Friday, July 11, 2008

Internet TV passes cable in France

Welcome to my NüMediaNow blog. This space will be filled with rants, comments, observations, and other stuff regarding creation, distribution, and commercialization of new media products and on marketing in this "new environment".

My point of view will differ from many so called media gurus in that I actually have 15 years experience working in post-production for so-called old media. As well, I have a M.A. in Communications with a specialization in semiotics.

Yeah so what I hear your you say, well, often in development meetings the new VP of Interactive Media has less than zero experience with traditional media creation or distribution and is given the responsability to handle a new form of media (simply a vessel of content) and is called to commercialize this product as new within new consumer habits.

Well the truth is people have a few basic needs and you would probably be suprised that most new media or web 2.0 offerings simply fill the same void that consumers filled in different ways....

OH PLEASE.... Time shifting! Video on Demand? This has been around ever since you could slap in your VHS into your deck and watch the game after your in-laws have left.

I remember one meeting with a VP where he was suprised to find that he had after all been consuming media within so-called "new media paradigms": he rented the series of 24 and watched it at home at his convenience....

So I guess you can say this blog will be a reality check and influential in your business or daily decisions regarding new media...



Internet TV passes cable in France

ADSL viewers reach 8.5 million


MADRIDBroadband Internet TV has overtaken cable TV in France, according to audience measurement company Mediametrie.

In its latest MediaCabSat Gallic pay TV report, which includes IPTV data for the first time, Mediametrie estimates French ADSL TV viewers at 8.5 million for June 15.

Cable TV viewership dropped from 6.1 million Feb. 17 to 6 million June 15.

Stats do not include sub-cable feeds with fewer than 10-12 channels.

Results underscore France’s status as Europe’s most vibrant Internet TV market, energized by deep-pocketed aggressive IPTV operators such as France Telecom-Orange, Free and SFR-Neuf Cegetel.

"ADSL TV is free for broadband subscribers, and it will continue to grow. Cable will most probably stagnate," said Francois Godard, an analyst at London-based Enders Analysis.

Mediametrie’s report also highlights the continued erosion of broadcasters market share, even in a multi-channel universe. TF1 took a 23.4% share Jan. 1-June 15, down from 25.3% first half 2007. France 2 dropped from 13.5% to 13.3%, France 3 from 9.6% to 9.1%. Only M6 managed to claw back share, rising from 8.5% to 8.8%.

“The decrease of the share of historical broadcasters is not only a result of the launch of cable, satellite and Internet TV. It’s happening within the multi-channel universe as well,” Godard said.

Gaul’s share-challenged broadcasters can take some small comfort from two trends.

Fragmentation is beginning to hurt some of the original fragmenters: Weekly viewership at a clutch of star pay TV channels is leveling off or even declining as more pay TV rivals with a similar focus launch.

Eurosport has held out another four months as France’s premier niche pay TV channel, but weekly viewers stood at 6.7 million, down on February’s 6.8 million and way down on 7.5 million a year ago.

And, in another recent report, “TV in the World: Continuity and Rupture,” Mediametrie claims that France is the major Euro territory “where established channels are holding on best to share.” New channels since 2000 have 17.5% share, as compared with 36.5% in the U.K.

Read the full article at:

Tech Players Push TV-Web Convergence

Role of Networks, Studios Evolving Slowly

Some of the biggest technology companies are placing their bets on convergence between the TV and the Web, providing the best indication yet as to how the TV business will work when flatscreens and laptops traffic in the same content.

Last month, both Sony and Google introduced new services that will send content to the television set via the Internet. Apple, Microsoft and Netflix also are in the game, investing early to develop technologies that will challenge traditional programming distribution businesses.

The question remains when will content zip between devices seamlessly. At stake is $64 billion in annual advertising revenue.

The business of serving up movies, television shows and Web programs will shift dramatically in the next five years, said Alex Lindsay, a technology expert and the chief architect at PixelCorps, a San Francisco-based consortium of new-media producers.

“It was one thing when it was CinemaNow and these little startups saying, ‘We can deliver movies,’” he said. “Now you have the biggest guys in the game going head-to-head and they know this is the new battlefield.”

Certainly, Sony and Google are a long way off from piping everything consumers want to watch to the TV. But for starters, Sony will begin offering a video download service later this summer through the Sony PlayStation 3 gaming console. Sony also plans to stream movies to the TV, starting with Sony Pictures’ Will Smith vehicle “Hancock.” The movie, released in theaters Wednesday, will be available on Sony Bravia TVs equipped with integrated Internet connections this fall, prior to its DVD release.

Google launched a software application that lets users stream videos from YouTube to a TV set. The caveat is the consumer needs a Sony PlayStation 3 and other gadgets to make the service work, limiting its reach for now to all but the very tech-savvy.

But Google’s efforts are significant because they follow other industry moves. Netflix makes its movies available immediately to consumers via a Roku set-top box. Apple introduced a new version of the AppleTV in January that includes TV shows and movies from all major studios. Microsoft already offers movies, in standard definition and hi-def, on its Xbox.

They’re all after the same payoff: the chance to extract more revenue through the digital delivery of content. But cable operators have their own plans for Web-to-TV migration. Comcast offers CBS, Hulu, Viacom, cable networks and other content for free on its Web video portal

Later this summer, Comcast will offer download-to-own and download-to-rent movies and TV shows on Fancast, a la iTunes. Down the road, Fancast will add features for consumers to bookmark content online to watch later via VOD on the TV.

With both technology companies and traditional TV cable operators competing, innovation is likely to come quickly.

“There is a huge amount of energy being expended to connect broadband to the TV, and there are lots of players interested in making this happen,” said Will Richmond, an industry analyst with

The big unknown is if consumers are interested in these new services and devices. In a study last year, 20% of consumers in homes with advanced services said they thought it was important to watch Web video on the TV, according to Paul Rule, president of Marquest Media & Entertainment Research, which conducted the study.

The number remained the same this year.

“It just seems like the home electronics industry is firing broadsides at the sweet spot in this market and missing it completely,” Mr. Rule said.

They’re missing because the user experience in Web-to-TV devices is lagging.

“It takes a little bit of engineering on the part of the consumer to get the computer near the TV, to find the plug-and-play devices that work,” said Bill Tancer, head of research at online audience measurement firm Hitwise. “It’s not a matter of flipping a switch.”

Other hurdles include how to find programming, formatting content for multiple media, ownership rights disputes, business models and device compatibility, Mr. Richmond said.

“There are a lot of moving pieces to replicate the TV experience,” he said.

Experts agree there won’t be one winning device. In fact, consumers are likely to still choose the device that is best for each task. That means if you want to write, you’ll still use a laptop. If you want to listen to music, you’ll still favor the iPod. If you want to watch TV, you’ll still turn on the TV set, even if that content is coming from Sony or Google or Microsoft, rather than Comcast, Time Warner or DirecTV.

Besides, Web video still needs its “iPhone moment,” said Kaan Yigit, analyst with Solutions Research Group. “[That means] a deal or a very large investment, a new service or a new technology introduction that will capture our imaginations and erase all doubt that the digital future for TV 3.0 is here. We don’t have that yet. What we have are a number of significant initiatives that are pointing in that general direction.”

Content Is Not King, Says Analyst

Written by Ryan Lawler

Monday, July 7. 2008 at 05:45 PM EDT 1 comment

Lehman Brothers analyst Anthony DiClemente issued a downright bearish and depressing report today saying that the advent of digital distribution could crush TV and movie companies.

DiClemente posits that "content may no longer be king," in the face of technological changes that are driving media distribution online. He writes that film and TV businesses are "on the verge of structural changes that appear destined to impact the core revenue and profits of Entertainment business models."

Due to these technological shifts, DiClemente lowered the sector rating to 3-Negative from 2-Neutral. At the same time, the analyst lowered ratings at Walt Disney Co. , News Corp. , Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX), and CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS), and lowered the price target of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA).

DiClemente notes that so far, the effect of digital distribution has been relatively small, with DVD sales and rentals falling "only" about 5 percent year-over-year from 2007. But the analyst believes that in the coming years, an accelerated decline for DVD sales is "more likely than not."

What's more, the digital business is nascent enough that it is unlikely to make up for lost packaged media sales in the short term. DiClemente writes:

When we analyze the movie business, we simply have not seen enough evidence that suggests that monetization of digital media can be profitable enough quickly enough to outpace the speed of decline in revenue/profits from traditional forms of media delivery such as ad-supported TV/radio broadcasting and packaged media (i.e., DVD sales).

That's bad news for content owners, particularly large content owners. There's even worse news, though. DiClemente posits that audio and video content is becoming commoditized, and that the entertainment landscape may be flattening or "fragmenting."

As a result, DiClemente writes that "being a mainstream Entertainment content creator and producer may not be as profitable in the long term as it once was for the six largest players in the traditional Hollywood oligopoly."

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