From the early days of watching pandas mosey in and out of frame on bandwidth-starved live cams to delivering the Super Bowl to millions of online viewers, live streaming has come a long way. But providers are still trying to solve a nagging problem: delays in a video's delivery as long as two minutes, which can ruin a sports fan's day.
Why is ad blocking taking off? That's easy: Consumers love it. Without ads bogging down processing speed on their computers, tablets and smartphones, their devices run much faster. But online video providers that derive their revenue from advertising are in a bind. Can a balance be found that keeps ads playing without chasing away audiences?
With one of the largest station groups in the U.S. consolidating its advertising efforts and a consortium of broadcasters backing a streaming app service for their affiliates, the market for local TV stations appears to be ready to bust wide open. Can they grab a piece of a $40 billion advertising pie?
The evolution of content distribution and the consistent growth of over-the-top streaming generates industry predictions of the inevitable decline and fall of pay TV. As video ecosystems collide, the industry remains in a state of great change.
This year marked my third time covering the over-the-top goings-on at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, and the annual tradeshow, as usual, did not fail to catch the attention of the broadcast industry and the myriad vendors that support media and entertainment. Each year is different when it comes to the conversation around OTT and the technologies that are drawing the most focus and excitement, and 2016 was no exception.
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After a flurry of announcements and hurried promises at the end of 2015, the first quarter of 2016 did not see too many actual launches of subscription video-on-demand services. Still, three significant SVOD products became available to the U.S. streaming market, and a slew of other services are queuing up for the second and third quarters.
NBC Olympics is making its first move to expand the availability of its coverage of the Summer Games online. The network has signed a deal with Snapchat to post highlights and create daily "live stories" using content from NBC as well as from athletes and attendees at the scene, all available on a dedicated channel via Snapchat's mobile app.
Netflix appears to be taking a cue from its increasingly mobile users and is rolling out in-app billing to a selected number of Android users in "all supported regions" via Google Play, Variety reports. The move is a big change for the SVOD provider, which previously only enabled setup and billing via its own website and app.
Online services provider Akamai's move to shift the company away from a primarily CDN focus to tailoring its products toward industry verticals brought in earnings well above analyst estimates in the first quarter of 2016, posting revenues of $567.72 million, or $3.91 million above forecasts, and diluted net earnings per share of 66 cents, 3 cents higher than predicted.
The investor rebellion against online video and social media stocks appears to be continuing after Twitter's shares fell 13 percent in after-hours trading Tuesday following a first-quarter earnings report that missed analyst estimates by over $13 million. Revenues reached just $595 million, 36 percent higher than a year ago but much lower than its high point of $641 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Turner Networks, long a stalwart of the cable world, is apparently keeping to its stated plan to launch several online video services over the next several months, and more: in addition to partnering with the Criterion Collection on its very first SVOD foray, FilmStruck, the company is deepening its audience knowledge by signing with Canvs to gauge engagement via social media platforms like Twitter.
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Sprint said it will merge its Assurance Wireless brand with Access Wireless in a tie-up of Lifeline service providers.
AT&T's ambitious move into live, linear 4K broadcasting via its DirecTV business has proven challenging, as the company was forced to cancel the first two of its planned 25 MLB game broadcasts due to technical challenges. The first broadcast was canceled due to problems with a third-party production truck, and the second was scratched when the satellite TV provider found the signal to be unacceptable in early testing.