These days, it feels as if all the online video companies are getting ready to go into battle. They’re sharpening their swords and prepping their battle axes. Wait, are battle axes still used?
No matter. The point is, there’s a constant hum these days in the online video technology business and it’s coming from product announcements. Everyone is refining their offerings in a quest to win more business. Here’s a quick roundup of some of the more interesting tidbits in the last week from Adobe, the Platform and FreeWheel. They all fall under the heading of what I think of as “video management.” They’re not so much about new ad innovations as they are about tools to help media companies manage the process of delivering digital video.
For starters, Adobe is making automatic authentication part of its Adobe Pass technology for TV Everywhere. That feature was used by Comcast and Cablevision during the London Games, with a 23% higher success rate for authentication than operators who didn’t use it. Now it will be widely available, and that’s a big step forward for TV Everywhere. Automatic authentication eliminates some of the friction in the TV Everywhere process. Adobe also said it has seen a ten times growth in the number of authenticated streams delivered in the first six months of 2012. Adobe Pass has been used for events such as NCAA March Madness and most notably the Olympics, which is likely contributing to the big boost in usage. For the Games, Adobe Pass authenticated 88 million streams with PCs accounting for 70% of the streams, and mobile devices comprising the remaining 30%.
On the transactional side of the business, Comcast’s thePlatform rolled out an updated video commerce system to manage a range of digital video business models from ad-supported to authenticated, to paywalls, to subscriptions, to season passes for shows, to pay-per-view, to bundled pricing and more. That means a media company offering iTunes-esque rentals, along with Netflix-like subscriptions, alongside ad-supported video could use the system for all those businesses. It’s a smart move to manage any type of financial model for video in one place, and it’s yet another piece of technology that will help digital video win more money overall. Anything that simplifies the process of making money in this medium is good.
Then there’s FreeWheel, which inked a deal with British Sky Broadcasting to use its Revenue & Payments Management Advertiser system in addition to FreeWheel’s ad management system, which is already in place to handle BSkyB’s video ads. RPM Advertiser is a bit of an under-the-hood product that should help BSkyB save time and money by managing ad orders, reconciling payment with delivery, and issuing invoices for ads that ran. It’s kind of like a sales management system and is supposed to reduce the reliance on Excel spreadsheets. After all, who wants to look at another one of those?
These tools are the guts of the online video infrastructure and they need to be working so that marketers and media companies can focus on the glamorous side, such as “Wow, I made so much money and had such a great ROI in digital video that I must do more!”