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Archive for the 'Media and Telecom Industry Analysis' Category

Faster Internet for all…

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Here’s my profile for Broadband Library on a first-of-its-kind initiative to deploy a speedy new data delivery technology known as DOCSIS 3.1 across the entire footprint of the cable company Mediacom Communications. Read it fast, please.

Television, meet music. And the blueprint for your business.

Monday, June 13th, 2016

With vast selections and all-you-can-consume models, new subscription music services like Google Play, Tidal and Apple Music are rocking a long-moribund category — and now represent the single largest revenue source for the U.S. music industry. Published in The Broadband Library.

Robert Durst, HBO and the future of television

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

HBO’s once again changing the way television works. Here’s how.

The Internet takes over channel 37

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

A deep dive (but a good one!) into a little-known but emerging technology that uses television airwaves to transmit high-speed Internet signals. Written for the University of New Hampshire’s Broadband Center of Excellence.

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The video acronym that needs to die

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Dish Network Corp.’s breakthrough online video service addresses a marketplace sweet spot with such earnestness and resolve that it’s a shame to see it tarred with that sour and pejorative acronym of the new video era: OTT.

Short for “over the top,” this three-letter malcontent of a descriptor has always been a sketchy way to label genuinely innovative and interesting video business models that make use of the Internet. Dish’s millennials-targeted Sling TV is the latest, and the boldest, of the bunch. (more…)

How to make a TV commercial vanish

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Here’s the trick question of the day: How do you make a 30-second mid-roll commercial break within a cable VOD stream vanish?

The answer: stop watching the on-demand video stream before the mid-roll break ever happens. When that happens, the video stream gets interrupted and the session gets torn down. So do the advertising breaks that were supposed to be planted within the forthcoming content.

It happens all the time in the online video space, where completion rates for requested videos vary wildly. But in the advanced cable advertising environment, there’s an extra complication that has to do with the business relationships between TV networks and local cable companies. (more…)

Cable ad veteran Paul Woidke on the state of the biz

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Had a chance to catch up with the dean of cable advertising technology, Paul Woidke, last week. Came away as always with some fresh ideas about where the business is going.

Woidke is cable advertising’s version of Leonard Zelig, the Woody Allen fictional character who managed to be just about everywhere. In the 1990s, Woidke was one of the instrumental figures in building Adlink, the Los-Angeles multichannel video advertising interconnect now owned by Time Warner Cable. There, he helped instigate early applications of digital video advertising distribution technology plus two ahead-of-their time applications for customizing advertising content (known as AdTag and AdCopy). Later, he (along with other Adlinkers including Charlie Thurston and Hank Oster) joined Comcast’s advertising sales group as SVP of technology, where he helped to shape the seminal industry standard for advanced ad delivery known as SCTE-130. Woidke is now SVP of strategy for Nagra, whose Eclipse line of software traffics close to 100 million spots a month for cable advertising partners.

Here’s Woidke on the state of the cable ad business today, and where it’s going tomorrow. (more…)

Cable rep firm NCC: advancing the agenda

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Not so ago, the cable-owned spot rep firm NCC Media was all about linear. With affiliation deals covering most of the cable markets in the U.S., NCC’s world rotated around the tried, true and tested 30-second commercial.

Brokering a share of the local commercial inventory controlled by its affiliates, NCC has made a living for years aligning national advertisers and brands with the sometimes-peculiar geographies and processes of the local cable ad business. Through NCC, an automaker with a line of convertible cars, for instance, could heavy up a spot cable ad campaign in sunshine markets where buyers are more likely to cruise with the top down. The advertiser would choose the markets, supply the creative and write the check, and NCC would go about the workmanlike tasks of getting the right spot to run in the right geographies, on the right cable systems and on the right networks.

Today, that essential process is still the bread-and-butter business of New York-based NCC. Last year the company delivered (drum roll here) more than 34 million 30-second spots across roughly 2,900 cable systems, according to President and CEO Greg Schaefer (pictured). That’s more than 2.8 million spots per month, or 94,000 per day, flowing through the advertiser-to-NCC-to-local cable ecosystem. (more…)

How to make TV ads really valuable? Block (some) people from seeing them

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Interesting point made by Blackarrow President Nick Troiano in a recent conversation about cable’s emerging advanced advertising marketplace. A big driver of value for advertisers, Troiano thinks, is the flipside of what theorists most often talk about, which is audience targeting.

Instead, Troiano suggests the real economic advantage comes from excluding people from seeing commercials.

You heard that right: One of the advantages of addressable television advertising is the ability to keep commercials away from certain viewing groups. In other words, it’s about excising the worry about wasted circulation that has haunted advertisers ever since the 19th century department store maven John Wanamaker uttered his famous bromide that “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” (more…)

Buzzkill from the social TV front lines

Monday, February 15th, 2016

The most notable thing about GetGlue’s agreement to be acquired isn’t who’s buying the social TV pioneer. It’s who isn’t.

The buyer, for the record, is Viggle Inc., a competitor in the social TV space that, like GetGlue, doles out rewards for people who use its social media application while watching television. The $110 million cash-plus-stock offer for GetGlue gets Viggle 35 employees, including Alex Iskold, GetGlue’s founder, and a registered user base that’s reported at around 3 million.

So them’s the numbers. What’s telling, though – and not in an altogether positive way for social TV – is that GetGlue’s exit ends up being something less grand than what enthusiasts have envisioned for the category. Lost Remote, a website for the social TV category, speculated in October GetGlue might attract interest from the likes of Twitter or Nielsen, for example. Instead, the buyer is a virtual-crosstown rival. Their merger – two smallish upstarts – does not signal an epochal moment for social-TV in the way that another sort of transaction could have. (more…)