All posts by Ian Roseman

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

Approved and Reviewed for Relevancy June 12th, 2017

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.

Can Amazon leverage it’s IMDb asset and Alexa to guide your entertainment choices in a palatable way?  With Amazon’s brilliant implementation of X-Ray, one can only hope.

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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Reduce your Monthly Mobile Bill with a Mobile Affinity Credit Card

Mobile Reoccurring  Costs are Increasing.

The days of a “free phone upgrade” are behind us.  Month over month costs to pay off your costly mobile device in conjunction with a group mobile data plan could put a dent into your monthly digital discretionary spending.

Help Cushion the Impact of the Costs

Why not create an affinity credit card partnered with a financial institution and …

  • Mobile Operating System Co. (Apple [iOS] or Google [Android]
  • Mobile Carrier Co. (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless)

Every time you spend on the mobile affinity card, some portion of your purchase is subtracted from your mobile bill.  In addition, cardholders receive a percentage off qualifying, digital purchases, such as Google Play apps, songs, music, movies, and the same for the iTunes store. Content providers must ‘opt-in’ to allow discounts for this purchase plan.

The incentive around the Mobile OS CC is in line with unlocked phones.  OS CCs may reduce the cost of monthly use from the Mobile Carriers.

Big Data Creates Opportunities for Small to Midsize Retail Vendors

Big Data Creates Opportunities for Small to Midsize Retail Vendors through Collective Affinity Marketing outside Financial Institutions.

In the Harvard Business Review, there is an article, Will Big Data Kill All but the Biggest Retailers?  One idea to mitigate that risk is to create a collective of independent retailers under affinity programs, such as charities, and offer customers every N part of their purchase applies to the charity to reach specific goals as defined by the consumer.   Merchants, as part of this program, decide their own caps, or monetary participation levels.  Consumers belong to an affinity group, but it’s not limited to a particular credit card.  The key is this transaction data is available to all participating merchants for the affinity.  Transaction data spans all merchants within the affinity and not just the transactions executed with the merchant.

Using trusted, independent marketing data warehouses independent retail vendors share ‘big data’ to enable them to compete and utilize the same pool of consumer [habitual] spending data.

Affinity, marketing data companies can empower their retail clients/vendors with the tools for Business Intelligence and pull from the collection of consumer data.  Trusted, independent marketing data warehouses sprout up to collect consumer data and enable it’s retail vendor clients to mine the data.

These trusted loyalty affinity data warehouses, not affiliated with a single financial institution, as previously implemented with credit cards, but more in line with, or analogous to, supermarket style loyalty programs, however, all independent retail vendors may participate OR may cap these affinity program memberships for retail vendor from small to mid-size companies.

Note: Data obfuscation could be applied so customer identification on fields like social security number will not be transparent, limiting any liabilities for fraud.

FCC Radiation Regulation for Mobile Devices & Form Factor to Shape Next Niche

The writing is already on the wall folks with three articles, one by CNN, FCC asked to consider raising limit on cell phone radiation, the other article, or more pictorial view of the mobile devices, between Apple and Samsung, in an article picture by the New York Times, and the Nokia Flex Phone.

First, phone manufacturers, start your engines, its a whole new ball game with respect to design and form factor thanks to the boys and girls of Finland.

Second, all manufacturing of phone accessories may profit off of this regulation, if it will be passed in the U.S., Manufacturing accessories to compensate for the existing phones, as well as new technologies developed.  Lots of money for the Krill.

Thirdly, all the apps that go with Nokia’s start of ‘brilliance’, hedged by Apple’s Retina display technology.  Read between the lines boys…and girls.