Archives For Industry

Ad-ding It Up for VOD

Mari Silbey —  November 25, 2006 — Leave a comment

It’s kind of like the war between spammers and anti-spammers. As soon as one side comes up with a new technological weapon, the other builds something for the arsenal to counter it. So it goes with television advertising.

charterlogo.gifCharter is starting a trial in hometown St. Louis of dynamic, on-demand advertising. The reason this is significant is because it greatly cuts down on the amount of time it takes to insert ads into VOD programming. Instead of planning weeks in advance, advertisers can deliver and update content virtually at any time.

The technology does look cool. Changes to content can be made without re-encoding and re-distributing the surrounding video, which suggests interesting applications for television outside of advertising. (Update a sitcom in re-runs with jokes that are relevant to current events. Serve up VOD news and update it with developments throughout the day…)

As far as advertising goes, we knew DVRs wouldn’t ultimately spell doom for the TV ad model. And I’ve got nothing against folks needing to make money by advertising their products. However, can we try to avoid overdoing advertisements in the new era of digital television? The amount of programming in a TV hour has significantly declined. I’d like a little more TV show with my hour of ads, please…

Dave’s Holiday Shopping Agenda

Dave Zatz —  November 23, 2006 — 3 Comments

It’s that time of year again! No, not the season of giving… Rather, it’s the season of trampling your neighbors to get the best deal for yourself at the Walmarts of the world.

I’ve put together a small list of what I want, where to get it, and at what cost. The odds of my succeeding are very low due to massive competition and the fact that I’ll be driving across several states to two different locations over the next four days. My top priority, based on need and attainability, is the LCD.

Xbox 360 @ $100
66% savings

42″ Vizio Plasma HDTV @ $1000
17% savings (off already great price)

samsung.jpg19″ Samsung LCD @ $130
48% Off
Best Buy

APC UPS 350VA @ $20
50% savings

Nintendo Wii @ $250
Full Price
Nintendo Store, NYC

Xbox Video Marketplace Is Live

Dave Zatz —  November 22, 2006 — 1 Comment

The switch was flipped this AM now allowing television and movies downloads via the Xbox 360. I admit this is extremely appealing to me for feature-length HD films, as I don’t use a cable box (as in no VOD) and I haven’t yet invested in a next gen high-def DVD player. Kevin, over at jkOnTheRun, counted 48 movies — mostly SD, many older selections. Hmmm… (And where’s the hard drive upgrade?)

Engadget writes: The biggest mystery at this point was price, which turns out to be $2 for SD TV shows, $3 for HD, while movie rentals will run you $3 for SD and $6 for HD. This is all converted from the various, confusing MS Points involved in each purchase (80 Points = $1).

Radio Shack Advertises TiVo

Dave Zatz —  November 21, 2006 — Leave a comment

Shortly after TiVo announced KidZone last spring, they revealed Radio Shack would sell units — which hit stores in August. This week Radio Shack began running TiVo advertisements during prime time and late night TV. Surprisingly, they fail to mention (other than the fine print) that the “free” TiVo requires a subscription… unlike TiVo’s radio spot which is very clear.

Apparently Mike Arrington was at TechCrunch New York on Thursday night. Given that there were no introductions, no speeches or toasts, I had my doubts. I’m not one to stand on ceremony, but shouldn’t there at least have been a welcome to everyone?

I did get some gratification, however. After announcing my status as official member of the press, I got the wave from one of the door monitors and a chance to jump the registration line. That plus the glowing swizzle stick in my drink (which I admit I tried to use as a straw) really made my night. :)

As mentioned in Tech Crunch, Part 1, there were several companies at the event in the video search game. The ones I saw included CozmoTV (like Pandora for video), AOL’s SearchVideo and Gotuit. Gotuit was my favorite so you should keep reading to the end of this post.


CozmoTV lets you run keyword searches and then creates a channel around any video you choose. You rate the results and the engine refines your personalized channel. All channels are automatically public, and you can search for other people’s channels if you know their usernames. Currently the service searches YouTube and Google (um, aren’t they the same thing now?), and apparently the roadmap includes being able to transfer videos to a TiVo sometime in the future. CozmoTV is currently still in beta, but the company plans to launch in roughly the next couple of weeks.


SearchVideo was acquired by AOL and apparently is one of the ways in which AOL is quietly establishing a leadership in video. (AOL? Really?) SearchVideo has some nice ways to sort search results of video on the Web – by popularity, chronology, relevancy, etc. – but it’s not terribly flashy. AOL’s going with simple, and given where the company has been successful, maybe that’s not a bad idea.

Gotoit is focusing on a different kind of video search. Instead of just searching for particular videos, Gotuit has a product, Gotuit On Demand, that searches within videos. The company has a patent on technology that tags video segments and indexes them for access and use in playlists. As I understood it, the technology is part automated and part based on human input. Not sure how the two interplay behind the scenes, but the demo was cool. Gotuit has also found a way to integrate with your fantasy football teams. Looking for highlights for someone on your roster? You can bring up relevant plays online and even on your phone.


Gotuit has been around for a while, and unlike some of the other Web-only plays, Gotuit has already done deal with operators. There are regional deployments of Gotuit On Demand via TimeWarner and Comcast, as well as a deal with Sprint. This company is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Bored attendee takes a time out.

Update: My snippy intro to this post was apparently incorrect. Valleywag reports — much later in the night — after Arrington stood on what might have been a bed and thanked the crowd and namechecked the fine companies making the evening possible and received his bobblehead doll.

So sorry I missed it.