Posts Tagged ‘ iPhone ’

INTERNET VIDEO IS THE FUTURE

I recently worked on developing a business plan for a consumer internet video business.  Much of the research done was compelling as it relates to the future of internet video.  The market is exploding and once again mobile plays a big role in the growth.  I thought I would share the information.

Consumers are watching more video than ever. But the way they watch is changing. Increasingly, the demand is being met via the Internet. From smart and connected TVs to laptops, tablets and smartphones, consumers now have more devices than ever to connect to the Internet to stream content.

More and more of consumers are taking advantage of the increased ability to determine what, how, when and where to watch.

Even so, video consumption and interaction by screen and device varies greatly by life-stage and lifestyle, by age, gender, and by ethnicity.  No longer does one size fit all, and new trends continue to emerge.

Yet, the US consumer’s attention continues to lie in the quest to seek TV and TV-like professionally produced content. Consider Netflix which earlier this year expanded its offering not just by increasing its partnerships to re-air programming but also jumped into the game of producing and delivering original content.

The key to success will be to identify the biggest and most immediate opportunities for growth in the growing market of Internet Video. The following section will analyze the market opportunities.

internet_video_overview

Internet video[1]

Traditional TV is still king. But more and more consumers are discovering new video content via the Internet. The lion’s share of Internet video can be assumed to come from desktops/laptops.162.5M users now watching video on the Internet while 36M watch on a mobile phone.

table2

Internet video is still in its infancy as evidenced by the chart below. However, there’s a trend emerging: Time spent watching traditional TV is in decline and Internet video is increasing. We can expect the change to start happening more rapidly over the next couple of years, as more people get high-speed Internet connections and get Internet enabled devices.

table3

Looking at a month in the life of Americans, traditional TV by far garners the most attention, with the 65+ age demographic spending 220:22 hours per month. Younger demographics increasingly watch timeshifted TV and are gradually turning to Internet video. The age groups 18-24 and 25-34 take the lead, spending 9:38 and 7:09 respectively watching online. In addition, they spend 7:35 and 4:53 watching video on a mobile phone.

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Of the 162.5M watching video on the Internet, the composition skews a little older with 44% coming from the 25-49 age group, and 23% coming from the 50-64 age group. For the 36M watching video on mobile, the composition is younger, with 53%% in the 18-34 age group, and 24% in the 35-49 age group.

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The bottom line:

  • Of the 162.5M users now watching video on the Internet, it is a safe bet that most access from desktop/laptop, while 36M watch on a mobile phones
  • Although traditional TV is king, it is in decline, while we can expect the acceleration of online video watching to increase
  • The age groups 18-24 and 25-34 spend the most time watching both online in general and on mobile
  • The composition for Internet video viewers is slightly older (25-49) and the composition for mobile video viewers is slightly younger (18-34).

Mobile (smartphones and tablets)[2]

In the past, mobile video has been held back by a single factor: bandwidth.  The wireless infrastructure wasn’t fast enough to allow for clean video viewing.

4G LTE is changing that, and mobile video is fast becoming popular on the faster wireless networks.  In the US, 4G subscribers are 33% more likely to watch video on their smartphones than the average mobile user, according to Comscore “Mobile Future 2012” report.

Device design also helps, with smartphones now integrating larger screens and speedier processors (and LTE connectivity).

In short, mobile video is becoming a mass consumer phenomenon, much as digital photos were earlier in the smartphone adoption cycle. As a consequence, consumer behavior is changing in favor of higher mobile video usage, video app uptake and advertising.

Mobile video is growing across the board, but tilts young, reaching audiences not easily penetrated by traditional TV.

Video length is increasing across device types, offering more ad opportunities.

Triple digit growth rates in mobile video ad bookings signal the promise of multi-screen campaigns.

Mobile video is not displacing other mediums.  Instead it appears to be an additive activity: it offers new opportunities for video viewing.

The shift to mobile video is best understood as part of a larger trend away from traditional TV and toward on-demand video, which gives viewers more control over their content and allows for “time shifted” viewing.

Smartphones and tablets now offer options in terms of both when and where content can be viewed.  Tablets can be watched in bed or in your neighborhood café.  Smartphones and mini-tablets can stream a TV sitcom or music video at a bus stop.

According to BI Intelligence analysis of Nielsen data, the US mobile video audience increased 77% to 36 million viewers over last two years.  The second fastest growing category, the audience for time-shifted TV, grew 54% to 146 million.  The chart below shows how mobile video’s share of total video viewing worldwide has also surged.


mobileshare

A misperception about mobile video is that a small screen automatically translates to a consumer preference for shorter videos.  However, as the chart below shows, almost half of videos watched on smartphone screens are 10 minutes or longer, according to Ooyala’s data.  Tablet viewers spend even more of their time – 67% – watching videos longer than 10 minutes.

smartphone_longer_videos

Apple’s IOS-powered devices have a huge lead in terms of driving the most mobile video views. The chart below shows which percentage of videos not viewed on a desktop. IOS devices drive 57% of the views, versus 15% for Android.  Xbox drives more views than Android.

video_ios

On the advertising front, video is part of a larger shift in mobile advertising toward rich media ads that provide more engagement and interactivity and a more tailored experience particular to the device the user is immersed in.

In the chart below, data from Opera’s mobile ad network illustrate the tectonic shift to rich media and video ads, with mobile video ads doubling from 6% to 13% of ad executions in just six months.

Mobile video is a promising medium for advertisers, because it offers a polished TV-style ad, while also presenting an opportunity to ask users to perform other actions, such as signing up for an e-mail about a product or an app.

ads

Video will be key to monetizing mobile advertising.  The relatively low value of mobile ads has in large part been driven by small screens and consumers’ distaste for intrusive ads.  The hope is that mobile video will be the engaging ad format that finally unlocks mobile’s potential.

YuMe, a multi-screen ad solutions provider saw mobile video ad impressions grow 75% from Q1 to Q2, reaching 7% of all impressions.  Mobile ad network Greystripe reported a 300% increase in mobile video ad bookings between Q3 and Q4 last year.  They also boasted 1% to 3% click-through rates on its mobile video ads, and completion rates of 50%.

Bear in mind that mobile ad numbers are still tiny and are growing from a small base of limited inventory.  But even if the value of mobile video ads trend down, spending will still flow to them.  Advertisers will need to capture those eyeballs becoming glued to the small screen.

Current eCPMs for mobile video ads run in the $5 range while in-app video can garner a $10 eCPM.

The bottom line:

  • Users are watching longer videos across all devices, and watching a greater proportion of their video on mobile.
  • Mobile video ad bookings are growing at triple digit rates.
  • Over the long term, robust video-ad CPMs could be threatened by consumers’ tendency to tire of digital ad formats but new formats will need to evolve.

 

Connected Television[3]

Connected TVs are TVs connected to the Internet, whether it’s via Web-TV devices such as Roku and Apple TV, game consoles, or smart TVs.

It is estimated that by 2018, 80% of all TVs shipped will be smart TVs. In the meantime, existing TVs are being connected from the 8.6M Web-TV devices sold globally last year[4].

The chart below shows the number of households with the different sources of service provided.  These same sources are critical in supplying high speed internet access.

table10table9

When you consider the amount of bandwidth needed to support streaming video, it is important the number of households with broadband reaches critical mass.  As the chart below indicates broadband penetration of U.S. households now stands at almost 84 million.

table10

In addition, gaming console manufacturers are also seeking to claim a stake in this evolving ecosystem.  Not only have they strategically aligned themselves to provide video content and gaming interactivity through their consoles, they are capitalizing on an established footprint.  These evolving entertainment hubs are enabling a new set of opportunities for entertainment consumption through media applications.

Owners of game consoles spend considerable time with their devices. PS3 users are spending 36 minutes daily, Wii users 17 minutes, and Xbox 360 users 32 minutes.  And it’s not just for gaming. These consoles act as both gaming vehicles and video content purveyors.  They enable social gaming as well as DVD play and streaming through apps.

The chart below identifies how many U.S. households have devices that could have capability to access the Internet in the home.

table12

The bottom Line:

  • Connected TVs represents the future, however it is still in its infancy
  • Web-TV devices a transition while smart TV’s will be the norm by 2015
  • We cannot forget the impact of multi purpose game consoles, unlike Web-TV devices, this segment will continue to grow

 

AUDIENCE

Having grown up with the Internet, Generation Y is more connected than any other generation. As such, their needs and wants are different.

They don’t think of TV as a box in the living room. To them, it doesn’t matter if their videos come from a TV, an iPad or a smartphone. As long as it’s what they want, when they want it.

Gen Y are socially connected consumers. They share everything and they are “on” all the time. They expect the services and products they interact with to enable their connected lifestyles.

Increasingly, consumers are “social explorers”, meaning they use social media channels as their primary source for news and entertainment.

Consider these facts[5]:

  • 17% of all users are Social Explorers
  • People share to talk about themselves, to “brand” themselves
  • 47% of Gen Y’s will write about positive experiences online
  • 39% of Gen Y’s will share negative encounters online
  • 50% of Gen Y’s have over 300 Facebook friends
  • 43% of Gen Y’s have Liked more than 23 brands
  • 40% of Gen Y’s visit Facebook more than 10 times a day

 

The bottom line:

 

  • Gen Y is ahead of other generations and are currently more socially connected
  • In order to be successful with this audience it is important to embed social features in all aspects of the product

[1] Source for data tables: Nielsen cross platform report

Publishing for Mobile and Tablets, Why Does It Have To Be So Hard?

My Interactive team has been driving the mobile strategy for the company since 2007, launching hundreds of mobile apps, mobile websites and iPad apps. Those products have been revised over the years, but it’s become clear lately that we need to take our approach to mobile to the next level.

Over the past few months, we have been putting the final touches on a next-generation mobile and tablet apps strategy. We used user data as well as analytics data for our mobile websites, apps and iPad products.

Generally speaking, our news apps have been fairly easy to maintain since they are RSS feeds into a template design. iPad publishing on our “The Peel” app, however, is a different story.  The Peel features a combination of curated and original content.  The process to upload this original content is time-intensive. We have to manually work with each story to create a uniquely interactive experience for iPad consumers that expect dynamic functionality.

As we considered our next generation of products, it was apparent that we needed to improve on the user experience and increase our speed to market (improving on productivity with the backend content management system).  With 2 years of trials and tribulations under our belt, I can certainly say that our strategy for content, design creativity and innovation clearly outweighs our ability to deliver at a desired speed-to-market using the current legacy systems we have in place.

Advertisers expect a unique and compelling experience on mobile and tablets, as do consumers.  But how do we meet these needs when we continue to pull from existing legacy content production systems with ever increasing limitations? Example of limitations: Photo & video resolutions in existing systems don’t take advantage of hi-resolution retina display on an iPad. News stories are currently laid out to fit desktop or printed page, not mobile or tablet, and HTML5 is a foreign language to most.

The answer? Bite-the-bullet! Recognize that if you want to succeed you MUST publish for the future and think about investing in non-legacy products.  Easy enough? Not so much. More issues are arising with each upgrade of smart phone and tablet operating systems. Not easy to stay ahead of the technology curve when newspapers are inherently print-oriented.

Rahul Patel wrote Are Publishers Failing on Tablets:  “Tablet readers expect the best of both worlds.  They want real-time content and web-like interactivity within a user-friendly brand experience that “feels” like the same brand found on the web and in print.” This comment is more focused on magazines but the basic premise is correct for newspapers as well.

So, how can legacy media businesses evolve with technology?  Well, this is our attempt at it:

1)   We focused on the desired design layout.

2)   We decided how often we wanted to publish new content.

3)   We focused on how we could deliver original content that took advantage of HTML5 elements to bring the information to life.

4)   We looked carefully at how smart phone design and functionality differed from tablet design and functionality.

5)   We created our next-generation layout, and assumed it would last about 12 months.

6)   We also asked ourselves “How do we continually feed this beast”?  After all, we had been going on the assumption that we could continue with our legacy systems…

7)   CMS (Onset) & our publishing system (CCI) provide what we need to publish, however the process is labor-intensive, and this production process gets heavier as technology progresses faster and faster! We are just adding to the production time each day as we pursue the best possible experience for our audience.

It’s now time for us to rethink another next-generation process, as we must free ourselves from the current time-intensive workflow environment.  A publishing system and or process should not drive what you deliver to your audience.  That’s the job of the audience.

The Interactive ‘think-tank’ has devised a system where any CMS would feed into a “normalization engine” which would then put all content into its proper place.  The normalization engine would feed the templates automatically, therefore increasing the speed of production.  A dashboard would allow for manual manipulation of the content.  We could pull in HTML5 components, hi-res photos etc.  We could then push to any template we have in place regardless of the device.  Assuming success, we would now spend our time on the creativity of design and interactivity, changeable at your fingertips! This new process would break the heavy production cycle.  The content becomes ubiquitous and our time could be spent at the dashboard level making each interactive experience the best ever.

Not such an easy task… and the hardest part is foregoing the existing production system/workflow environment. If you don’t, you’ll never be able to deliver the experience expected in mobile and tablet publishing on a time-sensitive basis. The key to success is not allowing process or outdated publishing systems drive product.

Stay tuned, every day we learn more.

HTML5 or Native App: What works best on mobile and tablet devices?

The mobile market has grown rapidly over the past couple of years and with the addition of tablets we will continue to see double-digit growth for quite some time, as reported by eMarketer in a recent report.

With all this growth comes a tremendous challenge. Which mobile platforms should a business pursue to optimize growth of audience and revenue, while keeping in mind associated development costs? Should you develop mobile optimized websites, native apps or most recently web apps?

Along with the mobile evolution comes HTML5.  This evolving web technology is a cornerstone of the growing Web App development effort.  Many publishers like HTML5 because it costs less than developing a native app for each mobile platform/Operating System (i.e., iOS, Android, Blackberry, etc.).  With HTML5 web apps, essentially, you build your app once and it will work across all mobile devices.

So, what is HTML5?

It is important to have a layman’s understanding of what HTML5 is  in order to assess the most optimal utilization.

Wikipedia describes it

“A language for structuring and presenting content for the World Wide Web, a core technology of the internet and as of August 2011 is still under development.”

The promise of HTML5 is cross platform development.  It is designed to deliver as close a native app experience as possible but deliver it via the open mobile web.  Since it is the web it does not matter what platform you are using. It can be accessed by any device without going through a proprietary app store front operated by a manufacturer or any other third party.  Just for clarity sake, a native app is an application specifically designed to run on a proprietary platform, taking advantage of its native platform functionality. Without the need to be connected to the Internet.  There is much more to it than that but I did say layman’s discussion.

At present, HTML5 has several strong attributes but it doesn’t offer the same functionality – and doesn’t work as seamlessly – as a native app.  For example HTML5 doesn’t allow deeper integration of the device accelerometer, camera, video and GPS capabilities.  Shown below is a table I borrowed from Worklight. It identifies specific features and shows no single approach is capable of delivering all of the benefits all of the time. Choosing the right approach depends on the specific needs of the organization and can be driven by parameters such as budget, timeframe, internal resources, target market, required application functionality, IT infrastructure and many others. Most companies today face an obvious tradeoff between user experience and application functionality on one hand, and development costs and time to market on the other.

It may sound like HTML5 is long on promise but short on actual results, while a native app delivers a better consumer experience but is more costly and takes longer to develop.

The Hybrid Approach

I believe the best way to pursue a mobile strategy in today’s environment is a hybrid approach.  A hybrid approach takes advantage of the best of both HTML5 and native app technologies to deliver apps with the optimum blend of user experience and cost/time to market.  HTML5 based web apps have exciting possibilities and it’s critical for an organization to developing expertise in this new and fast evolving technology.  But because of its current limitations it is too much of a risk to fully embrace.  The consumer experience may suffer and as fast as the market is moving you could cause harm to your business by not looking savvy to your audience and/or advertisers.

So what is a hybrid app model?  It is merging native app capabilities and functionality with an embedded browser inside the app that runs some of the user interface.  This is all transparent to the user.  You can be assured they don’t care how we get it done, they just want a great user experience.  A benefit of a hybrid app is maximum audience reach.  A hybrid app will be accessible via web search, as well as through app store distribution.

Shown below is a graphic that shows the correlation between a great user experience and the cost and time it takes to create an app.

                                                    Credit Worklight

The hybrid approach allows an organization to develop apps that employ native capabilities and functionality and leverage existing resources to minimize development cost development cycle time. So instead of rewriting code for each proprietary platform which is time consuming and costly, you can write some of the app in HTML or JavaScript (web technology jargon), and re-use it across all platforms.  This type of development opens a whole host of opportunities for the app.  You can now have an app load pages from a web site or even have some or the entire user interface in HTML 5.  Since this is a hybrid app it is still native and needs to be downloaded.  The portions of the app requiring an embedded browser will act and feel like a native app but the user will need internet access to make it all work seamlessly.

From a strategic standpoint I am an advocate of the hybrid approach.  It is not suitable for all app development needs but it does provide a cost effective solution for a wide range of apps.

Here is an article on Web vs Native App development you might find interesting reading.

http://www.informationweek.com/news/development/web/231500197