Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Online Video Conversations: Tom Morgan, Net2TV

At OTTCON 2013, I caught up with television industry veteran Tom Morgan, Founder and CEO of Net2TV, to discuss the evolution of traditional television programming and how it's changed with the rise of broadband Internet television. Net2TV is a free, advertising-supported long-form television programming platform for smart TVs and connected devices. Net2TV was established in May 2012 and launched its Portico TV service in December 2012, which delivers niche content channels in food, tech, news and entertainment and looks and feels like a normal "lean-back" TV viewing experience. Content partners included like Discovery's Revision 3, CBS Interactive's CHOW, Popular Science, CNET and other branded content.



Morgan is passionate about Net2TV because it provides him an opportunity to solve the '500 channels and there's nothing on' problem. It's an opportunity to create great TV based on a great business model for program developers and advertisers. Before founding Net2TV in 2012, Morgan spent the last 30 years in the digital media space on business development, focused on advertising models for DVRs, video on demand (VOD), and broadband TV.

According to Morgan, we're in the third phase in the evolution of television, with the two most important dates preceding on, August 28, 1948 and September 7, 1979. In 1948, CBS President Frank Stanton lured big name entertainers like, Lucille Ball, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Jack Benny and Milton Berle away from NBC radio and signed them to TV, which marked the beginning of a whole new medium of programming with "I Love Lucy" and other new shows defined the golden age of television.

On September 1979, a double header softball game was broadcast live for the first time on a little cable TV start-up called ESPN, and launched the first 24/7 Sports channel which brought niche content including live and recorded telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming. A year later in 1980, CNN would launch as the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage and other special-interest channels and niche content would follow.

"I think where most people talk about this being a new generation of television technology and everything else, what I think is the answer is, these were the emergence of the new networks of television," says Morgan. "So, like you had ESPN and MTV emerge in the 70's and early 80's, you're going to see whole new forms of programming here. Is it radically different? I don't think so. I think people in a television setting, which are sitting on a couch looking at a screen on the wall, regardless of the technology, want to be entertained, they want to be informed, be engrossed and engaged. That's our job in the industry."
Morgan says that we've reached the tipping point for original Internet television programming, with the plethora of original content available from  Netflix, Crackle, Machinima, Revision3, The Makers, Bedrocket, YouTube creators and more and more choices everyday. The greatest opportunity, he says, is that television is being reinvented by this whole new class of programming.
"That's the biggest upside, ever, and that's why I'm in this business. That's the fun part," Morgan acknowledges.

This interview was recorded at OTTCON May 19-20, 2013.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Online Video Conversations: AJ McGowan, Unicorn Media (now Brightcove)

The online video platform leader Brightcove acquired Unicorn Media on January 6, 2014 for $49 million, consisting of approximately 2.9 million shares of Brightcove stock and approximately $9 million in cash. Unicorn Media is a leading video technology platform company specializing in dynamic ad insertion in the cloud. Unicorn Media's key technology is a product called Unicorn Once, that enables dynamic optimization of video content, either live or VOD, across any Internet-connected device through a single URL, and monetize video content by dynamically inserting and analyzing targeted ads through its patented video cloud technology. Unicorn Media was founded in 2007 and made a name for itself within the online video platform space with more than 50 customers in the broadcast TV sector and $5 million in revenue in 2013. Boston-based Brightcove established itself as the first online video platform (OVP), founded by Jeremy Allaire in June 2005, and went public (NASDAQ: BCOV) in February 2012.

I spoke with AJ McGowan, Chief Technical Officer of Unicorn Media at OTTCON 2013, where he discussed Unicorn's product roadmap and customer experience, its perspective on the state of the online video industry, the challenges within the fragmented market, and where Unicorn would be in 2014. With the acquisition,  McGowan will assume of the role of CTO at Brightcove, and Unicorn's video team and its Once technology joins Brightcove's Video Cloud and App Cloud platforms, and Zencoder, a cloud-based encoding platform and open-source HTML5 video player Video.js, acquired by Brightcove on July 26, 2012 for $30 million.



According to McGowan, the online video industry is at a tipping point. "If you were to compare this, for instance, to the conversion from terrestrial broadcast to cable broadcast, we're probably roughly 1978 or maybe the early 80's, so we're definitely in the early days," says McGowan. "There's massive opportunity that's still in front of us and people are experimenting. There's a lot of fragmentation in the marketplace. There's a lot of complex problems, and we solve a lot of those problems."

McGowan admits that all the complexity is actually great for business, and that throughout 2013 we'll continue to see growth. "Particularly now that we're allowing our customers to monetize their content effectively on all platforms," says McGowan. "That spurs those folks forward to actually putting that content on more platforms. I think we'll continue to see lots and lots of organic growth, and I think we're going to see a lot of different models being applied and we're really excited as a back-end technology vendor, because we make it a lot easier for people to experiment and try different things as they build those audiences."

Some of the challenges facing the industry as a whole, as McGowan points out, is in the friction of the monetization process on the business side. A lot of the hard technical problems have been solved, but one of the biggest problems yet to be solved is how to make an optimal experience, from the brands buying the ad all the way out to the consumer and all constituencies in that value chain. But a lot of smart people are working on solutions now that there's real money flowing into the space.

"I think that a big theme that you're going to see in the next 12-18 months, is as more dollars are being added to this business, as it starts to scale up, how do you make it dial tone? There's this expectation from users whether they're paying for content or whether they're consuming it in an ad-supported way, in either case when we're talking about premium content delivered out to massive audiences, it's go to just work," says McGowan.

So looking into the future, it's going to be all about scale. "Scale, scale, scale," McGowan emphasizes. "How do I get to more users in more places in a consistent high-quality broadcast experience."

This interview was recorded at OTTCON March 19-20, 2013.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Klessblog's Top 10 of 2013 (Part 2)

Well, the hangover has finally worn off and with the new year in full swing, I can continue this top 10 Klessblog countdown. I picked this top 10 list based on my best experiences of 2013. The last four covered the first part of the year and these top six will bring things up to date. It was a busy year for everyone, with some upheaval,  lots of change and a lot of things stayed the same.

Online video growth continues to skyrocket, as we've seen more brands shift their advertising dollars into online video, a new wave of short-form video creators arose from people are uploading their Vines and Instagram videos, the majority of marketers are jumping into the waters of online video en masse to tell their stories and sell their brands. According to comScore's most recent data of online video rankings, 188.2 million Americans, watched 52.4 billion online videos in December 2013, and video ad views totaled 35.2 billion. That's means 86.9% of Americans who accessed the Internet last month watched online videos, and the average video duration was 4.2 minutes. The average video ads viewed were 15 seconds and they accounted for 40.2% of all the videos viewed and about 5.7% of all the minutes spent viewing online video.

In addition, according to Pew Research, the percent of online American adult who have either created their own original content for viewing or download has doubled from 14% in 2009 to 31% in 2013, with many hoping their videos will go viral. Additionally, the number of adults who watch or download videos has grown almost 10% since in 2009, from 69% to 78% today, with the growth fueled mainly by rapid increase in the use of mobile devices and the growing popularity of social media sites.

But this isn't news to those of us who've been following these trends over the years. We all knew online video would grow and prosper. I could go on and cite countless sources that covered the trends, but again, I refer you to all the great sources I listed in my last post, on the side bar of this blog, including ReelSEOBeet.TVFierce Online VideoOnlineVideo.netDan Rayburn's The Business Of Online VideoStreamingMedia.comVideoNuze, and many more.

I started this blog in November 2007, to join the voices of the streaming media community as a way to share my knowledge, ideas and analysis of the online video industry. As I said in my 100th blog post and my 600th blog post,  I'm grateful for the support of my family, friends, followers, readers, supporters, community members, colleagues, and to the many of you who have contributed to this blog by sharing your time with me to meet and be interviewed by me, sent me press releases and kept me up to date on the latest news and information. I look forward to an even bigger year in 2014 and look back one more time to wrap up Klessblog's Top 10 of 2013.


6. My Google+ Hangout with Neil Davidson on, "The Core of a Successful Corporate Video"
As I said in my from July 1st,  had the pleasure of joining Neil Davidson, Founder and CEO at MyWebPresenters, in a Google+ Hangout to discuss, "The Core of a Successful Corporate Video". I had a great conversation with Neil and you can see the topics we discussed were focused on what are the commonalities that all of the good corporate videos share (hint: tell a story!), how should a business go about fitting a video production into their marketing strategy (hint: start with a good story and shoot video with what you have, either a prosumer camcorder or mobile phone, and try to get good video and audio quality), which businesses are leading the way in using video as a marketing tool (Zappos), what was the biggest video failure and what did I learn from the experience (always have a back up plan), and what are other opportunities for corporate video in 2013 (shoot live action video and don't rely motion graphics with a witty voice over to tell your story). My thanks again, to Neil Davidson for the great conversation. Watch our Google+ Hangout video here.


5. The Strategic Video Awards and Content Marketing Awards
Over the past four years, I've had both the privilege and honor of being as a judge for the Strategic Video Awards, a video competition "created for everyone who uses video to communicate for corporations, associations, non-profits, public institutions, colleges and universities, PR firms and ad agencies, and custom publishers. The Strategic Video Awards differ from other programs in that we judge the effectiveness of the message versus the technical aspects of the video." The Strategic Video Awards entries range from Flip-cam videos to highly-produced corporate documentaries, lighthearted executive vlogs and serious video news programs. Each year the entires get better and better and the 2013 winners will be announced this month. You can view entries from 2010-2012 on the Strategic Video Awards YouTube Channel and watch my favorite entry from 2010, Nationwide - The Musical, which was also the Grand Prize Winner.

Prior to judging this year's Strategic Video Awards, I was asked to be a judge for the Content Marketing Marketing Awards, presented by the Content Marketing Institute and sponsored by McMurry/TMG. According to Content Marketing founder Joe Pulizzi, "content marketing has gone from hot buzzword to a needed universal strategy for enterprise marketers. The Content Marketing Awards are a combination of two esteemed awards programs, the Magnum Opus Awards, honoring the very best in content projects, and CMI’s Orange Awards, honoring the best people and agencies in the business." Open to all companies, organizations, and institutions, this year's Content Marketing Awards had over 800 entries from all the best content marketers in the business in print, digital, publications, strategy, social media, mobile and of course, video.

My category was "Best Topic Specific Video" which had over 40 entries with a variety of styles and techniques. After viewing all the entries the ones that really stood out for me were real stories with real people shot as live action video productions. Many marketers rely just on animated, motion graphics and voice-overs which end up looking like boring animated Infographics that just leave viewers uninspired. So my advise is to actually shoot video to tell your story. See the winners of the 2013 Content Marketing Awards here. Thanks to Program Chairman David Murray and also Benjamine Knight from McMurry/TMG who did an incredible job organizing the competitions.


4. Streaming Media Magazine articles Part 1 and Part 2, "Best Practices for Live Events"
Thanks to the encouragement of my friend and Streaming Media Magazine, StreamingMedia.com, and OnlineVideo.net editor Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen, I wrote a two-part article for Streaming Media Magazine titled, "No Second Chances: Get Live Events Right the First Time".  Earlier in the year, Eric asked me to write a 2500 to 3000-word overview of production, lighting, audio, stage, talent, capture, and delivery, and by the time I completed my first draft I was well over 5000 words. So Eric suggested I turn it into a two part article for the June/July and August/September 2013 issues. The first part looked at the five core elements of a successful live event in the enterprise setting. It's a culmination of key learnings from years of producing live events and offers battle-tested advice to ensure live enterprise events come off without a hitch. The second installment looked at different ways to make the overall webcast experience engaging for your online audience using a variety of different video production techniques interactive tools.

Thanks again to Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen for the opportunity to write for Streaming Media Magazine, and contributions from Nick Balletta, Harvey Louie, Donn Kanagaki, Casey Wilms, Harvey Woo, Steve Dung and to the many people who I have worked with over the years to help me learn what works best for live events, and what doesn't work so well.


3. The 2013 ReelSEO/Liveclicker Video Summit
In July 2013, my good friend and online video superstar Mark Robertson, founder of  ReelSEO, joined forces with Liveclicker to co-host the first ever video marketing summit, held in tandem with Liveclicker's annual Video Commerce Summit. The sold-out event was Liveclicker's 5th annual and an inaugural event for ReelSEO and drew a cross section of over 300 retailers, brands, and agencies attending either summit. Over the last few years, I've interviewed attendees and speakers at the Liveclicker Video Commerce Summit, and I was there again this catching interviews but this year the tables were turned, when Tim Schmoyer asked me to share a video marketing tip for his weekly ReelSEO Creator's tips. The event was largest and only annual event devoted to all things video marketing and video commerce and it was a huge success and according to @JuliePerry, it's game on for #vsummit in 2014, so stay tuned for more awesomeness! A big thanks to Mark Robertson, Jen Fahey, Justin Foster and Dave Holland for putting on a great show and to Kevin Edwards for the video production support!


2. Online Video Conversations
I've been producing and posting short video interviews with online video publishers, producers, entrepreneurs, industry executives and innovators on this blog over the last number of years. But in November of 2013, I launched Onlinevideoconversations.com, as a new home to my many online video conversations. Over the years, I've shot my videos using the Flip Camera, Kodak Zi8, Canon Vixia FH30, with variety of microphones and edited them with Windows Movie Maker, iMovie and Final Cut 7. But just last month, I took the plunge and bought a new MacBook Pro and Final Cut Pro X (which takes some getting used to after years of editing in Final Cut 7) and I'm settling into a workflow. I already have a handful of new videos there, including Mike Folgner, SnappyTVTom Morgan of Net2TV and AJ McGowan, Unicorn Media (now Brightcove), and I'll be be cross-posting the videos there and here on this blog with more in-depth coverage. Look for more online video conversations soon and throughout the year.


1. Don't be Afraid to Let Them See You Dance!
I sometimes joke that when I write my memoirs, it will be titled, "Don't Be Afraid to Let Them See You Dance", which is my metaphor for believing in yourself without worrying about being embarrassed. I work with so many people at so many levels on a daily basis and it's always come easy for me, because I'm such a people person and I have honed my communication and customer services skills for the last 20 years. My daughter once asked me, how do I meet new people all the time and not be awkward. I told her that even if you're nervous, you can't worry about it and you have to work right through it and be yourself. Even though you may dance like Elaine from Senfield, don't be afraid to let them see you dance. So, thanks to my good friend and ever-faithful video director Dominic "Baby Dom" Bonavolonta, I'm now the star of my own Gangnam Style JibJab music video and you can see me in my natural habitat, working and having fun and of course, dancing... (or not!)



Thanks again to all my loyal readers, followers and supporters. Many thanks as well to Kris Drey at Vidcompare for the years of advertising and all the best to him in this ever-changing industry. As we move into a new year, we'll see continued growth and experimentation as standards and distribution models mature. I know I'll be busy as ever and even more so at both my day job and my own business venture with new clients, new challenges and always new adventures.

My best to everyone all in the new year!


(Editor's note: Sorry for the delay, but the year got away from me. Stay tuned for much more to come)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Klessblog's Top 10 of 2013 (Part I)

So, another year goes by in the blink of an eye and as we head into the new year, it's always time for reflection. I've seen many tech bloggers list the same top stories of 2013, with the general consensus that it wasn't a real big year of innovation and disruption as it's been in previous years. But obvious trends like adoption of mobile computing continued to rise, along with software subscription models, social media apps like Instagram and Vine, which sucked my data plan. Social media darling Twitter proved that its IPO was much more successful than Facebook. Online video viewing turned into binge watching, thanks to Netflix releasing full seasons all at once. Actor Kevin Spacey, star of the popular Netflix original series House of Cards, even went on record to urge studios to studios to revamp their distribution models. Video standards moved further to HEVC as the broadcast industry began rolling out 4K video solutions. There were plenty of MA's in the industry and leadership changes within many companies. Read up on all the news in any of the feeds I have on the side bar of this blog, including ReelSEO, Beet.TV, Fierce Online Video, Lost Remote, NewTeeVeeOnlineVideo.net, Dan Rayburn's The Business Of Online Video, StreamingMedia.com, VideoNuze, Web TV Wire, Tubefilter News, Nalt's Will Video for Food blog, MediaPost Video Insider, Vidcompare and the variety of Scoop.it feeds.

With all the movement in the online video and the technology space, many things changed but some remained constant. I actually lost track of things in a few months back due to my busy schedule and my blog entries dwindled to only a handful this year. But I have been busy and I thought I'd use this end-of-the-year post as a retrospective of Klessblog's Top 10 of 2013.

10. OTTCON March 19-20, 2013 - for the third year in a row I had the opportunity to attend and interview industry leaders at this annual Over-the-Top TV conference where top decision-makers and executives from the PayTV, Content Production, Distributions and Consumer Electronics and Technology ecosystems gather annually.
Special thanks to conference organizer and chairman Greg Fawson, President and Principal Analyst of X Media Research, Inc., for his support and collaboration over the last few years in working with me on recording the interviews. Look for those videos to be published on this blog soon.

Hear what are the innovators and industry leaders saying out the industry?  View interviews from OTTCON and get insights not found in the sessions or keynotes. (Here) OTTCONversations is produced by Larry Kless, President and Founder of Online Video Publishing [dot] com.


9. SnappyTV - Share clips from Kless Blog Live Interviews

I had the opportunity to learn about how cool SnappyTV is from my interview earlier this year with Mike Folgner, CEO of SnappyTV. SnappyTV offers a cloud-based suite of tools to create and share instant video highlights with friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter. Folgner created this animated GIF from the interview with the SnappyTV tools and commented that, "I said a lot of words, this is what I felt like in the interview."


8. Leveraging Women's Business Capabilities in Challenging Business Times - May 2, 2013
It's not often in my day job that I get the opportunity to work with an Academy Award®-winning actor, but this year I added Geena Davis to my list of clients. This event was sponsored by Kaiser Permanente in association with Deloitte and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and discussed how girls and women are reflected in media and the challenges facing women in the workplace. It was inspiring to meet Geena Davis and hear her speak at this event and she complimented that our sound was the best she had at any of her events. My thanks to my client and friend Jeanne Hughes for her partnership along with Elizabeth Sullivan in Event Marketing.


  Watch the video here: http://goo.gl/WXn0m
  Listen to the audio podcast here: http://goo.gl/d8auV


7. The Mass of Ordination and Installation of Most Reverend Michael C. Barber, SJ as Fifth Bishop of Oakland - May 25, 2013
In the same week I worked with Geena Davis, I was honored to be in the service of God, to produce several live webcasts for the Diocese of Oakland for the Episcopal Ordination and installation of the Most Reverend Michael Barber, SJ as the 5th Bishop of Oakland at the Cathedral of Christ the Light. This marked my biggest production for my side business, Online Video Publishing [dot] com, and I thank my clients Mike Brown and Jan Potts, my creative partners Pete Brown of PBA Media, Steve Dung of Visions Plus and Harvey Woo of Professional Sound Productions and my project manager Rachel Vaughn and all our crew who worked long hours to make the event an incredible success.


  Watch the Ustream webcast here: Part 1, Episcopal Ordination Mass
  Watch the indexed  video version here: Ordination and Installation, Bishop Barber — Oakland Diocese
_________________________________________________________________________

The countdown continues tomorrow with Part II of Klessblog's Top 10 of 2013 on this blog.

Until then, Happy New Years!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Online Video Conversations: Mike Folgner, SnappyTV




This is my inaugural post for my new website Online Video Conversations, and features highlights from my interview earlier this year with Mike Folgner, CEO of SnappyTVSnappyTV offers a cloud-based suite of tools to create, share, and archive live video highlights with friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter. Folgner used the SnappyTV platform to edit the following highlights from the interview where he discusses his company's history and product approach, and in this video he discusses ideas versus opportunity. Before SnappyTV, Folgner was co-founder and CEO of Jumpcut, an early web-based video editing platform, which was acquired by Yahoo! in 2006. He was General Manager of video at Yahoo! and also Head of New Products for YBrickhouse, an advanced R&D group at Yahoo! That created FireEagle and Yahoo! Live. He founded SnappyTV in February 2010, and the company is located in San Francisco, California. 

Watch all the highlights

Kless Blog Live Interviews
Kless Blog Live Interviews

Kless Blog Live Interviews
Kless Blog Live Interviews
Kless Blog Live Interviews
Kless Blog Live Interviews
Kless Blog Live Interviews
Kless Blog Live Interviews
Kless Blog Live Interviews
Kless Blog Live Interviews

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Video Marketing Tips from the 2013 Video Summit [ReelSEO Creator's Tip #105]

The 2013 Video Marketing Summit was held on July 25-26 in San Francisco and is the largest and only annual event devoted to all things video marketing and video commerce. The sold-out event drew over 300 attendees and was co-hosted by ReelSEO and Liveclicker, and was held in tandem with the Liveclicker's Video Commerce Summit. This year's combined summit was Liveclicker's 5th annual and an inaugural event for ReelSEO, and drew a cross section of over 300 retailers, brands, and agencies attending either summit.

Over the last few years, I've interviewed attendees and speakers at the Liveclicker video commerce summit, and this year the tables were turned, when Tim Schmoyer asked me to share a video marketing tip for his weekly ReelSEO Creator's tips. He included me in the following video, with video marketing tips from Suzie Reider (Marketing Director, YouTube), Jim Louderback (CEO, Revision3), Reed Lucas (Director of Channel Management, Channel Factory), Rob Sandie (CEO, vidIQ), Sofia Stefou (Video Strategist, Sofina Media), Jason Cesare (Account Executive, Unruly Media), Jay Nolan (Producer, Ecommerce), and Anthony Bucci (Founder, RevZilla).




See my tip is at 1:15, "Tell a story and capture your audience, whoever they may be--marketers, consumers, your customers." Don't sell the product, tell the story.

For a summary of all of the video marketing tips, see the related ReelSEO article here: Quick Video Tips from Experts at the ReelSEO Video Marketing Summit [Creator's Tip #105]

For a full look at the event, speakers, schedule and video summit links, visit reelsummit.com.

For a preview of last year's conference, watch this video with interviews I conducted at Liveclicker's Fourth Annual Video Commerce Summit.


2013 Video Commerce Summit — Advancing video in e-commerce

See you next year!

Tweet #vsummit