Entertainment Portals, and Opportunities for Target State

This posting is an assessment of the current state of entertainment portals, and opportunities for future, target states.  This post may be updated as additional portals are evaluated, and system capabilities are added. System capabilities listed maybe mutually exclusive.

Entertainment Portal Analysis in PDF Format

ENT Portal Delivery Model - Slide 1
ENT Portal Delivery Model – Slide 1
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ENT Portal Delivery Model – Slide 6
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`ENT Portal Delivery Model - Slide 8
ENT Portal Delivery Model – Slide 8

Google Introduces their Cloud, Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution

Although this is a saturated space, with many products, some highly recommended, I thought this idea might interest those involved in the Digital Asset Management space.  Based on the maturity of existing products, and cost, it’s up to you, build or buy.  The following may provide an opportunity for augmenting existing Google products, and overlaying a custom solution.

Google products can be integrated across their suite of solutions and may produce a cloud based, secure, Digital Asset Management, DAM solution.   In this use case, the digital assets are Media (e.g. videos, still images)

A Google DAM may be created by leveraging existing features of Google Plus, Google Drive, YouTube, and other Google products, as well as building / extending additional functionality, e.g. Google Plus API, to create a DAM solution.   An over arching custom framework weaves these products together to act as the DAM.

Google Digital Asset Management (New)

  1. A dashboard for Digital Asset Management should be created, which articulates, at a glance, where project media assets are in their life cycle, e.g. ingestion, transcoding, editing media, adding meta data, inclusion / editing of closed captions, workflow approvals, etc.
  2. Creation and maintenance of project asset folder structure within storage such as Google Drive for active projects as well as Google Cloud Storage for archived content.  Ingested content to arrive in the project folders.
  3. Ability to use [Google YouTube] default encoding / transcoding functionality, or optionally leverage alternate cloud accessible transcoding solutions.
  4. A basic DAM UI may provide user interaction with the project and asset meta data.
  5. Components of the DAM should allow plug in integration with other components on the  market today, such as an ingestion solution.

Google Drive and Google Cloud Storage.  Cloud storage offers large quantities of storage e.g. for Media (video, audio), economically.

  1. Google Drive ingestion of assets may occur through an automated process, such as a drop folder within an FTP site.  The folder may be polled every N seconds by the Google DAM orchestration, or other 3rd party orchestration product, and ingested into Google Drive.  The ingested files are placed into a project folder designated by the accompanying XML meta file.
  2. The version control of assets, implemented by Google Drive and the DAM to facilitate collaboration and approval.
  3. Distribution and publishing media to designated people and locations, such as to social media channels, may be automatically triggered by DAM orchestration polling Google Drive custom meta data changes.   On demand publishing is also achievable through the DAM.
  4. Archiving project assets to custom locations, such as Google Cloud solution, may be triggered by a project meta data status modification, or on demand through the DAM.
  5. Assets may be spawned into other assets, such as clips.  Derived child assets are correlated with the master, or parent asset within the DAM asset meta data to trace back to origin.  Eliminates redundancy of asset, enabling users to easily find related files and reuse all or a portion of the asset.

Google Docs

  1. Documents required to accompany each media project, such as production guidelines, may go through several iterations before they are complete.  Many of the components of a document may be static.  Google Docs may incorporate ‘Document Assembly’ technology for automation of document construction.

Google’s YouTube

  1. Editing media either using default YouTube functionality, or using third party software, e.g. Adobe suite
  2. Enable caption creation and editing  may use YouTube or third party software.
  3. The addition & modification of meta data according to the corporate taxonomy may be added or modified through [custom] YouTube fields, or directly through the Google DAM Db where the project data resides.

Google’s Google Plus +

  1. G+ project page may be used for project and asset collaboration
  2. Project team members may subscribe to the project page to receive notifications on changes, such as new sub clips
  3. Asset workflow notifications,  human and automated:
    1. Asset modification approvals (i.e. G+ API <- -> DAM Db) through custom fields in G + page
    2. Changes to assets (i.e. collaboration) notifications,
    3. [Automated] e.g. ingestion in progress, or completed updates.
    4. [Automated] Process notifications: e.g. ‘distribution to XYZ’ and ‘transcoding N workflow’.  G + may include links to assets.
  4. Google Plus for in-house, and outside org. team(s) collaboration
  5. G + UI may trigger actions, such as ingestion e.g.  by specifying a specific Google Drive link, and a configured workflow.

Google Custom Search

  1. Allows for the search of assets within a project, within all projects within a silo of business, and across entire organization of assets.
  2. Ability to find and share DAM motion pictures, still images, and text assets with individuals, groups, project teams in or outside the organization.  Google Plus to facilitate sharing.
  3. Asset meta data will e.g. describe how the assets may be used for distribution, digital distribution rights.   Users and groups are implemented within G+, control of asset distribution may be implemented in Google Plus, and/or custom Google Search.

Here are a list of DAM vendors.

Movies I’ve seen that premiered in 2014 on the Silver Screen or through digital media platforms

Here’s a list of movies I’ve seen in 2014, in no particular order.

  1. The LEGO Movie (2014)
  2. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) – Awesome
  3. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014)
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – Awesome
  5. Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow (2014) – Awesome
  6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) – Mostly Awesome
  7. I Frankenstein – just saw last night, thanks Netflix
  8. Monuments Men
  9. 300: Rise of an Empire – entertaining
  10. The Amazing Spiderman 2 – strayed from the mother ship
  11. Maleficent – well done
  12. Lucy – entertaining
  13. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  14. The Maze Runner – entertaining, and slightly thought provoking
  15. Interstellar
  16. Mockingjay Part 1 – entertaining
  17. Exodus Gods And Kings- very entertaining
  18. The Hobbit 3 – well done
  19. Night At The Museum 3

There are tons of movies from this year I haven’t seen, and don’t even know exist.  Maybe, Amazon Instant, Netflix, etc. will help make me aware of the movies I missed.  Maybe even post these movies for viewing soon.

Source list provided by Rotten Tomatoes and Wild about Movies.

Any others you can recommend?

Media Companies (and Execs) in the Driver’s Seat for a Prosperous New Year

Media Companies (and Executives) on the Hot Seat in 2015 – NYTimes.com.

I respectfully disagree with the NYT article.   Media content providers, especially those who are trying to adapt to this brave new world, have significant opportunities moving into this new year.

Media needs a large cash infusion to their R&D to experiment with:

  1. Delivery paradigms.  Significant diversification in delivery mediums are still in their infancy.  Motion picture brands are, by and large, using media distribution brokers who bundle a large diversification of brand assets collectively to provide great depth of media choices.   Media brands/networks are distributed through a grouping of ‘channels’  delivered through the intermediary, e.g.  cable company.  Media content creators are competing with a crowded group of similar and dissimilar brands all within the same portal used by media bundled providers.   There are quite a few opportunities for delivery in lieu of the older paradigm, such as a distribution of brands around a genre would make it easier for the consumer to find and enjoy their media content.  For example, comedy.com, a portal for all media brands comedy, could be a great partnership across media companies.   This collective portal, an alignment of brands within the same genre,  living across media companies, may not only provide an easier, entertaining, and more enjoyable experience, it helps to innovate all those within this media partnership.   In addition to motion pictures, other formats such as text, photos and graphics, may be delivered through the same medium.  Several companies are already broaching this space such as Amazon, Google,  Microsoft Video, Netflix,Yahoo!, and AOL.  If media content creators don’t experiment with creative distribution initiatives, they may find themselves bargaining with 3rd party distribution for the cost of IP digital distribution.
  2. Creative reuse of existing assets.  This is one of my favorite opportunities media content creators can do.  Many brands are already capitalizing on the reuse of assets, which then spawn to be assets on their own.  Everything from one off episodes, or Webisodes, cast interviews, outtakes, interaction with live audiences through tweets (cast, director narration, and Q&A), mobile text contests,  mobile app for streaming, apps for audience real-time interaction, e.g. games, and actors retweeting fan favorite clip links .  Another one of my favorites are user created ‘favorite’ clips.  The media creator may limit the enthusiast / fan of the content to create e.g. 60 second clips to share on social networks.  The distributor needs to allow in and out points, and then the consumer can share through an email or social media.   These extra assets have great potential, but brands attempting  to socialize these   assets may have difficulty exposing them to viewership.  An integrated video  and dynamic , interactive media content may surface through clickable images, either through object recognition, or a simple image overlay, like a network ‘bug’.  Users may click through to the content, and instantly get a media teaser that will keep hold of the consumer, and manage the media experience.   The click through interactive experience is a whole world unto itself, which requires leaps and bounds of consumer experience usability studies, backed by wireframe prototypes.  The reuse of assets suffers from delivery paradigms, which fail due to a consumer content delivery void.
  3. New content driven by the consumer appetite for your brand will grow your revenue and audience affinity. This is an area which some organizations go ‘all in’, or have smaller budgets.  It seems that these new productions are hit or miss.  A single pilot should be exposed to several test markets, and if there is positive feedback, the brand or distributor could order more episodes.  On a tangent, there is opportunity for media production companies to go to colleges, and universities, provide budgets to, e.g. film classes to produce a trailer, or short . The best clips may turn into pilots for a show, which may be a one off distributed by web only, broadcasted, or both.

The lack of exposure to the brand, or network, is a huge issue which is deepened by leveraging the bundled content distributor as your primary source of distribution.   How to draw consumers to a brand in a saturated world of content is a daunting task.

Are media content creators looking to make large investments to innovate, or are they looking to stabilize their reduction of profit from falling ad sales, with methods such as stagnant or reduction in headcount, and slowing the breaks on CapEx.  It seems like even a temporary retreat to see who is the new trailblazer, and follow that model can be a costly mistake for the brand running into obscurity.  Companies are already following some of the leaders in the marketplace today, but their success is not guarantee for tomorrow’s performance.

Bundled content providers may also take a page from the proposed model where we have STB customized portals, e.g. based on user’s previously viewed content,  a jump page for your viewing experience.  A new STB may incorporate a Wii type sensor, and a new remote,  interacting with the sensor to provide a more fluid experience.  A lot of opportunities,  for talented people, as well as the investors who believe in them.

Fast Pitch: Potential Media Projects Compete for Production Company $$

in an age where and are creating unique content for their portal, it would be interesting and potentially profitable to have a TV show like Shark Tank for writers and producers to pitch their stories to production companies, and executive producers.

In a TV show called ‘Fast Pitch’, writers and producers who have rights to the IP,  would try to sell their TV shows and movies using any medium possible, such as story boards, theatrical trailers, teaser clips, etc., Competing production companies, financiers, and executive producers, if they are interested, would bid against each other, to fund, and/or participate as an executive producer.

The Channel Guide is Dead. Move on Already.

If I have to scroll through another channel guide, or search using an archaic user interface one more time.!.  I will just use my web streaming service instead.  At least the web, video streaming apps have started to innovate how the consumers click through to get their content. TV channel bundled providers (Cable Cos., AT&T, Verizon, etc.)  typically display ‘what’s on?’ in the form of the classic channel guide, or variations of it.   The TVCBP , or TV Channel Bundled providers,  also allow us to get through to content by drilling down into our desired genre.  Finally, the TVCBP allow the watcher to search ‘painfully’ using the TV remote keyboard.

The set top box evolution, such as UI revamp, are at times, slow like a huge glacier moving along in the Arctic.

Changes, here they come

First, the new ‘Media Guide’, is a display page of tiles, similar to Windows 8., Nintendo Wii, Netflix, or Amazon.  Netflix and Amazon are displaying tiled pages.  In each row users are enabled to horizontally scroll through the tiles of movie covers.  These tiled movie rows are grouped by e.g.  recommended movies based on user viewing history to ge

In this new paradigm, we add a level of abstraction to the row, grouping, scrolling carousel model.

Genre or N grouping of channels / media brands coalesce in clouds, such as cloud hashtags.   A person can drill into the ‘content universe’ and select a genre or grouping cloud. A user would navigate network icons in the ‘content cloud’.  Highlighting a network icon plays out the current, live video stream.

The ‘Content Cloud’ within the ‘Content Universe’ is the overarching paradigm.  ‘What are currently the most popular channels to view within the providers viewership’ would have each network icon color coded, e.g. red hot, cool blue.

A genre, or N grouping, has network icons grouped around the category.   Hovering the Set Top Box (STP) remote pointer over the network icon will popup a live stream from the channel.  Drilling down by clicking the channel/network icon,  a tiled view of the current and the next 24h is displayed. The current show has a pop up for the current streamed show, selecting it then plays in the entire screen.    If you hover over any future shows, one of two things occur. If there is a 30 sec promo for the show, a pop up shows the promo. If no promo, the show beauty shot still for the show is displayed. If the user selects the show, current or future, a menu overlays the still or show in progress with options such as record show / DVR.

The UI would also allow the user to create their own tiled pages using their favorite channels, and again,  hovering over the image would allow play out in a popup of the current stream.  The tiles can be sorted by your popularity rating, general popularity rating, ascending or descending title names, and most watched videos from the TVCBP.

If our TV bundled channel providers want to keep and lure new subscribers, then they need to innovate the STB software and think about how you evolve the viewer experience.

 

Video Streaming Services Roadmap for Content Suppliers, and Enhanced Portals

Netflix and Amazon Prime Movies use a scrolling carousel for their users to browse through their movies.  For Television series, web streaming services use a generic, series specific, image to articulate the whole series.  Movies simply show the cover of the movie box with options such as Play Trailer.

An augmented paradigm can help their viewers to select videos.  For Television, if the viewer selects a TV series, instead of showing a text description about the episodes listed for the seasons and episodes, each of the TV episodes for a season could be tiled across the screen.  The user first selects a season, and all the episodes for the season would be displayed in tile format.  If the user hovers over the episode image, the episode information could be displayed in a popup text box.   A “best scene in show” video clip can be played by the viewer.  “Best in Show” clips would be selected by the content provider’s expert media staff .

Going Beyond the Movie Trailer

If a user hovers over a movie box image, four small buttons popup over the image in the foreground and are accentuated.  The movie image gets dim in the background.  This viewing paradigm is similar to the cnet.com web site that uses the mechanism for viewing their stories, and for socializing their stories through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and email.  Selecting one of the three buttons will play a ‘content expert’ or a ‘viewer’s choice, favorite scene’. The fourth button goes to the show details page of the movie, as it does today.  Using this media portal format introduces additional ‘value add’ by the content providers, and makes the service go beyond the streaming of video.  The value proposition is simple, customers get entertaining insights into a movie they MAY select to watch, and the web streaming service is perceived to be more than just streaming, the service is filled with knowledgeable, entertainment media staff.

The movie expertise provided by the video streaming service may grow into favorite movie quotes, and optionally accompanied sound bites. An actor’s filmography may be displayed in the details section of the movie, with the option to drill down to the media content, if available for streaming or purchase. Furthermore, streaming services may partner with established movie expertise web sites.  Amazon’s Instant Video integrates media expertise from their IMdb,  Amazon property.  Video streaming services offered today are very little beyond, finding a random movie that catches your eye, or search for your preconceived movie, and take a chance to watch it.    Very little value add, if any, is provided to the video watcher.  Any company dipping their toe into this space has significant opportunity to distinguish themselves from other existing services.   Specifically, the content owners that go to the web streaming service model.  They are the best positioned to provide significant value add to their line up.  Throwing a large video archive at consumers shows the tremendous depth of available videos, but may be daunting for the video streaming subscriber.  However, if the streaming service are providers of expertise around their owned content, such as TV series out takes, cast interviews, scrapped clips, and any pilots that the providers never aired are just a few ideas.

Welcome to the beginning of the web video streaming services that mature as more content owners push the envelope with their power to create content, and maximize the usability of their assets.

Key to Success for Content Providers Offering Stand-Alone Web Subscription Services

CBS to Offer Stand-Alone Web Subscription Service – NYTimes.com.

The distribution channel must provide unique content through their channel or they run the risk of being a commodity rights owner that is only providing archived content.

Amazon brought it home for me when they hosted a single pilot produced by a partner production group. If the test markets had strong viewer ratings, more episodes can be ordered.

This will turn the dial from just an archive distribution rights platform ‘business model’, eventually a commodity, to a creative media value added service. This shifts the focus to creative content along the brand focus.

  • CBS produces or sponsors a pilot episode. CBS then advertises, short on air promos, web ads for the target demographic methods, etc. CBS gauges the popularity of the show. If market demand is strong, the provider can order more episodes.
  • Content providers can also provide unique content from their existing proprietary, content. ‘Web subscription only’ series episodes, available through their web subscription service.

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Netflix, Pushing Regional Content: Shooting at Texas

An option that Netflix is considering is to leverage their Content Delivery Network (CDN) regional servers to position regional specific programming desired by that region to their target audiences.

As an example, packaging regional content that may be desired may help sell services into that region.

Amazon Cloud Services uses their Shipping Logistics to Build and Ship

Amazon leverages its existing shipping and logistics knowledge and applies it to a new cloud resource, a 3D Printer.

Using Amazon’s platform, a user can connect through Amazon’s cloud services, lock a shared cloud resource, a 3D printer, feed the printer one of several formats: 3D blueprint, 3D digital scan, or industry spec file format.  The object is then printed out, and shipped using Amazon’s shipping logistics engine.

Make the object you want and Amazon will ship it to you.  How much does it cost? Cost of materials used to produce the object is quantified and charged, in addition to a cloud [resource] usage fee, and potentially discounted shipping based on Amazon’s current scale.

As the service is matured, design tools, basic and advanced, will be provided to produce your designed object.  Only your imagination, and capability to express it limits your ability along with Amazon to deliver your products.

At some point, a seller can have a storefront, where objects can not only be shipped, but build on demand as well.  For example, circuit boards can be sold now, with the above engine and service, from a seller with the proper schematics.

 

Smart Solutions

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