Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The 2nd Screen: Transforming video consumption - Q3 Update

Third Quarter, 2013: Impacting the 1st Screen

The first 9 months of 2013 have been explosive for 2nd Screen, though confidence by the trade press and investors has wavered somewhat during the summer.  Apps have continued to improve, new apps have kept coming, monetization evidence is in plain site through several engagement models, and the convergence of 2nd Screen companion experiences and 2nd Screen viewing experiences has continued to gain momentum.  The rise of the 2nd Screen Ecosystem continues to be a blessing and curse for nearly all of the players in the video ecosystem, especially the content distributors and the brand advertisers.
In this brief summary, I am going to make references to our published research (“2nd Screen: Transforming Video Consumption”, a 252-page report published during our 2nd Screen Summit @ CES on January 7th, and the Q1 and Q2 Updates of the same published on April 7th and June 27th ), as well as to blogs and conferences we have hosted and attended during the last 9 months.  However, the information should still be relatively coherent regardless of your attentiveness to those events. I have also included the introductory Executive Summary below for your reading clarity.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A review of Hulu Plus on Chromecast

I was probably as eager as everyone else in this business to investigate Hulu Plus on Chromecast yesterday.  As I noted in my previous blog, I think Chromecast is potentially the ultimate incarnation of the promise of second screen, giving the consumer the ability to use a device they are interacting with all of the time (smartphone, tablet) to Discover the program they want to watch, then using it to Control the first screen where by Chromecast takes over the stream management of what is being played and the second screen is then freed up for Enhanced viewing experiences and Social engagement.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Publishers and Advertisers Score with Ad Insertion Technology

Originally posted here ( and on the Unicorn Media blog.

Just a few years ago, sports fans had to either rely on their memories or wait for a sports roundup show on TV to review a crucial play or controversial call from a big game. However, now that more than half of Americans own smartphones and hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide use their tablets and mobile phones as portable media players, fans can see clips of amazing touchdown catches, incredible trick plays and game-changing penalty calls on demand.
You’d think these technological advances that expand the viewing audience would be a goldmine for the publishers that own the content. A broadcaster with the rights to footage of a balletic downfield catch, an impossible two-minute drive for the win or a fortunes-reversing penalty flag would have millions of eyeballs on that clip — and an opportunity to cash in with a spike in ad revenue. Advertisers looking to generate brand impressions would have easy access to a wider audience. But, it’s not as simple as that — or, at least, it wasn’t.
One factor that complicates the picture is that mobile devices come in all shapes and sizes and operate on a variety of platforms and networks. In the recent past, publishers who wanted to monetize compelling, time-sensitive content, like the latest sports highlights, had to isolate the relevant clip (which they could do fairly quickly) and then prepare it for viewing across multiple device types, networks and operating systems, which used to take several hours.
It was a labor-intensive, time-consuming process because, to format content to accommodate different devices, networks and operating systems, publishers had to break down the content into thousands of files, which then had to be stored and managed. Additional challenges arose around ad insertion, where lack of universal support technology made monetization even more difficult. By the time publishers dealt with all of these factors and stitched in ads, the clip was often old news, and the potential goldmine had been transformed into a cost center.
New technology now allows content owners to upload a video file one time and get a single URL that delivers content across all smartphones, tablets, connected living room devices, game consoles and operating systems, including iOS and Android. New ad-insertion solutions also make it possible for publishers to dynamically integrate ads into time-sensitive content, enabling real-time analytics and targeting.
With these new technology solutions, publishers can monetize and analyze content across all Internet-connected devices. They can seamlessly integrate content with existing ad-management systems and increase profitability through targeted dynamic ad insertion, providing a personalized viewing experience for sports fans on thousands of connected devices that use native-media players.
To maximize monetization, publishers can place pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll ads strategically throughout the content and target users to generate additional revenue. By using the sophisticated cloud-based technologies that are now available, publishers can drastically reduce time to market, eliminate the need for client-side code, plugins or SDKs and eliminate ad blockers.
This means they can cash in on time-sensitive events like game highlights, buzz-generating clips of crucial plays and non-sports content, including breaking news, political-debate highlights and much more. These new technologies deliver a win for viewers, who can now get instant access to popular content on their mobile devices, and publishers and advertisers, who can now score big with ad-insertion technology that helps them capitalize on monetization opportunities with incredible speed.
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