5 Items of Interest for the Week of Sept. 13thFriday, September 17, 2010, 9:32 AM ET|It's Friday and that means once again VideoNuze is featuring 5-6 interesting online/mobile video industry stories that we weren't able to cover this week. Read them now or take them with you for the weekend. Enjoy!
Meet YouTube's Most In-Demand Brand Stars
A fascinating look at how major brands are hiring amateurs who have gained large followings on YouTube to pitch their products. The concept of "celebrity spokesperson" is getting redefined in the online video era.
Logitech Revue with Google TV Coming 9/29 for $299, Dish Network Offering Discounts?
We may be less than 2 weeks away from Logitech's "Revue," the first implementation of Google TV, hitting the market, with Dish Network subscribers possibly getting a deeply discounted $179 offer. The connected device space is increasingly crowded and there's high anticipation to see how Google TV stacks up.
Pre-order a Boxee Box Now
Speaking of connected devices, Boxee announced this week that pre-ordering is available from Amazon for its Boxee Box connected device, manufactured by D-Link. Like Google TV, but unlike Apple TV or Roku, Boxee offers the prospect of browsing the full Internet for video, not just what's been integrated with the device.
Samsung Reveals Tablet Launch Plans
Meanwhile the strongest potential competitor to the iPad, Samsung's "Tab" will begin shipping in just a few weeks, with availability from all 4 major U.S. wireless carriers. The Tab is very focused on mobile video, running Android 2.2 which supports Flash 10.1. That means Hulu and all other Flash-based video should work, significantly expanding the universe of choices beyond what is available on the iPad. No pricing yet, but the Tab looks like a meaningful iPad alternative.
Ivi Seeks to Become an Online Cable System
Can an online service retransmit network TV through the Internet, and charge for it without having any underlying agreements in place with the networks themselves? That's what Ivi, which unveiled its software this week, is attempting to do, pointing to U.S. copyright law as making its offer legit. We'll see; with TV networks gaining no new revenue coming in plus the risk of cannibalization we should expect them to raise vigorous legal challenges.
Categories: Aggregators, Brand Marketing, Broadcasters, Devices, Mobile Video
Topics: Boxee, D-Link, Google TV, Ivi, Logitech, Samsung, YouTube
Boxee to Support Paid Options by End of Q2Wednesday, January 20, 2010, 9:30 AM ET|
Boxee is announcing this morning that it plans to support paid options for premium video by the end of Q2. To date, Boxee has been delivering mostly free, often ad-supported, video, though users of subscription services like Netflix and MLB could also access these. The new initiative means that Boxee will process transactions itself, so Boxee will become a legitimate option for content providers who want to charge for their programming. Avner Ronen, Boxee's CEO and co-founder told me more about the plan yesterday.
Avner likened Boxee's approach to Apple's App Store, in that content providers will be able to set their own pricing and business model (e.g. rental, subscription, etc.). Boxee will work with a payment partner (not yet disclosed) which will provide the platform itself, with Boxee developing a 1-click UI for consumers as well as a content partner console. Avner said Boxee hasn't decided on the transaction percentage it aims to charge, but did say it will be less than the 30% or so that others like iTunes and Amazon ordinarily keep.
Boxee has attracted a strong early adopter following and has unveiled plans to launch its first convergence device, the Boxee Box, with partner D-Link. The move to support paid video is significant because as Boxee reaches into more mainstream homes, it could be yet another meaningful "over-the-top" alternative for consumers to pay for just the content they want, further pressuring the traditional multichannel subscription model. Microsoft's Xbox Live Marketplace with the Xbox 360 is probably the closest comparable set up, although it supports downloading, whereas Boxee is focused solely on streaming.
While digital delivery offers new convenience, an issue for both streaming and downloading is limited portability. Avner said that one way Boxee intends to address this is to offer authentication options to third-party web sites, so that if a user has rented an episode of "Mad Men" for example, through Boxee, they would subsequently be able to go to AMC's web site and watch it again without paying for it a second time. This is somewhat similar to what TV Everywhere providers are also thinking about doing in their second phase, extending user authentication to content providers' sites themselves.
From Avner's perspective, Boxee's ability to support multiple business models, in a content partner and user-friendly approach, is key to success. It is still very early days for over-the-top delivery, and with TV Everywhere now rolling out, incumbent video service providers are fighting hard to maintain their positions.
Still, news this week that Disney is negotiating with Microsoft to extend some of ESPN's programming to Xbox is a potent reminder that premium video providers are exploring (albeit gingerly) all their options for getting into the living room. If Boxee's new box becomes widely adopted, it could become an important player in the unfolding over-the-top drama.
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4 Items Worth Noting for the Dec 7th Week (boxee's box, AT&T's iPhone woes, Nielsen data, 3D is coming)Friday, December 11, 2009, 9:27 AM ET|
Following are 4 items worth noting for the Dec 7th week:
1. Boxee's new box with D-Link - It was hard to miss the news from boxee this week that it will be launching its first box, in partnership with D-Link, in early 2010. Boxee has gained a rabid early adopter following, but the high hurdle requirement of downloading and configuring its software onto a 3rd party device meant it was unlikely to gain mainstream appeal. Strategically, the new box is the right move for the company.
For other standalone box makers such as Roku, boxee's box, with its open source ability to easily offer lots of content, is a new challenge (though note, still no Hulu programming and little cable programming will be available on the boxee box). The indicated price point of $200 is on the high side, particularly as broadband-enabled Blu-ray players are already sub-$150 and falling. Roku has set a high standard for out-of-the-box usability whereas D-Link's media adaptors have never been considered ease-of-use standouts. Boxee's snazzy, but very unconventional sunken-cube design for the D-Link box is also risky. While eye-catching, it introduces complexity for users already challenged by how to squeeze another component onto their shelves. If boxee only succeeds in getting its current early adopters to buy the box it will have gained little. This one will be interesting to watch unfold.
2. AT&T tries to solve its iPhone data usage problem - In the "be careful what you ask for, you might just get it" category, AT&T Wireless head Ralph de la Vega revealed an interesting factoid this week at the UBS media conference: 3% of its smartphone (i.e. iPhone) users consume 40% of its network's capacity. Of course video and audio capabilities were one of the big ideas behind the iPhone, so AT&T should hardly be surprised by this result. AT&T, which has been hammered by Verizon (not to mention its users) over network quality, thinks the solution to its problem is giving heavy users unspecified "incentives" to reduce their activity. No word on what that means exactly.
Mobile video has become very hot this year, largely due to the iPhone's success. But the best smartphones in the world can't compensate for lack of network capacity. While AT&T is adding more 3G availability, it's questionable whether they'll ever catch up to user demand. That could mean the only way to manage this problem is to throttle demand through higher data usage pricing. That would be unfortunate and surely stunt the iPhone's video growth. Verizon, with its line of Android-powered phones, could be a key beneficiary.
3. Q3 '09 Nielsen data shows TV's supremacy remains, though early slippage found - Nielsen released its latest A2/M2 Three Screen Report this week, offering yet another reminder that despite online video's incredible growth, TV viewing still reigns supreme. Nielsen found that TV viewing accounted for 129 hours, 16 minutes in Q3. While that amount is more than 40 times greater than the 3 hours, 24 minutes spent on online video viewing, it is actually down a slight .4% from Q3 '08 of 129 hours 45 minutes.
How much weight should we give that drop of 29 minutes a month (which equates to just less than a minute/day)? Not a lot until we see a sustained trend over time. There are plenty of other video options causing competition for consumers' attention, but good old fashioned TV is going to dominate for a long time to come. This is one of the key motivators behind Comcast's acquisition of NBCU.
4. 3D poised for major visibility - In my Oct. 30th "4 Items" post I mentioned being impressed with a demo from 3D TV technology company HDLogix I saw while in Denver for the CTAM Summit. This Sunday the company will do a major public demonstration, broadcasting the Cowboys-Chargers in 3D on the Cowboys Stadium's 160 foot by 72 foot HDTV display. HDLogix touts its ImageIQ 3D as the most cost-effective method for generating 3D video, as it upconverts existing 2D streams in real-time, meaning no additional production costs are incurred.
Obviously those watching from home won't be able to see the 3D streaming, but it will surely be a sight to see the 80,000 attendees sporting their 3D glasses oohing and aahing. Between this and James Cameron's 3D "Avatar" releasing next week, 3D is poised for a lot of exposure.
Enjoy the weekend!
Categories: Devices, Mobile Video, Sports, Technology, Telcos
Topics: AT&T, Boxee, D-Link, HDLogix, iPhone, Nielsen, Roku
CES 2008 Broadband Video-Related News Wrap-upThursday, January 10, 2008, 9:39 AM ET|
CES 2008 broadband video-related news wrap-up:
Sony Pictures Television Launches YouTube Channels; The Minisode Network to be First of Several Brand Channels
Panasonic and Comcast Announce Products With tru2way™ Technology
Panasonic And Comcast Debut AnyPlay™ Portable DVR
NETGEAR® Joins BitTorrent™ Device Partners
D-Link Joins BitTorrent™ Device Partners
Breakthrough TiVo Innovation Allows Customers to Easily Download Internet Video Automatically to Their Television Sets
Samsung and HP Unveil Extender for Windows Media Center Extender Devices, Bridging the Gap Between PC and TV
BT and Microsoft Announce Partnership to Deliver Powerful, First-of-its-Kind Entertainment Experience to Consumers Through Xbox 360
Hollywood Heavyweights Disney-ABC Television Group and MGM Offer High-Definition Entertainment Content on Xbox LIVE
Vudu Expand High Definition Content Available Through On-Demand Service
Sling Media Unveils Top-of-Line Slingbox PRO-HD
High Definition Video to Internet Computers, Cell Phones and Handhelds Aim of New Agreement Between Broadcast International and On2 Technologies
Open Internet Television: A Letter to the Consumer Electronics Industry
Paid downloads a thing of the past
Samsung, Vongo Partner To Offer Movie Downloads For P2 Portable Player
Comcast Interactive Media Launches Fancast.com
Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts Announces Project Infinity: Strategy to Deliver Exponentially More Content Choice On TV
MTV Networks Unveils Targeted Online Syndication Strategy, Delivering the Most Diverse Line-Up of Video Content through First-Class Partners
New Year Brings Hot New Shows and Longtime Favorites to FLO TV
Widevine® and Move Networks Announce Partnership & Integration to Secure Delivery of Video Content for Major Broadcast Networks
P2Ps and ISPs team to tame file-sharing traffic
ClipBlast Releases OpenSocial API
"Penn Says" Exclusive New Unscripted Web Series From Penn Jillette to Debut on Sony Pictures' Crackle January 9th
Categories: Advertising, Aggregators, Broadband ISPs, Broadcasters, Cable Networks, Cable TV Operators, Devices, Downloads, FIlms, Games, HD, Mobile Video, P2P, Partnerships, Sports, Technology, UGC, Video Search, Video Sharing
Topics: ABC, BitTorrent, BT, Comcast, D-Link, Disney, Google, HP, Microsoft, NBC, Netgear, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, TiVo, XBox, YouTube
Highlighting 3 Partnerships Announced at CESWednesday, January 9, 2008, 10:02 AM ET|
Among the many partnership announcements at CES this week, there are a number worth highlighting. Today I focus on the following three:
Viacom syndication - Viacom announced syndication deals for MTV Networks' stable of content with five leading broadband video sites: Dailymotion, GoFish, Imeem, MeeVee and Veoh. As those of you who have been following my previous posts know, I believe syndication is a critical engine in driving the advertising business model, which itself is the key to broadband video succeeding. As a result, I follow these syndication deals closely.
I've previously been critical of MTVN which appeared reluctant about syndicating its content when it launched its DailyShow.com destination site. However, with its recent deal with AOL, and now these five deals, it appears that MTVN does in fact believe syndication is the way to go. As one of the biggest cable network groups, MTVN is a key barometer for other networks' moves, so I view this as a real positive for the market.
Panasonic/Google - In this deal, Google and Matsushita announced that YouTube videos and Picasa photos would be directly accessible on new model Panasonic HDTVs launching in Q2 '08. Ordinarily I wouldn't be too excited about a deal like this, a permutation of which we've seen with other TV makers such as Sony.
Yet this one rises in potential importance because YouTube is not just the most popular video site - with 40% of all video traffic - but because Google is determined to turn YouTube into a platform for legitimate content distribution. This was underscored by the Sony mini-sode deal also announced this week, and the many partnerships YouTube has already struck with premium content providers. If successful (and there are many if's to be sure), YouTube would be far more than a scraggly collection of UGC. So, marry a broad-based premium video aggregator to HDTVs and you could see a new device/content model emerge.
BitTorrent device deals Netgear and D-Link - In a less publicized move, BitTorrent announced expanded deals with Netgear and D-Link covering a range of home networking products, with an emphasis on HD distribution. BitTorrent, which has been steadily legitimizing itself from its P2P file-sharing roots, has launched an aggressive SDK program called BitTorrent Device Partners, intended to permeate the market with its client software. BitTorrent also integrates easy access to its digital download store with these partners as well.
While I'm not very bullish about the market potential of bridge devices from companies like Netgear and D-Link, I do believe that P2P distribution has a real role to play in content distribution, especially for heavy HD files. I continue to see P2P as more of a "peer assist" play. To the extent that BitTorrent can continue getting its software into multiple devices, it gains validation and strengthens its potential to be a meaningful partner in the larger content distribution ecosystem.
Share your thoughts on these deals, and suggest others you think are noteworthy from CES!
Categories: Cable Networks, Devices, HD, Indie Video, P2P, Partnerships, UGC
Topics: BitTorrent, D-Link, DailyMotion, GoFish, Google, Imeem, MeeVee, MTVN, Netgear, Panasonic, Veoh, YouTube
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