Category Archives: Media and Telecom Industry Analysis

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

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

Buzzkill from the social TV front lines

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. Continue reading Buzzkill from the social TV front lines

For Viamedia, cross-channel inventory is key

Cable TV ad rep firm Viamedia made its way into the business in an unorthodox way, by striking alliances with non-traditional video service providers like SureWest and Frontier Communications to sell local TV advertising inventory.

But the Lexington, Ky. company has discovered one key to growth is an entrenched staple of the business: cross-channel promotion for a video provider’s own products. Continue reading For Viamedia, cross-channel inventory is key

This Technology: alternative content is the splice of life

If you thought cable advertising was starting to get hyper-targeted before, here’s a news nugget that stretches the boundaries of the medium ever further.

Denver-based This Technology, a provider of software that injects dynamic video advertisements into on-the-fly video streams, has figured out a way not only to associate targeted ad spots within IP video streams that show up on tablets and smartphones, but to get targeted ad spots placed within alternative programming that’s used as a replacement for what’s normally on the air.

Dizzy? That makes two of us. Continue reading This Technology: alternative content is the splice of life

The tablet just ate my TV!

Today’s New York Times story points out how television set manufacturers hope to ignite lackluster sales by building improved “smart TV” functionality into their mainstay products. Among initiatives is a move by Roku, the nimble provider of Internet video electronics, to embed its platform into a new line of TV sets. Samsung and others also are said to be “bullish” about the budding prospects for smart TVs, which plant Internet connections, processing capability and operating systems into TV sets.

This notion of improving the big-screen TV experience by adding Internet connectivity and easy access to streaming applications is attractive if you’re a TV set maker looking for a growth story between now and sometime when Ultra HD really happens – if it ever does. Video streaming, as everyone knows, is the rising star of television, and the fact that millions of people have rigged up external devices to connect TVs to the Internet – video game systems and boxes like Apple TV and Roku among the notables – is proof positive of

But just as TV set makers get wise to the possibilities of built-in Internet connectivity, a more meaningful revolution is brewing that threatens to undercut the strategy: The TV set is being displaced.

By a little tablet computer. Continue reading The tablet just ate my TV!

Is housing the reason for Comcast’s rebound?

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Comcast’s announcement this week that video subscriber growth resumed late in 2013 after a multi-year drain drew cheers from investors who bid up the stock and praise from the prominent industry analyst Craig Moffett, who proclaimed Comcast has unseated DirecTV as the proud provider of the best pay-TV experience in the U.S. Continue reading Is housing the reason for Comcast’s rebound?

It’s alive! Dynamic ads are up, running…and not all that scary

The cable network that’s all about scary is trying to take some of the fear out of dynamic VOD advertising.

Fearnet and its national advertising rep, Los Angeles-based Sony Pictures Television, are first out of the gate in selling dynamic advertising positions in viewer-requested video streams that run over cable and telco-video systems.

So far, says Paul Brennan, Sony’s SVP of Advertising Sales, nobody has run away screaming from the pitch. Instead, Sony has sold campaigns on Fearnet VOD to a group of advertisers across consumer brand categories including automotive (Volvo and others), film (Relativity Media, Anchor Bay Entertainment and others) video games (EA and Capcom) and television brands including AMC and Starz Entertainment. “Because there’s a conscious decision of a viewer to be there, it’s a very strong place to advertise,” he says. Continue reading It’s alive! Dynamic ads are up, running…and not all that scary

Comcast-TWC could speed advanced ad deployment

An advanced television advertising capability long pursued by the cable industry is starting to get some attention – and some traction.

It’s household addressability, or the ability to send to your neighbor who’s watching ESPN a different commercial message than the one you see at exactly the same time, on exactly the same channel, because you have different demographic or behavioral characteristics than the guy next door. Neat, huh?

Except there’s a rub: right now the attention is going mostly to satellite TV, not cable, because Dish Network and DirecTV are out in front with bigger rollout footprints and scale in the addressable advertising category. Continue reading Comcast-TWC could speed advanced ad deployment

Making the case for digital downloads

With a new digital movie delivery service, Disney and Apple this week joined the burgeoning movement to cloud storage and retrieval of media stuff. Similar to the Ultraviolet platform that Disney has shunned in favor of its own solution, the Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) service lets users buy and watch movies on digital devices, in this case iPads, iPhones and iPods. It’s sort of a Disney-fied, miniature version of iTunes, and if you sign up you get Disney’s animated feature “The Incredibles” for free.

One of the appealing elements of DMA, Ultraviolet and other digital delivery platforms like Amazon Instant Video and Apple TV is a warm and comforting acquiescence to the cloud. Thanks to the pairing of mega-server arrays and fast broadband connections to them, we’re quickly becoming liberated from the do-it-yourself handiwork of the old days, when we had to manage the downloading of files to devices or personal storage systems. Continue reading Making the case for digital downloads