#SMWest09, SmarterTV/Epix, Easy to Assemble, Electric Farm, Revision3..

19Nov09

Good morning.  Epix is about to take the stage at this the last day of Streaming Media West.  Watch the keynote live at:  www.livestream.com/streamingmedialive/beta. Presentations this weekend at streamingmedia.com/west.  We’ll be posting the remarks here along with a summary of what was said this week by other content distributors and producers:

Emil Rensing, Epix
Epix is a joint venture of Paramount/Lionsgate/MGM that launched three week ago as a FiOS Pay TV cable channel that for $10/month makes its content available to subscribers on any platform :  on TV, on demand, and online.  Epix owns the multiplatform rights for all their titles in the PayTV window of 9-10 months after theatrical release for at least 2y and doesn’t have restrictions on their content like legacy cable providers who signed deals 10 years ago and now have to renegotiate rights for TV Everywhere.   Currently offering 180 first run blockbuster movies and classics, Epix seeks to grow it’s library to 3,000 titles as well as offer outstanding original and event-based programming similar to the HBO, Starz, Showtime model.  Programming like Madonna and Kings of Leon concerts, Sam Shepard’s  Tough Trade and Charlize Theron’s Atlas Shrugged.  Seeking to become home to original storytellers….original programming builds brand for the network.  In terms of the size of the Epix acquisition budget, having just launched they are small now 62 staff, a third focused on digital, wondering whether sponsored star-studded sitcoms like Easy to Assemble and Justine Bateman’s FM78.tv then become an attractive option. Emil Rensing, founder of Next New Networks, shares space with Boxee in New York, is a digital guy agnostic about formats, hoping to see Epix on that toaster we’ve been talking about.  A media business, Epix is proud of its technology partners who provide a seamless playback experience: Akamai, Adobe, ClipSync. Amazing friending feature allows you to invite up to four friends to sit in a virtual screening room, watch the movie together, and chat via pop up speech bubbles.  The friends do not need to be an Epix subscriber. You can check out Epix this weekend.  Three day passes are available at www.epixhd.com/invite.   Watch Iron Man, Cloverfield, Curious Case of Benjamin Button, all four Indie Jones movies, even Scorsese’s Mick Jagger doc, Shine a Light.  Epix will be the first to run the Star Trek movie in the new year, so stay tuned.
(per SMW remarks)

Anthony Soohoo, CBS
CBS distribution strategy online, on mobile, in the connected home has been open, non-exclusive hyperdistribution to AOL, Yahoo!, Google, MSN. CBS.com watch full shows. TV.com nexgen navigation with integrated TiVo functionality and online personalized guide watchlists for the 20mm users of TV.com
(2mm iPhone app downloads).  TV shows now, movies in the pipeline.  CBS Web Originals believes there are different ways to tell stories in terms of byte size text format, take about 3-4 different shows on a quarterly basis, on a project finance basis, find a sponsor working with the creators, then distribute across CBS properties and CBS Audience Network, bring expertise on sales side, largest video sales force out there, CBS Interactive is the 4th largest video player in the world, reach on a monthly basis 120mm.  Offer content creators sales and distribution piece mixed up with the TheInsider.com, TV.com, Chow.com, CBS.com.  300 syndicated partners.  A combination of having limited resources and it being early stage for the connected devices, focusing more on mobile right now.  TV Everywhere great for consumer, but only 52% of broadcast nets making content available, 10% cable nets, no economic model/measurement.
(per Commonwealth Club SmarterTV remarks)

Tom Gorke, MTV
Tasked with monetizing content off owned and operated 300 websites worldwide, goal is multiplatform, to stay close to consumer, drive awareness and traffic.  MTV is the largest provider of content to Xbox and iTunes.  The biggest driver of paid download to own is the need for portability, take it with you on the flight.  The need to aggregate a library of content has matured.  Done well on Hulu, Fancast, Atom, GameTrailers, DailyMotion, Veoh.  MTV is all about automation, too much content, it wouldn’t scale if had to customize, even putting a flag in a feed is tough.  Have close relationship with syndication partners, provide exclusive one off promotional content, lots of assets, art work, graphics.  Syndication partners care most about reliability and regularity of delivery, and standards of quality of content.  FB pulls a lot of content from MTV.  Really saw the power of Twitter during the VMAs with Kanye West.  MTV integrates Twitter into sites, audience of engaged folks.  Leading provider of mobile content, sold over 1mm of the 16 iPhone apps, VCast.  Live streaming tentpoles like Kids Choice Awards, VMAs. Live streaming is completely different technology (Ustream, Justin.TV, Kyte, Livestream).  When Ashton Kutcher did his Fantasy Football Show on Ustream viewership went from 100,000 to 1mm viewers, it had a watercoolers effect and was played everywhere all at once.  For the experiment, bought ad unit and inserted Ustream player – was expensive.
(per SMW remarks)

Vanessa Pappas, Next New Networks
500mm streams online in 3 years, 30mm views/month, believe in super-syndication concept, be where the audience is.  Yahoo! has been great for family entertainment, long form does well on iTunes.  TubeMogul is integrated in content management system but do a manual refresh to optimize sites that perform for you.  Recently hired category manager from YouTube.  Know your syndicated partner’s audience.  On Twitter you can’t just post and pray, need to have dialogue with engaged community.  Share office with Boxee, getting on Boxee, Roku..
(per SMW remarks)

Brett Wislon, TubeMogul
Free supersyndication service to Blip.tv, Break, Brightcove, DailyMotion, eBaum’s World, Facebook, Graspr, Grind TV, Howcast, i2TV, Imeem, Metacafe, MSN Video, Myspace, Revver, Sclipo, Sevenload, Streetfire, Twitter, StupidVideos, Veoh, VideoJug, Y! Video, YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo, 5min, Zoopy.  Best campaigns are hybrid like the recent intentionally lame Windows 7 videos.  Got 5.5mm views in September, impressive for a brand.  http://www.engadget.com/2009/09/24/video-windows-7-launch-party-parody-is-bleeping-genius/3.  Most have given up on trying to make money in online video.  Although YouTube is 50% of the game, study found that those that also syndicated to niche sites saw a 100x increase in viewership than those just on YouTube.  Greater success with vertical focus.  Analytics allow you to see where video is most embedded, can see if a specific mommy blog is an important outlet and starting feeding them exclusive content which they love because content drives traffic.  Moving from super-syndication (content everywhere blast) to hyper-syndication (content to engaged fans fast).  FB has no video strategy but is a top ten video site.  Study found most engaged viewers came from Twitter.
(per SMW remarks)

Brandon White, FUNimation
License anime content, aim to meet the needs of the licensors in Japan.  Syndicated via ad-supported video, iTunes, Xbox/Zune, PS3.  Use YouTube for fingerprinting.  Plan to syndicated across all CE devices – mobile, Blu-ray, web-enabled tvs.
(per SMW remarks)

Jim Louderback, Revision 3
Syndicates 20 shows including Diggnation broadly anywhere, anytime, any device, want to be where our audience millennial men live.  Auto-syndicates with Tubemogul but still need to manually refresh metadata at each site.
(per SMW remarks)

Dominik Rausch, Eleven Minutes Production, Easy To Assemble
EasytoAssembleSeries.com is a sponsored star-studded sitcom that has garnered 4.2mm+ views between its Season I & II on MyDamnChannel, YouTube, Ikeafans.com, KoldKastTV, Hulu.  Also distributed on iTunes.  In talks with DVD sales, releasing on hotel networks, subtitles for 10-15 additional countries in Europe & Asia.  Innovative series where in addition to celebrities like Illeana Douglas, Justine Bateman, Tom Arnold…IKEA is a co-star.  Web series same premium quality as film, all 10 episodes of second season strings together as a movie.  Production company is thinking of new ways to make content adapting to fragmented time-shifting society.  As traditional TV distribution disappears, new media will take over distribution for all platforms.
(per Commonwealth Club SmarterTV remarks)

Brent Friedman, Electric Farm
Production budget for Crackle’s Woke Up Dead is over $1mm, high for a web production but has talent attached which attracted integrated sponsors like Kodak.   (Premise of show is friend trying to monetize fact that friend is a living zombie, sub-plot pitching to brands for sponsorship).  Sometimes you have to take a risk to get a bigger payoff just like more marketing dollars equals more views.  Kodak also cross-promoted on their own site which over a million monthly uniques.  Valemont is a success with an engaged community of 25,000.
(per SMW remarks)

Thom Woodley, Dinosuar Diorama
All-For-Nots co-produced with Eisner’s Vuguru.  Doesn’t like sponsor integration, hurts show creatively, prefer ad-insertion, and smaller more engaged audiences of 50-100,000, hasn’t quit his day job as ad agency exec yet. Show All’s Faire about the Renaissance Faire reaches 20,000 Renaissance Faire fans plus sci fi, comics and comedy buffs.
(per SMW remarks)

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