Wow, what a day. Yesterday marked GigaOM’s fourth annual version NewTeeVee Live conference, but it was the first time that the three of us were tasked with assembling the talent and putting together the list of speakers. After months of preparation, we finally got to see how things turned out. And, if we don’t say so ourselves, it ended up being pretty amazing, thanks in part to a smart and awesome audience that kept its cool even during a mandatory fire evacuation at the beginning of the show.
If you missed NewTeeVee Live 2010, you can watch the archived stream of the event here (thanks, Livestream!), or you can read a few of our thoughts on the hot topics of the day (okay, we promise, no more fire alarm puns) below.
Fireside chats are still awesome
We had a few panels yesterday and our keynote presenter, Jason Kilar, wanted to show a few slides before sitting down and chatting with Om. But for the most part, NewTeeVee Live 2010 was filled to the brim with interesting fireside chats with industry executives. We still think that having one-on-one discussions with thought leaders is the best way to extract deeper insight and deliver real, breaking news at an industry event.
For the first time, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar shared some real numbers in front of a live audience, announcing that his company will pull in more than $240 million in revenue in 2010, up from $108 million last year. Kilar added that Hulu had 30 million users in October 2010, who watched some 260 million content streams and 800 million ad units during that month. In other words, it’s clear that the online video site has come a long way since Om predicted its imminent demise, way back in 2008.
Google Director of Product Management Hunter Walk announced that YouTube users now upload 35 hours of video every minute, which is a huge number and about 50 percent higher than its previous announcement of 24 hours a minute. The online video service is also now available on “hundreds of millions” of connected devices, according to Walk.
Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch said the company is working to improve on reported “battery drain” issues around Flash when rich media plays on a page. That’s part of the company’s revamped strategy for the plugin, which is focused around mobile devices. Lynch also was more conciliatory toward HTML5 than in the past, but said Flash still had the advantage in many areas, including content security and codec support.
Adaptive Path president Peter Merholz threw some cold water on consumer electronics manufacturers who are trying to add new features to users’ TV screens and input devices. Through research conducted by interviewing “normal people,” Adaptive Path found that the most effective user experience designs include “minimum input for maximum output.” A good example is Pandora, which provides users with a stream of music based on entering one song, or artist.
TV is now a two-way conversation
Multiple sessions about the rise of social viewing all pointed to the same conclusion: that programmers increasingly need to think about how social tools can be used to engage with the audience. Tim Kring, executive producer of Heroes, and Carlton Cuse, one of the creators of Lost, talked about how their shows engaged with their respective audiences through alternate reality games and by launching at events like Comic-Con. Twitter staffer Robin Sloan discussed how synchronous tweeting during live TV shows makes up a larger portion of the traffic on the social network. And Hardie Tankersley, VP of Innovation at Fox Broadcasting Company, said the celebrity tweet is crucial to extending the brand.
Google TV product lead Rishi Chandra continues to push the concept of bringing all the best web content to the TV, but is having a hard time getting broadcasters on board with the idea of allowing their online video content to be shown on Google TV devices. Yesterday Fox.com became the latest broadcaster site to block access to Google TV, following ABC, CBS and Fox. While Google executives are saying all the right things, they clearly are having a hard time selling content owners on the value of bringing their videos onto the Google TV platform.
Cord cutting makes for a good drinking game
GigaOm TV producer and NewTeeVee Live MC Chris Albrecht suggested that folks following us on the live stream should take a shot every time anyone on stage used the phrase “cord cutters.” We hope you guys give your liver a good rest over the coming weeks, because we lost count at over thirty instances. All jokes aside, with Google’s Chandra saying that it isn’t happening, but Merholz and many others outing themselves as cord cutters. Cord cutting was one of the hot topics on as well as off stage.