Tuesday, July 1, 2008, 8:52 AM ET|
Wrapping up a busy June, I'd like to quickly recap 3 key topics covered in VideoNuze:
1. Execution matters as much as strategy
I've been mindful since the launch of VideoNuze to not just focus on big strategic shifts in the industry, but also on the important role of execution. I'm not planning to get too far into the tactical weeds, but I do intend to show examples where possible of how successful execution can make a difference. This month, in 2 posts comparing and contrasting Hulu and Fancast (here and here) I tried to constructively show how a nimble upstart can get a toehold against an entrenched incumbent by getting things right.
While great execution is a key to successful online businesses, it may sometimes feel pretty mundane. For example, in "Jacob's Pillow Uses Video to Enhance Customer Experience" I shared an example of an arts organization has begun including video samples of upcoming performances on its web site, improving the user experience and no doubt enhancing ticket sales. A small touch with a big reward. And in this post about the analytics firm Visible Measures, I tried to explain how rigorous tracking can enhance programming and product decisions. I'll continue to find examples of where execution has had an impact, whether positive or negative.
2. Cable TV industry impacted by broadband
As many of you know, I believe the cable TV industry is a crucial element of the broadband video industry. Cable operators now provide tens of millions of consumer broadband connections. And cable networks have become active in delivering their programs and clips via broadband. Yet the broadband's relationships with operators and networks are complex, presenting a range of opportunities and challenges.
On the opportunities side, in "Cable's Subscriber Fees Matter, A Lot," I explained how the monthly sub fees that networks collect put them on a firm financial footing for weathering broadband's changes and an advantageous position compared to broadband content startups which must survive solely on ads. Further, syndication is offering new distribution opportunities, as evidenced by Scripps Networks syndication deal with AOL in May and Comedy Central's syndication of Daily Show and Colbert Report to Hulu and Adobe. Yet cable networks are challenged to exploit broadband's new opportunities while not antagonizing their traditional distributors.
For operators, though broadband access provides billions in monthly revenues, broadband is ultimately going to challenge their traditional video subscription business. In "Video Aggregators Have Raised $366+ Million to Date," I itemized the torrent of money that's flowed into the broadband aggregation space, with players ultimately vying for a piece of cable's aggregation revenue. These and other companies are working hard to change the video industry's value chain. There will be a lot more news from them yet to come.
3. Video publishing/management platforms continue to evolve
Lastly, I continued covering the all-important video content publishing/management platform space this month, with product updates from PermissionTV, Brightcove and Entriq/Dayport. Yesterday, in introducing Delve Networks, another new player, I included a chart of all the companies in this space. I put a significant emphasis on this area because it is a key building block to making the broadband video industry work.
These companies are jostling with each other to provide the tools that content providers need to deliver and optimize the broadband experience. The competitive dynamic between these companies is very blurry though, with each emphasizing different features and capabilities. Nonetheless, each seems to be winning a share of the expanding market. I'll continue covering this segment of the industry as it evolves.
That's it for June; I have lots more good stuff planned for July!
Monday, June 9, 2008, 7:15 PM ET|
Though I've been predicting a wave of consolidation among broadband vendors for a while, deals in the space have only been sporadic. I think that's been due to investors continuing to fund independent companies and a sufficient amount of business to go around for most everyone.
One deal that did close in the last few months was Entriq's acquisition of DayPort. I recently had a briefing with Guy Tennant, Entriq's COO and Cory Factor, DayPort's former CEO and now CTO of the combined entity to understand their joint strategy and a recently-expanded deal with Inergize Digital Media.
I've been familiar with Entriq for a while as it was primarily focused on enabling media companies to support paid business models. It specialized in things like rights management, DRM, security, business rules and the like. Yet as advertising as emerged as the business model of choice for many, Entriq has been on a bit of a roller-coaster; there has been some senior management turnover and also I've heard of layoffs.
By acquiring DayPort, which supports advertising, Entriq expands its capabilities, allowing it to serve customers regardless of business model choice. This would also include hybrid pay/ad-supported models, which I continue to hear more and more about. The combined company is focusing on verticals like broadcasting (where DayPort always had a presence), independent producers and long-form content, particularly sports. Syndication is another key focus of the combined companies, mirroring the trend that I've written about in the past.
The recently-expanded deal with Inergize builds on a prior relationship DayPort had with the company. Inergize itself provides online solutions to broadcasters and Entriq has now integrated its combined capabilities more deeply with Inergize to serve the market. The two companies are also trying to deeply tie in to existing broadcast work-flow and production operations. One joint customer Guy and Cory cited was Newport Television, which recently acquired the Clear Channel TV stations which as deployed the Inergize/Entriq products.
Entriq-DayPort is competing in the very crowded broadband video content management/publishing space, which I've described previously. Yet by combining, the two companies have certainly strengthened their hand. As the market continues to evolve, they'll be fighting for their share.
Thursday, June 14, 2007, 2:21 AM ET|Just back in from 2 days at Digital Hollywood. First, kudos to Victor Harwood for successfully expanding the conference to 2 adjacent hotels this time around. As always, it was a major schmooze-fest. Some quick observations: tons of energy, lots of networking and meetings, and many people trying to figure out how to turn ideas/technologies into real businesses.I moderated a session that should win an award for Clunkiest Title (see more about session here), but we had an standing room-only audience and all our panelists were fully engaged in a spirited discussion. (I certainly learned a lesson - don't bring up the whole "how's-broadband-going-to-connect-to-the-TV" discussion with only 10 minutes to go! Everyone has an opinion on that one.)Executives from 3 content providers (Showtime, IMG and Associated Press), plus 3 technology companies (thePlatform, Digital Fountain and Entriq) thoroughly hashed out everything from how distributors will distinguish themselves in the broadband era (answers included optimizing advertising, best user experience, most traffic, not possible) to how broadband-only content providers generate a following (viral distribution, building a brand, doing distribution deals) to what business model has the most potential (some agreement that ad-supported and paid will eventually both work, but that ad-supported is where much of the action will be for a while).It's just so fascinating to me how quickly we've moved from the "here's what I think's going to work" stage to "here's what is actually working" stage. While I'm fond of saying that the broadband video industry is still in the 1st inning of its ultimate evolution, there are already a lot of very solid lessons learned.
Posts for 'Entriq'