Category Archives: Media and Telecom Industry Analysis

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

Ma Bell makes a big bet on legacy TV

AT&T’s big bet on old-school video delivery technology testifies to an inescapable reality of the telecommunications scene: pay-TV still rules.

At a time when everybody’s rushing to plant a stake in the online video delivery business, the $48.5 billion-plus-debt deal to buy DirecTV signals the enduring economic power of a tried-and-true formula: charging millions of people $100 per month for packages of TV channels. Continue reading Ma Bell makes a big bet on legacy TV

How the youth movement is sinking legacy TV

Nielsen’s latest take on how the American populace is shifting TV viewing habits is especially troubling (if your biz model has “legacy” written on it, at least) from a standpoint of youthful demographics. While Americans at large spent two fewer minutes per week watching traditional television during the third quarter of 2014 versus two years ago, viewing time among 18-24 year-olds plunged nearly 22 percent over the same time period.

Continue reading How the youth movement is sinking legacy TV

Wired Internet access is starting to look so 2013

Increasingly, the Internet is a thing of air and invisibility. The International Telecommunications Union estimates mobile broadband connections are growing at a double-digit pace globally, compared to slowing growth of 4.4 percent for fixed networks. Already, there are nearly 2.4 billion mobile broadband subscriptions in the world, ITU believes.

Even among developed nations, where fixed broadband tends to be more prevalent, wireless Internet reigns supreme. Among nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, there were 330 million fixed broadband connections in place at the end of last year, versus 900 million mobile broadband units, according to OECD. Continue reading Wired Internet access is starting to look so 2013