Google’s Daniel Alegre on Perils and Promise of the New TV

At NAB 2016, Google president of global partnerships Daniel Alegre gave the closing keynote on how television is transforming. “If you search for the term ‘TV is dead’, you’ll find 338 million results,” said Alegre. The TV set and viewing of our childhood, he explained, is gone, as the TV evolves to incorporate a computer and the hours of video viewership continue to climb. “A newer better TV is rising from the ashes, better than ever,” said Alegre, who noted mobile video is predicted to be responsible for 80 percent of all Internet traffic by 2018.

For Alegre, the fact that PewDiePie, a 26-year old Swede producing content in his apartment, has 40 million subscribers is an opportunity rather than a death knell for broadcasters. “There is a massive worldwide audience awaiting you,” he said. “Democracy in distribution means there is no limit to the content you can deliver to your audience.”

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But this unparalleled opportunity also brings an unparalleled problem: the difficulty of discovery in an environment crowded with millions of apps, movies and TV shows. “With Actions in Google Search,” he said, “we made it easier for viewers to find your content — and Google will soon have live TV listings. If you look for ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ we’ll have where you can see it on TV as well as apps.”

For use with sports and other live events, said Alegre, Google is also building a way for content creators to push real-time updates, paired with search. “So if you search for your sports team on Google, you’ll also get real-time updates that will drive viewership,” he said.

Monetization means ads. “Addressable TV is like the rumor of a ‘Friends’ reunion,” suggested Alegre. “But today we’re taking big steps to bring new addressable advertising with our DoubleClick Dynamic Ad Insertion.”

He announced that Roku and Cablevision have signed on to the program, first tested with the broadcast of the Rugby World Cup finals by French broadcaster TF1 and the Republican Presidential debates on Fox News. “They created a completely personal experience with DoubleClick Dynamic Ad Insertion,” said Alegre, who explained that Google is also working with AMC, Globo in South America and MCN in Australia.

Showing a close-up image of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the result of a partnership between Google and a Jerusalem museum, Alegre urged content creators to “think about creating monetization with the content you have that’s gathering dust.”

“Online, you don’t need to appeal to the majority,” he said. “You need to appeal to the active communities that love this stuff.”

The cloud will also “change the process of creation,” he noted, especially with animation, by giving cheaper access to computation. Atomic Fiction, for example, utilized over 9 million computing cores, via Google Cloud Platform, to create effects for “The Walk.” Other news, reported earlier at NAB 2016, is a new partnership between Autodesk and Google to establish Maya for ZYNC renderer, a new rendering platform for content creators.