viewing of video clips fell between 2012 and 2013. Demand for live content is
outpacing VOD. Content
costs for pure over-the-top is becoming an issue. Netflix is spending a
tremendous amount on content, very near revenues. This is all according to
Cisco’s Leszek Izdebski, who led a discussion about the meaning of “premium”
video at the second annual Entertainment Technology in the Internet Age conference
at Stanford University.
Leszek asked his
panelist what consumers think of the “premium experience.”
Anand Banwasi of Google said it was meaningless.
“If you look at two, three, four years from now, I don’t even know if the
phrase ‘premium content’ will exist. Creators can emerge from anywhere. How do
you say it’s premium or not premium? If audiences are joining and responding to
it, that’s content.”
Jeffrey Thompson of RNN TV said, hey, not so fast. RNN is a regional network
with 7 million homes in New York City carried by Comcast and FiOS. RNN produces
just under 300 hours of content a week, he said.
Thompson said the premium experience amounted to “broadcast quality, linear
quality, across the creative landscape—whether its live or scripted.”
Anthony Citrano of Verizon Edgecast said speed of delivery is also a
“Does it start when I want it to start?,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean
4K, because you don’t need 4K on an iPad.”
Thompson said his biggest headache as a traditional TV provider is what to do
about multiscreen delivery. He talked about his young daughter swiping at the
TV screen as if it were an iPad.
Mark Young of NBCU’s Fandango added that younger viewers are using two or
three screens at a time and not doing the same thing on each of them.
Izdebski asked about the shattering of traditional release windows.
Young said the studios are doing pre-releases along with released the
soundtrack and the companion game in a bundle.
Banwasi said Disney leveraged highjacked “Frozen” clips as a marketing
“Disney could have easily blocked everything on the Internet, but it didn’t.
The movie peaked at the box office in the third or fourth week,” he said.
Izdebski asked if OTT is cannibalizing TV.
“Where’s the money going to come from for OTT. Consumers and advertisers have a
finite amount of money for entertainment?”
Banwasi said it is indeed coming out of non-online avenues, including print and
Citrano said part of the problem there is that too many media outlets are
taking what they did in print and putting it online.
Izdebski asked what can be done for advertisers trying to develop multiplatform
There are no simple answers, Citrano said.
“Research indicates the vast majority of actions are accidental, so it’s hard
to measure the intent of a viewer,” he said.
For decades, advertising has been a function of reach, Google’s Banwasi said, “but
they haven’t been able to measure what they get from reach. That’s where online
can close the gap from being reach with premium content to something more
engaging with fans.”
Online still has a ways to go in terms of engaging fans, Citrano said. “It boils down cookies: If
I buy an air-conditioner, I don’t need another one tomorrow.”
Izdebski shared an anecdote about producer at South-by-Southwest who was asked
how to get a movie noticed. He said start the film title with the letter “A.”
Young agreed that breaking through the noise was a challenge. He said NBCU was
trying with social media. It cut deal with Twitter to have buy buttons on
Fandango movie cards.
Banwasi said consumers would use a combination of recommendation and discovery.
Influencers. That was Citrano’s take. What friends say.
One area where traditional media still has it over OTT is live, RNN’s Thompson
“When you ask what’s missing in an OTT environment, you start looking at live
news, live sports... Disney will put 20 channels of live streaming together,
and this has been a gap.”
Live is a huge challenge, Citrano agreed, “because you never know what’s out
Izdebski noted that the first World Cup game broke the Internet.
When 10 million people hit the
stream… it is a massive infrastructure challenge,” Verizon’s Citrano said. “Consumers
have increasing expectations for speed, quality and mobility; to pick up an
iPad anywhere in the world and watch a live stream 5,000 miles away.”
Challenges remain, he said.