Monthly Archives: June 2013

TV Everywhere vs. Video On-Demand

tv-everywhere

We are a point now where on-demand video entertainment and TV everywhere are real players in the digital media market.  Companies such as Netflix and Hulu Plus exemplify why subscription VOD’s allure with their whenever-and-wherever viewing options, provided there is an internet connection.

Gaining momentum in the video market is the new TV everywhere phenomenon, where pay TV subscribers can catch up on shows missed at their normal viewing slots.  Many television providers already offer this feature, with most requiring the purchase of an additional set-top device to enable streaming to users’ mobile devices.

However, some US providers are now offering direct live streaming and, more importantly, downloading capabilities to mobile devices, much to the chagrin of VOD providers like Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos:

“Catch-up television is good for the industry. It’s good for the TV industry. It’s good for us because it strengthens the brands of content. But it should be only catch-up television.

Once it gets into full-season stacking of a show, that’s a SVOD right…And that’s a separately monetizable right that we pay a lot of money for.”

As video content delivery services continue to develop and improve, especially those from traditional TV providers, legal battles may ensue over the rights to downloadable content.  It will be interesting what precedents, if any, will be set as the saga continues.

Belgian Entrepreneur Max Heilbron

Bloovi.be describes bhaalu’s partnership with Belgian entrepreneur Max Heilbron. This is an English translation of the original article, which was written in Flemish.bhaalu-sluit-partnership-met-telecomondernemer-max-heilbron

Bhaalu, the new TV viewing experience from Flemish start-up Right Brain Interface, has partnered with telecom entrepreneur Max Heilbron, who recently acquired several Photo Hall stores in Belgium. Bhaalu allows the viewer to choose when and where they watch television, even programs from up to 60 days in the past.

Consumers can now experience the unique TV viewing device first-hand, as Photo Hall stores in Ghent and Leuven, Belgium allow customers to test out the product in-store.

Cooperation with Max Heilbron for 4G LTE

The synergy between telecom entrepreneur Heilbron and bhaalu is clear.  Max holds a 4G LTE license through his company b • lite, and the strength of 4G LTE is its superior video streaming ability, which explains Heilbron’s partnership with bhaalu. Today, Photo Hall shops provide 3G and fixed line internet for TV, audio and other home devices.

Through bhaalu’s startup project in the Photo Hall stores in Ghent and Leuven, consumers will now be able to test the bhaalu viewing experience using a unique home-in-shop concept.

You can order the bhaalu box online at www.bhaalu.sg or pick it up at one of Photo Hall’s stores.

Telecom entrepreneur Max Heilbron: “I like to penetrate markets – that’s just what bhaalu does, and 4G LTE is our card to play. A free telecom market needs 4G LTE as well as bhaalu.”

Bart Van Coppenolle, CEO, Right Brain Interface: “Our partnership with Photo Hall allows people to test the bhaalu experience with our home-in-shop concept in Leuven and Ghent. We have revolutionised not only TV experience but also the retail distribution model.  People don’t just walk into the shop and pick up their box.  They come in and experience both the wonder of bhaalu TV and the personal service of Photo Hall.”

Home-in-shop experience concept coming soon to Singapore. Stay tuned!

Original article at Bloovi.be.

New VOD Trials in South Korea

Logos_1751566aSony and Disney have both been testing the waters of providing movies for early on-demand viewing.  The two have recently given their South Korean pay-TV subscribers the ability to order movies in their home just three to five weeks after they have been released in cinemas.

This is in contrast to the norm the companies face in the US, where cinema chains have demanded, and received, a 90-day buffer period for VOD releases.

The new strategy is seen to serve as a replacement for rapidly declining DVD sales, which in South Korea totaled a measly US$30.5M (SG$38.6M) in 2012.

The new “super-premium” form of VOD totes a price tag per movie of more than twice than that to rent through regular online releases.  However, the strategy seems to be working. HomeChoice, Korea’s largest VOD provider, reported that revenue from the super-premiums is 30% higher than from “comparable films.”

Such an effective strategy can only stay in one place for so long. A spread across southeast Asia, and to Singapore, is imminent, especially considering Singapore’s rapidly growing entertainment industry.

Full article at theConvergence.tv

DirecTV Lands Hulu Deal

directtv-huluAfter a fierce bidding war that included the likes of Yahoo!, AT&T, Verizon, and other major players, DirecTV seems to have come out on top.

A deal for the company to acquire online video provider Hulu is apparently in its final stages and is reported to be worth more than US$1B (SG$1.3B).  This comes after multiple offers two years ago from many of the same players, with the highest bid coming from Google at US$4B (SG$5.06B), which was ultimately rejected.  The new deal is expected to be finalized by the end of this month.

PandoDaily’s Michael Carney says DirecTV is the best fit for Hulu for two reasons:

“First, DirecTV is one of a select few companies with the resources and wherewithal to absorb Hulu and retain or increase its value. Second, Hulu fills a gaping hole in DirecTV’s offering in a way that it would be hard pressed to achieve by other means.”

The “gaping hole” Carney refers to is DirecTV’s lack of any substantial online presence.  With this new acquisition, the company will finally be able to hold a candle to its competitors in the online forum, and perhaps much more. Hulu Plus topped 3 million paid subscribers at the end of 2012 and raked in US$695M (SG$879M) in revenues during that year.  Depending on how DirecTV uses their new acquisition, it could be looking at huge profits in the coming years.

Referenced from PandoDaily.

Bloovi Interview with Bhaalu Founder

Bhaalu is making headlines in Europe with two recent announcements on Bloovi.be. The first article is an interview entitled Belgian startup, Bhaalu, launches new way of watching television.

bhaalu-europe

Bhaalu, a new way of watching television, launches soon. Bhaalu is a startup from the Belgian Internet entrepreneur Bart Van Coppenolle. Bloovi asked Bart a few questions about this new project, the following is an English translation of the Interview which was conducted in Flemish.

How can bhaalu differentiate themselves from competitors?

Mr. Van Coppenolle: Bhaalu offers the viewer the only truly relaxing and enjoyable TV experience. We have the domain expertise required to design a user interface for television that is specifically based on neuropsychological findings and neuropsychological our own patented technology. Our working knowledge and experience in this subject is much more scientific than any other TV experience vendors in the marketplace.

So, simply put, once person uses bhaalu, they will never be able to go back to the rest of the traditional television experiences. Aside from our neuropsychological and technological experience, we also have a lot of collaborative DVR technology patented, such as the technology that is necessary in order to make catch-all TV, TV Anywhere, and TV Everywhere.

What is bhaalu?

Mr. Van Coppenolle: Bhaalu is a product that allows the user to watch what they want, when they want and from whereever they want. To get an idea of what bhaalu is, you can check out the following video:


Bart, can you tell us why you started with the bhaalu project?

Mr. Van Coppenolle: I’m an entrepreneur, but also a philosopher, so you’d best be served not to ask me such questions. ;-) But if you want to hear the answer; bear with me… The modern era, with the invention of the steam engine, the car and the plane, etc.., it was a time of oppression of the mind of man by rational thought. It was and is still so today.

We live in a time of need, of coercion, mental killing, the killing of freedom and creativity, killing the spirit of mankind. Think of our hectic, alienating lifestlyes. Busy, busy, busy, no time for much of anything.

Television is bad because it makes us lazy, etc. … Linear TV viewing is a child of this oppressive environment. You need to know exactly what time your favorite TV program will be broadcasted otherwise, you miss it. Or, you are forced to re-schedule your day to make time for TV.

This pressure creates anxiety and stress instead of relaxation. Content searches via keyboard and Google TV, or even via a beautifully designed app with text and icons, does not result in an intuitive and relaxing discovery, but rather a stressful and frantic search. During the age of the Internet – through experience and through social media – we’ve changed all that.

It is not about searching, but uncovering; not about working, but relaxing and creating; not about big corporations, but about people; not about selfishness or altruism, but about empathy; not about treating TV consumers as a kind of cattle, but about an empathetic TV experience.

We see it as our mission to contribute common consciousness to the recent societal shift from left brain to right brain; not only in TV land, but also in other parts of society.

After I sold my previous software company Metris, I was with my girlfriend and two children on the sofa watching TV and was surprised by the archaic style of left hemisphere TV navigation. I understood that this was another part of the mind-numbing oppression of humanity by its own left-brained consciousness.

I also saw how a Google TV interface used a keyboard, an inherently left-brained interface. For that reason, my business partner Mr. Philip Vandormael and I founded Right Brain Interface, which after about 2.5 years of development, has introduced bhaalu to the market.

What makes bhaalu unique and different from the TV services that already exist?

Mr. Van Coppenolle: To begin, bhaalu is not a TV service, but more like a moden day VCR. We have chosen the Right Brain Interface, the software interface with our common intention to bring consciousness to a VCR/DVR, A TV with a VCR-like experience, because the most compelling left hemisphere projection, linear time, can be broken up.

You can rewind and fast forward in time. With bhaalu, people can regain their freedom from fear of a linear time break. Freedom is a mind set – you do it yourself. Freedom is not a service that someone else can deliver to you.

But back with two feet on the ground: Bhaalu is different fromany other TV experiences because this technology, if only provisionally, allows the authenticated viewer access to a universe of personal video content in which to compile all of the content that he / she is entitled to.

It is independent of time and place, and it provides virtual personal and social channels, each with their own time and recommendation dimensions. Summed up in a slogan: “Bhaalu is my Catch-All TV Everywhere”.

Are you afraid that larger players such as Apple, Netflix or Telenet mightcome up with a similar solution?

Mr. Van Coppenolle: No, innovation and creativity always arises within small teams. Apple is the only large company that has used small, entrepreneurial and creative teams to drive innovation.

My last company grew the same way, and was sold to a very large company, so I know what I’m talking about. We’ve also had our inventions patented, and we will rigorously defend them in court if required to do so. And by the way, we do not have an app – WE are the platform to which other apps will later be able to plug in and build upon.

How does bhaalu differ from its competitors?

Mr. Van Coppenolle: Bhaalu offers the viewer the only truly good TV experience. We have designed the experience to be specifically based on neuropsychological findings and patented neuropsychological technology. The bhaalu TV experience is much more scientific than any other TV experience on the market, so once people use bhaalu, they will not look at television the same way again.

Besides neuropsychologically-based technology, we have also patented collaborative DVR technology, which is necessary in order to provide “catch-all TV Everywhere.”

Recently there was a lot of commotion about banning the practice of skipping over TV advertisements. Bhaalu is committed to offering a fast-forward function for its ads. What is your view on these problems?

Mr. Van Coppenolle: The delayed viewing of video content falls under consumer law, so the Flemish Parliament doesn’t have to change anything about it [Editorial Note: Singapore law is the same in this regard]. The ability to skip ads and view them later is a key feature, and we have that feature in bhaalu. You can skip annoying advertisements and view them at a later time where they don’t interrupt your current show.

However, there is a tacit agreement between the commercial broadcasters and the community that while these stations broadcast free content, they must broadcast advertisements as well. But, also in this agreement, the viewer can skip up to 60 minutes of commercials, building a sort of commercial “debt.”

The viewer then pays the debt by looking at interesting personalized advertisements or by paying money to not view them. Thus, the rights of the TV viewer and the rights of the commercial channels are respected, and without law (or media decree) having to be changed.

TV thrives on advertising, but the viewer gets the chance to skip through commercials. After a while, however, the viewer is still required to look at them. How user friendly is this feature for the consumer and the advertiser? Does this not frustrate both parties?

Mr. Van Coppenolle: Viewers are disallowed from skipping through ads only after they surpass their 60 minutes of advertising credit. Afterward, it is just like watching regular TV. Even if there are ads between two films, viewers can check their Facebook or e-mail, or whatever they normally do during ads.

It’s really more relaxing than frustrating. For advertisers, this approach holds the advantage in that we can deliver much better statistics. We know which ads are the most effective and get the most views. And above all, we can personalize the ads based on viewers’ selections and desires. With this system, the rights and interests of all parties are reconciled without frustration.

Should marketers think about product placement or other alternatives?

Mr. Van Coppenolle: They do not have too, but may want too. Not out of fear, however, but out of desire; not by coercion, but by freedom of choice. In a perfect world, I think good marketers want beautiful, creative and seductive advertisements where the viewer doesn’t feel the need to skip through it.

You have already built a lot of experience in the startup world. What tips would you recommend for budding entrepreneurs?

Mr. Van Coppenolle: Dare to dream and work hard.  Blame no one, not even yourself. Never force anyone, but do everything to enforce your desired result. It is the subject of my next book.

Singapore Entertainment Industry is Growing

MediaEntertainmentAccording to research firm PwC, the Singapore entertainment and media industry is set to grow 20% by 2017, putting it at a market cap of US$6.36 billion (SG$8.07 billion).  The firm said that the industry’s growth will be driven primarily by mobile internet subscribers.

Furthermore, PwC forecasts a 38.3% growth in the electronic home video market over the same period and also predicts that 79% of total E&M spending growth will come from digital platforms.

Considering this rapid growth, PwC Singapore’s Entertainment and Media Industry Leader Charlotte Hsu says the focus of E&M firms will be shifted to the customer:

“Universally, E&M companies need to invest in developing and distributing content in ways that compel customers to loyalty…this will require enhanced digital media measurement tools and business models that respond to the changing patterns of consumer behaviour. It really is all down to focussing on customer insight and being agile enough to respond operationally and to innovate with new business models: that’s the new licence to operate.”

To take part in the forecasted growth, E&M companies will need to show they know what content their customers want, while also delivering it in an efficient manner.  The companies cannot view innovation strictly in technological terms, but also in terms of how they react to customers’ changing needs and desires.

Referenced from Channel NewsAsia and PwC Singapore.

The Cloud is Here to Stay


Cloud-Computing-devices
The concept of cloud storage is not a new one.  In the early 1960′s, off-site data storage was a budding concept, although back then the technological resources did not exist for it to be cost-effective.

Since the invention of the World Wide Web in 1989, the cloud has now blossomed into a thriving industry and has redefined video entertainment as we once knew it.  Now, nearly every major video content provider offers a video cloud device or service, not the least of which being bhaalu, by Right Brain Interface.

The third annual CDN, or Content Delivery Networks, World Forum in London is dedicated to the exhibition, discussion and improvement of cloud technology and realizes that it is the future of effective content delivery.  Held this year from June 26-27, the forum’s keynote speakers include Netflix VP of Content Delivery Ken Florance and Telstra Global CEO and founder Will Hughs.

Among its many uses, Ryan Salazar says the natural progression of cloud technology is into television broadcasting:

“The thought of broadcast television via the cloud is such a no-brainer. Internet, everywhere; data, all around you; television, at your fingertips, when and where you want it, at your beck and call. As it should be.”

Bhaalu Experience Botique Showroom

Curious about the bhaalu experience? Great news! Two bhaalu boutique experience showroom have just opened up in Belgium, located in the cities of Ghent and Leuven, respectively. Guests are invited to sit down, relax and give bhaalu a trial run, to experience the difference over regular scheduled TV.
bhaalu-experience-center
You can look forward to a Singapore-based bhaalu showroom to open up sometime soon!

Social Media Impact on TV

The Council for Research Excellence published an excellent and comprehensive report on the subject of how social media can have an added influence on viewers of a TV show. The report covers how social media can help enhance existing relationships with TV viewers, but if overdone, and utilized too extensively, then the effectiveness will decrease accordingly.

social-media-impact-on-tv
One measure of the effect of Social Media on TV can be measured by the fact that in the USA, a whopping 46% of internet users started watching a TV program based on a Facebook opinion.

Here is a summary of the key observations the Council for Research Excellence made:

  • For repeaters, the first encounters with offline word-of-mouth, or a one-to-one electronic communication such as an email or text, or a social-media communication, are related to higher viewing — while subsequent communications can have diminishing returns. This suggests social media is one of the most effective ways to encourage on-going engagement with a show.
  • For repeaters, those receiving an initial social media message were found more likely to watch a show by one percentage point, with diminishing returns after each additional exposure to a social media message.
  • For infrequent viewers, social media and show promos were found to be less related to high viewing than offline word-of-mouth, which peaks at a four-percentage-point increase in the likelihood of sampling the show. More than five social media exposures are needed to obtain the same one-percentage-point lift as one offline word-of-mouth exposure for these infrequent viewers. This suggests social media plays a role in encouraging sampling, but a smaller one.
  • Demographics play a more important role than program genre in explaining the role of social media on TV viewing. Social media plays a stronger role for repeaters who are over 55 and white, and for infrequent viewers who are Hispanic, African American and male.
  • Social media plays a stronger role for genres such as reality (a nearly four-percentage-point increase in likelihood of watching), sports (more than a two-percentage-point increase) and talk shows (approximately a one-percentage-point increase).

Read the full report.

Audio Recognition Improves Second Screen Apps

video-recognition-second-screen-sync

Gracenote’s development of its new audio fingerprinting program Entourage™ is further proof that second screen viewing is becoming the new norm.  The program allows a second screen app to “listen” to your TV and give you information based on that exact point in the show or movie.

This is an improvement on earlier audio recognition, which used watermarks, or cues placed at distinct points throughout the broadcast, to identify the content.  If a user ran the feature too late or too early, it would not pick up the cue and would thus be rendered useless.

Gracenote’s president Stephen White supports his company’s technology as the best in the business, explaining why Gracenote’s new API might generate new second screen apps:

“Audio fingerprinting is the most elegant solution. It’s the easiest for broadcasters since it doesn’t require content to be modified, and it doesn’t require viewers to hear some beep every ten minutes.”


Gracenote is already well-known for providing the technology that recognizes song names and artists from burned CDs put into iTunes.  With Entourage, it and second screen apps could be launched into a new and prosperous technological age where people need only launch an app feature to interact directly with a TV broadcast.

Full article at TechCrunch.