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One year ago, at NAB 2011, TV Everywhere was talked about... well... everywhere. Operators and programmers were racing to secure their strategies to stay relevant in the Media 3.0 world and take advantage of new business models; and after enjoying a few years of vigorous discussion, months went by with stalled progress, leaving many to wonder what happened.

Operators want to bundle content to their throngs of paying subscribers, and programmers want to maintain their own destination channels to increase brand recognition amongst consumers. No one wants to give in first. So the compromises became something in the middle, which no one was entirely pleased with.

As it stands, operators and programmers both share in the revenue of Internet video delivery, but no one party truly owns the whole customer relationship. Furthermore, there are questions abound about who possesses the valuable viewership data. There's complexity with these business deals, and even once they are put in place, it takes time and resources to get the solutions to market.

One year later, in time for NAB 2012, we're seeing renewed vigor around the TV Everywhere discussion. The various players are realizing that their time is up - regardless of whether a happy resolution has been reached, consumers are demanding access to their content on all devices now. That has left these parties scrambling to deliver the content subscribers are paying for to their many devices, and needing a solution provider that enables them to do so quickly, securely and at scale.

The formula to a successful TV Everywhere implementation combines multi-device delivery & security, measurement and subscriber authentication/authorization. In order to enable any of those services, a flexible cloud-based technology solution is required to rapidly and repeatedly reach the wide breadth of consumer devices. Without that flexibility, the time to market is slowed and paying subscriber engagement is potentially lost.

What are your predictions for TV Everywhere in the next 6-12 months? Your comments are welcomed.

[Akamai announced its TV Everywhere services at NAB last year and will be demoing live client applications this year at Booth #SL8124.]

Adam Greenbaum leads Akamai's efforts around TV Everywhere...

Major sports brands have always led the way when it comes to leveraging technology to reach fans in more engaging and interactive ways. True fans never want to miss a moment of the action and as a direct result, the Super Bowl was streamed live for the first time last month and more than 2.1 million people watched, NBC said.
 
Next up is the big college basketball tournament happening throughout March! This year, fans can watch all of 67 games live on the Internet across more devices and platforms. Did you know there were 256 million Internet-connected devices in the market in 2011, according to InStat? During last year's tournament, 30% of streams were delivered to iPhone and iPad applications alone, and that doesn't even account for all the other mobile devices and tablets users can engage with.
 
So this begs the question, how will you as a fan engage with the games this year? How connected are you when it comes to watching your teams vie for the win? Tell us about your viewing habits with this quick survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XSFPVH8

Thanks for your time, and stay tuned to see the results!
I have been on my flight out to San Francisco to attend the Game Developers Conference as I write this, and have been thinking about how greatly our lives have been changed by hyperconnectivity. Do you feel like your lives have been impacted in this new era of devices? In which ways? Share your stories with us. I have been following Apple's product announcements today over my non-PC device via wifi on the airplane.  Apple kicked off mentioning that it sold 172M post PC devices last year, which now make up 76% of Apple's revenue. 

There is already chatter about the impact the next generation of connected devices will have.  Support for 4G/LTE promises to give users a better experience, enable new apps and experiences, and provide new revenue for the operators... However, it has also introduced the question of more congestion on already strained network resources.  More functionality and higher resolutions are also being supported on connected living devices ranging from the media boxes like the Apple TV to Smart TVs to game consoles, which introduces similar challenges in enabling experiences in the office, local metro, or home due to increased network contention. 

Every user who starts up an app or browser is fighting with every other user's demand, and most users are multi-tasking with multiple apps and browsers.  While we at Akamai have been working on technologies to address these and other challenges, the pace of innovation across industries and Eco systems is likely to continue to create a more rapid pace of challenges. How are you addressing these challenges where you work? Share your innovation stories.

Sent from my mobile device, on wifi, on an airplane... Please excuse typos

Kris Alexander is Akamai's Chief Strategist for Connected Devices and Gaming
Awards season is upon us. The music industry is a buzz with announcements related to performances and presenters at this year's 54th GRAMMY Awards Telecast on Sunday Feb 12. The folks behind the Grammy's pride themselves on bringing music fans the most interactive and engaging online awards experience possible. With behind-the-scene cameras and exclusive online-only interviews, the Grammy.com site and associated GRAMMY Live initiative will bring a fantastic multi-screen experience to music fanatics throughout the weekend.

Akamai is fortunate to be involved with this, the 3rd installment of GRAMMY Live, and we sat down this week with GRAMMY Live Executive Producer Peter Anton, who's consulting for The Recording Academy, to talk about the event.Peter Anton, TRA.jpg

Akamai: Peter, last year you saw great viewership numbers for GRAMMY Live, but there might be a few people out there that have not had a chance to visit. Can you give us a quick tour of the second screen experience on GRAMMY Live this year?

Peter Anton: This year we are partnering with CBS on GRAMMY Live and associated mobile apps to bring fans three days of live coverage of VIP events leading up to Music's Biggest Night®. The live stream is accompanied by exclusive pre-taped and archived GRAMMY moments, as well as a variety of live backstage cameras. The GRAMMY Live real-time, online broadcast, includes live video, photos, blogging, tweets and retweets, official news reports and personalized updates from our GRAMMY Live hosts. Exclusive GRAMMY cams bring users beyond the red-velvet-rope to capture behind-the-scenes footage of all the action leading up to and through the 54th GRAMMY Awards, culminating at the official GRAMMY Celebration after party. To round out the experience, this year we've included a feature rich GRAMMY Live mobile app, enabling fans to watch the live stream on their favorite iOS device.

We are proud again to work with technology and production partners, Akamai and AEG Digital Media. Akamai's HD Network and Akamai Media Analytics allow us deliver the live streams in multiple bit rates to various connected devices, as well as measure the online experience from a variety of aspects. AEG Digital Media brings their production and technical expertise, including a feature-rich multi-camera angle Tremolo Player and The MC, a new interactive polling application to the online experience.


The sun has set on another CES show filled with new gadgets, celebrity appearances, endless cab lines, partially-functional voice and data services, and back-to-back meetings. After meeting with many connected device companies, content owners, press and analysts, a few themes seemed to stand out.

The first big theme is that hyperconnectivity has become completely pervasive. Every imaginable device can be connected to the Internet to provide additional services. Phones, tablets, TVs and game consoles have typically been the big talk, with innovation focused around thinner, lighter weight devices, faster processing and memory, and greater storage on the device. However, the pervasiveness of this trend toward Internet-connected devices emerged in Las Vegas. In particular, it's interesting that many businesses in the automotive industry made major announcements at CES instead of the North American International Auto Show, which was taking place at the same time. It was also interesting to see all the growth in connected devices across health, fitness, home automation and control, home security and more. A great example of innovation is a company called Nest, that has reinvented something as simple as a thermostat to become a smart device by leveraging learning capabilities with Internet-supported functionality to make better decisions about controlling temperature, providing real value and energy cost savings to consumers. However, more devices from different businesses and industries becoming connected has created a major challenge.

Las Vegas is a Zoo!

Twitter and the blogosphere are buzzing about CES 2012. As the sun set the night before the show officially started, there was already a lot to think about. The cab lines at the airport weren't nearly as long as in years past, cell coverage seems to be working still (it was non existent last year at this time) and kangaroo's are the latest press conference gimmick. Should be a fun week ahead!

A few themes emerged already as major consumer electronic companies held press conferences and set the stage for their 2012 digital strategies. Stay tuned for more insights from the show floor this week.

Broader Device Reach
Lots of new tablets and smartphones were unveiled yesterday including those from Lenovo, AT&T and Samsung. Sony said it will bring more than 200 connected devices to market in the next three years alone! Also, a great article in Venture Beat takes a look at the new digital strategy by one of Akamai's leading customers - Fox News - to address the growing landscape of Internet-connected devices.

"The starting point for all [these changes] is there are more devices, more connectivity," Fox New and Business' vice president of digital, Jeff Misenti, told Venture Beat. Fox is introducing a slew of new ways for its audience to interact with news anchors, articles, video content, live streaming, and even the front page of Fox News' website itself. The emphasis, however, is on the recently adopted term "TV Everywhere." A number of media outlets are taking to TV Everywhere as a way to deliver content to a number of different devices and to do that as seamlessly as possible. But syncing your customers' viewing experience across a variety of screens is a challenge. One of Fox's first major moves Fox on this front is a partnership with Akamai to create a cross-device authentication system that allows Fox customers to prove they have Fox News accounts. From there, they can access saved and new content on any authorized device.

Today's hyperconnected world is radically changing the business of media and entertainment. Cloud computing, ubiquitous connectivity, and the increasing consumption of IP video are driving content providers to move more content to the cloud and users to expect easy access across multiple devices. Technology advancements and rapid consumer adoption have created an environment where delivering a secure, high-performing consumer experience on any device is critical. This new environment brings enormous benefits and opportunities, but also real challenges.

Industry predictions indicate that by 2015, 90 percent of video will be online and the ratio of devices per Internet user will be five to one. As a result, the entertainment industry faces increasing complexities around entitlement, access, monetization, quality and security.

Today at CES, Akamai unveiled three new products to address emerging business and consumer needs in the online entertainment industry in the areas of security, delivery and as well as support for emerging business models. Building on its Intelligent Platform, Akamai is enhancing its next-generation broadcast solution - the Akamai HD Network - offering advanced monetization capabilities, business model flexibility and simplified workflow to reach a growing device landscape.

Premium entertainment content is a perfect fit for the cloud as the proliferation of connected devices makes on the go entertainment experiences today a reality. By solving the challenges of this dynamic landscape, Akamai continues to take complexity out of the equation and allow our customers to focus on their core business strategies.

More information about today's announcement can be found at these links:
Press Release: http://www.akamai.com/html/about/press_news.html
Akamai SecureHD Whitepaper: http://www.akamai.com/html/solutions/hdnetwork.html
Akamai for UltraViolet microsite: http://www.akamai.com/ultraviolet

Jennifer Donovan is a Senior Manager of Public Relations at Akamai
The promise of startups, especially venture backed ones, is predicated on fast growth.  Even with that touchstone, relative to prior decades or even prior years, the growth trajectory of today's startups is in the warp speed territory.  According to an analysis by the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, the fastest growing startups are achieving revenue growth and even profitability much faster than leading startups of yester years.  While the companies mentioned in the analysis have continued to advance, and some have even gone public or are about to go public since the review was published in February, some of the noted points are worth highlighting here:

"... Groupon's revenue in 2010 rose more than 22 times to $760 million in its second full year since its daily deals site launched, up from $33 million in 2009. Zynga, the maker of online social games like FarmVille, scored revenue of $850 million in its third full year in 2010, more than triple the year before, and Facebook's revenue rocketed to as high as $2 billion in 2010, its sixth full year.

Their ridiculous revenue growth rates actually rival those of the four largest Internet companies-Google, eBay, Yahoo and Amazon.com-early on. Taking a look at the line graph below, Groupon and Zynga's charted growth is steeper than San Francisco's famous Filbert Street. Over the longer haul, Facebook's sales fall short of the two Internet kings, Google and Amazon, but top those of eBay and Yahoo, in their first six years.

Champions League Makes News Index Soar!

Since launching the Akamai Net Usage Index for News in 2005, sporting events have always proven to be among the stories driving the highest peaks in page views per minute to news Web sites.

Witness today's news coverage of the European Champion League that created a peak of 6,583,294 page views per minute at 9:30 p.m. GMT... making this the 2nd largest news event that Akamai has recorded.

Champions League.PNG

What match is capturing the headlines?

Three-time European Champion Manchester United was eliminated from the Champions League today when it lost 2-1 at FC Basel.

Jeff Young is Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Akamai

Video Therapy: How Can I Get More People to Like Me?

When offering video online, there's a lot to think about. So much goes on before a viewer even has the opportunity to play back your content. You need to produce the content, edit it, test it with an audience and encode it. Then there's the player design, player functionality, multi-device support and apps strategy... Apple, Android, streaming, storage, HTML5...Meltdown.

There are many aspects of successful video delivery. Drawing the audience to your site through social media campaigns and designing a great user experience for playback are just some of the intricacies involved. However, once a viewer gets to your playback experience, whether that be an iPad™ app with video or a themed video portal on your website, you need to understand what factors (and why!) cause a viewer to linger and watch more content.

From a playback experience and content delivery perspective, the key drivers of audience behavior are: content, packaging and quality. Tracking and correlating these three dimensions provides key insights into how your video experience is influencing the audience behavior. Let's look at each dimension in detail:

Content. It is important to catalog your video library using a robust taxonomy, so that you can measure audience behavior across categories. For on demand content, it is important to have at least four levels of categorization. For example, Genre, Sub Genre, Show and Episode can be applied to most episodic content. Knowing the audience's preference for different types of content will help you improve content production and editing processes.

Packaging. Content length and placement are important considerations: long form vs. short form, full episodes vs. clips, and highlight reels vs. full event replays. Overlaying ad density and packaging information can reveal insights into the optimal ad policy for your content. Your ad policy should ideally be acceptable to you in terms of revenue-generation, and acceptable to your audience in terms of user experience. The optimal ad policy can be determined with the added context of content popularity and content length. Having this information at your fingertips can help you drive decisions around how many ads to insert, when and where to insert ads into the content, and how to vary the ad density and placement so that you can maximize revenue generation potential while monitoring the effects on viewer engagement.

Quality. It is very important to understand how quality of service impacts audience behavior.  You should know how long a viewer will wait for video to start, how much re-buffering they will tolerate before navigating away from your site, or if you need to increase the video bitrate in order to increase the amount of time viewers watch your content. With the knowledge of how quality issues affect the behavior of your audience, you can plan appropriate capital outlays for technology and delivery services to focus investments on solutions that will drive viewer engagement, and ultimately revenue.

Akamai Media Analytics uses the advice and feedback from many customers who wanted an easier way to grow their digital media business. Akamai Media Analytics tracks content, packaging, and quality trends, allowing customers to understand their audience and act on that data to influence audience behavior.

Here are some scenarios we heard from customers and how to get actionable insights:

1.     Your ad ops team wants to know if their ad policy is optimized. Can they add more pre-roll ads without driving viewers away? How many?

With Akamai Media Analytics: Knowing your audience allows you to sell ads more effectively, and understand audience motivations to optimize the ad policy without driving viewers away.

2.     You want to increase overall viewing time on your site by 10%. You know that your sports content is popular, but how can you use that to your advantage?

With Akamai Media Analytics: Easily monitor the number of plays and minutes watched per visit, and see how it contributes to the overall amount of video watched. Increasing overall viewing time on your site is really about attracting new viewers, or getting each viewer on your site to watch longer. You can easily monitor the effects of a social media campaign or a newly-installed "related content" sports widget to reach your goals.

3.     You're at a friend's house and proud to show them how easy it is to watch video on your site with their iPhone. They access the page, but the video takes a long time to load and then playback stutters. You're sure this has something to do with your friend's iPhone. I mean, this can't be affecting your entire digital audience, right?

With Akamai Media Analytics: View real-time quality of service reports to troubleshoot quality issues on the spot, or replay performance issues later to investigate and resolve issues.

4.     You have a big product launch coming up, say iAnything 6.0, with a fresh new video experience built for the occasion. Your marketing team wants reassurance that this new version of the player isn't going to ruin the big launch initiative...how do you reassure them?

With Akamai Media Analytics: Monitoring launch success is easy. Use quality of service reports to track audience behavior in real time, and view audience and content trending post-launch to report on the overall success metrics.
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