Posts in The Future of VOD

VOD Platforms are a building block to content owner profits

Pay-per-view TV is the saviour of future content revenues

Independent film sellers are finding that the patchwork of overseas video-on-demand platforms represent a godsend due to competition for exclusives within territories and mushrooming aggregate sales.

With fragmentation, many VOD platforms outfits outside the United States pay low fees, but a strategy to mount short-term exclusive deals with one platform as a building block for additional ancillary deals is emerging.

For example, U.K.-based Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment licensed documentary “Something for Nothing: The Art of Rap” with iTunes in the U.K. for a two-week exclusive window in September. While all of Kaleidoscope’s titles are accessible on iTunes and other VOD platforms, the music doc got extra iTunes promotion during the period. “If you have a film with strong reviews and good word of mouth, that will help stimulate the later physical DVD sales as well,” says Spencer Pollard, CEO of Kaleidoscope.

VOD Platforms

VOD Platforms are a building block to film revenues

For many indie films, video-on-demand in many territories doesn’t pay minimum guarantees but simply a cut of the revenue or a small license fee that amounts to a few thousand dollars. But those payouts can pile up from multiple territories.

In a survey of its member sales companies, the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) found the number of VOD and subscription VOD platforms increasing sharply in international territories from 2011 to 2012. For example, Japan went from 14 VOD & SVOD platforms to 18, and the United Kingdom from 10 to 15 in just one year.

The multitude of VOD platforms contrasts with subscription TV, which tend have one or two behemoths in each territory — one for cable and one for satellite TV.

Media researcher SNL Kagan sees a dramatic upturn in aggregate international digital VOD / pay-per-view revenue for motion pictures, going from just $9.9 million outside the U.S. in 2009 to $224.6 million this year. That’s for online movie VOD overseas, excluding VOD on subscription TV platforms.

VOD Platforms have always been a talking point

“Everybody has been talking about VOD taking off since the late 1990s,” says Bill Anderson, IFTA vice president, research and strategic analysis. “What we didn’t take in account back then is that people didn’t have the broadband capabilities to download. Now broadband penetration in the major markets is deep.”

Films from Hollywood’s majors take a big chunk of the growing overseas sales, but indies are tapping the windfall. Malte Probst, vice president PPV and VOD at Sky Deutschland, Germany’s top subscription TV platform, notes that indies excel among those who appreciate edgy films, and also horror and arthouse genres. Sky Deutschland’s capacity for storing VOD titles on settop boxes will go from 40 to 350 with new hardware rolling out to its satellite TV subscribers.

Chinese VOD platform Youku Tudou also likes acquiring independent movies because they represent a better value than major studio titles, says Huilong Zhu, VP, movies and corporate business development. VOD is catching on with Chinese consumers as Youku Tudou finds movies generate five to six times the consumer buy rates than comparable titles when first launched.

Check out more stories on our View TV Group website at


What is Second Screen?

Second screen refers to the use of an additional electronic device (e.g. tablet, smartphone or the computer) by individuals who are already watching the television.

Second Screen App is an software application primarily created to enrich the viewing experience on the First Screen, the screen where the live event and/or linear content is rendered, to which the Second Screen App relates.

Second Screen Device, sometimes also referred to as “companion device” or “digital media controller”, is a term that refers to an additional electronic device that allows a content consumer to interact with the content they are consuming, such as TV shows, movies, music, or video games. Extra data is displayed on a portable device with the content being viewed on television.


Social television creates a need and opportunity for interaction between the sender and content consumers. This involves new services, applications and changes in content production. The use of second screen provides a parallel path, whereby the user can become an active agent in the broadcast content or in just some other activity, rather than interrupt playback.

The concept is being expanded to include live events like keynote speeches, meetings and seminars where the “first screen” is the main presentation screen, and participants use smartphones and tablets to mirror the main screen and/or view ancillary information.


Several studies show a clear tendency of the user to use a device while watching television. They also show a greater frequency of use of tablet or smartphone when watching television, and other studies distinguish a higher percentage of comments or posts on social networks, about the content that’s being watched (Nielsen ratings) [9][10][11] As well, Google has published a study where they define some apparent new behaviors on the part of users when consuming content via multiple devices.

On these studies, many companies both in content production and advertising have adapted their formats to the user, trying to get maximum attention and thus profits. Applications are becoming a natural extension of television programming, both live and on demand.


Many applications in the “second screen” are designed to give another form of interactivity to the user and another way to sell advertising content. Some examples:

Transmission of the Master’s Golf Tournament, application for the iPhone (rating information and publicity)

TV programs broadcast live tweets and comment.

Synchronization of audio visual content via web advertising.

Applications that extend the content information.

Shows that add on their websites, content devoted exclusively to the second screen

Applications that synchronize the content being viewed to the portable device.

Video game console playing with extra data, such as a map or strategy data, that synchronize with the content being viewed to the portable device.

TV discovery application with recommendation, EPG (live content), personalization.


Projects and Research activity which is addressing 2nd screen includes:

SAM: Socialising Around Media: Leading European Research Project on Second Screen, Content Syndication and Social Media.

Sports Broadcasting

Sports broadcasters, to stem the flight of the TV audience away from watching the main screen (new name for the television) to the second screen, are offering alternative content to the main program. The idea is to present content related to the main program, such as unseen moments, alternative information, soundtrack, and characters. Proposed new technologies allow the viewer to see different camera angles while watching the game.]

TV2 (Denmark), Denmark’s largest commercial TV channel, synchronized its Second Screen service to live events of the Giro d’Italia 2012 bicycling from May 5 to May 27, 2012, whereby viewers on all internet devices could get rider stats, biographies, news, stage reviews, city info, weather info and the like. Viewers scanned a QR code on the TV broadcast to get connected, or typed in a short URL.

In the US, HDNet Fights utilizes a second screen service to synchronize to live MMA broadcasts, where viewers on smartphones and tablets could get stats, vote on fights and rounds, chat, win prizes, and see how fellow second screen users voted to win fights.



What is Smart TV?

A smart TV, sometimes referred to as connected TV or hybrid TV, (not to be confused with IPTV, Internet TV, or with Web TV), describes a trend of iman of the Internet and Web 2.0 features into television sets and set-top boxes, as well as the technological convergence between computers and these television sets / set-top boxes. The devices have a higher focus on online interactive media, Internet TV, over-the-top content, as well as on-demand streaming media, and home networking access, with much less focus on the traditional broadcasting media that traditional television sets and set-top boxes offers.[1][2][3][4] Similar to how the Internet, Web widgets, and software applications are integrated in modern smartphones, the name “smart TV” is akin to “smart phone”.[5][6][7][8][9]

The technology that enables smart TVs is also incorporated in devices such as set-top boxes, digital media players, Blu-ray players, game consoles, hotel television systems, and other network connected interactive devices that utilize television type display outputs.[10][11][12] These devices allow viewers to search and find videos, movies, photos and other content on the Web, on a local cable TV channel, on a satellite TV channel, or on a local storage drive.[12]


A first patent was filed in 1994[13] and extended the next year.[14] «An “intelligent” television system linked with data processing systems by means of a digital or analog network». Apart from being linked to Data Networks, one key point is its ability to automatically download necessary software routines according to users demand and process their needs.


A smart TV device is either a television set with integrated Internet capabilities or a set-top box for television that offers more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary basic television set. Smart TVs may be thought of as an information appliance or the computer system from a handheld computer integrated within a television set unit, as such smart TV often allows the user to install and run more advanced applications or plugins/addons based on a specific platform. Smart TVs run complete operating system or mobile operating system software providing a platform for application developers.[1][15][16][17][18][19][20]

Smart TV platforms or middleware have a public Software development kit (SDK) and/or Native development kit (NDK) for apps so that third-party developers can develop applications for it, and an app store so that the end-users can install and uninstall apps themselves. The public SDK enables third-party companies and other interactive application developers to “write” applications once and see them run successfully on any device that supports the smart TV platform or middleware architecture which it was written for, no matter who the hardware manufacturer is.

“Smart TV”s:

1.Deliver content from other computers or network attached storage devices on a network like photos, movies and music using either a Digital Living Network Alliance / Universal Plug and Play media server or similar service program like Windows Media Player or Network-attached storage (NAS), or via iTunes.

2.Provide access to Internet-based services including traditional broadcast TV channels, catch-up services, video-on-demand, Electronic program guide, interactive advertising, personalisation, voting, games, social networking, and other multimedia applications.[21][22][23]


Smart TV also provide access to user-generated content (either stored on an external hard drive or in cloud storage) and to interactive services and Internet applications, such as YouTube, many using HTTP Live Streaming (also known as HLS) adaptive streaming.[24]

Smart TV devices facilitate the curation of traditional content by combining information from the Internet with content from TV Providers. Services offer users a means to track and receive reminders about favorite shows[25] or sporting events,[26] as well as the ability to change channels for immediate viewing.

Some devices feature additional interactive organic user interface / natural user interface technologies for navigation controls and other human interaction with a Smart TV, with such as second screen companion devices,[27][28] spatial gestures input like with Xbox Kinect,[29][30][31] and even for speech recognition for natural language user interface.[32]


The concept of smart TVs is still emerging, with both proprietary and open source software frameworks being commercially promoted. Some have the ability to run applications (sometimes available via an ‘app store’ digital distribution platform), interactive on-demand media, personalized communications, and social networking features[33][34][35][36][37]

See also: List of notable Smart TV platforms and middleware software

Social networking[edit]

A number of smart TV platforms come prepackaged, or can be optionally extended, with social networking technology capabilities. The addition of social networking synchronization to smart TV and HTPC platforms may provide an interaction with both on-screen content and other viewers than is currently available to most televisions, while simultaneously providing a much more cinematic experience of the content than is currently available with most computers.[38]


Some Smart TV platforms also supports interactive advertising, addressable advertising with local ad insertion and ad targeting, and other advanced advertising features such as ad telescoping using VOD and PVR, enhanced TV for consumer call-to-action and audience measurement solutions for ad campaign effectiveness.[39][40]

Reaction from broadcast networks[edit]

NBC, ABC, CBS, and Hulu have blocked Google TV-enabled devices from accessing their Web content since Google TV’s launch.[41] As of 22 November 2010, Google TV devices are blocked from accessing any programs offered by Viacom’s subsidiaries.[42]

Market structure

According to a report from the researcher NPD In-Stat, only about 12 million U.S. households have their Web-capable TVs connected to the Internet, although In-Stat estimates about 25 million U.S. TV households own a set with the built-in network capability. Also, In-Stat predicts that 100 million homes in North America and western Europe will own television sets that blend traditional programs with Internet content by 2016.[43]