And we're off: analysts earlier this year were predicting that at least 20 subscription-based OTT services would launch by 2018, most in small content niches. But in the meantime, a number of companies including startups, pay-TV operators and wireless carriers are jumping ahead with launches and partnerships, leaving analysts to scramble in the background.
How accurate is social media at gauging the real success and reach of a TV show or digital movie? At the beginning of this year, "engagement," or how often viewers mentioned a specific piece of content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other site, was heralded as an innovative (and cheap) way for content providers to get their finger on the pulse of viewer tastes.
Ad blocking has come to the forefront so quickly that our latest feature feels somewhat like jumping on the bandwagon. But I feel it's important to at least sketch out some of the challenges facing content providers at a time when the industry is just at the cusp of building up the AVOD side of online video.
About a month ago, Paolo Pescatore, an analyst with CCS Insight outlined the idea that Netflix may be a shiny acquisition target. While the thought seems a little far-fetched -- Netflix almost certainly has no interest in being bought -- it isn't the first time this possibility has been floated, and now other outlets have picked up the ball and are outlaying cases for acquiring Netflix.
At the risk of throwing too many clichés at you, this is the best of times and the worst of times for the broadcast industry. The potential to reach a greater audience is bigger than ever, but the cost and complexity involved in leveraging OTT technologies makes adding an OTT strategy somewhat risky.
Finding video Zen: broadcasters, pay-TV struggle to unify traditional video delivery with OTT strategy
Forget about disruption. Forget about content cannibalization. The overriding mission from this point forward for the broadcast, pay-TV and media and entertainment industry is to incorporate online video into their structure as seamlessly as possible. That was most obvious to anyone attending the keynotes and panel sessions at this week's IBC Show in Amsterdam.
One of the interesting things to do ahead of and during a broadcaster-centric tradeshow like IBC 2015 is to watch industry players try and predict which way the market will turn in the next six to 12 months. While no forecast is ever entirely accurate, the industry has increasingly found itself reacting to market happenings rather than driving them.
At the end of the first quarter of this year, I took a snapshot of some of the measurement data being released by three of the most prominent audience ratings firms in the U.S.: Nielsen, of course, Rentrak and comScore. Nielsen had just begun to follow the lead of its younger, more multiscreen-concentrated cousins and added a social media engagement metric to its ratings reports, and so for the first time the industry had a chance to compare how each firm was looking at engagement around TV series both on traditional television and online.
A few months ago I roughed out an outline of what consumers might end up saving -- or spending -- if they decided to cut the cord. The article caught some attention and got people thinking, and commenting, about whether my admittedly unscientific calculations were realistic. But it did surface one question. Are analysts, media, and the OTT industry itself asking the right questions when trying to learn how and why consumers cut or shave the cord?
As the market rolls into August and well into the third quarter, over-the-top video players and analysts are closely watching the next move that Netflix makes: officially launching in Japan. Slated to take place on Sept. 2, Netflix Japan will be the company's most significant international entry this year, and even CEO Reed Hastings expects a tough slog.