Comcast’s Commitment to TV Everywhere on the Comcast Voices Blog

You’ve already heard from us that “seri­ous atten­tion is required to grow TV Every­where adop­tion from 17% to 70%.”

A headline on the Comcast Voices blog about instant, seamless TV EverywhereOne com­pany that’s giv­ing it seri­ous atten­tion is Com­cast.

The Com­cast Voices blog recently pub­lished an insight­ful update about Comcast’s com­mit­ment to TV Every­where by Matt Strauss. Strauss is the Exec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent and Gen­eral Man­ager of Video Ser­vices for Com­cast Cable and serves as a co-chair on CTAM’s TV Every­where steer­ing com­mit­tee.

Here are a few high­lights from the update:

  • More than 40% of Comcast’s dou­ble-play cus­tomers are using TV Every­where every month.
  • Com­cast is work­ing with indus­try part­ners, includ­ing Adobe, to sup­port “a new, uni­ver­sal, scal­able solu­tion” for TV Every­where that’s facil­i­tated by home based authen­ti­ca­tion and sin­gle sign on.
  • This enhance­ment will “bring TV Every­where to the next level.”

Be sure to read the whole arti­cle on the Com­cast Voices blog.


Why VR Was a Hot Topic at the SEAT 2016 Conference

When a friend of mine watched bas­ket­ball in vir­tual real­ity (VR) for the first time, it made him cry. It immersed him into the sport he’s loved since boy­hood.

A screenshot of an article in Adweek about Adobe Primetime's virtual cinema capabilities

So, it’s not sur­pris­ing that VR would be a hot topic at SEAT 2016, a con­fer­ence that’s attended by lead­ers in pro­fes­sional and col­le­giate sports who are in the posi­tion to dis­trib­ute VR con­tent and make more guys like my friend shed tears of joy.

If you’re explor­ing how to dis­trib­ute your pre­mium sports con­tent to VR users, get in touch with Adobe Prime­time for a demo of our vir­tual cin­ema capa­bil­i­ties.

As reported in Adweek, we are “extend­ing fea­tures for dig­i­tal rights man­age­ment play­back and ad-inser­tion capa­bil­i­ties into vir­tual real­ity envi­ron­ments while also intro­duc­ing vir­tual real­ity ana­lyt­ics to help media com­pa­nies bet­ter under­stand what peo­ple are look­ing at and engag­ing with in VR.”

Feel­ing new to VR video?

Get a detailed overview of video view­ing on VR and AR head­sets in our white paper titled “Cap­i­tal­iz­ing on Viewer’s Hunger for Vir­tual and Aug­mented Real­ity.” And, read about the 5 hur­dles to cre­at­ing and dis­trib­ut­ing con­tent in VR.

Growing TV Everywhere Adoption to 70%, Part 4: Enhancing Content Discovery

A hand reaches for a screen to discover content available via TV Everywhere.

Has any­one ever asked you “What’s on TV Every­where tonight?” Prob­a­bly not, because it’s a hard ques­tion to answer. There are sim­ply not enough easy ways for pay-TV sub­scribers to explore and be alerted to what they can access via TV Every­where.

As a result, fur­ther inno­va­tion in the area of con­tent dis­cov­ery would be wel­come within and across TV Every­where sites and apps. In fact, TV Every­where can grow to reach 70% of pay-TV sub­scribers by the end of 2017 if pay-TV providers improve con­tent dis­cov­ery, increase con­sumer aware­ness and reduce sign-in fric­tion for TV Every­where view­ers.

The current state of content discovery for TV Everywhere viewers

Most of the cur­rent meth­ods for dis­cov­er­ing TV Every­where con­tent leave room for improve­ment. Here’s a few of the most pop­u­lar meth­ods and their lim­i­ta­tions.

  1. Brows­ing or search­ing TV Every­where apps and sites
    Con­sumers can browse or search within the apps and sites pro­vided by their MVPD or by TV pro­gram­mers. Often, this method of con­tent dis­cov­ery doesn’t sur­face as much of the TVE cat­a­log as the sub­scriber has access to. For exam­ple, a TV programmer’s app will only sur­face its own con­tent. This isn’t opti­mal because it forces TV Every­where view­ers to go from app to app and site to site until they find some­thing to watch.
  2. Using third-party ser­vices like Yahoo Video Guide, Yidio, or Molo­tov
    Con­sumers can cre­ate an account with ser­vices like Yahoo Video Guide or Yidio in order to get cus­tomized rec­om­men­da­tions and email alerts about all their favorite TV pro­gram­ming across OTT and TV Every­where ser­vices. Con­sumers in France will have a third option with Molo­tov, which begins ser­vice on July 11. These con­tent dis­cov­ery ser­vices could even­tu­ally provide the ideal expe­ri­ence for con­sumers. How­ever, they’re cur­rently falling short of the ideal because they’re ask­ing con­sumers to install another app just for rec­om­men­da­tions. The ideal con­sumer expe­ri­ence would be one app for both rec­om­men­da­tions and play­back.
  3. Using the inter­faces of con­nected TV devices
    Mak­ers of con­nected TV devices are also pro­vid­ing inno­v­a­tive con­tent dis­cov­ery expe­ri­ences that put TV Every­where con­tent side-by-side with OTT con­tent. For instance, Apple TV lets users search across mul­ti­ple apps at the same time with Siri and will soon allow users to access any TV Every­where app in the search results after pro­vid­ing pay-TV cre­den­tials just once. The only down­side for con­sumers with these expe­ri­ences is that they each only work on one device, a con­nected TV device. And con­nected TV devices only make up 23% of TV Every­where authen­ti­ca­tions, which means these devices can’t provide a ubiq­ui­tous solu­tion to con­tent dis­cov­ery.

The content discovery obstacles for TV Everywhere

Bot­tom line, every inter­face to TV Every­where needs improve­ment. This includes all the “pull inter­faces” where view­ers go to search and browse for con­tent. It also includes all the “push inter­faces” where view­ers pas­sively receive rec­om­men­da­tions.

Here’s some min­i­mum require­ments for pull inter­faces:

  • Every site and app needs search and browse func­tion­al­ity.
  • Every site and app should per­son­al­ize the browse func­tion­al­ity for logged-in view­ers.
  • View­ers should be able to eas­ily tell the dif­fer­ence between full-episodes and short-form con­tent.
  • View­ers should be able to fil­ter out all the results that they don’t have access to.
  • View­ers should eas­ily be able to see meta­data about each movie or pro­gram.

Here’s some min­i­mum require­ments for push inter­faces:

  • View­ers should be able to sign up for per­son­al­ized email rec­om­men­da­tions.
  • View­ers should have access to other ways, besides email, to receive noti­fi­ca­tions of new con­tent. For instance, the social media accounts of MVPDs, net­works, pro­gram­mers, shows, actors, and actresses could all be used to alert fans to shows they’re likely to be inter­ested in.

One way to quickly enhance your con­tent dis­cov­ery capa­bil­i­ties is with Adobe Prime­time Rec­om­men­da­tions. This solu­tion uses machine learn­ing to intel­li­gently sur­face data-dri­ven, per­son­al­ized video rec­om­men­da­tions to your view­ers, which they can play back instantly.

A bright future for content discovery

Com­pe­ti­tion and inno­va­tion in the area of con­tent dis­cov­ery will even­tu­ally cor­rect for today’s lim­i­ta­tions. Every player in the pay-TV indus­try will be a part of mak­ing the deep cat­a­log of TV Every­where con­tent avail­able to view­ers. In addi­tion, social net­works will play a larger role in con­tent dis­cov­ery.

Moving seamlessly from awareness to content discovery to sign in

This infor­ma­tion about con­tent dis­cov­ery com­pletes my series on the three crit­i­cal stages in the consumer’s TV Every­where jour­ney. Specif­i­cally, the ideal TV Every­where jour­ney is one where view­ers:

  1. Know about TV Every­where and the fact that it gives them access to pre­mium con­tent across hun­dreds of sites and apps.
  2. Dis­cover con­tent across these hun­dreds of sites and apps.
  3. Play the TV Every­where con­tent they’ve found with­out being slowed down by cum­ber­some sign in require­ments.

The pay-TV indus­try has a lot to gain by opti­miz­ing these stages. They can increase the amount of time that view­ers spend with their con­tent, increase the loy­alty that pay-TV sub­scribers feel toward the pay-TV brands that they engage with, and decrease churn.

New TVE Video Viewing Patterns Emerge in Q1 2016 Digital Video Benchmark Report

Adobe Dig­i­tal Index’s lat­est Dig­i­tal Video Bench­mark Report shows new TV Every­where (TVE) con­sump­tion trends, includ­ing a remark­able sim­i­lar­ity between video view­ing pat­terns from Q1 2016 and pre­vi­ous quar­ters.

For instance, in past quar­ters we’ve seen that:

  • TVE video view­ing con­tin­ues to rise

In Q1 2016, TVE video view­ing grew 58% QoQ and 107% YoY. In the prior quar­ter, video view­ing grew 29% QoQ and 102% YoY.



  • Authen­ti­ca­tions on TV con­nected devices con­tin­ues to rise

In Q1 2016, TV con­nected devices (i.e. Apple TV, Roku, gam­ing con­soles) accounted for 23% of all TVE authen­ti­ca­tions, rep­re­sent­ing a 15% growth YoY. In the prior quar­ter, TV con­nected devices accounted for 21% of all TVE authen­ti­ca­tions, rep­re­sent­ing a 31% growth YoY.


As of Q1 2016, we now see solid evi­dence that:

  • TVE view­ers are not as “on-the-go” as orig­i­nally thought

71% of all TVE view­ers watched from one loca­tion in March 2016. And, this trend is nearly the same on mobile devices where 72% of mobile TVE view­ers watched from one loca­tion.



  • Mul­ti­ple devices are used when con­tent is watched from only one loca­tion

In aggre­gate, sin­gle-loca­tion view­ers watched 43% of their con­tent on smart­phones, 38% from desk­tops, and 19% from TV con­nected devices or gam­ing con­soles in March 2016.


For more insights like these, access a full copy of the Q1 2016 Dig­i­tal Video Bench­mark Report.

Adobe and Apple Working Together to Advance the TV Everywhere User Experience

We’re pleased to announce today that we’re work­ing closely with Apple to improve con­sumer adop­tion of TV Every­where (TVE) and address key issues pre­vent­ing TV Every­where from reach­ing its full poten­tial.

Apple announced today at its World­wide Devel­op­ers Con­fer­ence a set of new authen­ti­ca­tion APIs in iOS and tvOS that enable Sin­gle Sign On (SSO) for TVE on Apple devices. Apple’s new authen­ti­ca­tion APIs will allow users to sign in using their pay-TV cre­den­tials, and once signed in, they will not have to sign in again as they’re mov­ing from one TVE app to another.

Apple has also enhanced the user expe­ri­ence on Apple TV by mov­ing to a sin­gle screen authen­ti­ca­tion process. Instead of see­ing a reg­is­tra­tion code and using a lap­top to authen­ti­cate, users will now be able to enter their user­name and pass­words directly on the Apple TV screen.

Adobe is work­ing to incor­po­rate these new APIs into all Adobe Prime­time authen­ti­ca­tion SDKs, ensur­ing effi­cient adop­tion by pro­gram­mers. Adobe Prime­time is the mar­ket leader in TV Every­where, pow­er­ing authen­ti­ca­tion for 95% of broad­caster and cable net­work sites and apps in North Amer­ica today.

Adobe will con­tinue to work with pro­gram­mers, MVPDs, device man­u­fac­tur­ers and other part­ners to make TV Every­where a seam­less, enjoy­able user expe­ri­ence, and let con­sumers access con­tent just as eas­ily as they do today on TVs.

Five Takeaways from TV of Tomorrow San Francisco

At TV of Tomor­row, a con­fer­ence for the mul­ti­plat­form TV com­mu­nity, pan­elists dis­cussed and debated many of the trends impact­ing the TV indus­try. The open exchange among lead­ers in the com­mu­nity pro­vided action­able ideas for address­ing the cord-cut­ting mar­ket, increas­ing TVE pen­e­tra­tion, tack­ling the Novem­ber elec­tions, and mak­ing more com­pelling con­tent rec­om­men­da­tions for view­ers.

TOVT Discussion SF

Check out these five take­aways:

  1.     TV Every­where will grow when MVPDs reduce the sign-in fric­tion. Research shows that many pay-TV sub­scribers aban­don TV Every­where apps and sites when they hit a sign in wall. To pre­vent this drop-off, MVPDs can use Home Based Authen­ti­ca­tion to provide instant access to shows, movies, and sports, inside sub­scribers’ homes, with­out hav­ing to ask for a user­name and pass­word. One MVPD has seen their TV Every­where users dou­ble in the past six months with Home Based Authen­ti­ca­tion.
  2.     Vir­tual MVPDs have an oppor­tu­nity to dif­fer­en­ti­ate their ser­vices from sub­scrip­tion video on demand (SVOD) ser­vices like Net­flix by dis­trib­ut­ing live TV over the Inter­net in a com­pelling way. The oppor­tu­nity is par­tic­u­larly com­pelling in the news and sports cat­e­gories, where view­ers place a pre­mium on live con­tent. As a result, expect more strate­gic part­ner­ships to form between vir­tual MVPDs and pro­gram­mers of live news and sports.
  3.     Polit­i­cal adver­tis­ers in the upcom­ing elec­tions will put a pre­mium on data-dri­ven media. For instance, these adver­tis­ers are look­ing for ways to iden­tify and tar­get “cross-over” audi­ence seg­ments, which could shift their sup­port from one can­di­date to another, and “unde­cided” seg­ments that have not yet cho­sen a can­di­date to sup­port. TV sell­ers are now in direct com­pe­ti­tion with dig­i­tal plat­forms like Face­book and Google for these polit­i­cal adver­tis­ing dol­lars.
  4.     The mul­ti­plat­form TV com­mu­nity agrees that per­son­al­ized con­tent rec­om­men­da­tions are good for view­ers and can increase their time spent with TV Every­where. How­ever, not all play­ers in the com­mu­nity have a deep enough data set to make good rec­om­men­da­tions. For exam­ple, TV net­works often don’t have the depth of con­tent they need to make rec­om­men­da­tions within a genre. To solve this prob­lem, com­pa­nies within the mul­ti­plat­form TV com­mu­nity can work together to share data so that all play­ers have enough infor­ma­tion upon which to make good rec­om­men­da­tions. This data can then be used for both ads and con­tent to drive ROI.
  5.     Within ten years, iOT sen­sors and ser­vices will be fully inte­grated within the house­hold fire­wall, includ­ing those that can dis­tin­guish which fam­ily mem­bers are sit­ting in front of a screen, ready to begin a view­ing ses­sion. We may be headed for a future where your TV turns on and rec­om­mends con­tent to you at just the right moment in your day. Imag­ine sit­ting on the couch after din­ner and hav­ing your TV turn on and say, “Would you like to watch the news again today?”

Growing TV Everywhere Adoption to 70%, Part 3: Reducing Sign In Friction

Do you want TV Every­where to reach 70% of pay-TV sub­scribers by the end of 2017? I’ve out­lined here why this is pos­si­ble and I’ve shared some ideas for get­ting over the first hur­dle to adop­tion, which is the aware­ness hur­dle. How­ever, before invest­ing sig­nif­i­cantly in dri­ving aware­ness, there’s another hur­dle to address. It’s the cum­ber­some sign in process where pay-TV sub­scribers have to enter in their user­name and pass­word in order to watch TV Every­where.

The cur­rent state of TV Every­where sign in

Cur­rently, TV Every­where sites and apps ask pay-TV sub­scribers to sign in with a user­name and pass­word once every 30 days, on aver­age. If pay-TV sub­scribers switch to a dif­fer­ent TV Every­where site or app, they may be asked to sign in again. Con­sumers do not like these sign in require­ments and they’re caus­ing con­sumers to go else­where to view enter­tain­ment con­tent.

Put your­self in your sub­scribers’ shoes for a moment. Joe comes home from a long, hard day at work and tries to catch up on his favorite show from a TV Every­where app on his Roku box. He hits the sign in wall and gets frus­trated that he can’t just watch the shows he’s pay­ing for. He exits the TV Every­where app and opens YouTube where he watches a video blog­ger he likes instead.

Stud­ies from CTAM and Hub Research have con­firmed con­sumers’ propen­sity to leave TV Every­where apps and sites, and seek alter­na­tive sources of enter­tain­ment, when they come to a sign in wall. Specif­i­cally, stud­ies have shown:

Research shows that the majority of online TV viewers would rather watch free or pirated video than enter a username and password to watch premium TV online.

The ideal TV Every­where sign in expe­ri­ence

In place of the cur­rent sign in expe­ri­ence, the ideal expe­ri­ence would be for view­ers to move directly from dis­cov­er­ing shows to watch­ing shows with­out hit­ting a sign in wall at all.

If watch­ing TV Every­where was more like watch­ing tra­di­tional cable or satel­lite TV — where there is no user­name or pass­word to enter — view­ers would use it more and be hap­pier with the expe­ri­ence. In addi­tion, all efforts to drive aware­ness of TV Every­where would be more effec­tive because users would eas­ily pro­gress along the TV Every­where jour­ney from aware­ness, to trial, to repeat usage.

The ben­e­fits of reduc­ing sign in fric­tion

There’s a lot to gain by reduc­ing sign in fric­tion. It makes pay-TV sub­scribers more likely to try TV Every­where sites and apps and become repeat users. In turn, this leads pay-TV sub­scribers to become more loyal to their pay-TV provider and to TV net­works. For instance, research by The Dif­fu­sion Group iden­ti­fied four ways that using TV Every­where improved con­sumers’ per­cep­tions of pay-TV providers and TV net­works, which are illus­trated in the chart below.

Change in con­sumers’ per­cep­tions due to TV Every­where use

Q: To what extent has your use of these [TV Every­where] TV stream­ing apps changed your per­cep­tion of the fol­low­ing?

Impact of TV Everywhere Usage on TV Brands

Source: “Stream­ing Video Sur­vey Analy­sis,” by The Dif­fu­sion Group, Jan­u­ary 2016.

Three ways to reduce sign in fric­tion

The indus­try has at least three ways to move closer to the ideal sign in expe­ri­ence. Indus­try play­ers can use Home Based Authen­ti­ca­tion (HBA), sup­port sin­gle-sign on, allow per­sis­tent authen­ti­ca­tion, or imple­ment all three options.

Let’s look at these options in more detail.

  1. Use Home Based Authen­ti­ca­tion
    With Home Based Authen­ti­ca­tion (HBA), sites and apps that sup­port TV Every­where can ver­ify sub­scribers’ access from within the home with­out ask­ing for a user­name and pass­word. When one lead­ing mul­ti­chan­nel video pro­gram­ming dis­trib­u­tor (MVPD) imple­mented Home Based Authen­ti­ca­tion (HBA), it saw an 82% increase in unique users of TV Every­where and a 32% increase in engage­ment with TV Every­where. This  info­graphic cov­ers every­thing you need to know about Home Based Authen­ti­ca­tion includ­ing how to get started. 
  2. Sup­port sin­gle sign on
    Sin­gle sign on is an authen­ti­ca­tion process that per­mits a user to access mul­ti­ple sites and apps. It can allow a pay-TV sub­scriber to authen­ti­cate once and then jump from site to app to site watch­ing what­ever TV Every­where con­tent that they want with­out run­ning into any sign in walls. It can work with Home Based Authen­ti­ca­tion so that a pay-TV sub­scriber can access the hun­dreds of TV Every­where sites and apps from home with­out ever hav­ing to enter their user­name and pass­word. Or, it can work out­side of the home by ask­ing just once for a user­name and pass­word and then apply­ing that ver­i­fi­ca­tion to all TV Every­where sites and apps.
  3. Allow per­sis­tent authen­ti­ca­tion
    Per­sis­tent authen­ti­ca­tion is a capa­bil­ity that keeps audi­ences logged in forever. Instead of tim­ing priv­i­leges out at the end of a view­ing ses­sion or at the end of a day or even after 30 days, it can keep sub­scribers authen­ti­cated as long as their TV Every­where con­sump­tion adheres to the rules. For exam­ple, as long as sub­scribers don’t par­tic­i­pate in pass­word shar­ing, pay-TV sub­scribers that are authen­ti­cated once can stay authen­ti­cated.
  4. Imple­ment all of the above
    The ideal TV Every­where expe­ri­ence, where view­ers can move directly from dis­cov­er­ing shows to watch­ing shows with­out hit­ting a sign in wall, can be accom­plished by imple­ment­ing Home Based Authen­ti­ca­tion, sin­gle sign on, and per­sis­tent authen­ti­ca­tion. Home Based Authen­ti­ca­tion would allow pay-TV sub­scribers to access TV Every­where sites and apps with­out hav­ing to enter a  user­name and pass­word. Then, sin­gle sign on would let pay-TV sub­scribers nav­i­gate all TV Every­where sites and apps as an authen­ti­cated user. Finally, per­sis­tent authen­ti­ca­tion would keep pay-TV sub­scribers authen­ti­cated forever. Over­all, this will provide a wel­com­ing expe­ri­ence to new TV Every­where users and will help retain exist­ing TV Every­where users.

Work­ing together to grow TV Every­where adop­tion to 70%

This is the third arti­cle in a four-part series that aims to spark the actions that will help the pay-TV indus­try take TV Every­where adop­tion to new heights. In the first arti­cle, I pro­vided an overview of the aware­ness, sign in, and dis­cov­ery stages of con­sumers’ TV Every­where jour­ney. In the sec­ond arti­cle, I shared some ideas for increas­ing con­sumers’ aware­ness of TV Every­where. In this arti­cle, I cov­ered how to reduce sign in fric­tion. My next and final arti­cle in the series will explore what needs to hap­pen with con­tent dis­cov­ery in order to drive adop­tion.

Adobe Primetime Receives “Most Significant Impact” Award at TVOT Show

TTVTThis week, we’re attend­ing the TV of Tomor­row (TVOT) Show in San Fran­cisco alongside many of our cus­tomers and part­ners to col­lab­o­rate and learn about the cur­rent and future state of the TV indus­try. It’s been great con­nect­ing with so many dif­fer­ent indus­try play­ers around what’s needed to move the indus­try for­ward, tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ments, and emerg­ing busi­ness mod­els that will take TV to the next level with a more per­son­al­ized, engag­ing and rel­e­vant con­sumer view­ing expe­ri­ence across screens.

Last night, [itvt]‘s 13th Annual Awards for Lead­er­ship in Inter­ac­tive and Mul­ti­plat­form Tele­vi­sion were pre­sented and Adobe Prime­time was hon­ored with the “Most Sig­nif­i­cant Impact Award.” Thank you to the TVOT Show com­mit­tee and judges for pre­sent­ing us with this award. It truly rein­forces the impact Adobe Prime­time has had on the indus­try over the past year…and we’re not slow­ing down.

Adobe’s Art Mim­naugh (left) accepts the award on the Prime­time team’s behalf

With the help of Adobe Primetime’s part­ner ecosys­tem, we’re com­mit­ted to deliv­er­ing the best TV deliv­ery and mon­e­ti­za­tion solu­tions to our cus­tomers that will ulti­mately ben­e­fit con­sumers when and where they want to watch their favorite con­tent.

If you’re attend­ing the TVOT Show, check out my panel today at 9:10 a.m. on “Dis­cov­ery, Per­son­al­iza­tion and the TV User Expe­ri­ence,” where I’ll be dis­cussing the lat­est devel­op­ments shap­ing tomorrow’s TV user expe­ri­ence alongside Alti­cast, Dig­i­tal­smiths, Next Media Part­ners, Tru Optik, and Via­com. We also have our res­i­dent TV Every­where expert, Horia Gala­tanu, speak­ing on a panel at 2:45 p.m. today on “Strength­en­ing the TV Every­where Propo­si­tion,” which will dive into how TVE can pro­tect pay-TV from cord-cut­ters and cord-shavers (as well as increase its appeal to cord-nev­ers).

Join us for IAB’s TV 2020 Webinar at 2pm on June 15th

Media executive imagines the future of TV.

Do you want to drive rev­enue by plan­ning and sell­ing holis­tic TV and dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing cam­paigns? If so, the IAB is host­ing a must-see webi­nar for you on Wednes­day, June 15th at  2:00 pm EST titled, “TV 2020: Clear Vision of the Future of TV Adver­tis­ing.”

In this vision­ary webi­nar, pre­sen­ters from the IAB, Vide­ol­ogy, AT&T AdWorks, and Adobe, includ­ing Primetime’s VP, Jeremy Helfand, will dis­cuss the declin­ing silos of ad deliv­ery, mea­sure­ment and opti­miza­tion.  They will also be dis­cussing the ROI of lever­ag­ing cross-plat­form mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives.

Reg­is­ter now to reserve your seat.

5 Hurdles to Creating and Distributing Content in VR and How to Overcome Them

Virtual Reality Glasses

Con­sumers are lean­ing into vir­tual real­ity (VR), which unlocks the oppor­tu­nity to cre­ate 360° VR video con­tent and dis­trib­ute it, along with your exist­ing 2D video con­tent, to VR head­sets. As con­sumer uptake of VR head­sets grows from the low mil­lions today to the hun­dreds of mil­lions that ana­lysts are pre­dict­ing by 2025, the oppor­tu­nity will only get big­ger.

We’re already see­ing early indi­ca­tors that video view­ing will be a killer app on mobile VR head­sets. For instance, Road to VR reports that 7 out of 10 of the most used apps on Gear VR are video-based. Accord­ing to Ocu­lus about 80% of Gear VR’s active user base of over 1 mil­lion con­sumers are using VR video apps.

If you’re in the busi­ness of cre­at­ing and dis­trib­ut­ing con­tent, the momen­tum behind video view­ing in mobile VR head­sets may inspire you to ask ques­tions like, “What are the hur­dles to cre­at­ing 360° VR video con­tent and dis­trib­ut­ing all my video con­tent to VR head­sets? And, what are the best ways to get over the hur­dles?”

We answer these ques­tions here by shar­ing 6 of the hur­dles that media and enter­tain­ment com­pa­nies face and how to over­come them.

Hur­dle 1: Cap­tur­ing high-qual­ity, spher­i­cal video

To use the full capa­bil­i­ties of VR head­sets, you’ll want to cre­ate and dis­trib­ute 180° and 360° VR video. Of course, you can also repur­pose exist­ing 2D video assets in vir­tual cin­ema appli­ca­tions. How­ever, adding some unique 180° and 360° VR video to your 2D library of exist­ing assets can help attract audi­ences to your VR app over oth­ers. For this, you’ll need cam­era gear that’s capa­ble of cap­tur­ing high-qual­ity, spher­i­cal video.

Rec­om­men­da­tion: Adobe Prime­time rec­om­mends choos­ing one of the fol­low­ing three lead­ing options for cap­tur­ing high-qual­ity, spher­i­cal video. You can use Nokia Ozo to cap­ture high-res­o­lu­tion stereo­scopic 360° video. It’s one device with eight video sen­sors rather than a multi-cam­era rig, which gets mul­ti­ple cam­eras work­ing together. Alter­na­tively, you can also use one of two rec­om­mended multi-cam­era plat­forms.

If you take the multi-cam­era plat­form route, you can choose between Google’s multi-cam­era plat­form spec­i­fi­ca­tion, Google Jump, or Facebook’s multi-cam­era plat­form spec­i­fi­ca­tion, Face­book Sur­round. With Google Jump, com­pa­nies like GoPro are mak­ing it easy to assem­ble a com­pat­i­ble multi-cam­era rig. For instance, GoPro Odyssey is a multi-cam­era rig that lever­ages Google Jump to get 16 HERO4 cam­era mod­ules work­ing together as one. With Face­book Sur­round, Face­book says that assem­bly of a com­pat­i­ble multi-cam­era rig will be pos­si­ble by this sum­mer with off-the-shelf com­po­nents.

Hur­dle 2: Stitch­ing high-qual­ity, spher­i­cal video into 2D or 3D 360° VR video files

It’s not enough to just cap­ture high-qual­ity, spher­i­cal video with mul­ti­ple video sen­sors or mul­ti­ple cam­eras. The footage that is cap­tured needs to be stitched together. For 2D 360° VR video, the footage needs to be stitched and mapped onto a sphere. For 3D 360° VR video, the footage needs to be stitched and mapped onto two spheres, one for each eye that looks into the VR head­set.

Rec­om­men­da­tion: If you fol­low the rec­om­men­da­tion for cap­tur­ing high-qual­ity, spher­i­cal video, stitch­ing will be rel­a­tively easy because each of the rec­om­mended cam­eras has ded­i­cated soft­ware for stitch­ing that’s opti­mized for the speci­fic cam­era plat­form.

Hur­dle 3: Choos­ing what for­mats and 3D geom­e­try to use for archival and dis­tri­b­u­tion

Stan­dards are still evolv­ing in 360° VR video, which can com­pli­cate your choice of file types for things like archival and dis­tri­b­u­tion. Beyond video for­mats and codecs, there are impor­tant choices to make like the geom­e­try of 360° VR video. Do you choose equirec­tan­gu­lar pro­jec­tions? Pyra­mi­dal pro­jec­tions? Cube­maps?

Rec­om­men­da­tion: For archival, we rec­om­mend stor­ing the high­est pos­si­ble res­o­lu­tion, equirec­tan­gu­lar pro­jec­tion in a mez­za­nine video for­mat. With all your 360° VR videos in this archival for­mat, you can con­vert them at the time of dis­tri­b­u­tion to what­ever geom­e­try and what­ever file types makes the most sense. For exam­ple, if you’re upload­ing to Face­book, they will accept a high res­o­lu­tion equirec­tan­gu­lar pro­jec­tion and con­vert it on their end to their pre­ferred for­mat and geom­e­try.

Developing-VR-in-UnityHur­dle 4: Devel­op­ing apps on Android, Win­dows, and PlaySta­tion

A lot of com­pa­nies are try­ing to be “The Net­flix of VR.” How­ever, Adobe under­stands that top-tier media and enter­tain­ment com­pa­nies want to be able to con­trol the expe­ri­ence end-to-end, and that means cre­at­ing your own VR-enabled app capa­ble of reach­ing the widest num­ber of VR head­sets. This means you have to over­come the hur­dle of multi-plat­form devel­op­ment and make an Android, Win­dows, and PlaySta­tion app as well as fol­low the new par­a­digms inher­ent to 3D devel­op­ment.

Rec­om­men­da­tion: Game engi­nes, either Unity or Unreal Engine, are ideal tools for devel­op­ing a multi-plat­form app for VR video view­ing. For smaller devel­op­ment teams of five peo­ple or less, we rec­om­mend Unity because it’s easy to use and it abstracts the com­plex­ity of deal­ing with dif­fer­ent VR head­sets. Larger devel­op­ment teams may wish to con­sider the Unreal Engine because it can bet­ter inte­grate into exist­ing source con­trol sys­tems and because it pro­vides source code. Both options have extremely attrac­tive pric­ing.

Hur­dle 5: Pro­tect­ing con­tent and enabling busi­ness mod­els

There are two rea­sons to provide con­tent pro­tec­tion in VR apps. First of all, con­tent pro­tec­tion capa­bil­i­ties in VR apps can enable busi­ness mod­els such as rental con­tent or sub­scrip­tion con­tent. Sec­ond of all, when deliv­er­ing licensed con­tent to any app, includ­ing VR apps, the TV and movie stu­dios tend to have very strict con­tent pro­tec­tion require­ments that must be hon­ored. If your VR app includes con­tent pro­tec­tion, you can honor these require­ments.

Rec­om­men­da­tion: At the moment, vir­tual cin­ema apps need con­tent pro­tec­tion to both enable busi­ness mod­els and meet the con­tent pro­tec­tion require­ments of stu­dios. In con­trast, 360° VR video apps may only need con­tent pro­tec­tion to enable busi­ness mod­els because con­tent own­ers’ require­ments for pro­tect­ing 360° VR video tend to be less restric­tive. For both vir­tual cin­ema and 360° VR video apps, Adobe Primetime’s multi-DRM solu­tion called Adobe Prime­time DRM, pow­ered by Express­Play, will stay cur­rent with the native DRM sys­tems that each VR head­set chooses to adopt.

Over­com­ing all five hur­dles

There’s clearly a learn­ing curve to cre­at­ing 360° VR video con­tent and dis­trib­ut­ing it, along with your exist­ing 2D video con­tent, to VR head­sets. It involves becom­ing good at:

  1. VR white paperCap­tur­ing high-qual­ity, spher­i­cal video
  2. Stitch­ing high-qual­ity, spher­i­cal video into 2D or 3D 360° VR video files
  3. Choos­ing what for­mats and 3D geom­e­try to use for archival and dis­tri­b­u­tion
  4. Devel­op­ing apps on Android, Win­dows, and PlaySta­tion
  5. Pro­tect­ing con­tent and enabling busi­ness mod­els

Once you’ve over­come these five hur­dles, you’ll find it eas­ier to explore the new fron­tier VR con­tent cre­ation and dis­tri­b­u­tion. Now that you know what’s involved with cre­at­ing and deliv­er­ing VR video con­tent, are you ready to reach view­ers in VR envi­ron­ments? In our white paper titled “Cap­i­tal­iz­ing on Viewer’s Hunger for Vir­tual and Aug­mented Real­ity” we share six dif­fer­ent ways to engage users with immer­sive view­ing expe­ri­ence and help read­ers chart out a VR strat­egy.