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Random Acts Of Watching: Roku, Facebook And Crackle News

crackle

As the news cycles wind down for Easter weekend and this Good Friday, I found myself picking up a bunch of small stories just in the normal course of my video voyages consumption.  

I thought that YouTube was happy being "You-biquitous"  regardless the competitive positioning of its distribution partners. After all, the video portal  has been a packed-in member of the iPhone app deck from Day 1. It is on Apple TV as one of the only non-Apple apps. And it encourages unfettered distribution of individual clips via embedding. But no YouTube soup for you, Roku. The over-the-top box was asked to take down an unofficial YouTube app from its service the other day.  

YouTube was not baked into the Roku experience. Nor were there branded apps to be found in the library. But industrious users could create their own "private channel" at the Roku Web site, enter a code and get access to the site videos on their set-top box. According to the revised FAQ Roku eliminated the link that made the hack possible. "At the request of YouTube, this private channel is no longer available on Roku," the FAQ now says.  

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The take-down notice of sorts was first noticed at Zatz Not Funny.

According to Zatz, the third-party YouTube app actually was made by a developer Roku eventually hired.  

As I covered here recently, Sony's video portal Crackle is challenging Netflix and Amazon's streaming movie model with an enlarged library of ad supported films. That model came to the iPad this week with an app that mimics some of the Netflix functionality, including playback resume and movie queues. The selection is not huge but it sure is better than the early days of online movie services when public domain horror and martial arts flicks reigned. I watched "Da Vinci Code," albeit interrupted every fifteen minutes by the same damn ad for the Battlefield 3 video game. Next up, "Easy Rider." 

Finally, Facebook opened the Facebook Studio site yesterday as a showcase for creative ad executions on the site. Videos demonstrating campaigns on behalf of Coca-Cola, HP and BMW are on show. Well, sorta. All day yesterday the video functionality was broken on the site. "Please bear with us!" the banner read atop Facebook Studio into the evening. "Our videos are currently down and we are working to be back up and running soon." Well, it was a good idea at the time. 

By the way, Facebooks wasn't the only one have network problems yesterday. I ran into an oopsy message at Foursquare early in the morning, and Sony's Playstation Network announced that its system was down inexplicably...and could be offline for days.  

Did somebody eat the Internet?

1 comment about "Random Acts Of Watching: Roku, Facebook And Crackle News".
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  1. Tracy Hill from Thillgroup, April 22, 2011 at 1:48 p.m.

    Well, speaking as an Android user (and advocate), a Roku box owner, and a marketer, that was a silly move on Google’s part. Google completely misfired on the launch of Google TV, but that is not Roku’s fault. I purchased a Roku box, but had Google TV been the same price and offered the content that Roku offers, of course I would have gone with Google TV. As an Android user that’s a no-brainer (I’m assuming that Google TV will eventually work seamlessly with the rest of Google’s products like my Android does).

    Google just launched live channels on Youtube such as fashion TV: http://bit.ly/gN5mOq (note that it’s using ads that resemble traditional TV spots, not overlays ads, etc.) Had Google been on their game, they would have matched Roku’s price and marketed Google TV and the new live Youtube channels together as the future of Internet-connected TV/devices, and as an emerging option to “cutting the cord.” I guess now Youtube is doing to Roku what the studios did to them with Google TV. Since Google’s revenue is generated from advertising, it seems like they would want Youtube in as many places as possible. Eventually video ads will have better measurement, so why would Google care if Youtube ads are being viewed via Roku boxes or Google TV? They would still generate the same ad revenue for Youtube. Like Android, the Google TV platform doesn’t need to make money as long as it’s creating revenue (advertising, etc.) for Google in other parts of the company.

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