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Luke Durham, CTO & Founder

Global Ad Industry Urged To Adapt TVCs For Streaming Or Lose Millions

Luke Durham, CTO of Switch Media shares his insights on TVC adaption for online streaming. READ PRESS RELEASE BELOW.

Source: Global Ad Industry Urged To Adapt TVCs For Streaming Or Lose Millions, B&T, 29 JUNE, 2017

Advertising creatives must produce TVCs specifically for the burgeoning content streaming audiences around the world to deliver maximum return on investment, according to the chief technology officer (CTO) of an Aussie-based over-the-top (OTT) content company.

Luke Durham, CTO of Switch Media, has warned that to achieve this will require all stakeholders, from platform and content owners to advertisers and their agencies, to collaborate.

“To be blunt, conventional TVCs aren’t high quality or smart enough to engage streaming audiences in an increasingly demanding and competitive content and entertainment market,” he said.

“It’s clear there needs to be a greater understanding and cooperation between industry sectors to ensure uniformities and efficiencies are improved on both the creative/production side and the technical delivery side.

Luke Durham, CTO Switch Media

“There has been too much focus on keeping costs low to support the bottom line rather than producing the right type of creative for the appropriate channel and audience to grow the top line.

“But standard 30-second ads produced for broadcast television do not cut it. In fact, the use of TVCs online is one of the key drivers behind the growth of ad-blocking technologies.”

Switch Media has delivered millions of hours of OTT content over the past decade for Australian clients including Foxtel, SBS, Seven, Network Ten and Freeview.

Durham said that from Switch Media’s experience, content and ads need to be tailored specifically for digital devices.

“There are two sides to the problems that we all need to solve,” he said.

“Firstly, the advertising creatives and producers must consistently produce clever, engaging, original ads with shorter timeframes.

“Studies have shown that six to seven seconds is the optimal length of video for the average user attention span, with 10 seconds being the maximum to not only maintain viewer attention but to engage them.”

Durham said the second major problem is the speed and accuracy of the back-end technology responding to millions of constant content searches literally every second of the day.

“The ongoing challenge for agencies and OTT companies is managing the rapidly escalating volume of content that’s becoming available – literally tens of thousands of programs being accessed by millions of end users simultaneously from multiple sources,” he said.

“The accuracy of metadata provided by the content owners and ad agencies is imperative for each OTT transmission source to identify the content being sought by the viewer, and delivering them simultaneously to millions of devices across the country.”

Proud service provider for Foxtel’s new streaming service Foxtel Now

Switch Media is thrilled to have assisted Foxtel to deliver its new streaming service Foxtel Now which will give viewers low-priced and flexible subscriptions to their favourite programs.

An evolution of Foxtel Play, the key additions to the service are High Definition streaming and Chromecast access. Foxtel Now is available on PC & Mac via Google Chrome browser, Telstra TV, iOS and Android devices while a range of other devices like PlayStation and Xbox and Smart TVs will be updated to include HD over the coming months.

 

READ PRESS RELEASE BELOW (source: Foxtel unveils its new streaming service Foxtel Now from $10 a month, Holly Byrnes, news.com.au, 07 June 2017).

Foxtel unveils its new streaming service Foxtel Now from $10 a month

FOXTEL will take the fight for online audiences up to its TV rivals, announcing bold new plans for a budget streaming service.

At an all-star gala party in Sydney, the pioneering pay-TV company unveiled a new look logo and on-demand platform, Foxtel Now, which will give viewers low-priced and flexible subscriptions to their favourite lifestyle, drama, sport and movie programming.

An evolution of the existing Foxtel Play package, Foxtel Now will ensure subscribers have greater freedom and access to Foxtel’s content, from as little as $10 a month.

Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh said: “Foxtel Now represents our most flexible and affordable entertainment service and brings with it HD streaming, a great new look and feel and the freedom to jump in and out based on your viewing preferences.”

Foxtel Now will feature five entry level packs to match viewers’ interests, including drama and pop packs ($15 each or $25 for both); or lifestyle, documentaries or kids packs for just $10 each.

The drama and pop packs are expected to be the most popular, allowing access to Foxel’s award-winning HBO  slate including WestworldVEEPBig Little Lies and the upcoming season seven of Game Of Thrones for only $15 a month; as well as the stunning local dramas including A Place To Call Home (starring Abby Earl), Wentworth and new productions including Picnic At Hanging Rock.

Foxtel Now’s movies pack is available for $20 per month in addition to an entry level pack; while the sports pack is available for an extra $29 per month, meaning sports fans can now get access to Foxtel’s extensive sports programming from $39 per month.

Mr Tonagh said: “We believe everyone deserves to experience the world’s best entertainment.

“Foxtel is already famous for offering award-winning homegrown drama, plus unrivalled live sport, new movies, new shows and more complete seasons than anyone else in Australia.

Unfortunately, not enough Australians are able to enjoy this incredible programming. “We think it’s time to change that, so we’ve taken some big steps to diversify our service to offer the biggest, most affordable, range of options for everyone.

“From tomorrow, all Australians can watch what they want, when they want and where they want at a price that suits them best, from low-price, no-commitment, HD streaming up to a state-of the art viewing experience via our cable and satellite iQ3 set top box.”

Australia’s premier pay-TV service has invested more than $100m each year on local programming (outside of news and sport), with its Foxtel Original productions garnering numerous industry awards in recent years.

Foxtel Now, which launches tomorrow, will be available on PC/Mac via the Google Chrome browser, Telstra TV, iOS and Android mobiles and tablets, and Chromecast.

Additional devices will be updated in the coming months, until then, other devices, including PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox One and select Smart TVs are able to stream Foxtel content in SD via the Foxtel Play app.

Broadening its Foxtel On Demand library, Foxtel will now offer a selection of more than 16,000 titles of on demand TV and movie programming with over 1,200 of the hottest movies available, including 98 of the top 100 box office movies of 2016.

Foxtel’s 20th Century Fox recent-release titles arrive 12 months before Netflix and Stan, including blockbuster movies Eddie The Eagle, X-Men: Apocalypse, Independence Day: Resurgence and Ice Age: Collision Course.

News Corp, publisher of this website, owns 50 per cent of Foxtel.

For more information, or to try out a free two-week trial, see Foxtel Now’s website.

Another award for Switch Media built app – Freeview FV!

As end-to-end service provider for the Freeview FV app Switch Media is excited that it has won the International Grand Prix Award and Best TV/Video Service Update or Launch Award at the Connie Awards!

With vast experience in delivering a range of end-to-end video solutions for major Australian broadcasters including Foxtel, Network Ten and SBS, Switch Media were well positioned to assist Freeview with their requirements.

Switch Media’s role was to provide end-to-end development and delivery of the Freeview FV app rolled out to iPhone, iPad, Android phone and tablet, including Chromecast support for all platforms.

“Freeview Australia has partnered with Switch Media, a leader in the development of high quality technology solutions for the television industry.  Switch Media provided a flexible and innovative approach to the integration of our FTA network’s live streams and catch up assets resulting in a seamless Freeview FV user experience. ”
– Liz Ross, CEO, Freeview Australia

 

FREEVIEW MEDIA RELEASE 04 May 2017

Freeview FV takes out top honour at international Connie Awards

Freeview’s world-first Freeview FV mobile app has won the International Grand Prix Award and Best TV/Video Service Update or Launch Award at the Connie Awards, announced overnight in London.

Freeview was the only Australian company to win an award.

Freeview FV was awarded the top honour by the international awards that recognise innovation and the emerging best practice from across all sectors of the media landscape around the world.

“These awards are a true honour, particularly given the incredible depth and range of other award entries in the Connies. To be acknowledged at this level on the international stage is once again great testament to successful collaboration,” said Freeview CEO Elizabeth Ross.

“The vision, design and user experience were developed through great teamwork which brought together the best and brightest digital experts from within our broadcasters and our Freeview staff,” said Ross.

Earlier in the week, Freeview FV was also announced as a finalist for the AIMIA’s 23rd annual AMY Award in the entertainment and media smart phone or tablet application category and just last month Freeview won the Gold Stevie for innovation in the entertainment apps category at the international Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards.

Launched in November 2016, Freeview FV is available on iOS and Android mobile and tablets, delivering TV straight into viewers’ hands.

Freeview FV delivers live streaming of 20 free-to-air TV channels and the catch-up content from all broadcasters with just one click. Available channels include: ABC, SBS, Seven, Channel 9, TEN, ONE, Eleven ABC2/ABC KIDS, ABC ME, ABC News 24, SBS VICELAND, Food Network, NITV, 7TWO, 7Mate, 7Flix, Racing.com, 9Gem, 9Go! and 9Life. More live channels will be added as they become available.

 

Link to article: Freeview FV takes out top honour at international Connie Awards

Switch Media to exhibit at NAB Show 2017

Switch Media to exhibit at NAB Show 2017

Switch Media is excited to be exhibiting at NAB Show again this year where we will be showcasing our world class online video solutions including AdEase, Switch Live2VOD and AppSolute.

Switch Media – Proud service provider for the just launched Foxtel Kids app

foxtelkids3

As Foxtel’s end-to-end OTT service provider, Switch Media is excited to have assisted Foxtel with the delivery of the dynamic new Foxtel Kids app that provides a safe space for children to enjoy the amazing kids content available on Foxtel, ad-free and anytime.

Available for free to Foxtel, Foxtel Play and Foxtel from Telstra customers, this smart new app has been built with parents concerns in mind including regulating screen time, managing what their kids watch and limiting data use.

It can be used across smartphone or tablet, and enables the download of content to watch offline. With a child-friendly interface that is clean, fresh and very easy to navigate, Switch Media is thrilled to have assisted Foxtel to deliver the Foxtel Kids app in time for the holidays.

Deanne Weir, Foxtel’s Managing Director of Content Aggregation and Wholesale, said, “We’re delighted to bring our new Foxtel Kids app to Australian kids and families. After taking on board some great customer feedback coupled with our own research, we’ve designed what we think is the best app to keep kids entertained and parents informed; and, with the Christmas holidays just a few weeks away, it couldn’t come at a better time.”

 

PRESS RELEASE: Hands on: Foxtel Kids app – Adam Turner, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 December 2016.

Hands on: Foxtel Kids app

As Presto closes up shop, Foxtel is working to make its streaming options more family-friendly.

Something always had to give in Australia’s crowded streaming video market, with Foxtel preparing to pull the plug on Presto in January after buying out joint-owner Seven West Media. The pay TV giant is trying to entice Presto subscribers across to the Foxtel Play online subscription service by dropping Foxtel Play prices, offering discounts and upgrading to high-definition streaming via the Telstra TV set-top box.

The new Foxtel Kids app makes it easy to manage the way children watch video on your handheld gadgets.foxtel-kids-app

At the same time Foxtel has also taken the wraps off its new Foxtel Kids app which, like Foxtel Go, is a streaming mobile app available for free to customers with a home Foxtel subscription – only letting you watch content from the kid-friendly channels in your Foxtel package.

What’s is particularly interesting is that Foxtel Kids also works if you’re a Foxtel Play subscriber, with kids channels to be included in the new Foxtel Play entry-level packages. You can even download the app and watch a few episodes for free even if you don’t have a Foxtel account, just press Skip at the login screen.

If there are children in your life then you’ve probably been confronted by the fact that within most streaming video apps the children’s content is only a few clicks away from the likes of DaredevilGame of Thrones and The Walking Dead – which aren’t exactly kid-friendly. Foxtel Kids is similar to Netflix’s kid-friendly interface, except that Foxtel’s offering is a standalone app to make it easier to manage your children’s viewing habits.

Available for iOS and Android, the Foxtel Kids app lets you register up to five devices and watch video on two at once – separate to the usage limits on the Foxtel Go apps, so the big people and little people in your home can use different apps to watch different Foxtel content simultaneously. Unlike Foxtel Go, Foxtel Kids doesn’t offer desktop browser access – it’s only for mobile gadgets.

Foxtel Kids only supports catch up video on demand, you don’t get streaming simulcasts of live channels. You can only watch video on standard-definition but that’s unlikely to bother children, especially if they’re watching animation on a small screen.

The app has a slick child-friendly interface which is easy to navigate even if you can’t read. You have access to a wide range of Foxtel content including shows from Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, CBeebies, Discovery Kids, Cartoon Network and Boomerang.

The amount of content at your disposal varies widely – some shows like Pepper Pig and Marvel’s Avengers Assemble only have the last few episodes, while others like Star Wars Rebels have the entire back catalogue from the series premiere right up to the most recent episode screened on Foxtel (which seems to be one episode behind the US). Strangely the app doesn’t stick to the standard episode numbering system, with the first episode of Rebels season two described as S2E16 rather than S2E01 – which I guess is intended to make things less complicated for children.

The app lets you choose between three user interfaces – one aimed at pre-schoolers, a second aimed at older children who are looking for slightly more mature content and a third designed to cater for both. To help ensure it’s child-friendly the app doesn’t screen advertisements or promos, not even for other Foxtel content. You can even set a timer with a cute animation to tell kids that they’ve used up their screen time, with a three-minute grace period if they’re almost at the end of an episode.

Parental controls – locked with a PIN – let you block channels as well as limit content according to ratings, such as blocking PG content to only allow G. There’s also the option to disable 3G/4G mobile broadband access so streaming only runs over Wi-Fi, with the data unmetered if you’re at home and Foxtel Broadband is your internet service provider.

Considering that it’s free for subscribers, Foxtel obviously isn’t aiming to make money directly from Foxtel Kids. Instead, like Foxtel Go, it’s designed to make a Foxtel subscription more attractive so you’re less likely to abandon it in favour of competitors like Netflix, which also has a wealth of children’s content. Other kid-friendly options include the free ABC iView kids app.

The other key attraction of Foxtel Kids is offline access, which is great for parents who use their smartphone or tablet to entertain their kids while they’re out and about but don’t want to chew through their mobile data allowance. It’s also handy when you’re getting on a flight.

Netflix also recently added offline access, although the rules regarding downloads are quite convoluted. Meanwhile Foxtel Kids offers a 31-day download window after which you needed to download those episodes again, assuming they’re still available as content will change regularly. Unlike some Netflix offline content, Foxtel Kids doesn’t offer the ability to “renew” offline content without actually downloading it again.

All up Foxtel Kids is a respectable effort as the pay TV giant jostles for position in the Netflix age. If you’re on the verge of abandoning Foxtel then the new app alone probably isn’t enough to change your mind, but it’s still a welcome addition to the Foxtel ecosystem.

Switch Media at TVOT New York 08 Dec 16

Switch Media at TVOT New York City

As a key sponsor for the event, Switch Media was excited to exhibit and present
at TVOT at the SVA Theatre in New York on 8 Switch Media at TVOT New York 08 Dec 16December 2016.

CTO, Luke Durham presented as a featured panelist in the OTT Technology Question Time Session. This highly interactive session enabled attendees to pose their questions about the present state and the future of the OTT/multiplatform TV delivery and monetization infrastructure to a “brain trust,” drawn from the companies whose technologies are powering that infrastructure. The goal of the session was to give content creators, aggregators, distributors and other interested parties a clearer understanding of the technological issues they need to be aware of as TV becomes an increasingly multiplatform medium.

 

Watch a clip of Luke Durham on the need for a customised approach for SSAI.

 

 

AdEase server-side ad insertion

At the event, we showcased our world class online video solutions for OTT as well as our server-side ad insertion solution AdEase. With advanced anti-ad-blocking and audience targeting capabilities, AdEase enables world-class multi-screen server side ad insertion for both Live and VoD content for a continuous TV-like experience and maximum revenue.

 

 

 

coffee-cups

As the Coffee Break Sponsor for the event, attendees could grab a coffee on us before popping over to the Switch Media booth to find more or get a demo on our services from content management, app development and live streaming, through to on-the-fly ad insertion and delivery to viewers across multiple devices.