Friday, April 17, 2009

Actors reach tentative deal with studios

Finally after so many months of infighting, backstabbing, and political fights, SAG may have finally come to terms with the AMPTP. Per the article, SAG lost its leverage and got less than they bargained for. If they had only played it smarter, followed the lead of AFTRA , and recognized quickly from the writers strike and bad economy, that they were not in the position to demand. Well, better late than never.

Deal Brings TV Shows and Movies to YouTube

The future of online video is professional content and though You Tube is best known for user generated uploads, the money lies with advertising against branded content. Recognizing that need, You Tube has entered into partnerships with TV and movie studios, and the space that Hulu has found an important grasp. "The agreements with the studios, which include Sony, Lions Gate, MGM and others, are significant because YouTube dominates online video. Nearly two-thirds of all video views in the United States occur on YouTube, according to the measurement firm Nielsen. Last month the site had more than 90 million visitors, 10 times as many as the next biggest site, comScore said."

In addition, there is finally the recognition that broadband, like cable, requires multiple revenue streams to survive, advertising and subscription. Whether it takes the form of transactional or monthly, You Tube will likely follow the Apple iTune strategy of charging for downloads or streaming.

Despite this plan to seek more revenue sources, You Tube says it is not leaving its bread and butter, amateur videos; "In an interview, Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, said that YouTube would continue to embrace content created by users, even if it was not easy to earn revenue from it, because that content was essential to the popularity of the site." As the leader in online video, Google and You Tube have the deep pockets and the knowledge of the marketplace; what will define their success in building synergy with other content partners. Perhaps one day we will see Google owning a broadcast/cable network.

3.6 Million Homes Still 'Completely Unready' For DTV Transition: Nielsen

June 12 is the current date for digital transition and despite the granted delay from February, 3.6 M homes are still not prepared. Coupons are going out, stores are stocked with digital converters, cable operators are broadcasting ads with offers to cheaply switch to cable to not lose TV signals. But despite all the news and offers, a number of homes will still go dark. The news from Nielsen does show homes switching over. "Nielsen said that Albuquerque-Santa Fe remains the least ready market at 9.13%, while the most prepared is Hartford-New Haven, where "everybody" is ready. Nielsen's survey numbers are based on field staffers in 35,000-plus sample homes -- all of its metered households." The NAB remains critical of the research. According to David Rehr, NAB President, these numbers are overstated.

Should there be another digital delay; I doubt it. Some people just like to wait till the last minute; hello tax filers! At some point you just got to pull the trigger and June 12 will be that date.

The most likely groups that will be hurt are the elderly and poor. Technological change is never easy and while the government coupons help, connecting the converters and resetting the antenna to find the digital signals remain issues for this group. Will cable come up with a marketing program to provide low cost, white glove service to this group; it could just be a great public relations opportunity!