Linear and Digital TV Convergence: 3 Trends to Watch

As linear and IP-delivered television continue to converge, viewers are coming to expect to watch whatever they want, wherever they are, on any device. Here are some key trends and opportunities the media and entertainment industry is facing in 2015 and beyond:

  1.     Media companies with a deep understanding of their audience will have a competitive edge

When competing for consumer attention, companies that best understand their audience will have an edge. This may seem intuitive, but we’ve heard some of the largest media companies in the world observe that they don’t know how to use data effectively to derive meaningful insights about their own viewers.

Data can provide an understanding of viewing behaviors, both online and offline, which can power personalized experiences, content recommendations, and one-to-one advertising. Smart data management is the starting point for all these things. That’s why we believe that data management will begin to play a much bigger role in helping programmers and operators to generate a better understanding of their audience and use it to drive tune-in and engagement over time.

  1.     Alternatives to the traditional cable bundle will continue to increase viewer choice

Programmers will continue to launch direct-to-consumer offerings to capture three key opportunities. First, to gain a better understanding of their viewers. Second, to make their back catalogs available as directly monetizable VOD assets. Third, to reach cord cutters and cord nevers who can’t be reached through cable distribution agreements.

Already, CBS went direct-to-consumer with their All Access platform. Rumor has it that direct-to-consumer offerings from HBO, Showtime, Nickelodeon, and ESPN (for Cricket’s World Cup) will launch this year. Disney CEO Bob Iger has hinted at TV streaming plans for Marvel and Star Wars. We expect this trend will continue.

Another win for viewer choice will come from a new crop of a la carte services from the pay-TV providers themselves. Dish Network’s Sling TV debuted a TV service in February approaching the a la carte model. It offers a $20-a-month package with $5-a-month add-ons. Verizon has announced an intention to launch an a la carte service by mid-2015, and Cablevision is exploring strategic options for OTT. One thing is for certain — consumers stand to benefit from the fierce competition that’s only just beginning to heat up.

  1.     Pressure will be on TV programmers and operators to monetize every ad impression

As TV Everywhere and OTT continue to attract consumer attention, it will be essential for TV programmers and operators to achieve optimal ad monetization of all the views happening outside of traditional, linear TV. Traditional, linear TV will still account for the single biggest share of ad spend in 2015, with 42% of total spend, or nearly $79 billion in the U.S. However, signs of a decelerating linear TV ad market make monetization of TV Everywhere and OTT all the more important. For example, Pooja Midha, SVP Digital Ad Sales & Operations for Disney ABC TV group, reports that “traditional, linear GRPs are declining.”. Scripps Networks executive Lori Hickok reports that, “Scatter versus scatter CPM pricing across the network was flat to down low-single-digits year-over-year.” One way to mitigate these risks is to understand and monetize audience more effectively across screens and devices.

These three trends reveal a lot of action in the areas of data management, alternatives to the traditional cable bundle, and ad monetization. What big trends are you seeing? Let us know in the comments.

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Granting Pay TV Subscribers Broader Access to Content

One key idea behind TV Everywhere is that if a customer has a paying relationship with a brand for one type of premium service, then that brand can reward the customer with free access to related services. Typically, this idea is used to allow pay TV subscribers to use their pay TV credentials to watch TV for free on connected devices.

Yet, the use of pay TV credentials to extend access to services can be applied much more broadly to validate access to any internet-delivered content. For example, Rogers Media recently granted free access to the digital editions of its Sportsnet Magazine on Android, iOS and Windows 8 devices to all of its Sportsnet ONE, TV Everywhere subscribers coming through either Rogers or Shaw Go. Now, millions of Sportsnet ONE subscribers get free Sportsnet Magazine content on their mobile devices.

Using pay TV credentials to access Sportsnet Magazine on an Android device

Primetime-Sportsnet-One

Granting pay TV subscribers access to magazine content was easy for Rogers Media. It was already using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to produce the Sportsnet Magazine digital editions and Adobe Primetime to power Sportsnet ONE’s TV Everywhere authentication. So, getting one login to provide access to its TV and digital editions on connected devices was a simple integration between the two Adobe solutions. Now, when Sportsnet ONE customers verify themselves in the Sportsnet Magazine iOS, Android or Windows 8 apps, they’re using Adobe Primetime’s authentication capabilities.

Integrations like what Rogers Media has done for Sportsnet demonstrate just how flexible the TV Everywhere model can be. Customers can pay once for access to content across media types and channels. This allows media companies to provide a great deal of value to loyal customers while enabling the flexibility to use alternate revenue models. For example, the Sportsnet app earns additional revenue by selling individual magazine issues to non-subscribers through an in-app purchase.

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Adobe Primetime Scores Touchdown with NBC Sports Digital, Powers Super Bowl Live Streams

Adobe Primetime has powered viewer experiences for NBC Sports Digital across screens since the 2012 Summer Olympics. The Super Bowl was a major sports milestone for live online streaming and whether you were rooting for the New England Patriots or Seattle Seahawks, one thing is for certain: People tuned into the big game in big numbers, across devices, in real-time to bring the Super Bowl beyond the living room.

NBC Sports Live Extra used Adobe Primetime’s playback and ad insertion capabilities to bring the Super Bowl to 1.3 million concurrent viewers across devices at its peak – the most for any Super Bowl (up 18% from last year). Thanks to NBC Universal, a special promotion (Super Stream Sunday) enabled viewers to watch the Super Bowl, a special episode of The Blacklist, and preceding programming without requiring the usual credentials and login information from broadcasters and pay-TV service providers.

Some other online viewership stats that made this Super Bowl stand out based on NBC Sports Live Extra data:

  • New streaming record with 800,000 average viewers per minute  (up 52% from last year’s Super Bowl)
  • 213 million total minutes viewed (up 99% from last year’s Super Bowl)
  • 5 million unique total online views (not just concurrent), up 9% from last year’s Super Bowl
  • Quality of NBC Sports Live Extra stream was high with engagement at 84.2 minutes per viewer

Sports content is a huge driver for online viewing and getting users to set up online accounts to enable TV Everywhere. 2014 was a landmark year for TV Everywhere and the biggest year yet with special events like the Sochi Winter Olympics and Soccer World Cup. In fact, the Adobe Digital Index Q2 2014 U.S. Digital Video Benchmark report found that sports networks saw frequency of viewing rise 31% year-over-year (YoY). We are excited to see what 2015 holds for the future of TV and continuing our partnership with NBC Sports Digital. Stay tuned for more to come!

Super Bowl_NBC Sports

 

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NBC Universal Wins Emmy Award for TV Everywhere Live Streaming

Adobe Primetime is thrilled to see NBCUniversal and NBC Sports Group, along with Time Warner Cable and MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), win a Technical & Engineering Emmy Award for Pioneering Multiplatform Video Delivery. As viewers continue to watch live streaming sports content through the latest game consoles, OTT, and mobile devices, the ability to quickly deliver and monetize content on these platforms is increasingly more important.

Adobe’s Q3 2014 U.S. Digital Video Benchmark Report found that total online video starts grew 22% YoY and TV Everywhere video starts increased 108% YoY and 38% quarter over quarter (QOQ). That is why these programmers and MVPDs deserve this award for their scalable, reliable deployments across multiple platforms. They continue to ensure that their viewers and subscribers get amazing viewing experiences when and where they want. Adobe Primetime looks forward to supporting more implementations like these with the most reliable and flexible multiscreen delivery and monetization TV platform available.

New-Primetime-Logo

 

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Adobe Primetime 1.4 TVSDK Ready for iOS 8 and Android L

Adobe Primetime always ensures the greatest reach and coverage across all devices so that operators and programmers can reach the largest audiences with television and premium movie content. The latest Adobe Primetime 1.4 TVSDK supports superior playback quality and performance on devices running on the latest Android and iOS operating systems, Android L and iOS 8.

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Integrate Nielsen data to measure audiences on iOS and Android:

As you may have heard, Adobe has struck a strategic alliance with Nielsen that will provide broadcasters, cable networks and MVPDs with comparable metrics in Adobe Analytics to measure audiences accurately across IP-connected screens, including desktops, smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and over-the-top (OTT) devices. As part of the initial phases of this effort, the Nielsen SDK is now available within Adobe Primetime TVSDK for iOS and Android.

Dynamically insert ads for a targeted ad experience once the C3 window has expired:

With Adobe Primetime’s latest TVSDK, new ads can be dynamically inserted to replace linear ads already baked into a C3/C7 VOD asset.  This reduces the time to deliver engaging and relevant ads online that can be effectively monetized.

Air alternative content during blackouts for seamless viewing experience:

Adobe Primetime continues to build a robust offering to support regional blackouts. Adobe Primetime’s TVSDK now allows viewers to watch alternative programming if there is content that is blacked out in that region for that particular time frame. Once the blackout has ended, the viewer will return to original scheduled programming to ensure no disruption to their viewing experience.

 Optimized ABR for reduced buffering on Desktop and Android:

Adobe Primetime has optimized ABR logic within the latest TVSDK to reduce buffering and disruption while viewing content. If a viewer is experiencing buffering during a particular variant of ABR, Adobe Primetime’s TVSDK will no longer ramp back up to that variant during that playback session in order to sustain viewer engagement.

Stay tuned for Adobe Primetime’s deployment across even more devices in the New Year to ensure that we reach the broadest audience, whenever and wherever they want to consume content.

 

Rick Wisher is a senior product manager for Adobe Primetime

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Adobe Primetime Takes Home Industry Accolades

As 2014 comes to a close and many of us prepare to celebrate the holidays with family and friends, the Adobe Primetime team is thankful for our customers and partners and all we’ve accomplished this year. Together, we’ve developed a thriving ecosystem to foster the delivery, measurement and monetization of TV across connected screens. From releasing Primetime 2.0 at The NAB Show to partnering with Nielsen on Nielsen’s new Digital Content Ratings, Powered by Adobe, it’s been a landmark year for us and 2015 is looking even brighter.

Today, Adobe Primetime was honored at Streaming Media West with four Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards in the following categories:

  • Closed Captioning Solution
  • DRM/Access Control Solution
  • Media & Entertainment Video Platform
  • Reporting & Analytics Platform

Additionally, Adobe Premiere Pro CC won in the “Desktop Video Editing Software” category.

Adobe's Art Mimnaugh accepts a Streaming Media Readers' Choice Award for Adobe Primetime from Streaming Media's Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen

Adobe’s Art Mimnaugh (left) accepts a Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Award for Adobe Primetime from Streaming Media’s Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen

SM Awards

With more than 34,000 votes cast across 31 categories, this industry recognition is special because it came from those who matter the most – you. As readers of StreamingMedia.com and Streaming Media Magazine, thank you for validating the hard work of the Adobe Primetime team. We’re humbled to be honored alongside so many key players in the industry.

Last week, Adobe Primetime received a Fierce Innovation Award (Telecom Edition) in the “Multi Screen” category. A panel of judges evaluated submissions based on the following criteria: technology innovation, financial impact, market validation and end-user customer experience. Adobe Primetime also received honorable mentions at the Cynopsis Digital Model D Awards in the “Digital Video Ad Platform” and “Digital Video Technology Platform” categories.

PT Awards

Stay tuned for more updates coming soon. From all of us on the Adobe Primetime team, happy holidays!

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Adobe Primetime Helps Serve 9 Out of 10 Pay-TV Households in Canada

It’s been a big week for the Adobe Primetime and Adobe Analytics teams between the release of our latest U.S. Digital Video Benchmark Report and our partnership announcement with Nielsen to deliver new Nielsen Digital Content Ratings, Powered by Adobe. Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings will provide the industry’s first comprehensive, cross-platform system for measuring online TV, video and other digital content and audiences across the web and apps.

We recently reached another major milestone: Adobe Primetime’s authentication technology now helps our customers serve nine out of 10 Canadian pay-TV households. Shaw, Rogers, Bell, Videotron, Telus, Cogeco and many others are using Adobe Primetime’s Emmy award-winning entitlement service to manage user authentications across connected screens. Adobe Primetime enables secure communications between consumers, programmers, and operators to establish a user’s entitlement to content. For these MVPDs, Adobe Primetime is providing the authentication layer, letting customers unlock pay-TV content across any IP connected device – from game consoles and OTT devices to smartphones and tablets.

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In the U.S., more than 250 broadcasters and pay-TV service providers already use Adobe Primetime’s entitlement capabilities, reaching 99% of the market.  TV is no longer the device, it’s the content, and we’re thrilled to see more global adoption of Adobe Primetime to deliver amazing TV viewing experiences everywhere.

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Adobe and Nielsen to Create Industry’s First Comprehensive Measurement Platform for Digital Content

Today’s announcement of a strategic alliance with Nielsen highlights our ongoing efforts to provide media companies and advertisers with better intelligence for smarter ad buying and selling decisions.

The partnership will provide broadcasters, cable networks and MVPDs with comparable metrics in Adobe Analytics to measure audiences accurately across IP-connected screens, including desktops, smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and over-the-top (OTT) devices. Adobe will provide census-based certified data and Nielsen will apply digital ratings to Adobe’s data inputs.

The timing couldn’t be better given last week’s announcements by HBO and CBS to offer standalone streaming services — proving that TV distribution via IP is an area of investment and focus for the industry. Viewers are choosing to watch premium content across a growing landscape of devices. Game consoles and OTT devices now account for 10 percent of all online TV consumption, 194% YoY growth, according to Adobe Digital Index’s U.S. Digital Video Benchmark Report (also just released). It is more critical than ever to provide consistent and comprehensive measurement across screens.

What does this mean for Adobe Primetime customers? Our partnership with Nielsen gives customers a faster time-to-market and operational efficiencies, with audience-based intelligence across video, marketing, and ad operations teams — providing a single source of truth for different departments within large organizations. Adobe Primetime customers will be able to leverage the new Nielsen Digital Content Ratings, Powered by Adobe, to enhance video ad targeting, forecast audiences by demographics, and reduce wasted impressions.

This partnership adds to Adobe Primetime’s leadership position in the future of TV technology. Our technology publishes, protects, and delivers content and ads across IP-enabled devices so our customers can actively monetize audiences, and now we’re bringing 15 years of leadership in census-based analytic tools combined with Nielsen’s trusted digital ratings.

We look forward to driving measurable business improvements from the Nielsen Digital Content Ratings, Powered by Adobe, to help media companies create more value from every audience interaction.

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Adobe Primetime Nominated for Five Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards

We’re always honored when Adobe Primetime is recognized by the industry for the innovative work we’re doing in delivering TV and video across screens, but it means even more when you – our end-users, customers and partners – validate our industry leadership. The 8th Annual Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards honor the best online video technologies based on votes from those who matter most – you!

Public voting is now open for the Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards and Adobe Primetime has been nominated in five categories – Closed Captioning Solution, DRM/Access Control Solution, Media & Entertainment Video Platform, Reporting & Analytics Platform (with Adobe Analytics), and Video Advertising Solution. Additionally, Adobe Media Server is a nominee in the “Media Server” category and Adobe Premiere CC is a nominee in the “Desktop Video Editing Software” category.

Please visit http://www.streamingmedia.com/ReadersChoice/2014/Vote.aspx by Oct. 24 to see all nominees and cast your votes across 31 categories. All voters will receive a confirmation e-mail after voting closes. The top three finalists in each category will be announced on Oct. 31 and winners will be named on Nov. 19 at Streaming Media West, where our own Ashley Still is speaking on a panel (“The Business of Delivering Multi-Platform Content” on Nov. 19 at 11:30 a.m.)

We hope to see you at Streaming Media West and thanks for helping get out the vote.

SM RC Awards

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Adobe Primetime Advances Content Protection for Online TV & Movies; Named DRM Market Leader by ABI Research

It’s been a busy year for the Adobe Primetime team and on the heels of IBC, today we’re excited to announce that our content protection solution in Adobe Primetime – Primetime Digital Rights Management (DRM) – is now available across apps on connected devices, including set top boxes, and via HTML5 on major web browsers. Additionally, we are the first DRM vendor to work with Intel, Broadcom and AMD to enable hardware-based DRM that protects “super” premium HD and 4K content across tablets, smartphones and desktops. Primetime DRM has also been named the market leader by ABI Research in a competitive assessment of the DRM market.

As the only non-browser vendor that offers a cross-platform DRM solution, we enable content owners to protect their premium video content regardless of what browser or operating system viewers are using. Adobe Primetime DRM will support emerging HTML5 standards and includes HTML5’s Encrypted Media Extensions and Media Source Extensions on browsers like Mozilla Firefox. Netflix is the latest company to join over 100 major content providers worldwide that use our content protection solution including BBC Broadcasting, Comcast, HBO, Hulu, M6 France, NBC, Time Warner, Turner Broadcasting, Walmart (Vudu), Yahoo and others.

We’re also happy to be working with Intel, Broadcom and AMD to enable hardware-based DRM across devices that use CPUs from either chipmaker. Hardware based DRM offers a maximum level of security needed to protect “super” premium video content, including HD and 4K content in the latest UHDTV digital home devices. (See our related blog post – UltraHD: Coming to a Screen Near You). Additionally, Adobe Primetime DRM is compatible within the pay-TV industry’s Reference Design Kit (RDK) for online TV allowing video operators considering using the RDK to easily leverage the core features of Adobe Primetime as part of their RDK implementation. The RDK is a pre-integrated software bundle that provides a framework for powering set-top boxes, gateways and other devices, and enables pay-TV service providers to standardize the deployment of content protection. Here is what Netflix and Intel are saying about Adobe Primetime DRM:

  • “Ensuring the right balance of privacy and user control while letting our customers access their favorite content without hassle is an essential part of Netflix’s success. Adobe Primetime DRM in Firefox will add to the suite of DRM products we use which allow us to deliver great movies and TV shows to the PC and Mac.” – Anthony Park, Vice President of Engineering, Netflix.
  • “Our technology collaboration with Adobe enables us to offer a hardware DRM solution that delivers a high level of content protection while preserving device performance. Content providers from broadcasters to Hollywood Studios are able to take advantage of Primetime DRM on hundreds of millions of Android and Windows-based devices that run on the latest Intel processors.” – Christos Georgiopoulos, Vice President of Intel Corporation’s Software and Services Group

Lastly, Adobe was named the market leader in DRM by ABI Research. The “Pay TV Middleware, Conditional Access (CAS), and Digital Rights Management (DRM)” report ranked Adobe first out of nine major DRM vendors in the competitive assessment. ABI Research Practice Director Sam Rosen commented, “Adobe’s Primetime strategy is solutions focused and addresses a number of pain points in video workflows, including DRM as well as packaging, advertising and authentication. Adobe’s investment in the authentication infrastructure (Adobe Pass) between U.S. cable distributors and cable programmers provides significant lift in value to the solution.”

ABI Research

Adobe Primetime provides the most complete DRM technology across multiple platforms in the industry. Our primary goal is to focus on the success of our customers and content providers worldwide in reaching digital viewers with the content they want to watch wherever they want to watch it. The ranking as a market leader by ABI Research confirms the trust that Adobe has built with the largest media companies.

Stay tuned for more Adobe Primetime news and updates coming soon.

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