A Digital Video Inflection Point

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to speak about the digital video landscape at conferences with BeetTV, VideoNuze, and Brightcove, and I wanted to share some observations.

Digital video is experiencing an unprecedented outpouring of attention, innovation and creative energy. Even with the challenges that come with any emerging business opportunity, there are many reasons why digital video is at an inflection point and poised for extraordinary growth. Here are five:

1. Consumer behavior is changing in fundamental ways. Individuals are being empowered with devices, like tablets and gaming consoles, which offer the ability to more easily consume media. Over three-quarters of US adults will watch video monthly by 2014, and professional content consumption is currently growing at three times that of user-generated content. Markets respond to consumer-led trends, and this one shows no sign of slowing down.

2. The critical path items for digital video are known. Recently one of the largest global media companies told us that they employ five engineers for mobile video delivery for every one engineer they employ for desktop video. That 5-to-1 ratio isn’t scalable or sustainable. While all critical path items are not yet solved, hurdles, like device fragmentation, improving user experience, and developing better metrics to buy and prove the value of video advertising are being tackled actively.

3. Monetization possibilities are evident and evolving. In a recent survey, consumers between the ages of 15 and 24 — tomorrow’s mainstream — were the most likely to engage with digital video advertising, suggesting that individuals are growing increasingly comfortable with ads while watching TV on desktops and devices. Digital video ad loads are still small relative to TV, pointing to a monetization multiplier effect as more professional content comes online. A recent study also shows the growing popularity of paid media consumption on tablets: 18% of consumers use tablets for viewing paid video content, up from 11% a year ago. We are heading toward a perfect storm of monetization opportunity.

4. Major programmers and operators are leaning forward. Large media companies are motivated by consumers’ desire and ability to access content in new ways, and are responding with innovative tools like the Xfinity App for iPad. For several major upcoming sporting events, you¹re going to see creative partnerships between broadcasters, distributors and Adobe that allow viewers to access content (live and VOD) across different platforms and device types.

5. Advertising Follows Engaged audiences – and Digital Video Engages. Proprietary research from Adobe Auditude shows that mid-roll video ads, the most engaging commercial position, easily outperform completion rates of pre-rolls and post-rolls. With an 87% completion rate, mid-rolls are performing close to 30% better. Professional content with engaging, TV-like ad experiences represents tremendous opportunity. The creative possibilities for better digital video and mobile advertising experiences are endless, and exciting.

To position Adobe’s customers on the leading end of these evolving trends, we are thrilled to be continuing our work building Project Primetime. Adobe’s Project Primetime helps media companies bring their linear, live and VOD content online to any connected device with greater revenues from ads and subscriptions. By combining Adobe’s streaming, protection, advertising and analytics technologies, Adobe is in a unique position to address the most significant challenges that will enable the transformation of digital video.

The Impact of the Flash Player Unpublish Announcement on Android Video Delivery

As announced last fall, although Flash Player for the Android mobile browser will not receive any further version updates, it remained available in the Google Play Store. This week we announced Flash Player for the mobile browser will be unpublished from the Google Play Store.

Does this mean Adobe is not committed to video on mobile devices? Absolutely not. We continue to innovate and solve mobile video fragmentation challenges. Specifically, on Android, we solve this with Adobe AIR, with high-end video features such as Adobe Access DRM, and frequent new releases with new video features. In addition, we introduced “Project Primetime”, focusing on solving video fragmentation and monetization challenges across desktop, mobile and digital home.

We made the decision to discontinue support for Android mobile browser because of two reasons: 1) Premium experiences on mobile devices are typically being delivered through apps and 2) Mobile websites mostly rely on HTML5 based video delivery.

What does the mean for you if you use Flash Player on Android for mobile browser video delivery? First, existing users can continue use as is. Android market unpublish does not mean Flash Player will be uninstalled from devices. Devices with Flash Player already installed will continue to receive security updates. Second, you should develop a migration plan. New users will not be able to download Flash Player and install to their mobile browser.

Adobe’s solution for video delivery to mobile devices is centered on enabling apps. As an immediate future-proof migration path, Adobe AIR provides the same advanced Flash based video features, which means no changes to your content protection or video delivery infrastructure. AIR enables advanced video features for playback on Android 2.2+ devices, including Adobe Access DRM, live support, and adaptive streaming. Adobe is fully committed to further develop and support Adobe AIR on Android. Adobe AIR does not rely on the in-browser Flash Player and is not impacted by the unpublish change.  Popular AIR video application examples include WatchESPN, iTV, and Snagfilms.

To learn more about Adobe AIR based video delivery, read the Adobe AIR mobile video delivery guide.

(Portions of this page are reproduced from work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License.)

Adobe Media Server 5 Professional and Adobe Access 4 Now Available

In May, Adobe introduced Adobe Media Server 5 and Adobe Access 4, along with Primetime Simulcast. Today, we’ve made Adobe Media Server 5 Professional available through Adobe, selected resellers, and Amazon Web Services. This initial release, when combined with Adobe Access 4, allows media companies to stream protected, studio-grade content using a single digital rights management (DRM) workflow across desktops, connected TVs, tablets and smartphones, including iOS and Android devices. Adobe Media Server 5 offers expanded streaming protocol support for publishers to reach the broadest possible audience via HLS, HDS and RTMP. In addition, Adobe committed to supporting MPEG DASH in the future.

Dynamic and offline preparation of premium video content to be streamed using HTTP and protected with Adobe Access helps simplify workflows and lower storage costs for secure delivery of video to multiple screens. Also available today, the Adobe Access library for Apple iOS allows premium video developers to build the same trusted Adobe DRM capability they use for their desktop apps directly into their apps for distribution on Apple’s App Store.

Adobe Media Server 5 Professional is initially available on Linux with the remainder of the Adobe Media Server product family and supported platforms expected to ship this fall. See more information about Adobe’s premium video offeringsDownload Adobe Media Server and Adobe Access tools.

Zynga Uses Flash Player 11, Stage 3D for Ruby Blast

Today, Zynga announced Ruby Blast, a new match-three Facebook game which uses Flash Player 11 and Stage 3D particle effects to deliver stunning graphics and smoother gameplay. Ruby Blast is a simple yet addicting game which will attract players of all capabilities and devotion levels – those who just want to kill a few minutes or who want to play with their friends all day long.

Just as Words With Friends brought Scrabble-like action to the social media mainstream, Ruby Blast tips its hat to games like Bejeweled and Diamond Dash, adding in a few twists to enhance gameplay and engage friends. Power-ups like Nova Flare, StarFall and Shuffle Magic make gameplay more immersive and allow players to shoot for high scores while getting help from friends or competing against them. Just like Rovio’s Angry Birds for Facebook, Ruby Blast uses power ups that are enabled by the powerful new features of Flash Player 11. Take a spin of Ruby Blast to try ‘em out!

For now, Ruby Blast is desktop only and scheduled to be released on Facebook and Zynga.com later this week. To find out more about building games like Ruby Blast with Flash and AIR, and for a whole host of great developer examples, check out our showcase at http://gaming.adobe.com/showcase. And if you’re interested in developing a game, check out our new webinars for developers who want to build mobile apps.

Full Steam Ahead! Indie Game: The Movie – the 1st feature film delivered through Steam

If you didn’t have a chance to catch Indie Game:  The Movie on the big screen during the official movie tour, here is your chance to bring Edmond, Tommy, Phil and Jonathan into your living room or a screen near you. In a first, the movie is delivered through Steam using Adobe AIR.

Congratulations to co-directors Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky on this magnificent film that serves as the voice of the passionate indie game developer.  We hope to see you at the Oscars! :)

Digital Release Details
Indie Game: The Movie is available worldwide today, Tuesday June 12th, on iTunes, directly from the filmmakers on IndieGameTheMovie.com and Steam.

  • Indie Game: The Movie is one of the first feature films to be delivered through Steam. It’s been being distributed through an app built using AIR. Details about the Steam package are here.
  • Additionally, it’s also available DRM-free on IndieGameTheMovie.com, and currently in the following languages: English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic & Traditional Chinese (with more languages being added soon).

Indie Game: The Movie looks at the underdogs of the video game industry, indie game developers, who sacrifice money, health and sanity to realize their lifelong dreams of sharing their creative visions with the world. Following the making of the games SUPER MEAT BOY, FEZ and BRAID, this Sundance award-winning film captures the tension and drama by focusing on these developers’ vulnerability and obsessive quest to express themselves through a 21st-century art form.

Adobe is thrilled to be a part of this significant release, sponsoring the North American tour of the movie, as well as working with the team to distribute the movie as an AIR app. We hope that the ongoing success and critical acclaim of the movie (including winning an award at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, and a 100% ‘Fresh’ rating by Rotten Tomatoes as the ‘Number one best reviewed film of 2012’) encourages indie game developers to continue pursuing their passions, and we’re working hard to make sure Adobe technologies continue to help improve their ability to develop, deliver, and distribute their games! Let us know if you have a game that you’ve developed using Adobe technology, and see more examples of indie games here.