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Revision3: Why Netflix Will Thrive and Hulu Plus Will Suffer

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Putting premium video online has to be a conversation. Broadcasters can't simply take a show with a well-known host and use its online channels for marketing. Rather, it needs to think of each channel as a dialog with the viewers, said Colin Decker, vice president of audience development for Revision3, speaking at a Streaming Media West panel titled "Virtual Coffee Tables and TV App Graveyards."

"Programming for that space is a conversation with the audience," said Decker.

Discovery Communications, which owns Revision3, is using apps to build new audiences away from the television, as well as building its current popular brands. Operators feel they're winning the battle with pay TV authentication requirements, which often limits how much video can be put out through other channels.

Looking forward, Decker sees a vast distinction coming between live or timely television content and everything else. Live events can be easily monetized, and Decker noted that we're already seeing an advertising flight to live content. Premium serial entertainment, on the other hand, will be driven to the video-on-demand (VOD) or subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) space. That content is already heavily time-shifted.

"I do think the future of TV is going to look very different," said Decker.

TV Apps PanelThe Revision3 office is heavily made up of employees 25 and under, Decker added, who see no value in traditional pay TV services. He noted that he had to break it to his cable TV higher-ups that many in the office have never had a cable account and never would.

Addressing the question of creating an app for a premium entertainment brand or going with a web experience, Decker noted that there's currently a rush to create apps. However, he urges people to pull back and consider what their ultimate goal is. Are they trying to engage the viewers? Broaden the audience? Monetize the content (something that would be tough to achieve)? The goal should drive the results.

For his part, Decker said he relies on only a few TV apps, ones that deliver immediate access even if the quality isn't always there. He likes the NBC News app, for example, because video is posted online the second it airs. While the quality is often weak, he likes the instant availability. He predicted that many of today's popular television apps would go away in time, and that only those that provide the viewer with real utility will stay.

Looking at the two leading subscription video services, Netflix and Hulu Plus, Decker sees different futures.

"I'm bullish on Netflix," Decker said, explaining that he thinks its move to original content is smart and that the growth of broadband-enabled households means more potential customers for Netflix.

Hulu Plus is a different story. Why doesn't it have a lot more subscribers by now?, he asked. It's largely because subscribers are turned off by the ads. Also, the lack of key network support is a problem to making it a cable alternative.

While game consoles are currently the leading living room devices for streaming video, Decker sees them as limited. Many households simply don't play games, he said, or don't want to put their kids in front of a game console. That's a limit to the global domination that the Microsoft Xbox team would like to see, he added.

To see the full discussion, watch the video below.


Virtual Coffee Tables and TV App Graveyards

In the past year, we've cluttered iPads and smartphones with dozens of TV-related apps. Some are still kicking, some barely have a pulse, and some are the former "hot new things" gone cold and dead. What is there to learn from all this? Is there a one-size-fits all answer or approach to TV apps? Is there an uber-TV app coming, or are we destined to have a dedicated app for each TV show we like, each network we watch, each movie we see, etc?

Moderator: Jeremy Toeman, CEO, Dijit
Speaker: Randy Shiozaki, Co-Founder, TVPlus
Speaker: Colin Decker
, VP, Audience Development, Revision3 (A Discovery Communications Company)

Speaker: Geoff Katz, VP, Business Development, WatchWith

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