Posts Tagged ‘TV industry’

Global TV-Series Release Strategy Has To Change

January 21, 2009

TV stations in Germany have to notice that audience ratings of “blockbuster” TV Series like Lost are constantly not as high as years before, the German newspaper Süddeutsche reports.

A reason for this could be seen in the huge delay of release dates in the German market compared to the US releases. Often series were brought months later to the German market like in the example Lost, where the latest season started 12 months later.

Of course this incentives the fans to get their shows somewhere online, which obviously lowers the demand and “hype” about a free TV release months later. “The dark market” for streaming online services is getting better and better and many episodes have  even German subtitles just a few days after the U.S. release. A study of the research company tfactory shows that more than 50% between 15 and 25 years old are watching TV series online now. So also the awareness for illegal alternatives is rising.

I´m surprised that this discussion didn´t start earlier. Obviously the usage of mostly illegal web TV streaming websites are rising to a critical mass.

The strategy of production companies and TV stations is probably to wait how the series perform in the US key market before selling it to the global market in order to minimize their risks. But in my opinion, like in the movie industry, the global release has to be simultaneously in the future. The TV companies must react and have to change there release windowing strategy for the global market. Synchronizing issues can´t be an excuse.

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Medientage Munich 2008: Day One

October 29, 2008

medientage-logo

Just back from Day 1 of the Medientage 2008 here in Munich

There is no chance to blog a conference like that in detail without going crazy, so just some things I have learnt… in bullet points, sorry.

(Update: I have added links to videos  of the panels I´m talking about. Most of them are in German, sorry.)

customer-relationship-medientage

Panel: Customer Relationship instead of Ratings – New Driving Force in TV?

Watch the video here.

Intro speech by Niko Steinkrauß, Booz & Company:

– Three megatrends influence and accelerate each other: -> fragmentation of the media market -> advertiser under pressure -> power moves to the consumer

– Examples like P&G, Coke, Nike show that “direct customer relationships” are getting more and more important for the big media spenders.

– Only interactive and “target able” advertising platforms show growth.

– There is a rethinking in campaign controlling: Reach is not the only “thing” anymore. Performance, ROI and “interactivity” are getting more important.

– High CPMs for interactivity: Opportunities for TV 2.0?

– Let the user decide how they want to consume advertising (eg. preroll “block”? banner? ad breaks –> higher engagement –> higher advertising impact)

– Best case: Hulu

– Concerns about privacy vs. willingness to get relevant advertising –> more clarification

– Recommendations: Be a brand not a aggregator of viewers – there is more than just one platform – don´t just offer adinventory, offer solutions – cooperations between TV channels are necessary to establish new standards eg. web tv (Hulu) – overcome being just a wholesaler of adinventory and try to establish communities and capitalize customer relationships

Panel discussion:

Berg: A current Microsoft study shows that the “under 20 generation” has no interest in television anymore. They don`t arrange their spare time around TV programme anymore.

Senft: There is no cannibalization. TV and Online complement each other.

Züll: Definition of TV? Linear or non linear? TV signal or IP protocol? TV content still works. Hulu uses TV content but non linear.

Fassnacht: The user is most of the time in the new online environment overextended. Content overflow. This leads to less users. Comparsion: Product line management in the retail industry: Smaller range of products leads to more sales.

Berg: Trend – I don´t care about ratings. I want performance, I want response.

Züll: Internet usage will consolidate and focus. Every user has small relevant set of websites he visits regularly.

Guild: It´s more important nowadays what users say about brands that what brands say about themselves. The big challenge for the media: How do we play a role in the connection of client brands with the consumer conversations.

Fastnacht: Only get in contact with a consumer when he wants to. Only then!

Künstner: The learning curve in CRM in the new environment is big. A huge chance for media companies.

Berg: The transformation process from “classic TV” to “TV in the digital age” in the next 3-5 years is crucial.

Künstner: Who will design the best customer experience? Probably not one of the “old players” (See music industry and Apple).

media-power-brand-medientage

Panel: Media, Power &  Brand: Business Models and Brand Values in the Digital World

Watch the video here.

Gerhard Müller presents some insights of the new Ernst & Young study (only German) “Medien und Marken im Web 2.0

Evsan: User generated content has to be combined with premium content. Premium content was always and will be very important in the future.

Dörrenbächer: Case: “A small world” – Exclusive niche community –> very valuable for Mercedes.

Mangold: Communication concepts and cross media solutions are very important. Display ads are not enough. Performance based marketing rules. There will be a evolution from “reach” to “risk & revenue share” business models.

Dörrenbächer: Which role will digital media play in the value chain? Standards for “measurement” are still missing. Behavioral targeting is not far enough…

Deutschmann: The “used” targeting parameters are still very simple. Basic demography targeting is still standard. Media agencies and clients aren`t able to use all the data they can get… many niches are to small to target…

A great first day.

TV Industry: We Have Told You!

October 21, 2008

“(…) in the next two to three years the television industry is going to face an advertising crisis more severe than our current financial crisis.”
says TiVo president Tom Rogers.

Rogers, who founded CNBC, suggested at the Association of National Advertisers Conference:
“in retrospect, everyone should have seen the current economic crisis coming but as to the coming ad crisis, you have no excuse. You have sufficient warning about television commercial avoidance and the growing epidemic of fast forwarding thru ads. Look what happened to the music business,” Rogers advised. “Look what is happening to the newspaper business. If you don’t come out of this room acting urgently, what’s going to happen in the television business will probably make that look like kids stuff. If you think this recession is tough to deal with, believe me it is nothing compared to the downturn in your brands that will come if you do nothing while television advertising goes avoided.”

Well two to three years… is maybe a little bit to pessimistic but that “this” day will come… I agree.

Read More on the speech by Tom Rogers an some good suggestions on Jack Myer`s website.

Intel Brings Internet To Television

September 19, 2008

The next step on the mission – “the third screen goes internet”…
A few weeks ago Intel announced in cooperation with Yahoo! a new kind of interactive television. They call it “widget channel” or “cinematic Internet”.  This “connected television” attemps to combine the Internet’s world of user choice, community, and personalization with the familiar television experience. Customized TV widgets try to seamlessly integrate TV and interface experience. No complexity, no keyboard or mouse. Just lean back and stay connected. It´s based on an open platform and Intel & Yahoo say they embrace an open media standard.

Well actually there has always been some guys somewhere, who talked about  “interactive television”, but not one of these models has achieved what it should have achieved. So we should be careful…

But what I could read and see on the net (here, here and here) looks promising.

Watch the video by JD Lascia below.
Eric B. Kim, senior vice president at Intel Corp., is demos the new Widget Channel. He thinks their new application has the potential to merge television and the Internet in a way users will love. They try to combine the  most important television values – ease of use, reliability, high fidelity (professional quality), entertainment – with the internet values – personalization, community, relevance, openness.

Would love to test it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

It doesn`t look or sound so bad…but it still feels a bit “stuck in the middle”. It feels like TV with an additional digital interface…

I don´t know… but what this new generation of mobile phones has made possible (starting with the iPhone) that I’m able to use (or feel as though I´m using) the same userinterface, on my PC screen than on my mobile screen, is very very valueable.
People don´t like all these browser versions on TV screen… but shouldn`t be there a way that I can surf a website on my television screen and I would have the “feeling” that it is the same as the version on my PC or mobile phone?  To evoke the feeling that I had been there before and simply use the interface  without a mouse, just with a remote?

Three screens but just one user interface …. would be great…

Video A La Carte –> A Disaster?

May 12, 2008

There was this Marc Cuban post a view days ago… and today I read again a post on Digital Media Wire by Paul Sweeting on the same theme: The report of Bernstein Research written by analyst Craig Moffet: “And Now for the News…The Emperor Has No Clothes”
I would love to read this report… but can´t afford it… so I’m just writting about what is posted out there in the blogosphere…

Craig Moffet made two important points in his report:

  • Consumer tolerance of advertising is much lower online than in the traditional TV channel and that it simply is not possible to support the sort of professional production values expected on TV through advertising online.
  • The web’s ability to let users select only the most desirable programs, or only the most desirable portions of programs–means programmers will not be able to leverage popular programs to support less popular programs through bundling

Don`t know what you think… but both points I don`t see as “dramatic” in the future as its discussed here (maybe it´s more dramatic in the shorterm):
First: People are already do something like “cherry picking”, not as much as they will do in the future but they already can choose their program format … under round about 50 Channels… the best format will win… now and in future. Zapping is no new thing.
Second: We can expect that people will at least watch the same amount of time video content now or in future irrespective of the media channel. So we have the same amount of attention, what means the same amount of value that can be monetized.
Third: People maybe don`t accept as much advertising online than on TV, but we will know the customer who is watching. We don`t have to believe on research based TV ratings… we will know the exact numbers and in future we are able to personalize advertising, the wastage of media money will be minimized, every user, every content view will be more valuable..
Fourth: The quality of watching video content will rise considerably – watch what, when, wherever you want – that means people will watch more video than ever before… so there will be even more attention to monetize.
Fifth: Bundling will definetely be an important tool in the digital age, like it is in the music industry. There will be just new kind of bundles…

And this is the real question: Which bundles could work? What kind of online platforms are able to monetize the content? What services or added value is needed? Who can compete with the “free” competition?

But the discussion in the blog posts mentioned above is more about the question: Are TV stations making a huge mistake by putting their current schedules online for free?

Marc Cuban added to the discussion the following point:

  • “The ala carting of video on the net will benefit those who enable the search for content and can monetize that search.”

Paul Sweeting made these points:

  • “What Moffet is describing is a process very much like what the record companies went through: a radical reorientation of the dynamic between producer and consumer. You do not “publish” or “distribute” content on the Internet, although publishers and distributors like to think they do. You make content available on the Internet for others to access and aggregate as they will. The process is fundamentally, always and ineluctably user-driven.”
  • Like it or not, the web simply isn’t very kind to publishers, packagers and distributors. It rewards enablers. Search is an enabling technology. (…) The challenge for publishers is not to figure out how to force the web to reward them. It’s to figure out how to capture the value created by enabling technology.

So far so good. I fully agree to all three points.

But then I was a little bit confused by conclusions like this from Paul:

“In that sense, Cuban is right. It may not make sense for the networks simply to make their schedules available for free on the Internet. That doesn’t really create any new value; it mostly just drains value from linear platforms.”

As Paul wrote himself, when the content is “public”, than it is available… Anyone know websites like “surfthechannel.com”? So, why shouldn`t they publish it online? It`s out there anyway. They can`t stop the technology! Said thousands of times…. There is the “free” (legal or not) competitor, so compete with it! Try to build your brand in the online world!

And to the question of Marc:

Will shows be forced to introduce different versions of shows, say with different ratings as a means of differentiating TV from streamed shows ? The R rated version of Friday Night Lights online and the PG version on TV?

I think content creator even have to go further: Transmedia Storytelling! Why shouldn`t there be complementary content for example at the daily mobisode, on the weekly TV show, the online version and the online game?.

And I fully agree with Paul:

“What the networks need is to figure out how to capture the value created by enabling consumers to access, select, aggregate, transform, embed and share content–in a word, to use it. Anything else is just TV with buffering.”

So please, don`t stop making content available for free online. But that`s not enough! There has to be more to monetize your content in the longterm. Video a la carte is not a disaster, but it`s just a small part of a new “business model” to monetize your content online. Try to find new ways to increase the consumer experience. Use the chance to present your content idea deeper and in more detail and extend than ever before to your fans. Not long ago you had just 40 minutes per week…

Broadband –> IPTV –> Sharing –> Watching TV 2.0

April 30, 2008

All digital business models are driven by the basis technology: Connection – Broadband.

Wired has a feature right know about “broadband 2.0” – Whatever that means…. it`s faster! And it’s coming soon.
For the TV-industry this fast developement is a crucial thing… We are all talking about IPTV for quite a while… (here I mean the “set top box” IPTV ….) and we compare it with the “old TV” and “web TV” (internet streaming, diverse formats e.g. YouTube, Hulu, Joost …) … we talk about the advantages of IPTV and opportunities and we are wondering why it`s not as fast growing as e.g. in France…

But if we see the developement in the broadband and software area (media player and formats – have a look at the new Adobe Media Player, the quality is amazing) you can ask, if there is any chance for IPTV growth in the longterm future ? Won`t the user switch directly to “Web TV” ?
Why should a user go in the “walled garden” IPTV? Just cause of a convient “hardware tool” that connects my TV Screen with the data highway?
Let`s have a look at the advantages of IPTV so far: There a lot of advantages to the “old tv model” – time sovereignty, interacitvity, content on demand, personification, recommendation systems et cetera…

… but there are just two advantages compared to Web TV: quality of resolution and “100% legal”.
When we see the broadband developement … “HD” soon won’t be a problem for “web TV”…
The legal thing… well maybe it’s no “real” advantage… I fully agree with Gerd Leonhard in his post here: When we talk about sharing today: That is just the tip of the iceberg! Soon we will be able to share video content in HD faster and in more ways than ever before… there always will be this “free” content out there… no matter if it`s legal or not..

So, “Web TV” is much more flexible than IPTV…. the user has the opportunity to choose between different business models… pay per view, subscription, ad supported, illegal free… can switch between content providers…

Of course… there are some months to go …. to see this happen… but the question is if this short amount of time is worth to invest seriously in IPTV? Or is it better to focus on the next level…. invest in building a content provider brand for web tv? Starting a business model in the “grey copyright area” to fix the rights afterwards? A business modell that has it`s strenghts in the service quality, the brand, “the context” … cause the content will come anyway? As always… just a thought.

The Filter – The Perfect Filter?

April 19, 2008

Recommendation systems are great and very important for media consume in the future (I wrote about it a while ago here and here). Most of the content providers and services in the online world are currently based on concepts which use/need the “lean forward mode” of media consumers. But consumers love the “lean backward mode” a lot in a age of information overflow (the burden of choice). In the music area we have already one great product: Last.Fm.

Now there is the launch of a new online service:

The Filter, a new media recommendation and discovery service, announced on Tuesday the launch of an invite-only private beta. But not like last.fm which just recommends and personalizes your music programme, the filter also includes movies, TV and other media, and considers past purchases, websites viewed, searches performed, friends’ picks and critics’ opinions into its recommendations

I`m quite excited about that… I was looking for such a service for a while… can`t wait to see how it will doing..

Here some more informations from The Filter website

“The Filter is powered by an engine that provides a holistic approach to recommendations – filtering out irrelevant content and only filtering in content that reflects an individual’s tastes and moods through unique algorithms.

In addition to the consumer entertainment experience here at TheFilter.com, The Filter can also provide white label and co-branded solutions for content partners seeking to better match their inventory of content to their visitors’ tastes.

The Filter’s core is a recommendation and discovery engine derived from a branch of Artificial Intelligence, called Bayesian mathematics. Simplistically, the engine uses an evidence model (which includes purchase, consumption and browsing data) to derive the similarity of items. When The Filter’s engine is supplied with one or more items of interest it delivers a pick-list of items that are statistically relevant by order of probability.”

Transmedia Storytelling

April 17, 2008

I think it´s a big thing in the future. Everybody has been talking about crossmedia campaigns in the ad industry for years… but what about the entertainment industry… what about telling stories crossmedia, transmedia. A story plot not just in one medium… cinema or TV…. a big chance especially for TV series`… with complex and long story plots. Why not tell an additional story plot or part of the story exclusive on another distribution medium than just video/tv episode —e.g. mobisodes, comic books, games etc… or why not even develope interactive story elements… for example with a ARG – Alternate Reality Game –

Engagement television … give the viewers more chances for talking at the watercooler, at the chat rooms, the social networks… let them be part of the story.

I can´t wait to see the first real great concept.

The new technologies of digitalisation give writers and producers more opportunities…

Series like Heroes and Lost were a first step in this new storytelling…

But more than just a new viewer/user experience it can be a great business opportunity to capitalise a brand – content concept in more ways, in new ways, in ways that don’t have to “compete with the illegal free options”…

In November last year there was a great panel discussion at the MIT organized by the MIT Communications Forum titled:

NBC’s Heroes: Appointment TV to Engagement TV

The discussion was moderated by Henry Jenkins (Director of Comparative Media Studies Program).
He talked with Jesse Alexander: Co-Executive Producer and Writer, Heroes NBC (Alexander on the Heroes wiki)
and Mark Warshaw: Writer, Producer, Director, Heroes, NBC (Warshaw on the Heroes wiki)

about transmedia strategies for Heroes.

“Jesse Alexander helped usher in this transformation. He says Heroes was “conceived to take advantage of every possible media platform to tell stories, to make the brand viable and important in the world.” Nowadays, to generate such “AAA franchise content,” creators must incorporate “transmedia into the DNA of (their) concept.” With Heroes, this has meant spinning off DVDs, greeting cards, comic books and webisodes with distinct narrative threads, and providing spaces online where core enthusiasts can opine on plot and character.”

The video (Real Player) is a bit long (1:58:29)… but worth watching… especially for fans of Heroes…

What Is Television Anyway?

April 16, 2008

Accenture released a new report: “Television in Transition”. The Accenture Consumer Broadcast Survey 2008 (register for free).

An interesting survey based on 7000 consumers in eight countries. The report doesn`t tells us anything completely new, no big surprises, but it`s important to see that some “dynamics” a lot of people have been writing and thinking about for quite a while are really happening out there now. And so it`s getting more urgent to adress the question: “How do we define Television today?”

The most important findings of the report are:
Consumers globally have an absolute demand for control over their viewing experience: the ability to watch what they want, when they want, via the device they want.

Here some more insights:

– The traditional television set is regarded as just one option among several for consuming video content.

– 3 out of 10 adults in the survey now watch some content every week via alternative devices such as mobile and PC.

– Consumers are seeking greater control over their viewing experience. Three quarters of consumers worldwide are interested in at least one feature of enhanced television, primarily in on-demand services/content and the ability to time-shift viewing.

– The behavioral shift was spearheaded by younger adults – the beginning of an impending wave of change.

– Adults under 25 are unsatisfied with current television options:

– Consumers of all ages share the tendency to be loyal to content brands rather than distribution channels or channel brands.

– Content drives devices: Consumers select each device on the basis of which one will best suit the specific content.

– Paying for content? The most popular choice is by agreeing to view advertisements.

– Cultural differences: One-size-fits all approach to digital services will not work. Pace and nature of the ongoing change in consumer taste, expectations and aspirations varies in different countries worldwide.

Comments On The Future Of TV

April 10, 2008

I found (via MediaFuturist) two interesting comments on the future of tv.
First a video from Walter Mossberg, WSJ columnist, with some interesting ideas…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Second a worth reading article at Adweek: Introducing TV 2.0
Some ideas on the lessons TV industry should learn from the music industry and a serious warning:

” Remember, it didn’t take 100 percent of consumers downloading free music to topple the music industry. In the early days of MP3, illegal downloads were a relatively small percentage of the entire market for music. But few businesses can sustain a drop of 20 percent or more without a complete reinvention of the model. What happens to the ad-supported television model if, say, a quarter of consumers opt out of the current system for either free or low-cost downloads of commercial-free versions of their favorite shows? I believe we’re about to find out — and it’s likely to be a bumpy ride.”