Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 4:44 PM ET|Posted by Will RichmondI'm back in Boston after a short, but grueling (tip: don't fly through 2 East Coast airports during a Nor'easter!) trip out to NAB. Our Super Session ("The Revolutionizing Impact of Broadband Video") was SRO, overflowing the room that seated 700. David Eun led us off with a great keynote with my key takeaways:
After Dave's talk, our panel (George Kliavkoff from NBCU, Dan Scheinman from Cisco, Blake Krikorian from Sling, Shawn Gold from MySpace and Gary Gannaway from WorldNow) got down to business. George, who's the acting head of the JV with NBCU and News Corp, filled in some details for how the venture will work, and that affiliates will be a key part of it going forward.The panelists all agreed that community is going to be a big part of the equation moving forward and that broadcasters will be embracing in a big way. Gary articulated well that local broadcasters have a huge opportunity to excel in local content in a way that big portals will never be able to match, and that if they sell their inventory the right way, they'll be able to avoid being commoditized.I tried to get Dan to take the bait on whether the era of broadband-delivered TV programming spells concern for cable TV operators. But given Cisco's ownership of Scientific Atlanta, he deftly deflected my attempt to stir the pot....Lastly, Blake encouraged broadcasters to see his Slingbox as an opportunity for them to build loyalty with their viewers, both for viewership while on the road, and also for deepening viewership, through non-TV displays. All-in-all, despite the fact that the first attendee question during a brief Q&A session labeled us as "dying dinosaurs", it was a spirited and lively session!
- "Market for content is much larger than anyone has every imagined"
- "We see ourselves as a conduit, connecting users, advertisers and content providers"
- "Broadband provides an infinite # of at-bats, the traditonal scarcity is gone"
- "Content identification isn't easy. If it were, we'd have it by now."
- "We are in a clip-driven culture. YouTube now delivering well over 100M clips per day."
Thursday, March 22, 2007, 4:27 PM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
Today’s announcement from NBC and News Corp, that they have set up a venture to distribute full length programs plus promotional clips through 4 major distributors (with more to come) heralds a potentially new, and radically different era, for the broadcast, and possibly the cable TV industries.
In one fell swoop, 2 of the major broadcast networks have granted distribution rights to four of the Internet’s most-trafficked sites. If one assumes that it is inevitable that the broadband/PC world will be linked up with consumers’ living room TVs (whether through AppleTVs, Xboxes, Slingcatchers, etc.), then it sure seems to me as though we are on the brink of seeing a full-scale digital replica of the analog broadcast TV affiliate model being born. If that’s the case, what does that mean for existing players, most notably local broadcast TV stations? And how about cable TV and satellite operators, who have long relied on retransmitting high-quality feeds local broadcast feeds of network programming as a staple of their value proposition?
I’ve been writing about how the video distribution value chain is being impacted by broadband video for a while now. My March 2006 newsletter, “How Broadband is Changing Video Distribution” recapped my firm’s Q1 2006 report, “How Broadband is Creating a New Generation of Video Distributors: The Market Opportunity for Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, Apple and Others”. In this report we identified these companies as a so-called ‘Group of 5” which were best-positioned to benefit as new broadband-centric distributors and explained our reasons for this conclusion.
Flash forward one year. Today’s announcement cements the distribution heft of 3 of the 5 (Yahoo, MSN and AOL). Meanwhile, Google’s acquisition of YouTube has strengthened its distribution prowess. If it can build on initial partnerships with the many content providers with which it works, its power will only grow. And of course, Apple now boasts almost 60 TV networks and content producers providing programming to iTunes. Its launch of AppleTV strengthens its hand as the hardware provider-of-choice in linking up the broadband and TV worlds.
We’re exploring all of this in a report we’re (quite coincidentally) working on right now, which examines broadband’s impact on the video distribution value chain. It both updates the Q1 2006 report, and also expands it to include the roles of emerging players such as Joost, BitTorrent, Wal-Mart and others. We’ve been very fortunate to have access to many of the players in the space to gain unparalleled insights into their plans. The report is due out soon. I’ll keep you posted on its progress.
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