Many of you asked, “Hey, where are all the people? And how do I join the conversation?” Apparently the first version of our conversation system was a bit too hard to navigate! So, we re-designed our “Show Pages,” letting you see who’s there and what they’re saying (beyond those you follow). That way, you can find and engage with the other folks who share your TV passion. Here’s an example new Show Page for World Cup soccer:
FourthWall Media, the cable-centric company that claims to be driving a creative revolution in American interactive television through advanced advertising, consumer applications and the technology platform on which they run, recently announced the results of an American poll* that demonstrates overwhelming consumer demand for an interactive TV viewing experience.
Television is the most popular device in the home, and with the addition of interactivity, it's serving up the next wave of killer apps according reveals to FourthWall Media's recent research that indicates consumers are ready for their TV to do more, and are open to seeing the Web integrate with their televisions on the big screen in the living room. In the report they showed resounding interest in using their remote to submit "American Idol" votes, check personalized financial, weather and fantasy sports information, and keep tabs on their eBay bids.
"This survey reveals that TV watchers — men, women, young, old — from all across the country are excited about interactive television," said Ellen Dudar, FourthWall Media chief product officer and co-founder. "Viewers spend vastly more leisure time in front of their televisions than their computer screens, and they want one-click engagement with their favorite programs, movies, and even commercials. Apps that deliver immersive experiences and increased convenience to satisfy this consumer appetite are the next killer apps."
FourthWallMedia is one of the largest USA players in the EBIF cable scene - working with Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF)/OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP)/Tru2way landscape - formats developed under the OpenCable project of CableLabs (Cable Television Laboratories, Inc.).
And they are not very big fans of Google TV... with their brass having penned a white paper called Google TV: Why It Will Fail - and has contributed to more critical spin in the press. However, that's understandable, as Google TV and Connected TV in general are a serious threat to Cable and PayTV operators - mainly because the wall is in the garden is higher - and they are not committed to Open Standards to encourage partners to jump aboard and start developing.
EBIF is an American-only format - European Pay TV operators tend to use MHP (Multimedia Home Platform) - which also happens to be making inroads in the USA with Vivendi having a crack with MHP in the American market in a deal with EchoStar Communications Corp, second largest satellite provider in the United States. For more information on Cable standards read below.
But knuckling down to the positive research - which is great news for all in the in the Interactive, Social, Smart and Connected TV landscapes, include:
"Television remains a powerful part of the fabric of American life. But it has been slow to incorporate interactivity at scale," said Ellen Dudar. "Until recently, there wasn't broad adoption of a common language and platform for cable systems to launch advanced services. Now, thanks to the work of the cable industry, Americans will begin harnessing the power of their TV like never before. It's the perfect storm of consumer behavior aligning with the launch of a ubiquitous platform."
*Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), a member of Young & Rubicam Brands and of the WPP Group, is a global research-based consultancy that specializes in messaging and communications strategy for blue-chip political, corporate and entertainment clients. On April 28, 2010, Penn Schoen & Berland conducted 500 online interviews among TV watchers 13-65 years old. The margin of error for the study is +/- 4.38% at the 95% confidence level and larger for subgroups.
On January 8, 2008 Cable Labs announced the Tru2Way brand for the OpenCable platform, including OCAP as the application platform which is based on the European MHP standard - a standard defined by the Digital Video Broadcasting DVB project.
The Joint Technical Committee (JTC) of European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) and European Broadcasting Union (EBU) set the standards. DVB systems distribute data using a variety of approaches, including: satellite: DVB-S, DVB-S2 and DVB-SH, DVB-SMATV for distribution via SMATV, cable: DVB-C, DVB-C2, terrestrial television: DVB-T, DVB-T2, digital terrestrial television for handhelds: DVB-H, DVB-SH as well as microwave: using DTT (DVB-MT), the MMDS (DVB-MC), and/or MVDS standards (DVB-MS)
The BBC Trust has today approved the BBC's involvement in Project Canvas, subject to a number of conditions.
Project Canvas is a joint venture between the BBC and six other partners – Arqiva, BT, Channel 4, Five, ITV and Talk Talk - to develop and promote a common standard that will allow viewers with a broadband connection to watch on-demand services and other internet content as well as ordinary TV content, all through their television sets.
The Trust's decision follows a rigorous and extensive period of consultation over the past year, including discussions with a range of industry stakeholders and four formal public consultations. The proposal has been considered in the context of its likely public value; whether it represents value for money; the interests and perspective of the licence fee payer; the market impact; the risk attached to the BBC's participation in Canvas; and whether Canvas is likely to comply with the law and with BBC policies.
The Trust's decision includes a number of conditions on the BBC's involvement. These include:
Industry engagement: Completed elements of the Canvas core technical specification to be published within 20 working days from this final approval, and the Canvas partners to engage with industry on these and future elements of the technical specification. The final core technical specification will be published no later than eight months before launch of the first set-top boxes. The Trust will keep this process of engagement under review.
Free-to-air: Users will always be able to access Canvas free-to-air, though they may be charged for additional pay services that third parties might choose to provide via the Canvas platform, for example video on demand services, as well as the broadband subscription fees.
Accessibility and usability: Accessibility and usability features, such as audio description, should be incorporated into the core technical specification and/or user interface as soon as reasonably possible; and appropriate information and signposting should be provided for users to help them make informed choices about the suitability of content wherever possible.
Access to the platform for content providers and ISPs: Entry controls in terms of technical and content standards will be minimal, access will not be bundled with other products or services, listing on the electronic programme guide will be awarded in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner; and quality standards for ISPs delivering Canvas will be set at a minimum level and applied in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner.
Legal compliance: Canvas will comply with all applicable laws including competition and state aid law.
Cost: The BBC's involvement will not exceed the Executive's estimated costs by more than 20 per cent over a five year period.
The full list of conditions can be found here.
BBC Trustee and Chair of the Trust's Strategic Approvals Committee, Diane Coyle, said:
"The Trust has concluded that Project Canvas will deliver significant public value for licence fee payers - people with a broadband connection will be able to access a wide range of on-demand content including BBC iPlayer, free of charge, through their TV sets. We have however applied a number of conditions to the BBC's involvement in the venture in recognition of the potential impacts on the market if Canvas is successful."
The Trust will review the BBC's involvement in Canvas against the conditions of its approval, twelve months after launch of Canvas to consumers.Add a comment Add a comment
In short, it means Viacom finally get the chance to take this long running case to a higher court, and YouTube continue to strengthen their position in becoming a user generated and premium content gateway to multiple platforms...something that would work in their favour once Google TV is launched.
At the same time that ComScore released its May online video rankings to confirm that YouTube still sits at the top after racking up a record 14.6 billion video views (an 11.5% increase on April), Viacom lost its long running copyright dispute against YouTube.
Despite written support from other media giants such as Disney, NBC Universal and Time Warner, New York Judge Louis Stanton threw out the case based on the premise that
"…the popular video website could not be held responsible when people post clips from productions such as Viacom’s ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and ‘The Colbert Report’ without the entertainment giant’s approval…mere knowledge of the prevalence of (copyright violations) in general is not enough to make the site liable".
This ruling was primarily based upon the 'safe harbor' provision in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which is summed up nicely by Mike Berkley of Comcast:
"The "safe harbor" provision basically says that a content host (such as YouTube) can't be held liable for copyright or redistribution infringements committed by its users, as long as the host had no prior knowledge of the infringement and quickly responds to take-down notices submitted by the content owners."
Stanton recognised that the 'safe habor' provision works well and used the example that on Feb. 2, 2007, Viacom identified 100,000 videos that it said violated its copyrights which, by the next day, "YouTube had removed virtually all of them".
Viacom says it will appeal the ruling "as soon as possible". The company added in a statement, that the ruling
“... by the lower court is fundamentally flawed and contrary to the language of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act […] We intend to seek to have these issues before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit as soon as possible. After years of delay, this decision gives us the opportunity to have the appellate court address these critical issues on an accelerated basis. We look forward to the next stage of the process.”
Kent Walker of Google meanwhile is lapping up the ruling on behalf of the people, saying
[the ruling] "...is an important victory not just for us, but also for the billions of people around the world who use the Web to communicate and share experiences."
"Internet connected TV is going to be a reality. It will dramatically change the ad industry forever. Ads will become interactive and delivered to individual TV sets according to the user," he said."...every single media is going to be social," he added. "Online video is reaching a tipping point for digital display."
In the video Castro states:
“Online video is becoming mainstream, more premium content is becoming available as it’s distributed where the audience is. Ads will become interactive and delivered to individual TVs according to the user.”
“You could be watching a film and searching for information on the actors in it at the same time in the same screen,” he said. “So every medium will be internet powered and display enabled. The display space will increase from a $20 billion industry to a $200 billion one.”
Real Impact Productions posted about the seminar, noting that Castro said:
"Online video productions are becoming increasingly popular and will soon become as important as TV in the realm of advertising."
He also claims that the average European person now watches 26 hours of TV a week, while spending around 18 hours online.
"Video online is becoming mainstream. More premium content is becoming available online as content should be distributed where the audience is."
“Every medium will be social, so people can chat and watch TV at same time on the same device. Brands should be ready to take advantage of this. This reality will emerge over the next three years,” he added.Add a comment Add a comment
The company is providing features to Boxee, DivX, Free Stream Media, Mitsubishi, LG Electronics, Roku, Samsung, Syabas, TiVo, Toshiba, Vizio and Vudu (now owned by Wal-Mart). And it will support Google TV via Android SDK expected later this year.
In a press release from thePlatform earlier today, they augmented their move noting The Diffusion Group’s (TDG) recent report, Broadband-Enabled TV: Evolution of OTT Hardware Platforms, that more than 360 million households worldwide will own the components necessary to enjoy OTT video services on their TVs by 2014 – across games consoles, Blu-ray Players, hybrid set-top boxes, Internet set-top boxes, media-centric PCs, and networked digital TVs.
“Media and entertainment companies are looking well beyond today’s PCs and conventional set-top-boxes to reach their audiences,” said Ian Blaine, CEO of thePlatform. “At the end of the day, our customers produce and distribute compelling video that they want to monetize, and it’s our job to alleviate the complexity to make that happen across any device or platform. Our support for these OTT services is just the beginning, and we look forward to assisting our customers’ efforts across any number of next-generation, IP-connected devices.”
“Boxee’s mission is to create the best experience for enjoying TV shows, movies, and video from the Internet on a TV, no matter what the source,” said Avner Ronen, CEO and co-founder, Boxee. “This new relationship with thePlatform means that media and entertainment companies can now easily add Boxee as a distribution point to expand their audiences and generate more revenue from advertising and rentals/purchases.”
With today’s announcement, thePlatform has enabled premium video management and publishing to the following OTT services, catering to the varying software and hardware offerings by each:
thePlatform currently provides online video management services to numerous programmers, leading media companies, and five of the top cable TV service providers in North America. In order to support the increasingly complex needs of customers to manage cross-platform video publishing, thePlatform provides robust customer support, including professional services, account management, and industry-leading 24/7 technical support. Add a comment Add a comment
City-level statistics and detailed social sharing data are part of the new video analytics features announced today by Ooyala Inc., a leading end-to-end online video platform provider. Their new technology, interestingly enough, is not mentioned for use in the current IPTV or emerging Connected TV space, though seemingly, they could be potential markets for the innovative, Californian company.
However, The enhancements will give current Ooyala web video publishers up to 500 new analytics reports, including city and DMA (Designated Market Area) drill-downs, social media tracking, and deeper analysis of webpage performance. Publishers can see how their videos perform in Chicago or London, for instance, or track what happens when a video is shared on Facebook, something which TV Broadcasters could only dream about with 'finger in the air' old-school ratings system.
"Ooyala's mission is to provide publishers with innovative products that help them grow revenue and expand online video syndication," said Jay Fulcher, Ooyala President and CEO. "We're using our new Cassandra back end to provide even better real-time reporting that publishers can use to pick the best video placements and syndication strategies, increase engagement, and generate higher CPMs. Ooyala has offered the industry's leading video analytics solution for three years, and these enhancements help us extend that lead."
“Ooyala's new analytics system is a view into the future of media analytics and how it will be tracked and targeted," says Bob Bell, CTO of Alloy Media+Marketing. "Alloy is a provider of media and marketing programs that reach a large and targeted group of consumers. The new DMA and page-level stats will allow us to more effectively book and sell advertising from the premium markets we target."
Among the new enhancements:
Local Reporting: Detailed city-level views show advertisers and brand marketers how their content is consumed around the globe. Accompanying maps display clear viewership trends by continent, country, region, and city.
Page-Level Reports: Domain reports now offer specific page-level reporting, showing publishers how videos perform across the various pages of a site.
Designated Market Area (DMA) Reports: DMA drill-downs make it easier for publishers to sell advertising in local markets.
Ooyala recently deployed Cassandra as its new database system to create an even better backbone for analytics and for its new Business Intelligence offering, which will be going live in Q3. Add a comment Add a comment
European startup TVLinks came out of stealth mode today and plan to take on the big American TV search engines and TV listings sites. And a big part of their roadmap into the future is to make a strong play on the Google TV platform and future devices, including set-top boxes, all built on Android.
“We are the first European company to compete with venture funded American aggregators and video search engines. We aim to acquire a significant market share and use products such as Google TV and Android applications to facilitate our distribution to end users”, Adrian Constantin, one of the founders of TVLinks, told TechCrunch.
The European company, with offices in Romania and Texas, says they have a database of over 30.000 movies, 2.000 TV-shows and 80.000 episodes and claim their product is the first to offer both an internet TV Guide and a video search engine feature, indexing more than 2.000 content provider websites.
TVLinks has been generating some good steam by gathering a monthly audience of over 4 million visits and 20 million page views - despite being well under the radar and their intuitive episode guide and scheduling system, video search engine and social networking features help users organize the video web, making it quick and easy to watch TV online.
"Our visits and page views increased over 50% in the last 6 months. We are currently offering search results and information for over 30,000 movies, 2,000 TV-shows and 80,000 episodes, while indexing over 2.000 independent video content providers “ said Adrian Constantin, one of the founders of TVLinks. "We offer the first integrated service with a very comprehensive TV show guide and a video search engine that details movie information. Our competitors either offer only a TV guide or a video search engine that lacks the detailed episode structure necessary for TV-shows".
Among the most popular shows, users can watch Law & Order, SVU online or watch episodes from How I Met Your Mother online. The company is profitable and has already signed several distribution and ad sales contracts:
"We’re offering the full Amazon VOD directory and have signed partners such as Netflix, Google, Technorati. We're currently discussing with other partners and also working with many individual video websites."
“We are the first European company to compete with venture funded American aggregators and video search engines. We aim to acquire a significant market share and use products such as GoogleTV and Android applications to facilitate our distribution to end users” Adrian mentioned.
TVLinks is divided in 4 large application areas:
1. 1. The TV Show Guide. It structures every popular tv show, with every season and with every episode. This guide presents over 2.000 individual TV show titles with 80.000+ episodes.
2. The Movie listings. This catalogue contains information, trailers, clips, comments and news for over 30.000 movies.
3. A Site Guide collection that lists, ranks and evaluates over 2000 movie related websites. Taking precedence are movie websites that have a video component.
4. A social networking component. Any user can make an account, connect with friends, add favorite movies and create watch lists.