NBC Category

Posted in: Broadband Video Companies, Interactive TV & Video, NBC, News, Video on Demand by Dave Parrack on April 19, 2012

London 2012 LogoWith 100 days to go until it all kicks off, NBC has taken the wraps off its London 2012 Olympics website in order to build hype ahead of the event. With the unveiling came some good news: that the U.S. network has finally seen the error of its ways and reversed a stupid decision it made for Beijing 2008.

Beijing 2008

NBC was heavily criticized for its coverage of the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

It began with the opening ceremony, which NBC decided to show 12 hours after it happened in order to grab the most number of viewers and best ad revenue. Not everyone wanted to wait, however, and they ventured online to see the spectacular as it happened instead.

Then came the issue of ‘bottling up’ certain key events, effectively refusing to stream them live online in order to save them for TV viewers. This meant Usain Bolt breaking the 100m World Record wasn’t seen until hours after it had happened. Fans expressed their disappointment at the strategy.

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ivi TV LogoAs expected ivi TV is being sued for its re-streaming online TV service. The range of broadcasters and networks involved in the lawsuit suggest this is a fight ivi TV is unlikely to win. And history backs this up as well.

Ivi TV

Ivi TV is a new service from Seattle-based Ivi that launched just a couple of weeks ago. And lawsuits are already flying around all over the place.

The ivi TV app, which can be downloaded here, allows anyone around the world to watch the big U.S. networks (and some smaller channels too) live over the Internet for just $4.99 per month (after the 30-day free trial period ends).

Ivi TV effectively hijacks the live feeds of these broadcasts from cable affiliates in Seattle and New York and rebroadcasts them across the Web directly to people computers.

Although it sounds illegal, and will probably end up being judged to be so, ivi claims it is merely taking advantage of a loophole in the law.

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British FlagBroadcasters and content owners are slowly but surely coming around to the idea of online video, as long as they remain in control and have a means of making some money from the venture.

ITV and NBC Universal are two such examples of this growing trend.

On-Demand In The U.K.

While Netflix, Hulu, and individual U.S. networks are using the Web in America to gain viewers, the U.K. is enjoying its own boom in online and on-demand video sites.

The BBC iPlayer is massively popular, while Channel 4 (4oD), Channel 5 (Demand Five), ITV (ITV Player), and Sky (Sky Player) all have their own dedicated catchup services.

Then there are the likes of SeeSaw, YouTube, and the MSN Video Player which are acting as third parties to broadcast content from others. All in all, the U.K. has a great mix of options for potential Web TV viewers.

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Apple iPadThe world is gearing up for the release of the Apple iPad tomorrow (April 3) and video is going to play a big part of the device, despite the lack of support for Adobe Flash.

Netflix has already announced its iPad app, with Hulu expected to do the same soon. And the networks are also getting in on the act, with ABC, NBC, and CBS offering shows up for streaming.

Video On iPad

Apple is confident that video will form a large part of what iPad users will gain from owning the device. Its decision not to support Flash was a controversial one, although hardly unexpected. But that doesn’t seem to be harming the iPad much, if at all.

In the ‘Videos‘ section of the guided tour of the iPad, Apple states:

“There’s nothing like watching video on iPad. The high-resolution display brings your favorite HD movies and TV shows to live like no device has before. When you hold it in your hands, it feels like your own personal big screen.”

Which is an unequivocal boast. But as well as iTunes and YouTube, other video sites and services are now coming on board the iPad Express.

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hulu-logoHulu is going great guns providing a free catchup TV on-demand service in the United States. However, there are now claims that the service was anything but original, with Hulavision issuing a lawsuit against founding partner NBC Universal.

Hulu’s History

March 2007 saw NBC Universal and News Corp. announce plans for a TV on-demand service. By August 2007, it was known as Hulu, and it went live that same month with private beta testing kicking off before the year was out.

March 2008 saw the site made available to the U.S. public. And the site continued to grow until Disney joined in the fun in April 2009.

Hulu has now grown into the second biggest online video site behind YouTube. And that success has brought with it plans to launch a paid-for premium version of the service, although definitive plans have yet to be announced.

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boxee-huluHulu’s preposterous exclusion of Boxee has now made it to Congress, with the head of NBC being directly asked about the continuing situation. Could this finally lead to an end of the fight or will the networks and cable companies dig their heels in further?

Boxee Vs. Hulu History

It was almost a year ago when Hulu decided to pull its content from Boxee. TV.com also lost out. The decision was made after the networks and cable companies declared they didn’t like the way their premium content was being viewed on television via Boxee via Hulu.

In essence, they were only happy with Hulu while it remained a computer-only affair. Boxee enabled Hulu to be experienced on TVs and that just wouldn’t do as it may influence people’s decision to cancel their cable subscriptions in favor of online video.

Boxee responded by issuing a workaround to the Hulu block. Which Hulu then plugged, only for Boxee to unplug it. The cat and mouse game has continued since then, with some Boxee users able to watch Hulu programming and others not.

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hulu-logoHulu has got where it is today – a very popular and widely known online video service – by being free and full of great content. The question is, would the majority of people give up the free aspect in favor of more great content? Because that’s the reality Hulu users are facing in the future.

Hulu As It Is

Hulu has been built on the tenet of providing free premium content over the Internet using an advertising based model to first cover costs and secondly generate revenue. And it’s been a pretty successful strategy, allowing Hulu to build a sizable audience.

However, the company is still expected to make a loss of around $33 million this year, despite revenue of $164 million. So naturally the thoughts of those at or near the top of the companies who own and control Hulu have turned to whether a different approach would prove to be better.

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