From November 25th, UK VOD company SeeSaw is rolling out a new advertising system that will allow people to choose which adverts they want to watch prior to the programmes they are watching. Alternatively, SeeSaw clients can also turn off ads with a "Nonstop" feature that will allow viewers to switch off advertising during programmes, for a mere £2.99 a month. However there will be an introductory offer on Nonstop of 99p a month, until the end of the year.
This is on the heels of Google's Youtube announcing it has designed a new ad unit which will give viewers the option of of which ads they want to watch, or more importantly, not watch. Google has coined the new system TrueView, and now users will have the option to watch three different ads or simple to skip the ads altogether in which case the advertiser is not charged. YouTube is giving consumers the ultimate control over the commercial aspect of their viewing, which is similar to Hulu's choose-your-own ad feature, except Hulu does not allow for complete skipping of ads.
At this stage, Nonstop only applies to certain content – programming from BBC Worldwide and independent producers.
In a partnership with tech company Branient, The Ad Selector system allows targeted advertising by user choice and SeeSaw said it expected the feature to be rolled out across programming from the service's other content suppliers, including Five, Disney, MTV Channel 4, and NBC Universal soon.
Ben Williams, Head of Advertising for SeeSaw told Tech Radar:
"We're excited to launch the Ad Selector format - a win-win for the advertiser and the user. The Ad Selector is simple and effective, essentially giving the user the choice to pick the advert they wish to see. This puts the user in control of the advertising experience and therefore increases their engagement and purchase intent. Our vision is to create a unique environment for advertisers to reach their audience through innovative methods, and today's announcement is the first step towards this with more initiatives in the pipeline."
This is SeeSaw's first subscription-based consumer offering, and it plans to introduce premium content packages at a later date.
Matt Rennie, SeeSaw's commercial director added to Marketing Magazine stating:
"On-demand viewing is by definition about flexibility, and NonStop is another way to bring choice to our viewers."
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Motorola Mobility’s Global 2010 Media Engagement Barometer – an independent global study of video-consumption habits among 7,500 consumers in 13 markets by research agency Vanson Bourne – shows that while free-to-air services are available to 67 percent of global viewers, compared to 57 percent for paid-for services, the most preferred TV services are subscription only.
The research also shows that social media is changing viewing experiences. Forty two percent of viewers globally have had an email conversation, engaged in an instant message chat or used a social network to discuss a program or video while they were watching it. Of this group, 22 percent said that social-media multi-tasking is a regular part of their viewing experience and 61 percent would be prepared to pay more for a service that offered these capabilities.
The future looks bright for high-definition television products and services worldwide. Of viewers surveyed, 75 percent either own or plan to own an HD television in the next 18 months and 25 percent are expected to upgrade their TVs to include 3D in the same timeframe.
“The research clearly shows a changing television landscape, one where subscription services are becoming mainstream, augmented by social activities revolving around Internet chat and networking channels,” said Bill Ogle, chief marketing officer, Motorola Mobility. “As we advance further into the Internet Era of TV, the ability for service providers to differentiate their offers will become even more crucial as consumers look for extra value from their subscriptions. The good news is that, based on these findings, consumers are willing to pay for the services providing the value.”
Though the TV is still central in most homes, viewing habits have evolved alongside consumer expectations of where content is consumed. Just over two-thirds of the sample said it was either quite or very important to be able to access free content on devices other than the main television set in the home; that compared to only 39 percent when asked a similar question for subscription content. This suggests the majority of paid-for content is consumed on one device (the TV) and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
A quarter of respondents said it is important to be able to access free content when out and about; this is even truer in China where 49 percent of respondents said this sort of access is very important.
“The findings suggest that the huge increase in the availability of video content is leading to viewers tiering their viewing habits in terms of preference, notionally based around payment,” Ogle said. “Yes, they’re watching content on laptops and other devices, but they are still staying loyal to the television set. This is a powerful message for the service providers. Stickiness does exist, providing all parts of the offering are attractive to subscribers.”
China, the United Arab Emirates and Russia are the most enthusiastic when it comes to integrating social media into their viewing habits. The Japanese, Germans and viewers in the Nordics are the least likely to chat, use instant messaging or a platform like Twitter or Facebook® to discuss a program or video while they are watching it. According to the study, 84 percent of Japanese viewers have never undertaken such an activity. Globally, however, 58 percent of people who have used social media during a TV program would change their service provider if this was offered as an integrated service.Add a comment Add a comment
Social TV app Miso will be partnering with Universal Studios Home Entertainment to create a unique viewer experience to promote the highly anticipated December 14th Bluray and DVD release of the animated comedy blockbuster Despicable Me during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade airing on November 25.
Through Miso's second screen experience (on iPhone, iPad, Android, and Web), fans watching the parade on TV can engage with the television event, earn rewards, and share their actions with friends. The new app is the latest component of Universal's "Minion Madness," a promotional rewards program in which fans can earn points interactively by collecting Minions, the endearingly mischievous characters popularized in Despicable Me. The Minions along with teen sensation Miranda Cosgrove, the voice of Margo in the film, will be featured on a float in the parade.
Viewers who use Miso to "check-in" to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade can unlock an exclusive Minion Madness badge and earn Minion points redeemable for coupons or prizes as part of the "Minion Madness" campaign. "Minion Madness" enables fans to participate in up to 25 sweepstakes entries each day through a variety of online and offline activities. While watching the parade, Miso users will also have the opportunity to interact with other fans on the Miso platform and share the excitement with friends by broadcasting messages to their social networks.
By bringing its best in class high-definition user interface to iPad, TiVo has created a true two-screen TV experience. TiVo Premiere users will get access to a full set of TiVo capabilities on iPad, providing a richer TV viewing experience for both live TV and Internet video while kicking back on the sofa. Plus, users will also be able to schedule and manage their DVR recordings while on-the-go.
The TiVo Premiere App for iPad includes:
“We’re bringing TiVo’s innovative user interface from the TV directly to your fingertips, taking your TV viewing experience to a whole new level,” said Jim Denney, vice president and general manager of product marketing for TiVo. “The new TiVo Premiere App takes our best in class user-interface and brings it to iPad’s stunning, high-resolution display and innovative Multi Touch interface. There’s no better example of TiVo’s passion for innovation and focus on ease-of-use than the TiVo Premiere App for iPad, and no better reason to give the gift of TiVo this year.”
The TiVo Premiere App will be available for free from the App Store on iPad or at www.itunes.com/appstore/. Users must have a TiVo Premiere or TiVo Premiere XL box and an existing account with TiVo.
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Industry sources suggest BT will bundle YouView into its broadband packages and give away the hardware.
Andy Baker, director of BT Vision, did not deny having such plans, saying: "When YouView launches in the first half of next year, BT will offer the service to consumers via a variety of packages. YouView may be offered at special rates as part of new or improved broadband packages."
Earlier this month, BT's results showed its on-demand TV service BT Vision added just 53,000 subscribers in eight months, despite a £30m marketing push trumpeting the addition of Sky Sports 1 and 2 to its line-up.
At the time, a BT spokesperson said the figures were "disappointing". YouView is seen as a crucial part of BT's TV offering. The current BT Vision boxes can support YouView and should be able to offer the service from launch.
AOL Inc today announced the creation of AOL Video to aggregate its vast online video library assets under one strategic umbrella, and to drive the creation, production and syndication of high-quality online video content for its millions of users.
Comparing data from comScore July 2010 to October 2010, AOL video streams increased from 192 million to 493 million, an increase of 157%. "You've Got..." the video series that launched on the new AOL.com on November 1, generated more than four million views in its first two weeks, and featured a diverse guest list including Kelly Ripa, Barack Obama, Good Charlotte and the Marines in Afghanistan. For comparison, that puts "You've Got..." on-pace with a top 10 Web series. Overall, video views on the new AOL.com are up more than 3X since launch.
"In just a few short months, you can see by the data that our commitment to video is really paying off for users and advertisers," said David Eun, President of AOL Media & Studios. "We have no doubt that video is the future of content on the Web, and AOL's goal is to be the market leader at every point on the value chain. Our distribution capability is the keystone that links the high-quality video content we create at AOL to the premium publishers that carry it, the engaged users who consume it, and the premium brands that partner with us to create it."
In the second half of 2010 alone, AOL has closed deals with more than 20 premium content partners and digital studios to deliver a mix of high quality programming to AOL's audiences. Within that mix, AOL has announced several new video franchises not seen anywhere else on the Web, including partnerships with Vuguru, Ben Silverman's Electus, Next New Networks, Telepictures Productions and the Ellen DeGeneres Show Web site and MarloThomas.com.
Other video franchises across AOL's owned and operated properties include, AOL Sessions; The Engadget Show; Translogic on AOL Autos; a number of shows on Cambio.com - Cambio Connect, Cambio Style, Cambio Goes Home, Cambio Cares; and The Secret Millionaire's Club on AOL Kids.Add a comment Add a comment
LG Electronics is extending its existing internet TV offering to bring consumers access to even more online applications and will enhance its current internet TV service, NetCast, with nine new applications including BBC iPlayer, movies on demand from Acetrax, Google Maps, Facebook, Twitter and an internet radio application for connected TV.
The updated NetCast service portfolio promises to make it even easier for viewers to be entertained from the comfort of their living room as these new applications bolster LG’s existing NetCast service, which already includes YouTube, Accuweather and Picasa.
The new online applications will be available to current owners of LG NetCast TVs. Owners will easily be able to update by connecting their LG NetCast TV to a broadband connection (via Ethernet or an LG wireless dongle) and pressing the NetCast button on the remote control where an automated update will take place.Add a comment Add a comment
YouTube, with its 35 hours of content uploaded to the social site every minute, has announced that it has designed a new ad unit which will give viewers the option of of which ads they want to watch, or more importantly, not watch. This move will certainly add more fuel to the fire in terms of the major broadcasters and content creators that have blocked Google TV including CBS, NBC, ABC, Viacom et al.
Google has coined the new system TrueView, and now users will have the option to watch three different ads or simple to skip the ads altogether in which case the advertiser is not charged.
YouTube is giving consumers the ultimate control over the commercial aspect of their viewing, which is similar to Hulu's choose-your-own ad feature, except Hulu does not allow for complete skipping of ads.
"Some advertisers had initial gut reaction of, 'Wait, you're gonna let users skip my ad?'" Phil Farhi, a Google senior product manager, told Advertising Age. "But the thing that tips them over from that gut reaction is you're not paying for those skipped ads, and it's a system that allows you to reach that opted-in engaged audience at scale."
These formats are expected to be rolled out in the next few weeks, according to Ad Age. It might sound like all bad news but there are some (small) positives - firstly, viewers want more and more choice and will come to expect to be 'in control' as connected TV becomes the norm (although there is an argument that perhaps the consumer is being asked to make an effort to decide, when ignoring or viewing are both relatively effortless). Also, advertisers will not pay for ads that are not viewed. For brands, the challenge will be getting viewers to want to watch their ads, which will encourage more creativity.
But, as with most Google plans, there is only one real winner - YouTube. The video giant is going down the sales house route, which will allow it to implement a micro-payment system. This will put YouTube in a unique position and will, of course, allow the Google-owned site to bypass broadcasters such as ITV, which is potentially very bad news for the industry.
Also, TrueView implies that only ads you choose to watch have value (in the same way that the primary online advertising model only gives value to ads that are clicked on). As many researchers will tell you, the brain is more complex than that, and some of the most effective ad campaigns in history have worked at a low-attention level.
Initially, advertisers with a managed account at Google will have access, but eventually it will open up to all.
In the original article in Adage.com Phil Farhi, a Google senior product manager noted:
Eventually, Mr. Farhi said, YouTube's promoted videos can potentially become a TrueView ad if they're short enough in length. There are tens of thousands of promoted videos, which are paid for by marketers, that come up on the side bar of YouTube next to a viewers' watched video. And because YouTube is the second biggest search engine online, promoted videos are also part of the search ads that come up on YouTube.
Mr. Farhi said that advertisers can use YouTube as a focus group, testing out an ad to see how it does before they make it into a TV campaign. With TrueView, they'll be able to immediately see how well the ad is doing with the public and if they need to tweak it.
"You can imagine getting to the point where someone comes to us and says here's a video, here's how much I'm willing to pay for an opted-in engaged view and we go and find the audience," Mr. Farhi said.
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Vufind, Inc., a mobile social gaming and networking company, today launched its first mobile app for the iPhone. The Vufind app recognizes people's interests based on their photos and videos, and then entertains and connects them with friends and businesses that share similar interests. Vufind's mobile apps and games turn the user's iPhone into a visual robot that can be used for immersive gaming experiences that blend the virtual world with the physical world through object recognition. The Vufind app is part augmented reality game based on object recognition, part visual social network and part recommendation engine based on recognizing the user's visual profile.
Vufind running on your Android phone or iPhone (launching very shortly) automatically tags your photos and videos on the fly as you upload them to cloud services such as facebook, twitter, flickr, etc so they are searchable and discoverable by friends and others who share your interests. You can also tag them yourself manually. Will they come to Connected TV with an App soon?
Using Vufind's mobile app, photos and videos are automatically tagged with objects and scenes before they are uploaded to a cloud social media site of your choice such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. for easy discovery and sharing with friends. The app also allows users to visually checkin whatever scene or object has their interest at the place they are currently visiting. Visual checkin is a lot richer, more engaging and viral than text-checkin and automated tagging ensures it is discoverable.
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"Vufind's object recognition engine is the key enabler to connecting people through imagery and algorithmically inferring their interests and 'visual profile' based on their photos and videos. The app will also make targeted recommendations to businesses and services based on user interests," stated Moataz Rashad, founder and CEO of Vufind. "Comparing your visual profile to a friend, or a friend of a friend, on Facebook can reveal insight into your social graph's shared interests as well as be highly entertaining. Furthermore, users earn points every time they get a photo tagged based on the objects in the photo. For instance, if you get the highest score for the cat object, you win the cat Vufinder Ambassador award, and Vufind will award you a relevant gift card from a cat-food business such as Purina or PetSmart etc, depending on the contest running that week. Consumers and advertisers find this very rewarding."
Conceived to generate buzz for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the scripting experiment runs from November 22nd through December 6th, 2010 . TIFF is honouring Burton's work by running Tim Burton, the first MoMA exhibition to be presented in Toronto in over 20 years. Contributors are invited to Tweet as often as they'd like with the best Tweets of each day will be selected to build the story. The story can be followed as it unfolds on the project's website.
It's not the first media project to be Twitter-driven... following on the surprise success of its Twitter-inspired comedy Shit My Dad Says", CBS has made a script deal for "Shh … Don't Tell Steve," based on a Twitter feed by the same name which will be produced by Ashton Kutcher, and his producing partner Evan Goldberg. Transmedia Light?
Cadavar Exquis or "Exquisite Corpse" is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled. Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule (e.g. "The adjective noun adverb verb the adjective noun") or by being allowed to see the end of what the previous person contributed. The technique was invented by Surrealists and is similar to an old parlour game called Consequences in which players write in turn on a sheet of paper, fold it to conceal part of the writing, and then pass it to the next player for a further contribution. Surrealism principal founder André Breton reported that it started in fun, but became playful and eventually enriching. Breton said the diversion started about 1925, but Pierre Reverdy wrote that it started much earlier, at least before 1918.
The company, which says its customers now use its streaming service more than its DVD rent-by-mail service, also announced price increases for its DVD plans that could boost its profitability.
Netflix's embrace of online streaming reflects the widespread view that DVDs are being phased out by the rise of digital film distribution - a trend that has hurt film studios, which have relied on DVD retailing as a major source of their profits. The website's latest move also could bolster the company's ability to provide a low-cost alternative to traditional cable or satellite TV subscriptions and to compete with other online video services, like Hulu LLC.
"We are now primarily a streaming video company delivering a wide selection of TV shows and films over the Internet," Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings said.
The new plan will cost $7.99 a month, while the prices for the 1-DVD and 2-DVDs out at a time plans will increase by $1. The 3 DVDs-plan will rise from $16.99 to $19.99 per month, something Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said would likely cost the company hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
"The gain Netflix gets from people who don't want a disc at all is offset by a number of people who will quit because of higher pricing," he told Reuters.
Netflix shares, which hit another all-time high Monday at $187.80, recently rose 7% to $185.18.
Analysts from Piper remain optimistic:
We believe the changes will serve to boost near-term [calendar year 2011] ARPU higher than current consensus models, and that long term, while ARPU will continue to fall, profitability per sub will improve as the streaming only service is becoming increasingly attractive.
Hudson Square research analysts were more cautious:
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Given that major studios are very likely to expect increasing rates to obtain streaming only rights, we fully expect Netflix’s content costs to rise further.
VIZIO, America's #1 LCD HDTV Company, announced today that it
outperformed the industry as the number one shipper of LCD HDTVs in Q3
2010 for both North America and the U.S. VIZIO also took top honors as the leading shipper of LED backlit HDTVs in North America
in Q3 behind the strength of its TruLED™ and Razor LED™ products. VIZIO
HDTV sales increased 15% over last quarter while their leading
competitor saw shipments fall 2%. VIZIO saw significant sales increases
with its 6-time award winning XVT lineup with VIZIO Internet Apps (VIA),
as well as in the Beyond TV category, headlined by the nation's
bestselling SoundBar and Blu-ray players with wireless Internet apps.
This means a very interesting channel for TV app developers and startups in the Connected TV space as VIZIO uses the Yahoo Connected TV Widget platform but... in order to appeal to more developers it has also integrated Adobe Flash directly into its Via HDTV. That way, developers like Netflix, for instance, can decide if they want to make a Flash-based app or a Yahoo widget to deliver its streaming video service to a TV, according to Matt McRae, Vizio's vice president of advanced platforms in Cnet. So far, Netflix and Rhapsody have created Flash-based versions of their services for Vizio. Rhapsody's app is exclusive to the Via HDTV. McRae said allowing Flash-based apps on its TV would allow for better animation or anything with vector-based graphics.
VIZIO, America's #1 LCD HDTV Company, announced today that it outperformed the industry as the number one shipper of LCD HDTVs in Q3 2010 for both North America and the U.S. VIZIO also took top honors as the leading shipper of LED backlit HDTVs in North America in Q3 behind the strength of its TruLED™ and Razor LED™ products. VIZIO HDTV sales increased 15% over last quarter while their leading competitor saw shipments fall 2%. VIZIO saw significant sales increases with its 6-time award winning XVT lineup with VIZIO Internet Apps (VIA), as well as in the Beyond TV category, headlined by the nation's bestselling SoundBar and Blu-ray players with wireless Internet apps.
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"Third quarter has been a groundbreaking time for VIZIO and an excellent demonstration of our commitment to creating innovative technologies," stated Randy Waynick, Chief Sales Officer, VIZIO. "Customers have embraced our higher performance product lineup and carried over their brand loyalty to our Beyond TV products, making VIZIO products like SoundBars and Blu-ray players best sellers as well."
Revision3, the leading Internet Television network, today announced that it is bringing its full line-up of more than 20 programs to the television screen. The Internet TV Network, which produces popular shows like Tekzilla, AppJudgment, Dan 3.0, Diggnation, Destructoid and Film Riot, is bringing its online content to multiple platforms including Google TV, Yahoo! Connected TV, Windows Media Center, AppleTV, Boxee and Roku.
Revision3 has developed a new experience for enabling viewing through these platforms. Either by accessing the TV optimized website at tv.revision3.com or by using the applications available on the various platforms, users can ‘lean back and watch’ Revision3 programming on the television. The application’s user interface makes finding content simple as it sorts shows by name, category, featured content and most recent episodes. Viewers are also able to manually search for their favorite episodes and view new content.
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“We are thrilled to be able to provide users with the ability to view their favorite Revision3 shows on the best screen in the house,” said Jim Louderback, CEO Revision3. “As online video continues to take viewing time away from traditional TV, we want to make sure that our programs look great anywhere they’re viewed, and across every screen – from the smallest one on a phone to the biggest one at home. “