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Twitter Starts Testing Autoplay Videos in iPhone, iPad Apps News - Sun, 03/22/2015 - 22:00

Categories: Video News

Google Fiber TV now delivers ads based on your viewing habits News - Sun, 03/22/2015 - 22:00

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MLB's Bob Bowman On Streaming All The Things News - Sun, 03/22/2015 - 22:00

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Has PlayStation Vue Got Game? News - Sun, 03/22/2015 - 22:00

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New Streaming TV Services Could Weirdly Help Comcast News - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 22:00

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March Madness and the Limits of New TV Channel Packages News - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 22:00

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The Millennial Trends That Are Killing Cable News - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 22:00

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Streaming Vendor News Recap For The Week Of March 16th

The Business Of Online Video - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 13:51

Here’s a recap of all the announcements from streaming media vendors that I saw for the week of March 16th. I’ll try to do a better job of regurally creating this list at the end of each week:

Categories: Video News

VideoNuze Podcast #265: Can Apple Succeed With a "Skinny" Bundle of TV Networks? Analysis - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 08:54

I'm pleased to present the 265th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. There's been a lot of buzz this week about a WSJ report that Apple could at last be planning to enter the TV business, by offering a so-called "skinny" bundle of around 25 TV networks this Fall.

In today's podcast, Colin and I debate whether Apple can succeed with this approach. Colin is relatively sanguine, and believes that if Apple ties the TV service's launch to a new device, it could get a lot of traction. Colin sees Sling TV's skinny bundle as a model for Apple to follow.

I'm much more skeptical about the skinny approach, and despite Apple's formidable assets, I'm challenged to see how it works. My main issue is that by definition, skinny bundles result in a "Swiss cheese" channel lineup that is unsatisfying for many viewers (this was supported by Bernstein research I wrote about earlier this week). Another issue for Apple, which reportedly wants to include broadcast TV networks (which Sling doesn't include), is the near-certainty that it won't get full linear rights in all U.S. markets, undercutting the service's ubiquity.

At a minimum it will be fun to watch what Apple does, along with everyone else. Reminder, to help us all gauge these new OTT services' potential, check out the handy scoring framework I shared yesterday.

Listen in to learn more!

Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, x38 seconds)

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Categories: Video News

WSJ Report Inaccurate: Content Owners Not Asking ISPs For “Separate Lanes”

The Business Of Online Video - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 05:55

Yesterday, a story in the Wall Street Journal created a lot of stir implying that HBO, Sony and Showtime were asking ISPs for their content to be given “special treatment” by delivering it via a “separate lane” within the ISPs network. After speaking to multiple ISPs and some of the content owners mentioned in the story, they tell me the WSJ post is inaccurate and that they don’t expect any ISP would treat their content differently from another.

Those I spoke were confused as to what exactly the WSJ is implying, when terms like “special treatment” are being used, without any definition of what is “special” about the treatment. There is also no agreed upon definition of what a “managed service” is and the article doesn’t detail how they define it. They also reference a “separate lane” within the ISPs network, but there is only one lane into your house on the Internet. Again, lots of buzz words, no definitions.

The article says the reason the content owners would want to do this is to “move them away from the congestion of the Internet.” The problem with this idea is that neither HBO, Sony nor Showtime owns their own CDN. They rely on third-party CDNs like Akamai, Limelight and Level 3 to deliver their content and these CDNs already have their servers inside ISP networks, or connected directly to them via interconnection deals. That’s the main value of using a service based CDN is to avoid congestion, which HBO and others are already doing. In fact, HBO has been doing this with Verizon since 2010, by allowing Verizon to cache HBO’s content inside Verizon’s network. But that content is not “prioritized” or given any “special treatment” of any kind inside the last mile.

The article also says that media companies feel that the “last mile of public Internet pipe, as it exists today, won’t be able to handle the surge in bandwidth use for all the online-video services.” The problem with that argument is that the congestion we see on the Internet isn’t taking place in the “last mile”, it’s taking place at network access points outside the last mile. To prove that, just look at the latest Measuring Broadband America report by the FCC that measures ISPs advertised speed versus delivered speed. The data shows that there is very little congestion in the actual last mile. So the WSJ argument as to why HBO and other content owners would want to do this doesn’t make sense and take into account the technical details of how it all works.

The WSJ article waits until halfway through the piece to mention that no ISP has actually agreed to whatever it is that the WSJ is suggesting content owners want. The article says that Comcast “wasn’t willing to do anything for any one content provider that it couldn’t offer to every other company.” So the WSJ is saying that content owners asked for something that ISPs said no to. But the piece then goes out-of-the-way to make it sound like this is a potential problem, ties in the topic of Net Neutrality but then never defines, what exactly is being proposed. What does “special treatment” mean? Are they implying the “prioritization” of packets? We simply don’t know as they use high-level terms without any definition of how they are applying them.

Another argument the WSJ makes for why content owners would want this is that some content owners don’t want their service to count against the ISPs bandwidth cap. Problem with that argument is that you don’t need a “managed service” to make that happen. Netflix recently struck deals in Australia where their content does not count against the ISPs cap with no “managed services” taking place.

The WSJ also says, “media companies say the costs of guaranteeing problem-free streaming for users are rising.” What they don’t say is whom those costs are rising for? The content owners? The ISPs? The consumer? It sounds like they are saying the costs to deliver video for the content owner is increasing, but in fact, it’s the opposite. Costs to deliver video via third-party CDNs have fallen at least 15% each year, since 2008. (Source: one, two) Also, there is no way to “guarantee” problem-free streaming no matter how much money you spend so that notion is false. CDNs offer SLAs, but they don’t “guarantee” anything outside their network once it hits the last mile. And ISPs only guarantee customer’s access out of their last mile, which is done on a “best effort” basis. For the WSJ to imply otherwise is inaccurate.

ISPs I spoke to made it clear that they are not in discussions with OTT providers to manage their traffic differently from other content owners or provide them with special treatment of any kind. What they think the WSJ might be confusing is the idea of caching content inside their last mile, but again, that doesn’t come with any kind of “special treatment” or prioritization of any kind. The WSJ story uses a lot of generic undefined words that sound very scary, but when you look at the details rationally, you can see that they simply created controversy where none exists.

Categories: Video News

Meerkat Raises $12M From Greylock At A $40M Valuation News - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 22:00

Categories: Video News

Internet TV's Big Chance to Oust Cable Is Almost Here News - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 22:00

Categories: Video News

Drafthouse Films Releases Its Newest Feature On BitTorrent News - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 22:00

Categories: Video News

Here's A Proposed Framework for Assessing the Potential of New OTT Services Analysis - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 09:09

As the pace of new OTT services has ramped up, I've been asked by a lot of industry colleagues and press which ones I believe have the most and least potential. It's a great question, and while I don't pretend to have a crystal ball, I certainly have my own opinions (as VideoNuze readers know!). But even as I've been sharing my thoughts, I've increasingly been asking myself - why is it, for example, that I'm more bullish about some (e.g. HBO Now), more skeptical about others (e.g. Sling TV) and more willing to be open-minded about still others (e.g. Apple's and Verizon's TV services)?

That's led me to think more rigorously about the criteria that I'm personally using to evaluate the potential of these new OTT services. It may be obvious, but when each of us makes judgments about a product or service, we're doing so against some implicit set of criteria. The challenge with all these OTT services is that a lot is still unknown about them and about consumers' reactions to them. On top of this the market is very dynamic. Nonetheless, I think it's still possible to create a set of criteria against which these new OTT services can be more explicitly evaluated (and re-evaluated as more information about them is known).

With that in mind, below I have shared 9 proposed criteria that I think are important in assessing these new (and existing) services' potential (there may be other criteria too!). By scoring each OTT service on a 1-5 scale against each criteria (i.e. 1 meaning "weak" or "not distinctive" and 5 meaning "strong" or "highly distinctive," their respective total scores emerge, forming a picture of potential winners and losers. If you're interested in using these criteria to do your own scoring, I have created a handy Google doc. Feel free to access, export to Excel, modify, etc. I'm interested in your results and comparing notes.

Here are my 9 proposed criteria:

Categories: Video News

Vishal Sood

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