Backing away from plans to offer hi def video online
AOL and CBS are backing away from plans to offer high definition video
online, saying that audiences are not prepare for that, and the number of
users is very small. “We are finding that people don’t care as much about
the video qualilty as other things, like finding stuff, clicking on video
and it playing, browser independence,” AOL execs say.
Part of the problem is also that those services requiere a separate
download, and it doesn’t work on all computers. Those software requiere
specific players, and it even didn’t work with Firefox. “Last thing we
want to do is put another hurdle against people watching network
television online,” adds CBS Interactive president. Things like these add
complexity at the value proposition, and have impact on adoption.
In the online TV landscape, there are now services offering DVD-like
content requiring only a plug-in for an in-browser viewing experience, as
ABC, DivX’s Stage6, and Vimeo.
It is not really HD (high def), as they call it, since HD today requires 5Mbps or more.
Other companies, like VeohTV, Vuze, and even Joost, are banking on the
fact that you won’t mind a separate download if it means you can watch
higher-quality video on your computer.
In our view, high quality, full screen video delivery will become much
more broadly adopted in the next 12-18 monhts. As bandwidth prices
decrease, video codecs improve, and large monitors become more popular
(the most common screen resolution is still 1024x768), we will see more
demand for high-quality content. Today only 10 – 20 percent of the
audience had the technical capacity to watch it. However, no doubt that
web video is entering its third era, TV quality.
Hulu.com: A big media dumb joint venture?
Hulu.com, the new video site created by NBC and Fox to challenge YouTube, has begun privately testing its new service with select users. Hulu, a company with more than a hundred employees and its own offices in Los Angeles, is presenting select episodes of some 90 television shows, although some shows are also available free to viewers on sites like NBC.com and Fox.com. In addition is experimenting with free movies. It has begun sending its videos to the sites of five distribution partners: Microsoft, AOL, MySpace, Yahoo and Comcast.
Skeptical bloggers predict the venture will be doomed by diverging agendas, technical challenges and competitors like YouTube.
In terms of advertising, Hulu is full of promotional opportunities. Ad messages remain above the video player during each program. It is also using overlays, promotional graphics that roam over the bottom of the screen during a show. And it is cutting by half the length of traditional commercial breaks during its videos. Hulu will split the ad revenue with the content creator and the distribution site, like MySpaceTV or MSN.
In terms of features, Hulu.com will offer some features not available on other video site, like an easy editing tool to isolate a select clip from a program and e-mail to a friend or post it on a blog. This is a way to let users express themselves through the content.
Akamai and Limelight embrace HD content delivery services
As we wrote above, it is not clear there is demand for high-definition content online yet. However, Akamai content delivery network, in an attempt so sign up customers for its new HD offering, is adopting a “show it, don’t tell strategy” by running a demo portal, www.thehdweb.com.
Also, Akamai competitor Limelight announced a High-Definition Content Delivery service for the Internet. Key media and Internet entities, including Brightcove, Fox, Rajshri.com (India’s leading broadband video portal), Microsoft, Adobe, Move Networks, and Veoh Networks, signed on to support LimelightHD. This service will be available on over 700 broadband access networks worldwide.
The heart of LimelightHD is its CDN architecture, consisting of thousands of high-performance content servers distributed worldwide. This network will deliver video content of 720p and 1080p resolution supporting Flash Player, Windows Media, Silverlight and Move Media Player.
As broadcast HD becomes common place, consumer demand for Intenet will grow rapidly, prompting media and online companies to expand their Internet programming strategies and HD offerings.
Google’s tries to monopolize social networking arena against Facebook
OpenSocial, the Google-led alliance who added last week MySpace (with 110 million active users) and Bebo (No.1 site in Britain, 39 million users), is trying to become the standard for developers in the social networks arena.
To achieve that OpenSocial open up its site to developers, persuading thousands of them to create programs. It put pressure of Facebook to drop its own standard and join the alliance.
Other members of the OpenSocial alliance, besides Google’s Orkut, include Friendster, Hi5, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Ning, SixApart, and software maker Oracle and SalesForce.com. Creator of several of the most popular programs of Facebook, including Slide, RockYou, iLike and Flixster, have announce their intention to write programs conforming to the OpenSocial standards.