Pro sports comes to the webcast party

Pro sports, long on of the last holdouts in streaming content to the web is finally coming to the party. Tonight and for the next 3 nights the NBA Eastern Conf. playoffs will be webcast at http://www.nba.com/tntovertime/?cid=playoff10 . The NBA is setting the mold. Expect the rest to follow.

Does TV need real time social networking?

Judging from many of the postings on facebook around sports playoffs and season finale’s the answer would seem to be an obvious “yes”. However, in practice the answer is less clear.

Consumers have long had the ability to network in real time via phone, and they could do it on facebook or IM in real time if they choose. For the most part that just doesn’t happen.

In a world of 140 character updates and uber-connectivity perhaps our friends don’t want to hear about entertainment until the entire event can be completely summarized in one short burst. Or perhaps entertainment is not about bringing your virtual friends for the entire show, and entertainment is best enjoyed when you are fully in the moment. It seems “No talking in the theater” may be better rule than we knew.

Web Neutrality - or why ISP’s are not cable TV

ESPN has been trying for some time without success to force ISP’s to pay fees to carry live internet sports feeds from ESPN360. If the ISP’s don’t pay, and most don’t, ESPN blocks the feeds and substitutes a “warning message” that instructs the consumer to contact their ISP and demand ESPN360. Sound like familiar cable TV tactics?

This violates an iron rule of the web… the web is an open place and resists geographic, political, business or other artificial boundaries. ESPN’s lack of success in signing up ISP’s over more than 2 years is the least of their problems. Trying to use consumers as pawns to “close the web to paying ISP’s” is heavy handed at best and significantly corrodes their Brand image.

If you want to demand sports feeds, I doubt your next post will be to your ISP. The steady stream of flames on the web points to ESPN instead.

There will be no going back….

On the web you create interest one person at a time based on their interests… not yours. Consumers are in control, and there are very few places where a marketer can go to reach a “mass audience”.

facebook is doing it right and serves as a great example of advertising on the web. In facebook you can take one product or service and write ten different ads for it. Each ad can target a different age group, geographic area, lifestyle, hobbies, etc. With facebook you focus specifically on who you want to reach and how they want to be reached; you do not “blanket the airwaves”.

Pricing is very flexible and you can pay per impression (ad was shown on a page) or per click. You compete with other advertisers to get seen, and like Ebay, it is a bidding system. Let’s suggest there is a 20 cent range of prices. If you bid on the low end and a higher bidder is offering, then your ad won’t get seen as much as the higher bidder.

Has it occurred to you that facebook is the perfect place to ask consumers to take an action…. “direct response style”? If it has, you are getting into it.

The best feature of Facebook advertising? You set the price limit. Per day. For the whole campaign. You only pay for what you use.

When it is all over, the measurement tools are equally impressive and detailed. Once advertisers learn to use these tools there will be no going back.

Video On Demand - Cable’s secret weapon?

What seems like long ago, cable made the switch to digital and slowly but steadily increased Video On Demand (VOD) offerings. VOD offers 24/7 access to certain shows without having to set a DVR, and usually at no additional charge. If you can ignore the monthly bill, doesn’t VOD it sound a lot like the internet?

When “free” becomes the accepted standard, VOD may be the only product cable has left. However, VOD is a technically mature product that Cable is well positioned to provide if they can sort the economics of “free” and move quickly enough.

To prepare for the future, Cable should start testing a model where they give “ISP only” customers free VOD. It’s long shot considering that AOL’s shell that “protected” users from the internet ultimately failed. However, cable’s position of ISP provider should give it an advantage with consumers too new, or too busy to be bothered, to venture onto the web to find their family video entertainment.

Disney - Hulu deal furthers “free”

The more widely available free online shows become, the harder it will be for anyone to go back to the “pay for access” model that supported cable and TV producers for decades. Disney’s move to take a 30% stake in Hulu in exchange for letting the new partnership put ABC and Disney content online at Hulu.com, right next to NBC, CNBC, FOX and others, was a major signal that “free and widely available” will continue to dominate family online video.

Same ads on TV and web?

Time Warner’s CEO called this week to have standard “units” of ads that could be run on cable TV and web video interchangeably. He sited the lack of standards in on-line video ads as the primary reason why marketers are not running more ads on the web. He sited Hulu’s limited interruption, reduced ad presence as an example of how the the advertising model on the web gets changed by nearly every portal. He is right.

However, producers continue to put large amounts of content on the web even without supporting advertising as a defense against unwanted re-distribution of their shows…. and the web audiences are growing. At some point economics may compel more standardized advertising on the web. However, never to the extent that Time Warner enjoyed in its heyday. Consumers are in control now, and advertising will have to reflect that.

Major advertisers tentative steps into web ads

Reported data in a number of marketing journals recently indicated CPG companies only deployed 1% of their media spend online in 2008. Many are wondering how and when media spending will move from traditional media channels to online. Most consider the shift to online inevitable because consumer eyeballs left traditional media years ago for the vast variety of content on the web.

Reasons given for limited online advertising were “too many small players to make media buying efficient, and lack of ability to measure impressions”.

“Best Screen Available”

You will hear the term “Best Screen Available” a lot in relation to video entertainment. That means that when you are traveling or in a crowd, a laptop or iTouch is probably the best way to watch. When at home with the family, a big screen HDTV is the preferred way to go.

Online solutions that can best maintain their integrity across all platforms and screen sizes will have a huge consumer advantage over “better” but less portable online solutions.

131 million Americans watch video online

ONLINE Media Daily reported today that 131 million Americans watched video online, and 13 million watched mobile video in the first quarter (Nielsen’s A2/M2 study). The average online and average mobile viewing time were both about 3 hours per month.

It is only a short technological hop from YouTube, movie trailers and blooper clips on a laptop to full length shows on the “best screen available” where ever they are.

Tipping point starts with the young

OMMA magazine reported the results of 2 studies today. Among 18-34 year old online Americans, 70% watch TV on the Web, and only 33% watch it via DVR or TiVo. The young have bonded with their laptops, smartphones and iTouches as the ultimate time-shifting, portable video machines, much as earlier generations bonded with TV and before that radio. (Solutions Research Group)

However, a mere 3% of online adults would pull the plug today on cable just to watch video online. (Leightman Research Group).

What does it all mean? As in the past, the young will drive the future of electronic entertainment distribution. Radio and TV took a decade to reach high levels of penetration. We are all on internet time now… 5 years might be generous.

Welcome to Movement TV

The purpose of this site it to document and examine the one of the most exciting transitions in mass communication since TV came onto the scene in the ’50s and began to displace radio.

Using the web to connect viewers, producers and advertisers will usher in a 24/7 global array of choices that blur the lines between producer and viewer, and between producer and advertiser.

The main “voice” of this site will be this blog page and it will alternate perspectives over time to represent the many faces of this evolution. The other pages on movementtv.com contain supporting reference material relavant to a particular group. Grab your mouse and let’s go exploring!