... I have over 60 season passes in TiVo. Going through all of them
yesterday, more than 90% of the shows I watch are not available online
anywhere. And the ones that are, like content from CBS and NBC, do not
show up right after they are broadcast and typically take days if not
longer to appear on the web. And in the case of something like 60
Minutes, one story alone is chopped up into 10 different video segments
on their website and encoded at a pretty low bitrate. And sports, well
forget that. No NFL games are available on-demand the next day online
and while the MLB games are, it requires a subscription. ¶ The demise of the TV is overrated and many in the industry keep
saying the same thing as if they have to say it just to be cool. I keep
hearing people in our space says things like "I don't even need a TV
anymore, I'll just watch all my video online". ...
The BBC heavily promoted its iPlayer,
an online TV catchup service, on TV, in the press, and online during
the holiday season. The effort seems to have paid off. Sort of. ¶
UK Internet traffic to the iPlayer Website increased “14-fold
between the week ending 8 December 2007 and the week ending 5 January,”
according to Hitwise, and the service ranked as the 80th most visited Website in the U.K., having peaked at No. 62 on New Year’s Day. ¶ It appears that the BBC has recovered from its rocky online TV start.
When the initial iPlayer was launched, it was not without controversy.
The BBC was accused of being corrupt due to the player’s reliance on
Microsoft technology and lack of Mac/Linux support. UK ISPs were also
critical of the iPlayer’s use of peer-to-peer technology and
potentially high bandwidth costs. ...
... While Apple's dramatic comeback thanks to digital music and the iPod
reads like a Hollywood screenplay, Jobs' efforts in video-land won't
follow the same script. Indeed, two years after Apple added video
capability to its iPod line and began selling a smattering of shows and
movies on the iTunes Music Store, its share in video remains minuscule. ¶
Jobs is planning a major offensive to try to change all that, with
at least some of the details to be announced at Macworld on Jan. 15.
Most important, he plans to launch a movie rental service on iTunes for
the first time. Apple is in furious negotiations with top studios to
make their new releases available for the service, as well as for sale.
BusinessWeek has learned that Apple is nearing deals with Warner Bros. ... and Paramount ..., and has already secured deals with Disney ... and 20th Century Fox. Apple is also planning a major upgrade of the slow-selling Apple TV set-top box. ...
Horowitz Associates has released a study of broadband video consumption on multiple platforms. It's the first I've seen that gives information about the relative popularity of what people are using. And it's good news for those of us in public media. News video segments top the list, moving from 22% to 36% online weekly usage, 2006 to 2007. That beats "non-professional online videos," which doubled from 15% to 30%. The report overview says this about motivation:
... While consumption of broadband video has
grown, the study shows that television is still the preferred platform for
traditional TV content. The vast majority (70%) of Internet users who watch TV
online say do so because they missed the episode on TV. About two out of ten
(18%) of these respondents say they watch TV shows online to watch them a second
time (after having watched them on TV), or that they watch TV shows online just
when they happen to find them or when someone else tells them about them (20%).
Conversely, one out of ten (13%) Internet users who watch TV shows online say
they watch them directly online, and not on regular TV. ...
The PBCore metadata standard is, IMHO, one of the most important and, arguably, the most progressive thing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has ever funded. It's a necessary tool to enable public media to transition to the digital age -- assuming, of course, that public media's managers can find their way to the digital age.
... MovieBeam, an early attempt at
creating a consumer facing set-top box and accompanying movie service, has
closed its doors after fours years in business. ¶ Originally founded by The Walt Disney Company and later sold to U.S. video
rental chain Movie Gallery, MovieBeam was designed to bypass Cable and Satelite
providers by beaming movies wireless into the home. The set-top box came with
dozens of movies already stored and ready for rental (at $5 a pop), with forty
new titles refreshed each month. In total the device could store around a
hundred movies at any one time. ...
O'Hear thinks this may be bad news for other new entrants in the set-top box market. I don't doubt that set-top box fatigue (what David Liroff calls the "topple factor") is at work here. But MovieBeam also faced impending delivery problems. It was distributing movies over the small amount of ancillary data capacity of analog television stations, including many public television stations. Those analog transmitters are going away in 13½ months. While the replacement digital system has much more capacity, it will also, IMHO, come with much greater support costs due to the fragile reception issues inherent in the ATSC digital standard. I wouldn't be surprised if that figured in MovieBeam's decision also.
But even without the set-top box, video downloading is a problematic business. After less than a year, Wal-Mart has announced that it's closing its video download store. Again, Steve O'Hear writes:
... In a bid to get all of the major studios on board, while at the same
time not compete negatively with Wal-Mart’s traditional DVD sales, the
service was plagued by high pricing and a ridiculously large dose of
DRM (one Windows-PC only). It was doomed from the start. ...
Inexpensive broadband access has done far more for online video than enable the
success of services like YouTube and iTunes. By unchaining video
watchers from their TV sets, it has opened the floodgates to a
generation of TV producers for whom the Internet is their native medium. ¶ And as they shift their focus away from TV to grab us on one of the
many other screens in our lives — our computers, cellphones and iPods —
the command-and-control economic model of traditional television is
being quickly superseded by the market chaos of a freewheeling and open
digital network. ...
... YouTube controlled 27.6% of the market, followed by MySpace.com
parent Fox Interactive Media, which had 387 videos viewed for a 4.2%
share. ¶ They were followed by Yahoo Web sites (381 million, 4.1%); Viacom
Digital (304 million, 3.3%); Time Warner Network (198 million; 2.2%);
Microsoft sites (194 million; 2.1%); Disney Online (92 million, 1%);
ESPN (89 million, 1%); Comcast (52 million, 0.6%); and CBS Corp. (48
million, 0.5%). ¶ Nearly 136 million Americans, or approximately three in four U.S
Internet users, viewed online video in September, comScore said. ...
Deep in the Googleplex there is an engineering team thinking about how
to extend Google’s reach into your TV. Its work goes way beyond the
Google TV ads currently being tested by EchoStar (and targeted with help from Nielsen). It even goes way beyond the development of a Google set-top box, which has been hinted at in the past. In fact, Google may very well want to do to the set-top box what it is trying to do to the mobile phone with its Android operating system—create
an open-source hardware platform and attract developers to build
applications on top of it. At least that is the unconfirmed rumor I’ve
heard from two knowledgeable industry sources. ...