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.


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

DERTy Link #5: PRThoughts.TV


Guillaume du Gardier (Director of Online, Edelman Europe) has launched a web TV site PRthoughts.TV  through which he’s going to explore the world of social media and participatory communication. Broadcast weekly, it presents views of Web 2.0 and offers discussion from social media experts.

Guillaume kicks off the first episode with contributions from Yann Motte, CEO & founder of Webjam, BBC Blogger extrodinaire, Robin Hamman, and DERT’s very own Matt Grossman, talking about CBS’ last.fm acquisition.

It’s quite similar to our European CEO, David Brain’s site, 60 Second View, though du Gardier’s site is a dedicated vlog with a Web 2.0 agenda.   

You can see the whole show (and subscribe to the series) after the jump

We do the DERTy work (pt1)


It’s been a particularly busy week a DERTy Towers UK. Contrary to popular belief, there are occasions when we feel compelled to stop lurking on the interweb and actually do some work – this has been one such occasion.

When the BBC announced it’s VoD service a couple of weeks ago, we mentioned that we had a bit of inside information. At the beginning of this year, one of our biggest clients, Motorola’s Connected Home Solutions (CHS) division, conducted a pan-European research project looking at the IPTV market. We released the first stage of results this week.

The project involved surveying 2,500 broadband users from the UK, France, Germany, Spain & Italy. Participants were questioned on their current TV services and usage, their understanding of the technology, demand for experiences offered by IPTV (video on demand, own-scheduling, etc) and predicted use of technology in the future.

We got some incredible results which paint a comprehensive picture of current TV use, consumer opinion of services in Europe today, the demand for personal control and predicted use of future technologies. The key point – surprising everyone here and at Motorola – was that 45 per cent of European viewers are watching TV online.

The point of interest was not the specific mechanic or method of delivery but on the viewing experience being embraced by end-users. Respondents may not have been able to differentiate between live streaming, video on demand or download (for these purposes we did not differentiate) but the message that camethrough conclusively was that people are taking far more control in their viewing habits, making the decision on their own time and not allowing themselves to be dictated to by broadcaster schedules.

It’s simply evidence that illustrates the changing face of viewing habits – something that’s enabled by high-bandwidth internet connections and IPTV technologies whilst being embraced by broadcasters (like the BBC and ITV in the UK this week), new stakeholders (Joost, Babelnetworks, Jalipo) and traditional providers (Telia Sonera, France Telecom).

Overall, the research gave compelling evidence for the importance of broadband in the home – everyone’s aware of the demand for a reliable internet but the fact that these burgeoning entertainment and communications services are solely reliant on a powerful internet connection means that broadband really is becoming the ‘fourth utility’.   

We had a great response from the media, and in the blogosphere, though there was a bit of a requirement to clarify the purpose of the research and implications for the market. It’s always gratifying to see such a positive outcome following a lot of hard work. It was an incredible team effort and we’ve all invested a lot getting this as far as it is at the moment. As we’ve been saying, there’s a huge amount of data so we’ll be making further announcements in the near future.

We’ll keep you posted…

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.