Vijay Anand | The Startup Guy.

Posts Tagged ‘television

This is a continuation to a Post that I had written Earlier.

“Yahoo could emerge with an edge, if they leapfrog into other verticals following the same web-based advertisement network.”

For a company which has entrenched itself in the media space, managing advertisements networks i probably the holy grail. I wouldnt recommend that Yahoo give up that leverage. Instead of going head on with Google and losing out on that battle, all they need to do is leverage that asset in a different vertical.

I wrote about perhaps using advertising networks, especially multimedia (audio/video) ads in Radio and television networks. One could argue that the ad server requirements, the infrastructure requirement and cost of operations would significantly vary because of the medium. I’d agree to some extent. But there is also a way to deploy the already existing asset, as-is, into different verticals. Read on.

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So I know that there are a gazillion guys out there in the whole wide world, who have given “open” advise to Yahoo as to what they should do. I am neither an expert, nor am vested into the company to have such generosity towards them 🙂

A friend of mine and I, over some conversations were discussing about some of the bigger brands that we see around us and something along the topics of Return on Equity. Not sure if you are aware of, but Microsoft has a 52% return on equity. Yahoo has roughly about 7% and falling drastically and Google has one which stands at around 26% – and growing steadily. Whatever you may say, Microsoft has played this game with a whole new set of balls and one most people simply won’t understand. And if you ask me, they are a much better company in terms of strategy and products compared to Google, anyday.

Yahoo could emerge with an edge, if they leapfrog into other verticals following the same web-based advertisement network.

Yahoo could emerge with an edge, if they leapfrog into other verticals following the same web-based advertisement network.

But that’s not the focus of this post.

The conversation was that, if a company has Advertisement as its core strength and has built a competence in it, then its going to be very hard for the company to drop that and adapt the advertising network of its partner/rival. Well, for the case of survival they might, but since they do have the core competence, the resources and the minds that can think in that direction, what could they possibly do, was the question.

Fact: Yahoo makes most of its money via advertisement, and that too on banner ads.

This becomes an issue when you have so much internet portals and properties, but just simply have to fill them with advertisements in order to make them viable. And in this day and age of APIs, nobody might even come visit the site to get hit by the advertisement. You are forced to rethink in terms of strategically placing the advertisement within the content, but thats a very very hard thing.

My Take: I think this is probably the same route as making fiber out of rocks. There might be some way to do it, but whatever it is, its one rare, long process.

I’d say, flip the coin, and lets look out to the horizon. Go after other streams, television and Radio… to be precise.

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‘Brand Equity’ seems to be a much spoken word these days. As per a recent report by the Economic times, India is the third largest economy when it comes to the advertisement industry, pushing China to become the fourth in time of scale and the cash-flow that is pouring in into that segment of the industry.

While at one end that is going on, people are looking at new ways of monetizing and revolutionizing this market. Whenever there is more cash than there is space to move, this always happens.

There are a couple of very interesting things happening:

1. Television is moving to the Internet.
This is a no-brainer. I guess with the success of Youtube and Homevideos and how even the common man seems to understand the concept of “The Long tail“, this is the most talked about subject.

What is to be noted is the difference between internet videos and internet television (or IPTV). It is simply not the same. While one is a web level aggregation of different videos, the other is using the internet as a medium to deliver high quality content, in a way that the web can afford to – multi-casting, at the same time unicasting. That’s when terms like microchunking, RSS Video feeds, personalization and Video on the go (with technologies such as slingbox) comes into play.

We’ve barely scratched the surface here.

2. Ads are taking on a new momentum.

Two web based commercial channels. I mean, channels which show nothing more than commercials, but of course you get the pick of what advertisement you want to watch and when. Welcome to the world of asynchronous broadcasting. With the recent trend in advertisement directors outwitting the regular programming directors in terms of quality and content, this is said to be a new trend that is setting the stage.

Infact, Firebrand is being pulled together by the same guy who came up with the concept of MTV, back in the days when playing music videos were meant to be “nothing more than commercials for the bands who played the music”. Perhaps they aren’t that different.

3. Place-shifting technologies will flatten the media space.
Imagine being able to cross the boundaries of those that are defined by the broadcasting companies and being able to watch anything from across the world, when you want to see it. That’s simply amazing. This will be the driver in terms of pushing media to the web and in making IPTV a reality.

4. Watch only what you want.
Pure Youtube style. Different channels, which know your personalized settings and will only show you what you want to see. Even if I tune into BBC, If i am only interested in sports related news, I would be able to watch just that, and not need to listen to the quibber of anything else which might not be of my fancy.

5. Alternate Revenue models
I am not too sure if the Youtube model is going to sustain itself. Google is converting that as a aggregation point for bigger broadcasters to push their own content in the internet medium. But if the home videos that made Youtube what it is, is to continue, then the content aggregators need to come up with ways to monetize the content on behalf of the publishers and share the profits. Companies such as Nautanki and also Indiainteracts are looking into that. They are going about doing that by means of advertisement and also by placing relevant advertisements before or after the video. Perhaps this is where contextual video ads will find its way… in its best form.

I’ve always been curious about the way different industries work. There is a lot to learn from each other and more often than not you usually find that the learnings from one industry can provide to be of vital importance for the breakthrough of a process in another industry.

Take for example a restaurant. I would like to know what is the standard rule that a chef and the manager follow in terms of managing the inventory in the kitchen against the demand for dishes that they serve in the menu. It can be a little complicated dealing with the variances of different customers, and different dishes being favorites at different times of the year. And if I am a sample customer to go by, I don’t know what I am planning to eat till the moment the food is ordered.

I wonder how a chef manages all that uncertainty. Someday I’ll make a friend who runs a hotel – or perhaps i remember a few people whom I can already talk to about this – and understand the mystery logic behind this process.

One other industry that I have been interested has been the entertainment industry – especially the visual media stream. Thanks to a friend of mine, and I Fix, I did get the chance to peak inside a radio station in chennai and it has been quite interesting to get to know the lingo they use within, the atmosphere people work under and what the stress of that job is like. I did volunteer for a local radio station in canada and did get to learn quite a few things, especially about mixers and how they manage the program. But life from inside the booth and from the RJ’s box has been quite an interesting perspective.

All this said, the television industry has been something that has been evading me for sometime now. Well, I finally got a chance to put an end to that one two days ago.

A popular television channel was shooting a program to showcase the musical talent of office workers, and when i got an invitation to perhaps visit the set, I was quite curious and did accept the invite. I have to say that is quite an eye opener. If the saying “like a kid in the candy store” is not too cliched to use, I shall certainly use that one. Catching a glimpse of the people in the team that bring the show to life, and who holds the responsibilities for delivering what component – the accuracy in which lines have to be said, visual elements corrected and cameramen working in unison – and all this with sparks of creativity flying hither and thither, well if you thought meeting deadlines as a software engineer was tough you can rest easy knowing that show business is not a walk in the park. I am told that an entire episode of a show is sometimes scripted, shot, edited and shipped in a matter of days and people go on with or without sleep for days. Judging from the look of some of the people who were there, I have no reason to not believe that.

I was quite impressed with the quality of musical talent that is hidden away under the security controlled premises of the IT sector and revelling at the chance to witness some of these performances at close proximity.

So what does the tech side of me think? Well, The set was the most elaborate thing I’ve seen in sometime. The last time I saw a stage in such likely detail was when we were involved with an university event with a budget in the lower millions. That said, what was there in reality and what was coming out on the video monitor were gross misrepresentations. The set had layers and layers of prop and a very compelling atmosphere and the entire thing got lost in the world of 2D cameras.

Hmm.. How I wish 3D cameras would come to being a reality soon! We see the world in depth and can perceive it because we have two visual receptors – the two eyes. The camera tends to lose it cause it has only one eye – the lens. There have been plenty of attempts to work on camera with dual lenses which capture the essence and detail of the human vision. But its still a dream away from being reality.

All in due time.. all in due time.