All the important news and opinion about the web, online video, TV and convergence in the last week (11/25- 12/2). I’m changing the order and starting with policy this week because of all the net neutrality news:
Research and Policy:
Net Neutrality: Woah! Post-Thanksgiving news cycle starts out slow then revs up, first with news of Comcast charging Netflix/Level 3 for broadband usage then with the FCC releasing draft rules on net neutrality, which appear to have appeased no one, save a few.
• FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules:
– The plan forbids service providers from blocking “lawful content,” but allows network management. The rules include “light” regulation for wireless (network management and opportunity to charge customers for usage).
– The NCTA is “guardedly supportive.” The White House is standing by its man. Big companies like AT&T and Verizon are content, says Mediaweek, presumably because it allows network management, but I’m not so sure.
– New York Times says the plan is getting “mixed” reviews. A sticking point seems to be whether their plan can hold up in court, since Genachowski is taking a roundabout way to justifying FCC regulation: “Mr. Genachowski has decided not to use the commission’s telephone regulatory powers to govern broadband Internet service, a move that he proposed in May that would potentially open Internet service to heavier government regulation.”
– Free Press is not happy, saying it limits FCC’s scope and the chairman is working hard to appease the companies than President Obama.
• Comcast Angers the Internet With Netflix Charge (New York Times; Broadcasting & Cable): The week started with mounting opposition to the Comcast/NBC Universal merger from a coalition including the biggest web companies (Mediaweek; Multichannel News). Then news broke of Level 3’s alleging that Comcast was charging for Internet access, angering net neutrality advocates and cord cutters alike.
• GigaOM: Consequences of Comcast’s Argument Against Level 3 (GigaOM): Comcast is framing Level 3 as a CDN; the article is fairly technical but worth a read. Stacey Higginbotham also gives a play-by-play of the spat. Daniel Golding offers an alternative perspective.
• FCC Aims to Ease Mobile Data Crunch (GigaOM): Opening up the now moribund TV spectrum to mobile broadband. Sounds directly aimed at the net neutrality debate over specialized services.
• Young People Will Pay for Online TV (Mediapost’s VidBlog): It just depends on what form it takes.
• Targeting Matters More than Length in Web Video Ads (Online Media Daily)
Web Video Market:
• Netflix Angling Hard for Premium Content (New York Post, NewTeeVee 1, 2): Netflix is ramping up their biz: competing with Hulu and willing to pay up to $100K/episode for premium TV soon after it airs, 1) it shelling out cash for more current movies, 2) Meanwhile, Ryan Lawler looks at why Hollywood needs to stop fearing Netflix. Oh yea, and the Instant Queue is going.
• Sony Cuts Google TV Prices (TechCrunch; Mac Daily News): While it is unusual to cut prices on a new product, it is the holidays. Sony’s 25% discount on the hardware/software hybrid suggests Google TV’s lack of original, premium content is hurting sales.Is web/TV’s great white hope a stinker? In other news: paidContent’s Andrew Wallenstein looks at the stakes for Sony in Google TV deal. While early reviews of Google TV from bloggers/techies were positive, mainstream critics Mossberg and Pogue said a few weeks ago it’s still not ready for the average consumer. In related news, NewTeeVee speculates on Google TV’s killer app.
• Web Video Industry Still in Search of Business Model (Variety): Variety offers a birds-eye view of the web video market, from TV-on-the-web, web series networks, web aggregators and web-to-TV conversions. Related: read Ashkan Karbasfrooshan’s take on scarcity and valuing web video.
• Barry Diller Out at IAC (Reuters): The CEO, who’s been one of the most active investors in web video, leaves due to his personal excesses. Gawker had just published this deliciously gossipy post about his 2009 Thanksgiving “all-boy” extravaganza.
• FTC Proposes ‘Do Not Track’ List (Internet News)
• Do People Complete Post-Rolls? (BeetTV): Freewheel’s post-roll completion rate is nearly 50%. Could post-rolls actually be viable?
• Reel SEO provides a list of video ad networks (Reel SEO): I’m pretty sure a number of them are missing, but it’s good for starters.
• Ben Silverman Making Big Moves Online, Including Web Series (Mediaweek): This week’s must-read profile.
• Can YouTube Yield Another Star in Ryan Higa? (paidContent)
• Soon Branded Video Will Just Be Video (Reel SEO)
• Celeste Bright Has a Mission (Tubefilter): I profile one of the many black female-led web series out there.
Hollywood and Tech:
• Cable Networks See Ratings Rise (Multichannel News): No surprise.