Basic terrestrial radio might be the last of the truly “free” media available, requiring no costly equipment, content subscriptions or on-demand fees. But local ad revenues have been eroding and the industry is fighting to respond to satellite radio, Internet radio and downloads, MP3, a music industry in chaos, new radio HD technology, and competition from multiple new sources. Therefore terrestrial radio is struggling to define its core mission and place in the information/entertainment landscape. What to do?
Dan Mason, president of CBS Radio division has said: “For years we tried to figure out how to make the product compatible for the audience, but the issue was the platform, not the content. In the near future, every radio station will have the ability to become a TV station. We will see webcast and webisodes. There’s no reason we can’t have our own webcast shows with talent. Radios will evolve and occupy more share of the digital space.”
One example of the radio trying to be visualized through the Internet is CBS’670 The Score, who has partnered with Paltalk to enable listeners to participate in live, interactive video streams of the station’s popular weekday sports talk shows. Listeners can see the on-air personalities live in the studio as well as other listeners who are streaming video of themselves. In addition, listeners interact with the hosts and each other through text, audio and video.
A great guide to find online clips of favorite TV shows
After being in beta since April, TV Guide officially has launched its online video guide at video.tvguide.com. Its goal it to filter out the just and present the best Internet video as it relates to favorite TV shows. “We are filling a niche that Google and YouTube are not because they are not strictly TV focused,” said TV Guide Online General Manager.
Other online solutions for finding TV shows, with less history and resources, are Daily Reel, WeShow, LocateTV, buddy.tv and Sling Media.
Adobe launches its own desktop media player and aggregator
Adobe has made available for free download its new desktop video player, still in beta. This Adobe Media Player combines a channel guide, streaming video player, and video podcast client into a single desktop application.
For publishers, of which CBS, PBS, Yahoo, Blip.tv, and others have already signed on, Adobe is offering measurement tools, monetization through targeted advertising, customized branding, and copy protection.
Analysts don’t see this 1.0 platform making much ground.
ABC News forming all-in-one reporters to lead foreign bureaus
ABC News is taking the one-man band news crews a step further. The network will open seven new bureaus around the world with only one person per bureau.
Reporters will write, shoot, edit and feed their material digitally from DV cameras and laptops wherever they are in the field.
H.264 encoding (also known as AVC) is poised to become the format of convergence in the digital video industry, regardless of which playback platform the viewer chooses. Big Internet players like Google/YouTube, Adobe, and Apple iTunes are behind this cross-platform format.
While VP6 based Flash video is a standard for the web, it is not the encoding format of choice for consumer electronics, as TVs, set-top-boxes, game consoles, mobile devices, and portable media players. One reason is because Adobe Flash it’s a proprietary, unpublished format.
But recently, Adobe announced full support for it as a native format for Flash, and Google plans to transcode all of its YouTube content to H.264. Blu-ray, HD-DVD, DVB’s digital broadcast, mobile multimedia from 3GP and others are incorporating it. So with support from PCs and consumer products, we will see soon its expansion.
Compared to MPEG-2 (the format of traditional digital television and DVDs), H.264/AVC offers 2-3 times greater compression, making it much more attractive for network delivery ass well as for high definition video. It is an open, published specification, and anyone can implement it.
One of the few dissenters is Microsoft, who for the moment does not give its full support, since they have its VC-1 format.
Joost will add live TV shows in 2008
Joost will add in 2008 a lineup of live television channels to its P2P-based Internet TV service. They will replicate the live streams found on traditional terrestrial, cable and satellite stations, and will focus mainly on sports.
Following live transmission, they will include a combination catch-up option to watch on-demand shows. Also, it will be offered widgets allowing viewers to bookmark favorite sporting moments and keep scores.
Joost will compete more directly with Zattoo and LiveStation, two Internet TV services which have until now distinguished themselves from other P2P offerings by focusing on live rather than on-demand content.
If Joost rolls out live programming, it maybe that users only need one Internet application after all.
And rivals response?
However, three other Joost rivals are scaling up their services.
- Babelgum is opening up its platform to allow content makers to upload their own videos as well as set terms of advertising revenue sharing. They are targeting the many independent small-medium sized professional producers.
- Brightcove said it is offering broadcast quality publishing after upgrading its software to work with H.264 codec that Adobe recently added to the Flash player. For full-screen programming downloads, they will use Delivery Network Accelerator (DNA), the enhancement announced by BitTorrent.
- Vuze, who says it has passed 10 million downloads, is opening up its publishing platform so that content producers can upload their own content, either making it available for free, with ad support or at a download for a price, earning 50 %.
Google will allow advertisers to use YouTube videos
Google has introduced a service to allow websites in its ad network to embed relevant YouTube videos and share revenues with them and with content creators.
For example a website specializing in soccer, might choose to embed soccer videos from YouTube. For now Google has limited the content delivery to 100 media companies, among them, Expert Village, a producer of how-to-videos; and Extreme Elements, which creates videos about extreme sports.
Brightcove’s CEO Jeremy Allaire, whose company has been syndicating videos too, says that the sites that take it are typically very small sites with limited traffic, since large sites do not want arbitrary content showing up.
Video distributed through Google’s system will include small text ads that will be overlaid on the bottom of the video player or graphical banner ads, but not, for now, the video ads that the company began using on YouTube recently.
Blinkx.com users will be able to share ad revenues on embed players
Blinkx.com will allow consumers to make money from the videos they show in their own blogs, social network sites or websites if they agree to embed ads in the videos.
Founder and CEO, Suranga Chandratillake says that is their way to compete with YouTube, and Revver.com, which shares 50 percent of its ad revenue (pre rolls and post rolls) with people who post videos. Ads will be offered either in a small transparent window at the bottom of the video screen or in a box outside the top of the frame.
Blinkx is a London based video search engine that uses speech-to-text transcription and visual recognition technology. Last month started offering search capabilities in French, German and Spanish.
Media companies to take minority stakes in Internet companies
Media companies, known for the show response in the digital age, are now showing appetite for technology start-ups. Those media companies are measuring success not just by the financial return but also by the chance to better understand and establish partnerships with emerging technology leaders. So it is not about developing content but keeping pace with delivery technology and new media.
According to the New York Times, a growing number of media conglomerates have established divisions to take minority stakes in small Internet and technology companies. Other media companies that already have such venture capital arms are expanding.
”The impact is being made not necessarily by large companies but by some very small and rapidly growing players,” says Digital Media Investment group at Bertelsmann.
Fox Business network launched with a flashy video Website
Fox Business Rupert Murdoch’s new network is on air, along with website foxbusiness.com. It has video 16x9, embeddable, and a pop-out feature so you can surf the site while still watching your selected video. And design looks great.
A desktop news alert program
See how nice is the news alert desktop application launched by CNN. It has a clear look, and it is free. You download it here, and install it on the desktop tool bar. When a news breaks, it will pop up.
Traditional TV viewing in U.S. household is flat for the first time
It seems that we have reached the peak of TV viewing, due to disruptive new video technologies. TVByTheNumbers.com presents a chart, released by Nielsen that shows historical TV viewing. The average time spent in front of the tube started at about 4 hours 30 minutes per day in the early 50s to about 8:20 in 2005-2006. But for the first time in since 1966, viewing was flat from 2005-06 to 2006-07.
Another interesting data is that DVR ownership more than doubled in the last two years to 20.5 % of TV households up from 8 % in January 2006.
Online TV offer is greatly improved this fall
This month Joost has opened its doors, and you don’t need a private invitation to download its player software. Once installed, you can access, for free, to more than 150,000 episodes of TV shows and Web videos. In addition, it has social-networking functionalies, as chat with other viewers, send links…
Counterattacking the Internet TV phenomenon, the U.S. networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CW) have improved their online video offer, putting short mini-videos and full-length free on-demand episodes, with suprisingly pleasant results. You can’t download those shows; you can only match them streamed in real time. In general, you can catch the four or five more recent episodes of a show online, but just in the United States.
Techies have something much better. Using free BitTorrent, eDonkey, or Gnutella file-sharing networks, they can find and download (illegally) almost any episode of any recent TV show.
People can also by TV shows at iTunes store, for $2 an episode.
How many hits do you get on your site? It depends on who counts.
Take a real example, featured last week in the New York Times: Style.com. Site’s proprietor Condé Nast had an internal count on September of 1,8 million visitors. Tracking company ComScore said it was 421,000, and Nielsen/NetRatings counted 497,000.
It’s a big room for discrepancy, and web companies are frustrated, because due to the frictions, the growth of online advertising is being stunted. Measurement is one of the reasons that buyers are not moving even more money online.
Online advertising is expected to generate more than $20 billion in revenue in 2007, more than double the $9.6 billion it represented in 2004.
Raw server data show precise numbers of site visits and page views, but this data does not correlate directly to the number of visitors. For example, there is a big discrepancy of how people who use the Web at home and at the office are counted. In offices corporate software make the wanderings invisible to the tracking systems, and companies like Nielsen and ComScore tend to undercount people.
Both companies use panels, but also here there are complaints and discrepancies, especially when dealing whit group representations. Panels are a less accurate system than the Internet.
In the meantime, the ratings companies accuse Web publishers of mixing international and domestic traffic and of double-counting people who visit a site from home and from the office. In addition, consumers who delete cookies are also overcounted by servers.
Another problem lays on how some organizations are allowed to include groups of sites as a single entry for rating purposes. For example CNN’s outside rating includes the sites CNNMoney, Fortune, Time, CNN, Sports Illustrated and Golf.
And to make matters worst, advertisers are concerned about how often their ads appear.
Microsoft will buy a stake in Facebook, valuing this company at $15 billion
Microsoft is taking a 1.6 percent stake for $240 million in Facebook during its next round of financing, valuing the company at $15 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will be the exclusive third-party advertising partner for the social-networking space. Doing so, Microsoft has won a high-profile technology industry battle with Google and Yahoo.
Facebook, headquartered in Palo Alto, is a three and a half years old and will bring in about $150 million in revenue this year.
Mark Zuckerberg, the 23-year old Facebook founder who followed the path of Bill Gates by dropping out of Harvard to build a company, owns a 20 percent share that may now be worth as much as $3 billion. Accel Partners, the venture capital firm that invested $12.7 million in May 2005, now holds stock that could be worth $1.65 billion.
TV networks give their perspectives on broadband video
The major U.S. TV broadcast networks are embracing online video like never before. They are struggling to figure out the best way of attracting viewers online. Forbes.com wrote a good report that contained interviews with top executives at NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox.