Online video viewed on TV sets will lead to an explosion of consumer spending: $6 billion by 2013, says a report by Park Associates.
“Consumption of premium Internet video content to date has been low,” said Parks Associates. “Services have been available only on less-than-optimal screens – PCs and portable multimedia players. But new connected products that link to premium Internet video services are emerging at a rapid pace, moving the Internet video viewing experience into the living room. This shift will help grow revenues considerably.”
This report finds that greater ownership of connected game consoles, networked TVs and alternative video-on-demand set-top receivers is generating significant growth in user-paid revenues (Apple TV is, in our view, one of those best examples).
This consultancy says that the Internet video market is maturing as portals, aggregators, broadcasters, and other content creators and publishers are developing go-to-TV approaches and ad-supported premium video services.
“Future areas to watch include ad-supported movie streams, new targeted advertising approaches, and Hollywood’s efforts to offer more electronically distributed content through download-to-burn kiosks and other manufacturing-on-demand outlets.”
Online ad networks are growing
More web publishers are using online ad networks to sell their inventory. In 2006 publishers sold 5 percent of their inventory via ad networks; a year later, that number has shot up to 30 percent. That is according to a new report issued by The Interactive Advertising Bureau and the consulting firm Bain & Company.
Experts consider that if your business model is advertising driven, you can’t outsource a significant percentage and expect to stay in business. However, if you don’t have an ad department, they say that there is a lot of value in ad networks to grow businesses.
The report also found that ad networks are growing in prominence in part because brands see them as a low cost alternative to premium sites, and in part because ad networks’ pricing and inventory management technology needs improvement. (Premium publishers often command CPMs the $10 to $20 range for their top selling inventory).
Apple’s iPhone App Store spark creativity among developers and money dreams among VCs
The iPhone and other smartphones like the new T-Mobile Dream, powered by Google’s new Android operating system, and the BlackBerry, are sparking creativity among software developers, and some venture capitalists are taking advantage of this phenomenon. The popularity of iPhone is clear: users have already downloaded 60 million applications from Apple’s App Store.
Last week the New York Times featured iFund, a $100 million investment fund created earlier this year to invest in start-ups specializing in iPhone applications. So far, they have received 2,500 business plans, and they have invested –over $5 million- in four: Whrll, a mobile location-based service where users can be tracked on their iPhone by friends; iControl, which makes it easier to monitor homes while away; Gogii, dedicated to interactive gaming and social networking; Ngmoco, a game maker; and a soon-to-be-announced company that creates virtual world that one enters through the phone.
First time a newspaper video site goes live via cell phone
The Washington Post has begun streaming live video via mobile phones. The first implementation came from a reporter streaming from the floor of the DNC in Denver during Obama’s nomination. A WashingtonPost.com representative explained: “This is one of the first times a newspaper organization has had the ability to bring this level of live video coverage to viewers”. The reporter used a cell phone and software from Comet Technologies.
In the last year, there has been quite a lot of experimentation with bloggers and mainstream media streaming live using smart phones. Some other services are Qik, Kyte, and Flixwagon.
Get videos from YouTube without downloading any software
Trying to rip flash video files from YouTube without downloading any software? Sometimes knowing to cut and paste is enough. How is that? Select the full URL, type file2hd.com, and paste that address on the URL field. Then, select movie, agree to the Terms and Conditions, and hit Get files either in .flv format or .mp4.
A free all-in-one freeware downloader
And talking about managing downloads, here is another tip. There is a free application that quickly downloads streaming videos and songs from four browsers. It is called Orbit Downloader. To get a media file, simply right-click a video or photo and choose download from your context menu.
Widgets will come to your TV. “It’s really going to create a dramatic change”, says Yahoo’s VP Patrick Barry. Comcast has teamed up with Intel and Yahoo to allow third-party developers to create web-connected widgets for TV.
So far, the following companies are working on one: Blockbuster, CBS Interactive, CinemaNow, Cinequest, Comcast, Disney-ABC Television Group, eBay, GE, Group M, Joost, MTV, Samsung Electronics, Schematic, Showtime, Toshiba and Twitter… The widgets (weather updates, news, games…) would be powered by a chip in the set-top box, which is connected to the Internet. A sample: a Yahoo Weather widget over the top of your local news.
The Widget Channel framework, developed by Intel and Yahoo, is intended to enhance the traditional TV watching experience and bring content, information and community features available on the Internet within easy reach of the remote control.
Open software development
Comcast and Intel expect to begin integration testing of the Widget Channel framework in the first half of 2009 on Comcast’s interactive program guide using the CableLabs-developed tru2way technology for interactive cable applications.
“The Widget Channel enables interactive applications, and tru2way technology has opened the door for these types of innovations to work in the cable industry,” Comcast chief technology officer Tony Werner said in a statement.
Intel chip for set-top boxes
Intel has developed a system-on-a-chip for cable set-top boxes and other consumer electronics devices, the Media Processor CE 3100 (formerly code-named Canmore), which provides high-definition video decoding and viewing, home-theater-quality audio, 3-D graphics, and the ability to run Internet-based applications.
"TV will fundamentally change how we talk about, imagine and experience the Internet," Eric Kim, general manager of Intel’s Digital Home Group, said in a statement. "No longer just a passive experience unless the viewer wants it that way, Intel and Yahoo are proposing a way where the TV and Internet are as interactive, and seamless, as possible."
Intel and Yahoo plan to make a development kit available to developers, including TV and other consumer-electronics device makers, advertisers and publishers. The Widget Channel also will include a gallery to let developers publish their TV Widgets across multiple TV and related devices and through which consumers can find widgets they would like to use.
More information right here.
The iTunes Download radio show
Mega radio syndicator Premiere Radio Networks has created a new show called The iTunes Download that counts down the 30 most downloaded iTunes songs. It’s a three-hour weekend music countdown hosted by iTunes Director of Music Programming Alex Luke.
“Radio is where more music buyers first hear what they want to buy and iTunes is the place they go to do it — now we’re connecting the two,” said Luke.
"The iTunes charts have become the first indicator, each week, of what millions of music fans are buying," added Luke. "Radio is where more music buyers first hear what they want to buy and iTunes is the place they go to do it -- now we're connecting the two."
CNN joins the embedded video rush
CNN.com finally got on board with the embedding video trend. With MSNBC.com, News.com, FoxNews.com and others, CNN.com has joined the embedded video gold rush.
Top 30 news sites
Who are the most watched news sites? Nielsen-Netratings has listed of the top news and information sites. For the second straight month, msnbc.com is in the top position followed by Yahoo News and CNN.com. ABCNews is 7th, Fox News is 9th, CBS News is 13th and WorldNow is 14th.
Here is the list.
Examiner: mixing local news with (paid) bloggers
The billionaire owner of the SF Examiner, Philip Anschutz, is getting success with his idea of pushing into local market with Examiner.com. This is an online newspapers network that mix local aggregation with original columns and community features. Right now there Examiner.com's in 57 cities.
Local bloggers, called "Examiners", are paid as independent contractors: $2.50 per 1,000 pageviews, and they get free advertising.
Examiner.com says its pageviews have reached 6 million a month and growing.
NBC has created a good Webcasting site, NbcOlympics.com, with some interesting innovations using Microsoft’s Silverlight technology and the promise of broadcasting live 2,200 hours.
However, the way to handle contents have exasperated a number of people. At least 700 hours of live events are not being webcast. And another 700 hours of the contests are taped and shown hours later on television. All of the broadcast events are available to replay on the Internet after they are aired.
NBC has said that it needs to keep the most popular events exclusive to television in order to serve the advertisers, affiliate stations and cable systems.
But the reality is more complicated, and the battle between the big business of network and the emerging medium of Web video is far from over.
NBC has released a research that shows how the Web and the network drive viewers to each other as people get caught up in the Olympics dramas of the day. Half of the online users want to catch up with events they have missed. And another 40 percent want to replay something the first saw on TV.
“The Internet hardly cannibalizes; it actually fuels interest,” said Alan Wurtzel, NBC’s president of research.
“We know without question people want to see the best viewing experience,” he said. “If you watched the Olympics in high definition on a big screen, you are not going to watch it online. So that is why there isn’t going to be a cannibalization.”
That survey finds that 90 percent of people who follow the Olympics watched it only on television. The other 10 percent also used the Internet, mobile phones or video-on-demand services from cable.
For Internet television, the Beijing Olympics represent a milestone, but there is no cannibalization.
The lesson of Beijing so far is that “the more things changed, the more they remain the same.” Even as people adopt new media like the Internet, they keep using older ones as well, he said.
In other words, he said, “the big 800-pound gorilla will remain network television.”
NBC’s decision to delay broadcasting ceremonies by 12 hours sent people across the U.S. to their computers trying to find alternative video sites.
In response, NBC, who paid $894 million for the exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympics in the United States, sent request to Websites asking them to take down the illicit clips and restric authorized video to host countries.
Meanwhile, viewers posted links on blogs and on Twitter, redirecting people to German, Brazilian or Spanish-language video sites. Anonymous users uploaded more than 100 video clips of the ceremony to YouTube, but the Google’s site removed as many as it could. Similarly, some live video stream on Justin.tv were also removed.
Most of the world’s other broadcasters, including CBC in Canada, Televisa in Mexico, the BBC in Britain and NHK in Japan, broadcast the opening ceremonies live on television. “The idea of watching a 14-hour delay is repulsive,” agreed many bloggers.
NBC Olympics said in a statement: “We have a billion dollars worth of revenue at stake here, so that means we’re not public television, for better or worse.”
For streaming video, NBC created NbcOlympics.com in where they are putting 2,2000 hours online of video feeds.
Not even the YouTube Olympics dedicated channel will be available in the U.S., due to NBC’s restriction.
The International Olimpic Committee is permiting Networks to stream video this year because geographic blocking technology allows the companies to keep their broadband feeds within nacional borders.
In some cases, users illegally retransmited the feeds. In at least one case (with Germany’s ARD broadcast network), the blocking did not occur.
An open source platform for re-mixable, shareable and collaborative video content
The open-source collaborative video platform Kaltura.com has reached an agreement with Wikipedia. Users will be able to post videos into Wikipedia entries and modify them with Kaltura’s collaborative editing tools.
Beyond that, Internet people can use in their sites Kaltura’s editing, uploading, searching, remixing and sharing functionalities. Also, Kaltura’s store of re-mixable video content is accessible for users.
This Brooklyn New York start up was founded in 2007, has 20 employees, and got $2.1 in funding from angels investors and Avalon Ventures. Kaltura allows group of users to create rich-media projects together using video, audio, and animation, similarly to what Wiki platforms enable with text.
Kaltura’s technolgoy is implemented in the the kultura.com portal, available to all for free; and is also licensed to other websites, social networks, and brands for their customized and integrated use.
Cellphone applications are the new El Dorado for carriers
AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and other carriers, and cell phone makers are embracing a new attitude of openness toward consumers, after seeing the Apple iPhone App Store’s success.
Verizon Wireless has said that it will open its network to any device maker that can create a mobile phone compatible with its network. AT&T has promised to also open its networks. AT&T’s pressure comes also from the fact that they have no control over the applications downloaded to the iPhones, which this carrier offers exclusively.
Nokia, new owner of Symbian operating system, has agreed to share the software with other phone makers.
On the other hand, already there are at least six major operating systems for cellphones: Linux, Symbian, Blackberry, Microsoft, Palm, and Apple. And more are coming. Google expects the first phones in its Open Handset Alliance, which will use –this fall- its Google Mobile operating system.
Google is building an operating system that could allow anyone to add applications to any phone using Google Mobile software –without going through a carrier.
Experts said in the New York Times last week that consumers may find it confusing that some applications work only for certain phones because developers do not have the time or money to adapt projects to every operating system.
Embedded YouTube players packed with ads
On some embedded YouTube clips now, there are not one, but two ads: one is in the upper left corner and another superimposed over the bottom of the screen. This ad changed several times at the beginning of the clip, and then faded out. See an example on this blog).
Google has been trying to find a way to earn a return on the $1.65 billion it spent on YouTube with a variety of ad formats. None of the formats appears yet to be the golden ticket.
Google offers free search analysis tool
Google launched Insight for Search, a free tool that allows users to estimate search volume on keywords.
It compares search terms, and break them down by region and category. It is good information to help improve SEO and SEM.
Sony, Samsung, Hewlett-Packard, Panasonic and other manufacturers of HD television are introducing sets this year that stay permanently connected to your home Internet network. Apple TV , PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 are devices that already allow online streaming. But these new TV sets will make the process easier and cheaper, and eliminate the need for set-top boxes. Setup is simple as long as the router is in the same room as the TV (Wi-Fi is not an option in most sets).
For example, with Panasonic’s service, called Viera Cast, installed on 42-inch Panasonic PZ850 plasma TV, user see “Internet channels” like Bloomberg TV, Weather Channel, YouTube, and features like Picasa photo-sharing site.
In all TV sets the range of film offering is still very limited. Many manufactures are contracting with studios to stream movies and television shows on demand, or are working with established video providers such as CinemaNow or Netflix.
A significant number of people watch prime time shows online, not on TV
More than 20 percent of people watch some amount of prime tie shows online, according Integrated Media Measurement Inc. Within that group of online viewers, 50 percent are watching programs as they become available and are starting to use the computer as a substitute for a television.
The conclusion of this consulting firm is that “migration of consumption for one platform to another is only a matter of time.”
Gannett invests in Mogulus $10 million
Mogulus.com is getting a $10 million investment from Gannett, according to Silicon Alley. The company, one of the many live video companies searching for a business model, had previously taken $2.7 million over two rounds.
Gannet was already Mogulus most important customer.
Mogulus is a live television studio in a single application: you can broadcast live, scheduled live, or on-demand with real-time graphics. You can stream live from a laptop with a wireless card. It’s also an embeddable player.
Nokia doesn’t cede any ground to chase U.S. tech giants
Nokia is buying for $410 million London-based Symbian, the leading maker of operating system software for advanced mobile phones (known as smart phones), and creating a foundation that will give away Symbian’s software for free. This is an attempt to take on Apple, Google and Microsoft, as a growing number of people tap the Web from handheld devices.
Symbian software is now used in 56 % of smart phones and high-end devices (such as Nokia’s Nsries). But competition in the field is growing fast. Google backs Android operating system. The LiMO Fundation has won wide backing with Linux for mobile phones. Apple with its sleek iPhone gains support among software developers.
Nokia’s move by opening up Symbian and making –and therefore more people likely to use it and improve on- could hurt rivals such as Microsoft that charge royalties for their Windows Mobile software (13% market share; then comes Blackberry, 12 %; Linux, 9%; Mac, 7%).
Expert say that in the end, it is unlikely that one operating system will prevail in handsets, the way Microsoft has dominated the PC business. Big players like Motorola and DoCoMo use Symbian, but they are also involved in both LiMO and Android.