Business Issues: Page (1) of 1 - 04/04/14

Content Insider #332 - Video Consistency

Entertainment Flexibility ... Viewing Becomes Personal

By Miles Weston


"I come from this musical family. My mother is a piano teacher and my father was a conductor."
- Sugar (Marilyn Monroe), "Some Like It Hot," United Artists -1959
      

Broadcast and M&E (Media and Entertainment) tradeshows and events used to be all about the behemoths of the industry.  

Big, sexy, expensive cameras and big, gorgeous, expensive control panels. All designed to deliver content to TV sets that are also big, gorgeous and expensive.

Then, consumers became dissatisfied with the status quo.

Content owners/developers got stingy with their budgets.




People - ordinary people - wanted more ... more choice, more options, more flexibility, more freedom.

When it came to choice, the cable and satellite folks took consumers by the pocketbook and "let" them watch 50-100 channels for $100 a month.  

Not bad for the producers, network, cable operators and advertisers.

Nielsen found:
* 100% of US cable operators offer HDTV and are thinking about 4K
* 256 million LCD TVs were sold last year
* Americans choose smaller 1080p TVs over the larger 720p (quality thing)
* 80% of DVR owners are likely to skip commercials
* 85% of US households are aware of digital TV transition
* 40% of households had heard about 4K UHD TV
* More than 90% of US households have digital TVs
* 15% of Americans have 2+ HDTVs
* US HDTV sales topped $145 billion in 2013
* 1080p LCD TV generated $98 billion in 2013
* Japanese and Americans watched 4.8 hours of TV a day last year
* Digital television reached  95% of US households last year
* 52% of urban males do not get enough international content on their TV
* 97% of Americans have HDTVs
* 54% of smart TVs are actually connected to the iNet

Suddenly, a viewing paradigm took place.  The Internet became ubiquitous,  pipes got bigger and online content delivery got a little easier/more reliable.

Our kids said, "Wait a minute, what about using our notebook ... tablet ... smartphone to get our entertainment on-the- go?"

It wasn't long before the hardware, software and service people thrived. They had more places to sell stuff to deliver viewing content.

Eyeball Shift
People started watching stuff online.


Online Viewing - Regardless of sex or age, people have been finding that online video viewing is not only fun, it's also convenient. If bandwidth in the US can be expanded to that of Korea and other Pacific Basin countries, it will grow even more quickly. The challenge for content owners will be finding more economic content and monetizing the viewing. The challenge for service providers will be developing a service pricing model that will be equitable for everyone.  

At first, only short videos (cat videos) were viewed, but the attention span has grown. It turns out people weren't reducing their TV set time, they were just adding on video content viewing.
Cable, satellite companies and networks were only slightly worried.  

But then, Nielsen reported:
* 69% of Americans think mobile devices are more entertaining than TV
* 47% more engage with ads online
* 38 million IPTV subscribers in China last year
* 3.2 billion HDMI-enabled media player devices last year
* 48% of US consumers are watching TV shows online
* 30% of cable subscribers would drop cable if shows were available over broadband

Video entertainment/education was going personal ... just a few mouse clicks away.  

            
Beyond the 3-Minute Clip - While short amateur and professional videos were the early draws for web content viewing, people quickly found that there is a world of education, entertainment and enjoyment videos available from around the globe on the Internet. For some folks, the computer/tablet has become their complete entertainment center. 

And consumers showed that they would happily trade "quality" for price and convenience.

Crap!!!

They could find darn near anything online and went way beyond YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo and AOL.  

Online video has become so promising that Cisco looks at it as their next big target (right after they achieve their goal of owning the entire corporate infrastructure).

Chambers thinks that by 2015, our insatiable demand for video is going to grow 400 times what we needed in 2012; and Cisco may as well be the provider of choice!

We tried a couple of TV/computer options using the Sling box and Hulu.

They're ... O.K.

But most people want more free or even pay-per-view videos and games. To meet the demand, they will be able to get content online with TVWeb 360, InnerLive, TVChannelsFree, MyP2P, UltraFlix and others.  

You'll need a player that's compatible with your TV and supports the service(s) you want to use. It should also support at least HD and UHD resolutions, even if you don't have an UHD TV yet.

One of the things I like about combining your TV with the Nuvola player is it streams content so you don't have to wait for content downloads and don't have to use valuable storage space-a key feature if you're moving up to 4K UHD because of the huge 4K video files.

If you're not ready to get a UHD TV, it will play the other formats and lets you enjoy awesome MMOG (massive multiplayer online games).  


The good thing is, every network/station is getting their shows up to 4K as quickly as possible to capture even more eyeballs (ad dollars), so when you get your UHD TV set, you'll have plenty of content.

Clearly, the networks are being driven by the growing number of people who are watching videos online.

Pew Research found online video watching is attractive to all age groups:  

Percentages of Age Groups Engaged in Online Activities
Age Groups            18-32   33-44   45-54   55-63   64-72   73+
Watch Videos Online     82%     67%     59%     40%     34%     24%

No wonder so many people are considering slipping off the golden handcuffs of the cable/satellite folks. Since we're getting our content fix everywhere ... we're thinking about it.


More, More, More - Computer and mobile device time/place shifting of TV shows didn't reduce the amount of couch potato time. Instead, it added to the amount of entertainment people consumed on their terms.

Mobile Video
After all, the kids have already made the shift to the third screen ... mobile video.


Just Beginning
- Mobile video is gaining an audience. Sports, TV news/weather and documentaries are popular followed by scheduled shows. Then, we'll just have to see how the bandwidth usage and pricing shake out.  

The iPhone/iTunes, Samsung/YouTube, Amazon/Kindle combos have helped every mobile supplier see the huge potential in offering content, service, new devices, new download options.

Mobile video is already widely used in Korea and most of the Pacific Basin countries and its
gaining momentum in Europe.

As for the U.S., Nielsen says there were 250 million mobile media consumers last year.

Every device manufacturer--and obviously every service provider--wants a piece of the pie!

As for content, people of all ages are finding its fun, easy and cheap to produce independent movies that are pretty darn good. They're using their videos in their blogs, on their company websites, as documentaries, as highlights of their sporting/activity adventures (GoPro cameras gave the world a major boost).  

Indie videographers eagerly work to become the next movie moguls.  

Consumer/prosumer hardware and software now have unbelievable features, capabilities; and
prices are reasonable ... almost cheap!  

All it takes is one or two people walking around with good-nuff HD camcorders (some only use smartphones), decent mikes and a really good notebook computer. They shoot the stuff, edit it on the fly (or in the evening) and post it to the Web for video enthusiasts around the globe to see what's new in broadcast.

What these people lack in budget they compensate for with ingenuity and trend monitoring (they surf the web).

Doing it all!
Most TV stations and post production houses around the globe are in the same boat with "modest" budgets ... $150K ($250K max) a year.  

The big question is if they can reinvent themselves and their organizations to keep up with the on-demand future.  

Part of the answer lies in the rapid implementation of the new H.265 codec (encoder/decoder) that will enable high-quality UHD content to efficiently be streamed over the iNet.  

To meet the insatiable demand for content, networks, content producers and content owners are rushing to deliver new, higher-quality content.

We're seeing a growing library of content that's going to be available OTT, including more than  14,000 titles and content coming in from DramaFeber's international content partners as well as production studios like 4K Studios and a growing number of other organizations.
 
It's a win-win situation because it eliminates a huge obstacle for content developers and content owners. They can quickly and cost-effectively repurpose/enhance the content in their video libraries and offer it as pay-for-view or ad-supported entertainment.


People don't just want content, they want it the way they want, when they want it, where they want it. They want it on all three screens.


Enjoy Yourself - On the train, on the plane, in the bus, even in the office; people are realizing they don't have to miss their entertainment. Pour a drink, kick back and enjoy the show.   

As Sugar said ..."Don't fight it."
Undercover author Miles Weston has spent more than 30 years in the storage, software and video industry, indulging in, among other things, marketing activities in promoting PC, CE, communications, content technology and their applications . Contact Miles through his editor by clicking here.


Related Keywords:4K TV, OTT, IPTV

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