Live.Indiatimes.com, the live streaming property from Times Internet Ltd (Indiatimes) has expanded its live-streaming portfolio to include select channels from Viacom18 (Colors, MTV India), STAR India (STAR News, STAR Ananda, STAR Majha), India TV and TV Today (Headlines Today, Aaj Tak), apart from those from the Times of India Group – Zoom, Times Now and (finally) ET Now. In case of some channels – particularly the Times Group channels and India TV there is additional video content available; for the other channels, there’s an option to leave comments. In terms of commenting, the site integrates commenting on/using Facebook and Twitter. The odd thing, which you’ll notice from the screencap below, is that the Facebook and Twitter streams show comments promoting newtvworld.com, which also features live streaming, of many more channels. Oops.
The site features an online TV guide powered by What’s On India, and a mouseover on a channel name shows viewers what is currently live on that channel, and what is coming on next. However, when I tried it, the listing wasn’t scrolling forward to show future programming, so maybe Indiatimes should fix that.
The content being streamed uses Microsoft’s Silverlight, not Adobe Flash; fewer people have Silverlight than Flash (which YouTube uses), so first-timers will have to install Silverlight. It’s rather interesting to see Indiatimes put together a destination site for live streaming of TV channels – over the past could of years, the trend has been for media companies to distribute their content, and reach the audience on sites they were visiting, instead of creating a destination. Perhaps the feeling is that post the success that YouTube had with streaming IPL, bringing many first time advertisers to the web, the propensity for advertisers to put advertisements on video portals is high. Perhaps Indiatimes could also share data like YouTube did, about total views: it just might inspire confidence among advertisers.
A pre-roll advertisement plays before the first channel loads, but there don’t appear to be mid-roll advertisements (at least in case of Colors, which we checked). We’ve asked Indiatimes for a confirmation about mid-rolls. Again, the difference between an audience network and a destination is that on a destination site you also serve banner ads on the page. In terms of advertising, the site features a 180px by 400 px, an unusual, non-iab-standard unit (used for a house ad), below which is a regular 300px by 250 px advertisement. The Times Group also has a Times Audience Network for distributing videos.