Online TV growth accelerates in 2014 with 388% YOY growth

Adobe has released the Q2 US Digital Video Benchmark, the survey reports the growth of online video volume every six months. You’ll be blown away by the growth statistics which have been driven by streaming of major sporting events like the World Cup and the Winter Olympics. If you didn’t see it, Orcon’s online petition (www.freemyrugby.co.nz) helping Kiwis persuade the NZRU to open up rugby games to live HD online streaming, freeing New Zealand fans from the restrictions of a SKY subscription clearly hit the mark.

According to the Adobe report “living room,” video streams all contributed to a 388% growth in online TV consumption over the previous year. The big growth spurt is for online TV, which refers to digital streams of TV programs. This is not surprising an in the US most major TV networks now offer programming through streaming video on demand (SVOD) platforms.

HBO said it plans to roll out an over-the-top service domestically in 2015 that won’t require a pay-tv subscription — a precondition to receiving the network over its 42-year history. While CBS is already available over the air for free, the broadcaster launched a $5.99 monthly package stocked with 6,500-plus episodes from 15 current primetime series, previous seasons plus live-streaming access to 14 of their local stations.

This will only continue to drive the growth forecast in Adobe’s report, which highlights an 85% increase in the number of unique visitors watching online TV over the past six months. Adobe also found that viewers watched 125% more movies than last year.

The main catalyst for this growth is increased viewership on over-the-top (OTT) devices, like game consoles. What isn’t surprising is that online TV viewership is “shifting from the computer room to the living room”.

Mobile devices are king. More than half of all online TV views came on iOS alone. Online video viewing behaviour differs between device types. Online video completion rates on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) lag behind completion rates on desktops, gaming consoles. Android app access type viewers are frequenting online TV content 58.5% more than they were a year ago.

Premium movie content is rising in the number of authenticated videos being watched. Movie network channel viewing frequency realised a 125% increase YOY as viewers look for more diverse content to stream, they appear to be turning to and engaging more with movie channels. While you can’t overlook the amount of content watched and number of hours is much less than traditional broadcast the growth statistics are still impressive. You can read the report online here.

U.S. Digital Video Benchmark Adobe Digital Index Q2 2014

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Global Mode Commercial Director featured opinion article published by Fairfax

censorship, net neutrality, TPP, TPPA

The New Zealand government is one of the parties involved in the TransPacificPartnership Agreement (TPPA or TPP for short). The TPP is no simple “free trade agreement.” It goes further than tariffs and quotas.

According to the Fair Deal Coalition “the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will reach beyond the border, into New Zealand’s own policy-making and regulatory processes. [And] could stop future governments from making their own decisions on important issues including how long copyright lasts and how Internet Service Providers do business”.

Global Mode developer defends service

The American Motion Picture Association once tried to ban the personal VCR based on copyright principles, the VCR then became on of the largest ways for the consumer to purchase TV shows and movies for in home viewing.

Hollywood has already approached New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs to stop Kiwis accessing online content.

Radio NZ reported in July of this year that the Motion Pictures Distributors Association wanted access to the Internal Affairs child pornography filter, so they could block access to copyrighted material.

Should a US organisation with commercial interests control your ability to access websites when you are in New Zealand governed by New Zealand laws?

About 25 years ago the world wide web was invented by Timothy Berners-Lee. Last month in an interview with the Washinton Post, Berners-Lee said that US system is now in danger from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who stand to amass too much power over what was intentionally built as a decentralised network – one where no single actor could dictate outcomes to everyone else.

The TPP would indeed limit the open internet, access to knowledge, economic opportunity and fundamental rights if a number of proposed copyright provisions were agreed to. The TPP should lower trade barriers, not raise them.

New Zealand would be obliged under its free trade agreements with the United States, Singapore and Korea to provide a legal incentive to ISPs to cooperate with rights holders to prevent infringement on their systems and networks – based on their laws, not our own. New Zealander’s right to operate as a sovereign nation is at risk. Policies that won’t even address the root causes of internet piracy. Polices that would remove competition on the internet.

In contract, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) policy recommendations suggest that access to the internet should be promoted as fundamental to participating in 21st century society. So how can the New Zealand government fundamentally agree to lose control of our ability to provide access to online services from a fair trade agreement and say it’s in our best interests?

When you consider that last generation media monopolies have spent years ranting against piracy, while ignoring customer feedback, there has been very little done to reduce online piracy.

Rather than declaring war on frustrated customers, perhaps it would be best to focus on the problems which have driven New Zealander’s to take their business elsewhere?

Termination of internet access to a household or business would cut off occupants from education, employment, health services, government information, and social engagement.

If you dive deeper, the current issues and risks are greater as New Zealand could become subject to decisions such as a recent court decision involving Verizon vs the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in relation tonet neutrality.

Put simply, net neutrality refers to the basic principle that all data should be treated equally. That means no preferential treatment to specific kinds of content, certain users, individual companies or modes of communication.

This means big telecom companies can give an advantage to big internet companies who are willing to make deals with broadband providers, this quite obviously presents small companies with the disadvantage of operating on a slower network, lowering competition and removing consumer choice.

There’s a difference between regulating providers of broadband and the services that run on top of it, said Berners-Lee. Strong net neutrality rules would help preserve that line dividing the two and limit the incentive of ISPs to meddle in the market for services.

Netflix has said that “net neutrality must be defended and strengthened,” calling out giants telecommunications providers for bad behaviour. We can only wonder what impact the TPP will have on media censorship in New Zealand. There is no point simply blocking sites that promote online illegal downloading when they can change their address in minutes.

The internet has no readily available gate that we can put a lock on to keep people from downloading illegal content because there are many alternative ways for infringers to access their favourite movies and TV shows online. Over 2.5 million if you run a Google search.

The fact remains piracy isn’t a new problem, but could you say that the current solutions and proposed solution from the sector is not working?

Content rights holders have been fighting a losing battle for years. The file sharing industry is now global, very sophisticated and mainstream. Pirating techniques have evolved, simplified and diversified over the last decade, and many options and alternative distribution models have been constructed.

The content industry has not kept up.

In New Zeland only a very few cases have ever been heard by the Copyright Tribunal, and ISP’s foot huge bills to cover the costs to compliance systems.

Under the TPP, traditional providers will begin to relentlessly lobby the New Zealand government to create restrictive policies and heavy-handed solutions, none of which take consumers interests into account or addressing the reasons why New Zealander’s illegally download movies and TV shows.

Under the TPP, the government instead seems determined to be seen as defending, at all costs, the business model of the Hollywood movie houses.

Why not, instead of threatening consumer rights – make an investment that changes quarterly forecast earnings and create a solution people demand?

Double Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey challenged TV channels to give “control” to their audiences or risk losing them at his address at the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival.

“Netflix was the only network that believed in the new model of creating content….. The audience wants the control, they want the freedom. Through this new form of distribution we have learnt the lesson the music industry didn’t learn. Give people want they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in and at a reasonable price and they’ll more likely pay for it than steal it. Well, some will still steal it but I think we can take a bite out of piracy”

Obviously New Zelanders want the access to new content. The demand is there and consumers want to be treated with respect, not hampered by delays or excess charges.

Consumers who want access to content immediately are willing to pay for it. A government that forces costly policies onto consumers and ISPs, policies that won’t even address the root causes of internet piracy, is not the answer.

Chorus built a high speed network that provides unprecedented access to information never seen before in New Zealand. Our super highway is ready, and many, if not most people prefer to do the right thing. They want good service at a reasonable price. They want to pay for the very desirable content.

If the TPP lets governments & broadcasters lump people who are streaming overseas content into the same group as BitTorrent users, we prevent consumer choice.

Consumers will be stopped from bypassing geo-blocking, an artificial restraint on trade. Trade covered, ironically, by something called a ‘Free Trade Agreement’.

So start treating your customers as customers, not the enemy, and you might find things improve. Address the reasons why people infringe copyright in the first place rather than continually apply a band-aid to a broken bone.

The New Zealand sector is ready and willing to provide a legal framework within which rights holders, ISPs and consumer representatives can develop flexible, fair and workable approaches to reducing online copyright infringement.

Don’t ban parallel imports. Allow fair and genuine uses of copyright works in a rapidly evolving digital environment. The TPP should lower trade barriers, not raise them, and as a country we need to seriously consider removing oursleves from the TPP negotiations before it’s too late.

Matthew Jackson is Commercial Director of Bypass Network Services Limited and co-founder of Global Mode

Why did we not debate the TTP during the election? – It could change our lives forever.

With the Government starting to admit its foreign spy agency was gearing up for mass surveillance in the wake of an illegal spying scandal, New Zealander’s might want to take a closer look – should kiwi’s allow American commercial interest to dictate New Zeland national ICT policy, and what impact this might have businesses and and every day kiwi’s.

This is important because ICT can underpin future growth and innovation for New Zealand businesses. Technological advancement in ICT goods and services is continuing at a rapid pace, driving prices down and leading to a wide range of new applications like Xero and Vend. ICT can help firms expand their product range, customise their services, or respond better to demand, in short, to innovate.

So why would the New Zealand government let a foreign company dictate which websites our citizens can access or what product we buy?

The New Zealand government is one of the parties invloved in the TransPacificPartnership Agreement (TPPA or TPP for short). The TPP is no simple “free trade agreement.” It goes further than tariffs and quotas.

It allows private foreign corporation to sue countries over regulations that those corporations don’t like. It allows drug companies to expand the monopoly powers of drug patents; it would also allow corporations decide on what websites should be allowed on the Internet.

According to frontup.co.nz “Some of the worst examples of New Zealanders being asked to pay more than the rest of the world for things can be found in the iTunes store.

Taylor Swift’s latest hit was the top list track on the US iTunes store in September. In America you can download the song for US$1.29. The same song costs NZ$2.39 in New Zealand. The entire album, costs US$12.99 compared with NZ$23.99. Allowing for GST and the exchange rate that means we have to pay 35 percent more to buy the same music.

How would you like your healthcare cost to rise? No! Well if the TTP passes it’s likely they will. In New Zealand during the 1980s medicines prices were increasing at a faster rate than other healthcare spending, and were one of the fastest growing items of Government expenditure. In 1993 the Pharmaceutical Management Agency (PHARMAC) was created to actively manage Government spending on medicines.

According to PHARMAC’s website it uses a process for off-patent medicines (“generics”) to promote competition. Tendering for generic medicine is now used extensively, involves nearly half of all subsidised medicines (by volume) yet represents around 20 percent of New Zealand’s total drug cost. The annual tender generates around $40 -$50 million in savings each year. That means the average bill for NZ’s will increase by $50 a year for an average family, about the cost of one Doctor’s visit. Do you consider this an issue? In 2012 petrol excise duty increased by 2 cents per litre, or 4.1 percent an average cost of around $30 a year. How did you feel about this. Now imagine prices increases impacting nearly every area of your life. No more shopping at The Warehouse, parallel imports will be a thing of the past.

All of the mechanisms we have in our society are designed to increase competition, to get rid of monopolies, to help reduce the amount we pay for medicines, and every day household goods, and improve our lives. The savings Pharmac generates that can be used to subsidise more products – increasing New Zealanders’ access to medicines. Would you prefer to line a foreign nation’s pockets or have Pharmac invest in the latest breast cancer treatment Herceptin that is now available to 350 women a year at a cost $6 million.

The TTP will sacrifice sovereignty, national health and consumer choice on the Internet freedom all in the name of keeping the private corporations balance sheets fat and healthy. This is why the TTP is so dangerous; it makes it near impossible for NZ to fight back against giant corporations. No more ‘No nukes,’ we would have to fight to create our own laws.

The TTP It puts the rights of profit driven businesses in America over basic democratic rights of New Zealanders to govern independently, No wonder John Key wants to fast track this without transparency.

We need to have open debate on the treaty and prevent the need for fast tracking legislation, which will change our lives forever. Are our legislators captured by foreign interests and are those foreign interests, the corporations driving the TTP able to provide irrefutable evidence of their claims? If so, then prove it and allow an open and democratic process.

You can read more about the TTP in an opinion article I wrote for Stuff.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/61711854/going-global-for-net-neutrality.html