Displaying items by tag: content

US tech giant signs content agreement with Samsung

Written on Tuesday, 08 January 2019 09:22

US technology behemoth Apple has signed a new agreement with Samsung in relation to its streaming and content services in an effort to offset a decline in iPhone sales. The deal brokered between Apple and the South Korean conglomerate will enable the use of iTunes streaming services on Samsung smart TVs.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Asia Pacific OTT revenue to hit $24 billion by 2022

Written on Sunday, 06 August 2017 07:54

Asia Pacific OTT (over-the-top) revenues from TV episodes and movies on platforms such as Netflix will reach $24.41 billion by 2022, according to Digital TV Research, which is triple the $8.27 billion recorded in 2016. The total will increase by nearly $3 billion in 2017 alone, the report says.

China will command half of the OTT revenues for the 22 countries covered in the Asia Pacific OTT TV and Video Forecasts report by 2022, increasing from just over a third of the 2016 total. China and Japan together will account for two-thirds of the region’s total revenues by 2022.

Advertizing revenues on OTT sites and SVOD (subscription video on demand) revenues are running neck-to-neck, the report says. SVOD will be the leader in 2017 and 2018, but AVOD (ad-based video on demand) will regain the crown from 2019, it claims. China will supply 61 percent of the region’s AVOD revenues by 2022 – or $7.27 billion.

Asia Pacific SVOD revenues will increase from $3,388 million in 2016 to 9,090 million in 2022, the report says. China will overtake Japan to become the SVOD revenue leader in 2017.

Digital TV Research forecasts 234 million SVOD subs by 2022, up from 91 million in 2016. China will have 139 million SVOD subs (59 percent of the region’s total) in 2022. India and Japan will together account for another 50 million, leaving only 44 million divided between the remaining 19 countries.

The report concludes: A quarter of the region’s TV households will subscribe to an SVOD package by 2022, up from just over a tenth at end-2016.

Social networking colossus Facebook has seen its shares soar to a record high after it disclosed the financial results of its second quarter, which revealed that its mobile advertising business has grown by a staggering 50%. The results reaffirm the view that Facebook is now the venue of choice for an ever-increasing amount of online advertisers.

Facebook owns four of the most popular mobile services in the world, and it has seen it shares rise by more than 4% to $173 following after-trading on the Wall Street Stock Exchange. However, overall Facebook’s stock price has climbed to almost 44% this year.

Facebook has been adding more and more advertising into its Facebook News Feed, but that has become condensed, whilst it has also added adverts to its photo-sharing app Instagram, which has more than 700 million users. Facebook currently has over 2 billion users worldwide.
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed that he plans to monetize its two messaging services Messenger and WhatsApp, which combined have more than 1 billion users each. Zuckerberg has expressed his desire to see the company move faster on this aim, but claimed he is confident they will get it right in the long-term.

Facebook also continues to accelerate its push into video, the social networking giant has identified this as an opportunity to win advertising spend from the TV industry, as more and more people spend their time consuming news and video content on its platform. Facebook is expected to launch a new video service that will include scripted shows, which is a sharp change of strategy from an organization which is founded on user-generated content.

Zuckerberg has previously stated that he firmly believes that video represents the future of Facebook’s business over the next 2-3 years. Facebook has officially confirmed that its total revenue rose form 44.8% to $9.32 billion in the second quarter of the year, which beat the average forecast of the $9.20 billion predicted by financial analysts. Facebook enjoyed incredible growth in mobile advertising, which has increased to nearly $8 billion.

Facebook Chief Financial Officer, David Wehner, expressed his delight at the financial results, and claimed that he expected to see Facebook continue to grow its mobile advertising capacity. He said: “In mobile we're continuing to see great strengths. We're seeing more and more ad dollars getting allocated to mobile, and we think that trend will continue."

Published in Finance

The European Union has increased pressure on US technology leaders Facebook, Twitter and Google in relation to its user terms. The EU has requested that they amend their user terms in order to make them compliant with current EU law - after EU lawmakers deemed the proposals submitted by the technology giants as ‘insufficient’.

In June, the European Commission (EC) and consumer protection authorities in the EU wrote directly to Facebook, Google and Twitter in which they stressed to the technology companies that they need to improve their proposed changes to user terms by the end of September.

The EU has the power to impose fines if Facebook, Twitter and Google fail to comply with the request issued. Twitter has thus far not responded to an e-mailed request for a comment from Reuters, whilst Google declined to comment on the ongoing situation. However, Facebook believes that it is compliant with current EU law, but conceded that its terms could be formatted in a way which was easier to understand and would work to meet the authorities concerns.

The concerns are concentrated mainly on procedures the social media entities propose to set up for the removal of illegal content on their websites, some analysts have claimed that the terms limit their liability and allows them unilaterally to remove content posted by users.

The US technology trio has been given a deadline of July 20th to submit new proposals, which need to be implemented by the end of September. A source close to the case has claimed that two of the companies had submitted amended proposals, while a third had asked for more time, declining to specify which one.

Facebook, Google and Twitter agreed to the proposed changes touted in March amidst concerns raised by European regulators in March of this year. One of the main issues centered on the terms which forced European consumers to seek redress in California, where the companies are all headquartered, instead of the consumer’s home address.

US technology firms have previously faced scrutiny over the way it conducts its business in Europe, ranging from issues such as privacy, to illegal or threatening content. Both the consumer protection authorities and the EC has requested that the trio provide more details on the timeframe and deadlines it will apply in relation to dealing with notifications of content deemed illegal under consumer law.

Published in Government

Online social networking giants Twitter have created a new tab which is specifically aimed at making it easier for users to find interesting content while browsing on their social media platform. The move is just the latest in a long list of strategies management at Twitter in their attempts to find new users as they seek new ways to expand their business.

Twitter, which is headquartered in San Francisco, have added an ‘explore tab’ which will enable users to find and engage with interesting content easier. The feature will be added first on Twitter to Apple mobile devices – and it is expected to be added to Android smartphones in the coming weeks.

Project designer Angela Lam explained the benefits and thought process behind the ‘explore app’. Citing that it combines trends, moments, search and live video highlights in a single spot.

In a blog post, Lam said, “Until today, you had to go to a few different places to find each of these experiences. As part of our continued efforts to make it easier to see what's happening, we're bringing all these together."

The intentions behind the ‘explore app’ are to simply make it easier for users to find news, trending topics, and popular tweets - Twitter are striving to boost its rank of users and revenue.

It is set to report its earnings for the final quarter of 2016 later next month – Twitter reported a net loss of $103 million in September - they had losses amounting to $132 million in the previous year, while revenue grew by 8% to $616 million due to advertising.

The key metric of monthly active users rose only modestly to 317 million from 313 million in the prior quarter -- a growth pace that has prompted concerns over Twitter's ability to keep up in the fast-moving world of social media.

Analysts have been skeptical about Twitter's outlook for expansion, expressing concerns about its ability to entice users beyond its core base.

Published in Apps

American entertainment company Netflix has developed a feature which allows viewers to watch content while offline – in an effort to avoid major data-connection charges for its viewership. In a statement management at Netflix said that many of its most popular TV series and movies will be made available for viewers when they’re offline.

Netflix which was founded in 1997 – specialize in streaming media and video on demand online. It is reported to be worth around $33 billion that has been an incredible success all over the world since expanding internationally in 2010. Netflix is available in 190 countries and has over 86 million subscribers. It has been suggested that the new feature, which allows viewers to watch content offline, is a direct response to Amazon - who have recently launched an international expansion of its streaming service.

Product innovation chief at Netflix, Eddy Wu said that the feature was developed due to demand, as it was evident that consumers wanted this capability on their Netflix account, while he also disclosed they are working with lots of partners globally in an effort to secure downloading rights for the content on its service.

“Many of your favourite streaming series and movies will be available for download and offline viewing on mobile devices. While many members enjoy watching Netflix at home, we've often heard they also want to continue their 'Stranger Things' binge while on airplanes and other places where internet is expensive or limited. Just click the download button on the details page for a film or TV series and you can watch it later without an internet connection.”  

Netflix did not offer details on how much content would be available offline, noting that it was in discussion with copyright owners.

Wu added: “Netflix is working with lots of partners globally to get downloading rights for the bulk of the content on our service. This is an ongoing effort as we know consumers want this capability and we are working to provide it."

Netflix, which is in a global push and has more than 86 million members, is facing increasing competition from rivals including Amazon, which also is in the midst of an international expansion of its streaming service. Amazon already allows downloads of videos -- noting that some content is restricted by copyright holders in terms of offline viewing. Netflix users had been unable to download and view videos offline through its mobile application, but workarounds had been offered by third-party apps.

BBC Worldwide, the wholly owned commercial subsidiary of the BBC, recently announced a partnership with startup Thoughtly, leaders in artificial intelligence, to better understand its audience through intelligent technology. The partnership provides BBC Worldwide’s Insight team the opportunity to gain a deeper knowledge of how machine learning can support them in understanding which genres of content are most in demand, and where.

After an initial trial, BBC Worldwide and Thoughtly reportedly completed a more “detailed piece of analysis - which includes looking at synopses and descriptions of programmes alongside data mining - to tease out more detail as how best to categorise individual titles”. The partnership between Thoughtly and BBC Worldwide’s Insight team is the latest collaboration undertaken by the subsidiary company to better understand its audience behaviors and needs.

“We are excited that Thoughtly can help us reveal patterns and trends previously unknown and hidden in our content,” said David Boyle, EVP Insight, BBC Worldwide. “Through working with Thoughtly, and utilizing machine learning, we are building a deeper understanding of our content so that it can be paired with the most relevant audiences for both the BBC Worldwide and our partners.

“We are working together to answer some key analytical questions including: What are the recurring and elusive patterns that transcend the various genres in our catalogue? And how have themes evolved over the years – which have grown, declined, appeared and dissipated?”

Chase Perkins, Founder and CEO of Thoughtly, spoke about the company’s research: “Thoughtly makes machine learning based research tools for non-technical professionals. If you want people to reap the utility of AI, you need to provide them with an immersive, app-like experience. We are thrilled to have partnered with BBC Worldwide’s Insight team as it continues to lead the industry and foster technology innovation.”

The evolution of content consumption in 2016

Written on Sunday, 14 August 2016 08:05

Vision accounts for around 70%-80% of our sensory perception. In turn, videos and rich media are the most efficient means for storytelling and emotional engagement. Rich media transformation has been one of the several emerging trends we see in 2016, amongst others captured below.

Rich Media Getting on Our Smartphones

Content consumption is more and more driven by mobile devices – according to Limelight Networks, 2016 is the first year where downloading videos on one’s cell phone was outplaying a personal computer. We evidence this as a ubiquitous trend in social networks and media, which are more concerned about efficiency of content marketing and user engagement. Videos are a great ways to achieve both; as per Atlas a video promotion is six times more effective than print and online. However, it is important to note that about half of the videos watched on a smartphone are shorter than 6 minutes. Needless to say, with higher abundance of videos online, the competition for eyeballs will come with higher creativity.

We anticipate a new influx of different applications, which are using videos and real time visual communications as the main form of expression and user engagement. Perhaps the entrance of Meerkat and Periscope back in 2015 was not that massive as expected, but video content is taking up more and more of Facebook and Instagram feeds for sure. Not to mention about its role in content marketing.

Stronger Multi-Platform Play

2016 has seen an accelerated take-up of connected TV and streaming devices and the trend will continue over the next 5 years at least. Media consumption is becoming a multi-platform play and TV is transforming into another big screen, which proliferates content watching experience. So TV is not dead and will not extinct – it will remain part of the diverse content consumption landscape taking prominence in catering longer and quality content.

A notable transformation is taking place between traditional cable/satellite content distribution model versus Over The Top (OTT) – while so far there has been a dominant play by Netflix in serving on-demand content, we are seeing players like Sling TV and HBO Now offering their live TV and on-demand services via their dedicated apps and skinnier bundles. It is likely that many other legacy TV content providers will follow and effectively the future of TV is transforming into being an app on any device you use – no matter is it a smartphone, tablet or connected TV.

We are also seeing a revival of Social TV, although in a more refined form, where content watching experience is not distracted, but leveraged through topical opinions, subtle notifications and recommendations with Twitter leading the way.

Demographic Changes and Content Consumption

It is not that much discussed, but media and content consumption habits are different for different generations. Linear TV is still the main mode of engagement for Boomer and the Silent Generation, while mobile on-demand and User Generated Content is driving the behavior of millennial generation. That also means that content targeting and curation has to cater towards the profile of the end user.

For instance, content around world’s news and educational content is more resonating with older demographic, while younger generation is interested more in technology and sports. Social communities and content generated within is again more important with older generation, as it is a social way of sharing interest-based topics between peer audiences. Year 2016 will witness the emergence of content delivery models and platforms designed around the segment specific preferences, with a properly curated approach. Sentab, a social network and infotainment platform for older adults and their families, is making great strides into this marketplace.

Published in Featured

Virtual Reality: The next big thing in content consumption

Written on Monday, 01 August 2016 08:03

The explosion of video consumption and the different ways that people now view content has caused internet traffic to grow exponentially. Think phones are a big part of our digital life. Virtual and augmented reality will be even bigger; a key player in the tech industry. It’s the next big thing in content consumption that will be used in all manner of activities, not just games.

“It’s going to be huge... It has the opportunity to eclipse the smartphone market,” said Clive Downie, chief marketing officer of Unity Technologies, whose software is used to build thousands of games on phones, personal computers and game consoles. “VR and AR will be the next in a series of technologies - electricity, radio, movies, TV, smartphones - that profoundly changes everything we do,” he said.

Virtual reality presents a computer-generated 3D world to people wearing special goggles that track head motion to offer an immersive artificial realm. Augmented reality is related, but adds a virtual layer atop a view of the real world. Both require you to buy high powered, expensive computing equipment and burden your head with awkward gear, but computing giants like Google, Facebook, Samsung and Microsoft are scrambling to improve the technology so they’ll be at the center of the next stage of digital living.

What makes the development of virtual reality worthwhile?  The potential entertainment value is clear. Immersive films and video games are good examples. The entertainment industry is, after all, a multi-billion dollar one and consumers are always keen for novelty. VR has many more applications which include architecture, sports, medicine, art and entertainment.

Moreover, virtual reality can lead to new and exciting discoveries in these areas with the capacity to impact our day-to-day lives. Wherever it’s too dangerous, expensive or impractical to do something in reality, virtual reality is the answer. From trainee fighter pilots to medical applications as trainee surgeons, virtual reality allows us to take virtual risks in order to gain real world experience. As the cost of virtual reality goes down and becomes more mainstream, you can expect more serious uses, such as education or productivity applications to emerge. Virtual and augmented reality could change the way we interface with our digital technologies, continuing the trend of humanizing technology.

When it first started, initial attempts at VR failed to take off, with the Virtual Boy headset by Nintendo, for example, discontinued after one year following an influx of customer complaints. However, where Virtual Boy failed, many more are now gaining momentum. In fact, a report by CCS Insight predicts that augmented and VR hardware will become a $4 billion market by 2018, increasing from 2.2 million shipments to 20 million in the next three years.

Understandably, VR is a concept that many people are extremely excited about, and when VR is done right, it can create incredible results. One of the most exciting areas that VR presents for content creators is shared experiences such as the Eve: Valkyrie game due to ship with Oculus Rift. Then there’s Red Bull and its plans to launch a full-time linear Red Bull TV channel, which will bring virtual reality elements to its sports, music and entertainment content. Imagine putting on a headset, which transforms your surroundings and puts you in the midst of your favorite band performing to a crowd on their headline tour, live.

While all of this sounds exciting, the additional strain that VR will put on networks is a major concern. To be able to support data-powered innovations such as VR, global connectivity providers have invested heavily in capacity, engineering a future-proofed backbone that shouldn’t buckle under the extra pressure. The biggest challenge lies in last-mile networks which need to be able to carry VR content to homes and provide a seamless, genuinely immersive experience for consumers.

The issue is the huge increase in bandwidth demand generated by VR content: VR requires about five times as much bandwidth as HDTV, as well as very low latency to support an immersive experience. While large service providers offer the backbone capabilities, cloud footprint, advanced traffic management and content delivery networks at the core, many of today’s access technologies at home do not support such requirements, preventing high quality live streaming of VR content from the cloud. Instead, the user will need to buffer or store the content locally, which limits commercial opportunities with VR, starting with online gaming.

Intelligent traffic management solutions, compression algorithms and investments in very low latency, high throughput networks will help last-mile networks to cope with the demands of VR content. Only such investments will prevent a stop-start and delayed connection that could dampen the experience, or potentially destroy it.

In the future, as VR begins to reach the masses, the next natural development will be for these technologies to go mobile. Today’s 4G connections won’t be able to handle VR, so fiber networks will play a central role as the backhaul for delivering the seamless, high quality connectivity that these immersive experiences will demand.

Beyond the hype of the latest and greatest VR gadgets, there needs to be a deeper understanding of the pressure that this rich traffic will place on networks, to ensure that networks are smart enough and robust enough to provide the brilliant user experience that consumers expect.

According to Downie, VR and AR will be for gaming first, but eventually will spread far beyond that, touching upon training, education, virtual travel, and just hanging out with our fellow humans. It’ll add another very significant twist to social media and how people interact with each other, including virtual meetings and collaboration at work.

VR’s success will be largely dependent on last-mile networks which will enable it to flourish – taking entertainment to a new level and opening up new revenue streams for content providers through cloud-based distribution on-demand. Investments in low latency, high throughput and intelligent networks could mean that a technology that was dreamt up around 60 years ago will finally become a reality for millions.

Published in Featured