This week saw the return of NAB Show in Las Vegas. We were there of course, along with 103,443 attendees from 161 countries! Here's Multichannel's round up of news from NAB of which there was quite a bit, spanning OTT, IPTV and smart TVs.
We have tons of other stories that caught our eye this week, including a blog post from our own Lorna Buttimer on the implications of Google Earth VR for video content discovery.
Let's get to it!
Google Earth VR - out of this world!
At Rerun, we've been busy playing around with VR experiences at lunchtime with our new Oculus Touch controllers.
In this blogpost, our Product Researcher Lorna, shares her thoughts on Google Earth VR, and its implications for the future of video content discovery and education.
Lessons from the story of WeChat
WeChat’s blazing success is currently concentrated in China, but despite this, everyone in the Western world has heard of WeChat. The service has inspired a new category of 'messaging as a platform', which the likes of Apple’s iMessage and Facebook’s Messenger have taken inspiration from.
Anu Hariharan catalogues the rise and success of WeChat and highlights some insightful observations:
- WeChat defies the popular belief that growth is not just about new user subscriptions. Instead WeChat thinks about growth as increasing the value of the platform. For instance, they focus on the number and type of tasks that WeChat can perform in the everyday lives of its users.
- WeChat does not play favourite with features. It believes a good product should encourage users to complete tasks quickly and efficiently, and then exit.
- WeChat believes in subtly monetising. The messaging platform introduced native ads to its Moments feature. To reduce the impact on user experience, WeChat limited the number of native ads shown to one per day. In contrast, Facebook has a limit of one ad per 10 posts in its News Feed.
Future of TV
A struggling ESPN lays off many on-air figures
Yesterday, ESPN announced that close to 100 employees would lose their jobs. Looking at the aftermath, many of the positions cut weren't only behind-the-scenes like in ESPN's 2015 downsizing. Lots of well-known on-air talent were also included in this round.
Expensive longterm contracts for sports broadcasting rights, a stagnation in TV ad revenues and a drop in subscriber numbers of almost 12% since 2011, are all contributors to ESPN's struggles. Here it's compared to "a newspaper-like revenue collapse" at the hands of digital news. So...
They’ve decided ... to change their approach to content and rely more heavily on digital; this has enabled them to let go of a big chunk of their talent base.”
ESPN has made huge developments in their mobile app and also prioritized different outlets for news such as social media. But hidden under the need for digital is a full-blown necessity for distribution by ESPN. Robert A. Iger says it himself:
You have to be willing to either create or experience some distribution as we migrate from what has been a more traditionally distributed world.
More than half of young people watch illegal streams of live sports, study finds
The scale of the challenges facing sports broadcasters has been made clear in recent studies by SMG Insight, and Nielsen Sports 360.
SMG Insight's survey confirmed long held suspicions that viewing habits among younger people have changed dramatically from their parents’ generation.
Research into the viewing habits of “millennials”, those aged between 18 and 24, has found piracy has become normalised among this generation while the take-up for traditional subscription services is far less than among older viewers
Nielsen Sports 360 found that teenagers and millennials are more likely to watch live sports in the background while doing something else, such as doing chores, talking with family and friends, or browsing online.
At Rerun we think the challenges facing live sports affect not just rights holders, but also sports sponsors, athletes and ticket holders. If the entire sports industry is not proactive there will be an entire generation of young people who do not give live sports attention and consider pirated sports content the norm.
ABC affiliate deal makes it easier to livestream local channels
ABC has signed deals with 160 television stations to have local content streamed on multiple platforms.
Ultimately, this means 90 percent of all TV-equipped households will soon be able to stream content from their local affiliates through cable, satellite and app services.
An increase in live streaming of local channels, is exciting because it opens up a ton more possibilities for interactive OTT with a local, rather than national flavour. Although this is a large development for TV and streaming viewers, Disney and ABC will likely still need to develop their own distribution channels. They will need to become disruptors of their own traditional TV industry along the lines of DirecTV Now and Youtube TV.
Bridge the trust gap: Why ad exchanges need to be more like Amazon and Airbnb
A survey by Marketing Sherpa found that 80 percent or more of U.S. internet users place faith in print and television ads that promote the various products and services they’re looking to purchase.
But there is a glaring caveat when it comes to digital advertising: Only 39 percent of those same respondents claimed to have any trust in banner ads. Likewise, only 39 percent said they found mobile ads credible.
What's the cause of this lack of trust? Recent events point towards the positioning of ads against controversial content, but here at Rerun we think the problem is older and more nuanced.
When watching TV or reading a magazine, there is a clear format and context to the ads you see. There are few, if any, surprises. However, with digital advertising, there is no such standardisation. Browsing the web can often feel like navigating a minefield, with constant pop-ups, hidden autoplaying videos, content-blocking ads and invasive tracking.
The relatively higher price of print & TV ads tends to filter out the low-quality, spam-like ads from ever appearing. However, on the web, the barrier to entry is much lower.
The best virtual reality from the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival
Having stormed this year's Sundance festival as part of its New Frontier initiative, VR has also established itself as a memorable mainstay at the Tribeca Film Festival and this year was no exception.
Adi Robertson of The Verge concedes that VR is "far from what anyone would call an established medium". That said, the format is producing a rich variety of new work.
Robertson, helpfully, has produced her own categories for what she experienced at the festival and picks winners and honourable mentions in documentary, narrative design, interactive design, live action, animation, installation and innovation.
Alien: Covenant 'In Utero' bursts on to Oculus Rift
The chest-burster scene in the original Alien film is an iconic piece of cinema. The raw sense of shock and panic extended even to the actors, who weren't told it was going to happen. It's since become a mainstay of the series, including the newest entry 'Alien: Covenant'.
In a bid to cause some more shock for Alien fans, Ridley Scott’s VR subsidiary RSA has released 'In Utero' for Oculus Rift. It allows you to experience the vicious 'birth' of an Alien but, with a twist, from the Alien's point of view. Not one for the squeamish, but it's a great example of the kind of new experience and perspective VR can bring to classic Hollywood franchises.
- Netflix breaks into China with iQiyi deal
- Twitter is planning to stream live video 24/7
- Channel 4 allows brands to personalise ads with people’s names
- Instagram is growing faster than ever and now has 700 million users
- Sky brings Now TV on-demand service to Ireland
Irish television adverts preserved, digitised and viewable
Looking for a strong dose of nostalgia? Look no further than the Irish Film Institute's IFI Player website, which now houses over 200 adverts that were broadcast on Irish television from the 1960's to the 1980's.
Launched this week, the 18-month project has been a huge undertaking with 8,000 rolls of film being salvaged.
As much a social history of how Irish people lived from the 1960's to the 1980's as it is a trip down memory lane, the project is a masterclass in preservation.