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HBO going OTT is no surprise to us; Hastings would agree

CEO of Netflix Reed Hastings described HBO’s OTT announcement today as “inevitable and sensible”.  As we had said before, the video industry is rapidly evolving and its future is in the hands of the consumers, who have been in the drivers’ seat for quite some time.

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http://techcrunch.com/2014/10/15/netflix-vs-hbo/

Faced with this changing landscape, the industry has to consider new business models and alternative modes of video distribution. That’s why Dish recently announced their $30/month “virtual cable” package.

At RelayTV, we think social TV is integral to this evolution. But not as a checklist “featurette” item, rather as a full enriched experience encompassing social recommendation, party watching and audience participation.  It’s what Millennials are already doing today on social networks in a disjointed sort of way – while watching videos with one app and chatting on another.

RelayTV would enable companies such as HBO or Dish to truly engage with their viewing audience who clearly now are much savvier and demanding.

 

Let’s Relay

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Pay-TV providers in Europe really losing ground to OTT

As I face that dreaded time of year in which I have to call my cable provider to try and haggle for a lower monthly bill, I realized what an arduous task this has become. Especially given my OTT options for content. It’s no wonder that pay-TV markets are losing subscribers consistently each quarter.

In fact, EU cable companies have suffered six straight years of cord-cutting (defined as a net decline in cable customer homes). IHS senior analyst Guy Bisson places the blame directly on OTT suppliers.

Consumers love their Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, and YouTube services. They offer lower prices, accessibility and in some cases commercial-free programming. Because of this demand, new offerings are coming to market soon, such as:

-       Sony to offer live and on-demand content from Viacom (22 networks)

-       Rumored online HBO Go subscription (to go head-to-head with Netflix)

-       Google Android TV software to power smart TVs and set-top boxes

Jennys second blog

This means operators must fight harder than ever to keep and win back subscribers. Western Europe’s average pay-TV penetration rate is only 57% (compared to 85 percent in the U.S.). Operators must continue to find and offer move value to viewers. They must dig deep to uncover a long-term solution, not just a one-year price promotion.

 

Let’s Relay

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Recapturing Millennial Viewers

Kye Cheung, RelayTV CEO

Kye Cheung, RelayTV CEO

There’s a new age of TV consumption upon us. 

TV is social now.  Today, when we watch TV, we want to share the experience with others, and backchannel conversations are happening.  Gone are the days of couch potatoes – social TV has sparked a movement of active and engaged consumers. This is most true among Millennials. These 18-33 year olds (and younger) consume TV differently arising from a confluence of factors:

They have the option to pick and choose different programming, both broadcast and online. Online offers them more control, and “on demand” features, which they are accustomed to.

They have no qualms about switching off if they don’t like what they see or the message that operators or networks are trying to serve them.

They watch when they want to, from wherever and with whichever device. They control (or want to feel they have control about) what they consume when they’re ready.

They are not tied to any one particular social app or social network. Loyalty to services is very rare. Social networking is merely a way for them to reach out and communicate with as may of their peers in the most expedient way possible.

Millennials want “selfie-style” entertainment: Adoption of the social network or other related brands/products app depends on its ability to help the Millennial gain the widest peer acceptance as a form of self-aggrandizement.

Millennialsfind shows to watch by hearing or reading about them through their social network, from their friends.

In addition to these factors, TV operators today are competing with any form of readily accessible entertainment – games, blogs, online news – not just video.

So what is an operator to do to keep Millennials engaged in their content? 

  • Make TV an event again – something for people to share. It is not enough for Millennials to consume content, they want to participate. Not surprisingly, live content such as reality TV shows, live sports events, award shows (Grammys, Oscars), and news can ignite much discussion. If viewers are engaged with the show — live and with their friends — then they can’t skip the commercials, which is a good thing for networks and their sponsors.
  • You need to deliver the content not just onto the TV but also to other devices. Reference statistic: 60% of US and UK TV viewers use multiple devices to do something related to the content they are watching (80% in China) (Edelman study, 6/2014).
  • Make it easy and fast for Millennials to find something they want to watch. Don’t expect your viewers to hunt through EPG (the old TV guide) on the TV screen – they don’t have patience for that.
  • Allow Millennial viewers to engage with each other, while watching the TV show. Inevitably, they will be more engaged with the content that way. Reference Stat: 25% of adults 18-34 used social media while watching TV to comment on what they liked/ disliked about a storyline. (Source: Nielsen).

This is the future of TV as we know it, for consumers and operators.  The sooner operators are able to recognize and do something about it, the sooner they will be able to tap into Millennial viewers and everything that market brings with it.

Let’s Relay

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“Time to Re-Invent Advertising…Again” says DMO Jenny Wang

In 2008, I was working at Yahoo! to bring full-length TV episodes online through Hulu. I was fascinated to see how the TV landscape would change in the coming years. I pondered questions such as:

Jenny

“Would people sit in front of their computers to watch a whole TV episode?”

 “How would the presence or absence of this behavior affect advertising?”

“Will advertisers need to branch out from linear TV advertising to reach viewers?”

Fast forward just 5 years, and my questions have been answered. Viewers are watching all sorts of long form content on smartphones, tablets and computers. Those watching from a traditional TV demand more from their watching experience. The new problem how to keep second screen usage from eroding the   effectiveness of TV commercials.

The answer lies in more than just one platform, one network or one device. The key to capturing viewer’s attention will be a team effort. Content owners, platforms and advertisers will need to innovate like never before. Advertisers will need to span linear TV and all the accompanying devices used to view content in order to achieve optimal brand awareness.

Jennys Blog

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Chairman Lee Discusses Direction

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Founder and Chairman LC Lee Discusses Direction (Panel Announcement)

 LC Lee is the founder and chairman of RelayTV and has truly become a pioneer of true Social Media TV. With over 20 years of start-up experience, many in the technology space, Lee is a visionary. He has born what is now RelayTV, the future of true social media TV and the definition of Social TV 2.0.

It is for this reason that we proudly announce Lee’s participation in a widely anticipated panel discussion at the Broadcast Asia show in Singapore. The session topic will be “The Role of Social Media in the Future of TV”. Alongside executives from Twitter, Starz Network and Applicaster, Lee is sure to impress with his demonstration and dreams of what he believes the future of social media and TV to be; a dream where the two walk hand-in-hand seamlessly.

Imagine the possibilities.

This is one discussion you do not want to miss.

Broadcast Asia

Level 4, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore | Orchid Room 4311/4312

19 June 2014

9.40 AM – 10.20 AM (Including Q&A)

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Partnership with Octoshape

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LiveRelay Selects Octoshape to Make “Group-Watch” a Reality

Social TV Entertainment Platform Powers Up with Infinite HD-M

Phoenix – January 7, 2014 – LiveRelay, a revolutionary social TV platform, announced today that it has selected Octoshape, an industry leader in cloud-based streaming technology, to serve as the infrastructure beneath its Relay TV social media platform. This platform enables consumers to connect with friends and chat directly through their television.

LiveRelay, which targets socially connected TV viewers in the United States, offers a unique TV viewing experience that includes the ability to channel surf by what friends are watching. While watching the same show in different locations, viewers can talk and text each other through the TV.

“LiveRelay TV is the next big thing in social TV. Viewers can watch with friends as if they are in the same room together without the complexity of a second screen application,” said Kye Cheung, CEO of LiveRelay. “Our powerful technology is dependent upon reliable connections Octoshape provides to our end users. Octoshape is also able to provide the low buffering times we needed to mimic the TV-like experience users are accustomed to.”

Octoshape’s renowned video acceleration network provides a differentiated, patented technology platform that enables the evolution of global, cloud-based broadband TV. The patented routing algorithms combined with the suite of multicast technologies enable operators TV quality while enabling cost effective commercial models for premium content owners to reach millions of subscribers worldwide.

“Providing the content delivery network for LiveRelay’s unique social TV platform gave Octoshape the opportunity to partner yet again with one of the most innovative companies in the OTT IPTV space,” said Michael Koehn Milland, CEO of Octoshape. “By combining live and catch-up TV together with strong social media integration, we believe that LiveRelay has a compelling offer for this fast growing market.”

Octoshape’s technologies are adopted by leading broadcasters, content owners and technology providers in the world enabling them with TV Everywhere and OTT IPTV services at the highest possible quality. The global broadband TV platform outperforms traditional content delivery technologies across all key metrics, including startup time, buffer time; quality and view time.

About Octoshape

Streaming media innovator Octoshape provides the enabling technology required to bring TV quality, TV scale and TV economics to the public Internet. The company is writing the next chapter of content delivery for broadband IPTV services. The Octoshape approach is more scalable, flexible and affordable than traditional content delivery (CDN) schemes, while providing feature-rich, high-quality viewing to the largest of audiences.

For more information visit www.octoshape.com
For Octoshape:
Michelle Soltesz
Sr. Director Marketing & Communications
michelle.soltesz@octoshape.com
+1 973.349.9818

About LiveRelay, Inc.

LiveRelay is an IPTV service platform that puts social media into TV. Our RelayTV platform offers viewers a simple and powerful interface with rich social networking features not available with traditional IPTV offerings. New social TV concept of “group-watch” can increase customer reach and stimulate viewer involvement. For a free demo, call (858) 348-1710.
For more information, visit rtv-wp.localhost
For LiveRelay, Inc.:
Jenny Wang
Director of Marketing
Jenny.wang@relaytv.com

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