Is RTL Having A ‘Friends Reunited’ Moment With The SpotXchange Deal?

August 8 2014

RTLs recent acquisition of a majority stake in SpotXchange gave Decipher a nervous moment of deja vu last week, reminding us of a previous broadcaster’s dramatic foray into emerging digital media.

In 2005, ITV under a previous management regime, paid £175M for the British social media site FriendsReunited. The deal delivered £30M to the founders, Steve and Julie Pankhurst. At the time this was charitably viewed as an ‘unusual’ deal – what Sir Humphrey would have called ‘brave’- although Friends Reunited was one of the most visited UK web sites of its day. But the reality for ITV was this was a deal made in desperation by a management team who didn’t understand the new market that was unfolding in front of them. They needed a ‘digital’ play and didn’t know how to deliver it. more “Is RTL Having A ‘Friends Reunited’ Moment With The SpotXchange Deal?”

Anything New on the Horizon? – Updates to the UPC’s Cable Box

Horizon Main Menu

Not many people had heard of the UPC Horizon service until the UPC parent, Liberty Global, bought Virgin Television earlier in the year.  With the Virgin acquisition UPC got its hands on Tivo, and became a European cable giant running TWO different next-gen TV platforms, and the comparisons began. Would Horizon ever replace Tivo or vice-versa? more “Anything New on the Horizon? – Updates to the UPC’s Cable Box”

Twitter and TV – A Pause For Reflection!

Nigel Walley – 2nd April

Sept 2011 - New NW BW crop for social mediaI have finally recovered after AdWeek.  I went to four conferences and followed two more on Twitter, which was over-kill.  As I sat in the final conference, my over-riding thought was how those of us in new media have yet to make the case for a central role for the web and social media in marketing budgets.  It was like 2003 all over again. There were some truly dreadful presentations from new media types, but the area that bothered me most was the perpetual over-claiming for the role of Twitter around TV.

I am a massive Twitter fan and probably count as a ‘super-user’. I am also a massive fan of broadcast TV.  I like the story that they are somehow mutually beneficial, however it appears to have spun out of control.  It has leapt from an observation of concurrent use, to an implication of symbiotic dependence, to the point where now Twitter are peddling the line that not only do they influence TV audiences, but that a brand advertiser can  get material benefits from co-ordinating Twitter campaigns with TV ad spots. The only problem is that there is no data to back any of this up. Or if anything, the data disproves it.

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Network DVRs vs Home Media Servers – what will win?

Damien Read – February 2013

damien clone smallOver the last ten years digital video recorders (DVRs) have revolutionised TV watching, providing the most loved features for consumers; live pause and one-touch recording/series recordings.

However, there are two competing models for the evolution of these DVRs which are about to get into the ring with one another; cloud based network DVR (your recordings are saved in the network) and terabyte sized home ‘media servers’ that can stream live channels, recorded content and VOD around a home with full DVR functionality.

The central difference between the two is simple  – the location where the hard disks are located when the recordings or the paused TV is saved. Network DVRs store recordings and even live ‘pause’ centrally in the network whereas the ‘media server’ DVR stores them in the home. This subtle difference actually has little implication for the consumer recording experience, but a big impact on what kit is in consumers’ homes, the quality of the broadband needed to deliver content to the home, and content rights structures.

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Not Comparing Freesat and YouView (part 2)

So Freesat have launched a TV campaign to promote their new <freetime> service (see the ad here on YouTube). This prompted us to continue our analysis of the differences between Freesat <freetime> and YouView. In our previous blog post about this (see Comparing Freesat to Youview) we pointed out that the two products have very different target markets so weren’t really competitive and shouldn’t be compared directly.

However, it was interesting to explore their different approaches to some complex market issues.   The launch of the ad campaign highlights two more areas where they have taken a fundamentally different approach: branding and relations with Sky.

more “Not Comparing Freesat and YouView (part 2)”

This Duck Still Won’t Quack…

Back in 2009 – when BBC catch up content first arrived on Virgin cable we wrote the following:

‘There is a rule in life that if something walks like a duck and talks like a duck it must be a duck.  It is a good rule, but we have been struggling this week with a slight variation to it.  How about if someone really big and important repeatedly tells you something is a duck, and has gone to the trouble of painting the thing to look like a duck, but every time you look at it,  it still doesn’t walk or talk like a duck?

The duck in question is the TV version of iPlayer that is available on Virgin cable.  The BBC and Virgin have made a great fuss over the fact that ‘iPlayer is now available on Virgin’.  But however much we have tried, we can’t make it quack or waddle.‘   (See the blog: ‘iPlayer Looks Like a Duck’). more “This Duck Still Won’t Quack…”

YouView Boxes Are Like London Buses..

You wait years for one, then three arrive at once….

Nigel Walley – August 2012.   So YouView has finally launched, and having waited for years for our first box, there are now three different ones to play with down at iBurbia Studios.  We have a plain old vanilla one, bought in John Lewis; a BT Vision one; and a TalkTalk one.  This allows us to finally get our hands on the things and to ask some of the pressing questions. Namely, is it any good, is it important, and will it succeed?

more “YouView Boxes Are Like London Buses..”

What The Hell Is Google TV?

By Nigel Walley – Augst 2010

So Google and Sony have jointly announced the launch of Google TV – a range of set top boxes running a version of Google’s Android software. Google have also announced a range of other box launches in the US before Xmas.  You may have seen the press notices about this, and we would like to offer an explanation and opinion on its importance.

First thing is to understand the background landscape.  Broadly, there are three types of competitor in the TV market at the moment: the pay operators (like Sky and Virgin) who make their own boxes and software; the set top box manufacturers who are making Freeview and Freesat boxes with all sorts of fun stuff added over-the- top of broadcast  (sometimes called the ‘over the top’  or OTT  boxes); and the device manufacturers, like Sony,  who are desperately trying to grab ownership of the TV experience in the home with a device centric strategy.  Google TV has relevance for both the OTT and device manufacturers.

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Why do I still watch broadcast TV?

Adrian Stroud – June 2009

I recently challenged myself to work-out why I still watch so much ‘live’ TV. I don’t mean news or sport because I can rationalise those genres quite easily. I mean bread and butter programming.
The challenge came about because I was debating just how much more damage all the VOD services and PVRs will do to live TV viewing figures in the long-run. This is important because it is those live viewing figures that contribute the vast bulk of advertising impacts. VOD currently delivers far, fewer impacts per hour of viewing than live TV, so the ‘end game’ for advertising funded TV programming is defined by this question. My guess was that live TV won’t drop more than perhaps 25%, no matter how many VOD and time shifting gadgets like Sky+ launch, but I could not say why. I suspect I’m making the mistake of confusing the technology with the benefits.
VOD and the PVR are the rational way to consume all but the livest of live TV events. So, when VOD has all the content you want and it is available on every screen in the house, why would you want to watch ordinary old broadcast TV at all?

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TV iPlayer Looks Like A Duck But Quacks Like A Cuckoo

Nigel Walley – March 2009

There is a rule in life that if something walks like a duck and talks like a duck it must be a duck.  It is a good rule, but we have been struggling this week with a slight variation to it.  How about if someone really big and important repeatedly tells you something is a duck, and has gone to the trouble of painting the thing to look like a duck, but every time you look at it,  it still doesn’t walk or talk like a duck?

The duck in question is the TV version of iPlayer that is available on Virgin cable.  The BBC and Virgin have made a great fuss over the fact that iPlayer is now available on Virgin’.  But however much we have tried, we can’t make it quack or waddle.

more “TV iPlayer Looks Like A Duck But Quacks Like A Cuckoo”