Aereo Supreme Court Case Update

Barry Diller, Chairman of IAC and primary backer of Aereo, is more confident now than ever that Aereo will win the Supreme Court case after considering much of the deliberation, although he admits he “has an axe to grind”.

In a CNN Interview entitled Diller on Aereo, Diller states: Supreme Court Justice Roberts asked the question, “Are you [Aereo] only doing this to get around copyright laws?”. Diller’s response is that such questioning is not only incorrect, but in fact, what Aereo is doing, is complying with the law.

More from the CNN Interview:

He [Diller] complained about some of the media coverage of the case, calling it “dopey.” And he disagreed with Chief Justice John Roberts’ depiction of Aereo as a “gimmick.”

“Rather than saying it’s a gimmick, what we did is constructed a technological advance within law as we understood it,” Diller said.

Ever since Aereo was introduced in early 2012, Diller has said that there is “no plan B” if the courts conclude that the service is violating the law. He affirmed that point of view in the “Reliable Sources” interview.

Asked whether he thought Aereo would ultimately lose, he said, “I think there’s a 50% chance it’ll lose. Of course, yes. Always, I thought that … But I did not think that it would become this important a moment in the world of technology.”

He added that “Aereo, if it’s successful, together with other services, may change and give competition to the closed system of satellite or cable. That’s what it may do.”





The Year of Addressable TV Advertising

dean-black-arrowWired Magazine mentioned it first; 2014 will be the year of addressable TV advertising.

Trials of addressable ads are already taking place in the US. Pay-per-view cable channel Starz, working with cable operator DirecTV, has been using data about which subscribers use video-on-demand, to pitch ads for its shows. More importantly, it also uses the data to avoid streaming ads to existing Starz subscribers, to prevent preaching to the converted. The result is a 49 per cent jump in sales, compared to a control group, from households shown the targeted ads. HBO has been using a similar system to promote Game of Thrones.

Wired Magazine also just predicted that Facebook will own all mobile advertising, Why? How? Because they own a social network and have a wealth of data on consumer preferences and a predictive analytics team that can match ads with what consumers are most likely to click on.

Google and other outfits operate similar mobile ad networks, but Facebook is unique in its ability to target ads based on user demographics, interests, location, and activities involving everything from internet searches to online shopping. That’s the benefit of running a social network.

In this new ecosystem of advertising, its not enough just to own a vast source of data about consumer preferences, the other half of the equation, understanding the myriad of nuances for how best to utilize that data and serve up the best ad, is equally if not more important.

Take for example, the famous case of Target retail stores, who predicted a woman’s pregnancy before she knew it herself. This New York Times Article is one of the best stories out there at describing the trials and tribulations of addressable advertising, and just how Target retail stores, and their big data analytics team has discovered many of the secrets towards deploying effective advertising.

As Pole’s computers crawled through the data, he was able to identify about 25 products that, when analyzed together, allowed him to assign each shopper a “pregnancy prediction” score. More important, he could also estimate her due date to within a small window, so Target could send coupons timed to very specific stages of her pregnancy.

We are at the forefront of a whole new industry; Big Data, or more precisely, “Information Science”. Addressable TV advertising is just one niche of the big data revolution. Harvard Magazine does an excellent job of covering Big Data and how it will shape the future for most industries.

In marketing, familiar uses of big data include “recommendation engines” like those used by companies such as Netflix and Amazon to make purchase suggestions based on the prior interests of one customer as compared to millions of others.

But as of today, most advertising dollars continues to be spent on commercials for the big screen TV at home, and increasingly on ads for the second screen; including mobile phones, tablets, and other connected devices. And with this shift, there is a growing need to provide targeted ads for OTT and VOD content.

A recent deal has been struck between BlackArrow, a leading Dynamic Ad Insertion technology company, and Nielson, the leading television research, analytics and ratings firm, to begin offering on-demand commercial ratings (ODCR).

That’s where BlackArrow comes into play. By allowing the operator to switch out ads in VOD content on the fly, BlackArrow makes every older streaming episode an environment for the same ads that are now airing in CBS’ live broadcasts. As Nielsen’s ODCR scheme is designed to measure VOD deliveries that occur beyond the three-day window, those once-neglected views are now just as valuable as live ratings.

This Newsweek article provides excellent coverage about the BlackArrow Nielsen ODCR partnership and what it means for TV operators and consumers.

The Nielsen-BlackArrow pact comes as the networks increasingly look for ways to help wean viewers off the DVR, which makes commercial-skipping as easy as holding down a button while staring off into space. A far more advertiser-friendly service, VOD promises to add incremental value to linear TV buys. At the same time, viewers needn’t worry about running out of memory or forgetting to record a favorite show.

BlackArrow CEO Dean Denhart discusses this new landscape of addressable TV advertising with Fox News at the LA Cable TV Show.

Television advertising will perhaps reign supreme for quite some time, with relevant addressable targeted TV advertising coming to the forefront as one of the most sought-after technologies for both live as well as pre-recorded TV content. This is indeed the year of addressable TV advertising.


Cable TV Industry Threatened by OTT

cableOne of the hot issues being discussed in this weeks Los Angeles Cable TV Show is the pressure Cable TV operators are faced with in terms of end-user authentication issues and from Over The Top TV, which is Television that consumers consume straight from the internet such as Hulu, Netflix and Crackle.

An excerpt from Fiercecable illustrates some of the discussion taking place:

Skipper called upon the cable industry to do a better job of selling its offerings to consumers. “Shame on us if we don’t work to sell the value of a pay subscription and a triple-play.  We are allowing them [OTT players] to set the tone of the conversation. We should be saying we have a better product.”

Skipper also called for a tighter partnership between programmers and distributors, noting that initiatives like TV Everywhere are not progressing as quickly as they should and that’s impacting the customer experience.

In fact, improving authentication on TV Everywhere services was a recurring complaint among the programmers on the panel. “I wish our cable partners would look at how to make the customer experience better,” said Nancy Dubuc, president and CEO of A&E Networks. “That part of the partnership needs to be solidified.”

While this debate heats up, Singaporean Cable TV Operator StarHub has just released the first of 3 new cable-based Set Top Boxes for the Singapore consumer TV market. But why? Why not continue down the OTT path?

The folks at Techgoodnu seem to have a good answer for why, they explain as follows:

Why has StarHub invested more money on set-top boxes, when people are already watching TV on all sorts of personal and mobile devices? And this when StarHub itself already has similar “over-the-top” services delivered over the Net rather than the old cable network?

The answer, as one might predict, has to do with content partners. StarHub cannot afford to open up that fast, just as partners that provide it TV content are worried they will lose this well-established way of delivering content.

But everyone knows that things are changing. In the past, set-top boxes were important to secure the content delivered to homes, so people cannot easily record it onto their own devices.

That’s silly now, if you just look up all the pirated content on Piratebay, for example. If you create a popular TV programme, expect your content to be pirated, set-top box or no.

The debate is interesting, but it is clear that cable TV operators need to do both, continue to enrich and improve the Cable delivery experience, while also embracing OTT and the wealth of new content it can offer.


Television for Dogs?

DSCN1739A sure sign Television is going through massive disruption. DogTV offers a 24/7 digital TV channel consisting of “dog friendly programing scientifically developed to provide the right company for dogs when left alone”. As described at the DogTV website:

“Through years of research with some of the world’s top pet experts, special content was created to meet specific attributes of a dog’s sense of vision and hearing and supports their natural behavior patterns. The result: a confident, happy dog, who’s less likely to develop stress, separation anxiety or other related problems.”

Can a concept like Television for Dogs really survive? Yes. At least, Discovery thinks so. According to, Discovery Communications invested in DogTV and will roll out programming in North America, South Korea and Japan.

“More than 40 million American households own dogs, and they are spending more than $55.8 billion annually on their pets. It’s a thriving industry,” said Yossi Uzrad, Chairman of DOGTV. “DOGTV is a proven tool for relieving stress and anxiety for stay-at-home dogs, and a partnership with Discovery will help accelerate the network’s growth, while making DOGTV even more accessible to dog owners,” added Gilad Neumann, Chief Executive Officer of DOGTV.


MyRepublic Offers Worlds Fastest Fibre Broadband

my-republicMyRepublic is now offering 1GBPS broadband internet for under S$50. Yes, correct, that’s “G”, as in Gigabit. This is a company that listens to their customers needs. However, this offer is only available to the first 10,000 sign-ups, the price for late comers is not yet determined.

They also have a lot of offers for switching customers over to this new 1Gbps plan, here is the list of these special offers and pricings:

MyRepublic is also having a special Mega Launch Event at Ngee Ann City this weekend, 18th and 19th January, to promote these new 1g plans. According to the NgeeAnnCity website:

Join us as we excite you with a peek at the future of fibre broadband! Be amazed by MyRepublic’s futuristic home where you will experience a real digital lifestyle. In this fully integrated connected home set up, you will explore the home of the future and learn what MyRepublic’s fibre broadband can do for you and your home.

Gamers, jump into the gaming world with MyRepublic and partners like ASUS and iYogi at MyRepublic’s Mega Launch event! Join the gaming competition happening at Orchard and emerge as the Ultimate Gamer! Conquer others in Dragon Nest and take home attractive prizes like an ASUS desktop and gaming gear.

Come meet and greet with top Mediacorp’s starlets as they grace the event! Take pictures and play games with Mediacorp starlets like Benjamin Heng etc. in MyRepublic’s Mega Launch event!

Come join us at MyRepublic’s event and indulge in games, food and drinks and have a day of fun on us!

Congratulations to MyRepublic for setting a new milestone.


TV Reaches Tipping Point in 2014

digital-trends-20142014 is the year TV will change most dramatically, according to Business Insider and eMarketer, and reach a “tipping point”, which is where is the point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change.

Specifically, 50% or more US internet users, will consume digital TV online; through mobile devices, tablets and laptops in the US this year. The significance of this metric is explained by the Verge, who makes a compelling case a that US Network TV is nearing collapse.

Interestingly, no one is thinking to measure how much second screen or media stacking could be having an effect on the how much consumers are ad skipping. Nielsen themselves are giving the numbers. When do you think viewers actually use their mobile devices? During commercials of course.

• In US, 77% use TV & internet simultaneously (Nielsen)

• 86% of US smartphone and 88% of tablet owners use it while watching TV once a month (Nielsen)

• 45% use their tablet while watching TV daily (Nielsen)

• 44% of total tablet usage is while watching TV (Nielsen)

• 62% of TV viewers pick up the phone as soon as TV advertising break starts. (Nielsen)

As smartphones and tablets become more ubiquitous, this behaviour is only going increase. Not only are audiences shrinking, but those that are still there are, between PVR and media stacking, are apparently not watching or paying attention much to 30 second spots.

Full Story at the Verge: