Video Pros Struggle to Deliver their Content Everywhere
“Before you opened your pocketbook, you tried to make this a personal enterprise. This project was started by real humanitarians. They gave me their money with no strings attached.” – Dr. Cole Hendron, “When Worlds Collide,” Paramount, 1951
You probably never thought much about why Google bought YouTube or why they’re building out fiber in the U.S. and putting wireless blimps up in Africa. Maybe it’s their unofficial motto, “Don’t be evil.” Or maybe it was because they could see around the corner that video wasn’t going to just be big, it was going to be huge. And to view it properly, you need really big pipes. If it isn’t fast, you won’t click on the embedded ads or marketing videos. Sure, there are still a lot of folks who are perfectly satisfied to plunk on the sofa and watch whatever is on. That’s probably why Analysys Mason’s recent EU, US survey showed that only one in five respondents said they had a smart TV and less than half of those were connected to the Internet. The firm believes more people have them than know it but it also means there’s no compelling reasons to connect – content, applications – or to use the smart features are just slapped on, rather than smoothly integrated into the set.
If they get it all together there may be more cord-cutting, leaving the cable company but that’s probably more wishful thinking than fact.
Cutting Back – While a lot of people in the industry like to point to the few who have cut their cable cord as the definitive trend, market studies show that people are really being much more selective of the services they keep, pay for and those they go to the Internet for. There’s a major shift in cable service and online entertainment. That’s because TV watching is changing and people are doing more things while sitting in front of the set. A recent InMobi report found that 62 percent of mobile web users had their other screens working while watching TV.
No Couch Potato – Sitting down to enjoy some TV entertainment is increasingly turning into a content, contact, share, interactive activity as people use their other mobile devices to find out more and do more. That’s because there’s just more to do as the content business folks – program developers, distributors – are adding more rich content for 2nd/3rd screen folks to explore so they can be more involved with their shows, artists. And there’s just more content out there to choose from. As Dr. Bronson explained, “If our calculations prove to be correct, this will be the most frightening discovery of all time.” People throw 100 hours of video up on YouTube … every second. Today, it’s not just stupid cat videos either. There’s a world of content for every/any subject you can think of and some you don’t even want to think of! It’s overwhelming!
Too Much – If someone tells you there’s nothing they are interested in watching anymore, it is obvious they just aren’t trying enough. Between thousands of TV channels and a world of online video, you’re drowning in choices rather than dying of thirst. It’s not just the regular TV stuff, you now have streaming options from Netflix, iTunes, Nuvola, Amazon, Xbox, Facebook, Ultraflix, you name it. Every day, there’s a new way to watch all that stuff.
Longer Tail – Way back in 2006, Wired’s Chris Anderson first introduced the Long Tail concept of content available to people. With all of the web video content that is being posted today around the globe, that tail has not only gotten longer but also fatter. Chris White’s (Wired editor) “Long Tail” prophecy of content is coming true … in spades!
Cisco estimates that by 2016, it will take more than six million years to watch all the video that crosses the global iNet in a month – 1.2M minutes of video every second! Equating all the content to the universe, the narrator said, “There are more stars in the heavens than there are human beings on Earth.” With all that content available, it’s no wonder people are using every device they can to watch it all.
Multiple Choice – Now before people sit down and click through the channels to watch a little TV, they also have to figure out which device they are going to watch it o, where they are going to watch it and when. Options are the new standard today. While it doesn’t come as much of a surprise, most folks like their content free but increasingly, they are also willing to pay for good video – just look at Netflix’s success. Because people prefer not to shell out their money – directly, they also are coming to accept ads in their streaming video. The good thing about iNet-based video is that the content delivery folks can almost instantly wrap-up and send you ads that are tailored to your tastes, wants, needs (Big Data makes it super easy to profile you).
Free is O.K. – While there will always be a greater number of people who prefer their video content free (paid for by advertisers), there are a growing number of people who are interested in (and willing) to pay for premium content–especially if they can view it on multiple devices. If you’re like us and actually like ads, that’s not all bad. Dr. Bronson commented, “Hendron will pay you on delivery. Time is all that counts. The money doesn’t matter at all.”
Increasingly, our kids and most GenCers, GenXers, seem to be using their tablet because it gives them greater freedom, greater options. They’re not tied to a specific room (or even in the house) or a specific time. Since they have the tablet with them – constantly – it just makes viewing more in tune with them.Second Best – The tablet screen leans to more personal viewing and is less of a strain on the eyes for more mature viewers. Video viewing on a tablet is the second most popular use for the portable devices (behind games) because people can enjoy their content where they want and when they want. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the all-powerful smartphone is being relegated to something for playing games (game play is still the #1 entertainment source for smartphones), tweet, text.
Mobile video viewing is the pinnacle of Me TV. The only challenge has been the lack of a good – heck, even halfway decent – program guide. That’s finally been addressed by Clicker, an online video search engine/program guide that lets you find, share, rate, talk about content with your smartphone (iOS or Android). It not only catalogs TV shows and movies, but also Web originals, live events, music videos … in other words, all of that is being posted/hosted 24×7. That (and there will be competitors) is going to be one busy little sort/search engine because Cisco projects that by 2017, over half of the total iNet traffic will be carried over content delivery networks (CDNs). Globally, there will be nearly 2 billion Internet video users (excluding smartphones) who will be increase entertainment traffic 5-fold to more than 6.5EB/mo. And for the “heavy” video consumers (younger generations), the smartphone is often their device of choice because they can do more than passively view, they can exchange information with the content provider and each other.
Smart Video – In many parts of the world the smartphone is their first (and only) computing/communications device. The improved screen quality and the ability to fill your free time with a little entertainment make them an increasingly popular video playback device, especially with the younger generations. You’d think the folks who are already in the pipe business – telcos, cable guys – would be glad Google is working so hard to get people to watch stuff online. They’re even helping relieve some of their strain by adding fiber and WiFi services so folks can consider an alternate service provider.
Maybe not. Cisco doesn’t much care because they know the more bandwidth you can connect your devices to the more you’ll use it to watch those million plus hours of cat videos. That’s real good for their business. But as Dr. Hendron warned Google, “Our chance of reaching the new world is as thin as your chance of ever becoming a humanitarian.”