The Lopez-owned Philippine TV Network ABS-CBN introduced the first locally-made online premium video streaming called ABS-CBN Now! (http://now.abs-cbn.com) since 2003, three years before the popular Flash-video-based online video sharing YouTube was introduced. Web users can allow to watch their favorite ABS-CBN shows, whether at home or abroad. They must subscribe first by creating a user account, paying with their own credit card, and connecting broadband Internet services. The video stream contents are pre-licensed with Digital Rights Management (DRM) and played in Windows Media Video 9 codec format. It can also download the contents without having to play directly on Internet transmission.
Hundreds of thousands of web users worldwide—mostly overseas Filipino workers (OFW)—were satisfied its features as they ever missed the show that sometimes they came lately to watch The Filipino Channel (a worldwide TV channel service of ABS-CBN) on TV. Even though the video stream quality is limited compatible to 384 kbps broadband Internet connection, they would encourage to use it for a long time until the subscription would expire for months. They also follow the terms, conditions, and guidelines of use to make sure that the website they visited must be in perfect condition, including updating and improving the system and content regularly.
After a few long years of its service, ABS-CBN Now! has faced tougher challenges regarding the issue of future improvements of the site, as well as future competition among future online video streaming sites, and the spread of video-sharing sites that allegedly recorded ABS-CBN shows without having permission. The management of ABS-CBN must solve the issue further so that they would maintain the integrity of serving their online video streaming to the general public. In this blog, I summarize with my own suggestions about the changes pf the site and its services, and also about the possible future proposals of a new system. Aside from this, I also summarize the emerging online video streaming that are ready to compete through ABS-CBN Now!
Near Obsolete Of Old Features To A New One
In 2007 following the official release of Windows Vista, Microsoft introduced Silverlight, the next generation of vector graphics content based on Vista graphics and Visual Basic technologies that compete with popular Adobe Flash. Not only generates an animated vector graphics with color blending effects, but can also generates VC-1 video streaming format. To create Silverlight-based graphics, Microsoft introduced Expression Studio, the sister development software kit Visual Studio. With this software, they can create 3D-like 2D graphics, program with Visual Basic, apply on the web, and produce VC-1 video encoding.
This is my own wish to to possibly reformat the said online video streaming with this new system. However, it is still relying on older system of graphic features even though they may only have further improvements of functionality such as security, connectivity, storage, and transmission. If they attempt to implement a new web graphic format of ABS-CBN Now!, then they would have to study about its graphic system features.
And in the case of the introduction of wide screen video in Full HD format (about 1080 lines), ABS-CBN Now!—as I suggest—would adjust the resolution at about 480 X 270 pixels (1080 line-capable) and a frame rate at 15 fps in VC-1 format, replacing WMV 9 format. With the use of a new video codec running on MS-Silverlight environment, they would plan to introduce an improved content license, similar to the past content-license restrictions of their website.
Hopefully, they would promise to introduce this new system graphics on their website in the near future.
Future Competition of Online Video Streaming
As ABS-CBN Now! remains its dominance, then some TV networks and other various corporate entertainment industry in the Philippines may not have fully commercialize to introduce premium online video streaming.
Just as in the case of GMA Network’s corporate website, www.igma.tv. GMA-7 website introduced free video streaming in Windows Media Video format (formerly in 7th version of the said video codec, and later 9th version) since the year 2005. However, it only shows an excerpt clips rather than full streaming capabilities. And recently, igma.tv introduced Flash video clips replacing WMV 9 format. Since they lack fewer Internet infrastructure on their website, they promised that they would try their best to introduce premium online video streaming and upgrade their broadband Internet server in the future.
Netvision.ph, on the other hand, was introduced in beta testing featuring the selected video clips of most local movies and TV shows. Although it was successfully streamed recently, some features may only have a slight improvement of its web graphic interface and ease of accessibility.
I only wish that most corporate entertainment industry must have updated to develop their upcoming future websites, including the installation of powerful server computer, storage devices, enhanced security, and server broadband Internet hardware. They would take a longer period of time to process as they were currently managed their income to buy the hardware as mentioned above, managed to create new advertising schemes and accessibility to user with this emerging new Internet service, and searched for the employment of future local webmasters.
Knowing that ABS-CBN Now! is a premium online video-streaming that is not absolutely free of long-play viewing without having to pay on subscription, locally or globally to loyal Filipinos abroad, they would rather watch their favorite ABS-CBN shows on video-sharing sites like YouTube for free. One of the YouTube user have had record a video grabbed on TV and then uploaded it directly in an instant. Depending on the type of video quality they uploaded a recorded video of ABS-CBN shows, that would depend on the favor of the rest of web users.
However, ABS-CBN management have worried that most users would left ABS-CBN Now! and moved to video-sharing sites because of much advantages of their features. They suspect that uploading recorded ABS-CBN shows would likely violate the exclusive rights to air their own TV shows, known as copyright infringement. Although most video sharing sites prohibit uploading recorded US TV shows, they may not be able to remove the uploaded international TV shows recorded from international user, just like those from uploading ABS-CBN and GMA shows from the Philippines. ABS-CBN management have tried to call on most video-sharing sites to remove uploaded ABS-CBN shows, but sometimes they failed to comply. Despite of this, the net income of their online premium video-streaming have lost thousands of dollars.
If ABS-CBN would fail to redominate their online premium video-steaming, I only wish that they should negotiate with popular video-sharing sites like YouTube so that most users are able to watch ABS-CBN shows for free. But this is not an easy task depending on their offer based from their own terms, conditions, and guidelines. If implemented, there is another issue to solve even further: copyrighted video content with exclusive rights, financial sharing based on the number of views including advertising, and the credibility of certain legal issues without violating each other. It would take a long time before such possible proposals based on my own suggestions on this blog would take effect.