Placing pre-rolls on the basis of time instead of number of clips
The new MSN Video is limiting pre-roll ads to one per three minutes users spend on the site, as a way to drive more usage. Placing pre-rolls on the basis of time instead of number of clips played can be an interesting proposition.
MSN is one of the few sites that still allow 30-second pre-rolls. Its general manager explained that the industry needs to evolve, and MSN wants something less intrusive. Well, that’s better than doing nothing.
Free FOX shows coming to iTunes
FOX has decided giving away for free on iTunes some of season premiere episodes, like Prison Break, Bones, and American Dad.
FOX hopes that by allowing downloads for free, people will want to pay $0.99 for each additional show or at least watch them on TV. It is simply a way to hook you up.
Video aggregation sites becoming more popular
Just embedding player from YouTube, LiveLeak, DalyMotion and other popular video sites, some people are launching aggregation sites, a kind of Drudge Reports of video.
Take Breitbart.com , that features a bunch of news clips from TV stations and networks, mostly without any distribution agreement.
Facial recognition search tested
Reuters is testing a facial recognition search feature that scans across hundreds hours of video. For example type Angelina Jolie, and the search returns a list of clips you can clip. It is been developed by Viewdle . Pretty cool.
Packed screens as a sign of the Internet times
Television screens are getting more and more cluttered with graphics called snipes. Network executives are facing the age of channel surfing, ad skipping, and screen-based multitasking. Screens are cluttered not just with ads, but with news crawls and other stream of information, even mini-trailers. Those additions are making the experience of watching television more closely of using a computer or a videogame.
For example, ABC introduces in some of its shows a series of icons in the lower right of the screen that direct viewers to related content in other media, like books, DVDs and Websites. ABC explains that is intended “to accommodate viewer multimedia, multichannel habits and still lead them back to ABC.”
But many viewers say that those snipes and bugs are degrading their experience of watching television. Research suggests that packed screen can impede comprehension. It is very difficult to absorb at the same time information like stock quotes, weather update, and news.
This trend has reshaped news broadcast, where the sight of a lone anchor talking to a camera is rare.
This is what an expert says: “With the Internet offering an increasingly sophisticated yet chaotic visual experience, television must decide how much it want to mimic the computer. TV is having to reinvent itself.”
NYTimes wrote an article about it.
A new MSN Video is coming, and it’s in Flash, not even in Silverlight. Now it is beta, take a look at this new experience that merges its traditional video offering with user video clips from Soapbox.
There isn’t a compelling reason to watch live TV on a phone
Live TV on cell phones: do we really need it?
Well, we live in time-shifted societies, where we record shows on TiVo and other DVRs to watch later, at our convenience. We download our favorite programs through iTunes, Amazon Unbox, Bit Torrent, Lime Wire, and other services, so we can watch them when we have the time on iPods, iPhones, or other portable devices.
It seems there isn’t a compelling reason to watch live television on a phone.
As ElectronicsWeekly says, when we’re mobile, we’re usually active doing other things. Watching TV on a cell phone (through services from CV/AT&T, CV-AT&T, VCast-Verizon or MobiTV ) comes with huge power consumption and it can handle signal interference. In addition carrier will charge you for the TV service no less than $15 month.
So it is really worth?
IBM offers a free alternative to Microsoft Office
IBM has announced last week in New York, free programs for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations, in its most ambitious challenge in years to Microsoft’s dominance of personal computer software. This software, called IBM Lotus Symphony, will be available as free downloads from its Web site. These offerings are versions of open-source software developed in a consortium called OpenOffice.org.
Free productivity software has long been available from this site, and has not yet made much progress against Microsoft’s Office. Analysts note that IBM has such reach and stature with corporate customers that its endorsement could be significant. Now OpenOffice is backed with the IBM brand and service. IBM executives compare this move with the push it gave Linux, making it mainstream technology.
IBM is also joining forces with Google, which offers the open-source desktop productivity as part of its Google Pack of software, which includes word processor and spreadsheet. Sun Microsystems launched its StarOffice suite years ago.
This technology has a crucial ingredient called OpenDocument format and based on an Internet-era protocol called XML, which makes digital information independent of the program and enables automated machine-to-machine communication. (For example, in a doctor’s office, patient records could be linked to hospital databases and updated automatically).
New York Times stops charging for its Website
Can we say I told you so?
The New York Times stopped charging for access to parts of its Web site and closed its Times-Select subscription program. And in addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge.
“Our projection for growth on that paid subscriber base were low, compared to the growth of online advertising,” NY Times executive said. “We didn’t anticipate the explosion in how much of our traffic would be generated by Google, by Yahoo and some others,” added.
The Wall Street Journal is the only major newspaper for to charge for access to most of its Website, which it began doing in 1996. It has nearly one million paying online readers, generating about $65 million in revenue. However, News Corporation, the new owner, is considering the possibility of making access to Journal free online.
Professionals of TV and Hollywood get into the Internet video
The Internet is becoming the fifth major television network in the United States, after CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox. People are tuning in to an Internet channel like MySpace of YouTube to catch the season finales of shows like LonelyGirl15 and Prom Queen . Prom Queen, backed by Michael Eisner Disney ex-CEO, garnered nearly 15 million total views.
Now creative professionals of TV Land and Hollywood are getting into the Internet. MySpaceTV has teamed up with Seventeen, the teen-ager magazine to produce a new Web series, Freshman 15, a reality show that follows 15 girls as the experience college life for the first time.
Also on MySpaceTV, two big-time movie and TV producers will debut an original series, Quarterlife .
U.S. television networks boost their streaming video sites
As new season gets ready to start, networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and The CW) are putting their shows on the Web for online viewing, just like they did last year. People who miss a show, or fail to record it, can still view the program the following day on the network’s website for free (with a few embedded ads). Here is a handy guide of what you can find.
In terms of marketing, CBS is the best, in our view, because of its syndication network. Its goal is to syndicate as much of its contents as possible through iTunes, AOL, Yahoo, YouTube, Joost, Veoh, Brightcove, and other video communities. “We can’t expect consumers to come to us. It’s arrogant for any media company to assume that,” CBS’s chief Internet strategist said.
NBC’s digital strategy is aimed in part to team up with News Corp, owner of Fox, to form what they hope is a YouTube killer, known a Hulu, scheduled in Octuber. Hulu will partner with other destination sites including AOL, Comcast, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo.
Veoh adds heavyweight Hollywood executives
Veoh have announced a new set of founders joining Michael Eisner, Time Warner Investments, Shelter Capital Partners and Spark Capital. Veoh’s backers now include former Viacom and MTV Networks CEO Tom Freston, and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Viacom Entertainment Group, Jonathan Dolgen. It means heavyweight media lineup with plenty of Hollywood/TV network connections.
And it could means, too, that Internet TV companies are thinking in securing major content deals with Hollywood. VeohTV competitor, Joost, is also working in that way, with backing from CBS and Viacom.
Next.TV, the last debut gunning for Joost, Babelgum, and Veoh
The P2P-based Internet TV space is getting more crowded. The last venture comes from Hewlett-Packard and Dave Networks (a white label IPTV provider), who are teaming up to launch Next.TV .
This app will debut later this month as a software update for HP’s consumer notebooks running Microsoft Vista, and by early 2008 all the company’s consumer notebooks will come pre-installed with the service. Eventually, the company plans to offer Next.TV to non-HP customers as a software download available from its website.
Next TV will offer fifty channels, both live TV and on demand, and the service will be supported by targeted advertising.
Next TV will gun for Joost, Babelgum, RealPlayer 11, Vuze, VeohTV, Zattoo, LiveStation, Jalipo, and Miro.
Thin-client machines start to take off
The vision of the 1990s of network computer –also called the thin-client computer, with no hard drive to store desktop applications- seems within reach. Those terminal-style machines, supported by Oracle and Sun Microsystems, never took off.
It happens that an estimated three-fourths of the annual cost of a corporate PC is attributable to technical support, software upgrades, security patches and other maintenance. Thin computing offers an alternative. Maintenance, security (viruses, spyware…) and software fixes can be handled more efficiently on central server computers. In addition, without a hard drive and less need for local processing, thin computer use far less power than PCs. The yearly savings in electric bills can be $150 or more for each desktop.
Thin-client shipments, IDC estimates, will more than double over the next five years to 7.2 million worldwide. Over the next decade, thin computers could replace as many as 30 percent of all business. People like graphic designers, engineers and financial analysts who need lots of computer horsepower are not candidates for thin computers.
Those thin-client machines start around $200 and can go up to $1,000, not much lower than inexpensive PCs. There are even notebook thin computers. Neoware is one of the companies selling those machines.
As David Pogue says, “life is teeming with opportunities to see movies: movie theaters, video stores, DVD-by-mail services (like Netflix and Blockbuster), TV movie channels, pay-per-view, video-on-demand, Xbox 360, iTunes, Internet downloads, hotel rooms, airplanes and so on.” Now it appears Vudu’s new $400 movie box.
This device connects to your TV and the Internet through a high-speed link (we tested, and at least you need 2 Mbps connection), and its 250-gigabyte hard drive permits your choice of 5,000 movies (Netflix has a larger selection, +70,000) to begin playing instantaneously, with a DVD quality. There is no waiting, because the box holds only the first 30 second of each movie, and while you watch the rest of the movie undetectably begins to download.
And there is no monthly fee either. You can either rent a movie (usually $2 to $4) for 24 hours, or you can buy it ($15 to $20).
Another backstage tech trick is that the Vudu boxes communicate with one another using a peer-to-peer system, and as a result people receive part their watched movies from other people who have already downloaded it. Doing so, Vudu saves money, avoiding to paying for pumping out video. Vudu has some similarity to MovieBeam, whose hard drive contain only 100 movies a time, does not require an Internet connection (its movies are beamed through the air) and it costs only $150.
Silverlight 1.0, the Microsoft response to Flash
Microsoft has officially released Silverlight out of beta. This is the Microsoft response to Flash. Silverlight 1.0 is a cross-browser, cross-platform (still not for Linux) plug-in for delivering live video and .NET rich interactive applications for the Web.
This plug-in, 1,37 Mb size, offers a flexible programming model that supports AJAX, VB, C#, Python, and Ruby, and integrates with existing Web application. There is already a list of adopters, including Major League Baseball, Fox movies, Entertainment Tonight, The Home Shopping Network, and Break.
Is this a threat to Flash? It seems that live-streaming technology with Silverlight appears far more stable than live video with Flash.
An iPod that looks exactly like it does the iPhone
Apple unveiled a Touch iPod with WiFi, a 3.5 inch widescreen, 8mm thick, and the same touch functionality as the iPhone. It will allow to downloading content via WiFi from iTunes, and soon in Starbucks. Two models: 8GB for $299 and 16GB for $399. They will ship by the end of the month.
Also, Steve Jobs unveiled a controversial price drop on the iPhone, and the new iPod Nanos with a 2-inch color video screen.
Where to find the coolest gadgets of the World
Contrary to many people think, many cool gadgets are not on the sale in the U.S. A column in the New York Times talks about it. First adopters willing to pay a premium for the exotic notebooks computers, cell phones and tech toys can turn to any number of businesses that specialize in finding objects that are not sold near home.
Some importers you can use out there are RedOrbit.com, ThinkGeek.com, or Dynamism.com. This one has agents in Japan, South Korea and Europe who watch the stores for new products. Three of the most sought devices are HTC Kaiser stmart phone, HTC Touch and TZ90 Sony laptop. (However, some of them are available at J&R in New York’s downtown)
”We would soon all be watching the majority of our television through the Internet, a revolution that could herald the death of the traditional broadcast TV channel in favor of new interactive services” Vint Cerf, Google\'s vice-president and one of the Internet’s founding fathers, said last week at a conference in the UK.
He predicted the end of TV as we know it, and said that the television industry would change rapidly as it approaches its “iPod moment”, that will be the same kind of crunch moment that the music industry faced with the arrival of the MP3 player.
”TV is approaching its iPod moment. 85 % of all video we watch is pre-recorded, so you can set your system to download it all the time. You’re still going to need live television for certain things –like news, sporting events and emergencies –but increasingly it is going to be almost like the iPod, where you download content to look at later.”
”In Japan you can already download an hour’s worth (1Gb) of video in 16 seconds. And we’re starting to see ways of mixing information together… imagine if you could pause a TV program and use your mouse to click on different items on the screen to find out more about them.”
”Internet is a medium for delivering video in a variety of ways. You can deliver video real time, but you can also deliver video faster than real time, when you have 1 Gb per second access, as it happens in Japan.” (Watch the video on YouTube page)
Europe is now the most aggressive market for IPTV
European phone companies are spending heavily on IPTV, putting the Old Continent (which some analysts say already is the leader in Internet TV) further ahead of the U.S. and Asia. The phone companies, faced with dwindling voice traffic are looking to IPTV to fill the gap.
Deutsche Telekom is spending 3 billion euros and has linked about 4 in 10 German households to broadband TV. Even countries like Lithuania and Slovakia are introducing IPTV.
In France, a country without dominant satellite and cable broadcaster, there are 2.3 million paid IPTV subscribers, half of the IPTV Western Europe consumers. Most French triple-play packages of TV, Internet and telephone service begin at 30 euros a month. International Data expects the service to have won over about 10 percent of households by 2011.
However, skeptics say it is not clear that IPTV (or Internet Protocol TV) has a future as a stand-alone business for telephone companies. IPTV lineup usually includes a standard set of 50 broadcast channels as well as 60 or more premium channels, some not available through other companies. But its decisive advantage is its ability to link programming with interactive services, since consumer viewing habits are changing.
Among makers of IPTV set-top boxes are Cisco, Thomson, Philips, Motorola and Alcatel-Lucent.
Unprecedented live streaming broadband video coverage
NBCOlimpics.com, part of NBC Universal, will stream 2,200 hours of live coverage during the 2008 Summer Olympics (Beijing, Aug. 8-24), with 6,600 hours ultimately available on demand. NBC Universal said that this is “the most ambitious single media project in history”.
New video player with five channels at Weather.com
Weather.com has launched a new video player, called “Blue Box”, and powered by Brightcove and DoubleClick.
The player itself has five channels of video, each with a distinct color and logo to support overall branding, and it allows you to search by zip code.