Streaming Media Europe Day 1

Streaming Media Europe Day 1By Tim SiglinSessions on a variety of topics show why Europe is the streaming growth leaderThe first day of Streaming Media Europe kicked off this morning in London, with Claude London, Director of Digital Media at BBC Worldwide taking the stage to demonstrate trends in European streaming, which currently leads the world in terms of percentage growth, and now leads the United States in terms of average number of streams per month.

After assuring the UK members of the audience that BBC Worldwide doesn't use their licensing fees to put content on the web, London showed the audience trends for on-line UK-only viewership via iPlayer. Most interestingly, the number of online iPlayer viewers varied by show, with stalwart shows like EastEnders trending to fewer online viewers - perhaps given the fact that the show has been on for almost 30 years.

Newer shows, however, have a much higher total percentage of viewers, bringing viewership on those shows up close to the total number of viewers of shows that don't have as many online viewers.

When asked by an audience member, during the question and answer session, about the ability of ex-pats to watch content via iPlayer, London said he could not speak for the BBC on the topic, but suggested—given the fact that BBC Worldwide bids at market price against other content aggregators—that it might not be out of the question to drive non-UK iPlayer viewership via carefully selected advertisements.

London also noted that some viewers use the online version—including iTunes TV purchases—as a preview to watching content on their televisions.

"We're finding that those who watch the streams will often convert to buying content," said London, noting that this is especially true as TV series are put out on DVD, but is also true for ongoing series where a viewer wants to catch up on what they've missed - or to decide if they want to watch the series at all.

The second scheduled keynote, Volker Glaeser of Vodafone, cancelled.

After the keynote, several of the conference sessions caught attendee interest, including one led by Dom Robinson of Global-MIX,on evaluating and choosing a Content Delivery Network. Another widely attended session—the final one of the day—was Young People's Attitudes Towards Online Video, where younger panelists discussed their viewership habits.

"I don't watch the adverts," said Onur Durak, a digital media student at University of Hertfordshire, "unless it attracts my attention. I'll open another browser window and do something else while the adverts are playing. The only types that have attracted my attention are the overlay ads at the bottom of a YouTube window."

During the panel on New Horizons in Mobile Video, Jeremy Flynn of D2See noted that bill shock is a big issue with younger users, especially around data roaming and off-plan roaming, a sentiment echoed in the Young People's panel.

In the Comparing Internet TV Platforms panel, Raghav Gupta, VP of international partnerships for Brightcove, noted that the two limitations to using an internet TV platform are uncertainty as to how long an Internet TV provider will be around.

"Some of our customers signed up with other services," said Gupta, "that went out of business, and they're hesitant to commit to a service, so they've considered rolling their own home-grown service."

The other limitation is the length of time it takes for a content owner to make a decision to commit to long-term service commitments.

Streaming Media Europe continues through Friday at London's Hotel Novotel London West.

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