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Cable Technology Feature Article

March 01, 2014

Cable Technology Week in Review

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Mobility may have had all the big headlines this week thanks to that little tradeshow in Barcelona known as Mobile World Congress (News - Alert), but the cable tech sector had some interesting news bits too.

Kicking things off, we’ve been reminded to continue to consider whether 4K TV will be a boon or bust for cable? Our columnist aims to answer this question, noting that it’s true that interest in 4K technology is growing and most of the over-the-top (OTT) service providers plan on delivering content in 2014. In short, this is a wake-up call for service providers to start planning for the future. Yet, the main concern is that a shift to all-IP television will put even more strain on the network. Already, OTT video services are putting pressure on available bandwidth and it’s important to start thinking about how you will handle the heavier requirements needed by 4K content in the future. Will you need infrastructure upgrades or changes to routing? Are there better ways to manage your network traffic? The bandwidth demands of today should be a red flag that further analysis and planning are required.

It all, of course, comes down to monetization, which is why the field of analytics overall is becoming an increasingly important one, as businesses look for more information about products, services, and how to improve these in such a fashion that users will continue to pay for same. Television is no different, and perhaps even more dependent on analytics tools to capture the attention of an increasingly fickle audience with much more in the way of options than ever before. To that end, Rovi—a company that handles data licenses related to television guides—has picked up Veveo, a firm that deals with search and analytics, in an impressive eight-figure deal. Rovi, according to word from executive vice president John Moakley, offered Veveo $69 million total--$62 million in cash outright and up to $7 million more when a set of established targets are met—for the company, which in turn is set to provide Rovi with a stack of new tools to help drive its analytics efforts as well as its search functions, a natural fit for a company that works with television guides.

Monetization of third-party traffic in particular is at the heart of the recent Net neutrality (News - Alert) arguments that have left a lot of people wondering just what would be next, and usually, a fearful eye was cast in the direction of streaming video providers like Netflix. The idea that ISPs would be interested in continuing to allow Netflix and its all-you-can-stream business model untrammeled access seemed doomed to failure with the prop of net neutrality pulled away. But a new agreement between Comcast (News - Alert) and Netflix may have given viewers a bit of hope for the future of Comcast. Over the last couple of months, several Comcast users have noticed a slowdown in Netflix streaming speeds, in some cases dropping down nearly a third to almost 30 percent. But under the terms of the new arrangement, Netflix will pay Comcast for outright access to the broadband network. It's being called a “paid peering” deal, and keeps Netflix from going through intermediary connection systems as it did in the past, all for a sum of money which was not formally announced.

And speaking of over the top, Voxox has announced the launch of the original entertainment content strategy communications app, the first offering of which will be a social entertainment series entitled ROFL: A Rhinoceros and Octopus Find Love. It features weekly high art graphic-novel-type imagery, and a minimalist archetypal imagery. New episodes will be posted on Twitter each workday at noon, and reposted to the Voxox Pinterest, Google (News - Alert)+, Facebook and Tumblr accounts throughout the week. All the episodes are in a sequential order and will be available on Tumblr at ROFLaLoveStory.com. Future series will integrate exclusive original content into its mobile and desktop applications, the company said.

Traditional TV is chugging along, looking to embrace the digital ecosystem itself. For instance, Ooyala has entered into a partnership with Univision Communications to deliver an enhanced TV Everywhere experience to subscribers of Univision’s UVideos and Univision Deportes Network. Univision will leverage data analytics from Ooyala to get an insight into what, when and where aspects of subscribers’ TV watching habits along with the device used. This data will enable Univision to better program its digital content while planning targeted advertising strategies. As part of the agreement, Ooyala developed an advanced video player customized specifically for Univision platforms in addition to integrating with third-party ad monetization solutions. This move allowed Univision to drive enhanced TV watching experiences for its subscribers while generating revenues from targeted advertising strategies.

Also, MobiTV has entered into a strategic collaboration with consumer electronics specialist Jabil Circuit (News - Alert) in a bid to bring wireless operators new opportunities for the home viewing ecosystem via an HDMI dongle. The live and on-demand TV everywhere technology provider will use Jabil’s manufacturing and distribution capabilities with its Connected Media Platform in a product that can offer either a turnkey in-home TV everywhere experience to existing customers, or that can act as a value-add offering to entice new customers. As Charlie Nooney, CEO at MobiTV said in a statement, “The HDMI dongle is the first, comprehensive, customizable, full-service offering to provide wireless operators with a low-barrier-to-entry option for reaching consumers on any screen with an HDMI-compatible port, Collaborating with Jabil on the hardware side has enabled MobiTV to create and quickly deliver a complete, integrated solution that gives wireless operators the ability to attack the connected home by leveraging their strengths: mobile devices, networks, and valuable customer media services.”

Meanwhile on the non-online and non-mobile front, it turns out that the local commercial broadcast television and radio industry contributes $1.24 trillion of GDP and 2.65 million jobs to the American economy annually, according to a study by Woods & Poole Economics and BIA/Kelsey. The analysis, which breaks down television and local radio broadcasting's economic impact, estimated that direct employment from local commercial broadcasting, which includes jobs at local television and radio stations as well as in advertising and programming, is estimated at more than 313,000 jobs, generating more than $55 billion annually in economic impact. Broadcast television accounts for over 188,000 of these jobs, as well as over $32 billion in GDP, while broadcast radio contributes 125,000 jobs that result in almost $23 billion in GDP.

And, finally this week, the largest cable MSO in the country, Comcast NBCUniversal, is making a two-year commitment with $1.3 million in cash and in-kind support to low-income communities in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington DC to expand LIFT, a national nonprofit focused on lifting families out of poverty for good, and Digital Literacy hubs. The resources donated by Comcast will allow LIFT to provide the know-how that is required to search for jobs online, access critical benefits, create household budgets and email addresses, and navigate the Internet to 13,000 community members. By empowering these individuals with the knowledge they need, it will be possible for them to build a foundation in which they'll be able to lift themselves out of their current situation. Comcast has been making this technology available for low income communities for some time now with its Internet Essentials initiative.

To check out more details on all of this and more, visit our homepage. And have a great weekend!

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