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World Cup: Charting Video Consumption Trends

The buzz associated with the 2010 FIFA World Cup may have already peaked, but the results of how sports fans viewed the video from the tournament’s numerous games have left us with some noteworthy usage statistics to consider.

ESPN estimates that out-of-home viewing and usage of non-TV platforms adds an amazing 47 percent to ESPN’s daily World Cup TV average audience. Moreover, there are some interesting regional differences in the way fans in the U.S. consumed the World Cup events on television.

The U.S. Eastern time zone gets the greatest audience lift from out-of-home TV viewing (18%), while the Mountain and Pacific time zones have the greatest percent of time-shifted recorded viewing (16% and 13% respectively).

ESPN also estimates that 132 million people consumed World Cup related content across all ESPN platforms — that’s more than two out of five Americans. Of that total 132 million people, 90% watched TV, 27% used the Internet, 11% listened to Radio, 7% used mobile and 2% read ESPN The Magazine.

Online Activities Reach Record Levels

Soccer fan visits on ESPN3.com was highlighted by the USA vs. Algeria game on June 23, which resulted in the largest U.S. audience ever for a single sporting event on the Web. ESPNSoccernet received more visits than any other day in its history and ESPN Mobile had the most-trafficked day to-date for World Cup content.

Overall online content consumption reached some impressive new highs. World Cup content on ESPN.com (includes ESPN Soccernet and ESPN Deportes/copa-mundial) delivered 87.5 million visits and 305.9 million page views from June 11-27. Based on the last reported estimate, 26.4 million video starts came from World Cup highlights, news and analysis content on the ESPN.com site.

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Making the Cloud Accessible: Lowering Barriers and Increasing Automation

Reading some Cloud-related news, I found an interesting quote in a new piece from IDC on Cloud Computing for the Enterprise Steps Forward: Lessons Learned and Key Takeaways (subscription required):

“Ironically, it appears that the most critical factors to the success of cloud computing projects in the enterprise hinge on human factors, not technical ones. That’s because cloud computing is all about connecting IT technologies to business processes, in a way that reflects the business imperatives and organizational structure of those who are leveraging cloud.”

This struck a chord with me as many service provider customers are also raising a similar question: “If we move applications into the SP public cloud, and we virtualize the computing, storage, and network, the risk of one mistake by an operator could impact a lot of customers.”

We’ve been developing our solutions to help reduce this risk in a similar way that the IP NGN is virtualized and simplified with policies and automatically adapts to change. We have added more cloud intelligence into our solutions. For example, in our recent CRS-3 launch we introduced the Network Positioning System (NPS) and Cloud VPNs, both of which were designed with this is mind. With those two capabilities, we aim to reduce those critical risk factors that are key to making the adoption of cloud computing a reality. Traditional business process are not “cloud-like”…they’re not on-demand, not in near-real-time, not dynamic, and often tied directly to a fixed set of known assets as opposed to abstracted from the physical world. These new features in the CRS-3 automate some of the manual touch points where human factors can interfere with the ability of the business process to be cloud-like in nature. This enables human factors to come into play where they are needed – in making the business decisions that machines just can’t make.

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Social Media Marketing for Service Providers: Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

I recently had the privilege of speaking with Phil Harvey, editor-in-chief of Light Reading. Phil joined Light Reading in September 2000 as Senior Editor and was named Editor-in-Chief in January 2008.

Light Reading is the world’s leading publishing, research and events’ company targeting service providers, with nearly 2 million page views per month. It produces more than 20 conferences and tradeshows per year in the U.S., Europe & Asia, including TelcoTV, which is the largest IPTV event in the United States.

Check out my video interview with Phil, who discusses everything from Light Reading’s future in the wake of the social media explosion, key issues and trends impacting the service provider industry such as over-the-top video…even the type of networking equipment he would be and why:

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iPOP June 2010 and ITU-T Focus Group Cloud Updates

This week has been quite busy with Cisco Live in Las Vegas, Nevada that saw well over 12,000 customers, partners and analysts in attendance and included the announcement of the Cisco Cius mobile collaboration business tablet.

Prior to my recent vacation, I had the opportunity to participate as Technical Committee Co-Chair at the 6th International Conference on IP+Optical Network at the NTT Musashino R&D Center in Tokyo, Japan, June 10-11 2010.

As we deliver real time applications such as gaming and ramp up to deliver HDTV and three-dimensional videos, the network infrastructure is pivotal table stakes.

Some key points and questions to ponder moving forward:

  • Race between application requirements and technical capabilities
    (remember evolution of PC capabilities?)
  • Bitrate increase usually justified video streaming applications
    (some SDTV and one HDTV stream per household + VoIP + Internet)
  • Do we really anticipate future bandwidth requirements?
  • video download rather than streaming
  • video e-mail
  • joint video editing
  • Consumer telepresence (concurrent voice, video, application sharing)
  • 3D video

It is about video!

Transitioning to the ITU-T Focus Group on Cloud Computing which convened on June 14-16, 2010 for its first meeting, there was not a lack of interest in cloud computing at this meeting and included representation from various sectors e.g. industry, governments and academia.

Some examples of presentation and discussion highlights include:

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World Cup 2014: Imagine the HD TV Experience

As Doug Webster mentioned in our first post on this topic, we’ve been considering how the TV viewing experience might evolve in four more years. I can also already imagine the likely enhancements that will transform the FIFA World Cup in 2014.

I believe that in the foreseeable future the term “Television” entertainment may be equally associated with on-demand video streaming over the Internet as it is with traditional linear programming via broadcast channels. At home, many pay-TV service providers will have deployed hybrid set-top boxes that combine video content from a variety of different content sources.

Mainstream User Adoption of Streaming Video
According to Akamai’s latest real-time World Cup 2010 assessment, the tournament is already shaping up to be a major Internet milestone event. If the current state of video streaming adoption produces these incredible results, then just try to imagine how IP video consumption will skyrocket once online viewing behavior increasingly shifts from the PC screen to the TV set.

In the near term, service providers will continue experimenting with several different entertainment distribution business models that include a content delivery network (CDN) component. The applications of CDNs will be pervasive, and as we’ve already witnessed with the recent Direct One deployment in Romania, it will become a truly global phenomenon that reaches all markets.

The other trend that’s accelerating quickly is the availability of 3D video content.

Satisfying an Appetite for HD 3D Innovation
Late last year, FIFA and Sony announced that up to 25 matches of the 2010 World Cup would be broadcast in 3D. ESPN in the US, Sogecable in Spain, and Korea’s SBS are some of the networks that are offering this option to their subscribers.

And in May, our customer Numericable, in France, announced the availability of high definition 3D content in its VoD service that will launch later this year – the first service provider worldwide to do so.

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