CBS has released an iPhone/iPod Tourch application for its TV.com site that can play full episodes of TV series, ranging from C.S.I. or Beverly Hills 90210 to Star Trek, over both the cellular network and Wi-Fi. His competitor Hulu has kept its content only for computers connected to the Web.
Currently, the only other app that features full episodes of TV shows is Joost, but its content is limited. NBC have set up an iPhone application too, although it has not enough content. Now it is expected apps from other TV networks, Hulu or Sling.
Good news is that Apple isn’t blocking these apps, which are, after all, competing with downloadable shows in iTunes.
A new evolving sub-genre: YouTube’s video series containing clickable links within the screen
A growing number of videos on YouTube contain clickable links within the display screen. That’s the result of Video Annotations, a feature introduced last year that allows other clips to be embedded into videos. Several videos are used to create interactive video series, suggesting a new way, a news genre, to package future video content.
GigaOm has collected some sampling of interactive videos: The Time Machine, M.I.V.E Halo and M.I.V.E. Killzone, 2009 Oscars Interactive Picture Photo Hunt!, or the Interactive Girl.
YouTube explains that “Video Annotations is a new way to add interactive commentary to your videos”, which can be used to: add background information about the video, create stories with multiple possibilities (viewers click to choose the next scene), link to related YouTube video, channels, or search results from within a video.” This video explains how to use Annotations.
ManiaTV puts itself up for sale
Several video startups are putting themselves up for sale. Last fall waves of layoffs hit online video startups, but now the shakeout leads to sell-offs.
One of them is ManiaTV. After a round of layoffs in October (20 of 70 employees), the Los Angeles-based company is now rushing to close a sale. New Tee Vee online news service says that “it’s expected that the company will go for cheap.”. Its value may be more in its video-serving infrastructure than its content library, though its gaming shows are popular.
Founded in 2004, ManiaTV has tried a number of strategies, including live streaming, soliciting user-generated content, making original content, being an ad network… Main competitors are Revision3 and Crackle.
ManiaTV has raised $26 million from Benchmark Capital, Centennial Ventures, Intel, DAG Ventures and Comerica Bank.
60Frames, which also made significant layoffs last October, is another company whose name has come up as an active would-be acquisition target.
USTREAM.tv’s recently launched iPhone application now has almost a million downloads. This isn’t pure mobile television because it’s plling from uStream online feed via wi-fi as opposed to a broadcast signal; but it’s showing the way for mobile video delivery and user experience.
Ustream is the second live video application on the iPhone after the U.K. based streaming television provider LiveStation.
This Ustream Viewing Appliation allows users to login with their account, view both live broadcast and recorded video, with interactive chat functionality, and search for live broadcast.
Five million member in a privacy-free Facebook
Each week, a million new members are added in the United States and five million globally on Facebook, the world’s largest social network, with 175 million members.
Problem now is the privacy. As New York Times wonders this week, “When everyone is a friend, is anything private?” “The popularity of Facebook and other social networking sites has promoted the sharing of all things personal, dissolving the line that separates the private from the public.”
Avarage number of “friends” per member, worldwide, is 120, according to a company spokesman.
CBSSports.com sets a new record selling video ads inventory
CBSSports.com has sold out its video ads inventory for the upcoming March Madness On Demand, $30 million, up 20 percent from last year.
This year CBS will feature a high-quality video player using Silverlight that will stream video at speads up to 1.5 Mbps. CBS expects 4.8 million unique viewers.
Biggest audience is at the beginning of the tournament when most of the games are on during the day, and people are at work.
Sports fans are growing more accustomed to watching games online that they would ordinarily miss because of scheduling. Tiger Woods drew millions of streams during the U.S. Open finals that happened on a Monday and again this year when his return to golf generated 2.5 million streams on a Wednesday.
Thomson Reuters plans video on-demand service
Thomson Reuters will launch in June 2009 an ambitious new video-on-demand service for its financial services clients (and not open to the general public), with thousands of searchable videos and transcripts on a range of topics. Its goal is to become a one-stop source for business people.
The service is meant for the 550,000 financial professionals who have a Thomson Reuters screen on their desks. It seeks creating a new niche, and making the company’s core business of financial data and news more attractive in the competition with Bloomberg and Dow Jones Newswires. It is not competing directly with establishes sources like CNBC or Bloomberg Television.
According to the New York Times, the Thomson Reuters service has features that allow fast access to specific pieces of video, whether produced in a studio or recorded at a conference of a hearing. Each video is accompanied on screen by a searchable transcript, with a set of key words highlighted at the top. Clicking anywhere on the transcript causes the video to jump to that point.
A user can search the entire database of videos for any that mention a particular topic, person, industry or company.
The site will be built around a series of vertical channels on broad topics, each with a set of subchannels.
Thomson Reuters wants its clients, like research firms, banks and investment firms, to supply video of their own people discussing financial news, and even create their own channels on the site.
The one-year-old Hulu.com beat out Yahoo, MySpace and ABC in video streaming audience, according to the latest Nielsen stats. In February, YouTube had 5.2 billion streams, with Hulu at 309 million, and Yahoo at 250 million.
If you look at unique viewers, YouTube had 88 million, Yahoo 24 millon, and Hulu moves way down to fifth place with 9.5 million.
TV.com’s video gallery in super high quality
TV.com, a unit of CBS Corp., has begun beta testing a high-definition video gallery that allows users to watch ad-supported contents in 1080p resolution. This technology is supported by Adobe System’s Flash platform.
Expert say the move is done for competitive reasons as the market for online repurposed content become increasingly cutthroat and territorial.
March Madness on iPhone and iTunes
On the other hand, CBSSports.com has launched an NCAA March Madness on Demand application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that will allow users to watch live streaming video and audio, beginning March 19. The application, $4.99, provides live video of all 63 games as well as access to tournament brackets updated in real-time with up-to-the-minute scores and the ability to click directly from brackets into live video.
CBSSports.com also will provide all games fro $1.99 each on iTunes after thery are completed.
A remote-less, gesture-controlled TV set
This is great. A Silicon Valley start-up called Canesta has invented a 3-D sensor that allows hand gestures to interact with your television set –no remote required. See the video.
Acrross the room you can motion to do things like change the channel, move through menus, play content and mute the volume.
This technology won’t arrive in your home anytime soon. Hitachi has announced a gesture TV set using Canesta at the end of 2010.
This technology can be implemented on laptops and cell phones, too.
Sunnyvale-based Canesta was founded in April 1999, has 30 employees and has raised $58 million to date from investors including Carlyle Venture Partners, Honda Motor Co, Hotung Capital Management, Korea Global IT Fund, Venrock and others.
iVdopia, an iPhone ad network
Vdopia, an Indian American advertising network, has launched new ad formats and sponsorship solutions to the iPhone, the hottest cellular device in the world. This 3G ad platform and network is called iVdopia.
Its founder Kakani Srikanth thinks CPM-style ad units, like pre-roll video ads and persistent logo and banner overlays are a big opportunity. Vdopia’s video ads last 5-10 seconds and make use of the iPhone touchscreen to entice a user to interact further.
The GSA (General Services Administration) has signed agreements with YouTube, Vimeo, Blip.tv, and Flickr, that make it possible for federal agencies to use new-media tools while meeting their legal requirements.
Under the agreement, agencies will use video tool that let people post, share, and comment on videos and photos on the Web.
"We need to get official information out to sites where people are already visiting and encourage them to interact with their government. The new agreements make it easier for the government to provide official information to citizens via their method of choice,” said GSA.
GSA said it started with YouTube, Vimeo, blip.tv, and Flickr because those providers are innovative and have large audiences. However, tha agency would like to negotiate agreements with many additional providers.
Agencies are already free to use Twitter because GSA found its standard terms of service compatible with federal use.
Flash Media server competitors doubles its user base
Adobe competitor Wowza streaming server has doubled its user base in six months, surpassing 20,000 licenses, due to the recent launch of its subscription model, with prices starting at $65 per month and without the upfront cost of buying perpetual licenses. Subscription include free software upgrades, configuration, and monitoring tools, and can be scaled up or down as needed.
Wowza streaming server delivers Flash video at a fraction of the cost of Adobe’s Flash Media Server. In addition, some experts and vendors, like SimpleCDN, say that Wowza’s performance and scaleability are superior.
SimpleCDN has gotten up to 4,000 to 5,000 streams on a single Wowza streaming server, as opposed to FMS server, which can start to have problems delivering 1,000 or 1,500 streams.
An online TV channel about the world of streetside food vendors
Check out this new online tv channel: Vendr.tv. It is an original, fresh, and well executed idea. VendrTV, launched last month on Blip.tv, is a food show about the world of mobile eating in New York, specifically food served from carts and trucks.
His host/creator Dan Delaney produce a very interesting show of one of the few remaining sectors not touched by food critics.
Jaman goes into B2B market while laying off most of its people
Independent movie web distributor Jaman.com continues its restructuring after the laid off of most of its engineers, marketing and development team. The company has made a strategic decision to emphasize a business-to-business oriented professional video platform and services.
Jaman said it plans to continue offering its movie and community service amid the restructuring.
Just for a sec imagine that local markets will sustain only two or three TV stations in the near future, as it happening with the newspapers industry.
Those who can’t survive might be forced to shut down the station and re-emerge as a local media company with a focus on a non-linear video.
Clips would be published to the web, mobile and cable/satellite VOD. Local vertical content, like lifestyle and music, will be intermingles the day’s news.
Online video must be surrounded by some text content as well as aggregation, community and tools –like an events calendar that’s tied to the video archive.
All this video can’t live by itself.
Some would go for mobile, but in a small screen experience. On cable/satellite VOD video is designed for shorter viewing, not repurposed from TV shows.
In terms of contents, everything should be local and focused on the stories that everyone is talking about.
The team must be small and everyone must do everything.
Seattle newspaper shifts entirely to the web
The 146-year old newspaper and Seattle’s oldest business, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer stop publishing last Tuesday and went just online, with a work force of 20 news gatherers and web producers, plus 20 newly hired advertising sales staff. In a way, it is not a newspaper dying, it is a news source being reborn.
SeattlePI.com resembles a local Huffington Post more than a traditional newspaper, says the New York Times. It will compete with an established local news site, Crosscut.com, and with the well-stablished SeattleTimes.com.
The new P-I site has recruited some current and former government official to write columns, ant it will repackage some material from Hearst’s large stable of magazines. It will keep some of the paper’s popular columnist and bloggers and the large number of unpaid local bloggers whose work appears on the site. “Seattle Views” is called this selection, plenty of commentary pieces written by well-known Seattleites.
In SeattlePI.com everyone will write, edit, take photos and shoot video, produce multimedia and cruate the home page. This is how the Web site has been opperated for year, and so far has been a very effective formula for growth.
Media digital trends
The 2009 edition of Pew’s annual State of the News Media Report paints a bleak picture of the state of the Media. The key finding are here.
Let’s concentrate in digital trends.
- Expansion and innovation are coming from outside of traditional news industries.
- Banners, pop-ups and other display advertising in the current form cannot supply sufficient revenue to replace lost dollars and support worldwide newsgathering operations. The real growth online continues to be in search advertising, and no one has figured out a way to combine search advertising with news in sufficient volume.
- National websites and aggregators like Google and Yahoo are fast making inroads in attracting local advertising.
- The areas of growth in news are small. Advertising in online video and rich media is growing swiftly, a compound rate of 33 % over the last five years, although it still only represents about 10 % of Internet advertising.
- Mobile technology is rising, and news organizations are scrambling to establish themselves in this new land. There are 40 million active users of the Mobile Web, and advertisers spent $1.3 billion to reach them in 2008, up 59 % from a year earlier. However, in the Media, old questions of revenue persist: Will the tiny banner ads pay enough to finance the effort?
- Online ad spending grew about 14 % through the first three quarters of the year, most of it benefited Google and other search providers. The cost to reach 1,000 viewers fell by half in 2008, to an estimated average of 26 cents.
Yahoo goes into TV-style production for the Internet
This week Yahoo announced the latest in a series of niche Web shows. Yahoo’s executives say they have found a sustainable model for making original video online, in part by explicitly not competing with television.
Producers find their biggest audiences and then build short Web shows for those groups of people. The ability to mine search queries and traffic data to better identify user interest is one of their assets.
An example: Yahoo now recaps TV in two-to five-minute-long daily show called “Primetime in No Time.” It has an average of 400,000 daily streams, making it one of the most popular recurring series made for the Web.
Yahoo has signed up long-term advertising sponsors for each of its original shows; the TV recaps are sponsored by Verizon Wireless and the celebrity mother segments will be supported by State Farm Insurance.
Besides TV and celebrity mothers, Yahoo also produces technology news videos for its finance Web site and game highlights for its sports site.
Experts say in the New York Times “that this shift in strategy comes as the Web video market matures and media companies seek profitable projects in a battered advertising market.”