As evidenced by this weekend’s acquisitions by Tremor Media and Undertone Networks, the online video business is only becoming more competitive as significant ad dollars flow into the space. One of the reasons is that technology has finally caught up with consumers’ desires for content, Jim Louderback, CEO of online video service Revision 3, said, in kicking off paidContent’s Battle for the Digital Home conference in Los Angeles.
Offering a “tour” of media devices beyond video, Louderback referred to a ’70s Burger King commercial — tagline: “Have it your way” — to illustrate the versatility that media companies will have to muster to be competitive. “Consumers want their media to be convenient, and if you can’t make it happen for them, they’ll find a way — including stealing the content.”
As for companies that have “figured it out,” he cited Kindle, which aside from making e-reading easy, allows for uploading by users. Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) is another good example, by dint of their agreements and willingness to be everywhere on consumers’ screens. He’s a bit dubious about Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) TV, which he contends will remain little more than a hobby for Steve Jobs and company.
Catch-up: Traditional pay TV providers have been playing catch-up to the online video world. Louderback is a little dubious about whether they’ll be able to maintain their current ability to extract revenue from consumers, at least at their current rates. But he gives them a chance. “Many of the traditional TV companies have done a better job than music labels and magazine publishers have, that’s for sure.”
Clear winners: Google (NSDQ: GOOG) TV is still unweildy. It is the future bringing search and all that together. Right now, Roku is the clear winner; Apple is not. In three years, we’ll wonder why we needed boxes.
Keyboards RIP: Louderback expects the keyboard is destined for the dustbin, at least for accessing entertainment. “Does the iPad have a real keyboard? Our phones and iPad will be the things that control our devices in the future,” he said. “This is why Sonos and TiVo (NSDQ: TIVO) are brilliant. It has to pass the babysitter test: can a 15 year come over to your house and use your screen without you having to tell her what to do?”