Aug 27, 2013

Take The Binge Viewing Survey

Last week, Variety columnist and well-regarded industry expert Andrew Wallenstein, posited that not every show was meant to be binge watched.

As he was basing that on his own experiences with Breaking Bad, I thought it might be interesting to see how others binge-watched TV, and since Google Drive makes pulling together surveys so easy, I cobbled together this quick, ten question survey that will take you no more than two minutes to fill out.


Aug 15, 2013

As The World Turns

Add today to the list of days where it feels like the TV industry is in a totally different place than it was when you went to sleep last night.

Two big developments.

Roku has surpassed Apple TV in number of users. According to a study by Parks and Associates, of the 14% of US homes that own a streaming device, 37% are using a Roku vs the 24% using an Apple TV.

That's a curious number given that Apple TV has outsold Roku - As of April 2013, Roku had sold 5 million units vs 10 million for Apple TV. My guess is that the same people are buying both devices and that the greater channel selection on Roku (Amazon in particular) has them using the Roku more often. I am open to hearing other theories if you have them.

Whatever the reason, that's a big boost for Roku, a device I am personally quite fond of -- I own three, one for each TV-- and it will be interesting to see what effect Google's Chromecast has on them. It's a critical duel over interface, pitting Roku's model of having the box control the TV experience against the Chromecast model of using the phone or the tablet as the "brains" of the operation.

So that was this morning.

Then, around dinnertime, we learned that Sony had struck a deal with Viacom to supply content to their virtual MVPD project, a project that seems to have taken the industry in general by surprise. (Surprise may be too strong a word but it did not get anywhere near the amount of ink Eric Huggers' Intel box has been getting.)

This is also huge because the biggest stumbling block for the virtual MVPDs has been their inability to get content licenses from networks anyone actually wants to watch. That's the main reason Apple and Google have allegedly walked away from any sort of virtual TV deal and not something anyone was expecting Sony to nail, given how many in the industry have basically given up Sony for dead.

While Viacom alone does not a virtual MPVD make, and it remains to be seen who else comes on board, Brian Stetler raised an excellent point in his article for the Times, noting "Having the news spread was advantageous for Sony, though, because having Viacom on board — even just on a preliminary basis — will most likely help the company complete other carriage deals."


This is another one to wait and see how it pans out and watch the effect the launch of virtual MVPDs from both Intel and Sony has on the industry and how it might encourage other virtual MVPDs, both from newcomers and from existing MVPDs.

Quite a day.

Aug 13, 2013

From MacWorld: Why The Chromecast’s Future Could Be Brighter Than The Apple TV’s

Quoted extensively in this article by Marco Tabini MacWorld that does a great job of explaining the pros and cons on the new Google Chromecast
The launch of the Chromecast marks Google’s latest attempt to enter the consumer TV market—an attempt that, while still in its early stages, seems to be on a better footing than Google TV, a consumer reject since its launch in October 2010. 

Google’s $35 video-streaming dongle has drawn predictable comparisons with the Apple TV—Cupertino’s perennial “hobby” that, at last count, sells some 1.5 million units every quarter. And why not? The two devices are, on the surface, very similar: They both stream video, and both are part of attempts by their respective manufacturers to dethrone the traditional living room TV experience.


Aug 5, 2013

There's Always A Second Screen

Piggybacking off the last post about watching on the best screen available: there's a corollary to that: unless it's a show you are absolutely engrossed with, there's always a second screen. Or, to be more accurate, a secondary screen.

If you're watching a show on your tablet, and a text message comes in, you're reading it on your phone.  Can't think of the name of the actress and want to IMdB her? You could stop the movie on your iPad, switch over to Safari and go online. Or you could grab your laptop and do it there.

Before portable media, we used physical media as our secondary screens: telephones and newspapers and magazines. Today, we talk/text/read on a device. Only that device also serves as a TV screen. Which is why we need a secondary device, one that can handle all the distracted media consumption we're doing while the first device is busy playing video.

Here's where it gets confusing: a lot of the time, we're only going use that secondary screen to do all the non-TV related stuff: check Facebook, read email, look at pictures. Sometimes we may use it to check something we saw on the television. And sometimes we'll use it as a legitimate companion device to what we're watching on television. The question is, while we, in the industry may see a difference, does the consumer see it that way too, or is it all just "on my phone" to them?

Time will tell.