. In the fast-moving OTT world, these obstacles hinder innovation and competitiveness.
Brightcove is evolving from helping companies play their videos to helping them make money from those videos; that’s the main theme CEO David Mendels highlighted to me in a briefing yesterday. Brightcove, one of the original online video platform companies, is capitalizing on what David describes as a still highly fragmented video technology landscape that creates a lot of complexity for content providers and marketers.
Last September Brightcove released its updated Brightcove Player and today the company is sharing evidence of its broad acceptance across the online video ecosystem of advertising, analytics and quality of service companies.
Key differentiators for the Brightcove Player include fast loading time (up to 70% faster than other players, according to head-to-head comparisons referenced by the company), support for HLS across all major mobile and desktop platforms, and a plugin architecture that enables easy third-party integrations. Combined, the company believes its player is the most powerful solution for publisher and distributors.
One of the highlights of the recent VideoSchmooze: Online Video Leadership Forum was the Best Practices in Video User Experiences session, which featured Mike Green (Brightcove), Anne Hunter (comScore), Paul Marcum (Bloomberg) and Steve Minichini (Assembly), with Jesse Redniss (BRaVe Ventures) expertly moderating.
The session included discussion of how viewers' video use cases vary by device (e.g. day-parting, information vs. entertainment content, etc.), the role of custom video in driving engagement, the effectiveness of auto-play video and ads (by Facebook and other content providers), how to combat bots/fraudulent traffic (estimated at 36% of all ads by comScore), appropriate buying criteria for video ads (GRP/reach, engagement, etc.) and lots more!
The full session video is included below.
A new study from Brightcove has found that 76% of consumers cite video as their preferred content source when consuming brand information, with 79% overall favoring digital content over traditional. In addition, 24% of respondents said video is their "most trusted" source for brand content, with 44% of them saying video was more appealing, authentic (29%), engaging (28%) and shareable (10%) than other communication formats.
Categories: Brand Marketing
As devices continue to proliferate, reaching viewers across multiple screens is becoming an imperative for advertisers. At the recent Video Ad Summit, one of our sessions focused on how advertisers are beginning to do this and what challenges remain. Participants included Larry Adams (Mindshare), Josh Chasin (comScore), Rob Holmes (Comcast), Chuck Parker (Brightcove), Katie Seitz (Tremor), with moderator Jeff Lanctot (Mixpo).
Brightcove announced this morning that it is acquiring Unicorn Media for approximately $49 million, a savvy move to expand into cloud-based video ad insertion, which is particularly beneficial for mobile devices.
Unicorn has differentiated itself by enabling content providers to dynamically insert ads in the cloud, rather than in the video player. By "stitching" ads in the cloud, Unicorn obviates some of the major issues in video ad insertion today, including delays and buffering caused by the video player switching between content and ad playback. These diminish the user experience, in turn causing abandonment which hurts overall consumption and monetization.
Poor quality online video experiences cost brands in numerous ways, according to a new Brightcove survey. 62% of respondents are likely to blame the brand, rather than their ISP or video hosting provider such as YouTube, when encountering poor quality video. In addition, 60% of respondents experiencing poor video quality said it would dissuade them from social engagement with the brand, 57% said they'd be less likely to share a low quality video and 23% said low quality would make them hesitant to purchase from the brand.
The Brightcove survey highlights quality issues with YouTube specifically, which brands have aggressively embraced for its massive reach. But while YouTube offers huge audience potential, 75% of survey respondents reported experiencing buffering and freezing on the site, with 33% saying these problems affect half of the videos they watch. This leads to about 1/3 of viewers experiencing problems abandoning the video rather than waiting for the buffering to stop.
Categories: Brand Marketing
I'm pleased to present the 180th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. There was a rush of interest around live streaming this week. Among the news items: ABC,TNT and TBS announced live streaming of their linear feeds; YouTube expanded its live feature and Brightcove launched a new live module, which followed thePlatform doing the same last week.
For live streaming TV, neither Colin nor I believe it will have broad appeal, with the possible exception of sports and maybe certain breaking news/events. It's no secret that on-demand, time-shifted viewing has surged in popularity, due to DVR penetration above 50% of U.S. homes and the widespread availability of TV programs online for on-demand use. So in a way live streaming TV is trying to put the genie back in the bottle - getting on-demand viewers to go back to linear.
The fundamental inconsistency to me in this is that if you're tech-savvy enough to be drawn to live streaming on an iOS device, you're even more likely to now be a mainly on-demand viewer. And for those not tech-savvy, who still do enjoy linear viewing, well, why do you need an live streaming app when you can just watch on your TV as you always have? Even the sports use case is a bit thin as watching out-of-home for most will be very expensive given mobile data rates, and most mobile device viewing happens in the home anyway.
Nonetheless, Colin and I describe all the reasons we think other TV networks are likely to roll out live streaming in the coming months as well. Maybe we're missing something, but it strikes us that these will have more to do with PR (countering Aereo for example) and supporting TV Everywhere/retransmission consent negotiations and won't end up resonating broadly with users. More interesting I think is the CW's move to make its shows available free next day on-demand via Apple TV and other devices which seems in synch with users' expectations.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (17 minutes, 17 seconds)
Live streaming is continuing to get a lot of mind share these days from both content providers and technology companies. The latest example in the latter category is Brightcove, which yesterday introduced in beta the Brightcove Video Cloud Live, a module to support live streaming across multiple devices.
A key part of Video Cloud Live is the recently announced Brightcove Zencoder Live Transcoding service, which provides live transcoding as a scalable API. This obviates the need for content providers to purchase and maintain their own hardware for encoding live events. This in turn reduces cost and complexity of running live events, making them far more feasible to offer to viewers. The Zencoder service also produces multiple adaptive bitrate streams so that users on various devices get the right stream for them.
At the NABShow last week I did a short video interview with Albert Lai, Brightcove's CTO for Media and Broadcast. In the interview, Albert explained Brightcove's expanded TV Everywhere integrations with Adobe Pass and Akamai's Sola Vision Identity Services.
It's well understood that if content providers are to distribute to multiple devices via TV Everywhere, security and authentication are paramount. By integrating with Adobe and Akamai, Brightcove is trying to provide its content customers with multiple authentication choices depending on their preferences, helping reduce friction in TVE rollouts.
Brightcove is announcing a clever new cloud-based transcoding service this morning that allows users to begin playing back a video even before its entire file has been transcoded. Dubbed "Zencoder Instant Play" (for the transcoding company Brightcove recently acquired), the service gives content providers with time-sensitive video the key benefit of a faster publishing cycle. In areas like news and sports, this could mean establishing an early lead in viewership and monetization for breaking stories.