I’m pleased to present the 445th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
On this week’s podcast Colin and I explore the pay-TV industry’s record high video subscriber losses sustained in Q3 ’18 (more here and here). The two big satellite services, DirecTV and Dish Network were major contributors. But perhaps more important was a dramatic slowdown in subscriber additions for the two biggest virtual pay-TV operators, Sling TV and DirecTV Now.
As we discuss, with these virtual services in flux and not stanching the bleeding of traditional multichannel TV, the critical underlying trends of cord-cutting and cord-nevering burst onto full display in Q3. Meanwhile, the strategies and success of virtual services like YouTube TV, Hulu Live and others is murky at best. All of this shows how unstable the pay-TV industry as a whole currently is.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 35 seconds)
Pay-TV operators took a drubbing in Q3 ’18 as the boost the industry has gotten from consumers migrating to virtual MVPDs or “skinny bundles” mostly evaporated. According to Leichtman Research Group, the industry as a whole lost about 975K traditional subscribers (its worst ever). Subtracting estimated gains for skinny bundles the Q3 loss would have topped a million.
Going back just one quarter to Q2 ’18, the industry as a whole (both traditional pay-TV and skinny bundles) may have actually eked out a net subscriber gain, as traditional subscribers “cord-shifted” to skinny bundles. But in Q3 that short trend came to screeching halt, as both DirecTV Now and Sling TV additions slid dramatically. In Q3 ’18 the services combined to add just 75K subscribers, down from 536K a year earlier (and that’s on top of escalating subscriber losses at the core satellite services). It’s not clear how other skinny bundles performed in Q3 as they don’t publicly report their numbers.
I’m pleased to present the 444th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
In Q3 ’18, Roku continued its pivot to an advertising and licensing based business model, with “Platform” revenues accounting for 58% of total revenues, up from 46% in Q3 ’17.
On this week’s podcast, Colin and I discuss this shift and Roku’s other key metrics, which were all very strong, once again. Roku occupies a unique place in the video ecosystem - at once a device powerhouse with 24 million monthly users, a content provider through its fast-growing The Roku Channel, a connected TV advertising innovator and something akin to a next-gen pay-TV provider offering a la carte access to thousands of content choices.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 31 seconds)
Cadent has unveiled its Cadent Advanced TV Platform, enabling national ad buyers and TV networks to achieve a higher level of efficiency and effectiveness in addressable TV advertising. In a briefing, Cadent’s Chief Product Officer Eoin Townsend and Chief Marketing Officer Paul Alfieri emphasized that today’s national TV ad buyers are looking to shift to data-centric approaches that enable customized, targeted audience segments at scale. This is what Cadent Advanced TV Platform is built to deliver.
Cadent Advanced TV Platform can access 70 million addressable homes (i.e. those with set-top boxes that are individually identifiable and enabled) with ads across cable, broadcast and OTT content. The new platform has integrated all the elements required to make a scaled, targeted buy - choosing specific pay-TV/OTT providers, number of homes, relevant data sources, KPIs, budgets and more and melded them into a cohesive workflow that will feel familiar to most people who have bought digital advertising. Once the parameters are set the platform presents different campaign options to the buyer.
Ranker, a publisher that creates data-driven, list-based content attracting 55 million unique visitors per month, has seen a 70% increase in video ad revenues over the past year, following its implementation of AppNexus’s Prebid Video header bidder solution and the AppNexus Marketplace. The companies have published a short case study on Ranker’s success.
I spoke to Prem Purayil, CTO of Ranker, who explained that the company had been using a traditional tag-based waterfall model. But this approach had led to having 50 demand partners and growing complexity. Ranker had previously and successfully implemented AppNexus’s header bidding solution for display, so it was already familiar. Prem said Ranker activated video header bidding in just a couple of days and needed minimal assistance. Importantly, Prem said moving to header bidding had no adverse impact on user experience.
I’m pleased to present the 443rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Comcast is on a roll in broadband. In a highly saturated market, Comcast managed to add 334K residential broadband subscribers in Q3 ’18, nearly double the 182K it added a year earlier. On today’s podcast, Colin and I discuss the factors that are driving Comcast’s broadband growth and how the company has fully pivoted to a “connectivity” strategy.
The only wrinkle is that Comcast could be more aggressive in defending its video business. While subscriber losses improved in Q3 ’18 vs. a year ago, the macro trends of skinny bundles, SVOD, cord-cutting, etc. are unremitting. It’s still not clear Comcast has an aggressive response, other than to be an “aggregator of aggregators” via X1 and continually reiterate it doesn’t want to pursue low margin video services (i.e. skinny bundles).
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 52 seconds)
Another quarterly earnings call with Facebook and yet another reminder of how glacial the company’s pace has been with prioritizing and monetizing video. Remarkably, it has been over 2 years since CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in the Q2 ’16 earnings call in July, 2016 that “We see a world that is video first with video at the heart of all our apps and service.”
Now admittedly, Facebook has had its hands full since then putting out fires that are burning everywhere around it (many unfortunately started by its own negligence). But still…here we are almost 2 1/2 years later and if video were so paramount to Facebook’s future, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect to see some real momentum. All the more so because on the Q3 '17 earnings call, video was practically the only thing Wall St. analysts were interested in asking about.
Instead, Zuckerberg’s and other Facebook executives’ comments on the Q3 ’18 earnings call yesterday revealed not just underwhelming progress with video, but also how surprisingly slow the company has been in understanding how video fits with its traditional newsfeed product.
Categories: Social Media
Last Thursday, Comcast reported a loss of 95K residential video subscribers in Q3 ’18, an improvement over the 134K it lost in Q3 ’17. Losing subscribers is never something to be celebrated, but amid the onslaught of skinny bundles, SVOD, cord-cutting, etc. the improvement was noteworthy (and certainly reflected the fact that AT&T slowed its promotion of DirecTV Now in Q3 ’18, which is why it gained just 63K skinny bundle subscribers, down from 323K a year ago).
For Comcast it was a welcome relief from Q2 ’18, in which it lost 140K video subscribers, over 4x the 34K it lost in Q2 ’17. On its Q2 earnings call, Comcast executives acknowledged that skinny bundles were taking their toll, and yet they did not seem to articulate an aggressive response. But Q2 ’18 also saw the addition of 260K residential broadband subscribers, up from 175K adds in Q2’17. Given how highly saturated the residential broadband market now is, this jump seemed surprising, and yet, it was barely explained on the Q2 earning call.