Streaming Competition Grows


Ooyala’s Global Video Index published last week takes on even more significance in light of three other developments from the world of streaming video and disruptive viewing competition.

“Long form” content, which includes movies and TV show, comprises 93% of viewing time when people are watching content on a ’net-connected TV set or a game console or Internet access box connected to their TV set, according to Ooyala’s second-quarter 2012 report.(That’s the screen they are “supposed” to be using to watch “regular TV,” whatever that means today.)

As I digested the meaty Ooyala report, I noted a few other pertinent headlines of the week:Fox will launch its new “Digital HD” electronic sell-through of Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” this month, about three weeks before the sci-fi movie goes to Blu-ray Discs, DVDs or video-on-demand. The digital distribution is likely to be a loud shot in studios’ moves that would try again to disrupt the decades-old distribution windows. “Prometheus,” a modest theatrical performer, is expected to have a vast home audience thanks to its roots in the cult “Alien” series.

Separately, a GfK study of Netflix viewers showed that the average customer watches 5.1 TV shows and 3.4 movies per week.That adds up to about eight hours of weekly Netflix time in subscribing homes.The GfK “Over-the-Top TV 2012” research also noted that 39% of U.S. homes are currently Netflix users, up from 35% last year.

Adding to the week’s frenzy was a Jeff Bezos interview, in which the Amazon CEO – on the heels of his “big deal with Epix” – hints at his plans for “Prime Instant Video.”

“We’re investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Prime Instant Video,” Bezos teased in a chat with The Wall Street Journal’s “All Things D.” He stopped short of revealing whether, as many expect, that Amazon will detach the movie streaming service from the Amazon Prime book/product delivery subscription.Bezos acknowledged that the studios are “not all like-minded” about how to set up digital delivery.

“It’s their content, so they can license it however they like,” he said with his typical puckish spin.

Which brings us back to the study from Ooyala, an online video management, publishing and analytics provider, with many media industry clients.

At the very least, its Global Video Index report confirmed “content convergence” – that a growing audience prefers to see long-form video content via Internet-delivered options, including wireless.Most significantly, Ooyala found that the share of time that viewers spent watching long-form video on tablets grew 47% in a single quarter. To some degree that’s a statistical fluke, based on the bubble in iPad and other tablet sales in winter.Nonetheless, it’s big jump.

Live video – especially sports and special events – are also “accelerating rapidly,” says the Ooyala study, adding to the competitive distractions facing viewers. Ooyala’s findings support those from the GfK report: there’s an accelerating shift toward alternative viewing

As the Fox “Prometheus" experiment and Amazon’s cautious streaming moves underscore, the content creators and aggregators are accelerating their competitive stance.