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Google Fiber Hits Pause Button
Google Fiber is an on-again, off-again proposition. Some weeks ago it suspended new deployments. Then it acquired Webpass, a broadband service provider that uses fixed wireless in San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, Boston and Miami, and said it intended accelerate deployments by using both all-fiber and fixed wireless. This week Alphabet, Google’s parent holding company, said it is “pausing” deployments as it studies “changes to focus our business and product strategy.” Craig Barratt is stepping down as CEO of the Access division, which runs Google Fiber program and assume an unspecified advisory role. The division will also be “reducing our employee base” but did not say how many employees would be terminated. It said that Fiber will continue operating in the eight metro areas where it’s already up or running: Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Nashville, Tennessee; and Provo and Salt Lake City, Utah – and that deployments will continue in Huntsville, Alabama; San Antonio, Texas; San Diego; and San Francisco.
Facebook Launches Promotions for Its Live Video Streams
The only questions appear to be, “Which Web giant won’t be heavily involved in pushing live video streams?” and “How much bandwidth will live video streams use in 2017?” Facebook and Twitter have joined Google’s YouTube and others in pushing live video streaming. Facebook’s internal advertising agency, The Factory, has begun promoting its live video service in the US and UK. The campaign shows footage shot using Facebook Live. Facebook’s Rebecca Van Syck said Facebook wanted “to try and close the gap” between being aware of live video and actually testing it out. Gary Briggs, chief marketing officer at Facebook, said in a blog that “all of the content for the campaign – every video, every image – was shot using Facebook Live on a phone” – many by what he refers to as “real people.” Facebook says that users comment than 10 or more times more on Live videos than they do on regular videos. The success of Facebook Live is so important to Facebook that it is spending about $50 million to convince top media publishers and celebrities to use it.
AT&T to Offer $35 OTT-delivered DirecTV Bundle
Will there be a bandwidth gap as more and more pay TV services offer OTT-delivered pay TV?
AT&T will charge only $35 a month for its OTT-delivered DirecTV Now pay TV service when it launches next month, according to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson at the WSJDLive conference talking about AT&T’s proposed acquisition of the media company Time Warner. He said, “We’re going to be a head-to-head nationwide competitor with the cable ecosystem.” Stephenson previously said an OTT-delivered DirecTV could hurt DirecTV’s existing pay TV service. He said DirecTV Now is aimed at the estimated 20 million households without pay television.” The DirecTV Now service won’t require a satellite dish, an installer or set-top box. Stephenson said some packages will be “wireless only, some satellite, some all in-between.” He said, “If there was ever an environment that was begging for innovation, it is this environment.” Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said, “We would say and we’ve been saying it since 1995, every channel in the country should look like HBO or Netflix—there’s no reason we can’t.”
Here’s a warning to cablecos, satcos and the other telcos that offer pay TV. DirecTV provides for free to its subscribers what we consider the very best pay TV service that’s available on smartphones and tablets – far away the best because subscribers can use their mobile device just as they do their home TV and its remote – watch and record every channel plus record every channel and watch everything that’s on the DVR.
Extensis Works with IPTC to Develop New Standard for Video Metadata
The International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC), the media’s standards body, has worked with its member Extensis to develop a new standard for video metadata, called the Video Metadata Hub, that it says streamlines workflows and defines video metadata fields. The new standard is supported in Extensis’ Portfolio 2016 digital asset management solution. Michael Steidl, IPTC managing director, said, “For many video businesses, it is essential to have metadata describing what can be seen and heard in a video, administrative data like dates and involved person, in addition to rights related information. But the experience from using video standards has been confusing. Metadata for the same purpose may have different names. One standard is supporting a field for a requested use, the next one not. This does not allow for set up of identical workflows for different technical types of video resources, and raises the threat of losing metadata in a workflow. Having Extensis’ support on the development of the Video Metadata Hub has been invaluable given their expertise with metadata and digital asset management solutions”
Toby Martin, VP of Development & Strategy at Extensis said, “The release of the new Video Metadata Hub signifies a major advancement for efficiently managing video files. Extensis’ digital asset management solution, Portfolio 2016, adds support for this new standard so organizations can take advantage of its benefits today.”
40% of Time Spent Viewing Videos Is Now on Mobile Devices
The time spent viewing videos on mobile devices is approaching that of the time spent viewing on TV sets, according to Ericsson’s latest ConsumerLab research, released at MIPCOM. The study said the ratio between viewing on TV sets and mobile devices is close to 60:40 this year compared to almost 70:30 in 2010.
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YouTube & Facebook Lead the Mobile Video Surge in Africa
Viewing videos on mobile networks in Africa has doubled in the last year from 8.6% to 18.1%, according to Sandvine, which provides broadband network solutions to more than 300 fixed and mobile operators. The top OTT service on mobile devices in Africa and the Middle East is Google’s YouTube. The Facebook properties Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp account for over 20% of traffic on mobile networks in the Middle East. Sandvine predicts will be the top mobile application in Africa within the next 18 months. Tom Donnelly, Sandvine’s COO of sales and global services, said, “The rapid growth of video on mobile networks in Africa underscores the need for operators in the region to have solutions in place that allow them to measure, monetize, and optimize the Real-Time Entertainment traffic that subscribers value.”