OVC Considers OTT and Streaming Options

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Distributing current and future content via the burgeoning realm of online video will necessitate key strategic decisions by media execs. Fortunately, NAB Show attendees need look no further for options and possible solutions than the Online Video Conference, produced in partnership with VideoNuze and held today and tomorrow.

The two-day conference features an am- bitious agenda of 16 sessions including today’s keynote “YouTube’s Future — Mobile, VR and Putting Content in Context” with Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan of YouTube, who is also a senior vice president at Google.

Tuesday’s keynote offers Michael Paull, vice president of Digital Video at Amazon, on “The OTT Landscape: Why Now and What’s Next?” The presentation will be moderated by Will Richmond, editor/publisher of VideoNuze, which recently reported that 60 percent of pay-TV subscribers still are not aware of the availability of so-called “TV Everywhere” apps allowing TV broadcast/cable viewing on mobile devices. Those numbers are according to the latest Video Trends Report from Digitalsmiths, a TiVo-owned firm.

Richmond, the conference organizer, said the streaming-centric schedule will feature more than 40 senior executives from companies on the leading edge of online video — including CBS, Amazon, YouTube, BBC, Facebook, AOL, MLB, Roku and Verizon.

“The video landscape is incredibly dynamic these days, with lots of uncertainty, and speakers will be sharing their companies’ experiences and lessons learned — all of which will help attendees better understand how to formulate their own strategies for online video success,” Richmond said.

He added that over-the-top (OTT) ventures still are in early days. “We’re in a perfect storm of connected and mobile devices proliferating, of viewer behaviors changing, and new business models being enabled. As both traditional advertising and pay-TV subscription models come under increasing pressure, there is an unprecedented opportunity for innovation and new approaches with online video,” said Richmond.

Ralf Jacob, head of Global Revenue at Verizon Digital Media Services, agrees that opportunities for OTT ventures (and the technologies that power them) will continue to thrive.

“OTT providers will always look for ways to perfect the mutually beneficial relationship they have with viewers, supplying consumers with high-quality content while simultaneously finding high-impact opportunities to successfully monetize content. As technology continues to evolve — from smartphones and tablets to the devices of tomorrow — both creators and consumers of content alike will seek ways to distribute and access content more easily, more quick- ly and more cost-efficiently,” Jacob said.

Jacob will participate in the session “How to Reach Millennial Audiences With Video” today, 12:30 p.m., along with Blake Sabatinelli of Newsy, Mark Yackanich of Genesis Media, and Maria Weaver of Interactive One. The sesson will be moderated by Jonathan Hurd of Altman Vilandrie & Co.

Jacob believes the multiple, often separate components are critical to implementing a successful streaming platform. “Notably a dependable [content delivery network], encoding services, [profit] opportunities and easily accessible QoS and QoE measurement tools must be readily available in one solution. The solution needs to be geographically and device-agnostic, and adaptive to content

publishers’ ever-changing needs,” he said. For decision-makers, it’s not just a matter of where and what to stream. Not all streaming schemes are created equal and, in fact, at least four options for Internet Protocol transport (and a variety of standards) will be offered at NAB Show as alternatives to SDI baseband transport.

Meanwhile, as consumers take much greater control of their viewing experiences in the non-linear universe, advertising continues to undergo seismic shifts. Consequently, almost all broadcast and cable networks (to varying degrees) have established an online presence, and many of them their own apps. CBS, for example — currently the highest-rated broadcast or cable network in total U.S. households — recently launched its own 24-hour digital news network, CBSN, as well as CBS All Access, an on-demand video subscription service.

Dave Morris, CBS Interactive’s chief revenue officer, said, “The growing platforms where TV and digital are naturally converging are in ‘connected TVs’ and OTT. While they’re not fully measured by comScore or any third party yet, these platforms are already driving meaningful viewership for CBS. This is a key area of focus for Internet-delivered video viewers over the next several years.”

Morris will participate in the “TV and Video Advertising in Transition” session on Tuesday, moderated by Lorne Brown of Operative. Panelists include Scott Ferber of Videology, Anil Jain of Media Group Brightcove Inc. and Rany Ng of Google.

As for near-future trends that could directly affect online video business models, Morris at CBS said, “we’ve been focused on better understanding our audiences and growing our first-party data through services like CBS All Access, where we have a deep understanding of who our users are, as well as their viewing habits.”