Kangaroo court

Following the ruling, a few analysts (Arash @ Screen Digest, Nick Thomas @ Forrester/Jupiter) have come out and criticized the competition commission for a lack of foresight – Pirates must be delighted (Nick Thomas, Forrester).

And while the collaboration may be denied,  the constituent players are still able to throttle competition: “Between ITV.com, Channel 4.com and Kangaroo’s core site, there will be little space left in the nascent online TV advertising market for the likes of Five, BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) and MTV. We believe the provisional findings suggest a lack of familiarity with online content markets.”

Arash at Screen Digest lamented the demise of the service that Didn’t know what it was

Was it a subscription archive service? Was it an ad-supported archive service? Was it a catch-up service? Was it both but in different windows? Was it free or paid? Would it feature US hit shows or not? 

At some point during the 20 months of its short life, Project Kangaroo was one or all of these things. In many respects, it was the brainchild of a confused pre-“iPlayer 2.0” era…

…Kangaroo was a waste of time and effort on the part of both ITV and Channel 4. As the dust settles, the focus will rightly shift towards ITV Player and 4oD which, if the BBC iPlayer and Demand Five are anything to be measured by, will have to make up for lost time if they don’t want to get lost in the noise. “

It’s certainly set the major broadcasters over here back a few steps, but opened a window of opportunity for others and all agree the market will continue to become more competitive.

We thought there was also an interesting – if slightly xenophobic – assertion in the ruling that UK viewers particularly valued programmes produced and originally shown in the UK!

Research is always an interesting beast –  ask the man on the street what his favourite programme is and you can be confident it’ll be most recent show he’s seen and enjoyed; with the most popular content still found on the (dominant) terrestrial channels, of course UK viewers will seem to value UK produced shows.

The real reason this hooker our interest is because the ruling came out the day after The Culture Show ran a brilliant piece by Greg Dyke on the success of HBO. The raft of high-quality, challenging shows coming out of HBO (the Wire, Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Desperate House Wives) is increasingly recognized and lauded over here, at stark comparison to the home-grown dirge of reality eye-wash and mediocre ‘safe’ material – It’s all chewing gum for the eyes! (unable to access iPlayer? check accompanying Guardian piece here).

Ultimately, the consumer demand for high-quality, coupled with the increasing awareness of online video, means that regardless of Kangeroo cancellations market growth is a certainty here.


Making money from the free economy

Anyone contemplating how to make money on the Internet out of things that consumers now consider free (i.e. digital music and films) should read Kevin Kelly’s ‘Better than Free” manifesto.  The “senior maverick” from Wired doesn’t believe that advertising is the only business model, but that generosity, accompanied by the cultivation and nurturing of qualities “that can’t be replicated with a click of the mouse” is the new business model. 

This brilliant manifesto “Better than Free”  looks at the eight things that are, well, better than free.  He starts off by setting the scene with:

When copies are super abundant, they become worthless

When copies are super abundant, stuff that can’t be copied becomes scare and valuable

When copies are free, you need to sell things that can not be copied

Well what can’t be copied?

Read it!

Online video distribution: How & when… with a bit of ‘why’.


Cool TV pic from Ashley B 

Really good piece in Variety about digital distribution?

Basic premise – the indie film sector is holding firm until it sees more revenue from digital platforms. The myriad of solutions out there – for mobile, PC, IPTV – are saturating the market before the content owners even commit their product.

“There’s an awful lot of time and money being wasted right now by people looking into the future,” notes Myriad Pictures prexy and CEO Kirk D’Amico…

…While distribution via emerging digital platforms may prove wildly profitable for indies a few years down the road, for now, as D’Amico notes, “It’s created a tremendous uncertainty in the marketplace…

…By and large, digital revenue remains nascent. For example, iTunes and Amazon, far and way the top digital movie distribution platforms in the U.S., won’t even say how much they’re making from downloads right now…

…The Internet isn’t paying upfront advances on anything yet…You can have a library of 1,000 titles, and you’re probably not going to get a dime from any of the major online services at this point.” [Jean Prewitt, president and CEO of the Independent Film & Television Alliance]”

…Of course, setting up a deal to get your movie on a platform like iTunes “is only half the battle…Getting eyeballs to see it is the other half.” [Matt Dentler, Head of DRM, Cinetic Media]

So. three things ?

  • Revenues are not there yet ? the content that?s available is not making enough money; content owners are hesitant to commit

  • The lack of commitment is provoking more companies to step up with their own solution. entrepreneurs are thinking ?No one owns the market but there?s still demand and huge potential? a major opportunity will exist until a de-facto solution is found. Why not my solution?

  • A de-facto solution will not be found until there?s a change in the consumer mind-set, enticing consumers to commit to digital viewing.

Being simplistic – content owners will not commit until consumers commit. And until content owners commit, there will always be an opportunity for entrepreneurs to throw another solution, an alternative platform into the ring, further fragmenting the market.

It should be an ever-decreasing circle down to the final successful combinations (there will always be several). Instead, the number of platforms and solutions available continues to swell, while the availability of high-quality, compelling, popular content dwindles.    

It happened with music and it?s happening for online video, but it?s a slow process.

Out at MIP last month, the BBC made some really promising statements about standardising online video platforms. As reported on paidcontent, BBC future media and technology honcho, Erik Huggers, spoke positively about open IPTV platforms built into TV sets…

?Box manufacturers can add this capability, that adheres to the standard, to the box. You could talk to Philips or Pioneer or Sony who are adding internet to television sets … to provide a coherent platform in the country … so the internet hits the living room in the right way, rather than in a fragmented way. It?s the last bastion – it?s about getting in to the living room with the richness and community features that the web offers with the viewing quality from a larger device. Because it?s an open service, any company could build an app for the platform…?

the Beeb joins Akamai and a number of others on this argument for an open platform. Ultimately, this would bridge the gap between PC and TV, provoking [in our opinion] a shift in consumer practice. There?s still a divide at the moment which is allowing half-way broadcast houses like Joost and BabelGum to survive.

Developing an open industry standard (still a hugely difficult process) would allow these chaps to survive on the living room TV. Monetise the content and allow it to be shared between devices in a simple way (see HIRO Media) and you’ve got happy, committed, repeat-users providing the all-important revenue for the content owners.

Again… maybe too simplistic, but something’s got to change…




 Disclosure – Edelman UK represents HIRO Media, and has previously worked on behalf of Akamia

Right on! Reading the Fine Print: Terms of Service

Jackson West has penned a great explanation of the ToS materials on YouTube. Where’s the best place to store your digital video content? How safe is it? Do you retain ownership or are sites positioning their intentions to ensure they can wrest control of it in the future?

The rule of thumb – if you’re in to making money from your UGC, use sites like YouTube as a site to distribute your free stuff, not the Oscar-winning film noir that’s going to make you the big bucks.  

From NewTeeVee:

As online media becomes more professional, it becomes critical to start examining the fine print. Traditionally, entertainers had agents and lawyers to do this for them — and take a hefty cut in the process. In this do-it-yourself, jack-of-all-trades business, though, it behooves you to cultivate an appreciation for legalese. Specifically, get to know the terms of service on a site before you start uploading your videos.

For starters, the safest place to put your online video content in terms of defending your rights to it down the road is on a site you maintain. You set the terms of what, when and how people view your work, can go crazy with advertising and sponsorship, aren’t bound by anyone’s concept of obscenity and stand a much better chance of keeping your work up in the wake of a nastygram.

But the second you put a video on a video publishing platform, you’re agreeing to all the fine print. While these are usually boilerplate arrangements, and abuses of content are largely in the hypothetical stage at this point, it’s a good idea to be wary, or at least shrewd. (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, nor have I played one on TV — if you have serious questions, hire one, there’s lots of ‘em.)

Let’s take a look at the critical section of YouTube’s terms of use, since that’s the biggest gorilla in the room.

For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in your User Submissions.

This is good. It basically means that beyond the following rights you’re granting to YouTube, you’re not ceding any rights to ownership of the materials.

However, by submitting User Submissions to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the YouTube Website (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.

There’s always a “however,” isn’t there? Basically, this is saying that you are giving YouTube the rights to display your content, make backup copies on servers, give its business partners (such as Google and Apple) rights under these terms and deliver the video via different channels. It’s that last part that could, theoretically be abused — for instance, for a “America’s Funniest YouTube Videos” airing on ABC Sundays at seven or available on DVD at your local Blockbuster.

You also hereby grant each user of the YouTube Website a non-exclusive license to access your User Submissions through the Website, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such User Submissions as permitted through the functionality of the Website and under these Terms of Service.

Here’s where YouTube makes sure that you can’t go after people embedding content you’ve uploaded to YouTube. Earlier in the document, YouTube makes it clear that if third-party sites slather YouTube-hosted videos with ads, they will go after you. Basically, if you figure out how to make money off videos submitted to YouTube before they do, expect a letter from the legal team (or maybe an acquisition offer, who knows).

The above licenses granted by you in User Videos terminate within a commercially reasonable time after you remove or delete your User Videos from the YouTube Service.

Here’s the critical juncture. At any point, you can choose to opt out of these terms simply by deleting your videos. So if you do see yourself punching your own groin on ABC or on DVD packaging, it’s time to start threatening to take down your content unless you get a piece of the action (if that sounds like extortion, welcome to showbiz, baby).

You understand and agree, however, that YouTube may retain, but not display, distribute, or perform, server copies of User Submissions that have been removed or deleted.

Admittedly, this sounds a tad creepy — the first thought that came to my mind was, “Wow, so that’s what happens to all the porn that’s presumably still being uploaded but never displayed on the site.” Seriously though, this simply means that YouTube’s not going to go through every redundant backup of source material looking for your clip to make sure traces no longer exist, and maybe save them some re-encoding time if you relent and post your video again.

The above licenses granted by you in User Comments are perpetual and irrevocable.

Long story short — don’t write the great American novel in the comments. What it may have in over-the-top postmodern statement, it will lack in terms of your ability to sell exclusive rights down the road.

Of course, that’s just the meat of the matter for content creators (here’s a bullet guide to the rest). You’ll find similar, but not exactly the same, language on most other sites where you can post video. Blip.tv has the courtesy of only granting itself non-commercial rights to re-display your content off site (as well as offering the choice of Creative Commons or public domain licensing of your work).

The other thing to note is that YouTube, and most other sites, reserves the right to change its terms at any point without notfication. By leaving your work on the site, and continuing to upload work, you automatically agree to those changes in its terms. And of course, it also reserves the right to delete you and your videos from the system for all sorts of violations, real or perceived, or none at all.

None of these terms, from YouTube or most other sites, are particularly heinous. But if you are looking at producing online video as a business, you might not want to rely on YouTube or any other site as a primary vehicle for delivering your content, but rather a convenient place to further distribute and promote work you’re making freely available from your own site already.

BBC on demand

The BBC has been trialling it’s on-demand technology and is ready to provide some of its archive for download online (as we mentioned last week). It’s all interesting stuff, and I agree that it’s a good transition point for people new to on-demand technology, but we at DERTy Towers have a little piece research from a different source which tells us a LOT more about consumer opinion of on-demand services. It’s under wraps for the moment watch this space…. 

BBC looks at VoD options on Freeview   

The BBC has just completed a push video on demand technical trial, in which it automatically downloaded 50 hours of BBC programming a week on to Freeview digital video recorders.

In his keynote speech at MipTV in Cannes, BBC future media and technology director Ashley Highfield said that such a service on Freeview would be an entry-point for audiences new to on-demand content.

“Its advantage over a personal video recorder (PVR) is that you don’t have to remember to record your favourite BBC programmes and that at any one moment, in addition to all the linear channels, there is always a freshly-prepared up-to-date carousel of 50 hours of on-demand programmes,” he said.

However, he added using push-VoD to get on-demand programmes “is great”, but still will not fulfil the BBC’s end ambition of one day enabling any viewer to access any BBC programme ever broadcast via their television. “This will require an internet connection,” he said.

Highfield also confirmed the corporation is to start a limited six-month trial of BBC Archive on its website www.bbc.co.uk next month.

He said the purposes of the trial to inform the BBC’s future proposition for a public service on-demand archive service on the website – subject to approval from the BBC Trust – and to see “where we should draw the line between a licence fee funded service and a commercial service”.

Highfield also pointed to the importance of building relationships if it is to make a success of its planned BBC iPlayer. “Partnerships with platform owners such as Virgin Medida and 02 and with ISPs are critical,” he said. ”

by Rob Shepard at Broadcast

Commercial Broadcasters beware…

The BBC is planning to put one million hours of its past online.


The Guardian reports that  Thousands of hours of broadcasting history are to be made available to the public online as part of a plan to open up the BBC’s entire archive to licence-fee payers free of charge.

The radio and TV material, some of which has never been repeated, includes an interview with Martin Luther King filmed shortly before he was assassinated, and another with John Lennon and Yoko Ono in which the former Beatle talks candidly about the impact their relationship had on the band.

It seems the Beeeb is looking to increase revenue streams due to the low license fee settlement  last year, charging over-seas users and (potentially) including some advertising.

In a move that will surely infuriate commercial broadcasters, the license-fee based service could start making in-roads in to the commercial world.

Lines continue to blur.

DERTy Link #001


We’re going to be posting some of the cooler stuff we see up here; it’s a reference space for everything DERTy on the interweb.

I’ll kick things off with a really cool WebTV site I found call Oreseg. It’s not so much what it does, more the way it does it (typically derty).  The two-way scrollable mechanic looks amazing, and it’s really intuitive. It’s a bit limited in its scope as it’s not searchable, though all the available clips are categorised in to vertical genres (documentary, anime, news, sport, people) and from there you can move vertically between the availbale videos.

Visually it’s really cool but most of the content is Japanese so English speakers – you’ll have a to dig a little deeper to find the UGC nuggets.

Get scrolling.