Monday, January 2, 2012

Online Video in 2011: A Look Back - Part 1

As we said goodbye to 2011, many articles focused on what a big year it had been in online video. While most the news revolved around YouTube, Facebook, Apple and Netflix, there was a lot more going on in online video. I recall that on New Years Eve last year, many people had said that we'd be "turning it up to 11 in 2011" and everyone I talked with over the year was kicking it up a notch across the industry. As we start another year, I want to extend my thanks to everyone who reached out to me in 2011 to contribute material to this blog, and while I couldn't cover everything that came my way, I do appreciate the time you all took to share your news and commentary.

While my output of blog posts declined, the number of video interviews increased dramatically, and I think that provided richer content through the series of online video conversations I featured throughout the year. To all of you who read my blog, watch my videos, subscribe, retweet, comment, and connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Facebook and at conferences, industry events and meetups – I thank you. I am incredibly grateful and humbled by your support.

It was also another year that consumed my time and energy like a ravenous beast that could not be tamed. I looked back on my post a year ago, and I thought I'd follow a similar format as last year and recount the news I covered on this blog in 2011 and conversations I had along the way.

I started 2011 with a 3-part year-end review about how 2010 Was a Breakout Year for Online Video and  that online video was finally showing promise as a replacement for the traditional television and cable industry, and businesses and organizations of all sizes, started to integrate video into their communications, marketing, PR and training programs.

In a surprise move at CES 2011, Skype announced its acquisition of Qik, the popular live mobile streaming startup which I said helped consolidate Skype's position as the leader of the live video calling market. More big news about Skype followed a few months later, when Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5 billion. As the first week of 2011 came to a close, many trends had already emerged from the annual CES show. 2011 would ne known as the year of the tablets, 3D TVs, connected devices and mobile, and without actually being at the show, Apple's news that iPhone will finally be coming to Verizon overshadowed much of the other news, and that turned out to be a theme throughout the year.

Each year also brings out the many predictions of how online video, social media and technology will shape the consumer and business markets and set the stage for the future. The growth of online video was a no brainer, and many predicted that 2011 would be a breakthrough year for video advertising, with mobile devices viewing the majority of video ads. Social media integration into advertising was also expected to grow with video properties emerging as the top ad networks. I shared my annual collection of predictions for the coming the year: 2011 Predictions from Around the Web - Online Video, Social Media, Technology and More

Just few days later, when it appeared that the online video industry was moving toward a video standard, with H.264 video playback in HTML5 – more chaos ensued with Google's announcement of its plans to phase out support for H.264 in its Chrome browser, in favor of open source formats like its own WebM or Theora. The overwhelming response within the online video industry is that this move by Google would set the adoption of HTML5 video back even further, and for online video publishers, cause even more confusion and increase in video publishing costs.

Many both lauded and lambasted Google's decision while many others have shrugged it off as not being a really a big deal. Regardless of the debate around "open" and "closed" standards and patents or codecs and containers – the net result of Google's decision affected the entire ecosystem of video content creators, publishers, developers and advertisers and created an atmosphere of fear and loathing in online video.

February kicked off with big news within the online video platform market with KIT digital's  triple-play OVP acquisition of New York City-based social media KickApps, Paris-based Kewego, and San Francisco-based Kyte, for approximately $77.2 million ($14.8 million in cash and approximately $62.3 million in stock. A few months earlier, I had spoke with Gannon Hall, (who at the time of this interview was COO of Kyte and is now Executive Vice President of Global Marketing for KIT digital), at the 2010 Online Video Platform Summit about Kyte's online and mobile video experience. I also spoke with Mike Sommers, then VP of Product Management for KickApps who discussed the growing importance of curation, specifically social video curation. As part of the acquisition KickApps' CEO Alex Blum, was appointed to the new position of global chief operating officer of KIT digital.

In other OVP news, Kaltura secured $20 Million investment to further disrupt the online video space, another OVP bit the dust with VBrick's acquisition of Fliqz, and Ooyala made a big move by scoring Yahoo! Japan.

I also caught up with Scot McLernon, Chief Revenue Officer at YuMe, at a San Francisco event to get an overview of two new studies YuMe had released, that demonstrate the changing attitudes of online video viewers and present a compelling case study for brands to shift advertising dollars from TV to online video for maximum campaign reach. In partnership with Frank N. Magid Associates and The Nielsen Company, the findings of the two reports  “Online Video and Television Viewing Attitudes and Behaviors” and “Share-shift Analysis – TV + Online Video: The Best of Both Worlds” were presented at a series roadshows hosted by YuMe.

Travis Hockersmith, Director of Market Analytics for YuMe, talked about the key findings of the share-shift analysis that points out that when a viewer is exposed to a campaign across multiple screens, brand recall scores increase dramatically with multi-platform exposure and performance, from 62% for ads solely on TV to 82% for adds viewed on TV and online. Mike Vorhaus, President of Magid Advisors at consumer research firm Frank N. Magid Associates, said that the data shows that with online video, brands could reach viewers more easily, more often and with less expense than traditional TV.

Overall, online video viewing showed a dramatic rise becoming a major platform for entertainment while TV viewing is on the decline. YuMe believes that widespread adoption of online video for news and entertainment was brought on through the proliferation of connected devices. Online video viewing across all devices, from PCs to the iPad and smartphones, made it easy for viewers of all ages watch video content where they and wherever they wanted.

Editor's note: This ends Part 1 of Online Video in 2011: A Look Back. Stay tuned for Part 2.