February 2014

If you think we in the U.S. watch a lot of onine TV, get a load of this report from the English newspaper, the Guardian. UK viewers ‘spend five hours a week watching TV, clips and films online. TV shows are top form of online content with average viewer watching two hours and 35 minutes a week, Londoners averaged the most time watching online TV. Tech-savvy Brits spent an average of more than five hours a week watching TV shows, clips and films on internet-connected devices in the first half of 2014 largely due to the popularity of tablets and smartphones. TV programmes proved to be the most popular form of online content viewed by UK users, at an average of two hours and 35 minutes a week, according to a report from the Internet Advertising Bureau. Films were watched an average of one hour 50 minutes a week, and video clip views averaged 51 minutes. “A third of online viewers, particularly 35- to 44-year-olds, are watching more TV, films and clips online than a year ago,” said the IAB’s chief strategy officer, Tim Elkington. “Average weekly viewing online amounts to 25 videos, four to five TV episodes and one film.” Londoners averaged the most time watching online TV (three hours six minutes) and films (two hours 27 minutes), possibly because of the amount of time many commuters spend on public transport with their smartphones and tablets. However, Elkington added that an interesting finding of the IAB report is that half of people watching TV, films or video clips online do so with family members and three in 10 watch with friends. “Watching video on [internet] connected devices is becoming an increasingly social activity, like traditional TV,” he said. This viewing boom has fuelled a surge in the amount companies spent in general on internet, smartphone and tablet advertising which rose by 16.6% year on year in the first half of 2014 in the UK to a record £3.46bn. Mobile advertising in particular has seen a massive boom rising 68% year on year from £429m to £707m in the first half. It now accounts for £1 in every £5 spent on all digital advertising, according to the report, conducted by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and also drawing on online YouGov data. Within this, it is no surprise that video advertising (on handsets, tablets and PCs) grew 59% year on year to £202m in the first half of the year. Excerpted from

May 2014

Finally! Some people are doing something about giving us alacarte TV so we don’t have to pay those outrageous fees for networks and program we don’t watch Fading Geographic Boundaries Of Cable And Satellite TV Summary The emerging race to secure content and provide digital subscription bundles is erasing traditional geographic boundaries for content distributors. Why those that own desirable content rights will be the big winners in this market. The reason digital distributors should have chosen another route rather than the one they're all taking. Now that a number of large companies have announced they're pursuing a digital subscription business model with supposedly a la carte options, it seems everyone is getting in on the fad. I call it a fad instead of a trend because I don't see at this time these types of services taking hold for several reasons; with the major one being all they're doing is taking existing content and licensing it to distributors developing digital delivery systems. I would be more impressed if they were working on building digital subscription networks with short-form video content that was totally new, or built on existing franchises, as Lionsgate (NYSE:LGF) is doing with its Twilight franchise, which it will have five new short films produced for exclusive airing on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). That makes more sense than regurgitating broadcast and cable shows on the Internet. The companies that are poised to benefit from all this are those with the rights to the content, which they'll get another revenue stream out of. For distributors, I see this as a losing battle, as I've written about before. The "New" Business Model What is being touted as new is only on the distribution side, and possibly on the bundle side. By bundle I mean some channels, and possibly TV shows, being allowed to be broken up and offered in smaller packages. This isn't true a la carte demanded by customers, as that demand comes from existing cable and satellite TV customers who want the same delivery system, but options on which channels to pay for. Excerpted from

September 2014

Streaming video and tv is the next phase of TV service, but who will be providing it? Here’s some insight: Comcast vs. Netflix: Can the Streaming Service Block the Time Warner Cable Deal? Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA  ) and Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) may do business with each other, but the two companies seem perpetually at war. The rivals have battled over the speed at which the Internet service provider delivers the streaming service as well as the fees Netflix now pays to ensure its customers have a decent experience when streaming over Comcast lines. Now, Netflix is working hard to stop Comcast's proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC  ) . That makes sense because one is a traditional cable company that is used to dictating business terms to customers and partners, while the other is seeking to disrupt that model. Comcast not only controls the Internet and cable pipelines into a large group of American households, it owns an array of channels which produce content that it delivers. For years consumers who wanted TV needed Comcast (or whoever their local cable company is) which is a pretty fabulous business model. Netflix makes Comcast and cable less necessary. The streaming service represents a clear threat to the traditional cable model. How big would the merged company be? A combined Comcast/Time Warner Cable would control 33% of American pay TV households. The merged companies would also serve 36% of all broadband customers in the U.S. (not counting the small number of people with satellite broadband), according to an article in The Wall Street Journal. That would be bad news for Netflix because it would give one of its chief rivals even more control over its access to customers. To stop that, executives from the streaming service have been working hard to convince the Federal Communications Commission that Comcast buying Time Warner Cable is not only bad for Netflix, it's bad for American consumers. What is Netflix saying? Netflix has filed a Petition to Deny with the FCC in opposition of the merger. In the document, Netflix makes it very clear that it feels the merger represents a threat to the way the Internet works currently, saying that the merged company would "turn a consumer's Internet experience into something that more closely resembles cable television." The petition does not hide that Netflix is worried about its own business as well: The combined entity would have the incentive and ability -- through access fees charged at interconnection points and by other means -- to harm Internet companies, such as online video distributors ("OVDs"), which Applicants [Comcast and Time Warner Cable] view as competitors. Netflix cites an earlier example where federal regulators blocked the merger of AT&T  (NYSE: T  )  and MediaOne back in 2000, a merger which would have created a company that would have controlled nearly 40% of the nation's broadband households. The petition also makes it clear that Netflix believes Comcast has taken steps to harm its business: Excerpted from
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