DIRECTV will launch a new video on-demand service in the second quarter. To overcome the technical limitations of satellite, the service will use a dual strategy to deliver content. Certain films will simply be broadcast and recorded to a customer’s DVR behind the scenes, where they can be purchased later for instant playback. Other titles will stream over broadband Internet connections when purchased. The service addressees DirecTV’s lack of VOD but users may not want to sacrifice hard drive space for films they will never watch. The more interesting feature is the online streaming of films. It remains to be seen if DirecTV’s system can stream high-quality films without buffering delays, stuttering video and dropped connections. Stay tuned – this is a high-profile experiment in content delivery.
GOOGLE will announce a new service that allows Web publishers to manage online ad sales. “Ad Manager” will serve display, text and video ads for free, dropping a fee that Doubeclick used to charge. Google will sell the ads that are served and take a commission. The service is targeted to mid-range businesses and users, while the recently acquired Doubleclick will service high-end clients.
OPRAHs second webcast went off without a hitch. The combo of Oprah.com, Move Networks and Limelight delivered as promised. The big stat? Over 200,000 viewers watched the entire 90 minute webcast. Way to go Oprah!
YOUTUBE has begun experimenting with serving higher-quality video. For certain videos, the site will now detect your Internet speed and serve the video that your connection can handle. The major flaw in YouTube until now has been low video quality, which is becoming more of a problem as sites such as Vimeo increasingly add high-quality and HD streams. This is a defensive move to keep in line with competitors. Viewers will appreciate the upgrade.
NAB has asked the NTIA to help stock grocery stores with digital-to-analog converters. The intention is to get the boxes in front of consumers as much as possible, increasing awareness of the upcoming digital transition and making it easier for them to address their transition needs. However, the plan suffers one problem: grocery store workers may have limited technical knowledge about the devices, which will be little help to consumers.
BOB IGER announced that Disney has sold 4 million movies and over 40 million TV shows on iTunes during the last 18 months. Speaking at the McGraw-Hill Media Summit, the Disney CEO acknowledged the power of traditional TV to deliver mega-hits such as High School Musical but also warned that children growing up today are increasingly replacing TV screens with computer screens. He urged content owners to focus on projecting their brands onto new media.
NEXT NEW NETWORKS has signed a distribution deal with AOL that will bring its shows to AOL Video. AOL will add a new channel just for Next New content.