Industry Voices—Ring: A streaming product wrap-up from CES 2020: Part 2

Las Vegas
CES was held January 6-9 in Las Vegas. (Pixabay)
Brian Ring Industry Voices

Here’s the second half of my report on CES 2020. Be sure to check out the first half, too.

Quibi and short form? I wrote a longer take on this here. Many voices that I respect greatly in this business have all said similar things. (1) What a fantastic content machine. (2) Turnstile is cool, but gimmicky. (3) A premium, for-pay platform? Not going to happen.

In particular, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s core idea -- that you can’t ‘snack’ your way through a Netflix show, or grab quick news bites from your DVR -- is just not true. Dan Brown’s book with shorter chapters? Still a book. Quibi might be a new genre. I hope it lands as a free streaming channel on my Samsung TV Plus deck. But it won’t be the next Disney+.

Esports and real sports? As everyone knows, CES presents a ton of ground to cover. I did not get to the wearables department. I did, however, live-tweet Zachary Leonsis who is on top of the future of sports like white on rice.

Interactive and social streaming? There’s good news and bad. The good? From what I can tell, the ability to stream with low latency to connected TVs like Vizio is entirely doable -- today. I didn’t have the opportunity to speak to enough connected TV vendors on this front, but the conversations I had led me to believe this is the case.

If so, I think two-screen interactivity via low latency streaming graphics is going to see a huge uptick in in the next 24 months. Never before has it been possible to run two-screen interactivity across every platform with a dead-simple integration. Low latency streaming and HTML5 graphics enables it. And it’s coming sooner than most people think.

The bad news? This is not on anyone’s radar. And previous attempts at two-screen have been complete miserable failures. Opportunity for the bold!

Which reminds me: I did see a clever one-screen interactive implementation in the Vidgo app. Kudos!

Advanced TV ads? I plan to write more on this topic in the future so I’m going to keep it short. I was able to find out more from Nielsen, Vizio and Project OAR, as promised. Here are some key points.

First, navigating the advanced TV ad ecosystem is like walking through a funhouse. Trap doors abound. Did you know that if a network’s advanced TV ad test happens to take place in a Nielsen sample household, it could have an outsized and unintended negative impact on that network’s revenue?

So, it’s a huge positive to see that Nielsen announced a new phase of trials with more than seven linear TV networks. It’s a leap forward for the entire industry. These networks are taking a leap of faith – they’re literally throwing valuable, sellable ad inventory into a black box so they can open that box after the test and see what happened.

Second, regarding Project OAR: I was unable to get a full briefing on this, so I’ll have to come back to it. Meantime, I’ll give them credit for technical achievement: Ad tech partner Crystal proved it can leverage existing SCTE 35 signals to frame-accurately replace broadcast ads with targeted OTT versions.

Third, get ready to be confused: Targeted TV ads are coming to connected TVs in two entirely different ecosystems. For the free streaming channels, none of the linear, Nielsen-ratings based TV ecosystem matters. Instead, as Mike O’Donnell, Vizio’s SVP Platform Business Development explained to me, they are sold on an impression basis, the way all digital is sold.

That’s right. You can buy connected TV ad inventory via two completely separate ecosystems. However, I’m sure that some ad placement opportunities in both ecosystems will be very similar to each other. Will this open up a new game for ad tech, that of arbitraging the old form media currency, i.e. Nielsen based ratings, with the new, viewing impressions based model? Stay tuned.

That’s your wrap up! As always, feel free to follow me and ask questions on Twitter for live updates, answers, photos, videos & TV-related snark.

Brian Ring has two decades of front-lines experience in the video & TV technology market. As a writer, researcher and analyst, he contributes to the ongoing discussion about television’s evolution from free to pay, from OTA to OTT, and from the big screen to all screens.

Brian’s consumer survey research work is unique, leveraging a disciplined, high-integrity approach toward predicting and shaping the future of TV. Over twenty exclusive reports on sports, DVR usage, social TV, livestreaming, video quality, fan engagement and OTT monetization are freely available here:

Industry Voices are opinion columns written by outside contributors—often industry experts or analysts—who are invited to the conversation by FierceVideo staff. They do not represent the opinions of FierceVideo.