Second Screen Exclusives

PwC: Cord Cutting to Pick Up in 2016

December 9, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on PwC: Cord Cutting to Pick Up in 2016 

By Chris Tribbey

Today, nearly 80% of Americans still subscribe to some sort of traditional pay TV service. But the increasing availability of digital alternatives to cable and satellite could result in an unprecedented shift away from traditional services in 2016, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The PwC report — “Videoquake 3.0: The Evolution of TV’s Revolution” — predicts that as many as 20% of current cable subscribers could cancel next year, opting instead for streaming and OTT offerings. Sixteen percent of those PwC surveyed have already cancelled their pay TV services this year. And of those who are still subscribing, nearly 25% said they’ve cut back on what they pay for this year.

“Part of this downsizing is the result of traditional providers adding ‘skinny bundles’ to their offerings, slicing and dicing the 500-channel package into customizable and smaller pieces,” the report reads. “This is intended to be a practical — and appealing — solution for consumers who are price sensitive and/or deluged with channels they don’t want and don’t watch.”

PwC’s report found that, on average, pay TV subscribers receive nearly 200 channels, yet only watch 17 on a regular basis. Forty-five percent of current pay TV subscribers said they want customizable, a la carte channel packages, and 56% of those who no longer have a pay TV subscription said they would come back if that option was available.

During the second and third quarters of this year, U.S. pay TV providers shed nearly a million subscribers, according to PwC, and there’s a growing number of consumers (mostly under 35) who’ve never paid for a TV subscription. Five percent of respondents to PwC’s survey fall in the “cord never” category.

“Older consumers, who grew up with free access to limited channels, are more likely to decide that pay TV subscriptions simply aren’t worth the cost, even if that means missing out on some of the best programming,” the PwC report reads. “Younger consumers, on the other hand, don’t see their cord-never approach as sacrificial — to them, there’s nothing that they can’t get elsewhere.

“Their world has been shaped by on-demand streaming, and they’re betting on it to provide all the content they desire.”

PwC found that 77% of 18- to 24-year-olds access TV content on the Internet, 78% of all consumers subscribe to at least one streaming service, and among pay TV subscribers, 70% also subscribe to at least one streaming service.

Looking at those numbers, PwC suggests pay TV companies need to shift more to a la carte, “focus on content discovery to help consumers find and engage with content that’s relevant to them” and “rethink commercials and the value of eyeballs as viewers grow increasingly distracted by multiple devices.”

“By making investments in the consumer experience and offering packages that resonate structurally — such as skinny bundles and TV Everywhere, which enables content to be integrated and shared across platforms, pay TV providers are showing that the battle for subscribers is still very much alive,” the report reads.

Bob Lefsetz Added as Keynote to THE (Transforming Home Entertainment) Summit in LA, Sept 24

September 16, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Bob Lefsetz Added as Keynote to THE (Transforming Home Entertainment) Summit in LA, Sept 24 

Outspoken music and media blogger Bob Lefsetz will be joining the stage as a keynote speaker during THE Summit on September 24th from 1 – 6 p.m. at the Luxe Sunset Blvd. Hotel in Los Angeles. In his usual outspoken and provocative style, Lefsetz will be advising the audience of studio and tech services executives how they can “Unsuck the Home Entertainment Experience.”

“Music was just the canary in the coal mine. Movies and TV are now entering the maelstrom, where the techies are despots and the consumer ultimately rules,” Lefsetz says. “Winning in a bubble is impossible, only by adjusting to the ever-changing landscape will you succeed.”

Bob Lefsetz is the author of “The Lefsetz Letter.” Famous for being beholden to no one and speaking the truth, Lefsetz usually addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: streaming, piracy, pricing and the music itself. His readership includes everyone from Steven Tyler to Deadmau5 to Quincy Jones to Irving Azoff. Now turning his attention to the technology world, Bob’s insights are fueled by his stint as an entertainment business attorney, majordomo of Sanctuary Music’s American division and consultancies to major media companies.

The inaugural Summit is designed to showcase innovations that will drive new revenues and efficiencies in the home entertainment industry.

This think-tank format will give studios and their business partners a platform to voice their ideas and foster an open, industry-wide discussion about transformative business models, technology innovations and workflows. The event is produced by DEG and MESA with platinum sponsors My Eye Media and Dolby; and gold sponsors DTS and Sohonet.

Lefsetz joins corporate turnaround expert Jeffrey Hayzlett on the keynote stage. Both will set a frank and open tone for a full afternoon of thought leadership and new ideas. Other sessions include:

  • Emerging technologies that drive a premium market
  • How HDR will change the viewer landscape
  • Digital experiences that bring customers back
  • Taking the headache out of today’s home entertainment supply chain
  • Turning consumer distraction into discovery
  • Seamless file integrity and distribution across multiple outlets
  • End-to-end digital workflows that work

A series of new, BIG ideas will also be presented by a range of new companies and services: These include:

  • The “uberfication” of media services
  • Building an appetite for content in consumers
  • 3 Days to an OTT marketplace
  • Keeping content fresh across multiple channels

For program information visit:

To become a sponsor contact: Garrett Randall at

Michael Wolff to Keynote HITS Broadcast IT Summit at NAB/CCW in NY, Nov. 11

August 26, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Michael Wolff to Keynote HITS Broadcast IT Summit at NAB/CCW in NY, Nov. 11 

NEW YORK — HITS, the media & entertainment IT association, will host its Second Annual HITS Broadcast IT Summit, at the NAB/CCW Convention at Jacob Javits Convention Center on November 11.

The gathering will feature Michael Wolff, the best-selling author of Television Is the New Television, as the keynote speaker. Wolff will talk about the future of the broadcasting industry, old media vs. new media, and why he believes addressable television will be “a game changer.”

During the keynote, the technology executives in attendance will gain “a new way to look at TV and a new way to look at digital,” says Wolff, who expects to “flip the way you look at each of them.”

The second HITS Broadcast IT Summit at NAB/CCW will also feature sessions on:

• Generating $ and Sense Across all Platforms
• The New Cloud: Collaboration By the Numbers
• Broadcast Data & Analytics: Leveraging Insights and Intimacy into Results!
• It’s Not “If” But “When” You’ll Get Hacked: Secrets to Building an Incident Response Team
• IT Meets Madison Ave.

Wolff’s keynote address, “Why Television Is the New Television,” will be an armchair discussion between Wolff and HITS Executive Director Devendra Misha.

A media columnist at USA Today, Wolff will provide his own unique and often controversial perspective about the broadcast industry and why he believes television will emerge stronger than ever from its current advertising wars with digital media.

Other confirmed Summit participants include: Ken Brady, Senior Vice President, Media Technology and Operations, Turner Broadcasting System; Jeff Davidson, Content Supply Chain Architect, Viacom; Stacey Decker, Chief Technology Officer, WGBH; Harold Geller, Chief Growth Officer, Ad-ID; Glenn Goldstein, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Convergence Officer, Viacom; Bob Liodice, President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of National Advertisers; David F. Poltrack, Chief Research Officer, CBS; Kurt Rao, Vice President, Corporate IT, and Chief Information Officer, Time Warner; Frank Savage, Vice President and Senior Architect, HBO; and Joe Simon, Chief Technology Officer, Univision.
Levels Beyond, the company behind Reach Engine, a media inventory software platform, is the Diamond sponsor of HITS Broadcast IT Summit.

HITS (originally the Hollywood IT Society) was founded in 2010 to assist in the development of a universal digital identifier for filmed and television content; since then it has worked on a wide variety of collaborative workgroups to address ways the media & entertainment companies can build operational efficiencies and manage the new digital production workflows and distribution of their content.

To find out more about the HITS Broadcast IT Summit, please visit:

To become a sponsor of the HITS Broadcast IT Summit, please contact: Garrett Randall, (310) 882-9204;

Social Media a Boon and a Challenge for Sports Leagues and Broadcasters

July 29, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Social Media a Boon and a Challenge for Sports Leagues and Broadcasters 

By Paul Sweeting

NEW YORK—As with most parts of the media and entertainment business, social media has become an important source of incremental revenue for sports leagues and teams. But according to speakers at the Second Screen Summit: Sports here Tuesday, monetizing their content on social media platforms is not always a straightforward affair.

The New York Mets, like most Major League teams, look to social media to drive both ticket sales and concession stand sales at ballpark, and the team sets specific revenue goals for each, Mets director of social media Will Carafello said. The team also makes extensive use of data to measure the results of its social media efforts.

Data showed that social media posts about the food available at Citi Field at strategic times of the day can drive incremental concession sales, for instance. “We’ll tend to run them around lunch time, or around 5:00, as people are starting to get to the ballpark,” Carafello said.

When it comes to working with sponsors on social media, however, the teams generally have to bring in Major League Baseball because the league owns all MLB teams’ social products. “None of our teams own their own marks on social,” Carafello said. “So if a brand wants to do something [on social media] that uses our mark we would generally have to bring in the league.”

Social media platforms are also increasingly crucial elements of the sports broadcasting business as networks look to deepen their engagement with fans. Read more

Consumer Data Takes Center Stage at ‘2nd Screen Summit: Sports’ Event in New York

July 22, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive, 2nd Screen Headlines · Comments Off on Consumer Data Takes Center Stage at ‘2nd Screen Summit: Sports’ Event in New York 

By Chris Tribbey

The sports fans’ second screen experience — and how their data can be best utilized — will be tackled July 28 in New York when the 2nd Screen Society (S3) and Sports Video Group (SVG) host the second annual “2nd Screen Summit: Sports” event.

When it comes to reaching sports fans today, there’s one thing broadcasters, advertisers, marketers, leagues and individual teams all must have in mind: the second screen. Sports fans use second screen devices differently than casual movie and TV show viewers, looking to their smart phone, tablet or PC to check scores, watch video and manage a fantasy team, all while watching a live game.

“Sports and their super fans are a catalyst for expanding their experience through devices and televisions,” Guy Finley, Executive Director at MESA/2nd Screen Society, said.

“The data being collected from this critical segment will usher in a new era of intelligence and decision making that will drive the evolution of the connected consumer. Whether it is Social TV, an OTT offering or a unique engagement experience, the 2nd screen continues to proliferate within our industry we are proud to partner with SVG to provide a community environment for these companies to learn from one another.”

At next week’s summit, representatives from the New York Giants, the New York Mets, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, CBS Sports and Turner Sports will be on hand, to share their work with sports fans and the second screen.

The half-day “2nd Screen Summit: Sports” program includes:

• Ken Kerschbaumer, executive editorial director of SVG, will open the day with a one-on-one interview with Clark Pierce, SVP of TV Everywhere and special projects for Fox Sports, discussing the successes — and challenges — the Fox Sports Go digital platform saw this summer working the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the U.S. Open.

• Guy Finley, executive director of the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) will moderate the panel “Smart Content: Making Sense of Social and Analytics,” which will look at the impact social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat and Vine) has on fan engagement, and the importance of making content trackable and measurable. Will Carafello, ‎director of social media for the New York Mets, Rob Shaw, global head of sports media for Facebook and Bob Gearing, director of strategic accounts for North America for Socialbakers, will be on the panel.

• Don Sperling, VP and executive producer of entertainment for the New York Giants, will share how the NFL team produced “More Than Just ‘The Catch,’” a digital, interactive timeline of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s journey through the 2014 NFL season … and how the online effort appealed to fans.

• Brandon Costa, SVG senior editor, will lead the panel “Innovations in Multiplatform Sports Storytelling: Maximizing Assets on Any Screen,” where executives from NBC, Microsoft, Turner Sports and Limelight Networks will share how technologies are facilitating the second screen fan experience both on and off the field, and how increasing efficiencies during production and distribution help make for a more engaged fan. Eric Black, VP of technology for NBC Sports, Lee Brenner, global business development lead for Microsoft, Hania Poole, VP of NCAA digital business operations for Turner Sports, and Jason Thibeault, principal technical evangelist for Limelight Network, are on the docket.

• The panel “So You Want to Own Your Channel? Tales From the OTT Front Lines” will see over-the-top distribution experts share the best ways to leverage sports content libraries … keeping in mind the vast amount of digital outlets out there today. SVG editor Jason Dachman will lead a panel including Dave Alloway, director of customer experience of NeuLion, Frank Golding, founder of Golding Media Ventures, and former head of sport for North America for Google/YouTube, and Christy King, COO for Levels Beyond.

• Bill Wheaton, SVP of Akamai’s media products division, will share how data from recent major sporting events (the Olympics, World Cup, etc.) can help meet future consumer demands.

• David Beck and Jesse Redniss, co-founders of BRaVe Ventures, will moderate “Sports Rights: What’s the Impact on Monetization Strategy?” They’ll lead a panel (including iPowow CEO Gavin Douglas, Will Funk, SVP for Turner Sports ad sales, and Adam London, VP of business development for CBS Sports Digital) that looks at how to monetize sports outside of the live window.

• “2nd Screen for Fantasy Sports and Wagering” is a panel that will tackle a recent opportunity for media and entertainment companies: what can be had from the data returns on sports gamblers’’ activity? The panel will look at the most popular apps in fantasy sports and gambling, with Steve Byrd, chief commercial officer of SportRadar moderating. Panelists will include Ali Nazer, co-founder of Onside Sports, Chris Tanck, CEO of RockDaisy, and Éamonn Toland, president of Paddy Power North America.

• Alan Wolk, chairman of the 2nd Screen Society, will close the panels with “How 2nd Screen Data Enhances the Broadcast,” a discussion centered on how the second screen is benefiting — or detracting — from the delivery of content to the primary living room screen. On his panel, Wolk will have Christine Anderson, VP of creative and digital media for Sportvision, Elissa Coughlin, senior advisor for strategy, design and analytics at IBM, and Laura Tapias, and GM of Latin America and Spain for Applicaster.

The 2nd Screen Summit: Sports event will be held noon-6 p.m. July 28 at 230 5th Ave., New York. For more information or to register, click here.

Syfy Partners with Watchwith for LG Smart TVs

June 17, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Syfy Partners with Watchwith for LG Smart TVs 

By Chris Tribbey

During the heyday of physical disc, part of the reason it was so popular was the addition of bonus content. And though streaming, OTT, VOD and digital sellthrough are becoming bigger by the day, adding bonus content to movies and TV shows has been a successful marketing feature – but now it’s a way to more engaging stories on the biggest screen in the house.

San Francisco-based Watchwith is aiming to change that. On June 17, the company announced that NBCUniversal’s Syfy channel is now using Watchwith Televised tool to include in-program content for broadcasts of the original series ‘Defiance,’ offering perfectly timed bonus features as an interactive overlay on the LG Smart TVs.

Watchwith-SyfySyncLG-1 Using the Syfy Sync digital offering, LG Smart TV owners watching the Friday broadcasts of ‘Defiance’ can use their TV remote to learn more about the show’s back-story and characters, participate in audience polls and more without interrupting the program.

Zane Vella, CEO of Watchwith, said it’s an important milestone for his company and for content owners.

Watchwith has been working on the tool for years, and finally saw it go live with the June 12 broadcast of ‘Defiance.’

Read more

YouTube and Twitch Channel Cable TV

June 17, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on YouTube and Twitch Channel Cable TV 

By Paul Sweeting

With the upcoming launch of YouTube Gaming, YouTube will have dedicated apps for its three most popular categories of videos: music (Music Key), kids (YouTube Kids) and now video games.

While the Google-owned site has long supported discreet “channels,” those are largely a convenience for individual video creators as they look to build their own corporate or personal brands. They were not created by YouTube with an eye to sorting the content in its vast online library by category or genre. Nor, by extension, were they created to try to segment YouTube’s vast audience by interests, tastes or demographics the way, say, a category-specific cable TV network like Nickelodeon or CNBC seeks to do.

By creating category-specific apps, however, YouTube is clearly edging toward that model.


Verizon Opts Into AOL

May 12, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Verizon Opts Into AOL 

By Paul Sweeting

Verizon is the largest wireless service provider in the U.S. with over 108 million retail connections as of the first quarter of 2015. But as the wireless business matures, providing connectivity is increasingly a zero-sum game among the four national carriers — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint — leading to price wars in pursuit of marketshare and threatening margins.

Verizon’s efforts to find new ways to monetize its user base, such as through advertising, however, have met with mixed results at best. It’s use of undeletable “super cookies” to track its subscribers’ web surfing, and the sale of those data to third-party marketers, led to an outcry among consumers and privacy advocates (and scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission), which forced Verizon to allow users to opt-out of the program.

Now though, with its $4.4 billion acquisition of AOL, announced Tuesday, Verizon is gaining a portfolio of over 100 million device IDs from consumers who have opted-into direct, content-based subscription relationships with AOL’s media properties. From a data-collecting perspective (to say nothing of the legal and regulatory implications) that’s a much safer starting point than anonymous, surreptitious tracking. But those opt-in content relationships will also provide a foundation for the launch later this year of Verizon’s own opt-in over-the-top video service.

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Ambrozic: A TV Subscriber Disconnect

May 7, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Ambrozic: A TV Subscriber Disconnect 

By Chris Tribbey

The price of a pay TV subscription continues to rise, as does the number of available channels and shows available to subscribers. Which makes recommendations and search all the more important, according to Chris Ambrozic, senior director of analytics at Digitalsmiths, a TiVo company.

Speaking in Chicago at the Internet and Television Expo (INTX), Ambrozic said the ability to serve up relevant recommendations and search results for consumers is the best way to drive value for subscribers, because “subscribers in some way see a disconnect between what they’re paying for and what they perceive as their value.”

“So the question is, essential question is, can we create that belief and trust and confidence by utilizing data in very innovative ways?” he said. “We find that there’s lots of reports and there’s lots of counts that people provide day in and day out, and that’s great. That’s a starting point. But it’s not analytics.”

He said counting the number of times something has been recommended is a start, but how often do subscribers actually engage in the content? How often after checking for something on the big screen did they follow through and check it out on a TV Everywhere program on their mobile device? How often can your analytics suggest something that consumers will actually follow through and commit to?

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Digital Hollywood Panelists Talk Importance of Social, TV Everywhere

April 30, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Digital Hollywood Panelists Talk Importance of Social, TV Everywhere 

By Chris Tribbey

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — After the season finale of the ABC reality series “The Quest” aired in September last year, something interesting happened, according to the show’s executive producer Jane Fleming: social media interest in the series grew by nearly 25%.

With decent reviews but low ratings, the producers of the show looked to social media, launching a Facebook campaign late in the season, calling on fans to share stories of personal heroism, in an effort to keep the show alive. And while a second season of the series is still in limbo, the social media response to the show was huge: “Variety” shared that, according to Nielsen, the number of Tweets sent about the show nearly tripled between the show’s premiere and it’s finale.

For Fleming, the amount of people on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets discussing “The Quest” after the season ended shows how important the digital consumer is today.

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A Digital Disconnect

April 28, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on A Digital Disconnect 

By Chris Tribbey

We may be living in a digital age, but you wouldn’t know it when it comes to how consumers spend their entertainment dollars.

The rise of all these over the top video services is in response to changing consumer attitudes toward pay TV, according to Glenn Hower, research analyst with Parks Associates. But, speaking at the Digital Hollywood event, for all their talk of cutting the cord, he said consumers still aren’t putting their money toward digital content.

A third of video viewing by an average American broadband household — which consumes 35 hours of video a week — is done via the Internet, Hower said. However, less than 10% of consumer spending on video content is on Internet video. Consumers aren’t spending many of their entertainment dollars on digital content.

That’s cause for concern for OTT services, according to Mitch Singer, president of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, the cross-industry consortium behind UltraViolet. In the last five years, the home entertainment industry has seen a drop in sales to the tune of about $1 billion a year, he said.

UltraViolet — a buy once, play anywhere video service — has seen great consumer pick-up, but it hasn’t brought back the glorious revenue days of DVD by any means. And the movie industry kind of saw it coming, Singer said. “The music industry was the canary in our coal mine, watching them go from CD to iTunes downloads,” he said. “We knew we were going to have a revenue challenge.”

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Second Screen Experts Talk Sports at NAB

April 16, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Second Screen Experts Talk Sports at NAB 

By Chris Tribbey

As chief architect of media for Akamai, William Law has seen it all when it comes to handling sports video. The Super Bowl, the Olympics, the NCAA Tournament, the World Cup, all have been handled by Akamai.

But recently he saw something that topped almost every single one: a cricket world championship semi-final match between Australia and India.

“There were 1.35 million peak concurrent (viewers), and that was more than the live stream for the Super Bowl,” he said at the NAB Show’s Media Management in the Cloud conference, presented by the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California (ETC@USC). But even more interesting? There were also approximately 60 million VOD views around the match.

It’s anticipating the needs of consumers that’s paramount for sports broadcasters, according to James Stellpflug, VP of product marketing at EVS. “When the World Cup was coming up, broadcasters came to us because they saw the trend starting up, and wanted to know how to deliver content to fans on all these emerging devices,” he said.

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Introducing Whipclip, Your New Favorite 2nd Screen App

March 26, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Introducing Whipclip, Your New Favorite 2nd Screen App 

By Alan Wolk

While the industry may still be salivating over livestreaming in general and Meerkat in particular, a new app called Whipclip may well steal the thunder away from them. Designed to allow users to (legally) share high definition clips from current TV shows, WhipClip is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

The legal part is huge: Whipclip is partnering with a host of major TV networks, including ABC, CBS, Comedy Central, FOX, VH1, A+E Network, Lifetime, Bloomberg, OWN and Turner in order to launch the first legitimate TV clipping service.

It’s huge because not only are those networks making their programs available to Whipclippers, they’re actively working with the app to make previously aired shows searchable.

And therein lies the magic of Whipclip: Not only can you go in and find and edit a clip from a show you are currently watching, you can go in and search for a particular term or phrase or name from a sizable back catalog.

That means a user can go to the Bob’s Burgers page and search for “Tina” and turn up every scene featuring that character. Or they can get more specific and search for “Tina smells like ketchup” to turn up that particular scene.

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A Vue To A Kill

March 19, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on A Vue To A Kill 

By Alan Wolk

Like Dish’s Sling TV and Apple’s rumored new Apple TV package, Sony Vue, which launched this week in several cities, is not going to destroy the television industry.

Sorry haters.

Vue is even more curious than its predecessors in that it requires viewers to be in possession of a Sony PlayStation box, said boxes retailing for upwards of $200. Now there are lots of people who own Playstations— Sony sold over 20 million Playstation 4s alone— but the Venn Diagram of People Who Own Playstations + People Who Have Broadband But Not Pay TV + People Who Would Want To Spend $50-$70/month To Watch Pay TV On The One Set Their Playstation Is Attached To has got to be very small.

The service is a bit fatter than the slim bundles Sling and (allegedly) Apple are putting out there: it has 80 stations, some of which you need to pay extra for, bringing the price from $50/month to $70/month. It even has DVR and VOD capabilities.

What it doesn’t have though, are any networks in the Disney/ABC line-up, which also includes ESPN.

That’s a major omission and it will be challenging to see the real value in paying $70 for an ESPN-less package that only plays on one TV versus spending a few dollars more to get the same service (plus hundreds of other networks) on every TV from your MVPD, who’ll probably cut you a deal on your broadband service for taking both.

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Meerkat Is The New, New Thing

March 12, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Meerkat Is The New, New Thing 

By Alan Wolk

Ever since Twitter “broke” at SXSW in 2007, industry observers have been looking for the new new thing, the technology that they can say “I was there first” about.

There haven’t been many wins on that front since 2007 (FourSquare and GroupMe both arguably had their moments in the sun) but that seems all but guaranteed to change this year, thanks to new live streaming start-up called Meerkat.

The output of a Bay Area company called Life on Air with roots in Israel, Meerkat allows users to livestream video directly from a Twitter feed. Launching the app calls up a screen that invites you to start streaming and then tweets the news of the livestream directly to Twitter.

That’s it: no editing, no special effects. And the stream is gone once it’s done: Meerkat just leaves a placeholder frame in place with the message that the stream is over. This Snapchattian feature is easily overcome, however, as Meerkat allows you to save the video to your iPhone (an Android version is coming soon) where you can upload it to YouTube, Facebook or, if it’s shorter than 30 seconds, Twitter.

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Meerkat Is The New, New Thing

March 12, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Blog, 2nd Screen Exclusive, Uncategorized · Comments Off on Meerkat Is The New, New Thing 

By Alan Wolk

Ever since Twitter “broke” at SXSW in 2007, industry observers have been looking for the new new thing, the technology that they can say “I was there first” about.

There haven’t been many wins on that front since 2007 (FourSquare and GroupMe both arguably had their moments in the sun) but that seems all but guaranteed to change this year, thanks to new live streaming start-up called Meerkat.

The output of a Bay Area company called Life on Air with roots in Israel, Meerkat allows users to livestream video directly from a Twitter feed. Launching the app calls up a screen that invites you to start streaming and then tweets the news of the livestream directly to Twitter.

meerkat-app That’s it: no editing, no special effects. And the stream is gone once it’s done: Meerkat just leaves a placeholder frame in place with the message that the stream is over. This Snapchattian feature is easily overcome, however, as Meerkat allows you to save the video to your iPhone (an Android version is coming soon) where you can upload it to YouTube, Facebook or, if it’s shorter than 30 seconds, Twitter.

All the usual suspects are playing with it and I suspect that almost every panel at SXSW will have someone Meerkatting it. In most cases, several someones. (Confession: I Meerkatted the last audience question of the panel I did at BBTVCON last week and was surprised to find I’d accumulated 10 viewers in just two minutes time.)

So what is the application of this new 2nd screen app for the television industry?

It can be a great driver of live tune-in, particularly for shows like news, sports and even talk shows, that are filmed live. Meerkat offers the ability to show off behind-the-scenes activity, uncensored, as it’s happening. It gives TV news crews the ability to stream what’s essentially raw footage from the scene of breaking events, along with their own commentary. It can even be used by scripted series to show off the cast and crew during a table read or similar meeting where the audience gets to see the cast in “unscripted” mode.

CNBC has already been experimenting with Meerkat, webcasting host Jim Kramer’s ringing of the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange to celebrate his show “Mad Money’s” 10th anniversary.

@cnbc on Meerkat That’s exactly the type of use case Meerkat is good for. Smart network marketers will promote the webcasts ahead of time so that viewers will know when to be looking for them. And with Twitter’s new third party ad serving system in place, those Meerkat streams can be pushed out to additional sites and apps where users can engage with them.

Since Meerkat users need to sign in via Twitter, there’s a lot of data that can be gleaned from the app: who was watching, for how long, what are their demographics, have they engaged with the show previously, what else do they tweet about, what else do they follow.

While Meerkat will never be another Facebook (at least not with its current functionality) it’s a very well done value-add for Twitter, and showrunners and network marketing teams should definitely look into experimenting with it.

As for us, we’re keeping on eye on which shorthand emerges from SXSW this week. Will people be #Meering or will they be #Katting? We’ll keep you posted.

The Pictures Get Even Smaller: Video Stars Take On The Movie Industry

March 5, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Blog, 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on The Pictures Get Even Smaller: Video Stars Take On The Movie Industry 

By Alan Wolk

I spent the day at BBTVCON, moderating a panel on 2nd Screen (more about that later) and attending the fascinating opening keynote by Awesomeness TV’s Chief Digital Officer, Kelly Day

We adults hear a lot about YouTube, Vine, Instagram and Snapchat stars, but their appeal is often lost on us. Day gave the audience some excellent reasons why we should rethink that and how companies like Awesomeness are rethinking the entire way movies are made.

The case study Day offered up concerned the movie Expelled, starring Vine star Cameron Dallas, a 20 year old who often appears shirtless in his Vines. Dallas’ fan base, according to Day consists mainly of 14 year old girls who idolize him as if he were the sixth member of One Direction.

Dallas’ numbers are amazing: 7.1 million Vine followers, 5.8 million Instagram followers, 4.49 million Twitter followers, 3.2 million subscribers to his YouTube channel and 2.1 million Facebook fans.

Last fall, the Awesomeness team set out to make a feature film starring Dallas, directed by YouTube phenom Alex Goyette.

The team operated on a very compressed timeline: the movie was greenlit at the end of August, went into production about 3 weeks later, wrapped in early October, had a trailer out a month later, had its theatrical release on December 11th and was released on VOD and DVD on December 26th.

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Axwave Hits Europe

February 26, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Axwave Hits Europe 

By Chris Tribbey

Second screen content recognition company Axwave has expanded its offerings to cover the European market, the company announced Feb. 26, allowing app developers to have mobile devices recognize live shows, TV ads, DVR and OTT content.

Axwave estimates that at launch its U.K. offering will cover more than 90% of available TV content consumed in the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. And the company is aiming to expand to more countries in Europe, and increase its TV channel coverage, soon.

“We have quickly established ourselves as a leader in the U.S.,” said Axwave CEO Damian Scavo. “In early 2015, we look forward to repeating this success in Europe.”

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Lots Of Potential: How 2nd Screen Will Transform Next Year’s Oscars

February 24, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Blog, 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Lots Of Potential: How 2nd Screen Will Transform Next Year’s Oscars 

By Alan Wolk

This year’s Oscars was a dud on many levels, or maybe it just seemed that way after last year, when the energy level was high, Ellen was ordering pizzas and taking selfies and it wasn’t raining in Los Angeles.

The number of tweets was down but so were the ratings, so on a percentage-wise basis, it seems Twitter came out ahead. Facebook too, which was quick to point out the large number of people posting about the Oscars. (Sorry Zuck, but that stat is just going to come off as creepy. People don’t really want to know that you’re scanning through what they thought were their private posts to count the number of Oscar mentions. You can talk all you want about “anonymized data” but it’s still going to seem really stalkerish.)

The youth platforms like Snapchat and Vine weren’t much in play during the Oscars, despite the presence of a number of 20something presenters and Lady Gaga.

I’m guessing marketers decided the kids don’t really do the Oscars, which traditionally have a slightly older female audience.

One thing I couldn’t avoid thinking about though, was the number of opportunities there would have been for 3rd party tweet ads. Because while the sum of the parts was pretty lackluster, there were some very noteworthy parts.

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Ready For Its Close-Up: How 2nd Screen Is Going To Transform The Oscars

February 19, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Blog, 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Ready For Its Close-Up: How 2nd Screen Is Going To Transform The Oscars 

By Alan Wolk

With the Oscars fast approaching, it’s interesting to think about what the show might look like once Twitter’s new third party ad system in place. That’s the newly announced system whereby Twitter is going to allow Tweets to be surfaced as native advertising on third party apps and sites.

Like the Super Bowl, the Oscars attracts a large global audience, and everyone is watching the show live, at the exact same time. As such, it’s one of the few events that still draws a real-time audience— even the Grammy’s were delayed for the West Coast this year.

The Oscars, even more so than other event shows, is made for social media. There are dozens of readily identifiable stars (with sizable social media followings) coming in on the red carpet and heading up to the stage to present and accept awards. There’s the host, Neil Patrick Harris, who has 13.7 million Twitter followers and 1.3 million Instagram followers.

There’s the fact that Twitter gave Harris the honor of producing the very first Twitter native video, a :30 promo for the Oscars that was shot with his phone’s camera. And of course there’s the world’s most famous selfie, the shot that Bradley Cooper took with Ellen DeGeneres that swiftly became the most retweeted photo ever.

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Axwave: Technology with Mobile First in Mind

February 17, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Axwave: Technology with Mobile First in Mind 

By Chris Tribbey

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Axwave Inc. has a simple mission: allow mobile app developers to gather more data about audiences and increase user engagement, and allow marketers to reach audiences across every device.

Developers of all mobile apps, including second screen and music apps, can use the company’s free technology, and its software development kit (SDK) allows for the targeting of audiences with relevant advertising. Axwave’s TV audience technology allows marketers to take viewership data from both broadcasters and digital distributors, and find out what a mobile user’s habits are.

Peter Baldwin, COO of Axwave, sat down with the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) to discuss the future of automatic content recognition, the interaction of the second screen and the TV, and what’s next in the music app space.

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Is Twitter TV’s Best Promotional Vehicle?

February 12, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Blog, 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Is Twitter TV’s Best Promotional Vehicle? 

By Alan Wolk

Twitter’s decision to allow third party sites to run tweets as native advertising may be the best news the television industry has gotten in quite a while. It means that they’ll be able to use Twitter to drive tune-in from audiences who have traditionally avoided the platform like the plague.

In advance of their IPO, Twitter had managed to convince people outside of the television industry that they were particularly relevant to the television industry. Only the combination of Nielsen’s questionable Twitter ratings and the fact that Twitter’s user base didn’t cover a wide enough range of demographics called that into question, particularly when the shows receiving the most Twitter love were not the same shows receiving the most ratings love.

But that’s all about to change.

Twitter’s made some very smart changes over the past few months, changes that will greatly increase its value to networks seeking to use it as a promotional vehicle.

The ability to insert tweets as native ads is the main one. This gives networks the ability to run tweets from the show itself, the showrunner, characters, popular actors or even other fans onto apps and sites where the audience is most likely to see them.

Twitter recently added a native video feature too, which allows networks to attach a :30 clip to their tweets to further tease audiences. That’s perfect for attracting mobile users, as “tweet ads” have the ability to run on both desktop and mobile, even inside apps.

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Right On Target at The Grammy’s

February 10, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Blog, 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Right On Target at The Grammy’s 

By Alan Wolk

One of the topics I’ve been most interested in lately is how the television industry is going to replace the revenue typically brought in by interruptive advertising.

This is going to become a bigger issue in years to come as live viewing decreases and viewers have more and more opportunities to watch programming without commercials. The argument that viewers watch commercials that are entertaining may have some validity, but the industry has had sixty years to come up with commercials that are entertaining, and with a few notable exceptions, they have failed.

So I’m curious to see what Plan B looks like and how 2nd screen plays a role.

This weekend’s Grammy Awards featured several examples of alternatives to traditional interruptive advertising, the most notable of which was the four-minute commercial block (estimated to have cost $8 million) Target purchased to show a live concert by the band Imagine Dragons. Call it the first-ever branded content commercial.

The mini concert had high production value: 22 cameras (including helicopter shots) and a cast of thousands (or at least hundreds). What was unique about it was that it capitalized on the fact that the Grammy’s has an audience of avid music fans and presented them with content that would be of high interest to that audience.

Target’s branding was subtle but always there: the stage was bathed in red light, creating Targets’ iconic bulls-eye logo. And no one else was doing anything like it, which gave Target a high level of awareness for the spot. While Imagine Dragons were not up for an award, they are a popular band and their music sits on the border between pop and rock and thus appeals to a large audience. The spot was well shot and the reaction on social media and in the blogosphere seemed universally positive.

Target made extensive use of 2nd screen in this project, Twitter in particular. Using the Target Twitter account they encouraged users to tweet using the #moremusic hashtag in order to learn more about the making of the commercial and to tease it beforehand. In addition to Twitter, Target used Snapchat to tease the concert, driving users to that app where they were able to view teaser footage and, during the Grammys, backstage video from Madonna’s concert that looked as if it had been shot with a cellphone camera.

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2nd Screen and the Super Bowl

January 29, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Blog, 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on 2nd Screen and the Super Bowl 

By Alan Wolk

Super Bowl Sunday is this weekend and 2nd screen promises to be a major part of it. Facebook and Twitter both have Super Bowl home pages set up to aggregate incoming content from fans and official sources. For smartphone users, the NFL has teamed up with Verizon to offer access to the game for just $5, while tablet users can take advantage of the NBC live app and PC users can go to NBC Sports live stream to see the game.

Given that observers estimated CBS scored as much as $12 million last year from its 2nd screen app, the Super Bowl and 2nd Screen is really coming into its own.

Brands are getting into the action too, revving up their hashtags (H&M has already started a twitter-based hashtag promotion to have users select the ending for their Super Bowl spot.) So with that in mind, we thought it was best to review some of the dos and dont’s for Super Bowl Sunday brand interactions.

The biggest mistake many brands will make is to assume that viewers want to stop watching the game (or the other commercials!) and pay attention to what they have to say. So they’ll have some sort of online component to the ad (via Shazam, a sponsored Tweet or synched app) that forces the viewer to spend time playing around with whatever “experience” the brand has cooked up, which they will assure themselves is so clever the viewer will not be able to look away.

I can guarantee you this will not be the case, that the brand experience will be much less compelling than what’s happening on the big screen with the game and the viewer will become rather annoyed by the brand asking them to turn away.

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Watchwith CEO: In-Program Offers New Opportunities

January 27, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Watchwith CEO: In-Program Offers New Opportunities 

By Chris Tribbey

Zane Vella, CEO of San Francisco-based Watchwith, sees 2015 as a potentially transformative year when it comes to how TV is consumed on digital devices.

With digital devices more and more becoming the first screen for watching TV content, Vella said he thinks there’s an opportunity for programmers to take advantage of what PCs and tablets are capable of, things that most TVs can’t do.

Digital, in-program ad insertion {“Without being offensive to the viewer,” Vella stressed) and optional in-program interactive content (photos, polls, pop-up facts, etc.) are areas where programmers can take advantage of this shift to digital. “Interstitial commercials will always be the bathroom break,” he said in a discussion with the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA). “There are new revenue opportunities for programmers, an evolution of the digital content experience..”

“There’s room for nearly a dozen in-program insertions for a half-hour show,” Vella said, but it has to be done subtly, “the right moments, for the right people.” He pointed to the massively successful partnership with Fox for American Idol. The show’s producers use Watchwith’s real-time content authoring, scheduling and distribution platform to power companion content and interactive experiences for TV viewers using

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Broadband TV Conference: Content Democratization Changing TV

January 22, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Broadband TV Conference: Content Democratization Changing TV 

By Chris Tribbey

Service operators, content owners, OTT providers and other industry stakeholders will converge in Los Angeles March 3-4 to tackle the changing face of television at the sixth annual Broadband TV conference.

Produced by X Media Research, with the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) and the Second Screen Society as partner organizations, the two-day event will see executives from AT&T, CBS, TiVo, Verizon Digital Media Services, YuMe, Rovi, AllDigital and more tackling everything from the roll of second screen apps to the future of OTT channels.

The first day of the conference will see Guy Finley, executive director of MESA, lead an executive panel discussion on whether the second screen is living up to its promise of increasing audience engagement and audience size, and the opening day keynote will be delivered by Kelly Day, chief digital officer for Awesomeness TV.

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MCNS Come of Age

January 20, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Blog, 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on MCNS Come of Age 

By Alan Wolk

Once dismissed as the domain of cute kittens and sneezing pandas, online video is coming into its own, and 2015 promises to be the year it leaves its childhood behind and becomes, if not an adult, then at least an adolescent.

The key to its growth will be the sort of smart data and smart content we highlighted at the 2nd Screen Summit at CES this month, which allows content owners to make better informed decisions about audience engagement, programming and advertising.

The very nature of the medium, which is mostly viewed on connected devices by users who are tied in to their personal social media accounts, means that content owners can easily understand who is watching, why and when. It’s then easy to use this data to target ads, offers and additional programming to the right target audience at the right time.

The power of this smart content is in large part why several challengers are arising to contest YouTube’s hegemony over the medium, first and foremost among them a new MCN called Vessel. Started by former Hulu CEO, Jason Kilar, the well-funded Vessel will have both ad-supported and subscription options for channels hosted by YouTube stars. They’ll create these channels by making YouTube stars an offer they can’t refuse: give Vessel 72 hours of exclusive access and in return, Vessel will give them a percentage of both subscription fees and ad revenue.

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‘Defiance’ Showrunner Talks Second Screen

January 8, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on ‘Defiance’ Showrunner Talks Second Screen 

Kevin Murphy, executive producer, showrunner and co-creator of the SyFy Channel series “Defiance,” discussed the importance of the second screen world during a keynote discussion at the 2nd Screen Summit, before the International Consumer Electronics Show.

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CBS’s DeBevoise: The Time was Right for OTT

January 6, 2015 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on CBS’s DeBevoise: The Time was Right for OTT 

By Chris Tribbey

When CBS debuted its digital subscription service CBS All Access in mid-October, the news came at the same time HBO announced a similar offering that same week (with HBO’s product yet to launch).

The CBS and HBO announcements may have come at the same time, but CBS All Access was the culmination of years of work, according to Marc DeBevoise, EVP and GM of entertainment, news and sports for CBS Interactive. The network worked overtime conceiving and developing the OTT service, he said Jan. 5, during a keynote discussion at the 2nd Screen Summit, before the International Consumer Electronics Show.

“It was a difficult decision … with all of us debating whether it was the right time, and the right decision to make,” he said.

Ultimately, CBS went ahead based on consumer trends alone, DeBevoise said: universal consumer connectivity, massive household device penetration, the daily hours consumers spend on TV falling behind time spent on the Internet, and a legacy pay TV industry that may not be up to snuff when it comes to multiscreen delivery.

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Sports Made the Most Second Screen Noise in 2014

December 23, 2014 · Posted in 2nd Screen Exclusive · Comments Off on Sports Made the Most Second Screen Noise in 2014 

By Chris Tribbey

Early on in 2014 a second screen theme became apparent: if you’re broadcasting a major sporting event, laptops, smartphones and tablets are not only part of the equation, they’re a priority.

Whether it was the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament here in the U.S., or the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, broadcasters and technology companies made sure the second screen was treated with as much importance as the living room TV.

“Second screen and sports really are a winning combination,” Renaud Fuchs, a former head of strategic marketing and VP of commercial development for Technicolor, said in April. “Second screen sports give fans exactly what they want: More information on their sport, more statistics, more information, more content, watching a goal from different angles.

“It has the advantage of pulling massive amounts of information [for sports teams] and delivering real-time content. Sports and the second screen offers monetization opportunities.”

While sports may have dominated the story for 2014, there was plenty of other second screen news. Here’s some of the second screen news that made headlines.

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