excellent recap by @farrahbostic on the collision betw. old&new media& the biz model issues. It’s a classic case of trying to change the engine while on clocking 120mph on the highway… Will prep a follow-on post asap.
The audience wants a better product experience, but what they don’t seem to realize is that *they are* the product. The customers for the IOC and NBC and Comcast are advertisers – those big brands who paid for exclusivity and fierce enforcement of that exclusivity, but don’t seem to be getting much credit. NBC and its cable provider parent Comcast paid $1.2 billion to the IOC for broadcast rights. No wonder they only permitted paid subscribers to MSNBC or CNBC to watch the livestream on nbcolympics.com; no wonder they interrupted the opening ceremonies to show commercials; no wonder the coverage of competition feels sub-par and strained. They have sponsors and advertisers to serve, and money to recoup.
The way they do that is promising brands aggregated audiences who are likely to see the advertising that occupies 16-18 minutes per hour of prime time American television. To make good on that promise, they do all they can to ensure we’ll be there when they said we would be – so they circle the wagons of content access. No truly free livestreams, no commercial-free or -limited broadcasts. If we could watch it for ‘free’ on the web, without commercials, whenever we felt like it, we wouldn’t need that $100+ cable subscription, and NBC wouldn’t be able to charge hundreds of thousands per half-minute to P&G or Coca-Cola or McDonald’s… and by extension, they wouldn’t be able to afford the IOC’s asking price.
Because Rupert Murdoch is known for making bold moves, subtler ones like a modest investment in Roku announced Thursday are easy to ignore — yet prove just as significant.
A small gizmo maker getting a $45 million round in financing led by News Corp. and BSkyB may pale to thunderclaps like the launch of iPad-only newspaper the Daily or an acquisition of once-leading social network MySpace. But this could be the humble beginning of a pivotal shift in the post-split era of his conglom.
The toehold Murdoch has bought into Roku could represent his re-entry into the distribution side of the media business he vacated in 2008 when he sold his stake in DirecTV to Liberty Media. A pivot this ain’t: News Corp. still has distribution DNA at the very top given that chief operating officer Chase Carey came over from the top job at DirecTV.
Google posted a pretty amazing list of TV networks that will participate. The kind you can only get from your cable or satellite providers.” Google Fiber TV service will be HD quality and include a DVR that lets you record up to 500 hours of shows in full HDTV. It will also offer apps for the iPad and for Android tablets.
This high speed Internet service plus TV will cost $120 a month.
"With traditional media struggling to keep an audience and Facebook facing continuing issues with its sagging stock price and the need to retain users, the partnerships might be less a new-media tool and more a means of survival.
Mark Zuckerberg’s company has cut four separate partnerships with media organizations this year. In January, NBC and Facebook held a joint GOP primary debate in New Hampshire. During the primaries, Politico partnered with Facebook to mine user data to analyze voter behavior. Earlier this month, CNN joined Facebook to create an “I’m voting” app and conduct state-by-state research for the fall campaign. Two days later, the social network announced a similar partnership, with NBC Sports, for Olympics coverage.”
“I see Microsoft as technology’s answer to Sears,” said Kurt Massey, a former senior marketing manager. “In the 40s, 50s, and 60s, Sears had it nailed. It was top-notch, but now it’s just a barren wasteland. And that’s Microsoft. The company just isn’t cool anymore.”
Cool is what tech consumers want. Exhibit A: today the iPhone brings in more revenue than the entirety of Microsoft.
One Apple product, something that didn’t exist five years ago, has higher sales than everything Microsoft has to offer. More than Windows, Office, Xbox, Bing, Windows Phone, and every other product that Microsoft has created since 1975. In the quarter ended March 31, 2012, iPhone had sales of $22.7 billion; Microsoft Corporation, $17.4 billion.
Microsoft’s low-octane swan song was nothing if not symbolic of more than a decade littered with errors, missed opportunities, and the devolution of one of the industry’s innovators into a “me too” purveyor of other companies’ consumer products. Over those years, inconsequential pip-squeaks and onetime zombies—Google, Facebook, Apple—roared ahead, transforming the social-media-tech experience, while a lumbering Microsoft relied mostly on pumping out Old Faithfuls such as Windows, Office, and servers for its financial performance.
interesting to see that Twitter - now a “tech company in the media business” is not content with being the second screen but aims to be the first
Forget the debate over whether Twitter wants to get in the media business. Twitter wants to be a media player.
The San Francisco, Calif.-based company, along with multiple Hollywood producers and network execs, are in serious talks about the possibility of launching several original video series via Twitter, according to sources. One project in particular could debut this year, potentially as early as the fall, said sources with knowledge of the discussions. Twitter, they said, has been actively pitching a select group of advertisers on a video series that would live on Twitter and enable users to participate in real time in some fashion.
Twitter declined to comment.
The original series has been described by sources as similar to MTV reality showsThe Real WorldandThe Hills; in fact, one of the producers behindThe Hillsis said to be behind the project. Per sources, the show could live on a standalone Twitter page similar to the events page that Twitter launched in partnership with Nascar in June, although the series’ page would more closely resemble a microsite in order to feature an expanded video player. Another possibility is that the series would be distributed within tweets—promoted, organic or pinned to a brand’s Twitter page—with users clicking to expand the tweet into a full-fledged video player.
The inaugural effort would be a proof of concept project that Twitter would use to recruit producers and brand sponsors in developing future series.
“This is real,” said one source. “This is more than just talk.”
And the talk is more than just about launching a Web show. Rather, Twitter is said to be aiming towards changing the way people consume and discover media. “We’re talking about building content on top of Twitter,” said another industry insider. “That’s a big deal.” Twitter wouldn’t be developing the content, but would instead serve as a distribution vehicle and advertising middleman.
Besides looking to shake up the media space, Twitter has a more obvious motivation for getting into the series game. It regularly sells out of inventory for its core ad units like Promoted Tweets. “Right now, they are leaving money on the table,” said one source.
With the potential series, Twitter is aiming to get big-budget advertisers on board, with sponsorship deals possibly running around $4 million. Brand involvement would include product integration as well as Promoted Tweet-type content that would run within the feed.
Such in-feed content would appear alongside user tweets, which would likely include standard social TV commentary and discussion. However, theoretically user tweets would somehow influence the show as it airs. Using Twitter for real-time viewer participation isn’t unprecedented. Earlier this year NBC and Ford used Twitter and other social networks to let viewersinteractwith contestants in the brand-sponsored reality competition seriesEscape Routes.
Traditionally Twitter has served a social hub complementary to TV and disputed notions that it’s a media company. This week Twitter CEO Dick Costolo toldThe Wall Street Journalthat Twitter is a “technology company in the media business.” But airing a video series on a platform would put Twitter alongside digital media companies like AOL, AOL-owned Huffington Post, Yahoo, Hulu and YouTube—although recent moves by the company have hinted that Twitter is building its media footprint.
HBO has ruled out a content partnership with VoD platform Netflix, as the latter prepares to launch into a new international market later this year.
In a letter to shareholders announcing the company’s return to global profitability in the second quarter of 2012, CEO Reed Hastings and chief financial officer David Wells outlined their hopes to work with the premium cable channel, which has its own online platform in HBO Go.
“While we compete for content and viewing time with HBO, it is also possible we will find opportunities to work together – just as we do with other networks,” the letter said. “Consumers who are passionate about movies and TV shows are quite willing to subscribe to multiple services.”
But Charles Schreger, president of programming sales for HBO, said it had no intention of licensing its content to third-party SVoD platforms.
He told C21: “HBO GO is starting to represent real viewing for HBO. It’s pretty significant. We like to give our subscribers a lot of opportunity to see our programming.
“We do not license our programming to SVoD services, to Netflix or Hulu. We have a platform now [on which] people can see any of our programming whenever we want, so we don’t need to, nor do we want to make it available to our competitors. You can see any HBO programming there and it’s going to be increasingly significant for us.”
In its Q2 results for the period April to June, Netflix posted a global profit of US$6m and revenue of US$889m, compared with a US$5m loss and US$870m in revenue in Q1.
Its international subscription base, in Canada, Latin America, the UK and Ireland, increased by 550,000 in Q2, from 3.07 million to 3.62 million. Revenue from outside the US also grew from US$43m to US$65m.
Netflix in Latin America and the UK and Ireland both have more than one million subscribers, fewer than a year after launch, with a fourth international launch set to take place in Q4 this year.
Scandinavia, and particularly Sweden, has been heavily linked to the VoD service while Germany and Spain are also believed to be viable options.
Of its UK business, the company said it has “pulled ahead of LoveFilm in every important streaming-related metric” and said its biggest challenge is “competing effectively” with satcaster BSkyB.
Sky this month rolled out its Now TV internet television service, allowing access to its movie packages either through a subscription or pay-as-you-go model.
Netflix said Sky “would be our primary competitor in the UK, and now we potentially face increased competition from Sky’s new OTT service at £15 [US$23] per month, more than double our price.
“Our content libraries our mutually exclusive with no overlap of titles. As such, many households may subscribe to both services.”
Looking ahead, four million international subscribers are expected to be using Netflix by the end of Q3 this year.
Meanwhile, Netflix’s US subscriber base rose by 530,000, from 23.41 million in Q1 to 23.94 million in Q2, lifting revenue from US$507m to US$553m.
Netflix said it expected the London Olympics to have a negative impact on viewing and new subscriber figures for Q3 as the company strives to reach its target of seven million new domestic subscribers this year.
Of its competitors, the VoD service singled out multi-channel video programming distributors, and Comcast’s Xfinity in particular, as its “biggest long-term competition for viewing hours.”
In June, Hastings said Netflix viewers streamed more than one billion hours of content for the first time.
Ben Silverman, Chairman of multi-media producer Electus recently keynoted a Venture Capital and New Media Summit in Los Angeles.
Ben noted that 100 years ago in order to make a film you needed 50 acres of land in the San Fernando Valley, an army of various craftsmen, sprawling soundstages, expensive specialized cameras, film labs and more.
He went on to say that in order to produce a film today you could likely do it with five dedicated artists, $30,000 worth of equipment and an office in Santa Monica with a green screen.
This got me thinking. A studio’s main functions are finance, production, distribution and marketing of content. Considering how technology is greatly expanding the creative community’s access to each of these and the entrance of new well capitalized players to the entertainment game: are motion picture studios becoming irrelevant and what does the future hold for the business of filmed entertainment? (…) Arguably, the strongest unique core competency studios have developed over the past 100 years is marketing, merchandising and monetizing big budget, tentpole projects. (…) There is a dark side to the blockbuster game though. If studios need huge tentpole franchises to successfully utilize their assets and launching a successful film franchise is about as easy as getting a hole in one at Pebble Beach, how does this bode long term? How many players can survive when the creative equivalent of winning the Power Ball Lottery is necessary for success?
I do think it’s a shame Americans aren’t more curious about what goes on in Canada: There’s a lot to learn, especially from its health-care system. But you can also exaggerate the differences—as people in both countries are apt to do. General government spending in the United States was 41.9% of GDP in 2011; in Canada it was 43.2%. (In 2007, before the recession intervened, the figures were 36.9% for the US and 39.4% for Canada.) I guess that makes the difference between hard-headed socialism and capitalism red in tooth and claw about 2 percentage points of GDP.
New strengths have also been found. One is a more dynamic export sector. The weaker dollar helps explain why the trade deficit has shrunk from 6% of GDP in 2006 to about 4% today. But other, more permanent, shifts—especially the growth of a consuming class in emerging markets—augur well. On the campaign trail, both parties attack China as a currency-fiddling, rule-breaking supplier of cheap imports (see Lexington). But a richer China has become the third-largest market for America’s exports, up 53% since 2007.
And American exporters are changing. Some of the products—Boeing jets, Microsoft software and Hollywood films—are familiar. But there is a boom, too, in high-value services (architecture, engineering and finance) and a growing “app economy”, nurtured by Facebook, Apple and Google, which employs more than 300,000 people; its games, virtual merchandise and so on sell effortlessly across borders. Constrained by weakness at home and in Europe, even small companies are seeking a toehold in emerging markets. American manufacturers are recapturing some markets once lost to imports, and pioneering new processes such as 3D printing.
The Brazilian pay-tv market is already on a growth streak, it’ll become the 3rd largest pay tv market worldwide.
Global pay TV revenues will only grow by 13.5% between 2011 and 2017, according to a report.
But while revenues are expected to fall in the U.S. due to competition and more homes taking pay TV, broadband and telephony in one package, Latin America will enjoy a 57.7% increase, followed by Eastern Europe (48.5%) and Asia Pacific (40.1%) in the next six years.
This is according to a report, Digital TV World Revenue Forecasts, published by U.K.-based Digital TV Research, which surveyed 80 countries.
The U.S. will remain the world’s largest pay TV revenue earner by some distance.
But its revenues will fall by $1.2 billion between 2011 and 2017 as more homes convert to bundles and prices dip due to competition.
Brazil’s revenues will double over the same period (adding $4.8 billion), with India (up $3.2 billion) also enjoying impressive growth.
Report author Simon Murray said: “Brazil in particular is going gangbusters due to government liberalization encouraging overseas investment.
"In North America and most parts of Western Europe pay TV is a mature market.
"Latin America and Asia-Pacific, especially India, are the growth pay TV markets."
By 2017 the U.S. pay TV market is predicted to be worth $81.04 billion, easily outstripping the two next biggest markets, Japan and Brazil, worth $10.6 billion and $10.1 billion respectively.
The next three largest pay TV markets will be China ($9.71 billion), the U.K. ($8.4 billion) and Canada ($7.2 billion).
YouTube is planning to launch its original channels initiative in France, with 13 professionally-produced channels to go live in October, according to a local report.
The selection process is almost complete, with producers such as Endemol and Kabo – which co-produces M6 comedy Scenes de Menages – said to be in the picture as possible partners, French newspaper Le Figaro reported yesterday.
The paper added that producers are likely to receive €500,000 (US$615,000) to €1m in ad advances to produce 20 hours of fresh programmes a year.
YouTube launched a 100 channels initiative in the US last year. The Google-owned video site later confirmed that it is expanding its original content initiative to the UK and is also believed to be working on a German version of the scheme.
"Social media has come to the rescue of linear television by turning programmes into must-see events, delegates here have been told.
Alberto Barreiro, head of experience for ITV online and on-demand, said the broadcaster was “trying to understand what is the role of a broadcaster in a digital world,” where “both linear and VoD are perfectly valid and have to live together.”
ITV has recently revamped its VoD player ahead of the launch of its micropayment system to access archive content, while second-screen apps and playalong games have been developed for shows such as The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.
Barreiro said social media has “come to the rescue” of linear TV, allowing friends and family, and strangers, to share the experience of watching content even though they might not be in the same room.
“We’re extending that experience and making the most of it in digital through clips and highlights,” he told C21′s Propaganda Factory conference at Bafta in London today.
Across the African continent, internet penetration is low, computers are often too expensive to purchase, and online business transactions can be logistically complicated to execute.
But the surge in mobile phone use - there are currently 695 million mobile phone subscribers in Africa - has given Africans a simple and pervasive means of sharing information and conducting business.
In recent years, a few innovative African companies have found ways to harness the e-potential of mobile commerce and information sharing, changing the way in which Africans communicate and conduct business.
SlimTrader, founded by Nigerian-American Femi Akinde, is an e-commerce firm that is meant to ease the exchange of goods and widen the online markets for Africans.
Mr Akinde and the SlimTrader team created Mobiashara, a mobile technology that allows users to search for and purchase products via text message.
This technology provides retailer’s information and inventory, and also partners with mobile payment providers such as M-PESA and MTN so someone can make a purchase with a press of a button on their mobile device.
The next battleground in this dawning era is the television. And the future is not in the hands of network television conglomerates, reality stars or video-streaming services.
It is in the hands of developers.
Think about it. The TV is the last great untapped platform. Some efforts have been made to create smart, internet-connected TVs, but no company or developer yet has had any meaningful success developing for TV. That is going to change. During the past several years, large companies have been laying the groundwork for an explosion in applications developed not just for televisions as singular devices, but for connecting those devices to smartphones and tablets.
Both Apple and Google have moved into the TV space. While consumers and pundits get caught up in the quarterly assessments of how well their TV products have fared, the transformation of television is still in the early stages.
The Apple TV can connect to Apple’s mobile devices through the AirPlay wireless multimedia streaming protocol. Google TV is built on top of Android, with sets built by third-party manufacturers. Google has announced the Nexus Q, which will enable content from Google Play - music, movies and television shows - to be connected through mobile devices and streamed to speakers and TVs.
When Google announced the Nexus Q last week at its Google I/O conference, it was with a wink toward the developers in the audience. Without directly saying so, Google expects developers to hack the device. They might turn the Q into a device that automates home utilities, or creates dynamic media experiences that connect smartphones and tablets to the television. Developers have not embraced Google TV, but maybe the potential uses of the Nexus Q will motivate them to come up with something the public will love.
Netflix Inc. (NFLX), the online and mail- order video service, rose after saying that Internet viewing topped a record 1 billion hours in June.
Netflix, based in Los Gatos, California, climbed 6.2 percent to $72.04 at the close, its biggest gain since May 23. The shares have gained 4 percent this year.
Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings, in a posting on his Facebook page today, said that customers watched more than 1 billion hours of movies and TV shows online last month, a record for the company. The stock also climbed after Mark Mahaney, an analyst at Citigroup Inc. (C) in San Francisco, reiterated a buy recommendation on Netflix shares, calling the price “highly reasonable.” His target is $130 a share.
more from the chief conductors of the Titanic er the City of London:
Lord Adair Turner, head of the Financial Services Authority (on whose watch the Libor rate-rigging took place), has just condemned the scandal - and admitted that the true scale of City wrongdoing is much greater.
Turner told the FSA’s public meeting this morning that the full investigation into what went wrong will take years.
Here’s the key quotes:
The LIBOR scandal has caused a huge blow to the reputation of the banking industry. The cynical greed of traders asking their colleagues to falsify their LIBOR submissions so that they could make bigger profits – has justifiably shocked and angered people, in particular when we are facing hard economic times provoked by the financial crisis.
But sadly it is clear that the behaviours evidenced in the LIBOR case were not, in the years before the crisis, confined to this specific area of financial activity.
On 11 August 2011, Bob Diamond, chief executive of Barclays, delivered the BBC Today Programme business lecture. In it he declared that “culture” was the critical element in responsible banking, and the best test of it is “how people behave while no one is watching.” We now know that banking failed the test and so must ask why, in Sir Mervyn King’s words, “excessive compensation”, “shoddy treatment of customers”, “mis-selling” and “the deceitful manipulation of a key interest rate”, flourished in the banking sector. Cognitive neuroscience can point to some answers.
Senior bankers hold enormous power, greater than that of many elected national leaders. Largely unaccountable except to occasional shareholders meetings and often quiescent boards, their power is much less constrained than that of democratically elected leaders. And given that power is one of the most potent brain-changing drugs known to humankind, unconstrained power has enormously distorting effects on behaviour, emotions and thinking.
"Sir Martin Sorrell’s Group M predicts slide in traditional media – but says digital will more than make up the shortfall.
Sir Martin Sorrell’s Group M estimates that TV and press advertising revenues will fall by more than £350m in the UK during 2012, despite any windfalls generated by Euro 2012 and the London Olympics.
However, the slump in print and broadcast will be more than offset by a boom in digital advertising, according to the media buying network.”
If a financial system can’t undertake that simple task effectively — if the price of money is fixed like a roulette wheel stuck on red — all else must necessarily fail: investment must become malinvestment, speculation must precede creation, “profit” must become divorced from benefit, and wealth is effectively transferred from poor to rich, in a form of quiet but lethally effective institutionalized theft.