Comcast To Harness Audience Data From Set-Top Boxes

What Happened
Comcast is reportedly in talks with some TV networks and measurement firms to license audience viewing data gathered from the set-top boxes and streaming apps used by its millions of cable subscribers. As the nation’s largest cable service provider, Comcast says it believes licensing its data could help bolster the TV ad market with improved targeting capabilities.

What Brands Need To Do
As TV advertising continues to be eroded by the rapidly growing spend on digital ads, Comcast is hoping that its viewing data can help media owners gain further insights into audience behaviors and better compete with their data-rich digital rivals such as Google and Facebook. Therefore, brands should keep an eye out for the new types of viewer data and resulting targeting options that may soon become available.


Source: Wall Street Journal

Comcast Integrates Digital Videos Into Its X1 Cable Box

What Happened
Following the launch of its OTT video service Watchable in July, Comcast continues its attempt in broadening its content offering by adding digital videos right into its X1 set-top box. Bringing in short-form videos from a number of content providers, including ABC, Discovery, AMC, BBC America, and its subsidiary NBC, Comcast’s digital content mostly consists of clips of news and sports at the moment. While it probably won’t be enough to convince the customers considering cord-cutting to keep their service, it does offer a nice complement to the existing living room viewing experience.

What Brands Need To Do
With consumers of all age demos excluding baby boomers now watch as much digital video as television, traditional media companies are starting to recognize the importance of digital content in reaching the increasingly fragmented audience today. In August, Comcast invested $200 million in BuzzFeed via NBCUniversal, making a play for its viral digital content. As the audience continues to migrate towards OTT on-demand platforms, marketers and brands will have to follow the eyeballs, as well as developing a more comprehensive digital strategy and campaign approaches.


Source: Engadget

Comcast And Verizon Launch Ad-Supported Video Streaming Platforms

What Happened
The OTT video space just got a bit more crowded, with Comcast and Verizon both launching their video streaming platforms this week. First announced in mid-August, Comcast’s Watchable officially launched on Tuesday with 30 content partners, including Buzzfeed, Disney’s Maker Studios, Vice, and Vox, and is available on set-top boxes for Comcast customers, as well as mobile apps and online for anyone in the U.S.

Similarly, after teasing it for two months since late July, Verizon will officially open its video streaming service Go90 to the public on Thursday. Unlike Watchable, Go90 will only be available on mobile apps. But it is also ad-supported, and free to use for all mobile users in the States, regardless of carrier. Content-wise, Go90 includes a mixture of traditional TV content provided by partners such as Discovery and Viacom, live sports such as college football games, as well as some original digital shorts commonly seen on YouTube.

What Brands Need To Do
Since both services are ad-supported, brands, especially those seeking millennials, can reach their target audience with video ads that are usually not buyable on subscription-based streaming services. In comparison, Watchable seems to have an edge over Go90 in content, which is supplied by a batch of digital publishers popular among millennials. But with the support of AOL’s ad tech, which Verizon acquired earlier this year, Go90 could offer brands better targeting and customization for their ads. It remains to be seen whether these two new services will be able to draw an audience sizable enough to warrant ad buying. Nevertheless, brands of all types would be smart to stay mindful of the ongoing changes in the digital video space and adjust their ad buying strategy accordingly.


Source: Variety and CNET

Comcast To Launch Short-Form Digital Video Platform

What Happened
Comcast is reportedly planning to launch a major short-form video platform named Watchable in the next few weeks, with content supplied by major digital publishers like Comcast-backed Vox and Buzzfeed, news outlets like Mic and Vice, as well as its traditional media subsidiaries like NBC Sport. Moreover, a new report from WSJ suggests that Comcast will offer content creators 70% of ad revenue on Watchable, more than what Facebook and YouTube currently offer. With such strong content initiatives, Comcast is clearly working to build a digital platform that could rival YouTube and Facebook’s online video efforts, no doubt hoping to get its share of the increasing ad spending in digital videos.

What Brands Can Do
As the digital video space continues to evolve, more and more legacy media companies and ISPs are starting to realize the urgent importance of marrying the traditional media assets they own with the rising digital platforms that audiences are flocking to. In fact, Comcast’s major competitor Verizon is also reportedly readying the launch of its own digital video platform. Brands of all types would be smart to stay mindful of the ongoing changes in the digital video space and adjust their ad buying strategy accordingly.

Sources: The Verge

Comcast Announces New Internet TV Service For Xfinity Customers

Comcast announced on Monday, Stream, a new OTT streaming service for its Xfinity customers. Stream will offer laptop and mobile access to HBO and all 4 major broadcasting networks. At just $15 per month, it has a competitive price that could help it challenge the likes of Sling TV. Previously, cable service providers typically saw the rise of OTT services as threats to their TV business. But as TV continues to transition from linear viewing to on-demand, web-based streaming, it only makes sense for a cable provider like Comcast to throw its hat into the ring to keep up with the changing audience behaviors.

Source: The Verge

On Trend: TV Streaming Market Continues To Expand And Fragment

Three significant new developments emerged in the OTT market this past week as the TV landscape continues to evolve.

  1. Sling TV is coming to Android TV after Dish Network struck a deal with Google. As part of the agreement, Sling TV will offer new customers 50% off Nexus Player devices when they pre-pay for three months’ subscription.
  2. Netflix confirmed a new user interface on the web is rolling out next month. The new UI is said to be closer to what Netflix has been offering on mobile devices, which eliminates the slow scrolling carousels for content discovery in favor of larger, expandable thumbnails.
  3. Meanwhile, Comcast finally added support for HBO GO And Showtime Anytime for its Xfinity customers, after purposefully blocking the two premium channel’s streaming apps for years. However, the unlocked services will only work on Amazon’s Fire TV devices for now.

Taken together, these three news items not only prove the fragmenting effect OTT services have on the traditional sector of the TV business, but also points to the complexity within its own ecosystem. As TV content continues to move away from cable companies’ control towards web-based streaming services, brands would be wise to follow where the eyeballs are going.



Netflix Signs Peering Agreement With AT&T

After signing similar deals with Comcast and Verizon earlier this year, Netflix has now signed a peering agreement with AT&T in aim to improve streaming speed for its subscribers using AT&T’s network, which have typically ranked low on Netflix’s list of ISP speeds. Following its report of record-high subscriber number and revenue, Netflix unquestionably has the capital to keep paying ISPs to sidestep the bottleneck in connection and secure the quality of its service across different networks. But as the leader in OtT video market keeps growing stronger, it is entirely possible that one day the ISPs would be the ones paying for Netflix’s service, just like the way they are paying the cable TV providers for their content now.

Netflix & Comcast Sign Web Traffic Deal

Thought the recent net neutrality rulings wouldn’t have rapid ramifications? Think again. Today, Netflix and Comcast announced a deal that would see Netflix pay the ISP to remove a bottleneck that slowed the video provider’s traffic. The deal is designed to provide ideal capacity for Netflix’s service, which has seen a dip in service after the landmark net neutrality ruling which allowed ISPs to throttle traffic. Nevertheless, Netflix now has a long-term agreement in place with Comcast – and likely, by extension after their merger, Time Warner – that will see their traffic issues fixed. Not coincidentally, Verizon has released a statement that they expect Netflix to pay them, too, if they want to see an improvement in service. The key, for many, is whether these new costs will be passed on to consumers, and if this happens whether those consumers will balk at higher prices.  

Twitter To Debut ‘See It’ Cards

Between Nielsen ratings and instant replay partnerships, Twitter has been making overt attempts to cozy up to the TV industry. It’s latest move could see its biggest payoff yet: it’s a broad deal with Comcast that aims to turn Twitter itself into a TV-watching service. It’s a bold move, but it’s actually incredibly simple. This fall, users will see a “See It” button on tweets about Comcast-owned, NBC Universal shows. Clicking on the button will open a “card” with more information about the shows, and paid Comcast users will be able to record or watch the show directly from their phones. For a company that is trying very hard to prove that it drives views, this new deal will allow the social network to prove itself very tangibly. As it stands, Twitter is the only social partner to make a move of this nature, but if it comes off, it could mean a whole different level of social engagement and interaction. 

Intel CES 2013 Announcements

Marketing and quad-core processors don’t necessarily go hand in hand, but Intel’s chips actually power many of today’s smartphones, tablets and computers which allow us to enjoy the high-tech media experiences of today. Intel enables robust gaming on tablets and is responsible for the shrinking computers as processors get smaller and smaller. They’ve also forged an interesting partnership with Comcast to power second screen viewing. Needless to say, we were at the press conference to take some notes.

Smartphones: Intel is taking a crack at the emerging smartphone market in developing nations with their new Atom chip, Z2420 which is 1.2 GHz and optimized to run Android apps speedily. Acer and Lava will develop the hardware for these phones in the future.

Tablets: The first quad-core Atom chip, dubbed “Bay Trail” comes to Windows 8 and Android tablets later in 2013. Better battery life, cheaper prices and twice the performance of the previous generation.

PCs: Releasing new 7W Core processor shipping to manufactures today. Allows for devices to be 20% thinner with superior performance. Also releasing 4th generation Core for ultrabooks which can accomodate 13 hours of battery life and an ultrabook that’s less than a half inch thick. Wow.

Perceptual Computing: Intel is developing a package in partnership with Nuance that allows for more natural interfaces incorporating voice controls, facial recognition security systems, eye tracking and more.

Comcast Partnership: Intel will be partnering with Comcast to let customers view live and on-demand TV on Intel-powered device via Intel Puma 6MG-based XG5 multiscreen video gateway.