Category Archives: Syndication

OTT And Paid Content

OTT, short for “over-the-top-television” is an up-and-coming acronym that we are all likely going to become familiar with in the near future, provided someone doesn’t come up with a different marketing name. The concept is simple – it’s TV that comes “over the top” of traditional channels on a cable system via the Internet delivered in digital packets. It can either be live streaming video, on-demand streaming video, or in the form of a pre-recorded on-demand podcast.

There are many aspects of over-the-top TV that have yet to be shaken out. Specifically, here in the early stages there are some still-murky areas when it comes to details of how advertising is going to work.

Things that we know about how OTT works successfully so far:

People are willing to pay for bundled on-demand professionally created OTT content in the form of Netflix on-demand streaming of movies, TV shows, and other content. The bundled Netflix price for all-you-can-eat on-demand streaming OTT offers the consumer a real value. In most cases, a great deal of marketing money and effort has been spent promoting the majority of individual movies and other content that are available on Netflix, so the consumer has a fairly high degree of familiarity with much of the on-demand streaming content they offer. These are essentially repurposed movies that are already on the shelf.

People are willing to watch on-demand streaming OTT of professionally-created content with embedded ads as demonstrated by the ongoing success of Hulu.Com. The consumer is likely already familiar with a portion of the content, but Hulu also allows the consumer to discover and explore previously unknown TV show content in an on-demand stream with embedded ads. These are essentially repurposed TV shows, some movies, and other content.

Live streaming OTT of live content is still catching on. The most successful live OTT content as typified by what Leo Laporte and company are generating still offers an on-demand podcast version that can be downloaded later. Currently, on-demand, after-the-fact podcast versions of live OTT generated content end up with many more downloads than people watching via live streams. Both live streaming OTT and the on-demand podcast versions can contain ads. For the ads to be effective in this format, they need to be relevant to the audience’s needs and desires. The old “shotgun” advertising approach does not work in this format. This specific type of content is closely associated with word-of-mouth promotion.

There are a few questions that remain to be answered. Will consumers pay for on-demand streaming of TV drama-type content they are unfamiliar with — in other words, will consumers pay to watch an on-demand stream of a new TV show drama, documentary or reality show? Using myself as a gage, I wouldn’t pay for individual on-demand episodes of a TV show or movie I wasn’t fairly familiar with. Promotion and word-of-mouth still has to take place.

If consumers will pay-per-view for an unfamiliar on-demand TV show, can the content still contain ads? I think the answer to this depends on the content and its perceived value – i.e., how well it is promoted, and the resulting perceived value that is generated in the potential consumer.

Once “Lost” was a hit TV show, would the fanatic fans have paid for on-demand streams of new episodes? Probably they would have, if they could have gotten them, say a week or so in advance of the actual broadcasts. “Lost” fans would have also put up with ads in the advance on-demand stream. They might have grumbled about it, but if that were the only way it was available in advance, many of them would have opened-up their wallets and paid the price monetarily and with their attention to the embedded ads in order to satisfy their “Lost” habit. Clearly, the producers of “Lost” – ahem – “lost out” on a time-sensitive revenue stream opportunity.

Bottom line, I believe it all revolves around the content and the real and perceived values that the content delivers.

I liked last season’s remake of the old “V” television series. If I could be assured the production values remained just as high, I might pay to subscribe in some manner. If the “V” series is picked up again by ABC next season, I would also pay to subscribe if I could get episodes via on-demand streaming before they were broadcast.

In the meantime, we are still dealing with the death-throws of the old broadcast model with its old appointment based viewing schedule combined with the old shotgun advertising approach. ABC broadcast TV affiliates would have had a cow if “Lost” episodes had been made available as a paid on-demand OTT stream before the episodes were actually broadcast via the network.

The final destination of OTT and when it ends up at that destination depends on what is right for the time. Both delivery infrastructure capabilities and consumer demand will make that determination.

Yahoo Buzz may drive Traffic but where is the RSS?

It appears that some sites are getting a lot of traffic from Yahoo when they make the Buzz List. I headed over to the Science and Technology Section thinking that that category would be good to subscribe to.

To my shock their is no apparent RSS feeds on the site. No feeds auto detected either so it appears that Yahoo may have built a cool site but they are definitely uncool in the RSS department. Come on Yahoo you can do better than that.

Does DailyMe respect sourced content?

I have been experimenting with a new service called DailyMe.  It is a web/email news service that operates very similar to a current newspaper.  It has syndication arrangements with news sources that supply this type of news, like Associated Press and the International Herald Tribune.  They categorise the news and supply you feeds of top news that meets your categories.  They (eventually) pay for the syndicated feeds and the cost of distribution by the ads they place on the pages.

On the surface they show the due respect to the information they syndicate.  They attribute the source, and if required credit the author.  In the few AP articles I have cross checked they do no editorial on the articles, simply repost them.  They do not give any web links back to the originator, but that is normal for print, and probably covered in the terms of their contract.  A newspaper article would be expected to do no more, even if it appeared on their webpage as well as their print version.

What concerns me about the site is that they try and increase traffic outside of their subscription service through social tagging.  The following article sourced from USA Today show what I mean.  The article is properly attributed but contains no links to the USA Today originating article.  What is on the bottom though is an all too familiar social bookmarking applet, allowing readers to post the article to sites like Stumbleupon or Digg.  This seems to me like a line crossed, even if that line is a bit fuzzy.

The syndication arrangement allows you to use the content to produce revenue.  I feel there is a difference between publishing that content to subscribers and using that content as an advertisement for your site.  This is essentially what they are doing, a Digg post that links to DailyMe is attracting new users to their site.  The user is not being attracted by a feature of DailyMe, they are being attracted by a reprinted article.  This seems to be at least misrepresentation regardless of whether the article originator is happy about this or not.

It definitely goes beyond the spirit of social bookmarking.  The ideal is that the original source of the information should get the credit, and link love.  If a page, article or blog post references another site, but adds worthwhile commentary, analysis or perspective then that is a separate matter, however I do not agree with attempting to get traffic by promoting reprinted articles.

Nick Bradbury weighs in on IE7 RSS Feed Support!

First of all I am a big fan of the work Nick Bradbury does with his FeedDemon News reader and I will be the first to say he is a pretty straight forward guy. He understands the importance of “Attention” and he also knows feed readers and the code behind them. His opinions count, read his review on the IE7 RSS Feed Reader Implementation. [Nick Bradbury]

BTW Nick when are we going to get a update to the FeedDemon Beta this thing has been a memory pig!

Media RSS!

The referenced article on Media RSS got me to thinking and I was literally smacking myself in the forehead, because earlier in the year when this was announced, I thought that’s cool we could do some neat tricks with that. It triggered what I was considering before and I am sure when my good friend Angelo wakes up in the morning and reads the e-mail I sent him. He will have to add another 5 days to his coding schedule. If you have ideas on how we could use Media RSS to our advantage at drop me a line. But I have one idea that if it works will totally blow your mind. []

Steve Gillmor on Time is on our side and Attention!

I will likely get a 100 e-mails from those of you that are having a hard time grasping “Attention” if you are don’t worry you are not alone. This blog is a member of and It took me a while to understand the impact and how important Attention is. I encourage you to visit the website and then read this article Steve Gillmor published it has some important points.

For what it’s worth Steve I think Office is a dead application walking at this point also. You would be amazed at the number of sessions I have been involved in on writely in the past few months.