Google To Rate ISPs Based on YouTube Metrics

Google has announced the launch of a video quality report that is apparently intended to inform end-users about the performance of their Internet Service Provider (ISP), based on how well YouTube videos are delivered to customers. Results will reportedly be available first for Canadian ISPs. For now, the report’s website provides basic details on how videos are distributed via the Internet, while also discussing factors such as congestion, caching and home networks. The objective, according to Google, is to “present a rating that is meaningful, easy to understand and one that closely reflects the real world Internet experience.”

Google also notes that variables such as users’ access speed, local network availability, server configuration and capacity, etc., all can impact end-users’ video quality. The company also mentions peering, stating that under its open peering policy, Google will directly interconnect with any ISP that can reach its 70 points of presence “without charge.” Google says that ratings will be based on the sustained speeds at which videos are transferred, in addition to other factors such as time of day and location. Google will provide ratings for both standard- and high-definition videos.

The new report appears comparable to Netflix’s ISP Speed Index, which compares ISPs based on measurements the company says indicates the best “Netflix experience.” Some have observed that ISPs using Netflix’s content delivery network (CDN) do better in this comparison. In a similar vein, there is speculation that deflecting blame for poor video quality is at least part of the reason Google has begun this new initiative.  Whatever the motives, Google’s video quality reports are likely to be brought to users’ attention and used as an indicator of broadband performance in the near future.

Disney, YouTube Announce Partnership

Google’s YouTube and the Walt Disney Co.’s Disney Interactive Division have agreed to a new partnership, according to a widely cited article in today’s New York Times. Under the terms of the deal, the media giants will spend a combined $10 million – $15 million on original video series. The “family-friendly” shorts will be produced by Disney and distributed on a co-branded channel on Disney.com and YouTube. The channel will also include amateur video culled from the torrent uploaded to YouTube daily.

The online video destinations are anticipated to launch in early 2012. The first show will be an original video series based on Disney’s alligator-themed mobile game “Where’s My Water?,” scheduled to launch in February 2012. Read more

YouTube Adds 3,000 Movie Titles for Rent

YouTube announced May 9 that it will now offer more than 3,000 additional films from three major studios for rent, with some titles reportedly available the same day as the DVD offering.

The Google-based video service recently signed deals with Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros, Sony Corp’s Sony Pictures and Comcast Corp’s Universal Pictures, in addition to its previously announced partner Lions Gate Entertainment.

YouTube has been offering movies for rent since early 2010, but its content was limited to catalog and independent fare. This announcement is a significant step in the video giant’s evolution from user-generated content to studio-produced fare.

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YouTube in Talks with Pro Sports Leagues to Stream Live Games

Following on the heels of a successful broadcast of cricket matches from the Indian Premier League last summer, Google Inc.’s YouTube is in talks with “most pro sports leagues” about streaming live games.

Google is remaining mum on the details, but according to a report published last Wednesday by Bloomberg, the video site has been speaking with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL).

Gautam Anand, Google’s director of content partnerships for Asia Pacific, said the company plans to stream more live sports this year. ”It’s fair to say that there will be a lot more appealing sports content you’ll see on YouTube,” Anand said. “We have ongoing conversations with pretty much everyone.” Read more

Real-Time Apps Double Viewer Traffic

A research study has noted a new trend: less TV and media downloading and more real-time Internet use.

Sandvine, the Ontario, Canada-based broadband network company, reports that there has been dramatic increase in consumer behavior towards real-time “experience now” applications (i.e. YouTube and Hulu.com) and away from bulk download “experience later” applications. In fact, real-time entertainment has almost doubled its share of total Internet traffic to 26.6% in 2009, up from 12.6% in 2008. Read more

YouTube Takes on Local News

YouTube is attempting to revolutionize local news with News Near You, a feature that senses a user’s location and offers a list of relevant videos. In time, it could essentially engineer a local newscast on the fly.

YouTube is attempting to partner with news sources, a new, as of yet untested and unproven strategy. This summer, YouTube invited the more than 25,000 news sources listed on Google News to become video suppliers. To date, nearly 200 news outlets have signed up with YouTube to post news packages and split the advertising revenue. Read more

NTCA TV: New Vehicle for Advocacy Messages

NTCA seeks new ways to tell the rural telecom story and share its advocacy messages with policy-makers and the media. The association has established a YouTube channel called Rural Telecommunity, where it will post videos that enable members to share their messages in a concise and engaging format that is easily accessible.

The association also has created a new section on the NTCA Web site for NTCA TV. The new section currently has several advocacy message videos as well as congressional testimony. In the future, NTCA envisions expanding this to include your stories about serving customers in rural communities.

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