MSN announced that they broke a new record for the number of live streams for an entertainment program: 9 million during the Live Earth global pop concerts. MSN product manager said the number of streams had surpassed the previous record held by 2005’s Live 8 global concerts to fight poverty (5 million people).
Control Room, producer of Live Earth and Live 8, said it found that the on-demand streams in the days after had the most impact, especially after clips were passed around by e-mail. Live 8 were streamed by users more than 100 million times in the six weeks following the shows.
CNN live video now free
CNN has ended its Pipeline program and has launched its free live streams site. There are at least three choices of streams to watch. The player has a black background and links to a few stories. There remains the video to 16:9 widescreen even the video was shot in 4:3.
A user-generated content initiative at ABC News
ABC News has launched a user-generated content initiative with a companion TV show (scheduled for August 6th), called i-Caught. Their idea is to combine existing user video with new clips submitted by viewers.
They promise to offer “the incredible stories behind the video.”
AOL announces its new video portal and a Windows Vista gadget
AOL has launched its new video portal. The design is pretty old, but the video search works well, pulling in a wide variety of sources, including MSN, CNN, YouTube, CBS News and others. AOL says that “the portal is designed to make it even easier for consumers to find, watch and share more than 20 million videos from across the Web without having to visit multiple website”.
In addition, AOL also announced the availability of the new Windows Vista ready sidebar gadget which enables consumers to watch video content while using other applications. It features five channels –news, music, movies, comedy and business- each showcasing 10 of the most recent or most popular videos in each channel. It has 12 skins in various colors and patters, as well as a real-time ticker that highlights relevant videos. AOL Video Gadget is available as a free download here.
Airlines introduce on-demand video systems
A few airlines carriers are introducing innovative in-flight on-demand video systems. For instance, Delta on Demand features 24 channels of live television, up to 28 films, 12 video games, more than 1,600 songs and 45 hours of HBO programming, including episodes of popular television shows. The system is now on 100 aircraft, including economy class on some planes.
Singapore Airlines, which operates some of the longest commercial flights, is introducing a free entertainment system featuring 1,004 on-demand music and video options, as well as a suite of office applications that enable passengers to plug in a portable flash drive and work on their documents.
More carriers are installing these types of on-demand systems, either at the seatback or as a stand-alone device, like the portable player American Airlines offers on some flights.
Stickam.com, the live video chats MySpace, linked to pornography
Free video site Stickam.com, which allows its 600,000 registered users (many of them teenagers) to participate in unfiltered live video chats using their Web camera, often from their bedrooms, has close ties to a large online pornography business, according to a former vice president of the company, called Advanced Video Communications.
Stickam shares office space, employees and computer systems with pornographic sites like DxLive, EXshot and JgirlParadise. The video technology to link paying users with performers in one-on-one video chat sessions is the same.
Enough is Enough, an Internet safety organization, said that “this is just another adult operator looking for a back door to the youth market.”
Veoh Networks has made available to those working as beta testers –among them Amigot Corp- their new VeohTV software that acts like a Web browser but displays only Internet video, presenting full-length television shows and popular clips from the Web’s largest video sites, like NBC.com and YouTube. It lists those videos in a program guide and plays them in a small window or across the entire screen.
Once the software is downloaded to a computer, it offers an easy-to-navigate directory of 114 video channels, including listings for CBS, NBC, Fox and YouTube. On the Fox channel, for example, there are several full-length episodes of the dramas “24” and “Bones”. Those episodes are free and available for streaming on NBC.com and Fox sites, but many customers don’t know how to find them.
Veoh does not think it needs consent to play material from those Web sites, because they are already online, including commercials shown during the programs, but networks may disagree, since Veoh omits all the others advertisements on the networks sites. Some networks and Internet companies like MySpace, AOL and MSN have already entered into commercial agreements with Veoh.
So Veoh can act as a digital video recorder, turning a video stream, meant to be viewed on the Web, into a downloaded file on a user’s hard drive. Other software, like the recently released Real Player 11, by Real Networks, can turns streaming video into downloads as well.
Dmitry Shapiro, 38-year-old Russian-born engineer CEO of Veoh Networks, and his backers (Veoh raised $26 million this summer from investors, including Time Warner, Goldman Sachs, Spark Capital and Michael D. Eisner, the former Disney chairman) are aware their product will disrupt current business models. The only problem is that before they need to make sure that having not permission to list and play other’s companies video inside VeohTV software is legal.
Widgets, a Web revolution in the making
Widgets, or is modules of software that people can drag and drop onto the personal page and blogs, are opening the door viral marketing across social networks, and Silicon Valley sees them as a Web revolution in the making. Business Week magazine dedicates an extensive article (“The Next Small Thing”) to this new phenomenon.
“Widgets could turbocharge a third phase in the Internet development,” Business Week says. Certainly widgets are giving even more power to individuals to become distributors, publishers and arbiters of content. So here we have what we can call the business of widgets.
”Television as we know is dead”, says Google
Traditional TV is pretty close to dead, Google says. “On the surface, television as we know it looks dead. But the future of television is actually pretty bright,” said Google’s head of TV Vincent Bureau at a conference dedicated to Internet.
Google went on to say that audience fragmentation and ad skipping are good, and new on-air talent should be culled from the Web. The Register wrote about it.
”Broadband viewing does not replace traditional TV”
More and more broadband users are watching streaming media online: 81 million of the 129 million broadband users in the U.S. watched TV or movies online, according to a Nielsen’s study.
This is a 16 % increase in just the last six months. The study also found that broadband viewing does not replace traditional television viewing, giving TV viewing a net audience gain.
Grouper.com turns into Crackle and switches direction
Now Grouper.com, bought last year by Sony, has a new name: Crackle. The video site is also switching direction, hopping to focus more on developing new talent and content ideas, while keeping its standard array of user-generated videos. The site will use editors to pick best content, but still rely on community voting features.
The BBC has launched an online video service that allows people to download a wide range of television programs for free from the last week. Viewers can choose from 400 hours of programs, between 60 and 70 percent of the total TV output, including hit shows as Planet Earth. The service, at www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer, is free, but is ready in beta mode and for users living in Britain. Here is a step by step guide.
The programs are stored on the computer in what they called BBC iPlayer Library, and they will be deleted after viewing or after 30 days. Copyright protection software prevents the copying of shows. This player only works with Windows XP, Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player 10 (or later). Great compatibility!
Even those limitations, BBC General Manager Mark Thompson said “the arrival of the “on-demand” iPlayer is as important as the first color broadcasts in the 1960s.” Not a word about the new RealPlayer software, which allows you to download streaming video on your computer (including clips of BBC), or VeohTV software.
Certainly, as Reuters says, the growth of the Internet, mobiles and hard-drive recorders that save hours of programs, has destroyed the notion of fixed TV schedules delivered through a TV in the corner of the room. And broadcasters are under pressure to hold on to viewers by letting them watch programs when and where they want.
BBC faces competition from similar video download services provided by Channel 4 and ITV one year ago.
“Our vision is for BBC iPlayer to become a universal service available not just for over the Internet, but also on cable and other TV platforms, and eventually on mobiles and smart handheld devices,” added BBC’s director of future media and technology.
Dan Rayburn, a video streaming expert who writes BusinessOfVideo.com blog, says about this launching:
\"The BBC has a long way to go before this becomes a real service and by continuing to talk about how important this is and comparing it to the color TV considering the service is only in beta, has not been tested for scalability, can\'t support multiple platforms, and can only do downloads, they are setting themselves up for failure in the eyes of customers. You can\'t promise the word, call it the start of a new revolution for TV and then not deliver an experience that is not even close to the one you say you are going to replace.\"
CBS aims to spread web content to 400 sites
CBS says its goal is syndicate the network’s content to 400 sites by this fall. The network has already partnered with 24 sites (including TV.com, Slingbox, and Brightcove), has spent aggressively in paid search, and made arrangements with sites like YouRock.com, where anyone can pick up applications and widgets. CBS’s executives say the result has been a huge surge in unique users from 21 million to 134 million a month.
CBS Interactive president Quincy Smith says: “CBS is all about open, non exclusive partnerships. Just CBS.com is not the answer.” Enlightened thinking from CBS.
YouTube let people customize their own player
YouTube has come out with a new feature that let people design their own player. Once the embed code is generated and saved the player, it can be copied and pasted to website or blog. First, you select a color theme for the player, and then the layout.
Another feature launched is YouTube Mobile to watch and upload videos on mobile phones. There is an address, http://m.youtube.com in where there are clips to watch on the go, in streaming. Problem is it doesn’t work: a connection to the server is needed, and it turns out that server indicates time-out. Upload video is via MMS.
Old television, new television: There is room for both
Is TV dead? As many people who only use their computer for video like to say. I don’t think so. The TV and the PC are not the same platforms, showcasing the same contents, or providing the same kind of experience. They offer different experiences, on different devices, on via a closed network, one open. No large screen, no HD on the PC, no personal one-to-one watching, no downloading, on TV.
Despite impressive facts like knowing that every minute six hours of video is uploaded to YouTube service, there is actually a bright future for conventional television, even if audiences will be more fragmented. Much of the TV content does not exist online, and the Internet is not yet ready for TV as we know. What we have here is simply two different media. One-to-one Internet TV is, in my view, the fifth Media.