Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ooyala Is On A Mission To Make Content More Personal, Launches Innovative Video Advertising Feature Set

Ooyala has been making news for its innovations in online video delivery. With clients like Bebo, Glam Media, TV Guide, National Geographic and AOL/WB the company founded by a couple of former high-ranking Google employees is on a mission to make content more personal. Ooyala, of Mountain View, California, describe themselves as "a video technology company committed to providing publishers, advertisers, and content owners with cost effective syndication and monetization solutions for high quality video."

Their video management platform called Backlot, which went through a complete overhaul in September 2008, is a scalable video platform that gives users control over the delivery, organization, analytics, and monetization of their online videos. They recently announced support for ads from YuMe Networks , Tremor Media , DoubleClick Inc., AOL LLC 's Lightningcast, and Google's AdSense for Video. (See the press release below)

Here's a short video about Backlot:


According to Ooyala CEO Bismarck Lepe one of their key tenants is to help content providers build their businesses. They are responsible for real-time management of the Content Delivery Networks (CDN) and has partnered with many CDNs to broker the best price. On revenue side they provide access to ad supported models to maximize across networks. Their Business model is usage based, which is different from others. Ooyala’s competitors include Brightcove, Move Networks, and Maven Networks.

In September, I got a demo of Backlot by Lepe who described the Backlot content management system with the following features:
  • Built in Adobe Air – desktop application, can upload large files chop it up, make every packet as small as possible and can open up as many as 7 connections
  • Enterprise and consumer side
  • Transcode to H.264 stream (Quality 200 Kbps and 4 Mbps)
  • Dark room editing tool to set up syndicating rules, preview images and insert ads
  • API – can add additional meta player
  • Syndication side – gives content owners ability to create syndication groups
    (YouTube and Bebo) Flight times to push
  • Advertising side – hub for all video, Silverlight and VC-1 support down the line
  • Can add interstitial adds like key frames, post rolls, advertising place sets and rules sets, ability to add advertising
  • Help content owners to build an online business
  • Ad serving – channels, placements on web sites, media lists, sets up ad queue
  • Analytics – dashboard, can be customized, performance
    • Displays
    • Search
    • Engagment – helps them optimize content and ads




On back end, there's lots of secret sauce. Ooyala gives give content owners the ability to create hotspotting and contextual advertisement through Backlot's ability to analyze the video for recognizable objects and then offer up to the viewer other clips or information about the objects. Like movies an actor has been in, or sports statistics. Targeted ads can be shown, or "baked in" into video. Ooyala takes the video, slices it up and distributes across multiple CDNs. This behavioral data can also help direct advertising to viewers based on their interests and habits. When you fast-forward through the video you can see thumbnails which enable easy access to video segments.

They launched an exclusive promotion for Brightcove customers who are affected by the announcement a few weeks ago about the closing the “Brightcove Network.”

Here's another video from Ooyala about their video platform and their recent press release:

New Capability of Company’s Ground-breaking Ooyala Backlot Video Content Management System Helps Video Owners Improve Return on Investment (ROI)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ooyala, Inc, a leading global online video platform provider, is announcing the launch of Ooyala Backlot™ Ads. This feature simplifies the process of monetizing online video content by enabling easy ad integration with major ad servers and ad networks such as YuMe, Tremor, Doubleclick, Lightningcast, and Google AdSense for Video. Ooyala also offers access to its own, custom-built ad server, which intelligently returns key metrics for ads within the Backlot Analytics module. Ooyala's Ad module supports various ad formats such as pre-roll, post-roll, mid-roll, and overlays. Backlot Ads is a key module in Backlot, Ooyala's enterprise grade video platform, that provides all the tools necessary to transcode, publish, and monetize high quality content.

“Online video is moving out of the laboratory and into mainstream use,” stated Bismarck Lepe, CEO of Ooyala. “This is forcing companies to generate revenue from their content and build real businesses. By simplifying third-party ad server and network integration, we're giving publishers access to millions of ads and increasing the rate at which they can turn viewership and unique users into revenue,” Lepe added.

Fueled by the growth in broadband penetration, the total number of Internet users and overall time spent online has increased significantly. This trend has resulted in more online video sites and available monetizable inventory. According to Forrester’s report ‘What It Really Means To Watch TV Online’ written by VP Principal Analyst James McQuivey, Ph.D., in-stream online video advertising is the fastest-growing category of interactive marketing – rising from $471 million last year to nearly $7.2 billion in 2012, or 12% of total interactive marketing spend. Ooyala developed Backlot Ads to enable partners to capitalize on this opportunity, further strengthening its commitment to help businesses of all sizes generate revenue from their online videos.

Other key modules in Backlot include Content Management, Analytics, Syndication, and Player Customization. Last month, Ooyala announced the launch of new hyper-syndication controls, which enable content to be syndicated to YouTube and other distribution sites.

About Ooyala

Ooyala is a video technology company that provides an integrated platform enabling the delivery, management, and monetization of high quality video content. Committed to providing the most accessible and comprehensive video solutions to companies worldwide, Ooyala's services are easy to use, quick to deploy, and customizable. Its modular and distributed framework allows Ooyala to integrate seamlessly with existing systems and scale to millions of concurrent users. Ooyala's partner portfolio includes 1000s of media companies including Bebo, TV Guide, Glam, and Electronic Arts. Free trial Backlot accounts can be created by clicking here: http://www.ooyala.com/products/install. For more information please visit www.ooyala.com.

Ooyala is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with sales offices in New York and London.

©Ooyala 2008. Ooyala and Backlot are registered trademarks of Ooyala Inc. All other brands and product names and trademarks are the registered property of their respective companies.

Contacts

Ooyala
Shalini Gupta, 650-316-3433 (Press)
Sr. Marketing Manager
shalini@ooyala.com
JR Becko, 650-316-3437 (Sales)
Sales Director
jrbecko@ooyala.com
Forrester Research
James McQuivey (Analysts)
VP, Principal Analyst
http://www.forrester.com/Research/Document/ 0,7211,44201,00.html - endnote4

ooyala blog

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Weekly Review: Online Video, Gadgets and Social Media Links 11/23/08 - 11/29/08

Each day I build a bookmark page of links I find through my RSS feeds in Google Reader, web pages that were shared by friends I subscribed to on Friendfeed and people I follow on Twitter. I use them mainly for reference when blogging and sharing. Here's a collection of links I've assembled from this past week. It's a mix of online video news, gadgets and social media. Even with the Thanksgiving holiday it was a busy week. I have several draft posts that I'm working on which will be published soon so stay tuned.

November 23, 2008





CRACKLEhttp://blogs.voices.com/voxdaily/sag_logo_200x200.gifNovember 24, 2008












November 25, 2008
0
  • Why does everything suck?: Something is Happening To Our Brains
    • There are few who at this point have not heard about the suicide of Abraham Biggs on Justin.tv. There are few that don’t know that visitors to the chat room associated with the Justin.tv video feed egged him on. There are few that are not disgusted by the thought, no, the horror of what happened. But there is a bigger picture here. And it is not a bigger picture about the horrors of the Internet. Behavior of the type that was displayed in the chat room is, I think, a symptom of a much larger issue.









November 26, 2008




http://www.gadgetell.com/images/2006/11/slingmedialogo.gif
http://news.gotgame.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/hulu-logo.jpgJoost image

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Daisy Whitney's New Media Minute: Surviving the Local Advertising Crunch

While online advertising is still seeing positive growth in these tough economic times eMarketer is forecasting a dip in ad spending in 2009 to the single digits. They revised their August projections from a 14.5% gain to only a 8.9% growth and said it may take several years before the ad dollars fully return. One positive note is that the online paid search spending will grow 21.4% and that bodes well for online video publishers.

In this video Daily Whitney offers some advise on weathering the economic storm. She says,"If you want to stay a step or two ahead of the market, then you might want to take some advice from eMarketer. The research firm outlined several tips for success in these lean times, and one of those tactics is online video."



Excerpt from the eMarketer article:
"eMarketer’s revised projection, benchmarked against the latest Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) data, puts online ad spending at $25.7 billion in 2009. That is only 8.9% over the $23.6 billion that will be spent in 2008."














"In August, before the full impact of the economic slowdown was revealed, eMarketer predicted online ad spending would grow 14.5% in 2009.

Not only is the new projection lower, but recovery is expected to take longer. In 2010, online ad spending growth will return (barely) into the double digits at 10.9%, and in 2013 it will only hit 13.5%."














Source - Economy Deals Online Ad Spending a Hit - eMarketer

Related:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

YouTube Goes 16:9 Widescreen, It's About Change

Late last night Mashable reported that YouTube changed from the standard 4:3 player to an aspect ratio off 16:9. Since the majority of videos on YouTube are 4:3 the result is the annoying pillar box effect displaying the black bars (mattes or masking) on the sides of the image.

The YouTube blog says, Bigger Isn't Always Better... But in This Case, We Believe It Is, "We're expanding the width of the page to 960 pixels to better reflect the quality of the videos you create and the screens that you use to watch them. This new, wider player is in a widescreen aspect ratio which we hope will provide you with a cleaner, more powerful viewing experience. And don't worry, your 4:3 aspect ratio videos will play just fine in this new player."

This image below shows a 16:9 video in the new default player:
[obama_weekly.jpg]

The majority of feedback on the blog post was negative with most people outraged pleading that this new feature be an option and not a default while many others embraced it saying it's about time. This change follows on the heels of the recent HD hack that enables a higher quality viewing at 720p. YouTube may be gearing up for more professionally produced higher quality content created in 16:9 like full-length films from MGM in an effort to compete directly with Hulu.

Other sites like Blip.tv, Vimeo, DailyMotion and SmugMug have already offered video in the HD aspect ratio. Aspect ratio and quality are different. See YouTube's help document on how to upload better quality videos but keep in mind that you'll want to transition to the widescreen format if you want your videos to fill the player.

Kyte Rolls Out Branded Mobile Web Apps, Major Ad Server Integration and Google Adsense

Kyte describes itself as the universal digital media platform with their business model focused on brands. Yesterday Kyte rolled out two innovative offerings with branded mobile web pages, major ad server integration and Google AdSense. Kyte Chief Marketing Officer Gannon Hall says these new features will enable artists and producers to reach mobile audiences and monetize their content. Kyte has both a free user-generated content platform (UGC) and a premium service for major brands and recording artists but has slowly been moving away from UGC to established brands. I've covered Kyte the last year as it has differentiated itself from other platforms as "an enabling technology" to today as a branded mobile destination site.

In the video below Kyte Chief Marketing Officer Gannon Hall gives a short demo and outline of the new features.



The new mobile Kyte player is complete with mobile banner ads and interactive chat, comments, ratings, and sharing features. To see examples of Kyte partners' mobile web applications go to m.kyte.tv/expo on your mobile browser. They can be viewed on most mobile devices like the iPhone, Blackberry, and Nokia S60 but not Google's Android platform yet.

Related:

Watch Blip.tv Videos On iPhone With New "Magic Embed"

It's no secret that the iPhone doesn't support the Flash Player and many speculate that it will never happen. This limits the availability of online video content mainly to YouTube which encodes their videos in the advanced H.264 format. But Blip.tv has created a "magic" workaround that embeds the .m4v QuickTime movie within code that makes their videos viewable on the device.

This video by Blip.tv CTO and co-founder Justin Day below that demonstrates how to create a "magic iPhone embed."


The only catch is that the original video file needs to be in the Quicktime movie format. Blip.tv will not convert Flash videos to Quicktime. See the Apple Developer web site Technical Note TN2188: Exporting Movies for iPod, Apple TV and iPhone on for the optimal settings.

As Blip CEO Mike Hudack told Wired.com, "We think it's very important that iPhone users be able to enjoy a full Web experience, including video playback. Just as important, show creators should be able to distribute video everywhere that people watch video. This is a meaningful step forward."

Ryan Lawler of Contentinople notes that, "With the new iPhone embed, Blip.tv producers will still be able to cash in on advertising that runs against their content. In addition to their videos, all ads that are sold to run up against Blip.tv video content will also be iPhone-friendly."

Thanks Blip.tv!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Transmedia Storytelling and the Future of Entertainment

In his book Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, Henry Jenkins describes the term "transmedia storytelling" as "a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience."

He added that, "Transmedia storytelling is the art of world making. To fully experience any fictional world, consumers must assume the role of hunters and gatherers, chasing down bits of the story across media channels, comparing notes with each other via online discussion groups, and collaborating to ensure that everyone who invests time and effort will come away with a richer entertainment experience."

Is this the future of entertainment?

Transmedia storytelling was the subject of a recent panel discussion at NewTeeVee Live called Bridging The Gap Between Television and Online. The session was moderated by Chris Albrecht, NewTeeVee and the panelists included Jesse Alexander, Former Writer and Executive Producer, Heroes; Bill Gannon, Director of Online Operations, Lucasfilm; Jeff Gomez, CEO Starlight Runner Entertainment; and Greg Goodfried, Co-Founder, President and COO, EQAL.

In the session "Content creators both indie and traditional tell us about pushing the limits of format, interactivity, and storytelling to reach their audience." They talked about the important of transmedia, what are the metrics for transmedia and how to make transmedia media work. You can read the NewTeeVee post on the seesion here or view the video below.



At their at Streamingmedia West keynote Greg Goodfried and his creative partner Miles Beckett discussed their version of transmedia which they call "social entertainment" for their web series LG15|The Resistance which encourages participation from their dedicated fan base to figure out puzzles, find clues and watch videos to unravel plot mysteries.

The web site is a fundamental tool to tell the story in a MySpace type format with ARG (Alternate Reality Game) elements, daily blogs, videos and social shows. They created a universe for community to be an active participant in to help solve puzzles and be part of the resistance. A good vs. evil storyline.

"We call the shows that we produce ’social shows,’ and they’re very different from a TV show or a film,” says Miles Beckett. “The way that you actually construct the narrative, the way that the plot points flow over the course of the week, the way the site interplays with the video, the way the community works together and talks to the videos and talks to the characters, is all different,” - from EQAL » Blog Archive » Video: ‘Lonelygirl15′ creators Beckett, Goodfried discuss new drama

Their keynote from Streaming Media West 2008 is featured below.

In this video, Jesse Alexander at NewTeeVee Live from Chris Albrecht on Vimeo, Alexander says for his next project having a transmedia component integrated into the DNA of the show is very important. He thinks the next step in transmedia drama fiction is building gaps in your fiction to create a participatory space where the audience can interact with the narrative in a meaningful way. Much like what Greg Goodfried and Miles have done with their LG15 franchise and what CSI Franchise creator calls Anthony Zuiker "cross-platform storytelling."


Jesse Alexander at NewTeeVee Live from Chris Albrecht on Vimeo.

Clearly, transmedia storytelling is not for everyone but it will continue to grow as Hollywood studios and content creators look to broaden their markets and direct their content across many channels to increase revenue.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

1TimStreet Talks With CSI Franchise Creator Anthony Zuiker About Cross-Platform Storytelling and YouTube


Why is the Creator of CSI Watching YouTube to Learn?

1Tim Street spoke with CSI Franchise creator and executive producer Anthony Zuiker at NewTeeVee Live in this private interview. Zuiker talks about how we came up with the idea for CSI and describes what he does in a on a day-to-day basis to produce an episode. He says producing video for the Internet differs from producing for television. He thinks it's important to have respect for the online video audience and create content and you have to create content specific for the device which he calls cross-platform storytelling. Being able from broadcast to web to mobile and to gaming gives viewers an immersive experience allowing them further unlock the narrative.

Rather than watch the other TV networks for inspiration Zuiker spends several hours a day on YouTube to learn from the community. You can read a recap of his NewTeevee Live keynote here or watch the archived video on Ustream.

See 1Tim Street's blog for more of his observations about online videos, social media and how to monetize viral videos.

I Want my YouTube Live!

I watched the YouTube Live event online last night and apparently I was one of 700,000 others that did the same. The star studded cast produced as a "part concert, part variety show, and part party" moved through a tightly packed script with no commercial breaks. It was MC'd by YouTube's Vlog Squad and featured a range of musical guests and viral video stars to celebrate YouTube's user community. The webcast player also featured "Live Cams" with alternate cameras to view the main stage, back stage and offstage. Those feeds were streamed live in smalller video windows under the main stage feed. It looked very similar to BitGravity's new multiview product.



From a user experience standpoint, my live steam was consistent with little or no interruption of service. I watched it in both medium and high quality and the high quality stream looked great at my meager 200 kbps download speed. There had been a lot of speculation on who Google/YouTube would partner with on the event and on the Mogulus blog Max Haot said, "If I was to speculate, I think that Youtube will use an established and traditional content delivery network (CDN) such as Akamai who can cover the Tokyo event too and build a simple Flash player themselves. Google would pay the CDN premium fees for bandwidth for it. They probably contracted multiple CDNs to ensure scalability and have insurance if one has trouble with the load."

He noted that it would be too risky for YouTube to stream their first ever live event with Ustream who has not yet proven to have capacity beyond more than 80,000 streams. He later confirmed after the event was live that,"by looking at the player and HTML code, we found that our prediction was correct. YouTube is not launching any live service and has chosen AKAMAI to stream this one-off event using a custom Flash player built by web agency Digitaria (See the publishing points used by the player http://live.youtube.digitaria.com/site/streams.xml - edgefcs.net is registered to AKAMAI)"

Ben Homer of Online Video Watch said
, "YouTube paid a substantial amount for that, and it proved that they are miles away from launching their own live streaming service. So, despite the rumors we’re back to square one. YouTube got publicity, but they likely lost money on the event overall. In a weak economy there’s little incentive for companies to do these types of events."

Regardless of their ability to monetize the event YouTube proved they could scale to meet the demand and has been successful at branding itself as the premier online video community network.

I just want an invite next time.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

YouTube Live is Today at 5 PM PST, Hey YouTube where the heck is my Ticket?!




From the YouTube Blog
"You may have noticed that the YouTube homepage looks a little different. Want to know why? YouTube Live, of course. From 5pm PST/ 8pm EST, we will be furnishing you with three live streams direct from the Live channel, offering you direct access to everything that is happening on the Main Stage, Backstage and Off Stage at YouTube Live. And boy, is there a lot happening…"


Hey YouTube, I'm still waiting for my ticket!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

YouTube High Quality Gets Higher in 720p

Last week Ben Homer of Online Video Watch pointed to a post by Jason Kottke about a YouTube hack for an even higher quality video in 720p. YouTube had previously introduced the current "watch in high quality" option, by adding &fmt=18 (format 18) to the end of the YouTube video's url, which offered a transcoded mp4 version encoded using H.264 with stereo AAC sound at 480x360 with bitrates up to 850K. This was earlier in the year and I posted about it here.

Today the word is officially out they now offer full 720p. This format is similar to what's available DailyMotion and Vimeo.

The Google System blog says:
"If you add "&fmt=22", some YouTube videos are now available at an even higher quality, which makes the full screen view a very useful option. Compare:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlfKdbWwruY (standard format - mono, resolution: 320x180)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlfKdbWwruY&fmt=18 (stereo, resolution: 480x270) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlfKdbWwruY&fmt=22 (new format - stereo, resolution: 1280x720)

To embed a higher quality version of a video, replace "http://www.youtube.com/v/VIDEO_ID" with "http://www.youtube.com/v/VIDEO_ID&ap=%2526fmt%3D18" or "http://www.youtube.com/v/VIDEO_ID&ap=%2526fmt%3D22" in YouTube's embeddable code."

CNET has a good article which Josh Lowensohn tested this with one of his own videos.

Here's the popular "Where the Hell is Matt" video in both the new 720p and standard format,
Update: Unless you have at least fast internet connection (2.5 Mbps or higher) you'll have to wait a long time to view this video.







Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Netflix CEO Wants To Get Their Streaming Client Software into Every Internet Connected Consumer Electronic Device; It's on New XBOX 360 in HD Today!

Last week at the NewTeeVee Live conference in San Francisco, Rafat Ali spoke with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. In this short video Hastings discussed the future of the streaming and how he wants to get their streaming client software in every internet connected consumer electronic device. Netflix has been successful in positioning itself to move beyond DVD distribution and today partnering with Microsoft to usher in a new era in home entertainment as the first to bring instant streaming in High Defintition to consumers with the new Xbox 360 Experience (NXE) console. Xbox 360 is the only Netflix-ready device on the market with this offering. Netflix subscribers will be able to stream up to 12,000 TV episodes and movies with approximately 300 in full HD. You'll need to be an Xbox Live Gold member to access the service.

Michael Hatamoto of CDFreaks says, "Video quality is impressive, but users who are on slower Internet connections may be rather disappointed. I found it to be somewhere between DVD and upscaled DVD quality, and it initially seemed better than Roku's service."

The specs on their HD Quality are here.

In this Contentnext video Reed Hastings addresses what he's doing to build parterships with device makers, timelines for making partnetrships work, reaching TV with web browsers, cost margins of DVD vs. streaming, his competitors like Hulu and traditional cable companies (which he sees as a potential partner among) , how to build the online video inventory and his outlook for the DVD busines for next year.



Liz Gaines wrote yesterday in that "The living room is on the horizon. And Netflix stands ready to capitalize on it. CEO Reed Hastings won us over by being engaged, enthusiastic and realistic about Netflix’s role in our home entertainment near-future. He described the current living room streaming environment, in which sites and devices come up with case-by-case solutions for publishing video, as a “brute force approach,” and instead proposed that a browser run directly on a TV." - from 10 Things We Learned About the Future of Online Video from NTV Live « NewTeeVee

Check out NewTeeVee’s coverage of his keynote or watch it here.

Related:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Adobe Scores with MLB, Silverlight Strikes Out

Yesterday in a stunning defeat, the Adobe® Flash® Platform beat out Microsoft's Silverlight as the video delivery platform for MLB.com. Major League Baseball Advanced Media, MLBAM, is dropping Silverlight after one year in favor of Flash which MLBA's president and CEO Bob Bowman said better suits its needs. Under a two-year agreement the Adonbe's Flash Platform will deliver all of MLB.com's live and on-demand video offerings beginning in 2009. MLB.com has signed up more than 1.5 million subscribers since 2003 and streams more than 2,500 regular and postseason games annually.

Bowman said "our experience with Silverlight has led us to where we are.. We did it because we serve up more live video than anybody "Flash provides a TV-like experience, you turn it on and it works... We want it to be flexible so we can add features...and it’s got to be scaleable. We are the largest server of live entertainment int he country. Whether we are serving 20,000 for one game or 250,000 for another game it’s got to be scaleable over periods of time like nothing else.”

Read the full press release here.

Baseball is not the only sport that has drafted Flash as a delivery platform as it was just in September that the NFL selected Flash for streaming of football games on NBCSports and NFL.com. Many tech blogs implied that NBC "dropped", "dumped" or "ditched" Silverlight in favor of Flash and it was Dan Rayburn who set the record straight saying, NBC Did Not "Drop" Silverlight In Favor Of Flash: Bloggers Simply Want Headlines | The Business Of Online Video.

Ben Homer of Online Video Watch noted,"While the battle rages on, Flash has 98% penetration versus Silverlight’s 25% Microsoft continues to have a rough time convincing media companies to get on board with Silverlight without paying them to do so. Instead of releasing a new product in Silverlight that does more than Flash Microsoft is still trying to play catchup, and they’re falling further and further behind."

The Flash/MLB.com partnership was announced this week in San Francisco at the Adobe Max developers conference which kicked off with other major announcements in the latest Flash technology developments.

Among them were:

There was also a lot of buzz about Adobe opening up its cloud initiative, known as “Cocomo,” as a public beta . Read more about Cocomo here.

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