Different OTT strokes for different folks

We’re just at the dawn of the virtual MVPD era and we’re already seeing signs of more market segmentation and product differentiation than with the current, facilities-based service provider model.

sling TV logoOn the heels of Dish’s breakthrough launch this week of its Sling TV service, Sony has begun to pull the curtain back a bit on its own virtual pay-TV service, PlayStation Vue, which is expected to launch by the end of the first quarter. GigaOM’s Janko Roettgers got a sneak peak courtesy of a beta tester, including some screen shots of the UI, and it’s clear the Sony service is a very different animal from Sling TV.

Unlike Sling TV’s low-priced, slimmed-down bundle of a dozen channels built around ESPN, PlayStation Vue includes a nearly full load of broadcast and pay-TV networks — over 70 according to the list provided to GigaOM — along with catch-up VOD and cloud-based DVR functionality, and is likely to cost $60 to $80 a month — roughly the same as traditional cable or satellite service. Read More »

BlackBerry’s two-sided view of net neutrality

Say what you will about BlackBerry CEO John Chen’s blog post last week calling on policymakers to include application/content neutrality as part of any carrier-centric net neutrality rules — and the reviews have been brutal — but there is an important insight about the evolution of the over-the-top video market lurking inside what is otherwise an impractical proposal.

classic_black_frontChen suggests that broadband providers today “are like the railways of the last century, building the tracks to carry traffic to all points,” but notes that “the railway cars travelling on those tracks are, in today’s internet world, controlled not by the carriers but by content and applications providers.” Read More »

Streaming live, from the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl has long been the premiere annual showcase for advertisers and agencies, with 30-second spots going for upwards of $4 million. This year’s game, though, will also be used as a showcase for live OTT platforms.

superbowl xlix 400x300NBC will live-stream the game, on Feb. 1, as the lead broadcaster has done with the past three Super Bowl’s, starting with NBC in 2012. This year, however, the network will leverage the live stream to promote its newly expanded  linear TV Everywhere offering.  NBC will use its coverage of the game to kick off 11 continuous hours of non-authenticated streaming of its linear feed, culminating in the mid-season debut of “The Blacklist,” expected to get underway around 10pm EST. Viewers will not be required to log-in to NBC Sports Live Extra or provide an MVPD login to watch the full 11 hours. Read More »

Twitch goes to the movies

We missed this amid the hubbub of CES, but apropos our Wednesday post Twitch has begun experimenting with live movie screenings on its platform through a partnership with Devolver Digital. Each Friday through February 20th Twitch will host a screening of a game-related movie, along with a live chat with the filmmaker on its main channel.

twitch_logo3The series kicked off January 9th with an airing of “Stream Dream,” a documentary about the growing impact of game streamers like Pew Die Pie, Smosh and Angry Joe. Today’s feature, at 2:15 PST, will be “Pixel Poetry,” a documentary on the artistry of games. Read More »