Category Archives: Trends

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.”

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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.

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: http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/11/5299736/is-american-network-tv-facing-collapse

 

 

What is 4K Video?

Last year, we wrote a detailed description about the difference between HD (High Definition) and SD (Standard Definition) Television. There is a new format called 4k, which was introduced back in 2005, but just now starting to be embraced.

The industry needed a resolution that would work if the audience were sitting in the optimum “one-and-a-half times the screen height” from the screen or closer, and found it required that resolution to be higher than 1080p. The Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) was formed in 2002 with the goal of setting a digital standard. Based on these efforts, two new resolutions came about: a 2K specification, and later in 2005, the 4K format.

The first high-profile 4K cinema release was “Blade Runner: The Final Cut” in 2007, a new cut and print of the 1982 masterpiece. Unfortunately, at that time very few theaters were able to show it in its full resolution. It would take one of director Ridley Scott’s contemporaries to truly drive 4K into your local cineplex.

This CNET image best explains 4k:

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Full Article: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33199_7-57364224-221/what-is-4k-next-generation-resolution-explained/

Comcast Xfinity X2 Set-Top Box

comcast-x2Comcast is innovating. Their new software platform running on the Xfinity X2 next-generation set-top box has had over 1200 updates within the last 12 months. and their messaging is similar to that of Right Brain Interface; Fast, Smart, Easy, Personalized. According to Brian Roberts:

“As we look around the cloud/web ecosystem, the Winners are companies who can integrate across all devices, across all platforms, with a common interface, and they make it easy and fun to use.”

Here is a comprehensive video overview of Comcast new Xfinity X2:

Operators Seek Innovation to Survive

20131214_WBC037Comcast is arguably America’s most powerful media business since it controls both what people watch on television as well as the the pipes that deliver the TV content and Internet.

To remain on top, it is seeking new ways deliver TV content to meet the demand from their subscriber base concerning how they want to watch TV and consume their entertainment content.

In a recent article in the economist entitled Thinking Outside the Set-Top Box, the direction Comcast is just now moving towards lays out like a blueprint for what Right Brain Interface has already design, developed and built, with their product called bhaalu. Portions of quotation below highlighted in bold underscore these points.

Comcast has responded by trying to resemble the firms that could unseat it, offering more interactivity, personalisation and portability. “Television is going to change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50,” says Brian Roberts. Comcast executives talk about “apps” for the television and rolling out innovations every three to six months. The firm is paying particular attention to its user “interface”, or what, until recently, was called a TV guide. Comcast’s is now arranged not numerically by channel, but alphabetically by programme, by network and type of content. Couch potatoes even less inclined to effort can download an app to their iPhone and shout commands at it to locate shows.

Comcast’s new set-top box is “cloud-based”, adding to the potential for flexibility: films and programmes stored in the cloud can be watched on any device. It tracks viewing history and recommends programmes accordingly, much like Netflix. Comcast has made it easier for TV-watchers to find their way to full seasons of episodes that are available on-demand so people can “binge” on shows.

Other pay-TV providers are experimenting with new features, and some have approached Comcast to license its technology. One popular idea is “TV Everywhere”, which makes it possible for pay-TV subscribers to watch live and on-demand programmes on their mobile devices wherever they like. It has started slowly but is taking off as more content-owners agree to license the digital rights to their programmes. Tools like this may help Comcast and its rivals justify their high prices and convince people to stick with their television package.

Full story here: http://www.economist.com/news/business/21591600-americas-largest-cable-company-becoming-more-firms-it-battling-against?fsrc=scn/tw_ec/thinking_outside_the_set_top_box

2014 Trends in Online Video

tv-trendsPatrick Hurley of Skytide has put together a work-in-progress whitepaper about the trends in online video viewing that can be expected for 2014. In these trends, he lists #1. Social TV will take off. #3. Quality of experience (QoE) will trump all. We couldn’t agree more on both of these aspects, these indeed are two of the more predominately driving features of bhaalu. Here is the whitepaper: