Monday, October 27, 2014

Amazon Launches Fire TV Stick

In the growing competitive field of Streaming Sticks, Amazon introduced the Fire TV Stick today. Designed to take on challengers like the Roku Streaming sticks and Chromecast dongle, Amazon’s HDMI-based media adapter represents a smaller, less expensive complement to their $99 Fire TV box. The new smaller and even more affordable device sells for $39 and features access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Twitch, WatchESPN and a variety of other services right out of the box.  Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO, said in announcing the new product, “The team has packed an unbelievable amount of power and selection into an incredible price point.”

The company said the Fire TV Stick has 50 percent more processing power and 2x the memory of Chromecast, and 6x the processing power, 2x the memory, and 32x the storage of Roku Streaming Stick It supporting standards like DIAL allowing users to fling shows from services like YouTube, Spotify, and Netflix (coming soon) from an Android phone or iPhone. They began to take pre-orders today and will start shipping the new product on 19th of November.

Overall the specs look good and based on Amazon great success with the Fire TV Box, which launched a little more than six months ago and quickly became the best-selling streaming media box on the e-retailer, the Fire TV Stick might be the first product that will be a serious challenger to Chromecast in terms of both features and value. Obviously Mr. Bezos believes he has a winner, the rest of us will have to wait and see how it performs in the real world to be sure. More: 10/27/14 - Amazon’s New Fire TV Stick Is A $39 Chromecast Competitor With A Hardware Remote and 10/27/14 - Amazon Whips Out TV Stick Against Google’s Chromecast and Roku and/or 10/27/14 - Amazon Unveils Fire TV Stick

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

TV Everywhere Growth Surges 388%

Television is changing and viewers are embracing and personalizing it as they're consumption habits morph. According to Adobe's bi-annual Video Benchmark Report, authenticated TV Everywhere viewing surged 388% in the second quarter compared to the same quarter last year. Indicating that more people watched more TV online than ever before while programmers witnessed broader use as unique monthly viewers increased by 146 per cent across browsers and TV apps. Although online TV consumption still remains fragmented across platforms, gaming consoles and OTT devices gained the largest percentage of market share and Android apps surpassed desktop browsers as access points for watching TV online.

The findings from Adobe’s Report are based on aggregated and anonymous data from more than 1,300 media and entertainment properties using Adobe Marketing Cloud and Adobe Primetime. They noted that a series of major global sports events buoyed results, including the Sochi Winter Olympics, March's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and the summer's World Cup. The report includes 165 billion total online video starts and 1.53 billion TV Everywhere authentications across 250 pay-TV service providers covering 99 per cent of pay-TV households in the US. The analysis also examined TV Everywhere content from 105 TV channels and more than 300 TV apps and sites. More: 10/21/14 - TV Everywhere use surges: authenticated viewing jumped 388% in Q2, Adobe says  Also 10/21/14 - Devices And OTT Lead Video Consumption Growth

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

OTT gains on traditional TV particularly among Millennials.

Late yesterday, measurement specialist comScore, issued a research paper titled "The U.S. Total Video Report" that looks at shifting TV viewing habits in the digital age. There's little doubt that American's viewing patterns are quickly changing, and our youth are leading the way.  The study – The U.S. Total Video Report, which tabulated results from 1,159 respondents in August – found that Millennials (adults 18 -34), watch original TV shows on digital platforms one-third of the time. ComScore notes that the older the viewer, the more likely to watch on a TV set. In other bad news for TV broadcasters, comScore found that 1 in 6 millennials hadn't watched an original series on a TV set in the past month. Instead, they're getting their video from set-top boxes such as Roku and Apple TV, and game consoles.

Unsurprisingly, Millennials are also more likely to be cord-nevers or cord-cutters and they are more likely to time-shift their viewing: 46 percent of them time-shift shows, while only 35 percent of those 35 to 54 do so.  Among other findings, consumers who subscribe to paid digital video services are more likely to binge-view TV shows over a monthly period – 87% vs. 69%. TV via the DVR (43%) is the preferred binge-viewing platform, followed by the TV via VOD (19%); Internet connected TV devices (12%); live TV – a category that includes reruns or marathons from MVPDs – (11%); tablets (4%), desktops/laptops (3%); and smartphones (2%).

While comScore's results are interesting, their methodology  and approach called Total Video to track unduplicated audience metrics across platforms has some flaws. ComScore surveyed 1,159 viewers with an online questionnaire, so those surveyed are all active internet users. The report is available for free download (registration required). MORE: TechCrunch 10/14/14 - Netflix Leads In U.S. Digital Video Subscriptions In Home And Among Millennials by Ingrid Lunden

Friday, October 03, 2014

Roku enables screen mirroring for Android and Windows devices

In what seems like an effort to catch up with Apple's Airplay and Google's Chromecast, Roku, the leading OTT device manufacture unveiled their screen mirroring feature yesterday.  Launching in beta, This should work with anything that supports Miracast screen mirroring, but so far Roku has only tested a handful of devices to ensure a stable connection.

In the companies blog they state: "Screen mirroring is one of the simplest ways to share any type of content with those around you, and you won't need additional apps or software. All you'll need is a compatible device with mirroring capabilities. Once you turn on mirroring for your phone, tablet or laptop, you can pair with your compatible Roku player (presently Roku 3 or the Roku Streaming Stick) and whatever you see on your mobile device is exactly what will be displayed on your TV."

In full disclosure we use their streaming HDMI stick at home and it packs a lot of punch for the dollar. I believe this is a great first step for Roku, as it takes their inexpensive streaming hardware and opens up a whole new world of opportunities. This isn’t likely to be used by the casual user, which is Roku’s target market, but it makes this hardware a lot more compelling to a wider audience now.
 More: 10/03/14 - Roku tries out screen mirroring from phones and PCs