Thursday, August 30, 2012

The "Seamless" sourcing of video content from multiple aggregation services

10 years ago, life was simple in your living room.  You really had 3 libraries of content to worry about:
  1. the 500 channels of content you were receiving from your Cable, Telco, or Satellite provider, 
  2. the collection of DVD's on your shelf, and
  3. the available plethora of DVDs to rent at your local Blockbuster.  
But even simpler then was the fact that there were only a few rights windows, and as a consumer, you understood them pretty well:

  • Movies came out at the theater first, and then a few months later were available to rent (eg Blockbuster) or purchase (many locations) on the same day.
  • A few months after this, they started appearing in your premium TV networks (eg HBO, Showtime).
  • A few months after this, they came out on the standard, non-premium broadcast networks.
Video entertainment was easy, despite the poor available search methods of channel surfing your EPG and browsing your shelf or local store's shelves.

In 2012, you are perplexed by a long list of growing of (sometimes exclusive) digital sources of content with different restrictions and availability dates.  Some titles are available for sale but not for rent (eg iTunes, Vudu, Amazon).  Some titles are available for rent, but not in your subscription service (eg Netflix Streaming, Amazon Prime).  Sometimes the digital version is available the same day as the DVD/Blu-ray is available in stores for sale, but even the physical DVD rental has different availability dates in the few remaining Blockbuster stores and the Netflix mail service than it does at the RedBox kiosks in your local grocery store.  Throw in TV catch-up services where the DVD is often available after it is available for free or subscription online and you are thoroughly confused.  Or at least should be.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Olympics and Second Screen - not so great

While the 2012 Summer Olympics has certainly been appropriately dubbed the first "Social Olympics" (Twitter and Facebook comparisons discussed daily on the broadcast discussions by commentators) and even NBCU has come out and described it as a TV Everywhere success (streaming every event live for authenticated Pay TV subscribers in the US), it has be abysmal for Second Screen enthusiasts.

Don't get me wrong--I think the streaming capabilities to watch the events live were usually well delivered, and I have nothing against the massive Twitter and Facebook discussions.  I guess my point of view stems from the belief that until now, it has been live sports that has really driven the most valuable use cases for a second screen or companion app while watching the first screen, usually resulting in a more engaged consumer.  Knowing the stats of the football, baseball or basketball game of key players, updated in real time, is a big plus for the sports enthusiasts (of any sport).  But somehow, the Olympic implementations fell well short.