Dan Dilger has posted an interesting article here on Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming protocol for the iPhone that includes a short history of streaming media. Dan thinks that the Apple TV is next: “The obvious followup is to add support for HTTP Live Streaming in Apple TV, allowing for HD streams direct from broadcasters, facilitating the ability to only pay for channels you want to watch, skipping around the local cable monopoly while gaining access to content they don’t carry.”
July 27th, 2009
I had a conversation with a buddy, Jimmy Acosta, who said something that I found very interesting. He has been a long-time MFC and .NET programmer but now has a MAC, an IPhone 3GS, and wants to build iPhone apps. He said that the move to browser-based software has taken away some of the fun of building stand alone applications. He said that iPhone apps allow developers to once again build their own stand-alone products that they can distribute and sell as applications rather than as services.
July 27th, 2009
I found this article interesting and would like to hear what others think about it.
July 27th, 2009
Google has been heavily promoting Chrome on its main search page and on the YouTube home page. Now they plan to run TV ads. What I find interesting about this is how Chrome will implement the new HTML 5.0 video tag. This will provide native video support in the browser. FireFox 3.2 already supports OGG video. Google and Apple may be in a position to provide an alternative video platform to Flash by extending the video support in WebKit. I predict that both Chrome and Safari will support native H264 streaming via RTSP. Apple’s new MPEG-TS via HTTP for the iPhone could be another protocol that is more widely adopted by Chrome and Safari. Either way, I believe that Google Chrome and Apple Safari will provide an alternative to Flash video with their native support for the HTML 5.0 tag.
May 8th, 2009
I am working with the folks at H264web.com on a solution that fits the new VBrick H264 appliance, a GPS-enabled cellular router from WAAV, and a 12v battery into a 10×6x4 inch mobile pack. The WAAV router pulls the GPS coordinates and pushes this data to a web service that plots your location on a Google map and displays live streaming video from from VBrick encoder. I should have this up and running later this morning here: http://h264web.com/wireless … please let me know what you think by emailing podslug(at)gmail.com. Thanks!
April 20th, 2009
Content owners may benefit from the recent trend to move Internet content back behind paywalls and “affiliated ISPs”. Here are a few interesting links: one, two, three. There is lots of discussion about Net Neutrality issues here. Most of these seem to position “us users” who “want the web to be free” versus “the networks” who control and distribute the content. However, if “us users” are also the content owners then this puts a new spin on this. Content owners can offer premium content (live and in depth coverage) in a retail or subscription form then push it to a free archive after the market has stopped bearing significant revenue for it. Subscribers will pay for the added value if the content is worth it. Content owners can start with this model, grow their subscriber base, and then look to Comcast, Verizon, and other ISPs to pay for the right to carry this premium content to their subscribers. We can all be content owners and subscribers today.
March 4th, 2009
I am now broadcasting a Spanish and English feed of the Serie Del Caribe here.
February 2nd, 2009
I predict that Hulu will rise to the #2 spot for online video for the month of February; mostly as a result of this super bowl commercial.
February 2nd, 2009
I am planning on broadcasting the Serie Del Caribe live in Spanish and English here. We plan to be twittering status from Mexicali to be notified of game highlights and then attempting to cut and post these in real time before the end of the following inning. This should be a fun challenge. I set up 24 highlights players for the 12 games in Spanish and English that will have these highlights. The goal is to drive traffic back to the live and full-length archive streams that are pay-per-view.
I remember working on the MLB project at Virage where we were clipping games but could not post the clips until the game was over because we had to wait for the encoder to finish the session. This time I am using two VBrick appliances per stream. One to encode and archive the premium video in 3 bitrates and another to just grab highlight clip files. This second brick will automatically push clips as we grab them up to our publishing server. It will be interesting to see how well this works.
January 29th, 2009
I am now webcasting live from DC … Please tune in!
January 17th, 2009
Michael Malone of Broadcasting and Cable just published: NBC Affiliates Receptive To More Local Primetime Hours and said: “Affiliates said a best-case scenario would see NBC finally deliver some primetime hits. Failing that, expanded local news or local ballgames might hit a higher number than what currently rolls on the weaker nights.”
I see this as an opportunity for independent content rights holders to go directly to the local tv stations with licensing deals and with local ad revenue sharing opportunities.
December 10th, 2008
Nearly a year ago, I posted Tivo Shifting Ad Spending that included this quote: “Forrester Research forecasts that when 30 million homes in the US have PVRs, 76 percent of advertisers will cut their TV ad spending, a quarter of them by more than 40 percent”.
David Goetzl cites this Nielsen research data in his Media Daily News post and estimates DVR penetration to be “25% of U.S. homes–up 5% from nine months ago”.
We are approaching this tipping point for the broadcast television advertising industry just as it must deal with contracting ad spending as a result of the overall economic decline and the specific decline of spending by the US automobile industry.
Next February’s digital TV conversion will drive more consumers to adopt cable and satellite systems that are now bundled with DVRs.
This leads Cory Bergman of Lost Remote to ask “Is cable the future of network TV?” The broadcast networks may decline to being only “general entertainment cable networks” and their relationships with the local TV stations may change dramatically. Local stations may need to find programming elsewhere and other ways to generate revenue.
I see this as an opportunity for content creators to develop programming that can be distributed via the web generally as marketers shift their ad spending online and to partner with the local TV stations for distribution on their websites specifically. Some of this content may become part of the local TV station broadcasts that will also be carried on cable as part of their “must carry” arrangement.
This puts this content into the living rooms of general consumers alongside the “hit programs” of the dying broadcast television networks. However, the regional relevancy and the local targeting may attract the direct investment of marketers who are trying hard to deliver buyers to local automobile dealers.
December 6th, 2008
We just got a nice review of our VBoss Broadcast service from Jeff Saur of SVC Online.
September 19th, 2008
The Kauffman Foundation selected the VBrick Online Streaming Service (VBoss) to provide live streaming infrastructure for today’s Entrepreneurial Economies conference featuring T. Boone Pickens and the CEO of Monsanto, Hugh Grant.
September 8th, 2008
My team just finished the development of VBoss Broadcast 1.0. VBoss or VBrick Online Streaming Services is a family of services that we are developing at VBrick to make live streaming on the Internet be as reliable and simple as possible. VBoss Broadcast enables live video broadcasting on the Internet with the VBrick network video appliance combined with a set of web-based services that enable remote management and global stream distribution. You can find more information about it here: http://broadcast.vbrick.com
September 8th, 2008
The Mystic Aquarium is now using the VBoss Broadcast service to stream a live feed from their Beluga exhibit. Enjoy.
Update: Here is a SilverLight version for MAC folks.
September 6th, 2008
Don Reisinger kicked off another good discussion of online video ad revenue today with a comparison of Hulu and YouTube. With 34% of all online video streams, YouTube may be pulling in $200M in revenue annually. Their annual bandwidth costs alone may be more than $350M. Hulu accounts for less than 1% of all online video streams but may pull in more than $90M in annual revenue. These numbers are small compared to the $70B annual US TV ad spend which, I believe, will be slowly eroded by several online video sites including my current favorite: Fora TV.
September 1st, 2008
I spoke at Streaming Media East this week on the topic: “How to Launch a Profitable Live Internet TV Channel Today”. The presentation is now being hosted by TV WorldWide here. I made the mistake of having my presentation laptop off to my left so I am rarely looking at the camera. I could also use some public speaking training … despite this, you may find the content interesting. Please let me know what you think about it. Again, here is the link: http://tinyurl.com/5ndjyr.
May 23rd, 2008
I am now the Video Services Director for VBrick Systems. I am building a platform for live Internet TV. I see this as an opportunity to continue the work that Chris Dawson and I started with Webcast in a Box to enable simple, reliable, and cost effective Internet broadcasting. Please drop me a line at erikh(at)vbrick.com if you would like more details about this. I will be posting information about the evolution of this platform here. I also will be presenting my vision for this platform at Streaming Media East next week. I am eager to learn more about other live Internet TV platforms. Please tell me if you have found another that you think is interesting. Thanks!
May 14th, 2008
… according to Fortune:
“YouTube sends a staggering 1,000 gigabytes of data every second, or nearly 300 billion GBs each month. Several industry insiders estimate that YouTube spends roughly $1 million a day just to pay for the bandwidth to host the videos. By that number, YouTube downloads would account for roughly 3% of Google’s $11.5 billion operating costs for 2007.”
March 26th, 2008
I just discovered a new Facebook ad service. It is very targeted. You supply a site URL and then constrain your audience with standard Facebook profile data and the target audience number gets dynamically updated so I know how many folks will see the ad. Amazing!
February 14th, 2008
In a recent press release, Comscore announced a record-breaking month for online video with 10 billion video views during the month of December 2007. Ash at HipMojo.com notes that this was more than the number of search queries for the same period.
February 14th, 2008
I always enjoy reading Ash’s blog HipMojo.com. He often collects market share data and makes projections about how big the online video ad market will be. I thought I would gather some of his findings and stats (many of which come from eMarketer.com) and create a concise summary of this data as a way to segment the potential ad market for online video and more specifically online video ads spent around news and current events content. I took most of this information from the following posts which are all worth reading: 1 2 3 4 5.
US online video projections stem from this post that predicts that online video will constitute about 8 then 13 percent of all US online ad spending. I think that this number will be slightly higher but used it anyway. I projected that News and Current Events content will drive 25 percent of all online video spending. This includes content from CNN.com, local TV station web sites, and sites like ForaTV.
I would really appreciate your feedback on these numbers. Please post your opinions and links to relevant data in the comments section. Thank you!
Update: I think that the online video numbers above are a little high. Here is another post that has the 2007 online video number at $685M, 2008 at $1.3B, 2009 at $2.3B, 2010 at $3.7B, and 2011 at $5.6B.
Update: US online ad spending to reach $50B in 2011.
December 30th, 2007
I believe that there is a disconnect between the projected ad spend online and projected traffic needed to fulfill the ad buys. We know that billions of ad dollars will shift from TV to online next year but we do not yet have a way to spend it all given our current assumptions about CPM (cost per thousand) pricing and the limits of online traffic. Using CPM to quantify ad spending as revenue divided by traffic does not capture the potential of “engagement” as a way to sell advertising. Shifting from impressions to engagement is the key to properly valuing online advertising and capturing this shift in ad spending.
Engagement can be broken into measurable units and sold to marketers as CPE (Cost Per Engagement) if we come up with an agreed upon definition of valid “engagement units”. I propose the following CPE units:
1. Amount of time spent on a site. One unit could be a ten minute block of time. A site could be a specific domain or an embedded web application (widget) on any number of domains, blogs, or portals.
2. Amount of time spent watching a specific video. One unit could be a five minute block of time. This could be a single video or a collection of videos, slides, or other linear media. This video could be embedded on a site or syndicated out and hosted by third-parties.
3. Specific actions taken by the person including:
a. Rating a segment of media
b. Posting a comment
c. Tagging media
d. Embedding a widget or media on another site
e. Linking to the media
f. Sharing the media via Google Reader
g. Marking the media as a favorite
h. Bookmarking the media with StumbleUpon
i. Digging the media
j. Blogging about the media
k. Tweeting about the media
l. Mentioning the media in a Facebook Mini-feed
… or any other measurable action a person can take that signifies expressed interest.
I propose a working definition of CPE (Cost Per Engagement) as “The value of one unit of one person’s engagement with specific media that is strongly associated with a specific sponsor of the media.”
This allows content distributors to capture the value of engagement in a way that can be monetized as part of advertising campaigns. More importantly it provides a new model for valuing online experiences that will shift the discussion away from “traffic” and CPM to metrics that capture the more sophisticated value of IP-based media.
December 29th, 2007
I discovered a cool feature on my new iPod iTouch: video playback of video blogs directly on your TV. I tested it by plugging in my AV out cable from my iTouch to my TV and simply navigating to Rocketboom on Safari and clicking the play button. My iTouch asked me if I wanted to display it on my tv. It works well!
December 28th, 2007
Seventy percent of television watched by Tivo owners is time shifted according Daniel Erasmus as cited in Deep Focus: A Report on the Future of Independent Media by Andrew Blau of the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture. Andrew continues, “Forrester Research forecasts that when 30 million homes in the US have PVRs, 76 percent of advertisers will cut their TV ad spending, a quarter of them by more than 40 percent. Whether that fundamentally undermines the economics of broadcasting, or whether it frees up billions of dollars for other forms of media support, is unknown.”
So, how many people now have PVR/DVRs and how many billions of ad dollars are at stake here?
Bruce Leichtman stated that more than one in every five US households now has a DVR and he forecasts that the number of US households with DVRs will grow to over 60 million by the end of 2011. My estimate of the number of US households with DVRs is 15-20 million today.
The annual global TV Ad spend nearly $170 billion according to ZenithOptimedia.com. US TV ad spending will be roughly
$100 $76 billion this year. If the Forrester predictions are true then more than 10 billion dollars of TV ad spending in the US alone may shift to other ad mediums.
This presents a great opportunity for online video ad sales according to Ash at HipMojo.
December 19th, 2007
I just got my TakeTV. I love it. I downloaded an episode of This American Life and watched it on my livingroom TV. The user experience is simple and the video quality is great.
Now I have been trying to get my podcast content on it. The folks at SanDisk gave me the following simple guidelines to use to transcode. I was able to use this software to get the job done.
Video Codec: MPEG-4
- Advanced Simple Profile (w/B-Frames)
- AVI Container
- 23.98 and 29.97 frame rate (Source Dependent)
- 720×480, 720×404(ws), 640×480, 640×360(ws)
- Bit rate 1500 VBR
Audio: MP3 (MPEG-1 Layer 3)
- 48 kHz
- 192 kbits/sec Bit rate
November 30th, 2007
SanDisk announced the availability of the Sansa TakeTV. Engadget has several good reviews here. I have spent some time with the Apple TV and with Dlink’s Media Player. The Apple TV provides a great user experience for set up, synchronization, video collection navigation, and video playback. Dlink’s set up was reasonable, but the onscreen navigation was clunky. A deal-killer for Dlink is that the video sputters on playback over my home network. The Apple TV buffers the video on a local disk that makes video playback smooth. This is an important feature. I am pessimistic about network delivery of real-time high quality video over the Internet or even over a home network. Video must play perfectly and almost instantly in my living room.
I have been using sneaker net with my video iPod. I synchronize with iTunes, then walk the device over to my tv, then use the “AV out” cable to send the video to my TV’s composite video input. The video plays well but I quickly get annoyed by having to get up off the couch to play the next video. I have tried this with my kids while watching episodes of Wild Chronicles. They love the content and the flexibility. I love that it is commercial-free but I am not going to keep getting off the couch to find the next video to play. I did buy an early version of an ipod dock for my tv but even newer versions do not have an on-screen display of my video collection so I can’t really use it from my couch which is at least ten feet away from my TV. This is a critical requirement.
SanDisk has solved several of these problems with a low priced and portable solution. Consumers can copy any content to the device although there is still some skepticism about whether it will support enough video formats. This will allow me to use Miro, Kontiki, or many other programs for fetching video content from the web. The video will play back smoothly since it will come from a local flash disk rather than the network. The device provides an on screen menu and remote control to navigate through my video collection. At 8GB, this may only be 10 hours of content but this is enough for me as I am constantly updating my video playlist with new content (mostly news). Best of all, I can take the whole thing with me on the road for playback in hotel rooms.
I wonder if this product will be compatible with the Sansa e280 media player? Ideally these two products will be integrated such that I can just use the e280 for storage and be able to dock it to a device that provides TV-out, onscreen navigation, and the remote control. If SanDisk really wanted to knock it out of the park, they would integrate an RSS reader into their FanFare software so I can easily pull from their catalog and from my video podcast feeds. They should use the open source Miro reader for this!
Video quality is still an issue with all of these solutions but I expect that to be fixed once a more mainstream audience demands it. The Internet-to-TV workflow needs to be resolved first. I am optimistic that the TakeTV concept is the best path for now.
October 23rd, 2007
The Dragonfly company, creator of the Movie Maker video publishing platform, has selected VeriSign to accelerate the delivery of video for the Star Trek New Voyages media player. A feature-length, high quality, episode is now available here.
September 18th, 2007
It looks like Adobe will be enabling H264 playback inside of the Flash player. On2 is developing tools to support this. I wonder if this player will support the standard mp4 file format as well as the H264 codec. What is Adobe’s motivation for this?
Update: TechMeme has lots of covereage of this already.
Update: It may actually support the standard MP4 format as well!
This may mean that standard video podcasts (rss via http with h264/aac in mp4 enclosures) may be renderable in the Flash container! This would be great.
Update: More great details here.
Hardware acceleration is an important thing to consider when rendering HD-quality video or when encoding video. Apple may be embedding H264 encode/decode chips into their computers soon.
August 21st, 2007
Sprint’s efforts with Google to roll out WiMax are substantial and significant. This should create some much-needed healthy competition for broadband Internet access. A Sprint spokesman said: “We are pursuing a new business model that is Internet-based, not telecom-based, and therefore will establish a new service brand.” wow.
August 16th, 2007
I finally installed Miro today. I have watched this application evolve from the Democracy player project by the Participatory Culture Foundation. This application is really worth installing. It has a beautiful user interface that makes it easy for both novice and expert users to manage their video podcast feeds as well as to discover new content from sources like YouTube, Revver, Blip.tv, and Veoh. It will place your videos into a directory on your computer that can be used as a source for your digital media gateway/adapter for display on your TV. You can use it to unify all of your digital video by pointing it the to the directories that are used by iTunes, Kontiki, or any other application. It supports a wide range of codecs. This is the end of history for digital media.
August 16th, 2007
This looks like a promising solution for moving videos from your computer to your TV. The industry has not settled on a name for these types of products: “media extender”, “digital media adapter”, “digital media gateway” … all provide functionality that is similar to the AppleTV but provide support for more video formats and codecs as well as support for composite video displays while AppleTV is HD-only.
Update: Many of these are also called “Media Streamers” … MySimon has a list here.
August 16th, 2007
I recall a time when online video publishers were worried about people linking to their videos. They did not have a way to monetize “deep links” and they were worried about high bandwidth costs without a clear return on their investment.
Now folks are using Flash and Silverlight as a way to distribute the video with a protective wrapper that provides enhanced reporting capabilities, allows them to insert ads, exposes their logo, and leads the viewer to new content with embedded post-roll recommendations. It also makes it easy for folks to embed these as “widgets” by simply pasting in a snippet of HTML.
This capability is enough to drive premium content owners to “syndicate” their video with these wrappers to anyone who will embed them on their websites or blogs. The publishers are able to reasonably control and monitor the playback of their content and monetize it as they see fit even when the wrappers are published on third-party sites.
The good news is that we will see more and more premium content online as clip syndication with these wrappers will enable several viable business models including impression advertising, pay-per-click recommendations, and possibly pay-per-view.
The bad news is that the dominant wrapper technologies are controlled by Adobe (Flash) and Microsoft (Silverlight) which means that these vendors can choose to restrict the distribution of this technology to suit their larger business strategies. This could include excessively charging for the authoring tools or disabling the client on competitive platforms like the Mac.
So far Adobe’s Macromedia team has been willing to develop and support a Windows, Mac, and Linux client for Flash. Microsoft has recently released both a Windows and a Mac beta client for Silverlight. We can expect Microsoft to support the Mac client for a while since they have just entered the market and Adobe still has a commanding position in it.
However, I recall a similar situation in 1999 when RealNetworks had a dominant marketshare of streaming media clients and supported a Windows, Mac, and Linux version. Microsoft entered the market and initially supported a Mac version of their client. After about five years, Microsoft had replaced RealNetworks as the dominant vendor and stopped supporting the Mac soon after.
I expect the same thing to happen again. Microsoft will aggressively seek to dominate this market with massive industry subsidies, like their previous “broadband jumpstart” initiative, free tools, free server software, and perhaps even free video hosting bandwidth. Then, once they have a dominant position in the market, they will align their efforts with their larger business strategies which could include shutting out the Mac or locking in their own advertisements or requiring a license for premium capabilities like DRM.
What are the alternatives? Open source is one. Another is standardization and licensing through a consortium of vendors and organizations that will commit to keeping the technology accessible to all platforms and devices. This is what the MPEG has consistently done for digital video technologies, including H264.
August 10th, 2007
This is a great analysis by Matt Rosoff of Microsoft’s strategy regarding Windows Media.
August 7th, 2007
The Digital Living Network Alliance promotes digital interoperability amongst devices that move downloaded video to the TV.
August 7th, 2007
Engadget has had good coverage of the explosion of Digital Media Adapters (or Digital Media Receivers). These devices provide functionality that is similar to the AppleTV but with support for alternative codecs and file formats.
August 7th, 2007
Om Mailk got a sneak peak of a cool trick that allows the Jaman movie download service to have a top-level menu on the AppleTV.
June 28th, 2007
Marc Vanlerberghe reports in his blog that the US Q1 2007 revenue from premium SMS services was $273 million on 74 million transactions.
June 28th, 2007
Bloggers can develop value-added premium SMS services while still keeping their blogs open and free. For example a system could be developed that would allow readers to receive SMS alerts each time a new comment has been added to a particularly compelling blog post. They would text a post’s ID to the blogger’s SMS short code as a way to subscribe to comments via SMS. The SMS message could provide the title, author, some of the text, and a link to view the entire post on a WAP page. The blogger could charge $1.99 for this service per post or $4.99 per month for access to comments alerts on all of their posts as well as WAP page versions of the posts themselves.
June 28th, 2007
Betsy Flanagan of Startup Studio interviewed Jonathan Cobb of Kiptronic. She says that last year, ad spending totaled $80 million for podcasts and $1.5 billion for online video. By 2011, those numbers are expected to grow to $400 million and $6.2 billion respectively.
June 27th, 2007
The Apple YouTube relationship for mobile and AppleTV distribution of YouTube video has lead YouTube to start encoding their video into interoperable standard video formats. Here is Apple’s press release. You can now find YouTube video with any web browser at http://m.youtube.com and playback streaming video on a number of standards-based video clients including the Kinoma player for the Treo 700p or the VLC client for linux.
Here is a page with a video stream of Rob Paravanian called “Pachelbel Rant” that has the following encoding standards: RTSP streaming protocol, 3GP file format, H263 video, and AMR audio.
June 22nd, 2007
People want a simple way to move high quality content from the web to their TV. Publishers need a way to monetize video podcast content that does not require DRM, advertising, sponsorships, or subscriptions. The solution: mobile micro-payment of video podcast episodes via SMS with delivery via a personalized RSS feed to the AppleTV or other compatible devices.
This is how it can work:
Publishers register with a service that lets them submit their content to a directory, which will generate a unique content identifier, and set their price for the individual content item.
Consumers register with a service that lets them create personalized RSS feeds (think of these as channels) that are tied to a system that adds episodes to their feeds via a SMS message.
As consumers browse the web searching for video content or see offline promotions for the content in the form of magazine ads, TV commercials, billboards, and even T-shirts, they can simply send a SMS message with the content identifier to a short code. The SMS response would be a confirmation message with the content title, the publisher, the price, and which of your personalized channels the content will be added to. This will add the episode to the RSS feed and the AppleTV device (via iTunes) will pull the content from the web and display it on the TV.
How does this sound? I have a lot of the pieces for this already; we just need to put it all together. If you are interested in being a part of this (as a consumer, business partner, or content publisher) please let me know!
June 14th, 2007
Apple has released a specification for video podcasts and has sent emails to content creators to help them make their content look good on AppleTV. They advise people to use Quicktime’s “export to iPod” to insure that the content will work on an iPod. They say that this “results in an M4V file” that will lead some to assume that this is a requirement for playback on AppleTV.
This is not the case at this time. The Scobleshow feed uses .mp4 files instead and it plays well on AppleTV. My point is that people should use the industry standard .mp4 file format rather than the Apple-specific .m4v format.
Here are the video podcast specifications that I recommend:
H.264 video, 1.5 Mbps, 640 x 480 (640×360 if you can do 16:9 aspect instead), 30 frames per sec., Baseline Low-Complexity Profile with AAC-LC audio at 160 kbps, 48 Khz, stereo audio in .mp4 file format
Please let me know if you have a podcast with this specification. I would love to test it.
April 12th, 2007
I was noticing the following menu items on Apple TV:
iTunes Top TV Episodes
iTunes Top Music
iTunes Top Music Videos
… could Apple be tracking the downloads of iTunes content? Will they be providing media measurement services like Nielson? This seems obvious. I just wanted to take note of it.
April 2nd, 2007
Apple today announced the sale of DRM-free songs and music videos from EMI. Many people will gladly pay more for higher-quality, DRM-free, content. How many people will buy content that they are currently getting for free illegally? I predict that we will be pleasantly surprised. Removing the burden of DRM will open up the market for those who are willing to pay for content as long as it is as easy to manage, store, and play as their current DRM-free files.
April 2nd, 2007
I played with an Apple TV yesterday … It is truly delightful as you would expect. It makes the consumer experience of navigating downloaded content as easy and enjoyable as live TV content. This is a breakthrough innovation which will shift the behavior of TV viewers and the spending of advertisers. This promises to have a significant positive impact on our society.
Folks who are now used to time shifting and DVR pausing will quickly realize that they can easily program their Apple TV to have so much compelling content in subscription delivery form (podcasts) that their TV consumption behavior will shift from channel surfing and occasional ‘must see’ scheduled viewing to a model where they no longer have enough time to consume all of their stored and immediately available content. This content from their podcast subscriptions will be constantly trickling down to them. They will be making tough choices between many high-quality sources rather than passively surfing the garbage that is the stuff of most live TV today.
I have this problem with my audio podcast subscriptions today and I spend more and more time with this content as a result. I squeeze shows in when ever I can. I have so much great content waiting for me that I no longer think about when it is published. I just consume it as soon as I can. I never seem to run out of it.
The same thing will happen with video podcast content and soon most folks won’t have a reason for live TV or cable services in general. What about live news content? Will downloading make me feel out of touch with live events and breaking news? Well, what if you had more current news content than you can possibly watch from sources like CBS, CNN, NBC, or PBS? Folks will find lots of mainstream news content that is updated daily or even hourly now ready for Apple TV as well as several daily news video sources that offer more investigative and independent reporting, like Democracy Now!
This will create a new digital divide between the old live TV folks and the new “downloaders” … with lots of painful industry writhing as a result. We see it now with all of the networks adding shock entertainment and vile news content to appeal to base emotions as a way to desperately hold on to their audiences. This trend will simply accelerate the adoption of video downloading as viewers seek higher quality niche content. Advertisers will shift their spending to these higher income early adopters and will appreciate the ability to target their messages to niche audiences.
As more people adopt this new model for selecting and viewing downloadable TV content, they will be more discerning in their choices of entertainment and news sources. They will add more diverse sources and will prune away content that resembles today’s shocking sound bites. Our society will evolve.
March 28th, 2007
Steve Ragan from Monsters and Critics tipped me about an open letter from the Coral Consortium to Steve Jobs regarding DRM. This is the fourth way. I will track this and have a longer post on this as soon as I can.
February 14th, 2007
Steve Jobs seems to not be aware of a fourth way for DRM which is the use of systems like OpenIPMP from Mutable that are open source and open standards based.
“There is no theory of protecting content other than keeping secrets.”, he states, as if systems like Public-key cryptography and SSL are not viable methods of protecting content. There are also several alternative DRM systems like OpenIPMP, OMA, and ISMAcypt. I am surprised to see such a smart person so pessimistic.
What EU folks and others want is a way to prevent Apple and Microsoft from monopolizing the sale and distribution of sold content. This is reasonable.
Jobs could enable a flourishing economy of digital content sales and multi-vendor product innovation by implementing a system like OpenIPMP for his hardware and software that would allow other vendors to leverage his platform.
This would force Microsoft to do the same for both audio and video content.
This is something that I would embrace this wholeheartedly.
February 7th, 2007
I’m enjoying a little debate on Scobleizer about DRM … here and here .
DRM is just an extension of our existing practice of trying to bring scarce goods to market … but if an open and pervasive DRM solution existed then artists could engage on a whole new set of ways to package and monetize their works … I would go even further to posit that the lack of a good and open DRM system is why labels and studios are able to keep content locked up into silos of scarcity.
A good DRM system would lower the cost of music and movies for consumers who want to pay for great content. Open DRM systems would allow artists to cut out middle-men for distribution and the “platform sharks” that subsidize content distribution as long as it sells more of their unrelated goods. Why do you think Walmart loses $2 per DVD for new releases? They want to sell you a whole bunch of other stuff that you probably don’t need. What is Apple and Microsoft selling? Content? No way.
… what do you think?
January 17th, 2007