Posts Tagged ‘YouTube’

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Choice: you could say there is quite a lot of it these days. And now the world of TV may be set to change. If the latest plan revealed by YouTube proves to be a winner, it may be bad news for ITV, BSkyB, Channel Four, Fox TV, and even the BBC. It will be good news for content producers. And the choice will be yours. Forget about a few hundred channels all pretty much showing the same old rubbish, and all dominated by ads. The world of TV is changing, but is this good or bad?

Time was when the nation tuned into the same TV show. ‘

Morecambe and Wise’ on Christmas Day – it was harder to find someone who didn’t watch it than someone who did. It is not like that these days, although certain programmes try to fill that slot. So when a few million viewers tune into the ‘X Factor’, they can share the experience of watching ads every few minutes, and at the end of each ad slot, there’s a summary of what’s happened so far, and a preview of what is to come. Sometimes that’s all we get, before the ads start again.

It is the price you pay for free. Get your content free, and be inundated with ads.

Then there is the dominance of the big TV channels. They decide for us. The programme controllers decide what we want to watch. Some say it has resulted in a kind of mass of sameness. We don’t get TV that’s dumbed down any more; instead dumbed down TV seems like the height of intellectualism compared to what we get – that’s what some say.

Now YouTube has revealed its subscription service. A number of content providers, such as National Geographic and another focusing on Harley Davidsons can provide their content, and to obtain it we pay a monthly fee. The fees start at $0.99 a month.

But project forward. Will your favourite football team have its own channel? Will there be a channel devoted to ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Downton Abbey’ or ‘Homeland’? There could be a vampire channel, or the zombie station. And for those who like their news in depth, channels for investors interested in emerging markets, or investing in bonds, or even a channel for South Sea bubbles.

In short we will see the rise of Long Tail TV. ‘Long Tail’ is a book by former ‘Wired’ magazine editor Chris Anderson, which proposed that in the Internet age, global audiences will emerge and we will see goods and services aimed at niche markets.

YouTube is not alone. There is Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu.

It seems the bucks will flow to content producers, and away from content distributors, such as TV channels.

It’s a brave new world, but will it really be that wonderful? Is there not a danger we will only watch TV that conforms to what we have watched before? Are we are less likely to discover new genres and new content from new content producers?

Won’t our pre-existing biases be reinforced?

YouChoose, YouDecide, but YouMayNotWantTo.

© Investment & Business News 2013

Sport. Michael Owen is on the team. So is Robin van Persie. In fact, with Rio Ferdinand in defence and David James in goal, it is not a bad team. But this is no football side. It’s BT’s new sports commentary team. The very tall – at least he looks very tall when standing next to Formula One drivers – Jake Humphrey and Clare Balding are on-side too.

It is just part of BT’s broadside against, well against lots of companies, but BSkyB in particular.

And BT seems to be playing it both ways. So, you can sign-up to the full service, and use BT for your broadband, TV, and…well…the works. Or course, you can just use BT for your broadband and get its sports coverage thrown in for free. So that’s both sides covered. But there is a third side too. Don’t want BT as your main TV provider, don’t want its broadband, but do wants its sport coverage… well you can just sign up for that. So BT is going against and complementing BSkyB all at the same time.

Then there is its second goal – 4G – BT has joined the world of 4G, and is back in the game of providing a mobile service network for the first time since it sold 02. Its third goal – or attempt at a goal at least – is its ambitious aim to roll out its fibre optic network – it already has 1.5 million customers for this service.

And yet BT – along with BSkyB, ITV, Channel Four, Virgin Media, and even the BBC – faces a new type of challenge. There is premium content from the Internet as the likes of YouTube, Amazon, Netflix and Hulu enter the world of TV content. This is the approach that enables content providers to provide their own channel under the auspices, say, of YouTube.

You may be feeling a sense of déjà vu. A similar war was declared one and a half decades ago, as the ISPs – the likes of AOL – provided their proprietary content, and virtually tried to lock users in to their content only. Non-proprietary won the day, of course.

Now the war is being replayed, but this time the battle ground is over TV type content.

© Investment & Business News 2013

Microsoft’s latest idea could be used to force us. Google’s plan is for us to want to. To do what, you may ask? Answer: view advertisements. The advertising industry is set to change and fortunes will be won and lost.

Consider the difference between the way Google makes money and the way Amazon does. Amazon is a store, an online retailer. Online retailers use online advertising as one of the main drivers of their sales. Actually when you think about it, the difference between Google and Amazon is quite subtle. In traditional retail position is everything. Rent for a premium spot on the High Street is a major overhead. For online retailers, position on Google or Facebook is the key.

This is the change that accountants are struggling to keep up with. There are ways to value a company’s assets based on real estate. But what about virtual space?

Microsoft, or so says the rumour mill, is planning to use its next Xbox, to try to gain control of the living room. And its Kinect technology may be the key. One of the ideas being suggested is that the Microsoft device will be able to detect when a viewer is not watching the TV, so that it can pause automatically.

Its sounds exciting, except of course the reason why the viewers has averted his or her gaze may be because they are bored with the programme. The implications for advertising are more interesting. Maybe the technology can be used to ensure we watch the ads. Similar ideas have already been mooted for smart phone’s. Powerful stuff, if a tad intrusive.

That’s not to say that Microsoft has advertising in mind with its product, as a general rule of thumb the company is not big on generating revenue from advertising. But is that not a possible consequence of its technology?

Google, on the other hand, has a more deliberate advertising-centric plan.

Have you seen that Pepsi ad yet? It’s pretty compulsive viewing. It shows a stunt car driver test-driving a new car, and giving the car salesmen the fright of his life. The ad has secured 33 million hits on YouTube. The other interesting thing about the ad is that that the joke underpinning it fits in well with the message Pepsi is trying to convey.

Susan Wojcicki, vice president of advertising at Google, has been making lots of noises in the press of late trying to express the Google vision of the future of advertising. She cites the Pepsi ad as an example of where she sees the medium going. She says that in the future digital advertising will be voluntary; that is to say customers will choose to watch an ad; that ads will be more relevant to viewers, more interactive and beautiful, and the effectiveness of the ads will be easier to measure. She cites another idea which is a little harder to explain. Essentially she says ads will run across platforms and devices, and will be targeted at people rather than specific mediums. See: Here’s The future of advertising, according To Google. 

Here is an alternative idea; the future of Internet advertising is video. One expert in the industry predicts that video advertising will double every two years until it dominates the industry. See: Soon all online advertising will be video

To be honest the Google idea is more appealing. Don’t you like concept of ads being fun, and watched out of choice, rather than kind of forced upon us. And don’t the ads on TV drive you potty?

The mistake some analysts make when considering online advertising, is to compare it with traditional advertising. Online advertising is more. It’s virtual real estate too, it as much overlaps with commercial property and related fields as it does offline advertising.
The big challenge is privacy. How can the online companies match their commercial interests with the natural desire for privacy? It is the unanswered question.

PS Here’s a dichotomy for you. According to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s quarterly Bellwether survey, total advertising spend – that’s off line and online – fell in 2012, and it forecast a 0.3 per cent contraction this year.

©2013 Investment and Business News.

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