Do millennials want pay-TV or don't they? This is one of the most hotly-debated topics in the video industry today. The "don't" camp is well-represented by Charlie Ergen, head of DISH Network, who recently said, "We’re losing a whole generation of individuals who aren’t going to buy into that model because they only want one particular show or they want to watch the show wherever they can or they want to watch it on their schedule and so that generation is not signing up to satellite or cable or phone video today."
Last week, Ergen and DISH took an important step toward re-imagining pay-TV to make it more relevant to millennials by securing OTT distribution rights to key Disney/ESPN channels. Bloomberg reported that a new OTT service from DISH could sell for $20-30/month, far less than today's typical pay-TV bundle. BTIG's Rich Greenfield subsequently fleshed out what a new lower-priced personal subscription service or "PSS" could look like: a limited access one-stream-at-a-time model geared to single-adults or light TV viewers.
Verizon Digital Media Services has unveiled research finding that 59% of millennials' video viewing is now done on-demand, with 41% on live TV. Online accounts for 34% of millennials' viewing, with DVR following at 15% and on-demand at 10%. Non-millennials have the opposite viewing pattern, with 59% of their viewing still live TV, next is DVR with 17% with online and on-demand following at 12% each. Verizon found that 64% of millennials said they subscribe to an OTT video source, compared with 33% of non-millennials.
I'm pleased to present the 217th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. In today's podcast, we interpret this week's DISH Network - Disney deal, the highlight of which was DISH gaining OTT distribution rights for ABC-owned stations, ABC Family, Disney Channel, ESPN and ESPN2. The networks would become a foundation for what Colin has dubbed a "VPOP" or virtual pay-TV operator.
Colin notes that for DISH in particular, a VPOP offering would let it acquire new subscribers far cheaper than it currently does. An easy in / easy out subscription model, akin to how Netflix operates, could sit well with the younger, cord-never audience. Still, as I've often said, the biggest driver of success for any VPOP would be lower prices, in order to steal share from incumbent operators in the fully mature pay-TV market. Given the cost of assembling a competitive lineup of networks, DISH would have limited ability to offer bargains.
Following our DISH-Disney discussion, Colin also shares highlights of new research his firm released this week, "Store My Stuff - Consumer Digital Media Storage" which provides data on how consumers are storing digital media including downloaded movies and TV shows. The report, which was sponsored by PLEX, is available for complimentary download.
Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 14 seconds)
YuMe, Frank N. Magid Associates and Razorfish have released results of a study on how consumers interact and view content/advertising on Connected TVs (CTV). Among the key findings are that consumers are receptive to CTV advertising and that choice and control in advertising are a priority for them.
For example, participants said that they have a low tolerance for interruption and would rather be shown ads that have relevant calls-to-action, rather than something completely unrelated to the content being viewed. Participants also said that their attention is drawn to on-screen animation but want ad interactions to be kept simple and easily accessible. Additionally, utilizing video advertising works best because CTV should be a lean-back experience.
Comcast has acquired video ad manager FreeWheel for $375 million cash, validating reports that have been circulating since the weekend, but at a higher valuation than rumored. The deal is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to close in a couple of weeks. FreeWheel will become an independent operating subsidiary within Comcast, comparable to how thePlatform and STRATA, two prior Comcast acquisitions, function. FreeWheel's 3 co-founders, Doug Knopper, Jon Heller and Diane Yu have signed multi-year employment agreements.
Innovid announced today that it has been chosen as the preferred video ad partner for Atlas, the ad serving and measurement platform which Facebook acquired from Microsoft last year. As a result of the deal, Innovid will be integrated with Atlas so that clients can run addressable and interactive video ad campaigns across screens via one unified console. Analytics for the Innovid video ads will also be provided within Atlas and billing is integrated.
Today I'm pleased to unveil "Perspectives," a new section of VideoNuze which provides a forum for online and mobile video leaders to educate one another about key industry trends and issues. With Perspectives, industry executives can submit original articles up to around 600 words, as well as videos and other content. Topics are the contributor's choice, but preferably they should focus on areas of expertise where first-hand experience and data can inform the contributor's point of view.
Video curator Magnify.net drew 18.7 million unique visitors for the 30-day period ending February 12, 2014, up from 6.1 million uniques in the same period of 2013, a 209% increase (see chart below). Magnify.net's CEO Steve Rosenbaum shared the results with me and explained that the significant rise was due primarily to the launch of new publishing partners such as AARP, New York magazine, Grind Media and others, plus the broader adoption of video viewing on desktops and mobile video and one video in particular going viral.