Q2 Review: Cable Empire Strikes Back

Here at NewTeeVee, Liz and Chris — and the rest of the contributing writers — do their best to provide you with a daily glimpse into the big news and trends in the world of broadband video. But we know it can sometimes be hard to see the forest for the trees: TV Everywhere was clearly big news, but from the dozens of product launches and funding announcements, what’s worth revisiting?  Over at GigaOM Pro, we’ve reviewed and compiled the important news and emerging trends of the last three months in our just published Q2 Connected Consumer Wrapup, our quarterly analysis for those who want to keep up on the latest in the world of online video.

On the whole, things are looking up for newteevee:

  • Online video continues to find its way onto more and more devices. An increasing number of products are coming to market with an Internet connection built in. Connected-device sales (including TVs, set-top box, gaming consoles, etc.) are projected to approach 57 million units in 2009.  This is an indication of the continuing march of online video into the living room, a concept that just a few short years ago was no more than a distant concept.
  • Premium online video content provider Hulu expanded its ownership circle by one, as Hulu and Disney entered into a much-rumored partnership. Disney will be the third equity partner for Hulu, joining NBC Universal, News Corp. and Providence Equity Partners. Content from ABC, ABC Family, the Disney Channel and others will now be available on Hulu.
  • Cable operators — sensing a threat — stepped up their game in second quarter to capitalize on the online video market. While most cable providers’ online video efforts have historically focused on availability, they are now shifting to authentication; specifically, the emphasis is beginning to shift from how to get premium content online to how the user will pay for it. Comcast and Time Warner are leading this charge in pursuing authentication programs called On-Demand Online and TV Everywhere, respectively.
  • Despite the continuing difficult economic environment, the second quarter has been fairly positive for online video revenues and investment. There have been a host of funding initiatives, with the highest raise being awarded to Sugar, the online media network for women, which received $16 million in Series C funding from existing investor Sequoia Capital to expand its video offerings. Some — particularly Blockbuster which indicated that it might not be able to meet the lender conditions needed to complete financing deals — have had disappointing results that call into question their long-term viability. But, despite some casualties, the market appears to be embracing this new frontier in entertainment and the remainder of 2009 promises to offer further advancements in the availability, delivery and legal context of online video.

The full report is available to subscribers of GigaOM Pro here, along with Quarterly Wrap-ups in our other focus areas: Mobile, Green IT, and Infrastructure. GigaOM Pro subscribers get access these four Wrap-ups each quarter alongside dozens of detailed research briefings on specific topics, including online video, virtual worlds and the future of PayTV.