Joost’s iPhone App a Sign of Things to Come

December 11, 2008

A relatively silent shot was fired the  first week of December which, though it was not at first heard around the world, will eventually change the way all media are distributed. Sound provocative enough? 

I‘m talking about Joost rolling out its iPhone application. This changes everything.

You might think I’m going to on and on about how mobile video is eventually the future, blah, blah, blah, but I’m not. Because it’s not. Mobile video will be a very nice complement to the TV and the PC. It will remain the third screen for as long as you can imagine. This post is not about the future of mobile video.

Instead, I’m talking about what I have been calling the “many devices, many services” model of media consumption in many of the speeches I give. This model follows nicely in line after the “one device, one service” model, which is best embodied in the iPod/iTunes or Kindle/Amazon combinations. This is a fine model, usually one that a new technology category will start with. But that model is quickly followed by a “one device, many services” model. This is the case with the Sony eReader, which, unlike the Amazon Kindle, has published an open development platform which allows any bookseller in the world to sell books into the eReader ecosystem. One device + many services. 

Before we move into the “many devices, many services” model, a quick interim step called the “many devices, one service” model flourishes briefly. This is best exemplified by the Netflix on LG, Xbox, Samsung, TiVo, and so on model. I love this model and have written about it copiously.

But what we will see next is what Joost has done by exploiting the iPhone’s application development environment. It has volunteered itself as a service on the iPhone, without Apple ‘s express permission. In other words, in the “many devices, many services” model, devices are built with open platforms that allow any (ergo: many) services to spontaneously connect, without doing a biz-dev deal. 

Oily Britney Spearks, Star Trek, Victoria's Secret, any guesses what target audience Joost appeals to?

Top Joost Picks: Oily Britney Spearks, Star Trek, Victoria's Secret, any guesses what target audience Joost appeals to?

“Many devices, many services” is the future of video. And it requires the use of an open platform and open protocols. Joost, which got its start as a P2P video delivery mechanism, has since opened itself to wider consumption by going straight IP. Once it speaks IP, Joost can easily be ported to any IP device, including the iPhone. Including the T-Mobile G1. And so on. It has been so successful on the iPhone so far that it’s regularly in the top 10 free applications on the iPhone App Store (see pic, today it’s #5, yesterday #2, it see-saws).

All we need now is a (commercially-viable) open development platform for the TV set-top box. We already see a rabid community of Apple TV hackers who are writing their own code to create an open platform out of the walled garden Apple built. (I’ll write more on that later in the month because I’m trying it out myself.) And Comcast and Cox and Verizon will take years before they consider an open platform — they’d rather charge you for everything you want to do, even if they only enable you to do it badly, which is the case with things like whole-home DVR.

So who is going to bring an open development platform to the TV in a commercially viable way? My money’s on Roku in the short run. Who else has the guts (or the financial imperative) to do this? One backdoor might be to create a TV set top that is truly DLNA compliant. Then people could create PC applications that feed DLNA content to the set top. I’ll keep my eyes on this for you.

In the meantime: Joost iPhone users. Are you using the app? Does it work as advertised? Satisfied? If not, this could slow down the proof of concent the “many devices, many services” model needs, so I hope not. Let me know.

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The global growth of online video vs. mobile video

October 20, 2008

I spend most of my time analyzing online video in the US (all of my datapoints on my FAQ are US only as well). But I get a lot of questions from clients around the world who share with me their anecdotal experiences, including juicy bits like:

  • In Spain, online video is spiking, driven largely by illegal downloading because there’s very little available through legitimate channels.
  • In European markets, even if they are next door neighbors, the behavior differs dramatically based on how much local-interest content has been cleared for online distribution.
  • English-speaking markets like Australia and Canada are less and less willing to wait for legal access to consumer American media. When Heroes hits the Web in the US, it gets picked up via BitTorrent in the rest of the English-speaking world. 
  • In Japan and Korea, online video is growing like gangbusters, in addition to high mobile video adoption.

This last one caused me to do some thinking because both mobile and online are growing at the same time. This is part of a bigger question, namely: Does online video ultimately compete with other video channels or complement them?

It’s a question that I have blogged about before when it came up among a panel of online TV giants in the US, but there hasn’t been a need to consider online video compared to mobile video, which is very immature in the US. However, globally, there are markets with a third or more of mobile users watching mobile video. 

I know from another global analysis that I did that when people in a country listen to music via their mobile phones, that listening competes with online music streaming. If one goes up, the other goes down. It was a comparison of 15 different countries where Forrester collects data (it is so cool to work here, imagine having that data at your fingertips). 

Nervously, I replicated the analysis for mobile video vs. online video streaming, and, wanna guess? They don’t compete. In fact, they correlate strongly (correlation coefficient: .57, end of nerd moment). This is the unique role of video in people’s lives. This is why OmniVideo is going to happen: more video, through more devices, in more places and times. Because we want more of it. Open the pipe and more will flow through.

Cool, huh? What’s your experience with video — either mobile or online — globally? Seeing some cool things? Feel free to share.


Day In The Life Of Typical Viewer: 2008 vs. 2013

September 29, 2008

Let’s put some money where my mouth is. I’ve said that people are going to watch an extra hour a day of video by 2013; I’ve said that people will watch much more content on-demand and on portable devices than ever before. So what does that look like? When you do the math on my predictions, it says that 2013 looks like this compared to today:

What do you notice about this? The biggest shocker is that although OmniVideo sounds like the death of linear content, doing the math shows that at least in the 5-year time frame and under the assumptions I’ve envisioned, linear video viewing has only gone down by 27 minutes a day (from 3 hrs 12 mins to 2 hrs 45 mins). If you’re a linear content provider (broadcaster, cable net), take some heart. However, recognize that these are averages. The youngest and most sophisticated viewers will be way lower than this…


Four Trends OmniVideo Predicts

September 29, 2008

The extra hour of video that people will watch a day in 2013 creates a 25% growth opportunity for every player in the industry, creating a potential $37.5 billion growth opportunity in advertising revenue, content and subscription fees, and bandwidth charges.

That’s a pretty big assertion. It’s also entirely possible. To see how quickly we’re moving toward this future, I will be keeping my eyes on four specific predictions or metrics that OmniVideo implies:

· The percent of video viewed that is on-demand. The best evidence that OV has already started is the preponderance of on-demand viewing; this will account for an estimated 20% of all viewing in 2008 and rise to nearly half of all video — 45% — in five years. I’m not including recorded media like DVDs, as this involves the step of first acquiring content before it can be viewed. I do include content played back on a DVR, as well as true video on demand (VOD) delivered by cable, satellite, and telcoTV providers. The biggest force here is online video which is all on-demand by definition.

·  The percent of video delivered via IP. All content will be delivered via Internet Protocol eventually, but for the near future, the closed networks of cable and satellite providers will dominate, keeping this number to 35% in 2013. In the US, much IP-delivered content is also viewed on-demand, with the exception of IPTV-delivered linear content on platforms like AT&T’s U-verse (so make sure you recognize that these four predictions are not mutually exclusive).

·  How much video is consumed on a mobile or portable device. Between laptops, iPods, and mobile phones, no more than 8% of video will be viewed on a portable device in 2008. This number isn’t going to rise quickly, either, reaching just 15% in 2013. It’s not the minutes that matter here as much as the percent of people who snack on portable video, which should reach nearly half of all viewers by then. A big number of people, even if they don’t spend a majority of video minutes on it.

·  The percent of video consumed that is personal. The final indicator is the portion of video consumed that is personal, meaning the viewer or the viewer’s friends or family created it. This number starts small — just 2% this year — and rises to only 10% in five years. It can’t rise faster than the others because it depends on the others for a boost. Only when people have an OV environment in which it is easy to deliver and view video will they finally feel like it’s convenient to generate, maintain, and share video of their own making.

Source: Forrester Research, 17 June 2008 report, “How Video Will Take Over The World,” by James McQuivey, Ph.D.