Tag Archives: Video

Adventures in Video Conferencing–funny video

This is a pretty funny commercial.  I’m not sure this ever made it to television but I enjoyed finding it online today. 

I might have to try something similar from the ski slopes before the end of the season rolls around! 

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Filed under Random, Video

ESPN360 Goes to College

 ESPN

The digital media news headlines these days are smothered with stories about Yahoo.  It’s hard to find any articles of interest that don’t pertain to their sale of their premium music service to Rhapsody, purchase of a small Israeli music company, purchase of Maven Networks, sizeable lay-offs and more.  Oh yeah, and Microsoft wants to buy them for a few billion dollars or so. 

But, amidst all Jerry Yang’s activities, one piece of unrelated news caught my eye today pertaining to another large media company: Disney and its ESPN property.  According to Digital Media Wire today, ESPN360 has taken the bold step of announcing a strategy that gives away its 360 online broadband property to all .edu and .mil email addresses.  In other words, 16 million plus college aged students and a lot of loyal military types with ample free time and nice broadband connectivity. 

The New York Times first noted this news today.  Having worked with ESPN for several years earlier this decade, I’m not at all surprised by their interest in pursuing these two markets aggressively.  They have always wanted to make in-roads here, especially among colleges, where they see college aged students sans TVs as a ripe audience for their broadband video product.  And, given that, according to the NY Times story, their usage figures for ESPN360 have been paltry with just over 500k viewing hours in the past six months, it’s not surprising they are taking a more aggressive stance towards entering the market. 

I’m not at all confounded by the potential reality that ESPN360 hasn’t gained much traction yet.  While its mosaic style player, courtesy in part of its relationship with Move Networks, is catchy and effective, its content library is still limited and its user experience is fully tied to ISP distribution rights.  In other words, their historical audience could never have been larger than the 20M some odd users on available ISPs like AT&T and Charter and its likely to assume their regular audience wasn’t more than 1-5% of that total figure.   

It will be interesting to see whether this move is a small, nonchalant “experiment” of sorts in order to grab more eyeballs, ad dollar potential and brand loyalty among essential user bases.  On the other hand, I won’t be surprised if this is part of a “last battle” effort to see if something can be made of this ESPN property.   

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Filed under Sports, Tech, Video

How Much Juice Does Joost Have Left?

Joost 

 There are multiple reasons why I should like the company, Joost.  I’ve been personally active in the online media space the past eight years, I enjoy the product Skype and my current business venture is largely driven by the aspiring success of IP video. 

Yet, time and time again, I find myself cringing when I receive email updates from Joost inviting me to check out the product again.  I spent a couple of times with their beta product last spring and despite their repeated efforts to have me return, I cannot.

Today’s latest email update was an example of what’s wrong with Joost: it’s the programming, stupid.  It really makes no difference to me as an online consumer how cool the interactive features are or that your web product and newsletter have flashy colors and jpeg images.  I, unlike others I work with admittedly, don’t even care much about the quality of the video.  Ultimately, like so many other consumers, I care about the programming.  So, when I saw today’s email newsletter inviting me to check out their hot, action sports catalog, I immediately thought, “no thanks, I’ll just watch the X-Games on ESPN tonight.”  My disinterest was only compounded by the lame attempt at editorial wit in the form of this line: “warm up with some eye candy from the resorts, then turn up the heat with back country and off piste TPS reports (Tricks, Powder and Spills).”  Nice attempt at getting some laughs fellas in the spirit of Office Space and the TPS reports joke.  I was already having a case of the Moondays this morning before I got this email from you.

I’ve been watching the online video space for about 10 years now and have seen my shares of the highs, and mostly lows, from the likes of Intertainer, Movielink, CinemaNow, TotalVid, ManiaTV, Cflix and others.  (BTW, what is Intertainer still doing with a web presence?!)  Hidden tricks, simplified links to blog posts, RSS capabilities and more aren’t going to result in success, nor will Kung Fu programs or other long-tail programming.  The key to successful monetization of video online will be free-to-air (FTA) models, namely advertising, and those models only work with a meaningful user base.  Adventure sports and kung fu films, as much as I personally enjoy them, don’t drive hundreds of thousands of users repeatedly. 

There are clearly some folks making noise these days with online video including Move Networks, ABC, Hulu and a few others.  I’m personally excited and thankful for that on many levels.  However, if Joost doesn’t start getting some legitimate programming on their network, whether via licensing or syndication approaches, and growing their user base quickly, I imagine they will soon be out of juice.

BTW, if you’re out there reading this and think I’m either a) spot on here or b) dead wrong here, I’d love to hear your perspectives on this (and/or the larger online video space.)       

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Filed under Tech, Video