Category Archives: VOD

VOD

Fox’s Appeal on Dish Decision Denied

getsrchttp3a2f2fimagestDish Network once again was given the nod in a barrage of cases involving automatic ad-skipping on its Hopper DVR service (called “AutoHop”).  Last Wednesday, a U.S. appellate court denied Fox network’s request to overturn a lower court’s November 2012 refusal to file an injunction against Dish.  The appellate court agreed that Fox has not provided adequate evidence showing that AutoHop would result in copyright infringement or breach of contract between the two companies.

Although this latest ruling has not necessarily dealt a mortal blow (Fox says they may file another appeal), it certainly will set a precedent for similar suits, namely those filed by NBC and CBS against Dish.  At a basic level, the suits against the satellite TV provider deal with its liability for plaintiffs’ lost ad revenues due to AutoHop. However, the courts say that by giving their customers control of the ad-skipping feature, Dish absolves itself of any direct liability for the lost revenues.

Sourcefednews.com explains Dish’s indirect liability:

“Additionally, Dish can’t be held liable indirectly either because time-shifting is a protected fair use and networks cannot challenge commercial skipping because they don’t have a copyright interest in the commercials themselves.”

Fox’s consecutive failures, for the same reason, to stop AutoHop seem to all but condemn both existing and future suits on the matter, at least in the U.S.  Could this case set a global precedent for ad-skipping procedures on VOD platforms? That depends on the country and the similarities between its laws and those of the U.S.

Referenced from FierceCable and the Chicago Tribune

See the appellate court’s full decision here.

YuMe Online Video Advertising

yume_logo_484 (1)Online news source Video Ad News recently conducted an interview with Ed Haslem, senior vice president of marketing at YuMe, an online video advertising firm.  The purpose of the interview was to discuss the release of YuMe’s Household Targeting ad service.

Haslem explained briefly what the service provides:

“In a nutshell, Household Targeting delivers 100% in-stream, interactive video ads to all screens in a household – smartphone, tablet, CTV, PC. By utilizing our Connected Audience Network these ads will reach more than 147M video viewers per month, in the United States.”

How does the service work? It uses complicated “heuristic algorithms,” as Haslem calls them, along with other processes that normal humans like myself could not possibly understand.  The main point is that the service looks to close the gap that exists between online video and TV advertising, insofar as household exposure.   Online ads, unlike those on TV, are usually only seen by a single family member at a time, giving TV ads a marked advantage.

Haslem said brands that would likely use YuMe’s service are those that already use TV ads heavily: cars, movies, restaurants, travel, etc.  Because these brands routinely include an entire household in the decision process (unlike, say, buying a set of golf clubs for Dad), adding online ads with family-wide exposure makes perfect sense.

YuMe plans to go public soon, as it filed for a US$65 million (S$82 million) initial public offering earlier this month, which was higher than expected (possibly due to this new service).  The company posted US$123 million (S$156 million) in sales for the 2012 fiscal year.

See full interview at VideoAdNews.com

Is Netflix Cropping Movies?

croppedJason Bailey knows quite a bit about digital media, having worked in the industry back in the VHS/DVD days. He brings to a potential revelation to light, that Netflix is possibly cropping their widescreen motion pictures to better fit todays television. Aside from making a compelling case, Jason offers a great writing style and enjoyable read. Here is an excerpt:

“I’m not seein’ the whole picture!” customers would complain. “It’s got these lines on the top and bottom!” And I would patiently explain that getting a widescreen movie frame into a television was a case of putting a rectangular peg into a square hole, and the black bars actually showed you more of the picture, and preserved the original image. And customers would nod and smile and understand completely… just kidding. They stared at me blankly before saying the exact same nonsense about what a rip-off it is to have only part of the TV being used and it was a terrible job, the end. But we won, ultimately! In the pan-and-scan vs. widescreen battle, widescreen came out on top. So why, in 2013, is Netflix cropping their movies?”

Full Article here.

Yidio Launches Mobile App

top-picksYesterday, San Francisco-based startup Yidio launched a mobile app for their website, yidio.com, in an effort to expedite growing mobile access to their service.  The app consolidates video content from nearly all of the main providers (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.) and makes it available for users to search, personalize, and watch.  Right now the app is only available for the iPhone, but an iPad version is set to launch within 30 days, with Android soon to follow.

Yidio’s app highlights the extent to which video consumers, whether they realize it or not, are relying on mobile content.  To that end, the problem the app solves is the previous difficulty or inability users had in accessing video from multiple different sources, especially in a mobile setting. Yidio simplifies the often painful process of content discovery by not only reducing the number of video platforms, but also optimizing the the personalization of the content.  

Features within the app include browsing by genre or by source, video sharing, access to reviews, and also a special section that features free content.

Yidio’s co-founder and CEO Brandon Eatros says that the app’s possibilities are endless:

“Combined with Airplay or an HDMI cord – you can continue to use it when you get home on your big screen as a very smart, personalized and easy remote.

With the app developed on top of hundreds of custom APIs, it’s completely flexible with the ability to add and customize unlimited services as we expand.”

Yidio is certainly set for international expansion, from which they certainly could not afford to exclude Singapore.  Nine in ten Singaporeans own smart phones, and 39% use their phones instead of their computers to surf the web.  Singapore has too much of a digital media market to be ignored by companies such as Yidio.

Referenced from TechCrunch and newmediatrendwatch.com

TV Features for Xbox One

xbox-one-tvIt is no secret that Microsoft is looking to make a big move into the TV video content market with its new Xbox One gaming console.  Leading up to its US release date later this year, the company has hinted that the console’s new TV capabilities will potentially be a big step toward Microsoft’s takeover of living room media. Why? Paul Sweeting breaks down Xbox One’s new TV features:

The Xbox One is designed to support a TV content ecosystem…

  • Rather than spending its money to license non-exclusive linear distribution rights, Microsoft is investing in creating exclusive original TV content directly for the Xbox Live platform.
  • Microsoft is co-opting the incumbent pay-TV service providers rather than disrupting or displacing them from the living room; Xbox One’s HDMI pass-through technology is a compromise that spares it the need to negotiate individual agreements with service providers and avoids antagonizing them.

Microsoft officials have already met with big studios, such as CBS and Sony TV, to probe the idea of creating content exclusive to the Xbox video platform, Xbox Live.  However, they would be well-served to proceed with caution in that endeavour, as the cost-effectiveness of exclusive OTT content has yet to be proven.

Whether or not Microsoft will pursue localized TV partnerships to accompany Xbox One’s Asian release (said to be in late 2014) still remains to be seen.  Conventional wisdom says that the company won’t put too much effort into it, as the total number of pay TV subscribers in the US is double that of Asia’s top two – Japan and South Korea – combined.

MyRepublic Launches Beta OTT Product

MyRepublic-TeleportSingapore internet provider MyRepublic, whose fibre broadband network is turning lots of heads, released their Teleport service for beta testing in April.  Teleport’s main purpose is to allow users to circumvent geographically restricted content, such as that from Netflix or Hulu, by “teleporting” their internet connections so that they seem to be coming from somewhere else (like the US).  Although other services such as StrongVPN do the same thing, Teleport uses MyRepublic’s fibre broadband, which the company assures provides a faster connection than other networks such as SingTel or StarHub.

Vanessa Tan writes that MyRepublic is making Teleport as user friendly as possible:

“The company also hopes to make setup of…Teleport easy for customers. It is not required of users to have additional home networking configurations or technical knowledge, as the activation of the add-on services will be configured on MyRepublic’s end.”

MyRepublic offered its beta product trial free to the first 1,000 customers to register.  After the trial period is over, however, the service will cost what most will view as a worthwhile SG$5.  For users to access paid video services, though, the services’ subscription fees will be a separate and additional expenditure.

Full article at TechinAsia

Monetizing TV Everywhere

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It’s been a tough road for TV networks trying to combat VOD providers for viewers, especially in the networks’ efforts to popularize TV Everywhere while also making money on it.  What is the key to unlocking that seemingly un-openable safe? Discovery Communications says the solution is in two simple words: “Pay up.”

The company that owns the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and TLC (home to Mythbusters, River Monsters, and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, respectively) says that charging money for TV Everywhere in addition to a pay TV subscription is the enlightened path to monetizing a sputtering business venture.

Will this idea put life into TV Everywhere, and, most importantly, will it hold up in the long run?  The numbers say it won’t, as market research firm GfK says 20% of US households now use OTA broadcasts in lieu of pay TV.  That number increases to 28% for households where the head of the family is aged 35 or younger.

According to Jim O’Neill, Discovery Communications shouldn’t expect their business plan to work to perfection:

“[The aforementioned] trends, and the fact that…cable operators—and pay-TV providers as a whole—have lost millions of subscribers in the past three years, should indicate that Discovery Communications may be in for more than a little consumer push back.”

The main point is: watch out, Discovery – you’re in for a bumpy ride.

Full article at theConvergence.tv

Live Streaming for TV Networks

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The recent rise in cord-cutting and getting over-the-air broadcasts has brought to the attention of most the need for regular TV broadcasters to come up with a way to keep up with the trend.  They need to provide people with a viewing outlet that can rival the convenience of VOD platforms while also giving them the content that they’re used to.

Some providers have tried to directly combat VOD with TV Everywhere, but their efforts thus far have proven weak at best, and it has been available only to the networks’ paying subscribers.

Mike Salmi thinks that the industry should go straight to online broadcasting:

“Rather than fighting cord-cutting and unbundling and making a weak effort with TV Everywhere, the top brass should be looking at putting their full broadcast TV channels online – with no restrictions…the broadcast channels are missing a unique chance to use their live channels on the internet to take their business to the next level.”

Perhaps free, live online streaming would be the best way to propel TV networks into the internet TV viewing market.  It would provide a more direct interface for viewers to interact with each other via social media (how convenient would it be if the evening news broadcast had a Facebook or Twitter link attached to it?).  Online viewing would also provide networks with live data about viewership, allowing them to react with their broadcasts in real time instead of waiting until the next day.

Finally, live online streaming would give TV networks an immensely larger viewing audience, and would allow them to cultivate more options for distributing all of their content – not just the primetime stuff.  They would have more control over their advertising, and could possibly provide premium subscriptions to get rid of ads all together.  The business options that this model would give networks are seemingly endless – let’s see if they take advantage of the opportunity.

Full article at paidContent.org

TV Content Wants to be Free

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As Netflix, NBC Universal and a variety of new distributors and content networks enter the field of developing their own channel programming, they are tending to gravitate towards maintaining a tight grip over their productions.

We believe this will ultimately turn out to be a counter-productive strategy, because it creates walled fortresses, silos of content, in a time where the public demands even more flexibility and selective control over what they want to view, and when they want to view it.

Matt Asay of ReadWriteWeb explains the downside of this trend aptly, stating the following:

“Once-neutral content networks are now investing in original content, exclusive to their networks. While these are honest attempts to differentiate and create value for customers, they risk Balkanizing content. It’s CompuServe all over again.”

Further to the point, Matt illustrates that there will be eventual repercussions of this strategy, based on consumers eventual reaction:

“Whether expressed through digital piracy and even Apple’s iTunes, content wants to be free. By this I don’t mean to suggest that consumers want to pay nothing for content, but rather that we want to have convenient, multi-channel access to content…Markets get bigger through open access; they constrict when access is closed.”

Sooner or later, consumers are going to get what they want, that is how the open market works. And if Netflix and other such previously neutral content distribution networks continue to erect barriers around their original content programs, then public dissatisfaction will grow, and new disruptive innovators will enter the scene.

Referenced from ReadWrite.com

Live TV versus VOD Statistics

live-tv-agesA recent study by ThinkBox shows that Live TV still satisfies most viewers needs. VOD caters more towards viewers who want private and personalized TV. The study found that there are predominately 6 reasons why users watch TV, they are as follows: unwind, comfort, connect, experience, escape, indulge.

“All respondents owned a smartphone and 46% owned a tablet and nearly  three-quarters watched VOD content at least once a week. This compares with the  52% of the UK who has ever watched VOD. Yet this pales into the background  compared with live TV which UK viewers watch 90% of the time.

The survey found that the live TV experience satisfies human emotional needs  that on demand viewing alone can’t. By contrast VOD excels at satisfying  personal approaches to TV, specifically indulging and escaping, but was is less  equipped for more social needs such as unwinding and seeking comfort. The survey  found that for 54% of the occasions people watch live TV they are with someone  else compared to 30% for VOD. And for viewers who want to connect and feel like  they are sharing a TV experience with the outside world, then live TV was judged  by far the best way.