OTT & Multiscreen • Digital Video • 1-12 • Complete Series

In this post please find links to the entire OTT & Multiscreen Digital Video Series.  If you click on the thumbnail, then it will open the PDF article (for subsequent download). If you click on the link below the thumbnail it will be redirect you to the original web article.

I. Consumption is Personal

  • Broadcast providers had a relatively difficult task in understanding their audience, in the days of linear television. In the absence of the internet, adjusting to subscriber behavior was slow, in comparison to the real-time nature of internet video. Today online video providers have the ability to experience a one-to-one conversation with their audience. Viewing habits of consumers will continue to rapidly change in the next ten years. This will require accompanying changes in advertising expenditure. In the global nature of internet video, these online services will need to optimize accordingly to capitalize on these market opportunities.

Portfolio - OTT & Multiscreen (I. Consumption Is Personal, v2.4, thumbnail)

https://dusil.com/2013/02/28/consumption-is-personal/

 

II. Granularity of Choice

  • The evolution from traditional TV viewing to online video has been swift. This has significantly disrupted disc sales such as DVD and Blu-Ray, as well as cable and satellite TV subscriptions. With the newfound ability to consume content anytime, anywhere, and on any device, consumers are re-evaluating their spending patterns. In this paper we will discuss these changes in buying behavior, and identify the turning-point when all this started to accelerate.

Portfolio - OTT & Multiscreen (II. Granularity of Choice, v2.5, thumbnail)

https://dusil.com/2013/04/01/granularity-of-choice/

 

III. Benchmarking the H.265 Video Experience

  • Transcoding large video libraries are a time consuming and expensive process. Maintaining consistency in video quality helps to ensure that storage costs and bandwidth is used efficiently. It is also important for video administrators to understand the types of devices receiving the video, so that subscribers are getting the most optimal viewing experience. This paper discusses the differences in quality in popular video codecs, including the recently ratified H.265 specification.

Portfolio - OTT & Multiscreen (III. Benchmarking the H.265 Video Experience, v2.4, thumbnail)

https://dusil.com/2013/04/22/benchmarking-the-video-experience/

 

IV. Search & Discovery Is a Journey, not a Destination

  • Television subscribers have come a long way from the days of channel hopping. The arduous days of struggling to find something useful to watch is now securely behind us. As consumers look to the future, the ability to search for related interests and discover new interests is now established as common practice. This paper discusses the challenges that search and discovery engines face in refining their services, in order to serve a truly global audience.

Portfolio - OTT & Multiscreen (IV. Search & Discovery is a Journey, v2.3, thumbnail)

https://dusil.com/2013/05/13/Search-and-Discovery-Is-a-Journey-not-a-Destination/

 

V. Multiscreen Solutions for the Digital Generation

  • Broadcast, as a whole, is becoming less about big powerful hardware and more about software and services. As these players move to online video services, subscribers will benefit from the breadth of content they will provide to subscribers. As the world’s video content moves online, solution providers will contribute to the success of internet video deployments. Support for future technologies such as 4K video, advancements in behavioral analytics, and the accompanying processing and networking demands will follow. Migration to a multiscreen world requires thought leadership and forward-thinking partnerships, to help clients keep pace with the rapid march of technology. This paper explores the challenges that solution providers will face in assisting curators of content to address their subscriber’s needs and changing market demands.

Portfolio - OTT & Multiscreen (V. Multiscreen Solutions for the Digital Generation, v2.4, thumbnail)

https://dusil.com/2013/06/24/multiscreen-solutions-for-the-digital-generation/

 

VI. Building a Case for 4K, Ultra High Definition Video

  • Ultra High Definition technology (UHD), or 4K is the latest focus in the ecosystem of video consumption. For most consumers this technology is considered far from consumer reach, if at all necessary. In fact, 4K is right around the corner, and will creep into the mind-share of consumer wish-lists by the end of this decade. From movies filmed in 4K, to archive titles scanned in UHD, there is a library of content just waiting to be released. Furthermore, today’s infrastructure is converging to meet the demands of 4K, including internet bandwidth speeds, processing power, connectivity standards, and screen resolutions. This paper explores the next generation in video consumption and how 4K will stimulate the entertainment industry.

Portfolio - OTT & Multiscreen (VI. Building a Case for 4K, Ultra High Definition Video, v2.4, thumbnail)

https://dusil.com/2013/07/15/building-a-case-for-4K-ultra-high-definition-video/

 

VII. Are You Ready For Social TV?

  • Social TV brings viewers to content via effective brand management and social networking. Users recommend content as they consume it – Consumers actively follow what others are watching – Trends drive viewers to subject matters of related interests. Integration of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social networks become a natural part of the program creation and engagement of the viewing community. Social networks create an environment where broadcasters have unlimited power to work with niche groups without geographic limits. The only limitations are those dictated by content owners and their associated content rights, and corporate culture preventing broadcasters from evolving to a New Media world.

Portfolio - OTT & Multiscreen (VII. Are You Ready For Social TV, v4.7, thumbnail)

https://dusil.com/2013/08/12/are-you-ready-for-social-tv/

 

VIII.-X. Turning Piratez into Consumers, I, II,  III, IV, & V

  • Content Protection is a risk-to-cost balance. At the moment, the cost or piracy is low, the risk is low, and the enforcement is not ubiquitous. There is no silver bullet to solving piracy, but steps can be taken to reduce their levels to something more acceptable. It is untrue that everyone who pirated would refuse to buy a product legally. It is equally untrue that every pirated copy represented a lost sale at full download price. If the risk is too high, and the cost is low enough, then less people would pirate content. This paper explores how piracy has evolved over the past few decades, and discusses the issues around copyright infringement in the entertainment industry, and proposed steps to convert Piratez into consumers.

Portfolio - OTT & Multiscreen (VIII. Turning Piratez into Consumers, I, v1.9, thumbnail)

https://dusil.com/2013/10/25/turning-piratez-into-consumers-i/

Portfolio - OTT & Multiscreen (IX. Turning Piratez into Consumers, II, v2.0, thumbnail)

https://dusil.com/2014/07/15/turning-piratez-into-consumers-ii/

Portfolio - OTT & Multiscreen (X. Turning Piratez into Consumers, III, v1.6, thumbnail)

https://dusil.com/2015/05/12/turning-piratez-into-consumers-iii/

Portfolio - OTT & Multiscreen (XI. Turning Piratez into Consumers, IV, v1.6, thumbnail)

https://dusil.com/2015/05/26/turning-piratez-into-consumers-iv/

Portfolio - OTT & Multiscreen (XII. Turning Piratez into Consumers, V, v2.1, thumbnail)

https://dusil.com/2015/09/22/turning-piratez-into-consumers-v/

 

OTT & Multiscreen • Digital Video Series • 12 • Turning Piratez into Consumers, V

Portfolio - OTT & Multiscreen (XII. Turning Piratez into Consumers, V, title, web)

A Subscriber’s Wish List

After sixty-plus years of healthy growth in the entertainment industry the internet has significantly disrupted this ecosystem. Broadcasters struggle to find their role in the digital generation as they continue to play catch up to rapidly changing user behavior. Even the film industry finally stopped manufacturing film cameras[i] in 2011. A notable victory for digital video. Regardless, the proliferation of video streaming over the past decade is still in relative infancy.

Modernizing the distribution of entertainment is still needed in order to reduce problems such as internet piracy. This has been extensively discussed in the first parts of the “Turning Piratez into Consumers” series: Part 1[ii], Part 2[iii], Part 3[iv], and Part 4[v]. This final paper in the five part series is an open letter to the industry on how to improve digital entertainment’s playground. It’s a subscriber wish-list outlining high level functionality that addresses the evolving needs of today’s consumer. Here we go:

Figure i - A Subscriber’s Wish List for Digital Entertainment

Figure i – A Subscriber’s Wish List for Digital Entertainment

Portability (Anytime, Anywhere, on Any Device)

Multiscreen accessibility is an industry goal, but it’s far from ubiquitous. The ability to access content is often discussed in the context of anytime, anywhere and on any device. Even though the industry continues to move in this direction there are glaring disconnects.

Consumers today are severely restricted in their ability to watch content on all of their devices. Apple has their own walled garden. There are several competing gardens, mostly represented by broadcasters – and none of them are connected. Google at least tries to promote a more open approach. Content portability should be about shifting from a content-centric entertainment culture to a consumer-centric one. Television adopted that vision, but internet entertainment seems to have taken one step backward.

UltraViolet’s Digital locker[vi] is a move in the right direction with support for multiple devices, operating systems, and allowing family members to share in the rights to purchased movies. The ability to purchase a title once and then play it on any device is still hindered by the content owners that wrap their arms around their assets, scowling at potential attackers. The digital world continues to be a new frontier where Hollywood is not completely comfortable[vii].

Figure ii - Multiscreen Portability, Cinema to Multiscreen

Figure ii – Multiscreen Portability, Cinema to Multiscreen

(Platinum) Accessibility

An actively debated approach is to significantly shorten release windows for movies. Entertainment libraries are often segmented by premium verses long-tail content. Retailers and Internet streaming providers should evolve their business models to offer a third category of “platinum content”. To better illustrate, the value proposition is based on segmenting the target audience:

  • Retailers would release a “platinum” Blu-Ray version to be sold at the same time as the theatrical movie. This would be a special 4K version (with the necessary digital rights protection developed specifically for 4K Blu-Rays). Shortly after the theatrical release the standard Blu-Ray disc would be available, including all bonus footage like behind the scenes, and deleted scenes.
  • OTT providers would offer standard Video on Demand (VoD) users the option to watch the 1080p movie immediately after the standard Blu-Ray release. “Platinum” subscribers, on the other hand, would have the option to watch the 4K version of the movie during the theatrical run. These subscribers could either pay a higher monthly subscription (SVoD) for the privilege of accessing 4K titles, or it could be translation based (TVoD).

Consumers open their wallets based on these clearly defined behaviors. Each target audience has unique wants and needs that does not cannibalize the other viewing choices:

  • Home theater enthusiasts want the satisfaction of ownership and the excitement of unwrapping their newly purchased Blu-Ray,
  • Internet subscribers are motivated by the flexibility of instant access from the comfort of their living room, computer screen, mobile or tablet, and
  • Movie-goers want a night out on the town. They want an immersive experience on a large thirty foot silver screen, with 22.2 THX sound, and a bucket of popcorn.
Figure iii – Collapsing the Release Window for Movie Titles

Figure iii – Collapsing the Release Window for Movie Titles

(International) Availability

There is little consistency in the release windows for movies after appearing in theaters. Delays are typically long for Blu-Ray and longer for Internet streaming services. And that’s just for US domestic markets where the most expensive movies originates. For some international markets the delay is much longer, or in some cases non-existent. This delay fuels an internet piracy market that has an insatiable appetite for entertainment and has little patience for delayed releases in their local city.

Hollywood often use a trickle-method approach to exposing international audiences is their movies. The mantra “Think global, act local”[viii] is poorly adopted by the entertainment industry, and applies to only a few blockbuster releases. Lack of content availability internationally has been identified as a key contributor to piracy[ix]. Consumers should be deciding how they wish to enjoy their entertainment, not content owners.

A programmatic[x] and synchronized global launch means that subtitles, dubbing services, and marketing can’t be an afterthought. In-scene advertising or product placements that accommodate international brands require planning at the pre-production stage.

There are early signs that OTT services – domestically and internationally – give consumers what they want, at a price point that is acceptable. A study by Ericsson (Figure iv) shows that services such as Netflix have resulted in a persistent reduction in P2P downloads in America. When comparing these figures to an earlier study in Spain, it’s clear that P2P downloading dominates in markets where an OTT service is absent. According to Ericsson, “those who turn to digital piracy do so because on-demand content is simply not available through legal sources”[xi]. A similar survey by Ericsson in the Nordics reported that, “over half the people who previously downloaded music illegally no longer do so after they [were] given access to a streaming service”. The borderless spirit of the internet needs to apply to entertainment as well.

Figure iv - Real Time Entertainment Usage, USA vs. Spain

Figure iv – Real Time Entertainment Usage, USA vs. Spain

(Technology) Longevity

There are three types of consumers today: those that want to own, those that want to rent, and those that want to license. In the ownership camp users should have the ability to pay for entertainment in the same way as software. When a better version is available – a 1080p version, 4K, or even 8K in the future – then just an “upgrade” cost should apply. In addition, ownership should be active through the title’s useful life. The frustration of buying the same movie over and over again should be relegated to the history books.

The future is cloud storage. We live in an age where millions of copies of movies and songs exist on individual hard drives, discs, or servers. It’s a waste of space. Today’s digital society has evolved to where cloud storage only needs a single instance of a movie to be accessible by millions of subscribers. A ‘title master’ paradigm needed for entertainment, where one ‘file’ containing all versions of a movie (eg. theatrical release, director’s cut, extended versions needed to meet various censorship requirements). This title master would accommodate all language tracks, subtitles, or additional commentary tracks (Figure v). Alternate cuts could be interleaved to accommodate geographically specific in-scene advertising.

  1. The user requests a specific version of a movie, the language track, subtitles, etc. Then the streaming platform prepares that version for streaming
  2. The service then identifies the type of device the subscriber has – formatting the video and the audio appropriately.
  3. The movie is then transcoded on-the-fly as it is served to them.
  4. Advertising is interleaved at the network or server level as per the service offering
  5. Adaptive bit rate then ensures smooth viewing experience based on the current networking conditions.

With an anticipated explosion of video content over the next decade, this title master would significantly help with the efficiency of content management. All titles would also be preserved in the cloud with enterprise level high availability and redundancy.

Figure v - Title Master, Future of Cloud Delivery

Figure v – Title Master, Future of Cloud Delivery

When content becomes “virtual”, then the line between ownership and licensing is blurred. The owning community just wants the flexibility to access their content anytime or anywhere and on any device. If a new mobile, tablet, or multiscreen device is purchased, then content rights can easily be extended in this family library.

(Library) Breadth

Offering a deep library of titles continues to be a challenge. Breadth of content is not only about having a sizable library; it’s about offering that library on a global audience. Geo-location restrictions limit the ability for subscribers to view content in remote markets. Such restrictions may also apply to the type of device they are using. In broadcast speak a ‘blackout’ screen is displayed when a user is out of the designated geographic region – or they may be served alternate content. In some cases these restrictions make little sense to consumers, but are likely implemented because they are outside of the advertiser’s border. For example, broadcaster’s will blackout their live news to international users. International users could be easily watch the same news broadcast by substituting international advertising – thus extending the broadcaster’s geographic reach. It’s a lingering reminder of the highly localized and segmented television from the past.

Restrictions also apply to OTT services. Video streaming services differentiate their offering through exclusive content. For example Netflix led the industry with their decision to become a content creator in 2011[xii]. They began with the Emmy award winning series House of Cards, recently renewed for a fourth season[xiii]. Now tech giants AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo are hedging their bets on exclusive content, hoping that subscribers will be swayed towards their service[xiv]. But this further limits the internet consumer’s ability to access a single source in a way that resembles linear television. The entertainment industry has a long journey ahead to mimic the borderless and global nature of the internet.

(Immersive) Quality

As internet speeds increase, users around the globe want higher quality video. YouTube began supporting 720p in November 2008. One year later 1080p was announced[xv] while also switching their content to the more efficient H.264[xvi] codec. Ericsson reports that consumers are willing to pay for extreme quality 4K UHD video. These are early signs that consumers are willing to open their wallets for a more immersive experience beyond high definition.

Figure vi - Services Most Worthwhile Purchasing

Figure vi – Services Most Worthwhile Purchasing. Seven Markets: China, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, UK & USA.

 

Demand for higher quality continues with 4K UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels) which will use the HEVC H.265[xvii] codec. Ubiquitous 4K won’t happen until H.265 is implemented in consumer electronics hardware. By the end of the decade subscribers should have the ability to stream 4K video at speeds ranging from 12 Mbps to 20 Mbps.

Price (Sensitivity)

Disc purchases typically cost significantly more that rentals – rental services cost more than subscriptions. Digital consumers have come to realize that ownership of premium content is no longer rational: What is the practical value of owning a movie when it is only watched once or twice in a lifetime? What is the practical value of a song if it’s listened to no more than 50 times in a lifetime? Subscription services target users that are aware of their entertainment’s useful life.

(Fun & Engaging) Experience

As content becomes more competitive on a global scale, entertainment providers need to attract subscribers through an exciting and fun user experience. Content is still king, but the interface where the user interacts is the kingdom. This is the playground where subscribers will stay and play. If the user is having fun, they will stay longer. If they stay longer there is a higher propensity for them to spend more money.

Figure vii - Search & Discovery, A User centric model for recommendation engines

Figure vii – Search & Discovery, A User centric model for recommendation engines

Social engagement is at the center of this playground. It’s where friends post suggestions, rate content, and show viewing statistics. The subscribers buying behavior, as well as their peers, are monitored and correlated so that different content could be suggested. These are titles that are otherwise undiscoverable though traditional means (Figure vii). This is only part of the virtual playground surrounding the world of entertainment. An environment where consumers enjoy themselves – before, during, and after content is consumed.

The value of social media in entertainment should not be underestimated. According to Ooyala, “Personal testimonials are one of the most powerful influences on all types of consumer action… By learning what their trusted friends have enjoyed, and by comparing that to their perception of how much they have in common with the recommender, viewers get a very personalized and motivating impression of what to check out.”[xviii]

It’s not just content that’s important. It’s about a bi-directional dialog and relationship with subscribers. The consumer is no longer an anonymous viewer to entertainment. Instead, the entertainment provider needs to facilitate a personal and engaging dialogue with each and every subscriber. A better understanding of the subscriber’s behavior needs, and buying habits results in better engagement. It’s always more fun going to a playground where people know who you are.

Read Additional Articles in this Series

I. Consumption is Personal

In the days of linear television, broadcasters had a difficult task in understanding their audience. Without a direct broadcasting and feedback mechanism like the Internet, gauging subscriber behavior was slow. Today, online video providers have the ability to conduct a one-to-one conversation with their audience. Viewing habits of consumers will continue to rapidly change in the next ten years. This will require changes in advertising expenditure and tactics.

II. Granularity of Choice

The evolution from traditional TV viewing to online video has been swift. This has significantly disrupted disc sales such as DVD and Blu-Ray, as well as cable and satellite TV subscriptions. With the newfound ability to consume content anytime, anywhere, and on any device, consumers are re-evaluating their spending habits. In this paper we will discuss these changes in buying behavior, and identify the turning point of these changes.

III. Benchmarking the H.265 Video Experience

Transcoding large video libraries is a time consuming and expensive process. Maintaining consistency in video quality helps to ensure that storage costs and bandwidth are used efficiently. It is also important for video administrators to understand the types of devices receiving the video so that subscribers can enjoy an optimal viewing experience. This paper discusses the differences in quality in popular video codecs, including the recently ratified H.265 specification.

IV. Search & Discovery Is a Journey, not a Destination

Television subscribers have come a long way from the days of channel hopping. The arduous days of struggling to find something entertaining to watch are now behind us. As consumers look to the future, the ability to search for related interests and discover new interests is now established as common practice. This paper discusses the challenges that search and discovery engines face in refining their services in order to serve a truly global audience.

V. Multiscreen Solutions for the Digital Generation

Broadcasting, as a whole, is becoming less about big powerful hardware and more about software and services. As these players move to online video services, subscribers will benefit from the breadth of content they will provide to subscribers. As the world’s video content moves online, solution providers will contribute to the success of Internet video deployments. Support for future technologies such as 4K video, advancements in behavioral analytics, and accompanying processing and networking demands will follow. Migration to a multiscreen world requires thought leadership and forward-thinking partnerships to help clients keep pace with the rapid march of technology. This paper explores the challenges that solution providers will face in assisting curators of content to address their subscriber’s needs and changing market demands.

VI. Building a Case for 4K, Ultra High Definition Video

Ultra High Definition technology (UHD), or 4K, is the latest focus in the ecosystem of video consumption. For most consumers this advanced technology is considered out of their reach, if at all necessary. In actual fact, 4K is right around the corner and will be on consumer wish lists by the end of this decade. From movies filmed in 4K, to archive titles scanned in UHD, there is a tremendous library of content waiting to be released. Furthermore, today’s infrastructure is evolving and converging to meet the demands of 4K, including Internet bandwidth speeds, processing power, connectivity standards, and screen resolutions. This paper explores the next generation in video consumption and how 4K will stimulate the entertainment industry.

VII. Are You Ready For Social TV?

Social TV brings viewers to content via effective brand management and social networking. Users recommend content as they consume it, consumers actively follow what others are watching, and trends drive viewers to subject matters of related interests. The integration of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social networks has become a natural part of program creation and the engagement of the viewing community. Social networks create an environment where broadcasters have unlimited power to work with niche groups without geographic limits. The only limitations are those dictated by content owners and their associated content rights, as well as those entrenched in corporate culture who are preventing broadcasters from evolving into a New Media world.

VIII. Turning Piratez into Consumers

IX. Turning Piratez into Consumers, I

IX. Turning Piratez into Consumers, II

X. Turning Piratez into Consumers, III

XI. Turning Piratez into Consumers, IV

XII. Turning Piratez into Consumers, V

Content Protection is a risk-to-cost balance. At the moment, the cost of piracy is low and the risk is low. There are no silver bullets to solving piracy, but steps can be taken to reduce levels to something more acceptable. It is untrue that everyone who pirates would be unwilling to buy the product legally. It is equally evident that every pirated copy does not represent a lost sale. If the risk is too high and the cost is set correctly, then fewer people will steal content. This paper explores how piracy has evolved over the past decades, and investigates issues surrounding copyright infringement in the entertainment industry.

About the Author

Home - Signature, Gabriel Dusil ('12, shadow, teal)Gabriel Dusil was recently the Chief Marketing & Corporate Strategy Officer at Visual Unity, with a mandate to advance the company’s portfolio into next generation solutions and expand the company’s global presence. Before joining Visual Unity, Gabriel was the VP of Sales & Marketing at Cognitive Security, and Director of Alliances at SecureWorks, responsible for partners in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Previously, Gabriel worked at VeriSign & Motorola in a combination of senior marketing & sales roles. Gabriel obtained a degree in Engineering Physics from McMaster University, in Canada and has advanced knowledge in Online Video Solutions, Cloud Computing, Security as a Service (SaaS), Identity & Access Management (IAM), and Managed Security Services (MSS).

All Rights Reserved

© 2015, All information in this document is the sole ownership of the author. This document and any of its parts should not be copied, stored in the document system or transferred in any way including, but not limited to electronic, mechanical, photographs, or any other record, or otherwise published or provided to the third party without previous express written consent of the author. Certain terms used in this document could be registered trademarks or business trademarks, which are in sole ownership of its owners.

Tags

ACTA, Adobe HDS, Apple HLS, Box Office Mojo, Broadcast, Connected TV, Copyright Infringement, cord cutters, cord nevers, cord shavers, cyber lockers, Digital Video, dusil.com, File Hosting Services, File Sharing, Gabriel Dusil, Global Internet Phenomena Report, IFPI, Informa, Informa Telecoms and Media, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, Internet Governance, Internet Piracy, Internet Video, Microsoft Smooth Streaming, Multiscreen, Napster, Net Neutrality, New Media, Online Video, OTT, Over the Top Content, OVP, P2P, Peer to Peer, PIPA, piracy, Piratez, PricewaterhouseCoopers, PwC, Sandvine, Skype, Smart TV, SOPA, The Numbers

References

[i] “Side by Side”, Company Films, Directed by Christopher Kenneally, 2012, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2014338/?ref_=nv_sr_1

[ii] OTT & Multiscreen • Digital Video Series • 8 • Turning Piratez into Consumers, I, by Gabriel Dusil, dusil.com, 25th of October 2013, https://dusil.com/2013/10/25/turning-piratez-into-consumers-i/

[iii] OTT & Multiscreen • Digital Video Series • 8 • Turning Piratez into Consumers, II, by Gabriel Dusil, dusil.com, 15th of June 2014, https://dusil.com/2014/07/15/turning-piratez-into-consumers-ii/

[iv] OTT & Multiscreen • Digital Video Series • 8 • Turning Piratez into Consumers, III, by Gabriel Dusil, dusil.com, 12th of May 2015, https://dusil.com/2015/05/12/ott-multiscreen-digital-video-series-10-turning-piratez-into-consumers-iii/

[v] OTT & Multiscreen • Digital Video Series • 8 • Turning Piratez into Consumers, IV, by Gabriel Dusil, dusil.com, 26th of May 2015, https://dusil.com/2015/05/26/ott-multiscreen-digital-video-series-11-turning-piratez-into-consumers-iv/

[vi] UltraViolet DRM, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UltraViolet_%28system%29

[vii] “Hollywood is still obsessed with breaking the internet”, by Russell Brandom, 15 December 2014, http://www.theverge.com/2014/12/15/7396639/hollywood-is-still-obsessed-with-breaking-the-internet

“MPAA Exec Admits: ‘We’re Not Comfortable With The Internet’”, techdirt.com, 27 January 2012, https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120127/10005717568/mpaa-exec-admits-were-not-comfortable-with-internet.shtml

[viii] Think globally, act locally, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_globally,_act_locally

[ix] MPAA Foreign Trade Barriers Report, 29th October 2014, http://www.mpaa.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/MPAA-Foreign-Trade-Barriers-Report.pdf

[x] Programmatic, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programmatic_media

[xi] “TV & Video, Changing the Game”, Ericsson, 2012, http://www.ericsson.com/res/docs/2012/consumerlab/consumerlab-tv-video-changing-the-game.pdf

[xii] “Netflix’s “House of Cards” secrets: The real story behind Kevin Spacey and Frank Underwood’s meteoric ascent”, by Donald Sull & Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, 26 April 2015, http://www.salon.com/2015/04/26/netflixs_house_of_cards_secrets_the_real_story_behind_kevin_spacey_and_frank_underwoods_meteoric_ascent/

[xiii] “‘House of Cards’ Renewed for Season 4 by Netflix”, by Todd Spangler, 2 April 2015, http://variety.com/2015/digital/news/house-of-cards-renewed-for-season-4-by-netflix-1201465561/

[xiv] “The Best Online-Original TV Shows 2015”, by Rebecca Jane Stokes, 11 February 2015, http://www.tomsguide.com/us/best-online-shows,review-2598.html

[xv] YouTube, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YouTube

[xvi] H.264, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264/MPEG-4_AVC

[xvii] H.265, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Efficiency_Video_Coding

[xviii] “Connecting Consumers with Content”, Ooyala http://go.ooyala.com/rs/OOYALA/images/ooyala-content-discovery-whitepaper.pdf

 

OTT & Multiscreen • Digital Video Series • 11 • Turning Piratez into Consumers, IV

Portfolio - OTT & Multiscreen (XI. Turning Piratez into Consumers, IV, title, web)

Is it Victory or Defeat for Entertainment?

The success of internet video is attributed to the culmination of several developments, thanks to the internet:

  • New protocols that were invented to stream video such as Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), Adobe’s HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS), and Microsoft’s Smooth Streaming[i].
  • Internet bandwidth grew to the point where it was able to support streaming video.
  • Cloud platforms were established that enabled an end-to-end supply chain of entertainment – from creation to consumer delivery.
  • The evolution in consumer behavior: There has been a gradual move away from the ownership of physical media, in favor of licensing (or “borrowing”) content via the internet.

With these developments the global expansion of the world-wide-web has also had its share of blame from the entertainment community. For example, in the development of Peer to Peer networks[ii] (P2P), cyber lockers[iii], and more recently, illegal streaming services. This has resulted in the music and movie industry pointing fingers at copyright infringers, for their revenue underperformance. But is it really doom and gloom for the entertainment industry?

Figure i – USA Box office vs. Ticket Prices

Figure i – USA Box office vs. Ticket Prices

 

For starters, cinema goers in the USA have seen a steady rise in ticket sales over the years. When compared to attendance, it is clear that the U.S. market is attempting to maintain an increase in box-office sales against a modest 2% annual growth rate (Figure i, The Numbers and Box Office Mojo). But this doesn’t tell the whole story.

Figure ii – Global Box Office Ticket Revenue)

Figure ii – Global Box Office Ticket Revenue)

International box office figures in Figure ii show more promising growth. Revenue on a global basis is a healthier 8.3% per annum, to nearly 38 billion US$ in 2014 according to Box Office Mojo. Over 70% of global cinema revenue is generated from non-US releases. Notable markets include China at 3.6 billion US$ which has maintained 35% growth year-on-year, for the past decade[iv].

Figure iii – Top 10 Countries for Cinema revenue)

Figure iii – Top 10 Countries for Cinema revenue)

In broadcast, cord cutters (that are cancelling their pay-TV subscriptions), and cord shavers (those that are reducing their spending), continue to be a cause for concern. Nevertheless, this sector is expected to increase steadily at 5.6% on a global basis, according to PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers, Figure iv).

Figure iv – Global Pay-TV Forecast)

Figure iv – Global Pay-TV Forecast)

Informa Telecoms and Media forecast similar year-on-year growth of 3.8% through to 2017 (Figure v). This study looks at a much broader TV and Video market segment. Here the market is expected to exceed 400 billion US$ by the end of this decade. For comparison, OTT services are growing at a whopping 29% per annum. Even though the OTT market will reach 37 million US$ by 2017, it will still be just a fraction of linear television.

The music industry has gone through its own growing pains throughout the internet era. Napster[v] was blamed at the end of the 1990’s for the decline in CD sales. Music had a tough first decade in 2000. Physical media sales were 10.8 billion US$, down from 28.1 billion US$ ten years earlier. Digital sales had grown to 4.6 billion US$, but didn’t compensate for the loss in physical media revenue. In any case, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI[vi]) reported that the overall industry was worth 168 billion US$ at the end of 2010[vii]. This means that over 90% of music revenue was generated from other monetization baskets other than just disc and single sales.

Figure v – Global TV vs. OTT forecast ’11-‘17)

Figure v – Global TV vs. OTT forecast ’11-‘17)

Even more promising, the music industry is expected to growth at 5.3% per year through to 2017, according to PwC (Figure vi). There are now more than 450 licensed digital music services operating worldwide, offering 37 million tracks to consumers, in over 100 territories, according to IFPI’s Digital Music Report 2014[viii].

Figure vi – Global Music Industry Forecast)

Figure vi – Global Music Industry Forecast)

Looking at the music industry from the decline of CD sales may show an industry that is suffering, but that’s not the big picture. In the days of vinyl, the main profit center for artists was album sales. Concert tours were meant to promote the album, but alone didn’t generate much profit. These days’ musicians are accepting new business model where success is measured by the number of “followers” and “likes”, on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. Artists are refocusing their energy on live events and other monetization channels that reach fans directly[ix]. Some artists recognize that services such as YouTube[x], Dailymotion[xi], and Vimeo[xii], fuel social interaction and leads to extending their global reach. “Nine of the 10 most viewed videos on YouTube are music videos,” according to IFPI’s Digital Music Report 2013[xiii].

Business models in the music industry have been redefined by focusing on initiatives that drive multiple revenue streams. “There are over two dozen revenue streams available to US-based musicians,” according to Kristin Thomson, The Future of Music Coalition[xiv].

The global video gaming industry has also performed extremely well over the last decade. According to studies from PwC, Gartner, and Digi-Capital, this segment reached nearly 100 billion US$ in 2014, and expects double digit growth through most of this decade (Figure vii). Video gaming continues to expand, thanks in part to the success of the Android and Apple iOS platforms. Mobile app developers have a cost effective and relatively quick means to publish games. At the top end of the market, game development has rivaled movie production costs, with some budgets easily exceeding 20 million US$[xv].

Figure vii – Global Video Gaming Industry Forecast)

Figure vii – Global Video Gaming Industry Forecast)

Overall, the entertainment industry continues with healthy growth, whether it’s movies, television, music, or gaming. When all segments of entertainment are consolidated, the overall industry is expected to exceed 2 trillion US$ by 2017 (Figure viii).

Figure viii – Overall Global Entertainment Industry)

Figure viii – Overall Global Entertainment Industry)

Reality Check

The entertainment landscape has changed significantly over the past twenty years. We could thank the Internet for this global expansion, just as easily as point fingers at it for any revenue shortfall. Some will continue to blame internet piracy, but likely no one will thank the invention of P2P file sharing for their successes.

Even though these industries show healthy growth, there will always remain the argument that sales could be better if piracy was eliminated. The journey to reducing piracy will likely be long and arduous. Even if successful, measuring the end result will be controversial and unlikely to meet the entertainment industry’s expectations. A complete eradication of piracy is a lofty goal. Multiple factors must synchronize to minimize criminality, and maximize revenue potential for artists, studios, and those driving the supply chain.

There is no silver bullet. Even with established solutions in place, any measures won’t completely solve copyright infringement with one fell swoop. There will always be a select group that will take any means necessary to download poor quality content, just for the bragging rights of seeing it first. Not everyone is a candidate for the legitimate purchasing models.

A more reasonable approach may be to reduce theft levels down to those found in brick and mortar stores. If piracy levels were brought down to manageable levels, then any calculated loss will be relegated to the cost of doing business. Brick and mortar retailers have built this into their business models since commerce began.

Stay Tuned for Part V

  • In Part V of this series we will propose solutions to reduce internet piracy from the vantage point of a subscriber wish-list.

Read Additional Articles in this Series

I. Consumption is Personal

In the days of linear television, broadcasters had a difficult task in understanding their audience. Without a direct broadcasting and feedback mechanism like the Internet, gauging subscriber behavior was slow. Today, online video providers have the ability to conduct a one-to-one conversation with their audience. Viewing habits of consumers will continue to rapidly change in the next ten years. This will require changes in advertising expenditure and tactics.

II. Granularity of Choice

The evolution from traditional TV viewing to online video has been swift. This has significantly disrupted disc sales such as DVD and Blu-Ray, as well as cable and satellite TV subscriptions. With the newfound ability to consume content anytime, anywhere, and on any device, consumers are re-evaluating their spending habits. In this paper we will discuss these changes in buying behavior, and identify the turning point of these changes.

III. Benchmarking the H.265 Video Experience

Transcoding large video libraries is a time consuming and expensive process. Maintaining consistency in video quality helps to ensure that storage costs and bandwidth are used efficiently. It is also important for video administrators to understand the types of devices receiving the video so that subscribers can enjoy an optimal viewing experience. This paper discusses the differences in quality in popular video codecs, including the recently ratified H.265 specification.

IV. Search & Discovery Is a Journey, not a Destination

Television subscribers have come a long way from the days of channel hopping. The arduous days of struggling to find something entertaining to watch are now behind us. As consumers look to the future, the ability to search for related interests and discover new interests is now established as common practice. This paper discusses the challenges that search and discovery engines face in refining their services in order to serve a truly global audience.

V. Multiscreen Solutions for the Digital Generation

Broadcasting, as a whole, is becoming less about big powerful hardware and more about software and services. As these players move to online video services, subscribers will benefit from the breadth of content they will provide to subscribers. As the world’s video content moves online, solution providers will contribute to the success of Internet video deployments. Support for future technologies such as 4K video, advancements in behavioral analytics, and accompanying processing and networking demands will follow. Migration to a multiscreen world requires thought leadership and forward-thinking partnerships to help clients keep pace with the rapid march of technology. This paper explores the challenges that solution providers will face in assisting curators of content to address their subscriber’s needs and changing market demands.

VI. Building a Case for 4K, Ultra High Definition Video

Ultra High Definition technology (UHD), or 4K, is the latest focus in the ecosystem of video consumption. For most consumers this advanced technology is considered out of their reach, if at all necessary. In actual fact, 4K is right around the corner and will be on consumer wish lists by the end of this decade. From movies filmed in 4K, to archive titles scanned in UHD, there is a tremendous library of content waiting to be released. Furthermore, today’s infrastructure is evolving and converging to meet the demands of 4K, including Internet bandwidth speeds, processing power, connectivity standards, and screen resolutions. This paper explores the next generation in video consumption and how 4K will stimulate the entertainment industry.

VII. Are You Ready For Social TV?

Social TV brings viewers to content via effective brand management and social networking. Users recommend content as they consume it, consumers actively follow what others are watching, and trends drive viewers to subject matters of related interests. The integration of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social networks has become a natural part of program creation and the engagement of the viewing community. Social networks create an environment where broadcasters have unlimited power to work with niche groups without geographic limits. The only limitations are those dictated by content owners and their associated content rights, as well as those entrenched in corporate culture who are preventing broadcasters from evolving into a New Media world.

VIII. Turning Piratez into Consumers

IX. Turning Piratez into Consumers, I

IX. Turning Piratez into Consumers, II

X. Turning Piratez into Consumers, III

XI. Turning Piratez into Consumers, IV

XII. Turning Piratez into Consumers, V

Content Protection is a risk-to-cost balance. At the moment, the cost of piracy is low and the risk is low. There are no silver bullets to solving piracy, but steps can be taken to reduce levels to something more acceptable. It is untrue that everyone who pirates would be unwilling to buy the product legally. It is equally evident that every pirated copy does not represent a lost sale. If the risk is too high and the cost is set correctly, then fewer people will steal content. This paper explores how piracy has evolved over the past decades, and investigates issues surrounding copyright infringement in the entertainment industry.

About the Author

Home - Signature, Gabriel Dusil ('12, shadow, teal)Gabriel Dusil was recently the Chief Marketing & Corporate Strategy Officer at Visual Unity, with a mandate to advance the company’s portfolio into next generation solutions and expand the company’s global presence. Before joining Visual Unity, Gabriel was the VP of Sales & Marketing at Cognitive Security, and Director of Alliances at SecureWorks, responsible for partners in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Previously, Gabriel worked at VeriSign & Motorola in a combination of senior marketing & sales roles. Gabriel obtained a degree in Engineering Physics from McMaster University, in Canada and has advanced knowledge in Online Video Solutions, Cloud Computing, Security as a Service (SaaS), Identity & Access Management (IAM), and Managed Security Services (MSS).

All Rights Reserved

© 2015, All information in this document is the sole ownership of the author. This document and any of its parts should not be copied, stored in the document system or transferred in any way including, but not limited to electronic, mechanical, photographs, or any other record, or otherwise published or provided to the third party without previous express written consent of the author. Certain terms used in this document could be registered trademarks or business trademarks, which are in sole ownership of its owners.

Tags

ACTA, Adobe HDS, Apple HLS, Box Office Mojo, Broadcast, Connected TV, Copyright Infringement, cord cutters, cord nevers, cord shavers, cyber lockers, Digital Video, dusil.com, File Hosting Services, File Sharing, Gabriel Dusil, Global Internet Phenomena Report, IFPI, Informa, Informa Telecoms and Media, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, Internet Governance, Internet Piracy, Internet Video, Microsoft Smooth Streaming, Multiscreen, Napster, Net Neutrality, New Media, Online Video, OTT, Over the Top Content, OVP, P2P, Peer to Peer, PIPA, piracy, Piratez, PricewaterhouseCoopers, PwC, Sandvine, Skype, Smart TV, SOPA, The Numbers

References

[i] Adaptive bitrate streaming, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptive_bitrate_streaming

[ii] Peer to Peer networks, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer-to-peer

[iii] File Hosting Services, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_hosting_service

[iv] “Chinese Cinema Continues Fast Growth in 2013”, 16th August 2013, http://www.isuppli.com/China-Electronics-Supply-Chain/MarketWatch/Pages/Chinese-Cinema-Continues-Fast-Growth-in-2013.aspx

[v] Napster, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster

[vi] IFPI, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Federation_of_the_Phonographic_Industry

[vii] IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry). The broader music industry in this context includes:

  • Radio advertising music
  • Recorded music sales
  • Musical instrument sales
  • Live performance revenues
  • Portable digital music players
  • + a few other income categories

[viii] IFPI, Digital Music Report ’14, http://www.ifpi.org/downloads/Digital-Music-Report-2014.pdf

[ix] “Music Insiders Tell Us How Social Drives Album Sales and Revenue”, by Claire BeDell, 25th February 2013, http://sproutsocial.com/insights/2013/02/social-media-music-industry/

[x] YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/

[xi] Dailymotion, http://www.dailymotion.com/

[xii] Vimeo, https://vimeo.com/

[xiii] IFPI, Digital Music Report ’13,  http://www.ifpi.org/content/library/DMR2013.pdf

[xiv] “Are Musicians Making More or Less Money?”, by Kristin Thomson, 2nd July, 2012, http://money.futureofmusic.org/are-musicians-making-more-or-less-money/

[xv] Video game development, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_development

OTT & Multiscreen • Digital Video Series • 10 • Turning Piratez into Consumers, III

Portfolio - OTT & Multiscreen (X. Turning Piratez into Consumers, III, title, web)

 Freedom vs. Control

The Internet’s openness has resulted in its greatest success and arguably its darkest failures. The ideology of Internet Freedom[1] has its values routed in capitalism – where markets are free, and the government doesn’t have control over them[2]. On the flip side, a regulated Internet fuels fears of totalitarianism – where the state holds total authority over a society[3]. Needless to say, the issues surrounding net neutrality[4] verses internet governance[5] are sensitive, and have remained a heated topic for many years.

Proponents of net neutrality want to maintain the internet as “freedom of expression[6]. Their guiding principle is an internet where ISP’s or governments treat all data equal on the Internet.

Those that support internet governance want the ability to block, speed-up, or slow-down traffic at their own discretion. This would equalize the playing field of ISPs and entertainment providers, because ISPs would have more control over what is being sent over their network. Proponents of internet governance argue that data ‘control’ would guarantee quality of service, and would help to address the growing threat of piracy, because P2P protocols and other methods used to pirate content would be filtered (which is a politically correct way of saying “blocked”). In this scenario, a provider could drop all P2P packets, working off the assumption that all P2P traffic is pirated content. But this could adversely affect legitimate services such as Skype, which uses P2P technology[7].

Another concern is that if the internet became regulated, this could lead to a premium charges on content such as video streaming, communications, or gaming – services that either need a lot of bandwidth, or require minimum latency. An ISP could potentially discriminate against any communication protocol, user, or company, with full impunity. The danger is compounded when governance favors one user or competitor over another, or discriminates any combination of, content, websites, platforms, or applications. For these reasons internet governance is largely viewed as a hindrance to future innovation and competition. And that brings us full circle to capitalist ideals.

Several attempts to regulating the internet have been attempted in recent years. Notable initiatives include:

  • PIPA[8] – A bill introduced on the 12th of May 2011, designed to empower copyright owners to go after perpetrators which have infringed on copy written materials such as illegal sales, counterfeit goods, or anti-digital rights management. This is especially targeted to those registered outside of the USA.
  • SOPA[9] – This bill was introduced on the 26th of October 2011. It would allow the U.S. Department of Justice or copyright holders, to “seek court orders against websites outside U.S. jurisdiction accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement”
  • ACTA[10] – This agreement was signed by 31 states as well as the European Union on 4th of February 2013. The goal is to establish an international legal framework for targeting copyright infringement on the Internet, medicine and other counterfeit products.

There is a common thread in these initiatives. They all attempt to police the internet – mainly in jurisdictions outside of the USA. There is mounting pressure from the US government, the entertainment industry, and consumer goods companies to crack down on copyright infringement.

Entertainment vs. the Internet

Twenty years ago internet bandwidth wasn’t high enough to stream video in real time. But the 2000’s changed that. As throughput increased companies began to emerge and offer entertainment streaming services for music, video, and gaming. Initially this was for low quality content, but consumers didn’t seem to mind. By the end of the decade, high definition video could be streamed in many countries around the world. As the internet primed itself for high definition, ISPs began to argue with entertainment companies[11] running OTT. An OTT service effectively bypasses the traditional broadcast television transmission by offering content via the internet (Figure i and Figure ii). The center of this conflict was based on the sudden increase in bandwidth. Usage would increase ten-fold or even higher because of video. Because of this internet governance debate intensified. Network providers argued, “Your video is costing us a lot of money in upgrading our infrastructure. You need to pay extra for that content, or we’ll have to filter it.” These are known as paid-prioritization agreements or charging special fees for Internet fast lanes.

Figure i – TV Broadcast service

Figure i – TV Broadcast service

Figure ii – TV Broadcast compared to Over the Top services

Figure ii – TV Broadcast compared to Over the Top services

 

The ISP business model is disrupted directly by entertainment providers for the following reason: The entertainment providers running Over the Top Content[12] (OTT) services responded with, “You can’t govern the internet, and regulate our traffic. By filtering our traffic you discriminating against us, and that is against net neutrality.”

Subscribers of ISP services typically pay a flat monthly fee for their internet connection, regardless of how much they download. OTT providers also generate revenue through monthly subscriptions. The difference is in the infrastructure cost between these two business models: As subscriber counts increases, an OTT hosting platform has the luxury of expanding their back-end proportionally. For example, if the OTT provider doubles their subscriber base, they have the revenue surplus to justify doubling their infrastructure capacity. Imagine a community of 20 ISP subscribers using an average of 1Mbps of traffic per month (20Mbps in total for the community). If that community simultaneously signs up to an OTT service then each user increases their usage to 10Mbps per month, that’s 200Mbps that now needs to be supported by the ISP. In other words, the ISP needs their infrastructure to support ten times more capacity, but none of those subscribers are paying more for their internet connection.

With cord cutters[13] it gets even worse (i.e. those that have cancelled their pay-TV service). According to Sandvine’s Global Internet Phenomena Report[14], cord cutters “consume on average 212GB a month, more than seven times the usage of a typical ISP subscriber” (Figure iii).

This is further complicated by the fact that ISPs typically over-provision (or over-subscribe) their networks to save on infrastructure costs[15]. An often quoted figure is 20:1 for ADSL, and can be as high as 50:1 for satellite connections. In the first example, over-provisioning works on the premise that an average subscriber will only use 5% of their bandwidth over the course of one month. Even though all subscribers are told that they have 10Mbps of available bandwidth, the ISP will provision for the 0.5Mbps, which is the average. If 20 subscribers share that connection in a community, then the ISP only needs to accommodate for an average of 10Mbps for the entire community (0.5Mbps x 20 users). This saves tremendously on infrastructure costs. But if all of those subscribers sign up for OTT, then bandwidth usage skyrockets and bottlenecks results in a disappointing quality of service (QoS).

Figure iii – Internet Usage by Region

Figure iii – Internet Usage by Region

 

The OTT provider happily collects monthly revenue for 20 new subscribers, but the ISPs now has to accommodate for the increased capacity, without any incremental revenue. Since this is a subscription service, the annuity revenue model results in relatively predicable forecasting. OTT Infrastructure managers can track the trajectory of subscriber growth to their expanding back-end. ISPs don’t have that same transparency in terms of which subscribers who will sign up for an OTT service.

Subscribers that sign up for OTT can easily jump from single digit gigabytes one month, to double digit gigabytes the next (see Figure iii). On a grander scale, when hundreds of thousands of subscribers sign up for OTT, there is an exponential burden on the ISP’s backbone.

Internet providers have the inconvenience of upgrading their infrastructure as OTT providers become more successful. Canadian ISP’s anticipated this dilemma by implementing a bandwidth usage cap. In 2012, four months after Netflix launched services in Canada; several ISP’s capped their internet services between 15GB and 25GB per month, prompting complaints from Netflix executives[16]. These bandwidth caps restrict downloading to just a handful of movies per month – effectively neutering Netflix’s entry into the country.

Netflix users watched over 5.1 billion hours of video per month in Q4 2014, tripling their usage compared to three years ago.[17]

In February of 2015 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)[18] voted in favor of a strong net neutrality rule. In other words paid-prioritization agreements are no longer allowed. This prevents ISPs from collecting payments from web companies from delivering their entertainment content using paid fast lanes.[19]

 

Stay Tuned for Part IV, & V

  • In Part IV we will gauge the health of the entertainment industry by breaking down the revenue forecasts of the music, film, TV, and gaming industries, in light of internet piracy.
  • In Part V of this series we will propose solutions to reduce internet piracy from the vantage point of a subscriber wish-list.

Read Additional Articles in this Series

I. Consumption is Personal

In the days of linear television, broadcasters had a difficult task in understanding their audience. Without a direct broadcasting and feedback mechanism like the Internet, gauging subscriber behavior was slow. Today, online video providers have the ability to conduct a one-to-one conversation with their audience. Viewing habits of consumers will continue to rapidly change in the next ten years. This will require changes in advertising expenditure and tactics.

II. Granularity of Choice

The evolution from traditional TV viewing to online video has been swift. This has significantly disrupted disc sales such as DVD and Blu-Ray, as well as cable and satellite TV subscriptions. With the newfound ability to consume content anytime, anywhere, and on any device, consumers are re-evaluating their spending habits. In this paper we will discuss these changes in buying behavior, and identify the turning point of these changes.

III. Benchmarking the H.265 Video Experience

Transcoding large video libraries is a time consuming and expensive process. Maintaining consistency in video quality helps to ensure that storage costs and bandwidth are used efficiently. It is also important for video administrators to understand the types of devices receiving the video so that subscribers can enjoy an optimal viewing experience. This paper discusses the differences in quality in popular video codecs, including the recently ratified H.265 specification.

IV. Search & Discovery Is a Journey, not a Destination

Television subscribers have come a long way from the days of channel hopping. The arduous days of struggling to find something entertaining to watch are now behind us. As consumers look to the future, the ability to search for related interests and discover new interests is now established as common practice. This paper discusses the challenges that search and discovery engines face in refining their services in order to serve a truly global audience.

V. Multiscreen Solutions for the Digital Generation

Broadcasting, as a whole, is becoming less about big powerful hardware and more about software and services. As these players move to online video services, subscribers will benefit from the breadth of content they will provide to subscribers. As the world’s video content moves online, solution providers will contribute to the success of Internet video deployments. Support for future technologies such as 4K video, advancements in behavioral analytics, and accompanying processing and networking demands will follow. Migration to a multiscreen world requires thought leadership and forward-thinking partnerships to help clients keep pace with the rapid march of technology. This paper explores the challenges that solution providers will face in assisting curators of content to address their subscriber’s needs and changing market demands.

VI. Building a Case for 4K, Ultra High Definition Video

Ultra High Definition technology (UHD), or 4K, is the latest focus in the ecosystem of video consumption. For most consumers this advanced technology is considered out of their reach, if at all necessary. In actual fact, 4K is right around the corner and will be on consumer wish lists by the end of this decade. From movies filmed in 4K, to archive titles scanned in UHD, there is a tremendous library of content waiting to be released. Furthermore, today’s infrastructure is evolving and converging to meet the demands of 4K, including Internet bandwidth speeds, processing power, connectivity standards, and screen resolutions. This paper explores the next generation in video consumption and how 4K will stimulate the entertainment industry.

VII. Are You Ready For Social TV?

Social TV brings viewers to content via effective brand management and social networking. Users recommend content as they consume it, consumers actively follow what others are watching, and trends drive viewers to subject matters of related interests. The integration of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social networks has become a natural part of program creation and the engagement of the viewing community. Social networks create an environment where broadcasters have unlimited power to work with niche groups without geographic limits. The only limitations are those dictated by content owners and their associated content rights, as well as those entrenched in corporate culture who are preventing broadcasters from evolving into a New Media world.

VIII. Turning Piratez into Consumers

IX. Turning Piratez into Consumers, I

IX. Turning Piratez into Consumers, II

X. Turning Piratez into Consumers, III

XI. Turning Piratez into Consumers, IV

XII. Turning Piratez into Consumers, V

Content Protection is a risk-to-cost balance. At the moment, the cost of piracy is low and the risk is low. There are no silver bullets to solving piracy, but steps can be taken to reduce levels to something more acceptable. It is untrue that everyone who pirates would be unwilling to buy the product legally. It is equally evident that every pirated copy does not represent a lost sale. If the risk is too high and the cost is set correctly, then fewer people will steal content. This paper explores how piracy has evolved over the past decades, and investigates issues surrounding copyright infringement in the entertainment industry.

About the Author

Home - Signature, Gabriel Dusil ('12, shadow, teal)Gabriel Dusil was recently the Chief Marketing & Corporate Strategy Officer at Visual Unity, with a mandate to advance the company’s portfolio into next generation solutions and expand the company’s global presence. Before joining Visual Unity, Gabriel was the VP of Sales & Marketing at Cognitive Security, and Director of Alliances at SecureWorks, responsible for partners in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Previously, Gabriel worked at VeriSign & Motorola in a combination of senior marketing & sales roles. Gabriel obtained a degree in Engineering Physics from McMaster University, in Canada and has advanced knowledge in Online Video Solutions, Cloud Computing, Security as a Service (SaaS), Identity & Access Management (IAM), and Managed Security Services (MSS).

All Rights Reserved

© 2015, All information in this document is the sole ownership of the author. This document and any of its parts should not be copied, stored in the document system or transferred in any way including, but not limited to electronic, mechanical, photographs, or any other record, or otherwise published or provided to the third party without previous express written consent of the author. Certain terms used in this document could be registered trademarks or business trademarks, which are in sole ownership of its owners.

Tags

ACTA, Adobe HDS, Apple HLS, Box Office Mojo, Broadcast, Connected TV, Copyright Infringement, cord cutters, cord nevers, cord shavers, cyber lockers, Digital Video, dusil.com, File Hosting Services, File Sharing, Gabriel Dusil, Global Internet Phenomena Report, IFPI, Informa, Informa Telecoms and Media, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, Internet Governance, Internet Piracy, Internet Video, Microsoft Smooth Streaming, Multiscreen, Napster, Net Neutrality, New Media, Online Video, OTT, Over the Top Content, OVP, P2P, Peer to Peer, PIPA, piracy, Piratez, PricewaterhouseCoopers, PwC, Sandvine, Skype, Smart TV, SOPA, The Numbers

References

[1] Internet Freedom, U.S. State Department http://www.state.gov/e/eb/cip/netfreedom/index.htm

[2] Capitalism, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism

[3] Totalitarianism, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totalitarianism

[4] net neutrality, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality

[5] Internet Governance, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_governance

[6] Save the Internet, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Save_the_Internet

[7] “What is P2P communications, https://support.skype.com/en/faq/fa10983/what-are-p2p-communications

[8] Protect IP Act, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PROTECT_IP_Act

[9] Stop Online Piracy Act, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SOPA

[10] Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACTA

[11] “Net Neutrality: A Catch 22?”, by Jyoti Pawar, 20 January 2015, Business World, http://www.businessworld.in/news/economy/net-neutrality-a-catch-22/1706892/page-1.html

[12] Over the Top Content, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Over-the-top_content

[13] Cord Cutting, Techopedia, http://www.techopedia.com/definition/28547/cord-cutting

[14] Sandvine, Global Internet Phenomena Report 1H 2014, https://www.sandvine.com/downloads/general/global-internet-phenomena/2014/1h-2014-global-internet-phenomena-report.pdf

[15] “On Bandwidth and Backhaul Provisioning”, by by Mike Everest, 7 July 2009, Duxtel, http://shop.duxtel.com.au/article_info.php?articles_id=14

[16] “Netflix exec: Canada’s broadband caps “almost a human rights violation”, by Janko Roettgers, Gigaom, http://gigaom.com/2012/09/13/netflix-canada-caps-human-rights-violation/

[17] The Diffusion Group, tdg, http://tdgresearch.com/report/netflix-2014-domestic-dominance-international-escalation/

[18] FCC, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Federal_Communications_Commission

[19] “FCC Votes ‘Yes’ on Strongest Net-Neutrality Rules”, by Haley Sweetland Edwards, 26 February 2015, Time.com

Digital Trends Video Opinions • Whatever Happened to the HiFi Tower?

Graphic - Digital Trends Video Opinions (header #2, web)

End of an Era

When I was a teenager, the crowning achievement of audio enthusiasts was to proudly display their HiFi system to their friends. The living room centerpiece was a HiFi tower, built from what are called separates – units manufactured as 19 inch appliances with a brushed aluminum façade. This was the 70s, and the HiFi tower consisted of an amplifier, radio tuner, tape player, and a turntable that took top position in the penthouse suite. For the baby boomer with higher disposable incomes, the tower may also exhibit a pre-amp, and maybe even an equalizer for good measure. In the 1982 the audio industry added a CD player[1], and the world was introduced to digital sound. Then in 1995 the DVD[2] player joined the portfolio, and digital video moved into the mainstream.

We were proud of our appliances and displayed them as beautiful fixtures in our living rooms. But by the mid-90’s the audio industry began to change. The emergence of the World Wide Web[3] (www) started to affect our entertainment habits. The MP3[4] format, an audio coding format for digital audio, was standardized in 1993 and soon became a tool that disrupted the audio industry. It allowed consumers to save music onto their computers at a fraction of the size, compared to CDs. Then, Peer to Peer[5] (P2P) networking was popularized by the notorious Napster[6] service, launched in 1999 allowing everyone to share their MP3 music libraries – albeit illegally. Music may have turned digital with the CD, but it also morphed from a physical product to a virtual one. When collections moved to hard drives the CD player began to lose its luster. By the end of the 20th century the portable media player[7] using hard drives or flash drives, began to emerge.

It wasn’t just the audio and video input sources that evolved. By the first decade of 2000, the output changed as well. Active speakers began to eat into the market share of passive speakers, lessening the need for an amplifier. Much of this was driven by the computer industry, where speakers would connect directly to the PC. The cornerstone of the HiFi tower was in jeopardy. But the consumer electronics industry seemingly compensated. They continued to improve on the design of the Class D amplifier[8], which was more power efficient, dissipated less heat, and cheaper to produce, than their Class A to C[9] counterparts. They also began to support video inputs. With video, this appliance evolved into the Audio-Visual Receiver[10]. This may have extended the validity of the amplifier, but in the 2000’s the HiFi tower began to lose many of its floors.

The turntable almost disappeared once the CD began to reach critical mass. I trashed mine sometime around 1993. But vinyl[11] has had a resurgence of interest from die-hard fans that are convinced that records sounds better. My take on this passion is that vinyl enthusiasts are accustomed to the fidelity limitations that the media imposes on audio frequency and resolution. In fact, that ‘warm’ sound that is much loved, can be easily reproduced through digital filters (please, no nasty letters). Tape decks have long become occupants of landfill. I finally threw out mine out around 2005, even though I hadn’t used it for a decade. The graphic equalizer (or, more likely a parametric equalizer) may still be present in recording studios, but is predominantly a software feature in digital audio. In fact, today’s audio quality is so pristine that the consumer ‘want’ for an equalizer has virtually disappeared.

Most consumers can’t tell the difference between a 192kbps and a 320kbps MP3 track at 44.1KHz and 16bit resolution on a stereo channel[12]. Consider that Blu-Ray tracks can support up to 24.5Mbps, 96kHz, 24bit resolution on 7.1 channels. That’s 76 times more information delivered to your ears! The additional surround channels are apparent, but most consumers don’t hear the additional resolution. Regardless, the audio industry can’t stand still – it needs to evolve. As the video industry begins to standardize on 4K[13] UHD technology, audio giants such as DTS[14] and Dolby Laboratories[15] will need to step up their game and improve on their DTS-HD[16] and Dolby TrueHD[17] standards. Possibly Dolby Atmos[18] is the future, which currently supports up to 128 audio tracks and 64 speakers. But how this technology will fit into a home theater set-up remains an open question.

Black Boxes to Virtual Boxes

By 2006, the first Blu-Ray discs were released. It became a new floor in our tower. But many argue that it may be the last, in favor of internet streaming. Online video streaming services have had a negative effect on disc players. Consumers realized that access to a large library at a low monthly cost makes more sense than owning shelves of CDs, DVDs or Blu-Rays. Today’s internet has plenty of bandwidth to support video streaming. As long as subscribers can continue to easily access content through a cloud-based service, then there will be little desire for ownership.

Portfolio - Visual Unity, Digital Trends, What happened to the HiFi Tower (Some will thank computing for staged a coup d’état)

Has the 19″ appliance been replaced by software? The limitation of this audio black-box appliance is certainly apparent in today’s demanding multi-functional world. Today’s consumers expect some combination of Bluetooth, Wireline, WiFi, DLNA[20] connectivity, or Near Field Communication[21] (NFC) in their consumer electronics. For example, a disc player that can’t connect to the Internet has little value to a ‘Net savvy consumer. A console that doesn’t support multi-player gaming via the internet is boring.

Video, Audio, Communication is integral to today’s gamer. My kids connect to Skype and have group chats when playing DayZ[22], Minecraft[23], or World of Tanks[24]. They use LogMeIn Hamachi[25] to network their computers. They record their gaming experience with Camtasia Studio[26], and share it on their YouTube channel[27]. Many games aren’t even suitable for disc release. Assassins Creed Unity for example, is a 42GB download on Ubisoft’s Uplay[28]!

Millennial Entertainment

My audio-visual setup is quite unusual. I don’t have a living room in the traditional sense. My computer has evolved as the center of both my work and entertainment world. I sit two feet away when I need to type on the keyboard. Then move ten feet away to watch movies. My office is my living room, and visa-versa. I appreciate that this is not typical for the majority of households, but certainly some level of convergence is happening on a larger scale. TV’s are now Smart[29], and connected to the Internet. Computers, tablets and mobiles are being used to watch entertainment. Gaming consoles are used for social networking. Many consumers don’t realize that their Set-Top-Box[30] (STB) from their cable provider is a PC.

Where does that leave us? For starters, let’s accept that the beautiful HiFi tower, as we once knew it, has virtually disappeared. Millennials don’t even know what they look like. (Case in point: I mentioned to my 12 year old that I was writing a new article where I’ve mentioned him called, “Whatever Happened to the HiFi Tower?”, and the first thing he asked was, “What’s that?”). My tower was dismantled shortly before my kids were born. Even the receiver, once the cornerstone of my HiFi tower was shelved, in favor of active speakers.

Modern living rooms still have their appliances. Somewhere in the house is a WiFi router. The STB may sit beside a gaming console, and maybe a connected Blu-Ray player. A select few will have a media player, or a home theatre PC[31] (HTPC). But each one will have a different shape, size, and color. Nothing in this setup has the elegance of HiFi tower. Even though some manufacturers try to maintain the 19″ form factor, it doesn’t quite have the same ta’da’ enthusiasm from my youth. If a HiFi tower does exist, they are found in high-end home theatres, hidden behind walls, cabinets, or doors. A large number of living rooms need to also check the spouse-acceptance-factor[32] box. Only a privileged few are lucky to have their very own man cave[33].

Thanks for the Memories

Today’s digital society was elegantly summarized by Cory Bergman, from Lost Remote:

“Apps become the channels. Google and Apple
become the gateways, not the MVPDs. Screens become seamless.
DVRs become pointless. And the internet becomes the cable.”[34]

This touches on the sensitive topic of how the entertainment industry has succumbed to applications and the internet.

The excitement of the HiFi tower is now separated by a generation gap. For those that attended high school in the 70’s or 80’s, remember when you bought your first amplifier and the focal point of discussion with your buddies started at the back of the unit? The more connections the amplifier had the more beautiful it was. These days, showing all of your music and movies through the window of our computer monitor doesn’t quite have the same excitement as displaying hundreds of CD’s and DVD’s on a shelf beside a HiFi tower that is taller than a six year old. Such is progress. I may no longer re-live the enthusiasm of showing off my HiFi tower. But I’ll make that trade-off, if it means having my entertainment library accessible with only a few mouse clicks.

• Synopsis

Over the span of two decades entertainment has evolved from a physical to a virtual industry – From a black-box appliance, performing a specific task, to computing devices running applications that serve many functions. What happened to the prestige of the HiFi tower? Did it disappear and we didn’t even notice? This article explores how our world of entertainment has evolved, and what happened to that beautiful HiFi tower.

This article was originally published on redsharknews.com.

• About Gabriel Dusil

Gabriel Dusil was recently the Chief Marketing & Corporate Strategy Officer at Visual Unity with a mandate to advance the company’s portfolio into next generation solutions and expand the company’s global presence. Before joining Visual Unity, Gabriel was the VP of Sales & Marketing at Cognitive Security, and Director of Alliances at SecureWorks, responsible for partners in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Previously, Gabriel worked at VeriSign & Motorola in a combination of senior marketing & sales roles. Gabriel obtained a degree in Engineering Physics from McMaster University in Canada and has advanced knowledge in Online Video Solutions, Cloud Computing, Security as a Service (SaaS), Identity & Access Management (IAM), and Managed Security Services (MSS).

• Tags

ŸGabriel Dusil, Smart TV, UHD, Ultra HD, Ultra High Definition, DTS-HD, Napster, Class D Amplifier, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Atmos, Digital Living Network Alliance, DLNA, Near Field Communication, NFC, DayZ, World of Tanks, Hamachi, Camtasia, UPlay, Wife acceptance factor, Spouse acceptance factor, P2P, Dusil.com

• Resources

[1] CD player, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_disc

[2] DVD, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD

[3] World Wide Web, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Wide_Web

[4] MP3, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP3

[5] P2P, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer-to-peer

[6] Napster, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster

[7] Portable media player, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_media_player

[8] Class D Amplifier, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Class-D_amplifier

[9] Amplifier, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amplifier

[10] Audio-Visual Receiver, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AV_receiver

[11] Vinyl, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinyl

[12] “Audiophiles: Can humans hear a difference between low bitrate and high bitrate MP3s?”, by Eric Dykstra, http://www.quora.com/Audiophiles/Can-humans-hear-a-difference-between-low-bitrate-and-high-bitrate-MP3s

[13] 4K, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4K_resolution

[14] DTS, http://listen.dts.com/

[15] Dolby Digital, http://www.dolby.com/us/en/index.html

[16] DTS-HD, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DTS-HD_Master_Audio

[17] Dolby TrueHD, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_TrueHD

[18] Dolby Digital Atmos, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_Atmos

[19] “Some will thank computing for staged a coup d’état on the entertainment industry. Others will blame the internet for killing it.”

[20] Digital Living Network Alliance, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Living_Network_Alliance

[21] Near Field Communication, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_field_communication

[22] DayZ, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DayZ_%28video_game%29, http://dayzmod.com/

[23] Minecraft, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minecraft, https://minecraft.net/

[24] World of Tanks, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_of_Tanks, http://worldoftanks.com/

[25] LogMeIn Hamachi, Wikipedia, https://secure.logmein.com/products/hamachi/download.aspx

[26] Camtasia Studio, http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html

[27] YouTube Channels, https://www.youtube.com/channels

[28] UPlay, http://uplay.ubi.com/

[29] Smart TV, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_TV

[30] Set-Top-Box, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Set-top_box

[31] Home theater PC, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_theater_PC

[32] Wife acceptance factor, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wife_acceptance_factor

[33] man cave, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_cave

[34] “How Chromecast fundamentally changed how my family watches TV”, By Cory Bergman, Lost Remote, 3 September 2013, http://lostremote.com/how-chromecast-fundamentally-changed-how-my-family-watches-tv_b38639

 

Digital Trends Video Opinions • Why Does My 4K Video Suck?

Graphic - Digital Trends Video Opinions (header #2, web)

I have a confession to make – I’m a high definition snob. I only watch movies in 1080p[1].  I could care less if a movie is available – shudder – in standard definition (SD). As far as I’m concerned, the movie doesn’t exist, until it’s in 1080p (excluding cinema releases, of course). Many friends think that I’m a hopeless geek to impose such ridiculous restrictions on a movie experience. For some colleagues it’s more important to watch the release as quickly as possible, then to worry about quality. Am I narrow minded? Is my quest to have a cinema experience overrated? Who even notices those compression artifacts[2], mosquito noise[3], or frame tearing[4], anyway?

When Blu-Ray first came out I recall friends telling me how they were disappointed by HD video. They couldn’t tell the difference from the DVD version. I anticipate the same response as we transition to Ultra HD[5] (UHD). History is destined to repeat itself as we venture into more pixels and bigger TVs.

Consumers face a perception verses reality battle regarding image quality. It’s all about how we perceive new technology. In other words, the eyes may see better quality, but the brain is not recognizing the higher resolution. I attribute this to any combination of factors. Anything along this supply chain from creation to consumption can adversely affect video quality:

Figure i – The 4K Video Supply Chain

Figure i – The 4K Video Supply Chain

  1. Creation • The cameras used in production may not have been the analogue equivalent of HD.  Possibly the lenses were poor quality or old film stock was used. Ÿ Maybe the content was filmed with digital cameras that did not have HD sensors.
  2. Source Ÿ• Maybe the source material wasn’t HD. Even if the content was broadcast on an HD channel, the content itself may have been SD and was unconverted[6] (i.e. up-scaled) to HD.
  3. Digitization • This is where film or video tapes are converted to a digital format. Possibly the source content was not digitized properly from the master film reels. For example, Super 16mm film has the grain resolution to achieve a 1080p analog to digital conversion[7].  A digital conversion service may have used SD (576p PAL or 480p NTSC) conversion on the film stock. •  Maybe a copy was digitized and the master (aka. mezzanine file[8]) wasn’t used at all.  Once the film is digitized then software is used to correct color, exposure, and audio/video synchronization. In addition, scratches, dust and film damage is digitally removed from each frame. For some Hollywood movies this takes months of effort. Some early Blu-Ray releases received bad reviews because the digital cleaning process resulted in complete removal of film grain – an aspect of movies that gives that venerable cinema feel. The digitization process has since improved to maintain the visual experience intended by the director.
  4. Encoding Ÿ• The source content may not have been encoded properly, resulting in a substandard video transfer. Typically the analog (film) to digital (file) conversion is uncompressed.Each HD frame scanned to a file would typically occupy  6.2MBytes[9]. Taking these frames and streaming them uncompressed at 23.976 fps (frames per second, typical for a Hollywood movie) would stream at 1.2 Gbps (gigabits per second). This is much too large for consumer devices, so the file needs to be compressed down to a reasonable file size. That’s where H.264[10] and the newer H.265[11] video compression standards come in. These codecs compress an HD movie down to a 4-6Mbps[12] when used in an internet streaming service.  That’s a reduction of 200:1!
  5. Transcoding • Once a video has been encoded, then it can be transcoded into other formats or bitrates. If a good quality master wasn’t used in this process, then the result is GIGO (garbage in garbage out). If the video was transcoded several times before it reaches the viewer, then image quality would have degraded at each transcoding step. In the early days of H.264 encoding, engineers were not versed in all the encoding intricacies, which resulted in a sub-optimal video outputs. This same learning curve is beginning again with H.265.
  6. ‘Supply • There are many intermediaries taking content from one provider and handing it over to another. This applies to both broadcast television as well as internet delivery. Hardware, software, and interconnections anywhere along this ‘supply chain’ can compromise the quality of the signal. Over the internet this involves any combination of routers, switches, firewalls, cabling, streaming or caching servers.
  7. ’Delivery • The delivery mechanism of the Internet, Over the Air[13] (OTA) broadcast, Cable, or Satellite, may have deteriorated the signal due to congestion, latency, dropped packets, interference, or lack of quality of service (QoS) contingencies. Don’t expect the same qualify from a streaming service, compared to Blu-Ray.  Streaming services use much lower bitrates when transferring HD quality (typically up to 4Mbps for 720p or 6Mbps for 1080p), whereas Blu-Ray will use well over 16Mbps.
  8. “Screen Ÿ• The consumer may not have a TV that is good enough to see the improved resolution of HD or 4K. TV’s with less than 30” diagonal were too small to showcase HD. Cathode ray tubes (CRTs) were a complete waste of time when showcasing HD. Likewise, it will be hard to see the advantages of 4K video when viewed on screens smaller than 42”, unless the viewer is sitting right in front of the screen. The distance of the viewer from the screen has an effect on video quality. The 2 foot computer experience can afford smaller pixels and screen, compared to TV’s 10 foot TV viewing. As the person sits farther from the screen then pixels begin to blend together, and the advantage of higher pixel densities are lost.
  9. ”Viewer • Maybe the audience member doesn’t have 20/20 vision?
  10. •Bias Ÿ• This is often overlooked when evaluating something new. There is an inherent bias of each viewer when experiencing something that they have never seen before. Did the person hope for the video to be better, before they saw it for the first time? Were they indifferent? Maybe they were part of a grumpy generation that could care less? Pre-established bias plays a role in how we react to new technology. Understanding these biases in advance helps to filter the opinion of others.

It’s as though all planets need to align before we can enjoy 4K video. This is certainly the case with many technological breakthroughs. Equipment, technologies and processes along the entire supply change needs to be upgraded to ensure an optimal viewing experience.

In the case of 4K, some people will simply not perceive the higher resolution – at least not initially. Even if the technology from source to viewer has the ability to showcase 4K, some won’t immediately see an improvement in quality. When I displayed Blu-ray content for the first time on my monitor, I couldn’t immediately see the benefits. My personal bias was to rant about how amazing the video was to my friends, because I wanted it to be better – but deep inside I was underwhelmed. It took me a few weeks of consistently watching HD before I acclimate to the resolution. As my brain started to adjust to the additional pixels, and sharper picture, it wasn’t until I looked back at standard definition that I realized how my perception had changed.

My 4K video doesn’t actually suck – mainly because I don’t have a 4K TV yet.  But I loved what I saw when 4K and UHD was showcased at a number of Media and Entertainment exhibitions these past two years[14]. That may have been my internal bias talking, of course.

Each generation has incrementally higher expectations on new technology. It’s funny to think that maybe my kids will one day say, “Dad, this 4K video sucks. Don’t you have the movie in 8K?”. The grumpy generation would be quick to react, “When I was your age…”.  In the meantime, I can’t wait to be a 2160p[15] snob.

• Synopsis

Is perception also reality for 4K video? Will you recognize 4K quality when you see it for the first time? What ultimately effects video quality, and how do we perceive these incremental improvements? This article explores the challenges that the industry faces in delivering 4K UHD video to the masses, and biases that consumers face when experiencing new technology.

• About Gabriel Dusil

Home - Signature, Gabriel Dusil ('12, shadow, teal)Gabriel Dusil was recently the Chief Marketing & Corporate Strategy Officer at Visual Unity with a mandate to advance the company’s portfolio into next generation solutions and expand the company’s global presence. Before joining Visual Unity, Gabriel was the VP of Sales & Marketing at Cognitive Security, and Director of Alliances at SecureWorks, responsible for partners in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Previously, Gabriel worked at VeriSign & Motorola in a combination of senior marketing & sales roles. Gabriel obtained a degree in Engineering Physics from McMaster University in Canada and has advanced knowledge in Online Video Solutions, Cloud Computing, Security as a Service (SaaS), Identity & Access Management (IAM), and Managed Security Services (MSS).

• Tags

Ÿ4K, Broadcast, Connected TV, Digital Video, DRM, Gabriel Dusil, H.264, H.265, HEVC, Internet Video, Linear Broadcast, Linear TV, Multi + screen, Multiscreen, New Media, Online Video, Online Video Platform, OTT, Over the Top Content, OVP, second screen, Smart TV, Social TV, TV Everywhere, Ultra HD, Ultra High Definition, Digital Trends Video Opinions

• Resources

[1] 1080p, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1080p

[2] Compression artifacts, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compression_artifact

[3] Mosquito Noise, pcmag.com, http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia/term/55914/mosquito-noise

[4] Screen Tearing, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screen_tearing

[5] Ultra HD, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra-high-definition_television

[6] Video scaler, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_scaler

[7] Resolution of Super 16mm film, cinematechnic.com, http://www.cinematechnic.com/super_16mm/resolution_of_super_16mm.html

[8] What is Encoding and Transcoding?, By Jan Ozer, 20 April 2011, streamingmedia.com, http://www.streamingmedia.com/Articles/Editorial/What-Is-…/What-is-Encoding-and-Transcoding-75025.aspx

[9] (1920×1080 pixels x 24 bits of color per pixel)/8bits per byte = 6.2MB (mega bytes)

[10] H.264, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264/MPEG-4_AVC

[11] H.265, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Efficiency_Video_Coding

[12] Mbps, Mega bits per second.

[13] Over the Air, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Over-the-air_programming

[14] NAB ’14, http://www.nabshow.com/, IBC ’14, http://www.ibc.org/

[15] 2160p, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2160p

OTT & Multiscreen • Developing OTT for the Emerging Markets, II

Graphic - Digital Trends Video Opinions (header #2, web)

The observations in Part I of this article, “Developing OTT for the Emerging Markets“, outline specific challenges to entertainment providers in developing markets. But the weakness in capital in the emerging markets is somewhat offset by the strength in being able to peer into the future, by observing what the USA is doing today. This helps local players to assess what will come to their market several years from now and essentially creates a leap-frog effect for ambitious companies wanting to adopt the latest OTT solutions. Rather than wait 4+ years to adopt the latest OTT solutions, they can implement a service today, in parallel to their American counterparts.

Figure iii – Average Bandwidth Forecast by Region

Figure iii – Average Bandwidth Forecast by Region

Much of the adoption curve across the globe is driven by the behavior of local subscribers, as well as the adoption curve of new technologies in these regions. Here are a few areas where emerging markets differ from developed markets:

  • In the west, consumers are enticed by the introduction of 4K Ultra High Definition TV. But in developing markets, service providers just want to ensure that their standard definition content (SD @ 528 lines) is served to their consumers in the best quality possible. In some cases, an even lower resolution is offered, such as 288 lines or even 144 lines, requiring limited bandwidth transmissions and mobile devices (Figure iii).
  • 2nd screen and TV everywhere continues to be a hot topic in the west. In many emerging markets the second screen is, in fact, their primary screen. Mobile devices in emerging markets are used as a primary screen for voice, messaging, video, music, content, news, and even banking.
  • In some emerging markets the penetration of smartphone devices is relatively low. A device such as the iPhone is considered a luxury item. With some markets lacking a well-established middle class, the iPhone becomes the Prada of the mobile market, left to the top percentile of society. In the west, the iPhone is another high-end smartphone, but in developing markets the iPhone helps define one’s identity. This has allowed some of the lower cost Android manufacturers to gain market share.
  • HTML5[ix] and responsive design[x] may be at the top of the agenda in web design, but the emerging markets’ focus on serving video content to a much wider range of feature phones does not support advanced web features. There are thousands of feature phones that have limited video capabilities. Smartphone penetration is low, although gaining market share rapidly, but there is a concerted effort to support video to a wider range of legacy devices.
  • In the west, pay TV providers concern themselves with a growing number of cord cutters and cord shavers. In fact, some emerging markets have a large population of cord-nevers, where the market penetration of pay-TV is much lower (Figure iv). For example, the sub-Saharan region has less than 8% market penetration in pay-TV. Even though this market is expected to double by 2020, their market penetration still won’t come close to many developed countries[xi]. It is also possible that if a country misses the adoption curve of pay-TV, then they may prefer to use the Internet as their primary source of entertainment[xii]. This will further limit the penetration of pay-TV subscribers.
  • The west obsesses about BIG data. Many clients in the west have several years of experience in OTT services, so their focus changes from “We need to make sure the service works”, to “How do we increase our average revenue per user (ARPU)?” Reaching this goal results in focusing on collecting, correlating and analyzing more and more data. Emerging markets, on the other hand, don’t yet have a BIG data frenzy. It’s about basic reporting on what the service provider is selling, who is consuming their content, and which devices are displaying their video. Reporting is seen as providing the basic data needed to measure the success of an OTT service. It’s not yet treated as a complex analytics engine that will generate a higher ARPU[xiii]. Emerging markets are still building their first OTT service, or just investigating its commercial viability. OTT v2.0 features like complex analytics and recommendation engines will come in due course.
Figure iv – Pay-TV Average Revenue Per User (Bubble size represents the relative number of household with PayTV)

Figure iv – Pay-TV Average Revenue Per User
(Bubble size represents the relative number of household with PayTV), Sources: iDate, Ofcom, & Wikipedia

Often conversations around entertainment and the Internet lead to, “trading analog dollars with digital pennies”, an analogy popularized by Jeff Zucker, head of NBC Universal[xv]. In the context of this discussion, however, a far closer truth would be broadcast dollars vs. OTT pennies. But in developing markets there are no dollars to be earned since their Average Revenue per User (ARPU) is a fraction of that in the west (Figure iv)[xvi]. On the other hand, OTT pennies can be generated by high subscriber volume since many developing regions have a sizable consumer market. The selling strategy in these regions is less about increasing ARPU and more about generating a subscriber footprint reflecting orders of magnitude higher than can be achieved in the west.Possibly the most challenging issue for emerging markets is the accessibility of premium western content. 90% of American premium content is owned by nine majors in the USA: Disney, Fox, Time Warner, Comcast/NBC Universal, CBS, Viacom, Discovery, Scripps and AMC. These companies spend over 45 billion US$ on this content per year according to Todd Juengerfrom Bernstein Research[xiv]. Service providers in developing markets simply don’t have the capital to purchase these libraries. At best they can afford a tiny fraction of titles for commercial availability to local subscribers. Plan B is to consolidate content from local studios and producers. This focuses their library of titles on entertainment from regional content owners and delivering culturally diverse content that is much more affordable.

As digital video continues to grow at a phenomenal rate, I’m inclined to believe that western companies are more educated about the cultural, political, and economic dynamics of international expansion. For the entertainment community, it may be the case of realizing that earning 100 pennies is far more practical than trying to generate every single dollar.

• Synopsis

In the digital era of the 21st century, ’emerging markets’ have evolved into what we now call ‘developing markets’. If companies in the west are considered the adults of the business world, then developing markets are still at the adolescent stage. A developing market at least acknowledges that the emerging markets have entered their next growth phase. As digital video and entertainment proliferates around the world, the tide is not rising for everyone at the same pace. Developing markets still have to overcome obstacles in adopting streaming solutions due to cultural, technological, and financial challenges. This article has taken a look at some of the differences between developed and developing markets in the adoption of Over the Top solutions (OTT) and digital streaming. By examining some of these, we can help them mature into healthy and robust teenagers.

• About Gabriel Dusil

Ÿ• Home - Signature, Gabriel Dusil ('12, shadow, teal)Gabriel Dusil was recently the Chief Marketing & Corporate Strategy Officer at Visual Unity Global, and a member of the core management team that successfully secured 7.2m US$ in series “A” funding for the company in 2014. Before joining Visual Unity, Gabriel was the VP of Sales & Marketing at Cognitive Security, and Director of Alliances at SecureWorks, responsible for partners in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Previously, Gabriel worked at VeriSign & Motorola in a combination of senior marketing & sales roles. Gabriel obtained a degree in Engineering Physics from McMaster University in Canada and has advanced knowledge in Online Video Solutions, Cloud Computing, Security as a Service (SaaS), Identity & Access Management (IAM), and Managed Security Services (MSS).

• Tags

Ÿ4K, Broadcast, Connected TV, Digital Rights, Digital Video, DRM, Gabriel Dusil, H.265, HEVC, Internet Piracy, Internet Video, Linear Broadcast, Linear TV, Multi-screen, Multiscreen, New Media, Online Video, Online Video Platform, OTT, Over the Top Content, OVP, Recommendation Engine, Search & Discovery, Search and Discovery, second screen, Smart TV, Social TV, TV Everywhere, Ultra HD, Ultra High Definition, Visual Unity, emerging markets, developing markets, developed markets, Digital Trends Video Opinions

• References

[i] Internet Traffic, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_traffic & Cisco’s Visual Networking Index Forecast (’13)

[ii] Cisco, Visual Networking Index (VNI), http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/index.html

[iii] YouTube, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youtube

[iv] Skype, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skype

[v] 50 million concurrent users online!, by Jean Mercier, http://skypenumerology.blogspot.cz/2013/01/50-million-concurrent-users-online.html

[vi] Blu-Ray, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu-ray

[vii] Apple iPhone, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone

[viii] Sandvine – Global Internet Phenomena Report (1H ‘13)

[ix] HTML5, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML5

[x] Responsive Web Design, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsive_web_design

[xi] “Sub-Saharan Africa pay-TV numbers to double by 2020”, by Jim O’Neill, Ooyala VideoMind, http://videomind.ooyala.com/blog/sub-saharan-africa-pay-tv-numbers-double-2020

[xii] A similar trend occurred in the payment industry over the years. Markets that introduced a check-based payment system in the 80’s migrated to credit cards in the 90’s and then to debit cards in the 00’s. In the USA, where checks were introduced, that method of payment is still used to this day. But markets in Europe that missed the boat with checks flourished with credit cards. Emerging markets, on the other hand, missed the boat with credit cards and went straight to debit cards. Furthermore, many of the smaller emerging markets still remain a cash-based purchasing society.

[xiii] Average revenue per user, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Average_revenue_per_user

[xiv] “Pay-TV Prices Are at the Breaking Point — And They’re Only Going to Get Worse”, by Todd Spangler, Variety.com, http://variety.com/2013/biz/news/pay-tv-prices-are-at-the-breaking-point-and-theyre-only-going-to-get-worse-1200886691/

[xv] Trading Analog Dollars For Digital Pennies, by Zemanta, http://avc.com/2008/11/trading-analog/

[xvi] Consolidated figures for Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_households, Ofcom, and iDate, http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/market-data/communications-market-reports/cmr13/international/icmr-3.23

OTT & Multiscreen • Developing OTT for the Emerging Markets, I

Graphic - Digital Trends Video Opinions (header #2, web)

 

Back in 1998, when I worked for Motorola, the company invited staff to join a corporate briefing on the status and future of the company. I was based in Prague at the time, and this was the first call of its type that I had the privilege of attending. There were literally thousands of people on this call, representing countries from around the world. After listening to our corporate executives talk about their vision of the future, one of the senior executives said something that caught my attention. He said (I’m paraphrasing as it’s been a while), “We plan to give special attention to emerging markets. We see a lot of opportunities in these regions and want to capitalize on their rapid growth potential. Specifically, we see states such as Idaho as an emerging market and we want to focus some of our efforts there…”

What? Idaho, an emerging market? Suddenly the reality of my role, working out of the humble Prague office located on the other side of the world, slapped me in the face. Even though I was responsible for marketing across over 25 countries in Central & Eastern Europe, it seemed that we weren’t even on HQ’s geographic radar.

I would like to provide some perspective on what are the true emerging markets in the entertainment industry – specifically in regards to video streaming. Fifteen years have passed since that call, and much of my time has been spent with one leg in western markets and the other in emerging markets. Holding dual citizenship as a Canadian and Slovak, I always felt I had solid footing in both cultures.

Figure i – Global Internet Traffic vs. Digital Video Milestones

Figure i – Global Internet Traffic vs. Digital Video Milestones, Sources: Cisco & Wikipedia

Digital video has arrived in a big way and is maturing rapidly across the globe[i]. Figure i shows the accelerated growth of internet traffic, of which approximately 70% will be video by 2016 according to Cisco’s VNI[ii] report. For nearly a decade consumers have enjoyed video streaming on their computers and more recently on their mobile devices. Even though this change occurred quickly, it has also been taken for granted. We expect high quality video streaming; that our Skype calls will work; we even assume that video will be served to our mobile devices. So, here is a quick reminder of what we didn’t have ten years ago:

  • We didn’t have YouTube, which launched in February 2005[iii].
  • Consumers were still calling long distance – Skype launched on the 29th of August 2003[iv] and reached its first 10 million concurrent users in 2007[v]
  • Blu-Ray discs had yet to be introduced, with the first titles being released on the 20th of June 2006[vi]
  • Even the iPhone began shipping as early as six years ago, on the 29th of June 2007[vii]

These products and services have become so essential to our lives it’s as if we’ve had them forever. But not everyone around the world has been enjoying entertainment at an even pace.

Information Communication Technology (ICT) maturity varies greatly outside of the developed market. The availability and quality of video streaming, communications, and mobility fluctuates depending on a given developing region. For example, the past decade has shown that the USA leads in the adoption of streaming video solutions, including its offspring Over the Top Content (OTT). Several of the first movers in OTT services who entered the market include Brightcove (est. 2004), Ooyala (est. 2007), and Kaltura (est. 2006). In addition, western subscribers consume more digital video than any other region around the work – in excess of 45GB of traffic per month. In fact, according to the latest report from Sandvine[viii], 32% of downstream traffic in the USA in 2013 can be attributed to Netflix alone. But in Europe, Canada and parts of Asia, these second-tier regions trail several years behind the USA in the adoption of OTT and video streaming services (Figure ii). European consumers, for example, consume a third of traffic compared to their American counterparts: 13GB per month. This is partially attributed to the limited supply of OTT services outside the United States.

Figure ii - OTT Evolution - Geographic Distribution

Figure ii – OTT Evolution – Geographic Distribution

The third tier in this assessment is that of emerging markets. These regions are at least four years behind the USA. This lag is significant on several fronts. First of all, from a competitive perspective, as the Internet is borderless, western companies are entering emerging markets before the local players have the knowledge, time or capital to build a service themselves. Secondly, early adopters from the west have first-move advantage to create an early footprint of global subscribers since they already have a platform and seed capital to expand to international markets. Western competitors wanting to establish a larger subscriber footprint in the east secure additional capital to buy expensive premium content. This footprint is easier to extend over the Internet where borders can be easily crossed. In contrast, broadcasters are typically restricted by geography due to regulation and the limitations of their physical infrastructure.

Stay Tuned for Part II

In the second part of this article we will look into several areas where OTT deployments in the emerging markets differ from developed markets.

• Synopsis

In the digital era of the 21st century, ’emerging markets’ have evolved into what we now call ‘developing markets’. If companies in the west are considered the adults of the business world, then developing markets are still at the adolescent stage. A developing market at least acknowledges that the emerging markets have entered their next growth phase. As digital video and entertainment proliferates around the world, the tide is not rising for everyone at the same pace. Developing markets still have to overcome obstacles in adopting streaming solutions due to cultural, technological, and financial challenges. This article has taken a look at some of the differences between developed and developing markets in the adoption of Over the Top solutions (OTT) and digital streaming. By examining some of these, we can help them mature into healthy and robust teenagers.

• About Gabriel Dusil

Ÿ• Home - Signature, Gabriel Dusil ('12, shadow, teal)Gabriel Dusil was recently the Chief Marketing & Corporate Strategy Officer at Visual Unity Global, and a member of the core management team that secured 7.2m US$ in series “A” funding for the company in 2014. Before joining Visual Unity, Gabriel was the VP of Sales & Marketing at Cognitive Security, and Director of Alliances at SecureWorks, responsible for partners in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Previously, Gabriel worked at VeriSign & Motorola in a combination of senior marketing & sales roles. Gabriel obtained a degree in Engineering Physics from McMaster University in Canada and has advanced knowledge in Online Video Solutions, Cloud Computing, Security as a Service (SaaS), Identity & Access Management (IAM), and Managed Security Services (MSS).

• Tags

Ÿ4K, Broadcast, Connected TV, Digital Rights, Digital Video, DRM, Gabriel Dusil, H.265, HEVC, Internet Piracy, Internet Video, Linear Broadcast, Linear TV, Multi-screen, Multiscreen, New Media, Online Video, Online Video Platform, OTT, Over the Top Content, OVP, Recommendation Engine, Search & Discovery, Search and Discovery, second screen, Smart TV, Social TV, TV Everywhere, Ultra HD, Ultra High Definition, Visual Unity, emerging markets, developing markets, developed markets, Digital Trends Video Opinions

• References

[i] Internet Traffic, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_traffic & Cisco’s Visual Networking Index Forecast (’13)

[ii] Cisco, Visual Networking Index (VNI), http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/index.html

[iii] YouTube, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youtube

[iv] Skype, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skype

[v] 50 million concurrent users online!, by Jean Mercier, http://skypenumerology.blogspot.cz/2013/01/50-million-concurrent-users-online.html

[vi] Blu-Ray, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu-ray

[vii] Apple iPhone, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone

[viii] Sandvine – Global Internet Phenomena Report (1H ‘13)

[ix] HTML5, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML5

[x] Responsive Web Design, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsive_web_design

[xi] “Sub-Saharan Africa pay-TV numbers to double by 2020”, by Jim O’Neill, Ooyala VideoMind, http://videomind.ooyala.com/blog/sub-saharan-africa-pay-tv-numbers-double-2020

[xii] A similar trend occurred in the payment industry over the years. Markets that introduced a check-based payment system in the 80’s migrated to credit cards in the 90’s and then to debit cards in the 00’s. In the USA, where checks were introduced, that method of payment is still used to this day. But markets in Europe that missed the boat with checks flourished with credit cards. Emerging markets, on the other hand, missed the boat with credit cards and went straight to debit cards. Furthermore, many of the smaller emerging markets still remain a cash-based purchasing society.

[xiii] Average revenue per user, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Average_revenue_per_user

[xiv] “Pay-TV Prices Are at the Breaking Point — And They’re Only Going to Get Worse”, by Todd Spangler, Variety.com, http://variety.com/2013/biz/news/pay-tv-prices-are-at-the-breaking-point-and-theyre-only-going-to-get-worse-1200886691/

[xv] Trading Analog Dollars For Digital Pennies, by Zemanta, http://avc.com/2008/11/trading-analog/

[xvi] Consolidated figures for Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_households, Ofcom, and iDate, http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/market-data/communications-market-reports/cmr13/international/icmr-3.23