BBC iPlayer to launch Christmas Day

6 12 2007

The BBC is to fully launch its iPlayer TV downloads service on 25 December, according to this report. Not mentioned by Broadband TV News, but covered in an earlier BBC announcement, the iPlayer will also offer streaming video before the end of the year, promising access to 400 hours of TV shows from the last seven days.

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Skinkers second round funding

30 10 2007

Back in July beyondnessofthings reported on Skinkers, a U.K. based company which has been working with Microsoft on a software solution for streaming of live TV. econsultancy reports that the company has just sealed a deal for US $16m (£8m) in second round funding from a consortium led by Acacia Capital Partners. Consortium members include Spark Ventures, which provided $3.5m (£1.7m) in February 2006.

Skinkers will reportedly soon start trialling its LiveStation product with broadcasters





Online TV: mind the gap(s)

8 09 2007

Warner Bros. has finally relented to pressure from Walt Disney Co.’s ABC network and granted on-demand streaming rights for shows it produces for the latter, the strongest suggestion yet that the nets are sensitive to consumer feedback over why some shows are offered for online catch-up, while others aren’t.

Under the terms of the two-year deal, ABC will stream Warner-made shows via ABC.com and keep all ad revenue during the first year. In year two, Warner retains all revenue and gets to offer the same shows on a download-to-own basis, for on-demand streaming and as DVD box sets. Is it just me thinking that ABC ended up with the better side of the deal?

Since its launch in September 2006, the player has streamed all or part of 134 million episodes, ABC data shows. ABC was the first U.S. broadcast network to offer its prime time shows for free on the ad-supported player.

The most interesting part of the deal, however, is that in year two, all of the shows offered by Warners will continue to be branded in ABC’s colours, with viewers given pointers back to ABC’s site.





Video streaming v. downloads, the debate rumbles on

10 08 2007

With 20% of global internet traffic comprising video streams served by YouTube, consumers are certainly making their views on the subject clear.

The Seattle Times quotes from a couple of pieces of recent research:

Only 16 percent of consumers downloading videos from the Internet were happy with the experience, only 13 percent said the pricing is reasonable and fewer than one in five will do it again in the future, according to one study by Parks Associates.

chart_videodownload1.gif

While The Diffusion Group found that 29 percent of adult Internet users are “likely” to buy a movie download if they could burn it to a DVD, but only 6 percent said they “definitely would” purchase a download-to-burn (D2B) flick.

What the report fails to discuss is the trade off between instant gratification (streaming), which is a no-brainer when it comes to clips or highly-perishable content such as news and sport reports v. the potentially superior picture quality offered by downloads, which lends itself to full-length programs or movies.

Then there’s the economic dimension: serving up millions of streams is a costly business, while using p2p downloads immediately shifts the burden of distribution on to users.





Jupiter Research: delivering great online video

8 08 2007

The Importance of Delivering a Great Online Video Experience, a briefing note by market analysts Jupiter Research is now available free-of-charge, thanks to sponsorship by Akamai.

Unsurprisingly, given that Akamai is in the market to sell streaming infastructure, the report concludes that slow-to-start and constantly-buffering online video are among the biggest sources of consumer frustration.

The survey of online 2,319 online consumers claims that around a third of broadband users are interested in watching full-length TV shows and movies on the web; though short-form content such as news packages and music videos still seems to be winning more hearts and minds.

Portals and video-sharing sites get top ranking for sourcing online video, with just under a third saying they’d consider looking on a TV program or channel website (interestingly, women show a greater preference for such destinations than men).

Just under half of consumers say they prefer watching video on a TV screen, which begs the question: why does true convergence remain so painstakingly illusive? (answers on the back of an inter-operable postcard, please).





Discovery ramps up online video strategy, but with baby steps

3 08 2007

Discovery Networks is to stream full-length episodes of its most popular series available for online catch-up. According to TV Week, only a handful of shows, such as Meerkat Manor, will initially be posted and, in a somewhat luddite move, a day after they have been premiered on cable TV.

Online episodes will feature pre-roll commercials and be delivered through a player provided by Move Networks.





Live streaming video – even HD – without the burp

2 08 2007

Technology firm Swarmcast has announced the release of a new platform for live video streaming, promising greater QoS, even for high-definition video. The company claims the solution eliminates re-buffering and stalling of long-form video content, over a standard broadband connection and without compromising on picture quality.

The solution “aggregates packets of data from multiple sources in real-time… by blending resources,” [augmented by servers, according to posted feedback from the company’s PR] claims the press release.

Last month the company released Autobahn Accelerator, a free downloadable tool which it claims optimises both video streaming and downloads.