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Video Revolutions: Accidental and Intentional

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Walter Cronkite once said that it was no miracle that men walked on the moon. The actual miracle, the news anchor believed, was that millions of people sat in their living rooms and watched it happen. Perhaps the real miracle was that television became a success at all, given all the tribulations that accompanied its upbringing – and continue today. Compared to the computer industry, where standards reign, the television industry is a mass of confusion.

Since its earliest experiments, television has captured the imagination of the public. But before it became a success, it was a legal and technological battleground. There were patent infringement lawsuits over who actually invented television. A battle over color television technology went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in the early 1950s. And even today, instead of one video format for traditional broadcast TV, the world uses three: NTSC, PAL, and SECAM.

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An Inside Look at the $10,000 Cisco TV Contest Winners

On May 13, 2010, Cisco launched “What If Your TV Could…?”, a video contest asking consumers to submit creative ideas about what they wish their TV could do for an opportunity at $10,000.

The contest ended on July 13, 2010, and we have had over 175 video submissions in response to Cisco’s question, “If your TV could do anything, what would you want it to do?” on Cisco’s contest website.

Around the globe, people tuned in to view the videos totaling a ground-breaking 5.9 million views on the submissions.

The winners of the $10,000 Grand Prize were announced via a special live Talk2Cisco broadcast via Ustream.tv. Nick and Zack Eagles, produced the winning video “Best Friend” focusing on the importance of television in a person’s life.

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TV Network Websites Draw Eager Web Video Viewers

Brightcove Tube Mogul Research on Web Video

Brightcove / TubeMogul research chart showing web video consumption on broadcast TV network web sites far outstrips web video related to any other type of content -- magazines, music videos, radio, etc.

We recently blogged about NBC and how the TV network leads all others in terms of producing original content for the web. During the Fall 2009 to Spring 2010 TV season, we estimate NBC produced approximately 88 ‘web extensions’ related to the network’s TV programs.  CBS, the #1 rated TV network by Nielsen for that same period, we estimate produced less than half that amount -- 32 web extensions. Meanwhile, for Q12010, NBC.com maintained its spot as the top TV network web site with 9.1 million unique visitors while CBS.com only had 5.6 million uniques, even though CBS was tops in the TV ratings.

The traffic numbers seem to show that NBC has the right idea in terms of focusing on the production of web content for NBC.com – we believe their focus on web content production is leading to more web traffic to NBC.com versus CBS.com.  Now there’s new data investigating the consumption of web video content related to the TV networks ; the data supports the idea that original content is crucial to a TV website’s strategy. For this new research report, video platform Brightcove and analytics firm TubeMogul surveyed nearly 2,000 news and entertainment websites representing 3.4 billion video streams (report link)

A main take away from the Brightcove / TubeMogul report -- web audiences are indeed primarily dwelling on the TV sites to watch video related to TV show content.  

Following are a few example data points that support the finding:

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Professional Content Drives Web Traffic

Dan Scheinman Tweet

Dan Scheinman, our Cisco Media Solutions Group GM and SVP, above, tweeted about how powerful social networks need professional content.

During last year’s television season -- from the Fall of 2009 to the Spring close of 2010 -- I noticed a trend that supports this belief. It seems the more web content a TV network produces around their broadcast TV programs, the more traffic their sites generate. I also discovered TV ratings of the 4 major TV networks do not correlate to which network TV web sites (ABC.com, CBS.com, Fox.com and NBC.com) are the most popular. In fact, when it comes to ranking the traffic to TV web sites of the major networks, it seems the volume of online content matters more than the TV ratings. 

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