NBCU Exec Discusses TV Everywhere and Second Screens

NBCUniversal executive VP Lauren Zalaznick spoke at South by Southwest on Tuesday about big picture issues the television industry faces in meeting the evolving tastes and needs of today’s wired consumers. During the Q&A with former CEO of CBS Interactive Quincy Smith, Zalaznick spoke about TV Everywhere authentication services and the second-screen — two digital areas currently in her strategy sights. Continue reading NBCU Exec Discusses TV Everywhere and Second Screens

New Ouya Game Console Attracts Independent Developers

After the the $99 Android-powered TV game console Ouya attracted more than 63,000 Kickstarter backers last year, many independent game developers are creating games for the device, including mobile developers who want to make the jump to televisions. The system will ship to initial backers on March 28, ahead of the public launch in June, and many developers are preparing to see their games on TVs for the first time. Continue reading New Ouya Game Console Attracts Independent Developers

Advertisers Set Their Sights on Transition to Online Video

With the growing popularity of streaming video and original Web content, the Internet is becoming a place of disruption for the TV industry. Amidst other signs, one is significant: Nielsen ratings standards will begin to include online streaming audiences in their metrics in the coming fall. And another report from Ooyala suggests a very real change is on its way for the TV and ad industries. Continue reading Advertisers Set Their Sights on Transition to Online Video

Original Online Content: TV Pilots Finding New Audiences

Online streaming companies are beginning to pursue primetime programming. Amazon is producing original content now; Netflix is following its successful “House of Cards” with four more original programs; Microsoft is working on programming for the Xbox gaming console; while AOL, Sony and Twitter are all likely to follow in these footsteps. Will these companies change the way we watch TV? Continue reading Original Online Content: TV Pilots Finding New Audiences

ABC Unified: Disney to Use Nielsen Cross-Platform Metrics

As TV audiences increasingly turn to online options for content discovery and consumption, audience-measuring firms such as Nielsen have made necessary adjustments regarding cross-platform analysis. The potential of the new metrics will be tested with Disney’s new Unified initiative in which ABC, ABC Family and ESPN will start using Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings to sell their ad inventory. Continue reading ABC Unified: Disney to Use Nielsen Cross-Platform Metrics

Apple Wristwatch Device Could Be More Profitable Than TV

In an assessment that might surprise some, Bloomberg writes that the still-in-development Apple wristwatch-style device may prove to be more profitable than the company’s rumored television set. The global watch industry is expected to generate more than $60 billion in sales this year. While that’s smaller than the revenue generated in the TV industry, gross margins on watches are about 60 percent, according to analysis. Continue reading Apple Wristwatch Device Could Be More Profitable Than TV

Nielsen to Redefine TV Ratings by Measuring New Platforms

Ratings company Nielsen announced this week it will expand its definition of television with a new comprehensive plan to measure video viewing across multiple platforms including broadband, Xbox and iPads. The decision to reach beyond traditional television viewing comes from the What Nielsen Measures Committee, a group comprised of members representing TV and cable networks, local TV stations, ad agencies and several big brand advertisers. Continue reading Nielsen to Redefine TV Ratings by Measuring New Platforms

TV Viewing Trends: Is Cable On the Fast Track to Oblivion?

According to journalist Michael Wolff, cable is on a fast track to oblivion with an unsustainable business model. Currently, cable operators pay media companies to carry their cable channels, then pass the costs onto customers in the form of large bundled cable bills. After that, cable channels get to sell advertising. But as viewing habits change and new options become available, consumers are increasingly abandoning the traditional model. Continue reading TV Viewing Trends: Is Cable On the Fast Track to Oblivion?

Will Intel Be the One that Finally Delivers Internet TV?

Intel confirmed rumors that it was pursuing Internet TV when VP Eric Huggers announced last week that the company had been negotiating with content companies and would launch a set-top box and new platform by the end of the year. While skepticism has resulted from lack of concrete details, the prospect of a chipmaker competing with top cable giants, and the industry’s history of failed attempts — Intel could still become the company to finally crack Internet TV. Continue reading Will Intel Be the One that Finally Delivers Internet TV?

CES: Sony Intros Modified LCDs with Quantum Dot Technology

Sony demonstrated some impressive new technology at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. The company is using “nanoscale particles called quantum dots to significantly improve the color of some of its high-end Bravia televisions,” writes Technology Review. The particles increase the range of colors that an LCD TV can display by 50 percent. Continue reading CES: Sony Intros Modified LCDs with Quantum Dot Technology

Netflix Strategy Takes Root, Numbers Surge in Fourth Quarter

Netflix has been through some well-documented ups and downs, but for those who still have doubts about the company, Netflix had a resounding answer this week: 27.15 million. That’s the number of American homes that presently subscribe to the streaming service, a number exceeding even the company’s own expectations for the fourth quarter of 2012. Continue reading Netflix Strategy Takes Root, Numbers Surge in Fourth Quarter

CES 2013: Second Screen Use On The Rise, But Revenue Is Not

During CES last week, representatives from television networks, software companies, cable providers and advertising firms gathered for the Second Screen Summit. 2012 was a busy year for second screens, as multiple companies, along with the Olympics, came out with companion products. But the direction and profitability of second screens remain in question. Continue reading CES 2013: Second Screen Use On The Rise, But Revenue Is Not

Telecom: FCC Approves Dish Network Plan to Convert Spectrum

Many hedge fund and telecom execs have bought up various bands of spectrum in hopes of converting it for wireless networks. The FCC has denied several requests, keeping its strident allotment for airwaves, but the commission recently gave the rare green light to Dish Network.

“Late Tuesday, the FCC unanimously approved [Dish Chairman Charlie] Ergen’s plan,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Under the order, Dish would be required to not use a portion of its spectrum to avoid interference with neighboring airwaves, according to FCC officials. The company would also be required to cover at least 70 percent of the new network in each of its geographic license areas within seven years.”

Ergen started assembling the spectrum five years ago through government auctions and investments in flailing satellite companies, spending roughly $3 billion. “At a stroke, the FCC has now raised its value to as much as $12 billion, according to some analysts’ estimates. Mr. Ergen has to do the hard work of putting that spectrum to use or getting FCC approval to sell it,” the article states.

“Wireless service could give Dish an important new line of business in a mature U.S. pay TV market, where its cable TV rivals are able to sell popular ‘bundles’ of telephone, television, and high-speed Internet service.” Rather than building its own network, Dish could partner with a carrier like Sprint Nextel, or potentially even an outside company like Google, to offer wireless service with the spectrum.

“Consumers, meanwhile, could benefit whatever Dish decides, as the FCC’s decision frees up more bandwidth for data-hungry devices like smartphones and tablets,” explains WSJ. “The drawn-out process of converting that spectrum also highlighted how slowly regulators have moved to put much-needed airwaves to more valuable uses.”

Debunking Tech Perceptions: If TV not Broken, Why is Everyone Trying to Fix It?

  • Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku and Boxee are just some of the companies working on ways to re-imagine the TV experience.
  • “But nobody seems to be able to answer the big question: what exactly is so broken about TV anyway?” writes Matt Rosoff in a commentary for CNN, part of a series designed to “debunk commonly held perceptions about technology.”
  • Rosoff acknowledges that channel guides are inefficient… “But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most TV viewers simply won’t care enough about any of this stuff to shell out $1,500 for a new Apple TV, or spend a few hundred bucks and countless hours fiddling around adding a new box to their TV set and figuring out how it works.”
  • He notes that while the tech industry wants to optimize the television experience, it is important to remember that TV is passive. We don’t want to work at it. It’s not too difficult to turn the set on, find your channel and you’re done. Even Steve Jobs sometimes just wanted to watch TV and vegetate.
  • “That’s why we love TV just the way it is,” writes Rosoff. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Opinion: Will Mobile Devices Eventually Replace the Big Screen TV?

  • In this opinion piece published on CNET, freelance writer Steve Guttenberg predicts that iPads and other tablet devices will eventually make having a large screen TV a thing of the past.
  • “By 2020 younger people who will have grown up with tablets won’t see a need to ever buy a big display, which will by then seem as obtrusive as a pair of 4-foot-tall tower speakers do to most buyers nowadays,” he suggests.
  • For the naysayers, Guttenberg cites audio technology as an example. Twenty years ago, it was hard to imagine that most consumers would be less concerned about a set of quality speakers and more interested in portability or personalization. Yet that’s where we’ve landed.
  • “With music, everyone except for a handful of audiophiles, listens in their cars, computer, or on iPod,” he writes. “A home hi-fi of any quality now seems irrelevant; the same fate is in the cards for TVs. They will start to look too big, too imposing for the room’s decor.”
  • This is interesting to consider now, as tablet sales are taking off in the consumer market. Will mobile devices such as the tablet kill TV?
  • Guttenberg believes we are heading in that direction: “There will always be a market for big TVs, just as there is for great audio, but big-screen sales will continue to shrink over time. Most people will be perfectly content to watch movies and sports on their iPads.”