I’m at the airport early, waiting for a red-eye flight from San Francisco to Toronto (via Las Vegas – ugh), so thought I’d share an interesting story that landed in my inbox.
BBC, the largest broadcasting corporation in the world, had been using Windows Media Player and Real for years to stream video to their online visitors – that is, until Christmas ’07 when they launched the new Flash-based BBC iPlayer. The iPlayer allows the online viewing public to choose from over 250 BBC shows from the past seven days and either stream the video or download to their desktop. In the first two weeks of launch, the iPlayer was accessed by a million visitors for a whopping 3.5 million streams/downloads.
That is an 800% increase over what their online video traffic was with the WMP/Real solution! Just goes to show you that if you build it (with Flash Video), they will come.
During his Consumer Electronics Show keynote in Las Vegas on Sunday, Bill Gates announced that Silverlight will be the exclusive video format for NBC’s coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This is obviously a high profile ‘win’ for Silverlight, but almost all outside observers agree that Microsoft must have paid NBC a significant amount for this to happen.
In my opinion, this may be a smart move by MS, since the move will require millions of users to install Silverlight on their desktops so that they can watch the extended coverage. In 2004, NBCOlympics.com attracted a total of 12.2 million online viewers (a 230% increase over the 2000 Sydney olympics). In 2006, NBC built on this momentum and almost cracked the top 100 most trafficked websites during the Torino Olympics. I think it’s safe to assume that 2008 will see an even larger online audience.. so there’s a huge potential for new Silverlight installs on desktops around the world. In addition, this will be a good test for the robustness of the Silverlight platform, and if things go well, the Olympics will be a nice feather in Microsoft’s proverbial hat.
I think the above news, plus Microsoft’s move to redesign microsoft.com to require Silverlight, Flash is going to get some serious competition in 08. Incidentally, most agree that this move was out of desperation at the dismal adoption rate for Silverlight by consumers and developers. Can’t blame them though, since you can say that Adobe requires adobe.com visitors to install Flash Player.
The Olympics story was picked up by a lot of different news outlets, so I’m sure more details will be forthcoming – I’m waiting for the leak about the exact amount that Microsoft paid.. but a few links:
Google jumped from 27% share of videos viewed online in July to 28.3% in September.
Google (through YouTube) is clearly the leader in its share of online video viewership. The runner-up for the title for September was Fox Interactive which had 4.2% of the share! For Fox, I’m guessing it’s myspacetv.com and fox.com contributing to this.
In the US, 2 out of 5 Internet users watched a video on YouTube in September – that’s 70 million people watching 2.5 billion video clips. The average viewing time was 2.7 minutes.. that comes out to 12,842 years of running time! (2.5B x 2.7min / 60 / 24 / 365). Yowza!
I was in Manhattan this week for a few meetings and had some spare time to visit Times Square to see the new ‘Adobe’ billboard. It took me a while to find it, since aside from a quick 10-second ‘Powered by Flash’ video clip that plays few minutes, there weren’t any additional clues.
So in case you find yourself near W 48th & 7th/8th avenue, look for TheColor Purple Starring Fantasia billboard and then look right under that. What you’re looking at is the largest Flash Video player in the world! If you want to be at eye-level with the billboard, I’d suggest Foley’s Fish House at the Renaissance Hotel. As an aside, that hotel just went through a massive renovation and they went with this crazy, plastic/organic decor in the place. Kind of weird, but then again, it’s New York.
By the way, is it just me or is that Dana Davis (Monica Dawson/muscle mimic on Heroes) on the blacksingles.com poster?