Happy Friday! Welcome to Issue 72 of Rerun by Axonista!
This week's Top Pick is TV[R]EV's annual review of the OTT space, chock full of insight and well worth a read.
Also this week Netflix tell us all why they don't care about ratings, Twitter continue announcing sports partners for their fledgling live streaming platform, the iTV Doctor Rick Howe has a prescription for better OTT, and we gaze into the future of VR storytelling.
Let's get straight to it!
Oh My God! What the F*#k! Over The Top: 2016
The folks at TV[R]EV's annual review of the OTT space, what they call 'Over The Traditional', comes with a deep dive into the smart data insights gained by Mr Robot's cross-platform premiere, and more than one dig at traditional TV ratings measurement.
An insightful glimpse into what the future of TV may hold, and great fun to read.
Fact: Reading this will make you smarter.
Future of TV
Why Netflix continues to not care about ratings
"The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us." - Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer, 2013
Back in 2013 Netflix had a $300m budget for original content. Fast forward three years later to 2016 and that budget has ballooned 20x to $6bn, accompanied by 54 Emmy nominations. And apparently even that's "not enough".
"There are too many mediocre, safe shows on your television," Sarandos said. "We're not looking to contribute to that."
Netflix aren't after 'safe' ratings drivers—although you will find plenty of that in their library—they're after the original, niche, even risky content like "Making a Murderer" that will foster communities and spark online discussion. They're after friends telling friends "Oh you have to check out 'Stranger Things' on Netflix". At the end of the day that's what brings in subscribers.
Of course this outlook may change in the future when they start selling their vast original content library to regional broadcasters. Perhaps by then, they’ll share their data.
The iTV Doctor is in! What we've learned so far
Official OTT Guru and Rerun friend, Rick Howe frequently interviews many of the top players in the TV industry.
In this post, Rick gives his mid year review on how to succeed at delivering an awesome viewing experience on OTT platforms.
OTT growth is slowing. We've picked up most of the heavy users--those who are tech-savvy enough to climb over all the walls we've put in front of them. But if we want to continue to grow, we have to get to everybody with content they want, at a reasonable price with a consumer-friendly user experience. We'll do that by putting the consumers first, and giving them what they want to buy, rather than what we have to sell.
Twitter links with Sky Sports to show Premier League highlights
Fresh from a slew of live sports / Twitter partnerships, this announcement with Sky Sports is of particular interest.
Sports rights are incredibly complex and region specific. For example, since the 1960s, the 3pm Premier League games are not televised in the UK, to encourage attendance at other football league matches played at this time. But in the Republic of Ireland, no such blackout applies.
Twitter users and Sky Sports subscribers in Ireland will also be able to see video content in real time from the Saturday 3pm games, which are traditionally not shown on TV.
Will Twitter's focus on live streaming of sports mean that it will increasingly have to provide region specific versions of its Twitter feed? What knock on effects will this have on the user experience for geo-blocked users?
Will the online 24/7 borderless social media giant become a fragmented video experience and more akin to a regional broadcaster? We live in interesting times!
Twitter to launch live streaming partnership for major league baseball and hockey
Twitter making streaming deals with the MLB and NHL seems like the natural next two boxes to check off (they already have existing partnerships with Wimbledon, the NFL, and the NBA).
What is worthing noting is that all of these agreements were made within the past year—yes, Twitter has made streaming deals with five of the world's most popular sports organisations in under eight months.
This deal with the MLB and NHL will allow Twitter to live stream out of market games across the US to Twitter users, even ones that are not signed in to an account.
How VR is changing storytelling forever
Technology has leapt forward too fast for storytellers to catch up. The language of VR has yet to be written.
Now that the technology for VR is 'here', the focus has very much turned to storytelling. Rollercoasters and jump-scares were fun, but now the audience is asking "what's next?". Most people can see the potential ahead, but there are a lot of questions that need to be answered in order to get there. It's a medium that's a combination of games, theatre and cinema; not better, but very different, and the result of the collaboration between storytellers and artists from all these different disciplines is going to be fantastic.
The year that virtual reality took over Comic-Con
"360-degree videos and VR have been slowly nosing their way into San Diego’s mecca of pop and geek culture, but in 2016 they took over the show entirely. Nearly every network and studio seemed to be touting some kind of VR-related experience."
In this article, a writer from The Verge discussed the explosion in VR at Comic-Con this past week.
He told tales of an American Horror Story installation that brought to life our darkest fears: acrophobia, claustrophobia, and being burned alive. It served about 2,500 fans a day.
Many of the fans were much more interested in stepping into the worlds of their favourite shows than they were in the VR experience itself, but that doesn't make the investment any less valuable for the entertainment corporations behind it all.
Dota 2 VR hub is the future of watching esports
Dota 2 is one of the biggest and most broadcasted esports titles, with close to 8 million active players, and a big reason for this is the strong support for spectating. Now its creator Valve has released a beta of its VR spectator hub. But what does this mean?
Essentially it puts a floating cinema screen in front of you, where the game is broadcast like normal, then you have a few smaller floating screens showing live stats, and life-size player avatars showing the realtime status of every player. The coolest feature is the live arena map, where you can get a birds-eye view of the action, zoom in for a closer look and basically teleport around inside the match as it's happening.
While it doesn't help newcomers make any more sense of what's going on, for Dota 2 fans it's hard to imagine a more immersive viewing experience than this.
- Oculus’ newest tool is for artists
- Apple is turning Carpool Karaoke into an Apple Music series
- 3D cinema with no glasses? MIT has done it
- Google launches Family Library
- Yahoo’s sale to Verizon ends an era for a web pioneer
'Mustard-Gate' and more: Colbert's 'Late Show' embraces Facebook
Sometimes catching a Fox News anchor pumping massive globs of mustard into an empty water bottle is all you need to justify a two-hour Facebook Live stream of a condiment station at the Republican National Convention.
Steven Colbert's 'Late Show' has been embracing Facebook Live during the Republican National Convention, but not how you'd expect... They set up undercover cameras beside a condiment station, a garbage can and on top of a roomba, broadcasting live to Facebook for hours at a time.
“We’re basically streaming a condiment station and half-a-million people are engaging with that on Facebook.” (Indeed, one commenter asked when “season two of Condiments Cam will come out?”)