NBC and its sister cable channels in the NBC Universal family is launching more Webisodes than any other big networks.
Webisodes –online minidramas produced in conjunction with an existing television series- are the only original fiction the networks are offering weekly (because of the many reruns and repeats of the shows and series). Many people, specially fans, take them a quick and free desktop entertainment.
Some samples on NBC.com are The Recruit, Chuck, and The Outburst -a four-episode Web extensión of “The Office”, with much of the regular cast of the Office but not the biggest starts as Steve Carell, John Krasinski or Jenna Fisher.
At usanetwork.com lie six Webisodes for ¨Psych¨.
The NYTimes writes about it.
Advertising agencies invent their own brands seeking a new business
Some ad agencies are creating their own web properties. Then they put their marketing expertise and promote those new brands. Sample: Mrs-O.org, a blog dedicated to follow the fashion of Michelle Obama. Fans of Mrs. Obama can view photos and videos of the outfit she is wearing and find out where to buy.
The advertising agency behind the blog, Bartle Bogle Hearty, does not work for Mrs. Obama or for the fashion designers the site features. This agency has created a new division, called Zag, dedicated to invent new brands. This initiative is seen by experts, featured by the New York Times, as a part of a business model transformation in the advertising industry.
“Advertising is a massively old model based on the 1950s. As media has proliferated, it’s become a lot harder for us to earn enough money off our ideas,” said to NYTimes Ben Jenkins, the strategic director of Zag. “Zag is about creating the properties ourselves from scratch and having 100 percent of it.”
This agency also has produced Pick Me, a line of premade vegetarian meals; Ila Dusk, a personal security alarm; a Dogside, a social networking and e-commerce site for dog owners.
Illicit live streams games proliferate online
Pirated live streams about professional sports are proliferating on the Internet. These video feed have become a menace to the major sports leagues’ businesses, because of their plan of building a live offering for a subscription fee.
For example, MLB.com (Major League Baseball’s site) offers a season of games streamed online for $79.95.
The hubs of the peer-to-peer networks that facilitate the illicit streaming of live games are mostly outside the U.S. Often they are in China, where some of the most popular services started as student projects. One of the biggest providers of live game fees is the Chinesse TVants.com.
As the New York Times says, “while the biggest services are located in China, it takes a fan, often in the United States, to upload the actual stream for distribution to the wider Internet. This is done by using a PC-tuner card, a $50 device that connects a television to a computer, or by uploading the stream from a legitimate online video subscription to a peer-to-peer network.”
In 2007, M.L.B. documented 3,000 incidents of its live games being stolen; last season that number grew to 5,000. M.L.B. employs three people full time to monitor the Web for piracy. Usually a steady flow of cease-and-desist letters flow out the offices of each league’s law firms.
Streaming Media magazine posts in its last issue a bunch of articles written by the industry moguls. What follows is an excerpt of main ideas:
• One thing remains constant: Consumers will want to be connected to digital media whenever and wherever they want it –Brian Baker, CEO Widevine Technologies
• Video is a powerful medium whose time has arrived. Consumers still demand high-quality movies, sports events, and TV shows but expect them to be available when and where they want to view them. Video without proper distribution and visual quality, such as titling and other visual cues, can decrease its effectiveness and value. –Dan Castles, CEO Telestream
• The great economic crisis of ’08 may have just made webcasting a mandatory business practice. Travel budgets are shrinking as meeting go barebones, and expense accounts are all but locked up. There are few methods left for curbing costs while boosting productivity. Enter webscasting. –Ben Chodor, President Stream57
• In 2009 our customers will be looking to trim costs and bring efficiencies into their own operations. The Internet continues to be the most cost-effective means to engage customers. Steve W. Chung, Chief Strategy Officer CDNetworks
• 2008 was another breakthrough year; from the incredible scale of online Olympics coverage worldwide to the unprecedented Internet accessibility of the US political campaigns. Online viewers have more control than ever; even for live events, and the future of online video is brighter than ever, even in the face of some considerable challenges.
Shrinking marketing spending may continue to drive advertisers from ‘big budget’ advertising such as national television sports toward better-targetable advertising online.
Solutions providers with strong established offerings adapting to evolving customer needs and content owners with high-quality, compelling content and strong branding should not only survive but also thrive. –Brick Eksten, President Digital Rapids.
• In 2009 Streaming video of both live an on-demand will no doubtable become the nucleus of every company’s training and communication agenda.
In 2009 Internet-TV will finally reach the TV.
With the constant improvement in picture quality, better and more efficient distribution networks, cutting edge management platforms, and affordable set-top-boxes, there is no doubt that we are going to witness a gradual shift from the PC viewing to the TV. –Odded Felled, Yuval Gliks, BestTV
• The cost of the underlying network is critical to our success and that of our customers –Mike Flatin, Co-Founder Bandcon
• No vendor can provide a complete solution to every stage of workflow, although there are 10 booths at any show that will claim to, as either a product of service. Do something well. –Josh Gagliardi, CTO Highwinds
• As enterprises, associations, and government agencies scramble to cut costs, the potent value proposition offered by Internet TV offers in cost-effective communicating interactively with their respective constituencies –Dave Gardy, Chairmand & CEO TV Worldwide
• 2009 will be another excellent year for our industry –Kazuhiro Gomi, NTT Communications
• Users will continue to migrate to online digital media, attracted by variety, control and interactivity. Media companies and distributors will follow the audience wherever, whenever, and however necessary. Devices will increasingly connect every possible way, in any possible place, to all possible things. –Michael Gordon, Co-Founder Limelight Networks
• 2009 is the shaping up to be the ‘Perfect Storm’ for accelerating the adoption of video technologies in the enterprise. Today’s harsh economic reality is pushing the need to increase the quality, volume, and speed of information flow.
Video is not reserved for corporate execs but can originate from any employee, to any device, anywhere, anytime. Employee-generated content, video-conference room streaming, syndicated content, customer social networking, and global project management all use video to help people solve complex problems together.
Recessions force companies to change more rapidly than they normally would. Those that leverage Enterprise Video Communications will be the companies that lead the way to economic recovery. The good news is the technology is here now at a reasonable cost and employees are ready to use it. –Ray Hood, CEO Qumu Inc
• Enterprise-wide content delivery solutions can make an impact in two distinct ways: communications and training. Video and rich media content distribution for corporate communications enables a company to communicate effectively, face-to-face as often as required, with global employees, customers, and partners, reducing travel costs and increasing morale. Hiring restrictions will elevate the need to train and educate existing employees. Content delivery solutions can provide employees distributed high-quality training content at home, on the road, or in the office, to a highly mobile workforce.
Whether our customers want to view their content online or offline; at work, home, on the road, on their laptop, desktop, or mobile device, our delivery platform ensures secure, timely delivery of content everywhere at any time.
In 2009, we encourage the consolidation of the content delivery market from a technology-based market to a solutions-based market. –Jim Janicki, President & CEO Ignite Technologies, Inc.
• One of the things that will actually help business survive and thrive is video. Businesses are increasingly turning to video and becoming their own broadcasters over their own “B-Tube” to ensure that relevant information is received and reviewed by all of their employees in a timely manner.
Video streaming drives cost reduction, productivity and efficiency gains, globalization. –Stan Jaworsky, CMO Vrick Systems Inc.
• It is time to switch from great ideas to profitable and sustainable businesses. –Eero Kaikkonen, Chief Marketing Officer ON2 Technologies, Inc.
• We as industry have a long way to go to fill the capacity gap between where we are today and the future of all video delivered over IP. This gap and the shift in paradigm from broadcast business model to completely personalized media is what have driven the huge amount of interest, growth, and investment in the last year. –Michael King, President Abacast Inc.
• Online video has become mainstream and represents a viable alternative to traditional television viewing. Video played a larger role than ever in the recent election with millions of people using their broadband connections to watch the presidential debates.
As streaming becomes more prevalent, we are going to see another transition –one from a live events-oriented platform to a more personalized experience. Video content will be on-demand and tailored for specific users. –Grant Kirkwood, CTO Mzima Networks.
• Online consumers are active and educated while still being bombarded with ads in every corner on the Internet. And maybe, like the exodus to cable and satellite radio and subscription news sites many of them are choosing to actually purchase and consume the media they are interested in. –Christopher Levy, CEO & Founder BuyDRM
• High broadband adoption, combined with an emerging landscape of connected devices, will drive consumer demand for HD-quality video over the Internet. According to Akamai data, more than 70 % of connections in the US today are at speeds greater than 2 Mbps. More than 25 % connect at speeds greater than 5 Mbps and those numbers continue to grow. In addition, new distribution platforms such as Blu-Ray discs, mobile and set box devices will become significant subscribers of both web applications and online video content as the pace of growth of these devices overtake that of traditional desktop delivery. This new landscape will drive content owners to invest in workflow tools to distribute more content over the Internet and distribution systems will need to adhere to standards to maximize reach for content owners.
CDNs need to provide unprecedented scale, flexibly integrate with industry standard workflows, business tools and analytics to support cross-platform distribution, as well as valuable advertising audience insight. Akamai is moving in this direction. –Tim Napoleon, Chief Strategist Akamai.
• Streaming media is poised for success. Thanks to the collapse of the digital divide, cheap bandwidth, and increasing consumer comfort with getting entertainment online, companies are constantly surprised –even shocked- by the size of their streaming audience. –Dave Stubenvoll, CEO & Co-Founder Wowza Media Systems
CBS Corporation has redesigned TV.com and is transforming it into a HULU-style video destination. For that, CBS has signed up non-exclusive partnerships with PBS, Sony, MGM and Endemol. Also, CBS’ shows will be available on TV.com.
TV.com is aiming to differentiate from Hulu.com with social tools. As The New York Times says, “many web users are already familiar with Hulu, Fancast and other Web sites that bring the television experience to the Internet. In the land grab for the online TV audience, CBS hopes to define itself by adding a community layer to the videos and by encouraging user interaction.” So the idea is to move beyond Hulu.
TV.com has taken various forms over the years. In the mid-1990s, it was the name of CNet’s syndicated television show about the Internet. More recently, the company turned into a guide to TV, with listings, forums and fan information.
Now, because TV.com cannot be the only source for episodes, CBS executives want TV.com to be the most comprehensive one. Users already rate episodes, write reviews and view cast and crew information on the site.
Some experts say that Hulu, Youtube and this TV.com are not user for social interaction.
First local television in the country launching an iPhone app
iPhone applications arrive at local TV stations. WRAL TV, based in North Carolina, is the first local TV station in the U.S. to make its content available, at no cost, through an application developed for the iPhone. News Over Wireless, which is part of Capitol’s New Media Group, developed the application.
Capitol says that he want to be at the forefront of mobile TV application development, Web technology and delivery and digital radio. “Our goal is to have WRAL News available on as many platforms as possible,” they said.
This Wral.com iPhone application enables iPhone users to navigate across a menu of selections such as news video, weather forecasts, traffic cameras and weather radar. See here the video presentation.
Google is a Media outlet with over 1 million advertisers
According to a SEC filing, Google had 1 million advertisers in 2007 at an average spend of $16,000 each equaling $16.6 billion in revenue.
Estimates put the number of advertisers now around 1.3 to 1.5 million.
Broadcasters will use soon mobile DTV
Sixty-three TV stations in 22 markets reaching 35 percent of U.S. households plan to launch mobile DTV in the near future, providing free live, local and over-the-air TV to cell phones equipped with the new capability, built with standards from the Open Mobile Video Coalition.
The news came in Las Vegas at the International Consumer Electronics Show during a press conference of the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC). Its chairman said: “Broadcasters are on track to deliver local and national broadcast television to mobile audiences.”
Mobile DTV will expand the reach of content, provide consumers with more flexibility in how they access news, sports and entertainment programming, and open the door to a new world of possibilities for advertisers.
Google has teamed with SpotMixer to give small businesses the ability to create their own videos and traffic them on Google’s Adwords network, both online and on TV (Google has a few television partners).
SpotMixer allows small businesses to upload their own video, combine it with file video, add graphics and edit it into a commercial spot or longer-form advertorial video.
Google’s ultimate play here is giving its advertisers the ability to target its video ads on TV by zip code as well as audience. See this video about creating your own free TV commercial. Another interesting clip about how to create a TV campaign with Google is here: video 2.
This is also a good opportunity for video production professionals and scriptwriters. Google allows these specialists to fill it out an application to be considered part of its network.
Cell-phone and software companies are getting into the app act
The new competition in cell phones revolves around programs that run on the devices. As the New York Times was saying recently “the new status symbol is what your phone can do –count calories, teach Spanish, simulate a flute…” In a sense, applications have become a form of social currency, as users compete to find the latest quirk, show off to friends.
The king here is the iPhone, which leads the transformation, in a fierce competition with Blackberry, Palm devices, Google/Android and Microsoft/Windows Mobile.
Since July, Apple has posted more than 10,000 programs to its App Store; 9 out of every 10 iPhone users have downloaded applications –more than 300 million over all, including here software updates and repeats downloads. Some applications are free, while others typically cost $1 to $10. A user can download software to the phone in seconds, in a very easy-to-do and friendly way.
The concept of add-on applications has been for a decade, with hand-held devices like Palm being pioneers. However, with Apple’s introduction of the App Store, in July, the concept attained mass-market.
Google has about 300 applications available. Among the most popular is Shop-Savvy, in which users scan the bar code of any product using the camera built into the G1 smart-phone from T-Mobile. This free application searches for the best price online and delivers the information to the phone.
In terms of earnings, Google says it earns nothing from the applications. Any revenue is split between developers, who earn 70 percent, and, in the case of the G1, with the carrier T-Mobile. In the meantime, Apple takes 30 percent of all revenue from the store, and gets help selling more iPhones.
Boxee allows people to watch Internet video on their TV set.
Boxee.tv, a New York City 11 employees-start up, is generating significant buzz online, since many early adopters (as many as 200,000) are using its technology to get rid of that costly $100-a-month cable or satellite connection.
At boxee.tv users can download its open source software, and play Internet videos –Hulu, Netflix and many other sources- on their living room big-screen televisions. It works so far with Mac and Linux, and Apple TV.
Boxee offers a well-organized directory, which can be navigated using the remote controls that now ship with most computers.
Its business model is based on licensing its software to consumer electronics companies like TV manufacturers. However, now Boxee is concentrated on building up its user base. He got $4 million from two East Coast venture capital firms.
Apple doesn’t like very much the idea of Boxee being installed on Apple TV set-top-boxes, and he could take steps to prevent it. Apple wants users get their content from iTunes.
MSNBC new player makes videos easier to search passages
Msnbc.com has launched an innovative video player with transcripts. You click a word or a tag inside a transcript, and you jump instantly to that location in the video. Also, you highlight a sentence or two, and it spits out a little code, letting you embed that exact clip on your blog.
This is particularly useful for some news, because it makes easier to find specific passages of videos. For example, web users looking for a particular clip of Barack Obama’s inauguration address won’t have to review the entire speech to find it.
CNN uses Microsoft’s Photosynth technology
CNN is partnering with Microsoft and using their Photosynth technology to create a 3-D version of they are calling “The Moment”.
Users are asked to take a photo at noon when Obama takes the office. CNN will then stitch the photos together using the Photosynth technology to create the 3-D creation.
Internet live broadcasting traffic in the U.S. hit a record peak this week with the President Obama’s speech. Millions of cubicle employees watched (or tried to) online video of the inauguration ceremonies. It was the most-viewed live video event in Internet history.
CNN.com fed 1.3 million live streams simultaneously. Over the nine-hours ceremony, CNN provided more than 21.3 million video stream. During the Election Day, it had ‘only’ 5.3 million streams.
CDN provider Akamai, who worked with New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Viacom and other outlets, reported a record-breaking day, feeding up seven million video streams at one time. Akamai noted a 54 percent spike in worldwide internet traffic tied to people hunting down news online. Total traffic on the Akamai network surpassed a rate of more than 2 tereabits per second at 12:15pm.
Facebook teamed up with CNN.com to put a stream of personal status updates next to video coverage. Twitter did the same with CBS.
Despite these impressive raw figures, many people were unable to access video, and many Websites –we tried CNN, NYT, ABC, NBC- had trouble keeping up the overwhelming demand. Those frustrated users turn to old television to watch the speech.
CNN posted a note to visitors saying they were in line to receive a working stream. CNN called that feature the "Waiting room".
However, CNN and other media explained that the viewing troubles may have been more a result of the limited Internet capacity coming to offices and houses, rather than a lack of overall bandwidth from the media companies.
The viewing troubles may have been more a result of the limited Internet capacity coming to offices and houses, rather than a lack of overall bandwidth from the media companies, according to Mr. Woodcock.
“The United States continues to suffer from less-than-robust bandwidth, due to inadequate government attention and limited competition between Internet service providers like AT&T and Comcast”, said an analyst in the New York Times. President Obama has acknowledged the problem.
Best and worst Video sites
In terms of performance, CBS had the best quality and the most reliable stream. CBS TV Stations had the best looking video quality by far with at least seven HD quality streams to choose from (Multiple camera angles). Clean and crisp design and great frame rate. It also had video of all the inaugural speeches going back to Roosvelt, and an embedded Twitter feed from CBS stations' editorial team that highlighted different elements as they happen. The HD player was 959 pixels wide. Video was powered by Silverlight, Move Networks, and Vertigo (which built the player to support pre-roll video ads along with companion banner ads.)
MSNBC, C-SPAN and Hulu were the worst, with times where the videos were not even load. ABC News, Associated Press, BBC, Fox, New York Times, Presidential Inaugural Committee, SKY news, USA Today, UStream... not very impressive. (Read Dan Rayburn's experience).
Some people also tried watching the inauguration on a Nokia N95 over WiFi. They went to AP via Ustream via Skyfire. In the rush, the stream slowed down.
(Read the news story in Spanish at IBLNEWS: Toma de posesión: internet, webcast, revolución tecnológica, leer la noticia)