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Feb 17 2006
More on the Olympics and Online
There are a few interesting posts on the Lost Remote blog today that relate to our post yesterday about online vs. traditional broadcasting of the Olympic games. Read them here and here.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  16:34 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 16 2006
Video Launch Roundup
Here is yet another roundup of broadband video channel launches.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  17:41 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 16 2006
Will The Olympics Go the Way of Live 8?
This USA Today piece explains that Olympics video content is perfect for online distribution. Much like the Live 8 event that AOL covered online to much acclaim, the Olympic games are filled with simultaneous events that happen sometimes on the other side of the globe. Some events only appeal to niche audiences � like the biathlon � and some viewers want to watch entire events rather than chopped-up retrospectives of each day�s events interspersed with montages, inspirational segments and Bob Costas.

So with the recent explosion in demand and media coverage of Web-delivered video, why don't we have all the Olympic events streamed Live 8 style to our desktops? (Some clips and highlights are currently available on nbcolympics.com, and live streaming video is available only in France and the U.K.) Well, NBC's broadcast rights compel the network to protect its television advertising. Remember, Live 8 rights were divided between AOL and MTV. And AOL had no conflict or worry of cannibalizing an offline channel or business model � only that of MTV, which of course belongs to a different media empire.

As an aside, CBS has made an interesting move along these lines by announcing it will webcast NCAA tournament games (perfect content for Internet distribution because of simultaneous games and all the other reasons stated above), despite the fact that it is the very network that will carry (and always has) the television rights. We blogged about it here.

Back to the Olympics: Comprehensive online coverage would have to happen with either NBC deciding the benefits will outweigh the loss in television viewers/ad dollars (fear of cannibalization) or the rights being restructured to include online and offline channels � a la Live 8. The latter is more likely, as it could bring the Olympics more money in rights distribution, but it won't happen until 2012 when NBC's current contract expires.

When that day comes, all the curling and biathlon fans out there can look forward to watching their events in their entirety and on demand. The pull aspect to this kind of viewing will also allow for better targeting and local advertising opportunities than is available from an NBC broadcast.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  16:51 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 14 2006
IPTV News Roundup
The video and IPTV news inundation continues. Here is this week's roundup;

--"Punk'd" and "Beauty and the Geek" creators Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg will team up with AOL to deliver five new programs exclusively on AOL.com.

-- ZDNet has an interesting piece on what John Nicol will do for MSN's video and multimedia efforts.

-- Business Week reports on Cisco's move into the IPTV space through this interview with senior vice-president Mike Volpi.

-- This interesting piece from Media Daily News explores the cultural differences that exist between traditional television ad sales, and the new IPTV paradigms emerging.

-- Disney spin-off MovieBeam announced (reg req.) an on-demand service that will make movies available through a special set top box the same day they're released on DVD.

-- Comcast has announced it will add geographically targeted ads to some of its video on demand content.

-- Olympic winning runs and highlights can be seen on the games' official site here.

-- Lastly, A Harris interactive study came out with some interesting numbers on how IPTV is being recognized and anticipated as an attractive alternative to cable and satellite.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  13:40 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 14 2006
A Whole New Kind of Speed Dating II
If anyone is interested to see how last night's TiVo event went that we blogged about on Friday, here is coverage from Thomas Hawk's Digital Connection.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  13:24 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 13 2006
First Signs of Google Click-to-Call
Seth Godin (found via SEW) reports on a Google click-to-call option that is being served up with some sponsored links. He gives an example of sponsored search results that instead of links, include a small phone icon (same icon used to place calls in Google Talk) which can be clicked to open a small Ajax-based window for initiating a call between the user and a business.

A phone number must be entered the first time it is used, but it offers the ability to save that number so subsequent uses are easier (and truer to the term "click-to-call"). To see this in action, note that Godin's says to do a search for "Artisan Hotel" (without geographic modifier). I assume he did this from New York, because when I did this search from San Francisco, I ended up with different search results. The way around this if you are in a location that gives you geographically relevant links that don't include these click-to-call examples, just add a New York zip code, or the words "New York" (or just follow this link). Then you'll see what he's talking about and be able to give it a whirl.

Google appears to be testing it on a limited basis (which we already knew it was doing), but this is the first sign of it. It could be an intriguing cross-platform offering to entice existing AdWords customers, and more notably the large segment of SME advertisers that prefer calls to clicks and currently aren't "sold" on AdWords. On another level it extends Google's growing list of options and platforms offered to local and national advertisers that now include print magazines and radio, and will likely soon involve television or video (look for the company to acquire or develop something similar to Spot Runner soon). From a consumer facing standpoint, the user experience could likewise be groundbreaking given the sheer mass of Google users.

There will be a consumer adoption learning curve however, as there is with most new technologies, and which there certainly is with internet telephony. But it's important to note that this isn�t VoIP, as the click-to-call tool we�re talking about initiates a call between a business and a phone number that a user provides. But it�s certainly a step towards VoIP.

That little green phone icon that signifies click-to-call in these new search results is the very same one that represents a PC-to-PC call when it appears in Google Talk. The search click-to-call could evolve into something similar where instead of a call initiated between a business and a consumer land line, an outbound call is made directly from the user�s computer � building on the technology currently available in Gtalk.

Search as a point of entry into the whole Google experience, could therefore push along the mainstream adoption of VoIP overall because it will show mainstream consumers that VoIP isn�t so scary. This is the very strategy behind introducing VoIP in an IM context, as we pointed out in a recent advisory. Once it becomes mainstream, it can be fully leveraged and monetized across IM, email, search, local, and mapping products. And the advertising models built around click-to-call will be the monetization lever.

In the meantime look for those little green phone icons to start to multiply across the Googleverse.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  23:58 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 10 2006
IPTV Quick Hits
News from the IPTV world continues to come at us with no signs of slowing, as the industry's many moving parts take form. There are content issues with rights and aggregation; technical issues with bandwidth and video delivery; and local and national ad delivery and the valuable targeting that IP technologies enable. These issues will be addressed at the Kelsey Group's Drilling Down on Local Conference in March in this panel;

1,000,001 Channels: But Is Anybody Watching?
TV used to be simple for everyone. But the newly fragmenting world of video search, mobile TV, on-demand cable and IPTV makes the range of potential consumer choices staggering. What are the new technologies that are rapidly turning TV from a mass medium to one that is highly personalized? What is the new consumer �video consumption� model, and what are the implications for networks, content producers and advertisers? Will a million �Wayne�s Worlds� and the potential �Tower of Babel� effect destroy the medium for advertisers or open it up to a range of exciting new possibilities, including some for SMEs?

But for now, here are a few news bits from across the industry.

-- SlingShot Media was founded by former Yahoo! execs to act as a sort of Hollywood talent agency that will bring together talent and content for online and mobile distribution. The company's contacts in both Hollywood, and in the online world are hoped to create value in bringing the right content to the right online distribution channels. Given that content aggregation is an ongoing challenge with IPTV, this middleman or agent type of model could be one that grows (apart from the self published long tail type of content that will have a separate place among the Google Video-type offerings).

-- Videobomb.com has launched with an interesting model that is similar to the online news site digg.com, which places aggregated news items (without human editors) in order of popularity, or hits. The site hasn't been monetized yet but will likely be ad supported in the future.

-- NBC Universal has formed a content partnership with Aeon Digital which has an entirely new model for IPTV delivery. The service requires a one time fee of $299 for a set top box that connects to a broadband line. Users can then access on demand music, television, and movies for an additional fee. It also comes with a built in DVR.

This is somewhat similar to offerings by DaveTV and Akimbo, and like them it will face challenges to survive in IPTV's next generation. When telcos launch their IPTV services later this year, the IPTV world will be divided between their closed system service offerings (video watched on your television with a set top box and a range of channel choices), and video viewed on your computer screen that will encompass most of the long tail content out there.

Services such as Aeon fall somewhere in between, and have deficiencies when stacked up against Telecos and the online aggregators. Their revenue models also aren't as flexible, having only fee based content. Telecos and online aggregators by comparison have existing channels for ad delivery (including targeted and local ad delivery which will be an important attribute of IPTV), and fee based video on demand. As we've said in the past, this flexibility in charging customers will be important in experimenting with revenue models and consumer preferences.

--Lastly, Disney has expanded the video content available disneychannel.com by making full episodes of some kids programming available for free. It will be ad supported and allow advertisers the ability to stream full-length or customized spots next to content. More here
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  12:10 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 10 2006
A Whole New Kind of Speed Dating
From the bizzare item of the day dept., TiVo is setting up a promotional event on Monday (close enough to Valentines day), that mixes speed dating and well, TiVo.

The event will match San Francisco singles with "their perfect TV compatable Valentine". Basically this means that they'll wear name tags that list favorite shows, and work the room with a list in hand that indicates who would be a good match for them.

So the idea is that the speed daters can "fast forward" through the crowd to find their TiVo-suggested match. Clever TiVo.

And don't worry, other TiVo trademarks have been worked in for maximum promotional bang for their buck, such as thumbs up and thumbs down stickers that singles can use to privately rate those they meet.

This likely isn't something that will take the dating vertical by storm, but it's a quirky item that's good enough for a laugh on a Friday.

And who knows, television for some is a central part of life and looking for a match that likes the same shows could prove an effective way to meet that special someone. But probably not. We'll see...
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Mike Boland at  11:08 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]





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