Online Media Moving to Quality Video Content In Order to Catch Up With Television

An iPad playing a video.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Will online media ever shut out print and television as sources of news and entertainment? The answer to that question is a resounding, “maybe.”

The Internet has done a great job of gobbling up print media through its ability to share timely news, information, and classified ads.

As far back as 2008, Bill E. Ford, President and CEO of General Atlantic, saw the possibilities in digital media. “One of the biggest shifts that we’ve been focused on is the shift from offline to online media,” he said in an interview with Financial Times. “We have several investments taking advantage of that trend.”

Those investments include the digital publishing platform Vox Media, Snap (the company that owns Snapchat), and Buzzfeed.

But digital media still has some distance to go before it catches up with television in the sheer hours of media consumed.

According to recent surveys, people spend more than four hours a day watching TV but approximately an hour a day on Facebook.

The difference, arguably, is video, and digital platforms are picking up the pace on producing just such material.

Social media giant Facebook is working on the premise that video is the digital space trend of the future. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said he believes that within five years, most of what people consume online will be video. At that pace, online video ads could give Facebook a good shot at competing for dollars currently spent on television advertising.

“People are creating and sharing more video, and we think it’s pretty clear that video is only going to become more important,” Zuckerberg said. As a result, Facebook is going to a “video first” mentality, prioritizing video content across its apps and taking steps to make it easier for people to express themselves through enhancements such as live video.

However, a big challenge to digital media is quality. People are still largely turning to television for news and information, probably because of an underlying belief that TV is a more reliable and trustworthy source than social media.

General Atlantic Vice President Zack Kaplan, who serves on the Board of Directors of Vox Media, said in a recent article, “For digital content companies, success will increasingly require a prioritization of quality programming and meaningful journalism over commoditized and replicable clickbait; the creation of content that sustainably and uniquely captures real consumer time—not unique visitors, clicks, page views, video views, or swipes.”

The market is already reflecting the need to move to high-quality online media. In 2016, MLB Advanced Media agreed to pay $50 million a year through 2023 for League of Legends streaming rights. League of Legends generated more than 360 million hours of live consumption per year.

“Continued strategic investment is following brands and platforms that can similarly capture this kind of consumer attention,” Kaplan said. “Time is the metric that links big deals in the market.”

Online media platforms will need to invest real money to bring that higher-quality content and programming to their users. This will cause users to spend more time on their platforms over those of the competition. Twitter is experimenting with live sports, and Snap is working with TV broadcast networks to produce original and exclusive shows. Only time will tell how Twitter and Snap do in the face of digital behemoths like Amazon and Netflix, who are already making a great deal of high-quality, original content.

But the movers and shakers of the world’s digital platforms aren’t the only ones who need to understand the value of capturing viewers’ time through high-quality video and reliable news and information. Investors also need to understand the changing landscape of digital media and the growing online video trend in order to make strategic and profitable investments, both today and in the future.

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Comcast to Acquire Time Warner Cable

Comcast

IMG: via Comcast

Comcast has agreed to buy Time Warner Cable in a $45 billion dollar deal combining two of the largest cable and Internet providers in the country. In the all-stock deal Comcast will pay $158.82 per share in the friendly merger.

The move comes as a surprise as last month cable operator Charter Communications offered $132.50 a share for Time Warner Cable, but the bid was rejected. In January, Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Robert Marcus said that a merger with Charter wouldn’t have been a good fit and that he preferred to work with Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.

CNN reports that the two companies expect to receive government approval by the end of the year, but regulators will likely take a closer look at the potential impact on consumers. Time Warner Cable is the country’s second biggest supplier of television service. In markets such as New York City and Los Angeles, there are some 12 million subscribers. Comcast has 53.1 million customers with combined TV, broadband, and phone services combined across the country.

With a potential for improved cable and Internet services for consumers, public interest group Free Press has raised concerns over the deal.

“In an already uncompetitive market with high prices that keep going up and up, a merger of the two biggest cable companies should be unthinkable,” the group’s president, Craig Aaron, said in an email. “This deal would be a disaster for consumers and must be stopped.”

Comcast is also the parent company of NBC Universal, which owns the NBC broadcast network, Universal Studios, and several cable channels. The $17 billion acquisition of NBC Universal was completed in 2013.

Netflix Changes Up Their Look

New Netflix Experience

IMG: via Netflix

Netflix user numbers keep growing as the streaming and DVD service becomes more and more popular.

  • 29.8 million in U.S., gain of 633,000 during the second quarter
  • 7.75 million outside the U.S., gain of 605,000
  • 37.6 million total, gain of 1.2 million (source).

Netflix just changed up their game. This morning, they rolled out a new “TV experience.” Netflix calls it “the biggest update in Netflix history to our TV experience.” The new layout will work not only on game consoles, but uses JavaScript, so it will work on all devices.

Apparently these updates have been in the works for a year and a half. The main goal of the change was to make it easier to find new content to watch.

“Our members collectively watch more than a billion hours of Netflix a month, most of that is on a TV,” Netflix’s chief product officer Neil Hunt said in a statement. While Netflix has tons of TV shows, movies and more for users to watch, sometimes finding something new to watch can be difficult if the content is not new or newly added.

Before today, the “flagship” Netflix experience was only available on game consoles and devices such as TiVo. As a result, if you had a Blu-ray player or Smart TV with Netflix, the way you viewed Netflix was not updated.

The new look starts on Wednesday and will hit all Netflix customers globally within two weeks.

Study Finds that 34% of Millennials Watch More Online Videos than TV

Watching TV on Computer

IMG: via Shutterstock

A recent New York Times survey found that 34% of Millennials watch more online videos than they do on an actual TV. That result is a bit shocking, I would think the percentage would be higher. With the lack of jobs out there, a lot of young graduates can’t even afford cable.

Millennials covers the age group of 18 to 34-year-olds. While most generations span about 16 years, I personally think grouping this big age group together doesn’t make a lot of sense. Current 18-year-olds now grew up never knowing a time before cell phones and internet, while those in their mid 20s and 30s clearly remember a time without. Now I will finish my rant and get back to the topic at hand…

The study reported that about one in three Millennials watch less TV than online videos. 50% of those surveyed said they watched online videos at least once per day.

34% of surveyed millennials said they watch mainly online video or no broadcast TV. Only 20% of Generation Xers (Those born in the early 1960s to early 1980s) and 10% of Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) had the same preference for online videos.

The reasons Millennials gave for watching more online video, 49% said that they like how they can watch it instantly and are able to watch several episodes online.

The study showed that 50% of Millennials who said they watch videos online do so once per day, and 89% said they watch weekly.

Where do you prefer to watch videos?

IMG: via Mashable

IMG: via Mashable

Ellen ‘Discovers’ a Deleted Scene from Orange is the New Black

OITNB

IMG: via Instagram

Orange is the New Black is a Netflix Original show that was just released this year. Unlike most shows, a Netflix Original releases all episodes of the season at once. OITNB (as fans call it) took over. Not only does it star some well-known names (Laura Prepon from That 70’s Show and Jason Biggs from American Pie), but it is based on a true story.

If you haven’t heard already, the story follows Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), who is sentenced to 15 months in prison after she is convicted of transporting money for her drug dealing girlfriend (Laura Prepon) 10 years earlier.

Many of you (like me) probably flew through the 13 hours of episodes in less than a week, which means your probably having some OITNB withdraws. To combat that, I’d follow them on Instagram, and watch this video below! The sketch of course isn’t real, but maybe Ellen is trying to get a guest role next season (we can wish).

Phylicia Rashad of ‘The Cosby Show’ Talks About the Show’s Protrayal of a Black Family

Phylicia Rashad

IMG: Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com

The Cosby Show was a popular family sitcom from the 1980’s and early 90’s. Actress Phylicia Rashad played the mom, Clair Huxtable for eight seasons. She was a mom, lawyer, and married to a doctor. They were a great portrayal of an upper-middle class family living in Brooklyn, New York. While the show hasn’t been new for 20 years, reruns continue to play on TV which gives younger generations a chance to watch it. While many people love the show, a lot of the critics felt that the portrayal of an African-American family at that time was not realistic.

She was recently interviewed for “Oprah’s Next Chapter.” She was asked about having to defend the show to media, and about the issues of race. “You all had to answer that question over and over and over — how is it realistic to have a doctor and a lawyer in the same house?” Oprah said.

“Well, they didn’t grow up in my community,” Rashad says of the show’s critics. “I grew up in Houston, Texas, in [the] third ward and it was very realistic. It was realistic in Charlotte, North Carolina; in Atlanta; in New York; in Richmond; in Hampton; in Los Angeles — it was realistic in a lot of places,” she tells Oprah in the video. I guess it just depends on who you know and what you know.”

It’s great to see Rashad continuing to stand by the show no matter what critics said then or say now.

To watch the entire interview, click here.

Netflix to Launch User Preference Profiles

netflix

IMG: Steve Garfield via Flickr

Netflix is making our life a bit easier, introducing user preference profiles. Netflix knows that families aren’t buying separate accounts, but sharing them instead. I personally share an account with my Mom and  brother, and we don’t even live in the same house. Why spend the extra 8 bucks if you don’t have to? Because of that, my Mom’s account is getting suggestions for horror movies, Family Guy, and a lot of other things she would never watch.

Yahoo reported that Netflix will launch these user profiles by the end of the summer. They announcement was made on Tuesday at E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, in Los Angeles. If you chose to have multiple profiles, your home screen will give you an option to pick an account. You then will only have recommendations for your preferences.

In April, Netflix launched the Family Plan. This allowed more devices to stream at the same time than before, for just 4 extra dollars. Todd Yellin, Netflix’s VP of product innovation, told Yahoo that Netflix is hoping to launch this in August, however it’s still in testing.

What “The Office” Taught us About Working in an Office

With tonight being the series finale of one of the biggest shows of all time, a lot of people are getting a little teary eyed. While some people chose to duck out after Steve Carrell left, many people stuck around to see what shenanigans Dwight and Jim would get into. If you watched The Office before actually working in one, you may have gotten some helpful hints, along with some very odd perspectives of what actually happens in an office environment.

Here are 4 things The Office taught us that might actually come in handy:

  1. Be very careful what you send via email. Remember when Michael sent this picture of him and Jan on vacation? Don’t do that.
  2. Don’t refer to anyone in your office by their race or religion or label them in anyway.
  3. Don’t get violent at work or hostile at work.
  4. Don’t wear anything inappropriate…even if it is casual Friday.

Nielsen To Finally Measure Online TV Viewing

Watching TV Online

IMG: via Shutterstock

It was just announced that Nielson will finally measure TV viewing online in addition to TV and OnDemand. Seems a little late to finally include this, but at least there will be more accurate ratings. Community made headlines when it was almost cancelled for having low ratings. However, it was revived due to their strong fan base and online viewership. With people having lives and being busy, not everyone can watch a show when it premiers. Many people (including myself) catch up on their favorite shows online, which until now did not count towards ratings.

“The pilot for Nielsen Digital Program Ratings is a major milestone for the industry,” Eric Solomon, SVP for Global Digital Audience Measurement at Nielsen, said in a statement. “As a companion product to Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings, Nielsen Digital Program Ratings will enable clients to better understand the online audience for their programming by harnessing the same methodology Nielsen already uses to measure the audience for related advertising.”

Nielsen Digital Program Ratings will have audience data such as unique audience, and stream counts by age and gender for online views. It is expected to be launched later this year.

Jane Stoddard Williams – Media Profile

Jane Stoddard Williams

Img: via Bloomberg

Jane Stoddard Williams is currently the host and producer of Bloomberg EDU, which is Bloomberg Radio’s weekly look at education. Bloomberg states that she, “combines the two great passions of her professional life: education and media.”

Most of Jane’s career has been in media, mainly being television and radio. She is also an education and children’s advocate. She serves as the National Board Chair of Horizons Student Enrichment Program, which is a non-profit educational organization which helps low-income students. She is also a board member of New York’s WNET, where she chairs the Education committee. She is was an Executive PRoducer of “Panorama” in Washington D.C., which is Washington’s daily news and public affairs program. She is also a former producer of the PBS series “Inside Story”, and has hosted a local program called “One On One.”

Jane Stoddard Williams graduated magna cum laude from Duke University with a degree in Political Science and Russian Language. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband, NBC Nightly News anchor, Brian Williams.

For more information on WNET, check out our profile here.

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