On Top of TV take a closer look a innovation and disruptive phenomena in the TV industry. Linear is the king, but Over The Top distribution and Transmedia storytelling is here and will have a promising future.
Earlier today, I sent the below email to the Hulu team:
In what is an understatement, this email has proven difficult for me to both write and send. I’ve decided to depart Hulu in Q1. I am currently working with the Board to ensure there is ample runway to manage this transition.
Rich Tom will be doing the same, with roughly the same departure date. Rich and I have been fortunate to build and innovate alongside each other these past 5+ years and our plan is to do more of that on the road ahead.
Even though the majority of European pay-TV operators feel immune from US-style cord-cutting, this is a false sense of security new research from IDATE is warning.
Kristian Bruarøy's insight:
Having just published an in-depth study on the phenomenon of cord-cutting, based on an analysis of the North American market, IDATE feels that lessons can and should be drawn for Europe, where certain weakness within the European audiovisual industry could create a US-style scenario.
Looking at the US, the analyst feels that cord-cutting, in addition to a generaltraditional television and video services churn, is emerging and indicates a much broader set of upheavals in the TV industry whose context it describes as “very tense”. In addition, IDATE believes that there is a permanent instability in the market and that the current inability to devise sustainable collaboration schemes only increases the risk. It regards disintermediation as the key issue facing the US market and potentially Europe.
“OTT (over-the-top) video services will continue to expand and influence the TV access market because they meet user demand: flexibility and richness of content offerings, user-friendliness (these new entrants usually offer much more accomplished consumption interfaces), prices (a monthly subscription to Netflix equals the purchase price of a DVD), anywhere, any terminal usage patterns – unlike operators' segmented offerings,” said Jacques Bajon, project leader of the study, “More importantly, if Google's gamble pays off, the changes could be much more fundamental and rapid”.
The storygraph is a deliverable I made to visualize the user needs/touchpoint matrix. Then it became a powerful tool, but let's start from the beginning.
Service Design meets User Experience in this version of a customer service journey visualization.
Though less pictoral and more diagrammatic than some forms of customer journey visualizations, it does help summarize fairly readily the range of possibilities.
Key to creating and using this type of visual documentation is understanding where "the rubber meets the road"... combining strategy with activities and evaluating the feasability of various courses of action.
So what the hell is Transmedia? It is not watching a TV show on an iPad. It is not telling many stories in the same universe on a TV screen. That's franchising. That's the Marvel Universe movies. Ideally, transmedia is the telling ...
Consumers in the United States and the UK are increasingly turning to broadband-delivered video services to supplement their cable and satellite viewing.
Accenture’s Pulse of Media Consumer Survey found 49% of those surveyed are viewing over-the-top video through a broadband connection on their TV. In the US the figure is 50%, while in the UK it is 48%.
“We are seeing a seismic shift in consumer viewing habits,” said Robin Murdoch, a managing director in Accenture’s Media & Entertainment industry group. “The connected consumer is now comfortable viewing TV shows and video on a variety of screens, as well as sharing opinions of that content via social channels or recommendation engines.”
Broadpeak was demonstrating its nanoCDN technology at the OTT TV World Summit this week, outlining how the innovative solution can dramatically reduce bandwidth requirements and also reduce costs for streaming video. The use of multicast, rather than unicast, for the streaming is at the heart of the solution. Broadband service providers with multicast networks (like telcos where they have a classic IPTV footprint) can harness this approach.
A video stream is duplicated (multicast) within the local CDN and client software on the home gateway is then used to convert a multicast stream back to unicast. This means that once in the home, there is no change to how the video is delivered from the gateway to the various multi-screen devices, whether these are laptops, tablets or mobile phones.
A new study reports that faster internet connections have made viewers more impatient, and that people begin abandoning videos if they don’t load within two seconds. Every second of additional delay results in approximately 6 percent more viewers jumping ship.
The research comes by way of Ramesh Sitaraman, a computer science professor at UMass Amhert, who studied data representing 23 million video views from 6.7 million unique visitors.
NBC Universal and American Express have partnered for a program that lets viewers use their mobile devices to buy stuff they see on TV.
The deal relies on Zeebox, an iOS and Android app which NBC hopes to persuade viewers to download. Once armed with the app, consumers will be able to click-to-buy items from DailyCandy, an NBC-owned site that will curate exclusive products inspired by Bravo’s Life After Top Chef, E!’s Fashion Police and Style’s Tia & Tamera. AmEx customers will get a one-time $35 statement credit when they sign up.
This presentation looks at why transmedia storytelling is important for audience engagement and how transmedia storytellers can design for engagement by understanding human needs and intrinsic motivations.
Video game platform and community provider Twitch has furthered the convergence of games and TV in a partnership with Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) to integrate live broadcasting functionality into its upcoming games.
The first video game title to feature the ability to stream gameplay directly to the Twitch platform with a single click will be PlanetSide 2, a multiplayer online first-person shooter (MMOFPS), which will launch in North America and Europe on 20 November 2012. Because of the games ‘giant’ fan base and the competitive nature of first-person shooter games, both Twitch and SOE regard the game as “the perfect title” to enable fans to live broadcast in a seamless, non-disruptive fashion, creating additional content.
“At SOE we believe very strongly in providing deeper social and emergent gameplay experiences,” explained John Smedley, President, Sony Online Entertainment. “With more than 21 million PlanetSide2 minutes streamed to date, the ability for our players to broadcast their gameplay directly to Twitch will provide Twitch’s huge user base a chance to see the massive scale battles in PlanetSide 2 for themselves. We’ve gone out of our way to make the interface extremely easy to use and allow players to cast with just one-click.”
In the continuation of our look at recent cross platform/transmedia projects, this case study will be particularly relevant to those working with low budgets and ambitious plans. Writer/director Jay Ferguson’s initial inspiration for Guidestones came from his late father’s fascination with serialized shorts. Growing up in the thirties and forties, Ferguson’s father went to the cinema and was ‘hooked’ on serialized shorts where bad guys tie distressed maidens to the train tracks and such. Ferguson thought that the internet would be an ideal place to try to recreate that experience for this century.
Again, thanks to Storycode.org for providing the video presentation (found at the bottom of this post) from which these notes were culled.
Jay Ferguson, writer/director, 3 o’clock TV
Two journalism students, investigating an unsolved murder, uncover a global conspiracy centered around the mystery of The Georgia
GUIDESTONES, an enigmatic monument nestled in a farmer’s field in rural Georgia and inscribed with directions for rebuilding civilization after the apocalypse. The story is based on a real monument and on the real account of a Toronto woman’s experiences.
GUIDESTONES uses elements of transmedia and ARG storytelling to take viewers on a thrilling chase that crosses two continents and three countries in search of the truth. The project uses a hybrid mix of traditional narrative and formal and non-formal documentary styles. Shot vérité style in Canada, the USA and India, the series moves seamlessly between the real world and the ﬁctional account of how a young woman named Sandy stumbled upon a murder mystery. Three minute episodes, 50 in total so far, with audience participation elements.
Sony Computer Entertainment America and Netflix have confirmed that the PlayStation3 (PS3) is now the primary development platform for the leading over the top (OTT) platform and is now the world's most popular device for viewing movies and TV shows from Netflix on a television.
If 2012 was the year of mainstreaming for over-the-top (OTT) services, 2013 will bring a new wrinkle to the game as streamers like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon all begin rolling out original television series.
...To put it in perspective, a source with close ties at YouTube told paidContent over the summer that Google is funding original YouTube content at a rate of about $1,000 per finished minute. That's a rate that doesn't fly in Hollywood, the exec said, adding that it means that producers are pulling "favours every time you do a shoot. If you're just pulling a location permit in L.A., it's going to cost you $900."
A bare minimum for industry-standard production is about $2,100, the source added.
Meanwhile, the premium cable nets that the OTT guys are trying to emulate are far, far outspending that. Showtime's breakout hit, Homeland, costs $3 million to produce per episode, coming out to around $50,000 per minute.
As a teaser for my upcoming blog post (“OTT distribution optimization technologies”), here is a bonus study for you, dear readers…
It aims at isolating the main OTT Video Services trends (End-user driven & Production driven) and at pointing out relevant technologies with their maturity estimation and corresponding Vendor + Technology offer tuples.
Enjoy and share your thoughts/technology suggestions in comments either here or on the blog !
Who says a conference, like a university course, can't be flipped?
Of the 15 videos, each offering a personal perspective on where storytelling is moving, we had to choose our favourite six. Then, on the day of the "proper" conference, the audience was divided into groups of around 20 people to discuss the questions raised by the respective filmmakers in a one-hour slot.
It was a fresh approach that put the pressure on delegates themselves to think through their position and engage in the discussions. According to the conference organisers, this "new model fosters unexpected insights and meaningful connections among people. We want to cultivate higher levels of engagement in an interactive and dynamic atmosphere, while affording guests a better opportunity to get to know one another and the speakers." From my perspective, it worked -- there were some intense and enlightening conversations in my groups that would not have happened in a more impersonal setting.
Since the advent of internet advertising, marketers have been demanding verifiable results and increased accountability from their media buys, instead of being forced to rely on the sorts of broad gender and age demographics used by TV for decades.
And now that possibility is a reality, thanks to smarter set-top boxes, new software and sophisticated data. And yet here we are, with few taking advantage of this capability. Just like in the early days of cable TV, buyers turned their back until clients forced them to buy in. It’s essential then with these new capabilities that traditional TV step up and become as accountable to standards as their Internet video counterparts have always lived by.
The thing that finally convinced me that a touchscreen controller is a good idea for a console is not the off-screen play in New Super Mario Bros. U or the variety of weird and clever control schemes in Nintendo Land, though both are nice.
* Netflix dominates North American fixed networks accounting for 33% of peak period downstream traffic
* Other video services on North American fixed networks include Amazon (1.8% of peak period downstream traffic), Hulu (1.4%) and HBO Go (0.5%)
* In Europe, YouTube represents more than 20% of peak period downstream traffic on mobile networks
“Audio and video streaming account for 65% of all downstream traffic from 9pm-12am and half of that is Netflix traffic [on North America fixed networks]. Prioritizing real-time applications like live audio and video is critical to maintaining a high quality of experience. Sandvine’s video quality metrics, including display and transport quality, will be key to understanding the impact of major events like the 2014 World Cup which will likely be the most streamed event in Internet history,” said Mr. Dave Caputo, CEO of broadband specialists Sandvine.
Picking up the multi-platform pay-TV gauntlet thrown down by SkyGo, Virgin Media has launched Virgin TV Anywhere, a new ‘cloud-based’ entertainment service streaming Virgin TV customers’ content to PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
The line-up includes channels covering entertainment, kids, sport, news and factual, music and movies, and includes access to premium channels such as Sky Sports or Sky Movies for subscribers to these channels. Virgin TV Anywhere also features up to 4,000 hours of TV available to watch On Demand at any time, including Sky On Demand, featuring shows from Sky 1 and Sky Living, as well as Sky Sports and Sky Movies for those subscribing to these services. It also includes integrated access to catch-up TV services from BBC, ITV, 4oD and Demand 5. Virgin Media will be adding further channels to the line-up in due course.
451 Research's ChangeWave service issued a survey that showed Netflix is still king of the space, but Amazon is more than just a pretender standing in the shadows.
"Consumers continue to shift toward Amazon's Instant Video service," Andy Golub of 451 Research's ChangeWave service said in a news release. "As Amazon TV and movie content becomes more competitive with Netflix, its popularity is surging among consumers."
Of course "surging" always needs to be put into perspective. According to the survey of 1,115 American consumers, Netflix, at 82 percent, is well ahead of the rest of the field, even though it's down two points since last February. Amazon Instant Video is second, up five percentage points to 22 percent, followed by iTunes (16 percent) and Hulu Plus (8 percent).
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