Archive for the ‘social TV’ Category

Simultaneous Second Screen Experience Needs to be Open and Standardized

Friday, December 14th, 2012
Simultaneous Second Screen Experience Needs to be Open and Standardized

A couple things have come across my desk this week pertaining to almost the same thing. So I let them percolate in my brain for a bit until I was ready to tell you about it. Essentially, it's sending content to a TV and a second screen at the same time. One pertains to content, the other to repurposing of TV ads. But I see a more cohesive and bigger picture emerging.

Second screen usage while watching TV has been growing as the install base for bigger smartphones and tablets has grown. Now a couple things are becoming apparent. First, the tablets and smartphone apps distract viewers from the ads. Not a terrible thing, unless of course you're paying those millions to have your ad placed on certain TV shows. While it's doubtful that many of our readers here are doing that, I thought that some of you might actually be placing ads on connected TV content and that is a whole different ball game.

Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc. recently put out a white paper titled, The Two-Screen Television Advertising Marketplace: Opportunities & Solutions For A Winning Consumer Experience. Whew that's a mouthful, but it brought up some serious issues that are going to need to be addressed, like an open, standard protocol for simultaneous advertising on two screens.

...the need still exists for a common standardized platform that allows content creators and advertisers to efficiently manage and deliver the experience...

Opportunity Creates Proprietary

Oddly, this week also brought into my inbox a couple proprietary versions of services that are aiming to send ads to multiple platforms. But really, they're just rehashing what has come before and aren't looking into this whole, two screens at the same time thing that Magid is talking about and which I think will have a major impact, if the industry does it right.

Of course, the rise of numerous, proprietary formats is always what happens when an opportunity is discovered. But I have to agree with the Magid report, an unaffiliated, standarized, open system needs to be created before it's too late and I think the IAB needs to get to work on it, ASAP. The longer it takes to create, the more potential I think will be lost.

Standardization Trumps Proprietary

Here's further specifications from Magid:

To accomplish this, the industry will require an unaffiliated, standardized, open system which provides:

  • Synchronization of the television and advertising content with a second screen device
  • Incentives to engage on the second screen through awards
  • Organized social activity around the engagement experience
  • An accurate measurement and post-engagement tracking and reporting system

Hell yes I say!

In order for each and every one of these simulscreen offerings to be viable, advertisers will require a “buy once, reach all” clearinghouse that can provide placement and reporting standards, and serve the needs of all players in the space: advertisers, delivery platforms, networks, broadcasters, and MVPDs.

Let's break down their requirements one by one and see why it is brilliant, and why many will hate it.

Synchronization

You know how you hate having fifteen different accounts to watch all your online video? Or how you hate having fifteen apps on your tablet for second screen experiences? Imagine the insane amount of redundant and unnecessary work that went into all of those apps, simply because the studios see each other as competition and therefore all feel the need to have their own app. Fine, have your own app, but what if the core of it, all the heavy lifting could and should be done by a standard, an open protocol and an agnostic system that doesn't care about the OS or the content or anything, it simply delivers it in the right format, at the exact right moment.

At last count, there were over 100 venture-backed start-up companies that have launched some sort of capability or app that allows viewers to interact with linear TV content — from integrated TV screen experiences (single screen), to Check-In and social TV experiences, as well as rudimentary incentive/reward platforms.

With proprietary systems comes fragmentation and with fragmentation comes confusion for advertisers and content creators. Which one to go with, what the different systems can and can't do, how they all differ, which is best? Questions that are nigh impossible to answer and shouldn't even have to be, because a single, standardized, open system would solve it.

Incentives

Remember when gamification was the buzzword and everyone was trying to squeeze it into their marketing vocab? All of it pretty much came to naught as far as I'm concerned, but we did get something out of the game craze, the belief that viewers and consumers need incentives.

So give them incentives. Here's a great example of how not to go about it.

During Falling Skies on TNT they had a second screen app. During the commercial break, there was show trivia. But you didn't get points, or prizes or even recognition. LAME. All it really did, was give me a reason not to look at the TV screen while the ads were playing. Not very smart on the part of TNT, I mean, if they're going to do that, then their advertisers probably see it as them taking attention away from my ads. So, why would I want to advertise against that?

Incentives! Award the users with something that ties right into the advertisers, perhaps some products or points or something that first makes them want to engage with the second screen and second ties directly into the people who are paying the bills. Cohesive solution to the problem.

Organized Social Activity

Of vital importance is a cohesive and efficient experience. What they mean by 'organized social activity' is that the viewer needs to be immediately hooked into their current social circles. They don't want to have to search this app or that to see which one their friends and family are using, they want them all to just be there. That's the organized part of the social aspect which is the discussing, the banter, the interactions. Sports fans should be able to smack talk, show fans should be able to quote their favorite characters and they should all be able to do it with their social circles.

Now back to the Falling Skies example. I didn't have the option to find my friends who were also watching, I didn't get any rewards for answering the trivia questions correctly and generally it wasn't all that much fun, so I switched to playing Angry Birds during the commercials.

If you're going to have a fun social experience then you also need to play on the human need to compete, to brag and to win. That means if you're going to do something like trivia, you need to make it a competition. Show people if they answered correctly, if they did so faster than their friends, real-time scoring lists so those with mutual friends can all see who answered when and how many points they got.

Boom, bragging rights.

Accurate Measurement

It's the Holy Grail of online video....accurate measurements. We all know how much I dislike comScore's definition of a video view, right? So if we're going to do this, then we need to start from the very beginning on creating an accurate definition of each and every metric we want to follow. Those could include:

  • Engagement - How much time spent interacting with the second screen
  • Viewing time - A way to track actual viewing (perhaps with trivia questions about the current episode of a show...almost like a voluntary survey of attentiveness)
  • Favorability - Is the viewer enjoying the show, the content, the second screen content and experience?
  • Interactions - Is it a click, a question answer, a comment to a friend, a button push? If it is a game played on the second screen how much did they play?
  • Brand Awareness - Incentives offered by advertisers could easily turn into a gauge of brand awareness. The viewer might be inclined to use their reward points, etc. to receive product or something from your specific advertisers. You might even have them answer a simple "do you remember seeing these products or brands?" near the end of the show on the second screen.

On top of all that, with the interactivity of the experience advertisers could easily offer store locations, more information, URLs, newsletters, discounts and coupons, etc. This could all lead to conversion or higher purchase intent as well as higher brand awareness.

The keyword there is opt-in. If they played the game or want the rewards, they need to opt-in and that helps pool information (non-personally identifiable of course) about how effective the experience is at achieving the specific goal of the campaigns.

That's a Wrap

Finally, I want to leave you with this great paragraph from Magid:

In order for the simulscreen advertising marketplace potential to be fully realized, all industry players will need to come together in recognition of a core set of standards that allow advertisers to make single creative/single-order arrangements for all their simulscreen experiences. Without this type of efficiency, simulscreen commercial media buys and experiences will tend to be one-off, more experimental efforts. These arrangements are fine in the early days of learning and refinement, but as lessons are learned and common practices are developed, the final step in completing this value chain will come from a set of accepted and adopted operational standards that all players can buy into.

Yes! However, if we look at history, it probably won't happen. Or at least, it will be a long, drawn out, painful process until we get to a point where it is achieved. Usually, that's a momentum killer and it ends up holding the industry back as a whole. So think about it, huh? Even if just half of the industry got together and worked on a single solution, it would out-perform any solution from a single provider. There's already 100 or more companies out there trying to slice up the pie...which means less than 1% for each. But if a consortium of industry leaders were to band together and get something set up, and fast, and make it the best it can be, well... that could be 50% market share right there.

If not, it might just be yet another lost opportunity because of the tendency toward proprietary systems and fragmentation.

To Find out more, read the Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc. The Two-Screen Television Advertising Marketplace: Opportunities & Solutions For A Winning Consumer Experience.

Or check into the 100+ companies that are offering some facet of this all now...

Streaming Media West 2012, A Quick Guide and Planner – Help Us Decide What to Report On

Monday, October 8th, 2012
Streaming Media West 2012, A Quick Guide and Planner – Help Us Decide What to Report On

I have done it! I have convinced Mark to unchain me from the desk and get me to an upcoming show. The show is, obviously, Streaming Media West 2012 which will be held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in L.A. October 30-31. Oh, Halloween in LA, does it get weirder than it usually is?

I thought that, since I should figure out what I was going to sit in on myself I might also give you a glimpse into some of the stellar things going on at the show (here's the full agenda).

Pre-Conference Seminars, Monday Oct. 29th

Monday sees the pre-conference seminars kicking in with some talks about getting your video prepped for a Flash & HTML5 world in regards to encoding and planning. Later the series looks at servers and 'the cloud' as well as the next generation video player.

  • SM1: Encoding for Flash, Mobile, and HTML5
  • SM2: Planning Online Video Deployment for HTML5 and Flash

Day 1 – Tuesday, October 30, 2012

When the show kicks off on Tuesday two Samsung VPs will take the Keynote spot before the first sessions take place. I'm torn really. Do I go to the round table, Social TV, Where's the Money?, or do I hit the TVGuide presentation, How Super-Savvy Viewers Are Transforming the Future of TV? Tough one, being a super-savvy viewer myself. The second seems to be based on some recent research by TV Guide, so I think that will earn the check mark.

The second session of the day is even more difficult. I should probably, from a journalist standpoint, go to The Current State of MPEG-DASH in the Industry since it's probably going to be a big thing moving forward. But then I'll miss out on Balancing the Viewer Experience and the Need to Monetize which would be super awesome content to come back and tell you all about along with Smart TV or Dumb TV which is going to look at what should be done with smart TVs.  I might need some help here, which do you want me to report back to you on, provided you won't be at the show? I'm leaning toward the need to monetize but still might end up at the MPEG-DASH one I guess.

After lunch that day it's a bit easier because the session titled Is there a Killer App for TV or is TV the Killer App? isn't massively interesting to me because I think the other two might have more information that I could write about. Continuing the MPEG-DASH discussion is Making DASH Workable, the DASH-264 Recommendation and the third session could be really great Choosing a Live Streaming Encoder could supply me with a good deal of actionable take away information for you all.

The early afternoon session is another tough choice as the sessions include, Simplify Video Delivery and Slash Your Up-Front Costs by Using the Cloud which is being run by Wowza while The Future of Digital Entertainment in a Multiscreen World is a round table with people from Dolby, Samsung, CBS and Starz and could be the most interesting of the three, the third being Over-the-top, and Into your Bank Account which is talking about monetizing TV Everywhere.

Maybe I need to clone myself. I have a degree that sort of taught me how to do that you know.

The last session of the day is an easy choice and I'll be at Currency vs. Measurement in Online Video, which will prove highly interesting because it's looking at how to put a price on it all and deciding on its value. The other sessions are How Huffington Post Built Its Live Video Network, which I'm not all that impressed with yet, and Encoding Video for HTML5 which we've talked about several times in the past here.

Whew! That is just the first day!

Day 2 – Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Roku kicks off day two with the keynote slot and then the first session gets swinging. Now while I would love to go to Best Practices for Planning Your Live Streaming Event, I will be at Brand Safety in the Online Video Advertising Market because that's right in my wheelhouse. The third session is Deconstructing Content Offerings for the Second Screen which, while interesting, is trumped by the video advertising session for me.

After that I will most likely be at the How-to session Creating a DASH-264 Player because the other two sessions Virtual Coffee Tables and TV App Graveyards and Choosing an Enterprice-Class Video Encoder seem to have less that I will be able to bring back to help you all out. I know MPEG-DASH and DASH-264 are going to become major pieces of online video soon so I want to be sure to be armed with all the info I can to help you get it implemented.

During the next session I might sit in on Monetization and Distribution Design Across Broadcast and OTT Environment and if it proves to be not all I hope I'll head to the device demos of the Vizio Co-Star and the Livestream Broadcaster, the second being far more interesting than the first there as it could have some cool potential for our audience here. The third is a case study on Building and Deploying HTML 5 Video Experiences at Viacom which could be interesting but not as much as these others for me.

The show ends with two interesting sessions which are Best Practices for Measuring Performance of Streaming Video and a round table on Best Practices for Migrating to a Cloud-Based Encoding PlatformThat second has Jeff Malkin from Encoding.com while the first is run by Amazon Web Services. Both could be super interesting.

Help Me Decide What to Report On

So thoughts? Any of these sessions you really want me to go to and report back on my findings? Consider me your personal field agent and give me some thoughts on what you'd want me to return with in the comments!

You can register for Streaming Media West 2012, the Enterprise Video Conference, or both at the Streaming Media registration page. Use code RLS12 and get a special ReelSEO reader discount.


Weekly Online Video News Round Up – Football Edition!

Saturday, September 15th, 2012
Weekly Online Video News Round Up - Football Edition!

Heck yeah! The leaves aren't falling but baseball is wrapping up (come on Brew Crew!) and now football has begun! So while you're drinking that early morning bloody mary, preparing for the big game, here's some news to keep you up to speed with the online video industry. (GO PACK GO!)

Tablet Video Viewing on the Rise

We already know that tablets are being used more and more for video viewing, but LongTail took it a step further and broke down the statistics on what they've seen with JWPlayer and Bits on the Run.

Tablet usage (in addition to smartphone usage) seems to be increasing over time. In our analysis of the overall growth of smartphone and tablet usage, we found that smartphones and tablets together account for over 10% of video consumption usage, and that their usage has been growing steadily over the past two years.

Ten percent! Read all their cool stats, like tablet use rises at night and on weekend, on their blog.

Zeebox looking to make Second Screen more Engaging

Chyron announced the integration of its ENGAGE second screen and social TV platform with the zeebox companion app and website that makes watching TV better. With seamless access to zeebox from within their existing Chyron graphics systems, broadcasters can cost-effectively leverage the leading second screen app to complement their live programming.

"The second screen applications running on tablets and other devices serve as an exciting new platform for publishing synchronized content that enhances the viewer's experience," said Jim Martinolich, vice president of integration technology at Chyron. "zeebox is the leading second screen app and its integration with our ENGAGE platform aids broadcasters in creating and managing second screen content without introducing significant new production costs. We are very excited to be adding zeebox to our list of ENGAGE charter partners."

Source: Press Release

 M-Go Signs Major Studio Deals

M-Go, the new pay-per-view app/service, seems on the verge of exploding the market. Since it's not subscription-based, but pay per view rental and purchase of TV and film content it seems the major studios like it.

It has signed licensing deals with five of the six major Hollywood studios, the company is expected to announce Wednesday. The deals with NBCUniversal, Paramount, Sony Pictures,Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros. help fill out the library of movie and television titles M-Go will offer when it launches in the fourth quarter.

M-Go has an advantage over Apple, though, at least for the moment. Today, using iTunes on a TV screen requires the purchase of a special set-top box or connecting a computer to one's television. When M-Go launches, Batter said, it will be pre-loaded on all Samsung and Vizio Internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray disc players in the U.S. And Vizio will add a dedicated M-Go button to its remote controls.

Granted, the installed base of those TVs and Blu-ray players is zero today. But those two brands are a good place to start; according to Batter, they've captured about half of the market.

M-Go will also be pre-loaded on selected WiFi-enabled tablet computers and ultrabook laptops, and will be available as an app for mobile devices. Users will also be able to access M-Go through a Web browser. And in early 2013, the company plans to make a version available for last year's Samsung and Vizio models.

Source: LA Times

BrightRoll Exchange Introduces Mobile Video Real-time Bidding

BrightRoll announced the availability of mobile video real-time bidding (RTB) on the BrightRoll Exchange (BRX). Media buyers can bid on mobile video inventory and access online and mobile content using a single, streamlined RTB platform.

Before the launch of this new BrightRoll offering, access to true mobile video inventory was limited to fixed bid buying industry-wide, preventing media buyers from making decisions about mobile video impressions in real time. Integrating mobile video into the BRX RTB platform enables buyers to bid at the impression level on in-app and mobile web inventory, in addition to the online video inventory previously available to RTB buyers. Now buyers can bid on BRX video inventory through their own interface to connect with relevant audiences across multiple screens.

Source: Press Release

Ties directly into my ultimate video advertising campaign of the future...

Warner Doing Original Series for Online Distribution

You'd know this is big news, if you had followed Warner Bros loathing of online video services in the past... now it seems they're seeing ways that they can profit from it, i.e. they see value in online video on demand services.

The studio is in license discussions with Amazon Instant Video, Amazon-owned LoveFilm, Comcast’s Streampix, Netflix and QuickFlix in Australia, among others.

Source: Home Media Magazine

Vid.ly Threesome!

Vid.ly Locks Down Security Features

Secure delivery of premium video content to any device or browser is simple as making a Vid.ly. Now you can protect any video using the following three options:

Token: Use token-based authentication to restrict Vid.lys to a specific domain or set of domain names.

Time: Set specific start and expiration dates to restrict viewing to specific time periods.

Location: Use IP-based access rights to restrict viewing to a specific IP or range of IP addresses (geographies).

Learn more

Vid.ly Gets Insightful With Analytics

Would you like to know more about who’s watching your videos?  Vid.ly Analytics, available via our API, provides a detailed analysis of your audience including viewership data on over 6,000 mobile devices and browsers. Customize this real-time data which easily integrates with your existing systems and media workflow.

Learn more

Vid.ly vs. YouTube for Branded Video

Steve Smith, our Head of Sales, explains why your business should use Vid.ly instead of YouTube for branded video.

Learn more

Source: Vid.ly newsletter

Nintendo Wii U Gets Loads of Video Streaming

It's no shock that Nintendo is integrating streaming-video services like Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, and YouTube into the Wii U, but TVii is a far more ambitious platform, capable of cross-platform search through both streaming-video services and live TV listings, providing complementary second-screen information on the GamePad screen, and controlling your DVR and other home theater components like a universal remote.

Source: CNET

Tags: Amazon, Apple, Bits on the Run, branded video, Brightroll, browser, connected TV, consumption, distribution, Internet TV, LOVEFiLM, Netflix, social TV, Video Advertising, Video Tools & Software, Warner, Web Video Industry News, YouTube