Posts Tagged ‘streaming’


Pretty soon you won’t be able to tell the difference between Fox and Hulu, HBO and Netflix, or CNN and YouTube.

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

sneetchesThe recent jockeying for position and struggle to find an identity within the crowded and competitive world of network, cable, streaming video, and online television reminds me of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss stories, The Sneetches. The Sneetches were a group of yellow creatures, some with green stars on their bellies (a sign of distinction) and some without, until a character named Sylvester McMonkey McBean offers those without stars a chance to add them by going through his Star-On machine. In order to stay special the Sneetches formerly with stars happily pay the money to have them removed in his Star-Off machine. Ultimately this escalates, with the Sneetches running from one machine to the next, and to quote the good Doctor,

“until neither the Plain nor the Star-Bellies knew whether this one was that one… or that one was this one or which one was what one… or what one was who.”

The last few month, the news out of the “television” world has been very Seuss-like to say the least:

At this year’s winter TV press tour Kevin Reilly, entertainment president, Fox Broadcasting Company, revealed that his network plans to use web content as a development tool for the airwaves. “Something that starts in digital could be the next big primetime hit… We have an expertise, and a history, and proficiency, and a primetime audience base,” he confirms in this Atlantic.com article about 5 Ways the Networks Want to Change How You Watch TV. Reilly goes on to use Web Therapy starring Lisa Kudrow (of Friends fame) as one example of a web-only series that has successfully made the switch and is now aired on Showtime.

In an effort to kick start their declining subscription base, Netflix is beginning to act more like a network rather than your average streaming video provider. By jumping into the original programming waters, Netflix plans to release three new series in 2012 – starting with Lilyhammer, a crime comedy set in Norway’s former Winter Olympics headquarters, starring The Soprano’s Steven Van Zandt. Not to be outdone and fresh off a year where they realized 60 percent revenue growth in 2011, the web streaming service Hulu is launching its first ever original scripted series. Battleground, a mockumentary series described as “The Office meets The West Wing, premieres February 14, explains, this opinion brief on TheWeek.com.

And remember when YouTube was just a site where you could watch short clips of people doing funny and unusual things? Well, last week Reuters joined CNN and the BBC by unveiling its own channel to be shown on the popular video sharing site. The channels will show original content from Reuters on YouTube, which will allow them to leverage an army of over 3,000 reporters worldwide.

I doubt all the players involved with getting content to the masses will end up in blissful harmony like our friends the Sneetches, but it should be fun watching them run from one machine to the next having their green stars removed and re-added over again.

What are your thoughts? Please share them with me here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

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Creating, Marketing, and Measuring Online Video for Your PR Campaigns – Tips from PRSA-NY

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Alfred Cox*

Recently I wrote a post, here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas, outlining key tips for integrating online video into your PR campaign from a recent PRSA-NY panel. For this post, I thought I would re-cap some of what I thought were the most compelling best practices for creating, marketing, and measuring online video content – as discussed at the event.

The event featured presentations from Joe D’Amico, PopTent; Jake Finkelstein, Method Savvy; Jonah Minton, Ustream; Mark Rotblat, TubeMogul; Eric Wright, DS Simon; Jim Sulley, newscast US; and Larry Thomas, Latergy.

It was followed by a roundtable Q&A moderated by Jason Winocour, social and digital media practice leader at Hunter Public Relations.

How to Create Online Video Content
Nearly 89 percent of journalist report that they regularly include online video content in their stories. But how can marketing and communications professionals create compelling video content?

Jim Sulley, president of Newscast U.S., had these best practices to offer:

  • Understand who you are trying to reach. Who are your target demographics?
  • Get the attention of the people watching. You only have 10 seconds to hook their interest.
  • Shoot to script, don’t script to shoot. In other words, take the time to plan your videos and write a script.
  • Create biscuits, little surprises along the way, and don’t give away the ending upfront.
  • Be truthful. And remember, production values count.
  • Entertain or DIE.
  • Too much text is annoying for online video.

When creating video content, you will also want to get your online community, stakeholders, and agencies involved, as this with provide you with feedback and help you market your initiatives. (more…)

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In PR and Media: September 1, 2011

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

J.C. Penny Pulls Controversial T-Shirt (Yahoo!/Shine)
“A few months ago, the Internet was up in arms over a white David & Goliath T-Shirt that read, in pink bubble letters, “I’m too pretty to do math.” Then there was the one with “Future Trophy Wife” written on it. But many parents think this one is worse…”

E-Books Get More Interactive With Amazon’s New Author Q&A Feature (ReadWriteWeb)
“Amazon nudged the experience of reading books ever-so-slightly further into the future today. The company announced a new feature for its Kindle reading platform that lets readers ask authors questions about their books as they’re reading.”

 Juror Pleads Guilty After ‘Friending’ Defendent (Mashable.com)
“Jurors and defendants are not meant to be friends — even if it’s just Facebook friends. Four charges of contempt of court probably drilled this point home for 22-year-old Jonathan Hudson of Arlington, Texas.”  

Apple’s Cloud Still Isn’t Streaming (AllThingsDigital.com)
“When is a stream not a stream? When it’s a download. While a video making the rounds today makes it seem as if Apple’s upcoming iTunes Match service will stream music from Apple’s servers to a user’s device, that’s not the case.”

Zuckerberg Tops Vanity Fair’s “New Establishment” List Again (And Look Who’s No. 40) (AllThingsDigital.com)
“Vanity Fair magazine put out its high-profile “New Establishment” list of the top 50 people, who are ‘an innovative new breed of buccaneering visionaries, engineering prodigies, and entrepreneurs, who quite often sport hoodies, floppy hair, and backpacks.’”

Ex-NYC Deputy Mayor: Hyperlocals Should Help Citizens ‘March on City Hall’ (StreetFightMag.com)
“Journalism and community are rapidly converging in the hyperlocal space. But the big missing piece is meaningful participation by local government.”

Nielsen 2011-12 Rankings: Washington DC, Seattle Move Up, While Atlanta and Phoenix Drop (TVSpy)
“The Top 20 local markets will see some changes this year, according to Nielsen. The 2011-12 list of DMAs, released today, measures Washington, DC and Seattle each moving up a rank — to 8 and 12, respectively — while Atlanta and Phoenix each drop down one spot, to 9 and 13.”

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Battles Rage Over Content, as Netflix Changes the Game in the Web TV and Streaming Video Space Once Again

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

ba-netflix0811_f_SFCG1281474279With the help of Wikipedia, I learned the different types of battles that are fought. If you’ve been following what is going on in the latest turf wars between the cable providers (Time Warner Cable, Comcast), online providers (Netflix, Hulu) and media Companies (Fox, CBS) – you’d see very different strategies deployed by each side. All have one common goal in mind…control the distribution of entertainment to consumers, and all seems fair in this war. 

A “battle of attrition” aims to inflict losses on an enemy that are less sustainable compared to one’s own losses.

According to this New York Times, Netflix recently made a bold move by launching a new “streaming only” service, offering unlimited streaming movies and TV shows for a mere $7.99 a month. Also, in addition to Netflix paying the Post Office a whopping $500 million dollars a year in postage to mail out their signature red envelopes filled with disks, they will now pay studios another hefty sum for rights to their movies by recently completing a combined deal with Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate for one billion dollars. This does not include deals Netflix made earlier in the year with other major studios, such as Sony, Warner Brothers, Universal and 20th Century Fox.

So why are cable providers like Time Warner Cable and Comcast getting hot under the collar? Let’s take a closer look:

Netflix currently pays Starz, a pay TV channel, about 15 cents a month for each subscriber (which allows their customers to watch streaming movies from Sony and Disney), pennies compared to the $4 to $5 a month that cable and satellite owners pay for access to Starz, according to Rich Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG Research.

These types of deals, which allow consumers to access a larger catalogue of movies and bypass their local cable provider by accessing them online, couldn’t come at a worse time for companies like Time Warner Cable and Comcast. Cable providers already reported a net loss of 119,000 customers in the third quarter of 2010, the largest decline in 30 years.

A “battle of envelopment” involves an attack on one or both flanks.

Comcast is fighting back on two fronts by slapping Level 3 Communications, a provider of internet backbone services, which handles Netflix content, with “additional traffic fees.” Incidentally, Comcast, who’s acquisition of NBC is imminent, already competes directly with Netflix through their new acquisition of Hulu (Comcast owns 32 percent stake in Hulu). The rate hike could easily be seen as a way for Comcast to milk their competition, however, they can make the argument that Netflix’s massive volume is overtaxing their system and therefore should pay more. A recent study by Sandvine, a broadband equipment maker, showed that Netflix’s 16 million customers accounted for more than 20 percent of all Internet download traffic in North America during peak evening hours)

A “battle of encounter” is a meeting engagement where the opposing sides collide in the field without either having prepared their attack or defense.

If all of this wasn’t enough to make cable executives nervous, Netflix followed up their unlimited streaming offer by announcing a deal with newly formed film studio, FilmDistrict. As highlighted in this New York Observer article, the part of this deal that could prove to be a game changer is that it doesn’t include the standard “pay TV window” wherein new releases go to the cable industry first, then premier on Netlifx a few months later. 

According to The New York Post, Netflix is also in talks with studios about gaining access to “current episodes” of primetime TV shows and is willing to pay between $70,000 and $100,000 per episode. This is a first since Netflix has always offered only TV shows from past seasons.

Through all of this, media companies have been in constant negotiations with all of the “content distributors” – cable providers (Time Warner Cable and Comcast) and online providers (Netflix) – with behemoths like Google, Sony and Apple waiting in the wings as all three plan to compete in the game of online streaming distribution. Google, however, has already met heavy resistance from the networks. ABC, CBS, and NBC who all said they would not allow Google TV to stream full episodes of their shows. This should make for some interesting future negotiations between the two sides. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the networks suddenly changed their mind if Google TV’s relatively new service begins to take off.

A “battle of annihilation” is one in which the defeated party is destroyed in the field.

So what about the consumer, the eyeballs everyone’s vying for in all of this? I for one couldn’t be happier with all of the choices I suddenly have to watch movies or TV shows. The Internet is once again threatening the “middleman,” or, as I like to think of it, just another case of the Internet once again replacing one of the “brokers” of the world. We’ve seen it happen to some extent with real estate, stock trading … and now entertainment.  For 30 years cable providers have been the “brokers” for entertainment, bringing media and consumers together. It appears, for the moment at least, another “broker” is in jeopardy of once again being replaced by the Internet.

So what are your thoughts? Who do you think will win the on-going battle? Are you happy with the choices you have to access entertainment content? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

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