The Arbour Media Blog

Thinking about media production

Archive for the ‘Online Video’ Category

Long Form Video Begins to Take Off Online

without comments

According to a new research report released by global online video service provider OOYALA, in the first quarter of 2012, half the videos watched online by their viewers ran longer than 10 minutes.

The firm found that people don’t seem to be changing the kind of content they are viewing “they are instead choosing to watch traditional TV and movie content on their new connected screens” such as iPads and other tablets, video-enabled phones, and TVs connected to the internet via gaming consoles and similar devices.

The report was based on video-usage data gleaned from over 1000 of the company’s customers world-wide and suggests the trend will continue “as more premium film and TV content arrives online.”

We’ve been interested in this audience statistic at Arbour Media, because we’ve been thinking about in the internet as means to distribute long form video programs we may produce independently or on behalf of clients. The OOYALA data suggest a lot people are now watching at longer programs online as part of their normal routine — that a first step toward acceptance of independently produced long form content.

According to the study, “‘typical’ TV viewing is shifting—and not slowly—from broadcast channels on a single screen to mobile, multi-screen viewing experiences.” OOYALA’s suggestion for video producers and advertisers: “if you don’t have a multi-device video strategy, get one. Fast.”

Because the long-form content viewers are choosing comes from TV networks and movie studios, a challenge for independent producers may be to match the production values of popular shows and films. Unfortunately, OOYALA’s work does not look specifically on the role production values have on viewer engagement.

Given the quality of work we see on Vimeo on a regular basis, we can’t help but feel that independent producers can efficiently turn out work for online distribution on an acceptable par with network and “Hollywood” production for smaller audiences.

Written by Arbour Media

June 7th, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Apple to Announce Operating System for TV?

without comments

BGR reports exclusively that Apple will announce iOS for TV at it’s upcoming Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC).

BGR says:

We’ve heard Apple is actively trying to court manufacturers to use a new “control out” API in order for third-party manufacturers to make accessories that are compatible with the new Apple TV OS and the upcoming “iTV.” It’s said that by using the API, it will be possible to control any connected components all from the Apple remote (and the Apple remote iOS app as well, we’re assuming).

This would be a huge change in the home theater landscape, which has until this point relied on a mess of thousands of infrared codes and physical cables in order for devices to be interoperable, or Wi-Fi-controlled apps for each component and piece of hardware.

The control out API is said to work with all aspects of various popular components, even allowing control over things like program guides on a cable operators’ set top boxes and other hardware components.

More than a huge change in “home theatre” this could be a huge change in the motion picture distribution business and the cable TV business, maybe the end of the latter.

That cable box so many now have could easily be reduced to to a cable service app.  It’s a prospect that makes one wonder if cable service providers will be needed for anything else besides providing a data pipe, because the cable service app could as easily become a cable network app.

And if a cable network is just going to be a Apple TVOS app, it’s likely that there will be a lot more networks aimed at a lot more specialized audiences. Much depends on how Apple structures the process of allowing distribution entities access to iTV distribution.

Written by Arbour Media

May 30th, 2012 at 11:29 am

Why Hire a Professional to Produce Online Video?

without comments

Because hiring a professional will get you online faster with lower costs in the long run and give you access to greater creative resources. But don’t take out word for it. ReelSEO provides an article with a nice overview of issues to consider when deciding between in-house and professional production.

Reel SEO’s bottom line:

There are really only three instances when choosing to self-produce is the best choice:

  1. When you actually have some video production expertise or talent yourself (or on your staff), or…
  2. When your budget simply leaves no room to hire a professional, or…
  3. The goals of your video actually require it to appear self-produced.

Outside of those three reasons, I would advise almost anyone to look for a professional.  There are fewer risks, and the potential for huge upside.  And if you value your time, then self-producing can often end up costing you more than paying even high-dollar video production firms to handle the project.  But I know that reason number two above is going to put a ton of you in the self-production column, just by virtue of today’s economy.

Written by Arbour Media

December 5th, 2011 at 10:42 am

Prepare to Be Curated

without comments

In an interview published at ReelSeo, curation guru Steve Rosenbaum recounts advice he gave NewYork Magazine about the publication’s attempts to use online video

They were producing one awesome video a week; but that was all the video they were putting on their website each week, and they were getting relatively little traffic from it. They came to use and told us, “our ad sales guys want more videos, we want more traffic; but can’t afford to make any more [videos], what should we do?” And we said to them, “Well, let’s see – what are the things you care about? You care about food, fashion, social life, the environment, and urban New York.”

We said to them, “let’s take a gamble that there are probably lots of videos out there on YouTube, Metacafe, Daily Motion, etc., that fit your editorial trajectory, if you will.  And people aren’t going to YouTube and typing in ‘New York City jazz club,’ you know, ‘Lower East Side.’  But they are coming to New York Magazine and looking for a video and information about these things.”  So, we gave them the tools to search the web broadly, and then provide a curated collection to their users. So today if you go to New York Magazine, you’ll see literally hundreds of new videos every week – hundreds and hundreds – of which they make one or two.” [emphasis in original].

There’s an interesting idea here for organizations or businesses that are considering the use of online video in their marketing efforts: if publications like NewYork Magazine are going to be “curating” videos for their readers, then producing videos that will be curated is a potential path to exposure.

As we’ve noted, we think the curation idea is not really new, but as long as web publications are going to allow themselves to be talked into trying doing it, someone has to produce the videos that are going to get curated.

Might as well be your business or organization.

Think of the publications that cover your industry or activity and look to see if they are curating videos yet. Consider, perhaps, encouraging them to do so.

Written by Arbour Media

May 31st, 2011 at 10:41 am

BBC: Is the internet going to be the death of television?

without comments

For a slightly more skeptical view of the potential of online video to destroy the cable TV business, this article from the BBC is worth a look.

The US pay TV market had suffered its first ever drop in subscribers. In the end the economy was roundly found to blame, with cable packages being sacrificed as families were forced to tighten their belts.

But some commentators pointed to this as the inevitable result of the growth of on demand and over the top offerings available on the internet.

So is technology killing what we think of as traditional television – and taking pay TV operators with it?

It’s a confusing picture. Nielsen, who track US television viewing habits, have reported a drop in television ownership – albeit from 98.9% to 96.7%. DVD sales are falling, while Netflix recently overtook cable operator Comcast to become the biggest subscription video service in North America.

IMS Research however is predicting digital cable TV subscribers in the US will increase by 7.8m between 2010 and 2015.



Written by Arbour Media

May 13th, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Kill the Cable Bill

without comments

We ran across a website previously unkown to us,, which according to a recent interview of the site’s founder Dave Kennedy, is

an informational resource that provides industry trend analysis, product / service reviewsonline video guide ), and simple but cost effective ways to make the transition from standard Cable to Online TV. This site is for people who want to decrease how much they spend on standard TV programing, while taking advantage of low cost Online TV.

Kennedy started the site after a recent financial setback led him to cancel his cable TV subscription and look for alternatives. He says he found himself overwhelemed by information on TV without cable, and so decided to pull together information on the topic and offer it via a website. “With cable costs going up,” he says,

and the economy getting worse, many people are finding that canceling cable is the only thing that make sense. With this growing demand for Online TV, vendors are popping out of the woodwork – all promising to fulfill this need. The problem is that most of the sites, services, and products out there only offer partial solutions, or no solution at all. Through my research I realized that there is a growing need for clarity in this space. And that people just like me, needed help making this complex transition from standard cable to Online TV.

In one post to the site, Kennedy gives his “Top Five Reasons to Cancel Cable”.  The first three:

1. TIME: Too much television is a waste of time. If you cancel cable and only watch those programs that are important, you can spend more time with the people we love.

2. MONEY: a cable or satellite subscription costs at least two times as much (on a monthly basis) as it does to utilize Hulu and Netflix. When times are tough the first thing that needs to go is entertainment. But if you can get the same entertainment at a fraction of the cost – then that is even better!

3. TECHNOLOGY: Streaming Video is the way of the future. Before long all video entertainment will be via an online connection. Might as well get on-board now, learn the tricks, and save money in the process.

Kennedy’s site is yet another indication that online video is likely to completely transform the way video content is consumed, and, ultimately, produced.

Doing a bit of searching on this topic led us to this interesting set of interviews with folks who “cut the cord” over at gigaom

Written by Arbour Media

May 13th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Reel SEO Launches Regular Legal Advice for Online Video Producers

with one comment a site devoted to coverage of online video as a marketing tool will now regularly post information on the legal aspects of marketing-related online video production in a new series “Is It Legal?”

One of the advantages to working with an established producer it that the firm should  be able to help you navigate the many potential legal liabilities — such as the right of publicity discussed in the the following vide — that may arise in the production process.

Written by Arbour Media

May 9th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

TV Ownership Declines 2% in US Says the Nielsen Company

without comments

In a story with interesting implications for the growth of online video, the New York Times reports today that

The Nielsen Company, which takes TV set ownership into account when it produces ratings, will tell television networks and advertisers on Tuesday that 96.7 percent of American households now own sets, down from 98.9 percent previously.

There are two reasons for the decline, according to Nielsen. One is poverty: some low-income households no longer own TV sets, most likely because they cannot afford new digital sets and antennas.

The other is technological wizardry: young people who have grown up with laptops in their hands instead of remote controls are opting not to buy TV sets when they graduate from college or enter the work force, at least not at first. Instead, they are subsisting on a diet of television shows and movies from the Internet.

That second reason is prompting Nielsen to think about a redefinition of the term “television household” to include Internet video viewers.

“We’ve been having conversations with clients,” said Pat McDonough, the senior vice president for insights and analysis at Nielsen. “That would be a big change for this industry, and we’d be doing it in consultation with clients if we do it.” [emphasis added]

The decline marks the first time in 20 years that television ownership has fallen in the U.S.

According to the report:

“While Nielsen data demonstrates that consumers are viewing more video content across all platforms — rather than replacing one medium with another — a small subset of younger, urban consumers seem to be going without paid TV subscriptions for the time being. The long-term effects of this are still unclear, as it is undetermined if this is also an economic issue that will see these individuals entering the TV marketplace once they have the means, or the beginning of a larger shift to online viewing.”

While the Times speculates the small declines means that TV will be at the center of  American homes for some time to come, we think that Nielsen is positioning itself for a future in which the audience for video becomes at least as significant as the cable and broadcast  audience.

As we’ve noted before, the “TV”  revolution won’t be televised.

Nielsen’s press release on the subject is available at the Nielsen website.

Written by Arbour Media

May 3rd, 2011 at 7:06 am

Cable on iPad and the Future of “Television”

without comments

The technology news blog Gigaom has posted an interesting article on Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision’s experiments with making their cable TV offerings available via iPad apps.

In the first 5 days its iPad app was available, says Cablevsion, it was downloaded 50,000 times.  Time Warner’s iPad app was downloaded 360,000 times in the first month of its availability, and Comcast’s iPad offering has been downloaded 1.5 million times since it was released in November 2010.

The bottom line meaning of these numbers, according to Gigaom:

Cable subscribers are highly amenable to the idea of accessing content on their iPads.

Why is this important?

As it becomes normal for audiences to access cable video programming on iPads or similar devices, they’ll be all the more willing to give any video content they can find a try.

This means, in effect, that programs on Rocketboom, YouTube, CNN, the Discovery Channel, BBC America, Hulu, or any other web- or app-based  channel will be more and more on equal footing in terms of audiences’ access to them.

It means we’re on the cusp of a time in which 1000s of video content channels may bloom–channels that can in theory be created by any individual, organization, or business that has a message to broadcast–and in which audiences will become even more segmented by various interests.

At Arbour Media, we’re ready to help individuals, organizations, or businesses create such channels.

The “TV” revolution won’t be televised.


Written by Arbour Media

May 2nd, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Netflix Grows Due to Streaming Offerings

without comments

The New York Times reports that Netflix gained 1.1 million subscribers in each month of the first quarter of 2011 and now has a record 22.8 million subscribers in the United States. “Two years ago,” the report says, Netflix had  “only 10 million customers and it was largely a DVD-by-mail service. Now it is a streaming force to be reckoned with.”

“The virtuous cycle we’ve mentioned previously of increased investment in streaming content, strong word of mouth and an expanding device ecosystem truly worked for us in the quarter,” the company said in a letter to shareholders.

What it means by a device ecosystem are its connections to video game consoles and Internet-ready television sets, which have rapidly proliferated and have driven subscriber growth.

The bigger picture is that people are getting more and more used to watching video in a streaming format that bypasses traditional broadcast and cable channels. Netflix’s rate of growth suggests audiences really don’t mind watching streaming video.

Written by Arbour Media

April 25th, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Posted in Data,Online Video