The UK's Channel 4 (a Brightcove powered publisher) did an amazing, BAFTA nominated, documentary called Tsunami: Caught on Camera - a provocative and powerful edit of personal video clips compiled around the devastating 2004 Boxing Day tragedy. In this doco something struck me as very peculiar about how Tsunamis operate (well at these how this one did) - its 2 wave structure: there was a big surge, awe inspiring itself, then a massive pull back and then the BIG one hit.
No doubt you're wondering how this ties in at all with Connected TVs (and I must admit this seems a stretch even for me) but hear me out. Imagine the first wave as the introduction of video on smartphones. What a rush that was, we were all hit seemingly unaware. And now as that wave pulls out it seems to be pulling rather far out. And just on the horizon there seems to be something boiling rather furiously. That is the BIG one and in this analogy is what I see as the introduction of the Connected TV to the online video space.
This may seem a rather over dramatic comparison but for the last 9 months I've been watching this wave build way out in the ocean and seen it gather more and more unstoppable momentum. And more than one publisher seems to be just standing and watching it come inland.
Consider that the UK alone has 26 Million TV households (source: BARB) of which the BBC expects by 2011 that 14% of these will be using it for VOD catch up - that's 3.6 Million HOUSEHOLDS using TVs for online video consumption (source: BBC Trust). The US, as expected, has a much higher number where although the percentage of 14% remains the same, with a base number of 115 Million TV households (source: IMS Research) this represents a target audience of 16 Million households by end of 2010 (that is THIS YEAR!).
And that's just Connected TVs. Game consoles are doing their part rather well in driving massive uptake: 20 Million+ XBoxes, 20 Million PS3s, 26 Million Wiis will be connected to the Internet by 2010 (source: Screen Digest) - and most telling of all is that in EMEA over 45% of PS3 customers have connected their PC (note not their PS3 but PC) to their TV (source: Sony Networks presentation to ConnectedTV Summit 2010). Why would these users connect their PC to a TV? Have a look at Boxee to find out.
In one of the most classic examples of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" the industry that invented, nurtured and raised video as it's primary medium is now the last major industry left to really embrace video's transcendence, and probably coming of age, to the IP based connected delivery. But slow as they may have been in reaching their end game they have, finally, arrived and online, connected video will be coming out of the cold back into the house that raised it. Now users will be able to watch any video, from any source through their favourite device, including the king daddy of them all: Television.
And so what about Publishers and Content Providers? Well we've got you covered. Brightcove has been building solid first class partnerships and relationships with all the major (and some minor) players in this emerging ocean of opportunity so that as a Brightcove customer, just like mobile, you don't need to lift a finger!
For example today a customer of Brightcove can get on any of these platforms:
- Yahoo Widgets (currently supports Sony, Samsung, LG, Vizio)
- Samsung App Store
- Sony Networks (includes BRAVIA Internet Video Link and Sony PS3)
- Miniweb Connected TV Platform
- AnySource Media's Internet Video Navigator platform
As the space emerges Brightcove continues to be among the thinkers and leaders to help build a sustainable and profitable market to everyone's benefit. Activity such as this includes:
- A dedicated solution for a TV Everywhere project
- Participating and sponsoring industry events like ConnectedTV Summit
- Actively participating with regional programs like the UK's Canvas Project and the European-wide HbbTV initiative
But really what it boils down to is getting the content from your Brightcove account to in as seamless, controllable, protected and monetisable way. By supporting standards and features such as:
- H.264 video format
- Flash Player 10.1
- Robust CDN delivery
as well as forming excellent integration guides between us and complimentary Connected TV service leaders it really can't be easier to start distributing to what really is the next BIG one for the connected video industry. Just grab your Media API token, switch on UDS on your account, build a player and get on these devices - no complexity required!
To finish, a (rather subjective) word about the future. The elephant in the room is Google's announcement of it's pending Google TV platform. And not to forget Apple's slightly late to the party revamping of their Apple TV product. Well we've got you covered there as well. Google TV will be a specialised version of the Android Platform and our just-released Android SDK will have the kickstart you need. And the new Apple TV? Yep it's built using iOS and our SDK for that will be a great fit as well. What their finished products will be is still to be determined but the fact these 2 giants are moving into this space at the speed they are this should be all credibility you need to know this is serious stuff.
How long before that 40inch iPad gets released?
-- Cameron Church