March 30, 2010
By Sean Ashcroft
iPlayer began life, uncertainly and largely unloved, in October 2005 as Integrated Media Player. Now, though, it is an established part of the BBC firmament.
Currently, over 400 hours of video is encoded a week for iPlayer, using a 60-strong server farm.
Programming that’s fewer than seven days’ old can now be viewed on virtually any platform, including Windows, Macs, Linux, Nintendo Wii and selected mobile phones (including iPhones).
While rights agreements mean iPlayer programming is unavailable as streams or downloads to non-UK users (aside from news and sports highlights), the BBC admits “it is aware of demand for an international version”. A case of watch this space, perhaps.
Like BBC iPlayer, ITV Player is available via the broadcaster’s main website. Until September 2009, ITV Player used Microsoft Silverlight, but then followed the lead of both iPlayer and Channel 4's 30 day catch-up service 4oD by switching to Flash.
All of ITV Studios' shows – and the majority of independently produced shows – feature on the service, but, sports, movies and imports don't.
In December, ITV announced it is to launch an ITV Player Facebook app. As well as catching up on missed programmes, users can recommend their favourites to friends, be recommended programmes directly via the app, and discover how compatible their likes and dislikes are.
Founded in March 2007, Hulu is an online video service that offers TV shows, movies and clips at Hulu.com and other online destination sites in the US. Hulu says its mission is to “help people find and enjoy the world's premium video content when, where and how they want it”.
Ad revenue comes from the ad impressions generated from Hulu.com, video streams from its distribution partners’ websites and from the embeddable Hulu video player.
Hulu says it has every intention to make its growing content lineup available worldwide “sometime in the future”, but adds there “is no timetable” regarding such expansion.
US-only video on demand service Fancast is a division of Comcast Interactive Media, and is popular for its extensive library of current and archival television shows, such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Family Guy, The Young and the Restless, and South Park.
As well as offering instant access to TV shows, movies, trailers and clips, it serves up editorial and blog coverage, with in-depth recaps and analysis on the world of television and entertainment.
Unlike Hulu, which hints at plans for overseas expansion, Fancast declares “we do not have the rights to stream content internationally and must limit viewing of full length content to the United States”.
Launched in November 2006, 4oD allows internet users to stream or download programming shown within the past 30 days on Channel 4, E4 or More4, as well as content from the National Geographic Channel and FX (UK).
As of April 2009, the Flash-based service became fully available to Windows, Mac and Linux users.
Some content is available free of charge, while other programmes and films – including archive programming – is charged 99p per standard programme or £1.99 per film on a per-download basis.
Rights agreements mean 4oD is available only in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Bought by Google for $1.65 billiion in 2006, Flash-based YouTube is video on demand with a difference, because much of the content is user generated – although a deal of it includes movie and TV clips, as well as music videos.
YouTube’s Partnership Program is a revenue-sharing program that allows creators and producers of original content to earn money based on cost-per-impression advertising. Before August 2009, the Program was open only to professional program makers or very popular accounts, but is now open to anyone.
Videos uploaded to YouTube by standard account holders are limited to ten minutes in length and a file size of 2GB. Partner accounts are permitted to upload videos longer than ten minutes.
Vimeo was created by filmmakers and video creators who wanted to share their creative work, along with personal moments of their everyday life. As time went on, like-minded people came to the site and built a community of people with a wide range of video interests.
A year ago the site announced it had surpassed 1 million uploads, and that 10 per cent of these were HD, leading it to claim it was “the world’s largest repository of high-definition video”.
As of March 2009 Vimeo had more than 2 million members and an average of more than 13,000 videos uploaded daily.
Metacafe attracts more than 47 million unique viewers each month, with nearly 11 million of these in the United States. It specializes in short-form original content from new, emerging talents and established Hollywood heavyweights alike.
Metacafe does not allow any video to be posted – only those that “amaze, inspire and make viewers laugh”. This is not a video site for news stories, personal videos or webcam chatter.
In January this year, Metacafe announced content partnerships with NHL, Sony and Warner Music (among others), designed to appeal to 18-34 year-olds, by adding TV, movies, music, sports and video games to the mix.
Veoh, launched in 2004, offers free access to TV and film content, independent productions, and user-generated videos, including those from YouTube. Its idea is to turn “the vast universe of Internet video into an easy-to-use, personalized experience”.
Veoh is a open platform for content publishers of all sizes and sophistication “who want to reach tomorrow's television audience”.
Currently more than 100,000 publishers use the service to connect with a global audience of more than 28 million.
In addition, Veoh's publisher optimization program gives publishers tools to help them raise awareness of their content and cultivate viewing audiences.
sevenload is a global social media network for Web TV, videos and photos. It was founded in 2005, and its current community is comprised of 20 country portals, with users from around the world watching TV content, music videos and Web TV shows.
It allows users to upload, tag and organize video content, and then share this with other users.
sevenload also positions itself as a provider of cross-media marketing and advertising solutions. Its
business to business services include the development and production of IPTV based internet platforms, media libraries, branded video platforms, as well as online communities based on its core technology.
March 30, 2010
By Sean Ashcroft
Running a successful internet TV station is something an increasing number of organizations are looking at – everyone from existing broadcasters to entrepreneurs and local authorities are eyeing this market as one that has huge potential.
But while online video sites as a business proposition has obvious appeal, there are challenges, too – not least of which is mastering a broad range of technical skills and marketing knowledge.
“The biggest challenge is that you need to be really competent in a broad range of areas,” warns David Ingram, author of ‘The Internet TV Book: How to Set Up Your Own Station’, currently the sole book on this subject.
Among the business and technical challenges involved in establishing an online video presence are:
– Getting the business model right;
– Identifying your audience and what they like to watch;
– Revenue sources, advertising, sponsorship, subscription, phone-ins, etc;
– Attracting that audience through internet marketing and search engine optimization;
– Making informed choices when buying camera and computer equipment
– Impenetrable supplier jargon;
– Making deals for content;
– Partnering with other web sites;
– Building a web site to launch the station;
– Building a virtual studio;
– Learning the art of scheduling content;
– Monitoring new entrants to market.
Ingram also cautions those from a mainstream broadcasting background not to apply TV rules to online: “People must remember that while TV is all about broadcasting, the internet is better to suited to narrowcasting; it’s far better suited to niche content.”
He adds: “The business-to-business magazine market provides a good parallel, because this sector serves defined audiences that need expert information on particular subjects, and this has real appeal to advertisers. Broadcasting is more the populist glossy magazines, whose audiences are far less defined, and far more fickle.”
Ingram cites video property reviews as an area that might be a viable topic for a niche TV station.
“A channel like this could offer video tours of houses worth over, say, £750,000, and charge people £500 to have their house featured. This would have audience appeal, as people could narrow down their new-home choices without even leaving their own house.”
The real problem people have with making money out of internet TV, says Ingram, is that they don’t understand the business model.
“Because of my book I speak to a lot of people who want to start internet TV services, and nearly always their big concerns are about the technology and the running costs. What they should really be concerning themselves with is the business model, and how they can attract an audience.”
Among the key questions Ingram says should be asked are:
Do you go with video on demand and monetize this with advertising?
Do you have a paid-for membership model and drive toward guaranteed income.
What’s the nature of your content? Will it be video on demand, or an online TV station?
“People get the business model so wrong.” Says Ingram. “A while back the London Tourist Board scrapped its video service because of low traffic. The reason they had low traffic is they targeted a British audience. Why? They should have been going after English speaking audiences in the US,Canada and Australia. It’s a fundamental mistake.”
Ingram also cautions that the key when devising and shooting content is to always be asking what the consumer benefit is. “If it has limited appeal, then why bother,” he says.
Asked about the future of video on demand services, Ingram said he sees them as “an evolutionary dead end”, adding: “People who watch programmes want to skips ads, which is why they live-pause or record on their own TV. The only reason people watch video on demand is because they’ve missed a programme.”
And then there’s advertising. There’s certainly money swilling around online video – but this is mainly in the US. Internet market research company eMarketer projects that by 2011 online video will be attracting $4.3 billion a year in the US alone, but in the UK the picture is far less rosy, says Ingram.
“Until recently, advertising revenue was almost impossible to get [for internet TV services], because here we’re geared to large media buying companies, who deal with large clients with large budgets. Plus, for the best part, media buying agencies simply don’t understand online.” Another barrier to ad revenue is that in the UK, online video lacks an equivalent to the British Audience Research Bureau, which quantifies TV audiences.
“This is something advertisers really need, but for online there’s no such hard audience data to show advertisers.”
There are also technical challenges with internet video.
“When video is encoded for internet use you lose 99% of the information, which means you have to be very careful how you set up a scene,” says Ingram. “It’s the rule of three: include only three elements at any one time – you can’t have complex scenes, because things just get lost.”
March 29, 2010
Connecting the Dots Between Business Strategy, Social Media and ROI Measurement
This article was written by Bill Palmer, President of Activate Media Group and originally published by Apparal Magazine.
click here to view the article on Apparel Magazine website.
The lady from the 1980's Wendy's commercial had it right all along, "Where's the beef?" We want Internet marketing and social networking to create business value, but approach with healthy skepticism any claims of marketing gold. More practically, we doubt that we have the right mix of budget, time, team resources, or proper metrics in place to truly leverage Web 2.0 for maximum results. We might even dismiss it completely if a meaningful ecommerce sales channel isn't currently a significant profit center.
However, we must reconsider the facts. A recent Nielsen survey showing that 82 percent of people first use search engines to research and find brands before purchase and 89 percent trust peer reviews and ratings over company ads. Traditional outbound marketing is largely broken. Maybe it's time to reconsider the approach to the overall proverbial customer conversation. Think magnet rather than bullhorn.
Social media is not a fad
Change can be difficult and business is tight, but your instincts and mounting evidence tell you that figuring out the right programs for social media and web 2.0 needs to be a top priority. Forget the buzzwords and the latest tools; for many companies, sustainable competitive advantage or extinction hangs in the balance.
Executives today are realizing that social media is not a fad or yet another marketing channel, but a new inbound marketing and public relations approach to filling the top of the sales funnel with new customers and responding to those customers faster, with greater transparency, and garnering greater loyalty en route.
Social media marketing is just that: marketing. Social media online communities such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube are merely "touch-points" whereby you can effectively convert conversations into leads, sales and quality improvements with remarkable content and compelling calls to action.
Lately, you might have heard that this is the year of "social media ROI." This is not necessarily true for you and me. Maybe somebody dropped the ball at some point and let you down. If you think that social media has been a waste of time for your business, it probably has been … so far. The business case and marketing plan needs help.
Forget the tools and tactics for a second and take a fresh look at the strategy as part of an integrated strategic marketing plan. So much of the discussion around proving the ROI of social media seems to be about proving the business value of the tools or a specific site. This entire argument is displaced. It isn't about the tools. It is about the brand strategy. It's about the company's core value propositions and how that translates into growing sales and customer loyalty. The tools and tactics follow naturally from this position once the core is remembered, unlocked and activated.
Seeking measurable results
In 2010, executives are demanding budget scrutiny and real results from every expenditure. Business leaders require clarity in a time of abundant options and scarcity of experience; and rightly so. As an internet marketing consultant, I report to executives who have no desire to measure intangible credos rooted in transparency and authenticity. In the end, they simply want to optimize their return on investment by associating all marketing programs with real-world business performance metrics. Bottom line, they want measurable results -- "beef" from social media and hold the "BS."
To accomplish this, we need clear business goals and meaningful metrics based on industry best practices that generate a repeatable "pattern" for success. A one-of-a-kind dress can be beautiful, but not worth much in terms of overall revenue if it can't be duplicated.
One might think this approach a common sense no-brainer. However, elusiveness continues to prevail. According to a 2009 Mzinga & Babson executive study, more than 80 percent of professionals do not measure ROI for their company's social media programs. Granted, social metrics and their measurement techniques are relatively new, and this might account for the lag in tracking.
However, I believe this is primarily due to the process and state of how these projects are initiated and planned. Social media endeavors are usually still funded as pilot programs to steer the brand toward perceived relevance in the hopes that they demonstrate momentum and materialize rewards. Budgets are often borrowed from other divisions to fund the teams and programs led by internal champions who effectively make the case for experimentation. Where that money goes and from where it's borrowed varies by department and by company.
How the results are measured and improved upon are often a political afterthought. We all know what happens when we fail to plan – we plan to fail.
Developing a strategic social campaign
Nonetheless, this is a huge opportunity for advantage to companies who are learning to conduct social campaigns the right way - strategically planed, measured and monitored social media campaigns. Given social media's digital nature, uncovering comprehensive data to measure and track performance is easier and more real-time than ever before. Google Analytics, Omniture, Radian6 and Visible Technologies all have outstanding capabilities for tracking these performance indicators down to the nth degree of detail with actionable tools baked right in.
Optimizing your website, press releases and content distribution for maximum search, social and blog visibility to get found by more customers is also easy to accomplish on platforms such as Hubspot and Marketwire. Much of the information and tools are free, low-subscription-based, or open source. Therefore, the cost is in hiring and managing the right team. This can also be done by certified experts at low agency rates without overhead or contract risk.
This year social media graduates from experimentation to strategic implementation with direct ties to specific measurable performance indicators. Smart CMOs now require a connection between social media and P&L business goals.
My internet marketing agency conducted an analysis that looked at more than 100 case studies as well as an in-depth executive survey from MarketingSherpa involving more thatn 2,000+ marketers to identify the following best practices in measuring social media for the primary business goals of increasing revenue and reducing costs.
Each of these 11 best-of-breed metrics is placed in the context of the performance indicator it gauges (such as authority, attention or effectiveness):
When we truly grasp the ability to define action and measure it, we can expand the impact of new media beyond the P&L. We can adapt business processes, inspire ingenuity, and more effectively compete for the future of the fashion and apparel business.
P R E V I O U S P O S T S
- Activate Media Group Merges with SundaySky - The Global Leader in Automated Video Production
- Shop.org 2010 Annual Summit Reflects Purposeful Use of Technology and Renewed Focus on Customer Expe
- TED Talks: Chris Anderson: How Web Video Is Driving a Revolution in Global Innovation
- Roundup of eCommerce Video Marketing Statistics - Impact of Online Video on Sales
- The New eCommerce Reality: Every Company is a Media Company
A R C H I V E
B L O G S B Y T A GAAPN, ads, apparel magazine, b2b, business model, channels, comscore, content marketing, e-commerce video, fashion marketing, inbound marketing, internet TV, marketing communications, material world, networking, niche marketing, online advertising, online videos, outsourcing, PR, press release distribution, public relations, shop.org, social media, social media press release, social video portals, speaking engagement, spesa, survey, video seo, video social media, viral videos, vseo, web 2.0, web video, webinar, women's wear daily, WWD