Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013 Review

Every year we stick our neck out on this publication and make predictions for the year ahead. And every year, in a bout of self-flaggelation, we review how we've done. So, as another year comes to its close, here goes on our predictions for 2013:

Second screens – already applications like Zeebox are causing a buzz, providing a way to look up and comment on programmes being shown on the big screen using a mobile or tablet; expect there to be many more apps that link to television shows, both scheduled and on demand and many crazy ideas. Every show will have an app and there will be those who try to provide more holistic services (think IMDB).

This was a bit of a no brainer and players such as Twitter and Facebook have distinct second screen strategies now. 9/10

Standardisation ? – with the launch of the Horizon set top box by Liberty in Europe and the UK’s YouView a new set of standards for television interfaces and boxes are appearing. But the fragmentation will remain a problem - app for iOS, app for Android, app for Windows, app for Smart TV - how many apps will you need to deliver ?

Delivering video is more complex than ever and a whole ecosystem - including our own company- has evolved to service the increasing number of online broadcasters. 7/10


Rise of the New Broadcasters – it’s not just major new American players such as Amazon with Lovefilm , Netflix and Hulu that are entering the market, but everyone from supermarkets (Tesco in the UK and WalMart in the US), chip manufacturers (Intel) and screen manufacturers (Samsung) have or will be launching video on demand services.

This trend continues apace. Telcos such as Verizon are making major plays, but so are retailers and hardware manufacturers. However some players such as Intel have realised how daunting a proposition this is. 6/10

Television becomes portable – more and more television is being watched on mobile and tablet computers that people carry around with them and we expect this to grow to 30% of all TV viewing within the next three years.

If anything, we seem to have underestimated this phenomenon, with a whole generation using their mobile and portable devices as their default viewing screen. 9/10

Smart TVs aren’t so smart – the vast majority of connected or smart TVs are never plugged into the internet, and the dream of having TV apps has floundered. Samsung has already announced a more simplified interface to its television screens.

We were spot on with this, although in the past few weeks we're seeing signs of this trend reversing as new adopters actually plug in their screens to the net, but overall, the Smart TV concept is still a total failure. 8/10

Apple fails - yes, they've had their zenith, but their walled garden approach which was their initial success will be the reason for their ultimate failure.

The juggernaut rumbles on, but the innovation seems to be faltering and the company has yet to make any significant inroads into TV despite constant rumours.iPhones seem very old fashioned now compared to, say, a Nexus 5 and it's hard to see how to improve on an iPad. The introduction of a cheaper iPhone that wasn't much cheaper was also a lost opportunity. Still, we might have called this a bit early. 4/10

HTML5 – the death of Flash has arrived and HTML5 is now the dominant delivery platform for video. However, the big stumbling block for this is that most video advertising is delivered as Flash, in a world where 95% of devices are HTML5 compatible.

We couldn't have been more right on this one - even Google's Doubleclick now claims to properly support HTML5 (thanks in part to lobbying by our company). 10/10

Automated video ad platforms – systems such as Google Adwords have enabled commercial models for websites and blogs for a long time, but such systems haven’t been available for video sites and IPTV services: however, over the coming year we expect such services to become available starting with Google’s AdX.

Again, we were spot on here - more and more of the ad market is becoming automated and there is start up after start up tackling the online video market. AdX does finally support HTML5 video too. 9/10

Monopolies Will Rule - governments in the UK and US have allowed companies such as Google to run roughshod over any concept of commercial equaninimity and will remain cowered against the power of these monopolies in 2013 making innvoation and the ability of fast growth companies to develop impossible. Indeed, Google, Facebook and Apple will be more powerful than any European government in real terms. Dragging

2013 has been the year of the online oligopoly with the sector utterly dominated by the major players. They are more powerful than ever and buy out anything that becomes a threat to them. 9/10

Economies - the Eurozone will largely become a stagflated mess, incapable of generating any growth as countries hang on for the dream of a federal (ie German-controlled) Europe. Any company not looking to Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Kenya and even Turkey for growth will suffer.

Parts of the Eurozone has recovered well, but BRIC countries are far outstripping in growth. We should have pout more emphasis, in particular, on the development of internet TV in Africa, where there is a lot of exciting activity. 5/10

YouTube - what is it: a platform, a broadcaster, a UGC site ? YouTube is a mess that I believe to still be loss making since 99% of the content uploded is never viewed but has to be stored and 99% of what is viewed cannot be commercialised. Expect it to become much more of a broadcaster in 2013.

YouTube has accelerated as a powerhouse this year with the addition of commissioned channels, live webcasting and a huge growth in revenues. There is little doubt that it is, day by day, becoming more of a traditional broadcaster, though. 7/10

AMS - digital asset management systems, media asset management systems, whatever you call them, the TV world is now fully digital and has brought a whole world of pain with it. Terms like 'workflow', 'metadata' and 'proxies' are now common parlance in production companies all over the world and the demise of tape has brought horrible working practices to light such as the tendency to pop down to Fry's or PC World to buy hard drives. It has also resulted in products that don't work - I have endless stories of LDAMS that don't work.

The problem remains, and solutions are yet to be found. Indeed, this has become the main focus of our efforts at TV Everywhere. 5/10

Mobile - duh! But it's amazing how few video apps there are out there..

We called this wrong. There are very few apps with long form video content out there and this remains an area of great potential for content owners. 3/10

The Video Agency - yes, you had your ad agency, your PR agency, your web agency, next is the rise of the video agency, who will advise clients on all aspects of using video to communicate their brand.

This is still a nascent idea and video comms is still a marginalised part of the marketing mix with social still utterly dominating thinking. certainly more use is being made of video, but this is a prediction that we might repeat in the coming year. 4/10

So, not a bad tally, although, looking back, many of our predictions do seem like no brainers. Still, in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king! Tune back soon for our 2014 predictions.