Posts Tagged 'tv'

TV Challenge Part 2: Mark Cuban, Platforms and Messages

Mark Cuban wrote a thought provoking post about content and platforms:

…One thing is becoming increasingly clear, while more people are “snacking on Internet video“, the real “meal” continues to be TV….Events look great on HDTVs, whether they are sports, shows or movies. Quick hits and short clips are great for the internet. Sure some people will watch shows that perform better on other platforms on the net. We all use what we have available when its our only choice. Which is why so much video consumption online is in the office. Its our only choice. Replays and breaking news and anything that helps us kill time are what we will use our MIDS, PDAs, and phones for.

The platform is the message from viewers to content providers.

Reading his post made me think about the basics.

TV or TV Set?

In the past, TV and TV set were the same thing. You couldn’t watch TV shows, unless you had a TV set. TV sets where connected to a broadcaster which in turn provided content to TV sets.

Today the situation is different – you can buy TV shows in iTunes, or watch them online. Therefore, TV, at least for me, is a creative definition. The Wire is great TV. Olympics is a great TV event. But I can watch these events and shows on different devices – computers, HDTV sets, iPods, etc.

TV set is still the best way to watch long form content. It is the closest thing to movie theater you can get. Events, movies and high end shows will always look better on that set.

Internet – Distribution or Format?

The internet changed its form over the years. It is true that internet videos are short – as users tend to view them in short breaks in work, and due to the form factor (small screens). But when I connect my laptop to my TV – there is no difference in the experience . Therefore there shouldn’t be any difference in the format. And when online video becomes another part of the EPG, who cares where did the content come from? When AppleTV can deliver both high end movies and low budget indie flicks directly to your TV through the Internet – what is the platform? Is it TV or Internet?

The Missing Link

Like in every vision, the missing link is a business model. In my opinion, if online distribution and monetization would have been profitable enough, we would have seen more direct to internet TV quality shows. As long as the average online video CPM is 12$, nothing will change the current level of Internet originated productions. But I am positive that things will change as ad dollars are going online.

What’s your opinion?


Please Don’t Touch My TV

Is TV dying, or is it just a hype?

Last Friday I attended disrupTV, an “un-conference” for media technologies that I helped organizing. The event was organized by Nir Ofir and Rafael Mizrahi, hosted by Yossi Vardi and Jeff Pulver, and was the first “un-conference” on this topic in Israel.

In one of the presentations a question was raised – what should change in TV today? The usual statements about death of TV where told.

I had an unpopular opinion: nothing is wrong with TV, please don’t touch it.

What is Televison?

TV, in its purist meaning won’t change. TV is a winning format. Good stories told in 22, 45 or 60 minutes slots is a great invention. Especially when channels realize the power of story again, and let masterpieces such as “The Wire” go on air.

And you know what? The last thing I want is an interactive experience while watching high quality shows. I don’t want to buy the bottle of wine people are drinking on screen. I just want to be entertained. So please, don’t touch my TV

The TV set

The TV set is a different story. Yes, the TV set will change. Eventually it is just a screen. I am certain the new capabilities will be introduced into the TV SET, as a device. Most of them will fail, as companies will face UI issues again and again. However, smart TV sets and appliances, such as AppleTV, has a disruptive nature that is much more profound than adding interactivity to shows. AppleTV, iTunes, and competing services are breaking the value chain of the TV industry. This is the real issue.

Changes will happen

AppleTV and iTunes enable users to buy content directly from the producers. This is a major shift in power, as channels are no longer the sole distribution method of TV content. I will drill down to this issue in my next post.

Where is the money?

There are 3 main domains that will continue to change the market, and could provide financial gain to the ones who would master them:

1. On demand experience – when programming losing force, and consumers are moving toward personal viewership experience, on demand platforms will role the media world in years to come.

2. Content Discovery – following the previous point, content discovery, the ability to find the right content for the viewer, becomes an increasingly important need. Programing is a very primitive content discovery method – we know your demographics so we will push you the right content. As mentioned before, this method is losing ground. New technologies should solve this issue in a better way.

3. Commuinty – Vardi stated that there is a missing link in the community aspects of media consumption. Programming enabled people to gather in a specific point in time and share an experience. On demand viewership killed this aspect. He believes that there is here a potential for new players.

A word for TV executives

Time will tell how TV will change. But please, please, keep producing high quality drama, funny shows and great content. Changes will come, but one thing never changes – there is always audience for great content…

Media Revolution 101- The Forces Behind The Revolution

Hey, I have a question for you. What are all these discussions about media revolution?

Let’s look on traditional media business models:

Film: production companies raise funds and make movies. They distribute them through distribution companies that has relation with cinema owners across the globe. Marketing companies promote the movies worldwide. Money made from selling tickets goes to the production companies, distributers and license owners. Popcorn profits are going to the venue owners.

Newspaper: reporters create content that is printed by publishers, next to ads. These ads finance the whole operation. Some newspapers also have subscription models.

TV: Production companies make TV shows, that are aired by a network. Networks and production companies sell ads or product placement and cover or profit beyond the production cost.

What is the basis of these industries?

1. Cost – it is expensive to own a film camera. It is expensive to hire a crew to make a film. Therefore, one should raise a considerable amount of money in order to make a film. It is expensive to print and distribute a newspaper, pay reporters and so on. It is expensive to create a season of a TV show. In some cases, more than 100 people are working on one drama show.

2. Ownership and scarcity of distribution channels — there is a limited amount of movie theaters in the world. If you have distribution agreements in place, you create scarcity in distribution of films. True, there are zillion TV channels, but if you are the 500th channel, no one will zap to your channel just like that. The same goes for news stands.

3. High marketing cost — how can you persuade viewers to go to your movie or watch your show? You need to do three things: advertise, advertise, and, well, advertise. Billboards, banners, and TV spots cost money. Loads of money.

Cut to the chase. I am paying you by the hour.

Three important developments changed these industries:

1. Stronger computers – I am writing this post on a Dual Core 2.4 GHz Mac, a machine that render, edit and present HD video. It costs around $2000. The fact that I have on my desktop the equivalent of a computer that used to cost tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars changes the market place fundamentally. Video is the most resource draining technology. When talking about text or audio media products, everybody could be a writer or a radio talent.

2. Cheaper cameras — with $6000 one can buy today high end HD camera, and become a movie maker. But, even with less, one can create content in fraction of past costs. Almost every cellphone has a video camera, every laptop has a webcam, and a cheap point-and-shot camera can shot HD today. Shooting video is no longer an economic barrier. It is all about talent.

3. Higher bandwidth – The increase of available bandwidth means that High Definition video can be distributed over the Internet directly to consumers. That, coupled with the proliferation of computers at homes, made the computer screen a viable source for media and information.

And yes — number 4 – almost everyone in the western hemisphere has Internet access today.

Cool. But how does it affect the media business, or my company?

These developments affected the whole value chain:

1. Strong computer and cheap cameras made content creation cheaper than before. Therefore, more content is created by amateurs, semi-professionals and professionals. Your mom can shot and edit a short movie.

I hope she won’t

Me too.

2. Higher bandwidth made video distribution available to the masses. Sites such as YouTube made video publishing as simple as sending an email. Other companies are focusing on HD and long format distribution. Now, everyone can distribute their videos, for free. So, more content is made, and it is freely distributed, directly to consumers. Slowly but surely, the computer screen is competing with TV sets and Movie theaters on viewers’ attention.

3. The Internet changed the promotion game. Though marketing is still a major expense in the media business, new ways of content promotion are created, through search engines such as Google, and social networks such as Myspace and Facebook. An effective social media campaign is much cheaper than a TV spot.

4. Everyone can publish everything on the Internet. It can be a rumor about your company, an expert opinion, a story, or breaking news.

This is a unique period in time, where the media business is being disrupted across the whole value chain — from content creation, through marketing, to distribution and consumption. This change affects not only media companies, but also corporate marketing, and consumers.

OH MY GOD! Now what?

Well, you’ll need to keep reading this blog for that…

VON Live blogging – Business model for Web TV

Stay tuned! subscribe to my RSS feed or email list

I am here with Kathryn Jones, waiting for the panel about business models for web TV.

Fred Seibert, Next New Networks CEO, Tad Davis, VP marketing Tremor media, and Jeff Sundheim from doubleclick are on stage.

Stay Tuned.

Update 1

NNN – media company for niche audience market. Running 15 networks.

Tremor media – focus on rich media and video add insertion. 1000 publishers, pre-roll is the main application.

What is the consumer doing? So much free TV on the internet. Why should consumers watch advertisement?

Fred – there is a lot of free stuff but it is not new. More of us spend more of our time on something someone else paid for. There is a cycle where all the free things overwhelm the viewers, and people will pay to have quality material, picked by others.

Quality – do I like it or not? not production value. People I am going to the internet cause they have there what they want.

Jeff – writer strike changed the way that content on the web is done. semi pro are going to this market. people understand that they will need to pay for good content.

Tad – time shifting is the interesting part. People understand that production costs money.

Update 2

Tad – ads are not bad, they need to be relevant.

Which format is the most promising and which ones are the most used? Jeff – A lot is pre-roll, mid-roll and post roll. Research shows that a lot of users don’t like it, especially in short form. in 8 minutes. The overlay is also there. Publisher don’t have commercials for the web, and pre-roll is the easiest one to sell. Tad – sight/sound emotion is a great way to communicate adds. It is still a very effective way, and pre-roll won’t disappear. the dollars are not pouring to overlays. It is also problematic cause it covers the bottom third info.

Fred – pre-roll is anti consumer, while internet is pro consumer. someone will find the way to help consumers, and they will win the market.

What’s about targeting? Jeff- Pre-roll won’t die, but it would shift. In TV content is the proxy. Metadata is important. Visible World, a partner of doubleclick, does geo-targeting.

Tad – targeted ads have privacy issues.

Fred – we don’t know what would work. but we should be a part of it.

Publishers are looking for something scalable, creative, different and have a matrix.

Wrapping it up

It was interesting to see that though the panel title was business model for web TV, the panelists talked only about one thing – advertisement. When I asked about alternative models, and gave the NIN example, Fred had a very good answer – NIN are well known brand, their methods won’t work for the unknown shows.

An edited version will be uploaded soon.

Is Ustream for Boradcast Television = WordPress for Journalism?



Yesterday I played with Ustream a little. After Jeff and Chris live show I’ve decided to give it a try, and when Michael twitted me about his feed, I’ve joined the wagon.

After opening an account, I broadcasted myself within minutes.

Isn’t it just like starting a blog?

Users can connect high end cameras to Ustream, as the Pulver gang did. So, they just need a room with proper lighting and audio, and they have a live show. Simple. Ah, of course, they need to do an interesting show, cause there are so many out there. But this is not different from any other media product, that has to grab the attention of its audience.

So, after blogging platforms democratized written Journalism, YouTube and Bittorrent democratized pre-recorded video distribution, Ustream (and probably the 1000 competitors gearing up as I write this post) democratized live broadcast TV.

BlogTV is an Israeli site owned by Tapuz, one of the biggest Israeli communities portal. It provides similar features and used to broadcast live videos from northern Israel in last summer conflict. In the past, I’ve played with it a bit, but didn’t stay for long. The main reasons were:

1. Poor video and audio quality

2. Nothing interesting to see (for me)

3. Lack of context – as I saw shows in their site only, it was not connected to other types of media by the same creator (such as blogs, websites etc).

It seems that Ustream has better video quality, and allow users to add context to their show by embedding it in other sites. But just like in every other media platform, interesting stories are a must.

VON07: Uri Shenar – Internet Will Bring Television To Its Normal Size

Uri Shenar, the guy behind Aniboom, and ex big media exec in the Israeli industry, gave a great presentation at VON about new media trends. He presented the concept that that internet would get TV to the right size and influence it supposed to have, just as Radio focused on talk shows and music instead of drama and sitcom, when television came to life.

In my opinion the fact that indie content creators can distribute content everywhere, on every device, in every business model gives this community a lot of power. Big media has to work slowly and carefully due to fear of cannibalization. The little guys don’t have anything to cannibalize, so they can run faster. As this process continues, TV main strength will remain mainly in events – American Idol, Soccer finals etc.

An interesting twist is that Uri is planning a live internet event called Aniboom Eyedoll (you can understand the concept from the name). As he is the one who pushed event television in Israeli traditional media, this experiment is extremely interesting.

More to come…

On Demand World – Spoiled Viewers

My media consumption habits are quite tech oriented. I download most of my favorite shows (Prison Break, The Wire) using Bittorent. I watch them as they air in the US, regardless of local schedule ( I live in Israel btw…). I use my mobile phone for mobile email, news, and where I can locate a hotspot – download videos. I use Democracy to see webisode and shows I find in

And, most important point is that these channels are the ONLY ones I use in the last couple of years. I don’t have cables in my apartment, and don’t watch regular TV.

Well, at least until yesterday. Me and my better half decided on subscribing to the minimal channel package of the Israeli cable provider. After less than 24hrs with good old television, one thing I can tell you is that when you are used to On Demand experience, this whole programming concept looks ridicules. I was astonished to see the amount of commercials, and even worse – low level content that broadcasted in prime time.

My parents don’t have any problem with that – they like the fact that in a specific time they get show X with production quality Y. But for me it was extremely annoying to wait till the commercials end, to wait till the best shows are on, and to see a lot content, that in most cases, isn’t relevant to my interests.

It seems to me that in an on demand world, viewers are spoiled. As my nephew says – they want it, and they want it now. Content creators who used to rely on obedient viewers, or piggyback low quality productions on high rating shows, should wake up and smell the coffee.

We are spoiled. We know what we want. We know when we want it. We know how we want to watch it. So please, just make sure we can find it, download it quickly, and watch it as we see fit…

An On Demand Viewer Facing TV Programming For The First Time

A picture of a Future On Demand Viewer

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