With the weather turning sour across a large portion of the United States, a white Christmas no longer looks like a pipe dream, but more like a reality. While some have sleigh bells and snowball fights in mind, others have a hot cup of cocoa and a whole lot of television in mind. That means another huge week in streaming video coverage, which brings us to Christmas weekend and our week in review.
First came good news for Verizon (News - Alert) subscribers, as the company was making the ViewNow (News - Alert) system available, offering with it a huge library of movies – in both standard and high definition (HD) – on a string of devices. Made available in MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and adaptive bitrate, the ViewNow system can provide access to that library for a wide variety of devices for those on FiOS (News - Alert). Verizon recently teamed up with Redbox to produce a streaming service for them, so Verizon is clearly eager to be a major name in home theater.
Next came good news for pay-TV subscriptions, which are still growing, but at a decreased rate. The growth of HD television service worldwide is helping to fuel that growth, and it's being seen across IPTV (News - Alert), satellite and cable subscriptions alike. Further growth is expected for 2013, but the clear winner in terms of growth is the IPTV market, with more than half of expected nine million-plus added customers expected to come from the Asia-Pacific region, and most of that to come from Chinese subscribers.
The rise of smartphones and tablets are fueling the next major news item, as more and more pay-TV operators are discovering the income potential inherent in using the social functions that these smaller screens offer. Multitasking has made big strides in recent months, and with even Nielsen moving to include social networking as part of its ratings tracking systems, its new prominence is especially clear. Improving audience engagement improves advertising's potential for success, a good idea for broadcasters.
More news from Nielsen topped the charts this week as the company announced its plans to buy Arbitron, essentially the Nielsen of radio, in a deal valued at $1.26 billion. Nielsen is out to be an all-in-one operation for ratings services, and given that they're growing into not only social media, but now radio, they're showing that more and more. Thanks to the Arbitron systems, Nielsen's tracking reach goes from two hours a day to seven, making ratings more reliable than they were in the past. Arbitron's CEO will take over from current CEO William Kerr starting January 1, 2013.
Finally, we got word that Facebook (News - Alert) had plans to incorporate streaming video into its own concept in the form of auto-play video ads. A move that's likely to raise plenty of hackles, Facebook hasn't yet decided if the video ads will include sound. Mitigating the user backlash, the company made it clear that the video ads will be capped at 15 seconds each. While users with bandwidth concerns likely won't be happy, there are plenty of users who believe that short video can be worthwhile, especially if there's a note of interactivity involved.
Whether the weather is sunny or cold where you are, it's usually a great time to settle in with a bit of streaming video, and that in turn means that plenty of news will be had about the subject. Our global online community is constantly after all that news, so be sure to join us back here next week for more, and of course, every weekend for our week in review!