Nowadays, there isn’t much you can’t stream online. But even though we all can’t seem to get enough entertainment, turns out none of us use online video streaming the same way. (And we might not be that satisfied when we do.)
Personally, we stream a lot of media, primarily movies. We usually have to go to multiple sources, Netflix, Hulu, SnagFilms, YouTube and even the Internet Archive to find everything we might be looking for. That, apparently, is not unusual.
How about you? Do you need multiple sources to meet your streaming needs?
Looks like when it comes to the battle of the sexes, things are streaming up. See who likes to do it where, when, and just how often — brought to you by M-GO.
App developers are targeting the smart TV platform as the next significant growth area as nearly 80% of smart-TV owners regularly use apps. App Development and Distribution Models details the app development process and monetization strategies for multiple platforms, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and connected cars.
“Smartphones have the highest penetration rate of app platforms at 60% of U.S. broadband households, but smart TV adoption will reach nearly 25% of all U.S. households in 2013,” said Heather Way, Senior Research Analyst, Parks Associates.
TV makers have their own app developer programs
“App developers are focusing on the smart TV platform for new apps, and TV manufacturers such as Samsung and LG already have their own app developer programs, which control app distribution and monetization.”
Samsung launched a new line of smart TVs at CES 2013, including a smart screen featuring apps from Netflix, Twitter, YouTube, Fox, and Spotify. Panasonic showed a smart TV controlled by a tablet-based app.
Parks Associates reports that among smart-TV app users, 43% use an app to watch video and 45% use an app to play games, and app developers are targeting smart-TV platforms as a growth area.
“Seventy-nine percent of smart TV owners are regular app users, but the use cases for TV apps are different than smartphones and tablets,” Way said. “TV viewing is a lean-back, shared experience, with apps as access points to complementary content, whereas smartphone app use is more personalized.
Apps will alter the TV-viewing experience by opening new avenues to discover content and also serve as means for content owners to push premium content to households.”
Here at the TechJournal, we have been using a Sony Blu-Ray player to connect our TV to the Internet. It is an extremely convenient way to get streaming Internet content onto your big flatscreen TV. We have noticed the unit delivers a new app every month or so.
It includes apps for Netflix, which we use often, and YouTube, Hulu, Snag Films, and many others.
Parks Associates notes that developers must leverage existing skill sets to break down technical and financial barriers of delivering content across multiple Internet-connected devices. Emphasis on cross-platform app development will continue to increase as connected cars are also emerging as significant app platforms.
Do you watch streaming movies on Netflix? A new Web site, the “Netflix ISP Speed Index,” gives consumers insight into which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide the best Netflix streaming experience.
The site provides an easy overview of the performance of ISPs in several of the countries Netflix is available in.
Updated on a monthly basis, the site allows for easy comparison of ISPs in a country as well as international comparisons. At launch the Netflix ISP Speed Index includes data for the U.S., Mexico, Ireland, U.K., Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
A few data points from the new Netflix ISP Speed Index, reflecting data for February:
At 3.35Mbps, Google Fiber in the U.S. provides the highest average Netflix streaming bitrate anywhere Netflix is available
After Google Fiber, Sweden’s Ownit delivers the highest average Netflix bitrate at 2.99 Mbps
Netflix members in Finland receive, on average, the highest bitrates, while members in Mexico have the slowest connections, on average
Scandinavia proves its reputation as a great broadband region, all ISPs in Denmark, Sweden and Finland delivered averages above 2Mbps
The Netflix ISP Speed Index is based on data from the more than 33 million Netflix members who view over 1 billion hours of TV shows and movies streaming from Netflix per month.
The listed speeds reflect the average performance of all Netflix streams on each ISP’s network and are an indicator of the performance typically experienced across all users on an ISP network.
Since our Sony Blu-Ray player streams Netflix movies directly to our TV, we see the download speed in the right corner. At it’s best, our Time Warner connection in the Research Triangle does very well, but it seems occasionally erratic. We’re not sure that the ISP, though.
When it comes to social media responsiveness, telecom brands T-Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA crush AT&T, according to the latest “Socially Devoted” report from Socialbakers (Q42012).
This Prague-based social media analytics company calculates which brands around the world are most and least responsive each quarter. T-Mobile USA comes out first in the US followed by Virgin Mobile USA.
At the same time, AT&T clocks in third least responsive.
Also, surprisingly, two of the world’s most notable social brands aren’t that social at all: Netflix is THE least “Socially Devoted” brand of all US brands, with a 4.41% worldwide response rate.
Starbucks, well known for its visibility on social media, is among the least socially devoted brands in the world with a 3.05% worldwide response rate.
Telecoms rank high globally
Separately, Socialbakers has found that telecom brands around the world — including Personal Argentina, Safaricom Kenya, Orange Polska, Telia, and Telenor Norge are also standouts when it comes to social media responsiveness. They all rank high on the Socialbakers scale when it comes to answering user questions on Facebook.
“Socially Devoted” brands, according to social media analytics company Socialbakers, are market leaders in their responsiveness.
Calculated based on how many questions are answered per quarter, the best brands answer at least 65% of all that they receive. Socialbakers developed the “Socially Devoted” designation in June 2012 as a benchmarking tool for brands in the U.S. and around the world. Beginning in 2013, Socialbakers will also measure interaction on Twitter.
Shift away from just counting fans
“In recent years there has been a shift away from brands simply seeking to collect the highest number of fans. What is important is how you interact and serve them. There is no point in having a page that offers no value to your fans beyond pushing photos of your products.
Your fans will most likely see your posts as spam, hide your feed and then your online marketing efforts are seen by no one. As we continue to measure social media responsiveness, the good news is that we are seeing brands recognize the potential impact of Facebook users and engagement on ROI and brand image,” says Jan Rezab , CEO of Socialbakers.
As household TV screens continue to increase in size, so do the sales and rentals of digital movies. According to Mintel’s latest research digital downloads, subscription streaming, and video-on-demand (VOD) sales of movies are expected to increase tenfold in the 10-year period 2007-17. From 2007-12, sales more than quadrupled from $1.3 billion to $5.5 billion.
“We live in a time of instant gratification and the idea of waiting for a movie to arrive in the mail or actually driving to a store to get one is an idea of the past,” says Billy Hulkower, senior technology analyst at Mintel.
“Increased acceptance of all intangible media, including music, photos, books and games is a driver with consumers increasingly acclimated to the immediacy of all digital formats.”
Streaming services gaining on DVDs
Traditional DVD rentals are still the most popular way to rent movies, with 32% of online consumers renting individual discs via this method in the past 30 days.
However, online streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Instant Video and pay TV (ie. pay-per-view or video-on-demand) are gaining on physical disc rental in popularity. A quarter of respondents say they have used online streaming in the past 30 days and 22% have used a pay TV method.
Streaming movies is more popular than using physical discs among 18-24 year olds showing that Millennials are the key demographic in the digital movie marketplace. Just more than half (51%) of 18-24s have rented a movie or TV show in the past 30 days via a monthly subscription method versus only 31% of all age groups.
Apple’s iTunes is the streaming leader
In addition, 55% of 18-24s rented via a streaming service compared to only 38% of all age groups.
According to Mintel, those who buy any type of digital movie are also more likely to purchase any type of physical movie and vice versa. Considering this, the most common basis for selecting one or the other is based on price—approximately one-third of respondents say they will buy either format depending on which is cheaper.
In spite of aggressive expansion on the part of Amazon into digital media, and digital video in particular, Apple’s iTunes is the clear leader in digital movie sales.
Six in 10 respondents who purchased a digital-store movie in the past 30 days, did so through iTunes, more than twice the share that did so at Amazon (25%) and three times as many as any other competitor.
Could Netflix be in for more trouble? Its competitors are scoring higher satisfaction levels even though consumers have the same basic complaint against all of them.
Although 81 percent of the ConsumerReports.org subscribers who used a streaming video service in the previous month used Netflix, rival services such as Vudu, Apple iTunes, and Amazon Instant Video all scored higher for overall satisfaction in Consumer Reports’ first comprehensive Ratings of video services.
Streaming video content directly from the Internet is emerging as the preferred choice for video viewing.
That is likely to increase as smart TVs and connected devices such as set top boxes and DVD players become ever more common. It’s much easier to stream movies on large screen TVs that way.
Fifty-two percent of the 15,277 ConsumerReport.org subscribers polled said they used a streaming video service in the previous month, compared to 47 percent who saw a movie at a theater, 43 percent who rented a DVD or Blu-ray disc, and 32 percent who used their cable provider’s video-on-demand service.
The full report is available online now at ConsumerReports.org and in the September 2012 issue of Consumer Reports, which goes on sale Tuesday, August 7th.
Poor movie selection the biggest gripe
The biggest gripe with Netflix’s streaming service was its limited selection of movies, especially the latest releases. This is a common problem with all-you-can-watch streaming services, a category that also includes Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus.
Fewer than one in five survey respondents said that they were highly satisfied with the choice of titles from those services.
However, the selection of titles available on pay-per-view streaming services such as Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, and Vudu received high marks from more than 60 percent of users.
Title selection biggest factor in satisfaciton level
“Our survey revealed that a healthy selection of titles is one of the biggest factors in overall satisfaction with video services, which is why disc rental services and pay-per-view streaming services scored the highest in our Ratings,” said Jim Willcox, Senior Electronics Editor, Consumer Reports.
The advantages of discs were clear in the Consumer Reports survey. Netflix’s disc-by-mail service and independent video stores were judged to have a more satisfying selection of titles, including current ones, than even the best streaming services.
Redbox kiosks were neck-and-neck with Netflix and independent stores in overall satisfaction, but fell short on selection. Survey respondents were not as impressed with Blockbuster stores, Blockbuster Express kiosks or Blockbuster Total Access disc-by-mail.
Have you purchased a smart TV or a connected device such as a DVD player or set top box that connects to the Internet? If so, which streaming video apps would be must-haves for you?
Smart TV manufacturers are hoping that the popularity of apps with smartphone and tablet users makes its way to the living room. Manufacturers and retailers are selling more and more televisions preloaded with Internet-connected functionality, frequently referred to as Smart TVs.
Internet ready devices that connect to home wireless networks are also popular, including many that cost a tenth of what smart TVs are currently going for. Most come with pre-loaded apps.
This provides an environment where consumers can use apps to do anything from surfing the Internet using a fully functional web browser, to streaming their favorite movies, TV shows and music right on their TV sets.
We’re not crazy about trying to do much browsing via the somewhat awkward methods used – such as typing with a remote control – similar to typing with a phone keyboard – but the built-in apps on our Sony Blu-ray player are a pleasure to use.
Streaming video apps most popular
Streaming video apps are the most popular apps for both Smart TV owners and consumers who don’t yet have a Smart TV.
Three of the top five “must have” apps are Netflix (Owners 47%/Non-owners 34%), YouTube (Owners 44%/Non-owners 31%) and Amazon Instant Video (Owners 34%/Non-owners 23%). Social media giant Facebook (Owners 35%/Non-owners 29%) and online radio leader Pandora (Owners 28%/Non-owners 18%) round out the top five.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,634 U.S. adults (ages 18 and over) surveyed online between May 7 and May 15, 2012 by Harris Interactive.
Younger adults (those 18-35) chose YouTube (Owners 57%) as their top “must have” app over the more traditional experience offered by Netflix (Owners 54%) and Amazon Instant Video(Owners 38%).
Potential barrier to purchase consideration
Almost three-quarters (73%) of non-Smart TV owners indicate that they are not that familiar (39%) or not at all familiar (33%) with Smart TV or Internet Connected TV, despite the fact that shipment data suggests that manufacturers are continuing to ship more and more Smart TVs.
This could be a major barrier to future purchase consideration, as only 7% of those who are not familiar with Smart TV are likely to purchase a Smart TV within the next 12 months.
Conversely, non-Smart TV owners with a greater level of familiarity are four times (4x) more likely to purchase a Smart TV, with 29% suggesting that they are likelyor very likely to purchase a Smart TV within the next 12 months.
“Younger adults desire a more social TV viewing experience,” says Manny Flores, Senior Vice President at Harris Interactive.”
He adds, “With the proliferation of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, younger adults are not only more tech savvy, but are accustomed to being able to share their online experiences with their friends and family. So why not add TV viewing to the list of online experiences to share?”
“As the TV becomes a more overall entertainment device, it is only a matter of time before we see the mainstream use of additional content apps, such as Facebook, being used on the TV,” added Flores.
“Yet, manufacturers and retailers evidently have to do a much better job of educating their consumers on what a Smart TV is and the benefits of a Smart TV experience. Increased familiarity appears to be the key to driving purchase consideration. Also, manufacturers need to hope that familiarity with smartphone and tablet apps translates into greater interest and adoption for apps that can be used on a bigger screen in the living room.”
TABLE 1 SMART TV MUST-HAVE APPS “Which of the following are “must have” apps for your Smart TV or Internet connected TV?”
Base: Smart TV owners
Vudu HD Movies
None of these
Note: Multiple responses allowed
TABLE 2 FAMILIARITY WITH SMART TVS “How familiar are you with Smart TV or Internet connected TV?”
Base: Do not have a Smart TV
NOT FAMILIAR (NET)
Not that familiar
Not at all familiar
Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding;
TABLE 3 LIKELIHOOD OF PURCHASING A SMART TV “How likely are you to purchase a Smart TV or Internet connected TV in the next year?”
Base: Do not have a Smart TV
Familiarity with Smart TV
NOT LIKELY (NET)
Not that likely
Not at all likely
Not at all sure
Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding
TABLE 4 SMART TV MUST-HAVE APPS “Which of the following are “must have” apps for your Smart TV or Internet connected TV?”
I get most of my money’s worth from streaming watch instantly movies or TV programs on Netflix, not from its DVD service.
It not only offers a continuing selection of movies old and new, it has a huge backlog of TV programs. So, if you get into a show like “Sherlock” on PBS’ Masterpiece Theater, you can catch up on the previous two seasons (and what a treat they are) on Netflix via instant streaming.
If you get into a show such as, say, “Battlestar Galactica,” you have four seasons to catch up on and that’s a lot of hours for the money.
A new report from Parks Associates says that Low cost and viewing flexibility give Netflix an advantage over pay-TV VOD and premium broadcast TV.
Netflix rates higher
The study, Choosing Content: Viewing Videofound Netflix Watch Instantly rates higher in customer satisfaction than premium broadcast TV because of these factors. Netflix also topped pay-TV VOD in terms of cost.
“Consumers can pay for a month of Netflix for about the same amount as for two pay-TV VOD movies,” said Brett Sappington, Director, Research, Parks Associates. “Parks Associates research shows consumers know the quality of the OTT service is not comparable to pay-TV quality, but the cost-benefit comparison is enough to affect their purchase decisions.”
The Netflix over-the-top (OTT) service also influences the decision processes of pay-TV consumers, raising the possibility of Watch Instantly cannibalizing pay-TV offerings. Parks Associates research found 16% of U.S. broadband consumers, when watching movies on VOD, consider instead using an online subscription service as an alternative.
Similarly, 17% of those watching TV programs on a premium channel like HBO consider using Netflix instead.
“Netflix is competitive against VOD and premium channels because it has a decisive edge in cost,” said John Barrett, Director, Consumer Analytics, Parks Associates.
Pay TV providers adopting their own services
“Its greatest weakness is picture quality, but there are times when the consumer will sacrifice quality for other considerations. Pay-TV providers need to develop alternative services that counter Netflix’s advantages in cost and flexibility.”
Personally, I don’t find the picture quality from Netflix is not a problem. HBO GO seems to stall during delivery quite a bit, but Netflix and Amazon Prime have both worked well on my big wide screen LCD set. Occasionally, Netflix digital transfers do leave much to be desired, but that’s not a delivery problem.
Pay-TV providers worldwide have adopted their own OTT services to combat independent services such as Netflix, but consumer awareness is low and few providers offer subscription OTT services.
Comcast offers an OTT subscription service exclusively to its pay-TV subscribers, and DISH Network offers an online service to its subscribers via Blockbuster. Verizon and Redbox are partnering to offer an over-the-top service later this year.
Just as an aside, Netflix seems to have recovered from its public relations disaster last year when it split its streaming and DVD services, raising prices. It’s subscriber numbers are rising again.
Facebook users don’t much care for its Timeline feature, which it touted much the way Steve Jobs did the first iPad.
A new study from Attensity, a provider of social analytics and engagement applications, says the results of its analysis of public reaction in social media to the new Facebook Timeline format for profile pages, shows an overwhelmingly negative reaction to the Timeline feature.
Using Attensity Analyze, the company’s social analytics application, it processed 138,572 public comments posted on Facebook, Twitter and blogs over a six-week period. The results, revealed that 93 percent of comments contain negative sentiment toward Timeline
Shocked by the degree of frustration
“We were rather shocked at the degree of frustration expressed by Facebook users toward the new Timeline format,” said Rebecca MacDonald, vice president of marketing at Attensity. “We knew from anecdotal evidence that many users —both individuals and businesses— were unhappy with it, but the results generated by Attensity Analyze show a degree of negative sentiment we hadn’t anticipated, given that Facebook is still in the process of rolling out Timeline to individual users.”
I heard the lamentations of some of my Facebook friends, who heartily disliked Timeline from the start, but like many of us seem to be just ignoring it now.
Facebook has a history of forcing changes on its users, who conveniently provide all of its content and all those people marketers want to target.
But your opinion apparently does not matter to Facebook. You can’t choose not to use it’s Timeline.
We know what’s best, like it or not
The attitude of many free online services and social networks seems to be, “We’ll give you what we think is right for you regardless of what you want.”
Facebook is not alone in this. Google is forcing its misquided ultra stark brilliant white glare model of internet design on your eyes across all its properties. Whether you want it or not, you’re going to enjoy Larry Page’s idea of how the web should look.
Google apparently believes it can do no wrong and this ugly, glaring, eye-pain of a design just suits everyone whether they care for it or not. Google+ – which I like personally – gets almost daily complaints from photographers about the black bars it inserts like the TV letterbox format next to photos that don’t fill the frame. It’s another ugly solution.
But you and I don’t get a say that matters. You may complain, but the new web business method seems to be:
SHOVE IT DOWN THEIR THROAT!
The millions and billions of people using our services will just quietly accept whatever we tell them to.
You shouldn’t have any say in the look and feel and design and usefulness of the services we provide, just because we’re all making billions of dollars from your content, searches, game playing and daily interactions, that doesn’t mean we think you actually should decide anything.
You’re a dollar sign to us.
We decide what’s best for you.
Welcome to Big Brother. He’s waiting to take you in his big welcoming arms. He’ll decide everything for you. Just sit back and relax.
Mark Zukerberg and Larry Page and lots of other technorati know what’s best for you.
Sit back, take what they tell you to.
Privacy? That’s an outdated concept. Share everything with everyone.
That makes it so much easier for us to market to you. We can’t make money selling your information to anyone who pays if you hold it back. Share! We’ll protect your privacy. Except when it’s to our financial advantage not to.
When you set up social sign-in, make it so that the app we sign into can post on Facebook as us, access any of our data or friends, send us unlimited marketing email, and otherwise abuse trust we don’t actually have in unknown third parties.
Then there is the new rising star, Pinterest. Have you read its policy about the images you post? If they get sued, you pay. From the start, you cover their legal fees and any judgments. Makes me warying of posting much of anything there, personally.
Listen, Facebook and Twitter sign-in apps: if you want to be me, you have to contribute to my monthly mortgage payment. Pay your part of my taxes. Give me a piece of the action.
Do I sound disturbed? I already know how all this works and my privacy is probably shot. But I suspect payback may be coming down the information highway like big rig out of control. That may manifest as legal action by Congress, surprising changes in the fortunes of big players, or gradual shifts to less autocratic services that do not dictate how we use them.
I see startups in the social media space going that route, and while non have gained Facebook like traction yet, they may.
Not a safe place for social media companies
I don’t think the Internet is a safe place for any company just yet. A My Space gets displaced in a year or two. AOL goes from dominant player to struggling survivor. Yahoo! is more and more a once-was. The Internet loves sea-change, overpowering waves of what’s new and exciting.
One recent study suggests that social consumers “Don’t seem all that loyal in Social. They seem to be increasingly active, trying many services and loyal only to the extent that a solution delivers what they want.”
Forcing your own preconceived ideas on people is not going to work in the long run. Facebook got away with a lot of it so far. So has Google, I suppose.
I suspect Google will be fine, although I personally intend to keep telling them forcing eye-strain on me is not good business. Facebook, I think, may actually see a serious decline in use at some point.
If you don’t give people what they really want, someone else will. There are other cautionary business tales that suggest folks do not necessarily just roll over for corporate decisions any more: Bank of America and other financial institutions learned that when they tried to add fees to debit cards.
Netflix had disasterous results when it split its streaming and DVD services, effectively doubling its prices for people who want both and ditched plans to make streaming a separate business, forcing people to recreate separate accounts.
IPO or no, Facebook is going to lose ground if it does not pay attention to what its users want, not just what Facebook wants. Besides, Mark Zuckerberg is not old enough to be my Big Brother.
A record 36 of the top 100 online retailers achieve the “threshold for excellence” on the annual Top 100 E-Retail Satisfaction Index from customer experience analytics firm ForeSee, with Amazon setting the standard.
Scores of 80 or higher on ForeSee’s 100-point scale are considered superior customer satisfaction performances. In 2010 and 2011, 28 websites achieved this distinction, while in 2009 only six websites cleared the mark. The Index in aggregate plateaus, scoring 78 for a third consecutive year.
“We’re measuring the biggest players in the game, and they just keep getting better and better. Because customer satisfaction, as we measure it, is predictive, that’s a good sign not only for the consumer experience, but for the bottom line of internet retailers as well,” said study author Larry Freed, President and CEO of ForeSee.
Pressure on other retailers to keep-up
“If there’s a negative spin to these positive trends, it is that this puts even more pressure on all other e-retailers to keep up or catch up.”
Here at the TechJournal, we do much of our retail buying online, so we’ve dealt with numerous online customer service departments. Anything that pressures them to step up the quality of their service is a plus.
E-commerce stalwart Amazon continues to set the bar higher, climbing three points to 89, and four points higher than the second highest scoring websites, Apple.com (85) and QVC.com (85). Have you had good experiences with Amazon? In our dealings with them they have been quick to solve problems (such as replacing a damaged Kindle, which they did overnight, and resending a lost package).
Apple is also one of the most improved sites from last year, surging five points as did RueLaLa.com. Foot Locker (79) and JCrew.com (78) each jump four points, and 11 e-retailers improved three points. Netflix is four points down from a year ago, but it regained two points from the Index’s holiday season measure.
“Amazon continues to set the standard for e-retailers. The truth is that every consumer who has visited Amazon knowingly or unknowingly benchmarks all other experiences against it, and why wouldn’t they? They do everything and they do it well,” said Freed.
Trouble for Netflix?
“That is going to spell even bigger trouble for Netflix. The two companies used to vie for number one. Now Netflix is floundering just as Amazon is making deeper moves into streaming video and even original programming. Netflix regained some lost ground, but it’s no longer a contender.”
“Highly satisfied website visitors are nearly 70 percent more likely to recommend the website to others than dissatisfied customers. In the modern world of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, it is even more imperative to provide the best experience possible to your customers because any experience has huge potential to be amplified, for better or for worse,” said Freed.
Open Matters CEO Barry Libert told the Association of Executive Search Consultants today that social and mobile networks are “eating the world,” creating massive risks (and potential rewards) for many organizations and governments.
However, boards of directors and corporate leaders don’t fully comprehend these new technologies, creating enormous volatility in corporate performance and leaders. This spells trouble for many corporations that have embraced today’s digital realities.
Too many boards are “digitally deficient”
“Too many boards are digitally deficient—they underestimate the power of social, mobile and cloud technologies,” said Libert, a strategy and technology adviser to boards and their leaders.
“According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 81% of boards are ill-equipped to deal with today’s risks.”
He added, “If boards don’t attract and retain digital directors and leaders to their ranks and bolster their knowledge in this area, social networks will fundamentally disrupt their businesses and industries creating massive risks that they will not be able to mitigate.”
Libert points to such companies as Netflix, Bank of America, GoDaddy, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation as examples where boards learned what can happen when boards and leaders don’t appreciate the size and growing power of social and mobile networks.
In “Seven Steps for Board Success in the Facebook Age,” an article recently published in Knowledge@Wharton, Libert contends that in order to adapt to technology’s revolutionizing impact, boards and their executives must embrace new consumerized business models to ensure their long-term viability.
Seven steps boards must embrace
His article points to seven steps that boards of directors must embrace to become more in line with social media’s risks and rewards.
Build and foster your employee and customer social networks.
Recruit corporate directors who understand today’s technologies.
Implement open, collaborative processes to innovate and grow.
Require directors and executives to embrace today’s technologies.
Measure and manage what matters to insure success.
Make business personal. After all, it is the social age.
Implement recognition systems that motivate all your stakeholders.
“In addition to technology know-how, “Libert added, “boards of directors need to embrace new leadership skills – emotional and social intelligence – because their companies are networked both outside and inside a company’s four walls. Therefore, directors and leaders need not just the technology skills, but the leadership capabilities to deal with these external networks. Ultimately, networks are just as valuable if not more as any balance sheet item (like fixed assets).”
Libert summarizes today’s reality simply: “Leaders must understand that they live in a world where social and mobile networks are bigger than most of the countries and companies on the planet. The result: Boards and executives need to become ‘network-centric’ if they don’t want to follow in the same path as Kodak, Blockbuster and Borders.”
“Now more than ever,” Libert concluded, “boards need a steady and decisive knowledge of today’s technology realities, the growing power of social and mobile networks on their business and ultimately the risk and competitive advantages they create.”
Are DVD rentals by mail on the way out as streaming media becomes more common? Interpret, a market research firm, says that Netflix subscribers using streaming content only increased substantially with TV programs making up a larger proportion of what people are watching.
Interpret’s “2012 for Netflix: Where It Can Succeed and Where It Can Fail,” report analyzes three key factors that will be in play to determine Netflix’s outlook for the year.
The report examines the shifting entertainment consumption trends among Netflix subscribers and how these relate to Netflix’s future strategy.
According to Interpret’s New Media Measure, the share of subscribers that only consume Netflix content via streaming has increased by 72% from the 4th Quarter of 2010 to the 4th Quarter of 2011.
Television has become a larger portion of subscribers’ streaming content, as the number of TV shows they have streamed online has increased 10% over the past year; on the other hand, the number of movies streamed online has decreased 6.4%.
“Netflix’s venture into the world of original programming is a good fit for its television-enthusiastic subscribers,” said Stephanie Sutton, Interpret analyst and author of the report.
“And despite the fact that consumers are streaming fewer movies than a year ago, there is still strong demand for new content. The addition of recent movie releases, along with the current and upcoming original programming, can help Netflix retain customer satisfaction and, more importantly, its customers.”
Click here for more information about this report.
If content is King, then distribution of that content is King Kong, says Grab Media’s CEO Alvin Bowles.
Dulles, VA-based Grab Media, formerly Grab Networks, evolved from from the merger of Anystream and Voxant in September of 2008.
Grab Media is a leading premium video distribution company. It connects premium video content from a wide collection of professional sources and brand-name advertisers to ideal viewers. Marketers rely on Grab Media to position their message in front of large-scale, engaged audiences, so they can focus on brand promotion.
The company is one of 60 innovative firms presenting to investors representing billions in capital at the Southeast Venture Conference today (Feb. 29) and tomorrow (March 1) at Tysons Corner, VA. Bowles says the company is interested in strategic relationships, not just raising growth capital. “We can go bigger,” he says.
The 32-employee company has an overall audience 350 million video views by 27 million uniques a month from 80 to 100 million short video streams and was cited as the second fastest growing online video firm by comScore last year.
The company gets video content from180 media firms such as Martha Stewart, Yahoo and Conde Nast. It uses only professionally produced short videos – no user created content.
It provides 140,000 Web sites with a one-line of code video player to stream relevant content with advertising from movie firms, HBO, and other clients. “We stream the right content on the right site next to the right advertising,” Bowles says. It shares revenue from the advertising with the video producers and the publishers.
The whole concept is similar to TV syndication of shows, in which a station licenses content and sells advertising against it.
“The value proposition is about engagement, selling contextual relevance, behaviorial targeting and psychographic profiling,” Bowles says. Any ordinary content – sports, weather, news – is enhanced by video, he notes.
No squirrels on skates
He emphasizes that he’s not talking about “The squirrel on skates running across your living room” variety of user produced videos. “People will watch professionally produced video,” he says. “Whether they’re video-snacking or watching full-length shows.”
That’s why Google’s YouTube, Netflix, and others are launching original content channels.
It’s a huge market – estimated at $3 billion a year, with great growth potential, particularly in mobile. “Mobile is the only medium where there is more ad demand for quality content than there is supply.”
Only a few people are doing video the right way, Bowles says. What is the right way?
Entrepreneurs keep coming up with new technologies, new web sites, new ideas, but what they really should be thinking about is evolving some new business models, says Eric Bleeker, Motley Fool tech analyst who oversees the site’s editorial team.
Bleeker joins tech luminaries such as Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph, OpenTable founder Chuck Templeton, National Venture Capital Association president Mark Heesen, National Seed and Venture Funds CEO Jim Jaffe, and NEA general partner Harry Weller, among many others participating in the Southeast Venture Conference in Tysons Corner, VA Wednesday and Thursday.
Right now, Bleeker says, “So many platforms are coming out that are dependent upon advertising. Yeah, they can get users, but what sort of platform lets you extract revenue from them?”
Zynga piggybacks on Facebook and other ironies
It’s ironic, he says, that game company Zynga can piggyback on a platform like Facebooks and monetize it at twice the rate Facebook does itself.
Similarly, the New York Times recently ran a piece on data mining that another news site picked up, put a more salacious headline on, and “Gets 50 times the pageviews,” says Bleeker.
The online music service Pandora, “is used on mobile 70 percent of the time, but only gets one percent of its revenue from mobile.” So new business models are necessary.
Bleeker believes quality journalism can still do well – pointing to “The Economist,” which is still managing to grow its subscriber base (and advertises widely online). Many local news venues may get squeezed out of the revenue streams if they don’t find new ways to make money, though, he suspects.
If it can’t command a premium, bye, bye
“If in the end, your product can’t command a premium, I’m sorry, but you’re going under.”
Quite a few companies are bridging that gap – along with many not doing it so well, he says. Companies with what appear to be successful models?
LinkedIn, he says has found a route: “Advertising is now a much smaller piece of their revenue than packaging business data,” he says.
OpenTable is another great example of an online firm that’s working, he suggests.
One problem he sees with many startups in the digital space – including mobile and hyper local, is that if they are ad dependent, the only exit solution they may have is to be acquired by the large tech firms sitting on billions in cash: Microsoft, Google, and Apple.
Apple, in fact, sits right at the top of the heap. “Apple is the big dog with the most money, but they don’t buy much,” Bleeker says. “They buy some intellectual property, but it’s not in their culture to bolt stuff on.”
That presents a difficulty if “The dominant player isn’t willing to buy.”
Apple, though, could be boxing itself in a bit with its emphasis on great design, the chunk of fees it takes for apps sold in its store, and its past DNA unless it finds ways to keep its customers. “They’re thinking about ways to lock folks in,” says Bleeker.
On the other hand, some estimates say that up to a mind-blowing third of global IT spending could be for computers (including tablets and Macs) in three years,” Bleeker says.
Sectors where Bleeker sees relatively unsung innovation is in networking and security, particularly from smaller firms. Catch what he has to say at SEVC later this week.
UPDATED – Fewer than 40 seats are left for the Southeast Venture Conference in Tysons Corner, VA. Here’s four reasons you may want to grab one of them.
Learn from top entrepreneurs like Netflix’s co-founder and OpenTable’s founderEntrepreneurs Marc Randolph, co-founder and initial CEO of Netflix and Chuck Templeton, founder OpenTable, changed the concept of dinner and a movie. Their companies transformed how people interact with the entertainment and dining industries. Come share a drink and a meal with them and hear them speak about the strategies that led them to success and where they are investing their time and money for the next big thing.
Take in presentations by 60 companies driving regional growth and technology advancementWith a record number of presenting companies at SEVC, you have unparalleled access to the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast’s brightest stars. See the list of presenting companies here.
Learn the latest strategies and industry trends discussed by noted subject matter expertsOver 40 leading industry insiders and venture capital professionals will provide lively discussion and debate on the latest trends for M&A, Fundraising Strategies, IPOs, Venture Capital, Valuations, Hot Investment Sectors, Global Growth and more.
Networking, Networking, Networking… Did we say Networking?Whether it’s setting formal meetings with investors and executives through our attendee networking platform or making lasting connections through hours of networking breaks, meals and receptions – SEVC is designed to help you connect with leading venture capitalists and investors from around the US, peers and leading entrepreneurs.
Hundreds of venture capitalists, private equity investors, entrepreneurs, senior technology executives and others from the innovation community will be networking in force at this year’s SEVC.
Register today to nab one of the remaining seats at the region’s premiere venture forum.
Amazon.com is planning a video subscription service to compete with Netflix, according to Reuters.
The news service reports that Amazon Inc. is about to disclose a web video deal with Viacom Inc. that is one of the final steps in its move to compete with the Netflix streaming video service.
Viacom owns TV shows and movies from MTV, Nickelodeon and Parmount Studios.
Amazon has already inked deals for its Prime Instant Video service with CEBS, Time Warner, News Corp.’s Fox, Sony, Coimcast’s NBC Universal and Walt Disney.
We purchased Amazon’s $79 Prime service after our Kindle Fire free trial ran out. We’ve found the free video offerings thin and the $1.99 an episode pricing for TV shows a bit much. We can rent a DVD with 2-4 shows for that or less at the local Blockbuster across the street. The Prime books you can borrow free are similarly very limited. The free tw0-day shipping is nice, don’t know if it’s worth $79 a year.
Still, Amazon is hot to create a separate stand alone video service available to non-Prime members.
Amazon says the number of videos bought or rented from Amazon Instant Video downloads doubled in the 4th quarter of 2011.
Lots of firms are vying for your video streaming dollars. Others getting into the lucrative video streaming market include Verizon, which has formed a joint venture with Coinstar Inc.s Redbox kiosk rental service to offer streaming and DVD rentals by year’s end.
Google Inc. also has plans for a video streaming service.
Facebook is expected to file for a $5 billion (or more) IPO this week, reports saying sometime today (Wednesday, Feb. 1). Here a Forbes video rundown on the possibility of the most anticipated IPO of the year and likely to be one of the largest in history:
AOL sees 10 percent gains in ad revenue
Is AOL finally on the right track? The one-time major force in the Internet world has had a rough time for years now. CEO Tim Armstrong’s strategy of making it a media powerhouse with ad revenue replacing its once lucrative Internet access business.
The company reported a Q4 2011 increase in ad revenue of 10 percent, primarily from gains provided by Patch, it’s local news blog effort. Still, the company saw its overall revenue drop 3 percent to $576.8 million, from $596 million in the same period last year.
It’s big acquisitions have not fared so well. It’s $315 million acquisition of The Huffington Post and $25 million TechCrunch buy have not proved all that wise so far. After TechCrunch’s founder Michael Arrington and some of its top talent departed, the site lost much of its bite and luster, it seems to us. Huffington Post has serious competition from The Daily Beast, which we like better, personally.
An old law, the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), prohibits companies like Netflix or Blockbuster from sharing a person’s movie-rental history. Although the House passed an updated version of VPPA, some Senate Democrats are balking at allowing streaming media services such as Netflix to share user rental histories on social media such as Facebook.
Those questioning the wisdom of passing the updated House bill include Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who also authored the 1988 VPPA act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) that drew enough protests to halt its progress. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) chair of the subcommittee hearing considering the revised House bill, questioned the bill’s clarity.
From some of the things we’ve read that Sen. Leahy has said in regard to the SOPA and PITA acts, we’re not sure he doesn’t need a remedial course in digital technologies and the Internet economy.
You can hear Marc Randolph, co-founder of Netflix, in person at the upcoming 2012 Southeast Venture Conference in Tysons Corner, VA, Feb. 29-March 1.
Despite the brouhaha last year over Netflix splitting its streaming and DVD rental services, effectively doubling the cost of having both, the company posted better than expected Q4 results this week.
Netflix needed the boost. It saw its stock price slide 60 percent after the price hike and a failed attempt to split itself into two companies last year.
But Netflix earned revenue of $876 million in Q4, compared with $596 million in the same period the year before, although net earnings actually dropped to $41 million or 73 cents a share compared with $47 million and 87 cents a share a year ago.
Despite a loss of 800,000 subscribers in Q3, the company saw Q4 subscriber numbers rise to 24.4 million, up from 23.7 million last year.
The company faces competition from Amazon, Hulu, and other streaming video sources.
We find Netflix particularly useful to watch those novelistic TV series, especially when they’re available to stream. We caught Downton Abbey, Spartacus, and a bevy of older BBC productions that way.
Now here’s a bold statement: three-quarters of all video channels will be web-born and bred in this decade, said Robert Kyncl, the head of global partnerships for YouTube, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
He said the web would be the top channel for entertainment distribution within the next ten years.
He also predicted that 90 percent of web traffic would be video soon.
YouTube, which boasted a trillion hits in 2011 and expects an even bigger year ahead, is investing $100 million in original web programming.
Netflix is also planning to develop original content. If you’re looking for some personal insight into the Netflix world, co-founder and former CEO, Marc Randolph is a featured speaker at the upcoming TechMedia event, the 6th annual Southeast Venture Conference.
According to a recent report, YouTube viewers spend an average of 2 hours andd 52 minutes a month watching videos on the site, while Netflix viewers watch 10 hours a month.
All of this squares with our own habits: we watch more online and streaming video almost daily – not least because there is lots more of it. YouTube’s original programming has grown by leaps and bounds. The attention some successful YouTube producers are having in attracting audience and making money is sure to inspire more people to try their hand at becoming video stars.
YouTube itself is attempting to nurture that with grants and educational programs.
Premium channel features such as HBO-GO, which allow subscribers to the service to stream HBO movies, series or docs from anywhere and on any device, will kick up the number of people streaming video content even more.
We still suspect, however, that the increasing use of bandwidth hogging video will prompt carriers to attempt tiered pricing based on usage, although previous attempts met with immediate and intense criticism.