Watching the world of media evolve

Streaming is Finally Here. About time.

Plus-masthead-artWe all were hearing about streaming media for years but the technology just wasn’t good enough.  Remember buffering?  Our kids will know no such word.  Technology is finally good enough to stream media and now it’s all the rage online.  If you haven’t seen the crazy growth in streaming media over the past few years then you’ve been living under a rock.  Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, HBO, Amazon and countless others have seen their streaming growth go through the roof.  The experience is so good that many consumers are beginning to drop their cable providers to shed some bloated monthly bills for the economically priced streaming options like HuluPlus and Netflix.  I have to admit if it wasn’t for live sports on television, I think I would have converted already.

In terms of the growth of steaming media, check out these 2 crazy facts:

  • Hulu just announced they already have over 1.5 million subscribers for their pay product, HuluPlus and generated $420 million in revenue last year.
  • Netflix movie and TV show streaming accounts for 22 percent of all North American Internet traffic.
  • ESPN streamed over 4,000 sporting events in 2011.

The growth is crazy and it’s just a matter of time before the cable providers adapt and begin changing their pricing/strategy.  All the better for us consumers…


Video Ad Growth Finally Taking Off

There were points where I doubted Google in their purchase of YouTube.  They paid an astronomical $1.65 Billion for YouTube and was really struggling to monetize the site.  Well fast forward to 2012 and video ad growth has finally began to grow.  In the chart to the left, you can see the 97% growth in video growth in the 3rd quarter of 2011.  Not only did total video views grow but video ad views as well.

I think the reason for the growth in video over the past few quarters is tied to 2 things.  The first is the technology and speed of the Internet is so much better than it once was.  Most personal computers and mobile devices can handle showing the videos.  Plus with the introduction of the 3G network, video consumption is no longer a hassle for users.

The second reason I see responsible for the growth of video is the exceptional content that is now available.  Years ago the big networks like ABC, Fox, CBS and NBC simply didn’t want to make their content available online because they thought their ratings would slip.  While that still could happen,  these networks did figure out that showing their content could also provide a channel to promote other shows or develop another channel for revenue like Hulu and HuluPlus.

I imagine video views and video ad views will continue to grow over the next few years due to evolving technology and networks.  The 4G LTE network is just about rolled out for the big carriers and it’s only a matter of time before the popular mobile devices like the iPads and iPhones connect to the speedy 4G network.  This will have users watching more and more video.

The Shift and are Brands Ready?

It’s certainly not a secret that the tablet and mobile shift is beginning to occur.  iPhones and Android devices are flying off the shelves and the tablet market is beginning to blow up.  Apple just recently reported an incredible 15.43 million iPads were sold in the 4th quarter of 2011 and Amazon hasn’t reported Kindle Fire sales figures yet, but analysts are very bullish on the product’s sales.  Today, NPD came out with a report that showed more bullish estimates.  NPD is estimating tablet shipments would grow  from 72.7 million units in 2011 to 383.3 million units by 2017.  That 383 million number is actually a larger number than the sales for PC’s from this past quarter which saw a 6% decline from the previous year.Clearly the tablet market is growing at a rapid pace and will only continue to grow for the foreseeable future.  The question now becomes, are brand’s ready for it?  There are always brands that are slow to identify emerging trends and adapt to them.  Certain brands were slow to build their website, then there were brands who took their time to ramp up their social media presence.  Tablets are here to stay, so creating a unique experience for them becomes a big priority.
The experience and interactivity of these devices are completely different from those on PC’s.  Brand’s need to acknowledge this and create a completely unique experience that adapts best to these tablets.It’s no longer just about creating an experience for PC’s.  Brands now have to wonder about creating a presence for PCs, tablets and smart phones.  I can’t think of any brand doing a better job currently than ESPN.  The screen shots do all the explaining…

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