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.

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.

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

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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.

People Die, Profiles Don't

audience photoHow many accounts, or how much information do you have on-line with banking, e-commerce, email, social networks, and such? What happens to these on-line accounts after death? Does your executor have access to these digital assests, does your family, does a friend? Who controls this information after death?

You may be surprised just how confusing and difficult it can be to access or delete on-line data after death. Jesse Davis of Entrustet talked to me after his Pecha Kucha presentation during High Tech Happy Hour in Madison, WI. Jesse talks about the Justin Ellsworth court battle with Yahoo to access emails and accounts after their son's death. This also raised question on if Justin wanted his parents to have access, and what about estate planning.

Watch this ViodiTV video to hear Jesse Davis talk about three types of digital assets; (1) economically valuable; (2) sentimental; and (3) private accounts.  Jesse also addresses the future issues of posting too much personal information on-line, and how this could impact the future of politics. How will the youth of today run for public office when so much private information is public. Produced by Roger Bindl HEM Productions, for ViodiTV.

Is Content Becoming Dust in the Wind?

Dust Storm PhotoAre we reaching a point where content becomes dust in the wind – like the song by Kansas? Or, is the dust growing with all those memories and dreams recorded forever along with the observers and seekers? It seems like a part of both as people create 1 billion posts per day on Facebook, 12 million tweets per day on Twitter, upload 1.7 million minutes of video to YouTube each day, post over 1 million blogs per day, and that’s just a start to the daily growth.

 That’s a lot of content or dust, but hey… Google is indexing all of it, supposedly forever, so the dreams and memories should continue, and Facebook will help to create more memories as people share their thoughts and get photos of them uploaded and tagged by friends. So, what better way to market your company than to throw more dust to the wind, so long as it’s not forgotten?

That's partially what some social media “experts” are preaching now day. Create more and more content so your company will be found on the net. Your home page is no longer enough, you need posts on Facebook, Tweets, more video on YouTube, and blog posts with relevant and valuable information – as if you’ve got time and relevant information to regularly blog about.

So I sound a bit skeptical? Well, not really. But I am wondering where this is taking us. Will information become so diluted by it’s own mass that finding relevant information will be akin to finding a quark in the universe? Is this really a long term, effective way to market your company? Or will people just get tired of it all – which is already happening. Many long term users of Facebook are leaving it, and people are getting more concerned with personal data becoming public or kept forever in that large search engine of dust.

I wrote a few weeks back on how people are leaving social networks for the real world and I continue to read more about that trend. Do a search for “why I quite Facebook” and see how and why people are leaving, but keep in mind that your search results will also be kept forever in a database by Google – possibly with your name or address. Watch the program “Inside the Mind of Google” for an eye opener, or a piece from the New York Times on the program. Keep in mind that even if you aren’t logged into Google they could get your street address from the IP address on your computer – I have proven that to myself from more than one location, and it was eye opening.

My conclusion from all of this is to recognize potential pitfalls and make a plan to use the web wisely. I really don’t want to visit Facebook to learn more about your company. The fact is I get frustrated when companies send me away from their website. Even for video… don’t send me away to YouTube. Upload there if you want but embed the video on your own site. It doesn’t take any of your bandwidth, and there are lots of other options with BlipTV, Vimeo, and other video service providers.

Experiment with Facebook and Twitter before you jump onto the bandwagon. You might just learn why it's easy to get tired of it, and the current hype could be just that. There may be situations where I’m totally off with my observations, but I don’t think it’s the win for all that’s being sold to all. To some extent a lot of this is about getting information on you for selling to you… remember when we worried about that with television.


You Can’t Friend Me, I Quit” On Facebook’s fifth anniversary, a not-so-fond farewell by Steve Tuttle, Newsweek Web Exclusive, Feb 4, 2009

Facebook Exodus” by Virginia Heffernan, The New York Times, August 26, 2009.

How to Quit Facebook” on Wikihow.

Tweeting, texting render avid users ‘present yet absent’ by Olivia Baker, USA Today, Aug. 3, 2009.

Marketing Mecca and Business Panacea?" By Roger Bindl, Viodi View.

"Inbound Marketing," VideoBlog by Roger Bindl on HubSpot.

"Facebook Chat: 1 Billion Messages Sent Per Day," by Ben Parr, June 15 2009, Mashable The Social Media Guide.

Tweets Per Day” Social Media.

Zoinks! 20 Hours of Video Uploaded Every Minute” YouTube Blog, May 20, 2009.

Inside the Company That Mistook Itself for a verb” Neil Genzlinger, Dec 2, 2009, The New York Times.

49 Amazing Social Media, Web 2.0 And Internet Stats”, Adam Singer, TheFutureBuzz, Jan 12, 2009.

Dust Storm Photo" WikiMidea Commons, George G. Marsh Album. April 18, 1935, Texas.

Marketing Mecca and Business Panacea?

ImageI question the suggestion, that putting your business face on Facebook and tweeting away on Twitter, are truly the marketing meccas or business panaceas they’re made out to be. I’m hearing that argument more and more at conferences now days.

Last year I heard several speakers lecture to audiences on using Facebook, yet I couldn’t find any of those speakers on Facebook. Hmm, aren’t we all experts with the Internet! This year I’m hearing another group of people lecture on using Facebook and Twitter to market products, support customers, to manage, and to inform. People seem to believe these newly discovered sites (to them anyway) are the meeting place for all good things and magic elixir for curing all.

I have used Facebook for a couple years now and thought it had potential at first, but now I hide more and more "friends" because they write too much and what they post is junk. For a while, I found Facebook useful to keep up with business activities, but that got lost in comments about walking the dog or boating on the lake.

Despite the daily chatter of useless information, I see potential, but still question that potential as it is presented. I’m starting to get lost in scattered and poorly edited text, plus finding up to date information… Is the up to date information on their website, their blog, their Facebook, their Twitter, their answering machine, or where? I have seen examples of where it’s at none of the above. I guess it is difficult to manage communications when there are so many ways.

Twitter was great for getting the word out on Iran, but perhaps that was a unique case. I don’t use Twitter because I’m flooded with communications already and would probably drop tweeters like I am hiding Facebook friends. Perhaps we’re already over burdened with communications… we’ve got land lines, cell phones, email, text messages, instant messages, Facebook comments, Twitter tweets, Family Blogs, Business Blogs, and ugh, everyone prefers something different so communications is getting more frustrating. I’d really like to talk.

Perhaps Dan Rasmus, director of business insights at Microsoft, in the Aug 8, 2009 USA Today issue best describes an effect of this disconnected state… digital autism. Are we becoming disconnected from the live social and physical world? Read the article for an interesting perspective on getting too hooked on social networks: “Tweeting, texting render avid users ‘present yet absent’”.