Next TV: Vubiquity's Antonellis Says Speed Is Key

'Time to Market, Ability to Test' are Crucial

New York--New Vubiquity CEO Darcy Antonellis, straddling the line of a company that functions as a content aggregator and one that provides technical services and supports for distributors, has 2014 goals for both sides of the house rooted in at least one commonality: quickness.

Whether on the content licensing path or on the product/service side, Antonellis, speaking at NewBay Media’s Next TV Summit here on March 19, said the most important consideration is “speed, the time to market, the ability to test...The singular focus in on time to market and access."

Antonellis -- who joined Vubiquity on Jan. 2 from Warner Bros. Entertainment, where she served as president of technical operations and CTO and previously held executive roles in TV production and distribution at Fox Television and CBS -- said the company has an eye on furthering its position abroad, where it is the largerst on-demand provider in 38 countries. “There is dramatic expansion in different parts of the world,” she said with Vubiquity, also backstorpping other networks that support those content servicves.

Back in the States, Antonellis, who has three technical Emmys on her mantle, is buoyed by the engine that drives Vubiquity's various positions in the industry: TV consumption grew two hours per month, according to a study it commissioned with Frank N. Magid Associates. ”That’s great news,” she said.

Conversely, the study found some good and bad news, relative to the burgeoning TV Everywhere initiative. On the positive side, awareness for TV has hit a 62% rate, meaning the message about content being accessible through verification is getting out there and reaching more than three in five. However, registration is only at a 31% level for those verifying their pay-tv subscription on smartphones and tablets, so much work remains. “We have to make it more frictionless, to enable the flexibility in those services,” Antonellis said.

One area that is gaining traction is electronic sell-through. Multichannel News technology editor and keynote moderator Jeff Baumgartner pointed out that Comcast entered the arena in November, joining the likes of iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu, and Verizon FiOS, which has engaged in this enterprise for years.

“Having EST rights is a requirement now,” said Antonellis. “Maybe there was void a couple of years ago, but it’s standard fare now…You have to have it in the arsensal.”

That being said, EST, as a broad base market, is “still in its nascent stages,” she said, with Vubiquity supporting that set of features and functions. Antonellis noted that in some cases clients license content directly to consumers, and in “some cases they license through us.”

As to margins, Antonellis didn’t offer specifics, but gave the audience a sense that it’s quite a lucrative endeavor, as the home entertainment business has evolved from its physical presence in the form of DVDs and then Blu-Rays, to the digitized realm. “I’ll allow you to do math. The discs sold at retail; there was a wholesale price and the manufacturers’ costs. You can see why the content community has moved to digital for both instant viewing and home entertainment libraries,” said Antonellis.