Friday, 27 March 2009

IPTV World Forum - Day 2

The show picked up on Thursday, with evidently more visitors passing by our stand than on Wednesday. Whilst, I didn’t get as much of a chance to walk around yesterday, here’s my take on what was sparking the interest in my industry discussions.

With the general tone of discussions swayed towards the development of open IPTV standards, both operators and manufactures were showing great interest in the sharing of practical specifications on IPTV standards and the development of commercially viable IPTV models. Much of the questions thrown my way were around our open developer platform, the ANT Academy. And, on stand we had firm interest from a several new companies interested in joining the platform to help shape their propositions.

What’s more, our Amazon TV shopping application demo was drawing in the attention on stand. A great example of a practical way to implement and monetise third party content on an IPTV platform, visitors were intrigued by the search capability, which provoked discussions around consumers’ expectations.

All in all, it was nice to see some traction building up for the IPTV industry and it seems the whole eco-system is shaping up nicely for the industry.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

IPTV World Forum – Day 1

IPTV World Forum kicked off today with a number of strong brands coming under a one roof to showcase what they’ve been up to in the past year. From looking around the show, it was obvious that market consolidation has shaped the industry in the last year. Most of the exhibitors were recognised brands and the start-ups of last year, had either grown up or were noticeable by their absence. The IPTV market has seemingly matured.

What’s more, from equipment manufacturers to middleware providers, the theme of this year’s event was very much focused on the consumer. The IPTV industry has taken note of who really matters and started to articulate better, with a focus on user-centric multimedia services. It might be making more exhilarating graphics for connected TVs or improving the transitioning between applications, but it is obvious that the industry is thinking about how it can deliver applications that enhance the users’ TV viewing experience, without interrupting them.

If you’re visiting the IPTV World Forum tomorrow, then please do drop by our stand (70). We can talk to you about our newly launched ANT Academy (amongst other things), which has already attracted a number of interested members at today’s show

More from us tomorrow…

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Britain is a nation of Youtube addicts

This week, ComScore released yet more interesting figures, highlighting a 10 percent increase in online video viewing in the UK. According to the research the total unique audience for online videos reached 29.6m last year, with over 80 percent of all internet users tuning in to watch videos online.

The research also noted that 23.5m UK viewers watched over 2 billion videos on YouTube during the past year – that’s 86 videos per viewer.

Video sharing sites are not the only platform to attract viewers. BBC’s VOD service held a significant lead among TV broadcasters with nearly 55m videos being viewed in 2008. See detailed stats below.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

From Sci Fi to Syfy, what’s the difference?

According to Media Week, NBC is the latest company to exercise rebranding during this tough climate. NBC is rebranding its Sci Fi Channel to Syfy, which will be introduced first in the US in July, with UK activities due to follow suit at the beginning of Q3 this year.

Although I’m somewhat undecided about the so called “phonetic” name change, the company explains “the new spelling will allow NBC to have an ownable trademark that it hopes will gain greater recognition among consumers across new-media and non-linear digital platforms - such as Hulu and iTunes”.

Last year both Sky and ITV renamed their VOD services to Sky Player and ITV Player respectively, as posted here.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

ANT Galio is shortlisted for IPTV World Series Awards

We’re all extremely excited over here to have been shortlisted for the IPTV World Series Awards in the Best IPTV Service Delivery Platform or Client Software category.

It’s great to be recognised for ANT Galio which has gone from strength to strength in the worldwide IPTV market. I’ll be attending the awards ceremony (25th March, Millennium Gloucester Hotel, London) to fly the flag for ANT.

If you’re attending feel free to drop by and say ‘hello!’

Monday, 9 March 2009

BSkyB prepares for 3D content

Rapid TV News has reported that BSkyB is to launch a 3D service in the near future. Sky’s chief engineer broadcast strategist, Chris Johns, has reportedly told a London conference that Sky will increasingly focus on building and delivering its own archive of 3D material as part of Sky’s “Vision of the Future”; services like the Arts Channel, sports and general entertainment will be the first to receive investment.

Sky’s decision to invest in 3D systems is driven by the burgeoning distribution demand from Hollywood, which is said to be releasing some 61 movies in 3D over the next 18 months.

Interestingly, Sky is also said to be focused on delivering everyday 3D home entertainment through simple and cost-effective technology routes without the need for newer “3D Ready” or “HD Ready” set-top boxes.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

IPTV industry must also face up to scrutiny around behavioural advertising

The online advertising industry has launched a set of guidelines for a genre of web adverts that have been causing controversy.

The code of practice has been drawn up by the Internet Advertising Bureau and focuses on the emergence of behavioural advertising, a form of targeting consumers based on people’s browsing activity.

The TV industry should be listening closely to this news. It’s an issue that could soon spill into the TV world as service providers start to converge traditional broadcast channels with content from the web.

Telcos, other service providers and advertisers themselves have been talking about the convergence of the TV & the web for some time. In many ways, it’s a case of when, and not if, it will happen. Convergence will revolutionise the way people watch and use the TV, but it will also mean that broadcasters have to be much more targeted in their advertising. However, there’s a fine line to tread between offering consumers good, targeted services based on viewing preferences and what could be perceived as ‘snooping’. Whatever the outcome of this discussion, eventually the TV industry will have to face up to these issues and adopt some sort of guidelines or best practice of its own.

If you have any thoughts of your own on this – I’d be glad to hear more about them.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

BBC experiments with real-time content

The BBC is publicly testing an interesting online project called BBC News Radar, an online app that displays the latest BBC news and updates in a simple and streamlined format, similar to the microblogging phenomenon Twitter. On the BBC Journalist Labs blog, Jake MacMullin, the developer behind the app, revealed that the BBC might even consider placing it permanently on the BBC website.

Now, it’s quite interesting to see mainstream media like the BBC is taking the initiative to introduce real-time content. With the web constantly grappling for our dwindling attention, it kind of makes sense for content providers to offer more concise and speedy content updates. With technology improvements increasingly delivering content to the user instantly, there’s no doubt that real-time content will be favoured in future.

Here at ANT, we’ve already begun to see demand for this type of concise news content to be delivered direct to the TV. In fact, we’ll be demonstrating something that meets this demand in a couple of weeks time at the IPTV World Forum in London.

If you’re planning to attend the show why not pay us a visit, we’ll be at stand number 70.