Google, Facebook and internet giants invade NAB

Of the more than 49 million U.S. homes that accessed at least one OTT service in December, 53% of those homes accessed YouTube.

The over-the-top video trend has been gaining momentum for years, as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other companies prove out the demand for streaming video. But this trend is taking on a new dimension at this year’s NAB as internet giants like Google and Facebook use the show to highlight their own work in the broadcasting industry.

Specifically, Google is hosting a number of sessions at NAB to discuss its virtual reality video efforts as well as its web video production and advertising technologies. Meanwhile, Facebook is hosting its first “video boot camp” that promises to offer “practical tips, insightful data and best practices to help publishers make the most out of this new and exciting global broadcast platform.”

“I definitely agree that we are seeing a bigger presence from internet properties like Facebook and Google at NAB,” said Jason Blackwell, research director for consumer multiplay and SMB at research and consulting firm IDC. “This year’s exhibits will include a Facebook Live Pavilion with technology vendors demonstrating tools for content publishers, and a prominent Google booth right next to traditional media vendor Ericsson. This illustrates the growing importance of video content across multiple delivery services, as broadcasters and content owners embrace new and evolving ways of engaging audiences.”

Others agree. “YouTube has obviously been going for years, but Google has really doubled down on driving revenue and profits in that business in the past year or so, while Facebook is really trying to ramp up its original video offerings and starting to monetize video on the platform too,” noted Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research. “So it makes sense that they’d want to be in the room with the broadcasters and other tech companies serving the broadcasting industry at NAB.”

Of course, Google and Facebook aren’t the only companies discussing the OTT trend at this year’s NAB. Key sessions at the show will range from OTT sports to livestreaming to how OTT providers might benefit from cloud and visualization technology, with speakers from the likes of Netflix, AT&T’s DirecTV, NBA, TiVo and Comcast. And Jim Lanzone, CEO of CBS Interactive, promises to offer a look at how established media companies are wading into the OTT waters in his keynote appearance titled “Inside CBS’s Transformation to a Next Generation Content Company.”

As some analysts pointed out, OTT is nothing new to longtime NAB attendees. Indeed, according to new research from comScore, more than 49 million U.S. homes accessed at least one OTT service in December; 75% of those homes accessed Netflix, while 53% accessed YouTube and 33% accessed Amazon Video. But what is new this year at NAB is the general availability of premium content in an OTT setting.

“One thing that has started to change over the past year or so is that content rights are starting to catch up to technology,” IDC’s Blackwell said. “By this, I mean that technology for OTT delivery has outpaced the availability of premium content in the past. Content owners were restrictive with rights for OTT, VoD, catch-up TV and other new delivery options. We are now seeing this opening up, and this is driving many of the new OTT services that have recently launched or been announced.”

Concluded Blackwell: “The future of OTT looks bright, as the availability of a wider range of content will engage additional viewers and further develop the business models that have been slow to develop so far.”

At NAB this year, it’s likely that more established media companies than ever before will discuss their OTT strategies. Already, NBCUniversal is reportedly developing an SVOD service that will include top shows from the NBC Broadcast Network, as well as leading NBCU cable outlets.

Google, Facebook and internet giants invade NAB

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