OTT movies equal VOD with more gardens to pick from

rog-tv-ott-720Sometimes I think about keeping thoughts to myself as they often conflict with what people want to hear or contradict what they believe and then I feel bad and then it happens and then the cycle repeats

So here we are at the refresh of another cycle. I’m about to feel bad. Over-the-top progressed faster than I thought and gave more options than I thought, but now I think OTT has done better than VOD because it offers more options, probably did a better job marketing, and will likely dominate in the future because of its options. To me OTT movies are simply VOD out of someone elses garden but I have a vehicle driving me to many more gardens to pick from.

So what got me thinking about this cycle? Well, I finally got a Roku box which I thought would stop me from plugging my PC into the TV, but it didn’t. Next I read that people think VOD is losing out to OTT because it has inadequate advertising support and awkward program guides. This was in a report summary sent out by TDG recently and repeated by many others…. Market Watch, Broadband and TV News, Marketwire, WCBSTV, etc.

Yes, I’ve been told that I’m not reading between the lines of the summary and it’s really about cable operators losing a market they should have controlled. So perhaps, yes, VOD should have done better, but how can it compete against all the options.

  • Roku gives me the option to pay a monthly fee for Netflix, or to rent by the movie from Amazon, or to watch for free on the Crackle channel with advertisements. Those are only 3 options out of many more options.
  • Playstation, Wii, and xBox give me many of the same options as Roku and at the same time provide entertaining game that are owned by perhaps 3 or 4 times as many people that have VOD boxes. I have all 3.
  • I can still plug my PC into the TV and rent YouTube movies or watch for free with a commercial. I often go to YouTube for free movies because I prefer the one opening commercial to Crackle’s one every 15 or 20 minutes.
  • And there are more media players out there with similar options that I won’t even get started on.

So why would VOD dominate the movie watching world? I just don’t see it… or should I say watch it.

Now please don’t be offended it you’re a VOD provider or supporter. This is just the way I look at things and I’m an older baby boomer. I’m not the one to watch out for like x, y, z generation that will decide how this plays out. The younger generations are way more exposed to this stuff than this atypical bb gen’r but a lot of operators recognize this as they focus on broadband so the future is looking brighter for options.

2011 Reflections from Roger

Ken & Roger editing - Click to watch the video

The end of 2011 started with scanning as I began scanning old slides and looking at old video footage. The memories made me realized what a wonderful life I’ve had, and the great people I’ve enjoyed it with. Plus, I didn’t have to jump off a bridge to realize it.

The scanning gave me with warm feelings and another realization that I’ve had wonderful opportunities to participate in a history many only viewed. My wife has always been a part of this, and the old photo’s reminded me of that in a warm feeling I’ve enjoyed for days. I am fortunate that we had bought a good 35mm SLR camera back in the days. The quality of the scanned slides has been amazing so especially enjoyable. We’ve documented many events in our lives which include my art works and involvement in leading edge technologies so I’ve got lots of material to “broadband enable”.

Looking back I also realized this month had other significance. I had been lucky to work with leading edge technologies most of my career but 10 years ago something happened the would change how I participate in broadband trends. I was working with the most advanced TV over DSL technology in the world and traveling the country talking about it. Unknowingly I was participating in history being made while some of those communications turned up in a report. That resulted in a meeting that eventually became an unusual yet best business relationship I’ve had in my career.

So here I am, the last day of 2011, reflecting “way back” and to 10 years back. I have a beautify wife that loves me despite my shortcoming, and a business partner with equal acceptance, shared values, extreme willingness to experiment, and persistence to find solutions and succeed despite obstacles that would stop normal human beings. So now I reflected back to what got me here… perhaps the real story?

In the 70’s and 80’s I took lots of photos and viewed those 35mm photographs on paper and projector screens. In the early 90’s I captured analog video into a computer with a Video Spigot card at 8 frames per second and 180×120 resolution. Sixteen years ago I registered my first Internet domain and started putting content on the Internet. Ten years ago I was about to meet Ken Pyle and take things to another dimension with visual content, streaming video on HTML servers (prior to YouTube), generating ad revenue by streaming on-line then watching earlier streamers go down the tubes, managing major sites with a tool called WordPress, going high-definition with video (no more 180×120), producing programs for hotel TV channels, accepting YouTube (because I get ad revenue now), video journalism, producing documentaries and documonials, and having a really great time in 2011.

The end of this year started with intentions to say thank you to everyone that supported us throughout the year and over the past years. For that I do say thank you and happy new year from both Ken and myself. But I want to add a special thank you and happy new year to my wife, to Ken and his wife Jane, and to a couple special guys Charlie and Tom for many good times.

The people around us make life happy and successful through their support. That support comes in many forms from family, from industry relationships, and of course financials that keep the light going (creative and literally). I’ve enjoyed working with all of our supporters, as I know Ken has, and look forward to seeing you all and working with you again in 2012.

Best Wishes, and here’s a video to reminisce by.


Social Stories of Folly and Frustration

A Scrolling Blur?
A Scrolling Blur?

Facebook Follies

Just how valuable are those fleeting Facebooks posts so many businesses use to promote their product or message? The messages quickly disappear into a blog scroll longer than the Mississippi – with locks and dam obstacles to discourage anyone from ever trying to find significant information- so they tend to be more like missing links of Facebook follies in marketing strategies gone astray.

So what prompted that outcry? I was looking at a corporate website for information today – info that should have been on their website. The catch! It was on their Facebook page. I struggled to locate the information as I had to click “more stories” over and over and over again. I wouldn’t have even looked except I knew it was there; I’d seen it before. I was one of the few that had seen the fresh post before it got lost in the big scroll.

I wonder what will happen next, now that Google+ Pages are available.  Google seems to provide nice features and search will likely work better (although few will use it), but I wonder… Will companies jump ship and continue to ignore their websites focusing on social scrolls that end up in nowhere land?


Excited about You Who?

I’m often frustrated by the way people use social media, and I actually disliked YouTube for a long time (because of past revenue models), but now I’m getting excited. Being approved for ad revenue was a big reason, but another reason for my excitement is the timeline link. The timeline link gets viewers to a specific point in a video for immediate viewing. Time specific links could actually be a boom for using video more effectively as the links integrate into text stories very well. Here is an example using videos that have multiple messages, while linking to specific topics thanks to the timeline links.

I interviewed small town rural breweries at Great Taste of the Midwest. Tyranena talked of buying and supporting local, and how important the Internet is for their business. Central Waters heats with renewable energy and supports MREA. They also believe the Internet is extremely important for their business. Dave’s Brew Farm is as rural as you can get. Dave talks about how they depend on the Internet for doing business.

Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but I love the idea of reading about something and finding the exact point in a video that’s relevant to topic – assuming I want to visualize. It’s a way to filter the unnecessary. Youwho, or woohoo, I find it interesting.


Motion Pictures at 4G World

The last half of the 1800s brought pictures "to life" with the zoopraxiscope, kinetoscope, and the vitascope. These were the early days of moving pictures and Cinematographe.

The "Wheel of Life" Zoopraxiscope
PD Image from Wikipedia – view synchronization by Roger

Zoopraxiscope image

Although simple and presumably unrelated, the photo flip book below made me realize how life has changed and how amazing 4G really is. The booklet is a promotional item (look closely to see promotion text for Lotus), but it made me think. In the late 1800s, moving pictures and telephones were amazing, but they aren't anymore. The how, where, and when we talk or watch moving pictures today is amazing.

Photo Flip Book


I spent an afternoon at 4G World this week – about 120 years after a web of iron wires spread across the world and a time when vitascope wouldn't remind you of a mouthwash. I saw a light in WALL-E's eyes that could send millions of moving pictures for a mile or more. I recalled that the distant past was but a year or so ago and they called it 3G. It was fast, but not fast enough nor far enough. And the "can you hear me now" guy was replaced with a 4G test box (JDSU) that plots a map to where the box  "heard me now".

WALL-E's eyes were optical transceivers made by SkyFiber that use infrared light to send and receive 1Gbps of data through the air for over 1 miles. These are light waves that don't require licensing as it would with radio frequencies, and wouldn't you know it, Alexander Graham Bell created the Photophone in 1880, so the concept has been around for a while.

Jeffrey Powers,, and WALL-E like eyes

Wally Images

See Interview with Eliot Weinman, President, Events and Media Division, for Yankee Group below for an overview of 4G World. 4G is a great extension to the Internet and makes it contiguous. Voice, video, data, photos, socializing, games, news, television, searching, or finding your way are but applications or buttons on a device that is in the home, your pocket, or in your car.

Video Interview – Click Image

Image for Video

4G World had a good mixture of exhibits to get the big picture of all the elements behind the 4G network. It was a place to learn about the faster speeds and range with 4G (10-20 miles), testing for signal strength and plotting the results on a map, putting up the towers, the mobility of applications, the wide variety of applications,  the hardware, and the software.

ViodiTV with Pivot Media Advertising Sponsorship

Viodi is teaming up with Pivot Media to expand our media coverage and broaden the reach of ViodiTV videos. Contact Ken or Roger for more information on this new opportunity for advertising. ViodiTV has one of the most viewed and largest libraries of video interviews and reports on telecom, broadband, IPTV and related topics in the industry. ViodiTV has produced over 500 video interviews with keynote speakers, industry & government leaders, plus reports on unique and interesting conferences across the country.

The Fact Sheet on YouTube and Fortune 500 statisics shows that…

  • 2 Billion YouTube videos are viewed every day
  • 94% of AdAge's top 100 advertisers advertised on YouTube.
  • 52% of 18-35 year olds share videos with friends and colleagues
  • H.264 support is taking on-online video beyond PC and Mobile to the TV

ViodiTV has been publishing video on-line for over 7 years – yes before YouTube existed – and has a broad understanding of using video on-line. Viodi videos are posted in ViodiTV, uploaded to BlipTV for branded and customized video players, cross posted to YouTube (uploaded) and referenced by sites across the web for great search results and recognition for advertisers.

ViodiTV Sponsosrship Info

Digital Home Summit

SmartGrid Forum

History of Telecom DVD

History of Telecom in WisconsinADVERTISEMENT

Order copies of this 100 year anniversary documentary on the history of telecommunications in Wisconsin from Marianne Mullis at the WSTA. Price is $30 and includes highlights from the 100 year convention and past conferences.

The twelve minute documentary begins with the first telephones in Wisconsin. They were much like other phone lines across the country – direct lines from businesses to homes. Switchboards came quickly after, and in 1893, as the Bell patents expired, phone companies popped up across the country. This led to the organization of state associations like the WSTA.

The documentary includes interviews with current and retired industry people, book author Richard Cates with rural stories that inspire community, and special guest comments and narration by Tommy Thompson, former Governor of Wisconsin.

Takeaways from the documentary are the evolution of social networks that telecommunications technology enabled, innovation, community support, and overcoming adversity to provided advanced services across rural America.

Sarah K. Noonan Didn't Exist

Sarah imageSarah, as described in her Facebook account was 27, attractive, a Democrat, and in a complicated relationship. She had more than 480 friends, yet no one really knew here. Sarah K. Noonan was a fake. She did not exist. This phony Facebook account was created by an advertising agency as a test. The agency was wondering… Is Facebook an effective tool for advertising, or is it mostly smoke and mirrors? (Image from The Miami Herald – link on image – and RIP Sarah account on Facebook)

No one knew the phony Sarah, but the account found it easy to add new friends, almost 20 per week. Facebook doesn't allow phony accounts, and works to shut them down, but there are likely a lot of Sarah's out there. Do you have friends like Sarah that you're sharing personal information with? Read the full article from Bridget Carey, McClatchy Newspapers, at

There appears to be couple lessons in this story; security and privacy. A large percentage of people accepting Sarah as a friend – opening up their personal information on Facebook – without having a clue who she was. Chasing the hype. Facebook may be a good marketing tool, but understanding the pros, cons, and foolery behind it might even be better.

CTA with Global Reach and Local Presence

"My people are stretched to the limit..." Sound familiar? We've never had so many ways to connect, yet it's harder to feel connected. Do you feel that way? Are you an enabler, a catalyst, or feel like a bump in the road? Sometimes it's good to get new perspectives and I got a few last week at the Communications Technology Association of MN (CTA) annual conference in St Paul.

Keynote Speaker Lori Bocklund, President of Strategic Contact, demonstrated how closely connected we are in our degrees of separation, despite our feelings of being disconnected. She hears the statement often, on how stretched people are, but sees positive outcomes. We are globally connected through Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and a mass of social media networks. We’re actually so connected that it almost becomes local as new technology enables methods to bring customers closer to businesses, reach across boarders, and spreads more information than we can consume.

Some of my take-aways from Bocklund were that 1) companies need to develop new strategies for adapting to the methods used by customers… voice, text messages, fax, mobile, social media, etc.; 2) Technology is a key to enabling the connection of people and people must understand it to be the catalyst to using it; 3) CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is now UC (Unified Communications), through collaboration, visibility, and connectiveness; 4) Social networks can provide free labor if used effectively; and 5) IT (Information Technology) liked control, but they’re losing a part of it with social media.

My take-aways from a Social Media session with Marla Geary, IQ Services; Lesley Farnham, MN School of Business; and Scott Knutson, Product Support Solutions (PSS) were that: 1) These companies are adopting to social media using; (a) Wiki’s, (b) Google Alerts, (c) Tweet Deck, (d) Blogs, (e) LinkedIn, (f) Twitter, (g) and more…; 2) Some found blogs the most successful, 3) They’ve learned to listen to tweets and post, and know their message well before tweeting and posting; 4) Companies should maintain some control over employees posts and tweets, or have procedures in place: 5) The workplace now includes home; 6) Good content is necessary to bring people to your sites; 7) Blogging can be a lot of work, and requires that you have something valuable to say; 8. Monitor what is being said about your company on social media; and 9) Employers are using social media sites to check out potential employees (and current employees), but people are also checking out employers.

My final take-away was the message from Michael Smith at Verizon was on Unified Communications (UC), but adding Collaboration to the acronym (UC&C). Verizon is looking at new ways to deal with the change, new technologies, the social media explosion, convergence of technology, budgets, mobile workforces, and globalization by using collaboration. Part of the key to this is integrating voice and applications for solutions not products. He used the example of using IP effectively for smart systems the listen, interpret, and direct based on information. Collaboration is important to this process because many people and departments are now a part of the solution.

Sponsor Message – Friends of Viodi Save $395 at BBP Summit

BBP Button Click for Discount

Save $395 off the $895 registration fee at Broadband Properties Summit 2010 as a reader of Viodi View and Friend of Viodi. Join ViodiTV, as we cover this event with video interviews and highlights on the hotel TV channel and streaming on-line after the event. Follow these links for more details on the Summit and the registration link.

Be sure to attend the Local Content Sessions, which will feature operators who are producing high-quality video, including Gary Evans and Mary Malloy of Hiawatha Broadband Communications and Cullen Smith of Smithville Telephone Company.  


Video Opportunities With ViodiTV

Banner imageHave you gone beyond broadband to leverage your network with video content and seen the Possibilities of IP?

ViodiTV at events like IP Possibilities is a great opportunity for generating video content for vendors and telco's to use in demonstrating, promoting, and reaching out to your TV and on-line audience. Roger and Ken bring these possibilities to sponsors of ViodiTV during events at a cost of nearly a third of what you'd normally pay. We're able to do this because we're a "experienced" crew of two doing the work of many… producer, interview host, videographer, video editor, audio (including royalty free music), special effects with animation, distribution, and publishing on-line or on TV.

Contact Roger Bindl for more information. Video opportunities await you at this next event. Viodi has been producing event coverage video's, interviews, and educational/promotional content since 2002.