While the main goal of Hulu’s NewFront this morning was of course to excite advertisers to open their checkbooks, the event also marked the unofficial kickoff of the company’s ambitious repositioning from a catchup SVOD hub to an all-encompassing, next-generation, personalized TV service including live linear TV feeds.
At its NewFront, Hulu’s CEO Mike Hopkins confirmed what had been strategically leaked to the WSJ in an article reported Sunday night - that the company intends to launch a skinny bundle of linear broadcast and cable TV networks to augment its on-demand programming, for monthly fee of approximately $40.
At this month’s F8 conference, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg gave a big boost to the burgeoning business of live-streaming online video when he said it was a “top priority” for the company. The company has assigned 150 engineers to live-streaming, changed its News Feed algorithms to give live video higher visibility, and is paying several notable publishers (including the New York Times, BuzzFeed and Vox) to create original programming for the format.
That’s a serious commitment by the planet’s biggest social-media company. More interesting, perhaps, is what’s not yet attached to the Facebook offerings: figuring out how to pay for everything. The answers will help determine whether live streaming video becomes only a gimmick used by well-funded brand experimenters or narcissistic hobbyists. Done right, it could supercharge a bracing new platform with its own stars, best practices and yes, monetization schemes.
Categories: Live Streaming
New IAB research indicates that ad spending on original online video is up 114% in the past 2 years. The 360 advertiser and agency executive respondents said that their average original online video ad spending has increased from $2.1 million in 2014 to $4.5 million in 2016. Telecom is the vertical with the highest average spending in 2016 ($6.7 million), followed by Health and Beauty ($6.4 million).
The research revealed that more than a third of advertisers’ online video budgets and 38% of their original video budgets will be allocated at the NewFronts, underscoring why online and established companies continue to invest in their presentations. 8 in 10 respondents (including both TV buyers and digital buyers) said that they increased their original online budgets due to NewFronts attendance.
With so much uncertainty in the TV and online video industries these days, I keep telling myself to never be surprised by anything anymore. But last night, when the WSJ headline, “Hulu is Developing a Cable-Style Online TV Service” popped up in my Twitter feed, I have to admit it tested the boundaries of my imagination.
The most immediate head-scratcher was that such a move would position Disney and Fox, two of the three network shareholders in Hulu (along with Comcast, which is now a silent partner due to terms of its NBCU acquisition) as direct competitors of pay-TV operators, their biggest distributors. These companies spend billions of dollars per year to carry the very same TV networks that would now be included in the skinny Hulu lineup.
Late last week Videology shared Q1 ’16 data from its platform, showing the continued convergence between TV and online video advertising. Videology found that 11% of video campaigns run through its platform used TV data segments to help target online video campaigns. As in the past, the most-used segment was current TV ad schedules, followed by sports viewers and competitors’ TV schedules.
The use of TV audience data has been on an upswing over the past year plus according to Videology. In Q4 ’15, Videology reported that video campaigns using TV audience data had increased by 114% year-over-year. No doubt this was off a very small base as the whole concept of using TV viewing data is still relatively early stage.
I'm pleased to present the 320th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
As both Colin and I wrote this week (here and here), Comcast delivered very strong video and broadband subscriber gains in Q1 '16. Despite all of the rhetoric around cord-cutting and the fact that SVOD services - which were considered a potential substitute for pay-TV - have boomed, Comcast had its best first quarter in 9 years, adding 53K video subscribers vs. a loss of 8K subscribers in Q1 ’15.
As Colin and I discuss on the podcast, Comcast is benefitting from weakening competition, its own investments in product/content/user experience, and triple-play bundling, powered by broadband adoption. As has been the case for a couple of years now, the X1 set-top box, now in 35% of video subscribers’ homes, continues to be the linchpin in video, driving up ARPU, VOD and DVR usage, reducing churn, etc. In an era of rising viewer expectations, X1 delivers a superb, differentiated, web-like experience.
Given all of the above, I think Comcast has a strong outlook at least through 2016 if not beyond. Colin is a little less sanguine and we discuss our differences.
Listen now to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 4 seconds)
A reminder that early bird discounted registration is available for the 6th annual VideoNuze Online Video Advertising Summit on Tuesday, June 14th in NYC. All early bird registrants will be entered to win a 55-inch TCL 4K Roku TV, generously provided by Roku.
Our overarching theme this year will be the ongoing convergence between TV and online video advertising. So far, over 25 executives are on board to speak at the Ad Summit, from industry leaders like A+E Networks, American Express, Conde Nast, IAB, Initiative, Mindshare, NBCU, Newsy, Turner, The Washington Post, The Weather Company, Whistle Sports, Zenith Optimedia and many others.
I’m thrilled that Marc Debevoise, EVP/GM, CBS Digital Media at CBS Interactive will be our morning keynote guest. I will be interviewing Marc about CBS’s digital strategy, including initiatives like CBS All Access, CBSN its live-streaming news channel, Super Bowl streaming, monetization strategies, mobile distribution along with larger industry trends.
The packed program will feature 13 sessions focused on the convergence of TV and video advertising from both a strategic and operational perspective, mobile video, how TV networks are succeeding in the digital era, multi-platform campaigns and connected TVs, the critical role of data, the NewFronts/Upfronts, succeeding in the platform economy and lots more.
The Ad Summit will again be a must-attend day of learning and networking with industry leaders from brands, agencies, content providers, technology companies and others in the ecosystem. Last year's Ad Summit drew over 450 attendees and featured 50+ speakers.
There are 15 industry-leading companies on board so far as sponsors, including Title Partner Videology, Premier Partners Altitude Digital, DashBid, Extreme Reach, Verizon Digital Media Services and VertaMedia, Headline Partners Alphonso, Beachfront Media, Cedato, FreeWheel, Genesis Media, JW Player, Operative and Placemedia and Branding Partner Roku. As always, I’m extremely grateful for our partners’ generous support!
Learn more and register now!
Comcast is on an epic roll. Despite years(!) of cord-cutting warnings by the blogosphere and analysts, Comcast once again proved the naysayers wrong, adding 53K video subscribers in Q1 ’16. It was the best first quarter in 9 years for the company and easily eclipsed the loss of 8K subscribers in Q1 ’15.
The Q1 gain builds on the strong year Comcast recorded in 2015, losing just 36K subscribers vs. a loss of 194K in 2014. Remarkably, Comcast now has 25K more video subscribers that it did one year ago (22,400 vs. 22,375).