Burns bypasses theatrical for latest release

26 10 2007

A rallying call to independent film makers all over the world: Emmy award-winning writer Ed Burns has shunned theatrical distribution for the premiere of his latest comedy drama Purple Violets, in favour of exclusive availability on iTunes, reports Variety.

“The specialized movie business has changed so dramatically in the last five years,” Burns said. “My style of filmmaking is dying on the vine. These small, talky movies have a hard time finding an audience theatrically, so you need to adapt.  There are still people who want to see this nontraditional type of film, and now there are nontraditional ways to get them out there.”

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Why size matters :)

31 08 2007

Perhaps a general excuse for a syndicated feature on the brave new world of online TV and video, but this piece from AP makes an interesting, yet also baldly obvious, observation that online video viewers expect a full-screen, televisual experience, rather than watching something which judders in a console the size of a postage stamp.

Particularly telling are the straplines employed by incumbent services:

Babelgum’s slogan is: “TV experience, Internet substance.” Veoh touts: “VeohTV makes watching Internet as simple as watching television.” Joost simply states: “The new way of watching TV.”

Which suggest that out of the three quoted, two get it and are playing the long game on anticipated mainstream usage, while Babelgum is clearly speaking more directly to the early adopter audiences which forms the user bases of all three offers.

The report also cites A poll conducted by AP and Time Warner Inc.’s AOL from last September, which found that only one in five online video viewers have watched or downloaded a full-length movie or TV show. Arguably both dated and self-serving given the commissioners of the study.

What’s without a doubt, as the piece highlights, is that  TV and PC environments are merging. It will take 10-20 years, according to the report for them to fully converge, the report adds, perhaps a subjective judgment, given the speed of change both within the service, technology and device landscapes and broad underestimates of consumer adoption.

TV viewing is one of the most deeply-entrenched habits witnessed by humankind, after the other thing, change is beginning to happen quite profoundly among both younger and yonug-at-heart consumers, but the mainstream majority will likely take longer than the VC-backers and hyping-journos would like to believe. This isn’t an uncertain world, merely one which is shifting distribution mechansim.





Online video audience: majority skews older

29 08 2007

Advertising.com has released results of its bi-annual online video study for the first half of 2007, revealing some marked differences in the way audiences younger and older than 35 are using the medium.

Shattering preconceptions that online video is the domain of younger audiences, the survey finds that the majority (69%) of users are aged 35 years or older (v. 31% of 18 to 34s).

However, the type of content viewed by each age segment provides some interesting clues on how content providers should be targeting their offers. Page 3 of the report finds that 18 to 34s like music videos best, followed by TV shows. While around a third to a quarter of 35+ audiences favour the same, the overwhelming majority (69%) like news clips best.

Almost two-thirds of 18-34s say they use online TV for catching-up on missed broadcast episodes of favourite shows, with almost a third also saying that online video is eroding traditional TV viewing time.

94% of respondents say that they’d happily suffer commercials online if it meant that the content was free, but advertisers take note: two-thirds favour shorter spots than those which run on linear TV and almost a quarter believe these should be more relevant to users’ interests.





TV viewing in continued decline — IBM consumer research

23 08 2007

The internet is severely eroding TV viewing time, claims a consumer survey released yesterday by the IBM Institute for Business Value. But while consumers are spending increasing amounts of time online, their viewing behaviours may be shifting to the web or mobile devices.

The 38-question internet survey of around 2,400 consumers around the world, almost half of which were aged 18 to 34, found that:

  • 81% said they’d watched video via the internet
  • 19% were spending six or more hours of personal time per day on the internet, v. 9% reporting equivalent time in front of the TV
  • A quarter of U.S. respondents said they owned a DVR and watched recorded programmes at least half of the time; though a third claimed they are watching more TV as a result of having a DVR. But in spite of DVRs, Australians prefer to watch 75% of TV live.
  • Nearly a third of U.K. respondents who watched mobile TV reduced their viewing via a traditional TV set as a result
  • Australians are the world’s greatest contributors to social networks, trailed by the U.S. and U.K.

Video interviews of consumer attitudes reflected by the survey can be found here:

Wired has today [23 Aug] followed up with a great interview with IBM’s Bill Battino, communications sector managing partner for IBM Global Business Services, in particular points on how the coming bandwidth crunch will be managed:

Wired News: If most TV moves to the Internet, do you think the infrastructure/pipes can handle such increased data traffic?

Battino: The question is when, not if. Delivering all but the most basic digital content services over networks that were originally designed for voice communications and Web browsing is challenging, and telecom, cable and satellite operators will, in all likelihood, have to upgrade their networks to compete. Even with higher compression technology like MPEG-4, delivering HDTV, multi-room TV and the like, as well as voice, gaming, Internet surfing and other communication services means that every home must have a bandwidth of 20 megabits or more.

As demand for high-definition television (HDTV), real-time video on demand (VoD) and other next-generation services increases, we are heading toward a bandwidth crunch in many countries with the possible exception of parts of south-east Asia including Singapore and Korea, where 95 -100 percent of households can obtain very high speed access. To deliver bandwidth-intensive content services and the experience consumers demand, telcos and distributors will have to make major investments in upgrading their networks. We anticipate that the investments going into IPTV through Fiber-TV, will accelerate bandwidth dramatically, as well as VC investment in wireless technologies.
 

Wired News: We hear a lot of talk about the Internet democratizing content distribution, but what are the real chances that other YouTube-like networks (not owned by major corps) will be able to compete with YouTube and the major studios rolling out their own mini-online networks (such as ComedyCentral’s Motherload)?

Battino: Never underestimate the creativity that can come from the VC and private equity community. Just as people thought MySpace had a monopoly, you saw other entrants (e.g. Facebook) generating interest levels. We may see some backlash against the big players, which will open up the window for new entrants. Also, our survey found that the majority of individuals visited sites based on recommendations from their peers; this also leaves an opening for new entrants. Finally, keep in mind that many of the sites now owned by major corporations started as independents and were then acquired.