Here’s our take on some of the latest news at the intersection of technology and entertainment:
» YouTube Topics: YouTube is about to announce testing on a refined approach to content discovery on its site. A new system of tags will sort videos by algorithm-driven topics in a manner that connects users with more of the kind of content than the typical search experience on the site. YouTube really needs to get this right in order to improve engagement and time spent on site, and it sounds like something that can work well in its new “leanback” mode for TV viewing. [CNet].
» RealGravity: An online video marketplace emerged from stealth mode today with $3.2 million in Series A funding and an innovative approach to matching content publishers and advertisers. RealGravity is smartly pitched as an eliminator of the cost barrier to managing the complex art of monetizing video. Will be interesting to see what content providers come aboard beyond charter partners NBC Universal (NYSE: GE), Vibe Media and Howcast. [StreamingMedia.com].
» ESPN (NYSE: DIS) iPad: While these skeptical observations from ESPN programming John Skipper on the mad rush of media brands to mistakenly recreate print experiences on iPad are well founded, they aren’t particularly constructive thoughts. If everyone is screwing up tablet media, how is the mighty ESPN succeeding here? We’re far enough into the iPad revolution where critics need to stop nitpicking unless they’re prepared to identify just what are the ways forward in this distinctive medium. [MarketWatch].
» Transactional VOD: Early insight on movie-streaming consumption habits came out of the earnings call for Sonic Solutions, which provides transactional VOD software to 6.5 million devices via its RoxioNow service: So-called “connected” consumers watch four VOD titles per month. There’s some more tidbits on what Sonic is seeing, including a ratio of rentals to sell-through of about 9:1. Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) may have cornered the market on subscription video rental, but it’s equally important to understand what’s going on in TVOD as well [HomeMedia Magazine].
» $10B On Demand: In-Stat is projecting that what it calls the “on-demand” category–transactional VOD, subscription VOD and EST will be a $10 billion market by 2014. That will mean retail will suffer, says the research firm, but not necessarily linear broadcast and pay-TV, which will co-exist with in-demand in a “hybrid economy.” Of course, VOD and EST will be competition for each other (see previous link), but hybridization will be occuring at every level–there’s no one winner in this game [In-Stat].