It’s no secret that everyone in the TV advertising business is trying to make ads more data-driven, automated and effective as platforms like Google, Facebook and Amazon double down on their efforts to siphon away TV ad dollars. Videa is one company that is having a real impact, tightly focusing on helping TV broadcast stations become more competitive in the fast-changing ad business. I caught up with Videa’s president Shereta Williams recently for an update.
Videa had a strong 2018 and is closing in on relationships with 600 different stations from all major station owners spanning nearly 160 markets around the U.S., with Shereta adding that the goal is to have 90% coverage by the end of 2019. Through these partnerships Videa gains access to the stations’ full schedule of local inventory across all dayparts in the stations’ primary linear feed, regardless of whether the viewer is accessing over the air, via pay-TV or a virtual pay-TV operator (e.g. YouTube TV, DirecTV Now, etc.). Some virtual pay-TV operators enable dynamic ad replacement or non-linear ads and Videa is not selling those ads. Videa is 100% linear at this time but they aspire to sell across the other streams in the future.
I’m pleased to present the 452nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week’s news that DirecTV Now lost 267K subscribers in Q4 ’18 (a swing from 368K it added in Q4 ’17) raises critical questions about where the virtual pay-TV industry goes from here? As virtual operators’ discounted promotions trail off, prices rise, programming gets rationalized, competition rises and viewers turn to SVOD and ad-supported OTT options, a far more challenging road lies ahead for growing and retaining subscribers.
In this week’s podcast, Colin and I dig into these issues and speculate on whether, 2 years from now virtual operators combined are more likely to have 15 million subscribers or 1 million subscribers? In other words, which direction is this industry really going in? AT&T seems determined to play a key role with the collection of assets it has assembled. But timing and execution are critical to its success.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 16 seconds)
I recently hosted a free webinar on The Future of Live Streaming, with guests Alec Hendry, Senior Director of Technology Convergence at Viacom and Henrik Eriksson, Service Line Manager at Akamai, which presented the webinar which is now available on-demand. Our round table discussion was followed by audience Q&A.
If you or your colleagues are using live streaming as part of your content strategy or are thinking about doing so, I believe the webinar and Alec’s and Henrik’s insights/advice is invaluable.
Categories: Live Streaming
Virtual pay-TV operator DirecTV Now lost 267K subscribers in Q4, ’18, per its parent AT&T’s earnings report this morning. DTV Now’s loss contributed to an overall loss of 658K video subscribers (including DirecTV satellite and U-verse) that AT&T sustained in Q4, the biggest in at least 3 years. DTV Now had approximately 1.6 million subscribers at the end of 2018, down from 1.86 million at the end of Q3 '18.
More noteworthy than the overall AT&T video loss is DTV Now’s strikingly quick reversal of fortune. Just one year ago, in Q4’ 17, DTV Now gained 368K subscribers, meaning its Q4 swing was a whopping 635K. Two years ago, in Q4 ’16, DTV Now gained 267K subscribers. For all of 2018 DTV Now gained just 436K subscribers, compared to the 888K subscribers it added in all of 2017. And to put the 2018 additions in perspective, they were mostly all front-loaded, with DTV Now gaining 654K subscribers combined in Q1 and Q2, then dropping to 49K in Q3 and then the loss of 267K in Q4.
Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about Netflix’s solid Q4 subscriber growth was the company’s ongoing success with a pure ad-free subscription model. Netflix is becoming even more unicorn’ish among big video providers in completely eschewing ads. Virtually every other major video provider (aside from established premium TV networks like HBO, Showtime, etc.) is reliant, at least in part, on advertising (Amazon’s ad-free approach gets an asterisk because of the outsized role Prime/free-shipping still plays - and even Amazon is now integrating ads in various ways, see below).
In fact, though we’re barely a month into 2019, there are signs everywhere of advertising’s growing role in the future of the video industry.
Consider just the following:
Wall Street cheered last week when Netflix announced rate increases across all of its tiers. Meanwhile, analysts weighed in on how higher rates could impact subscriber retention. Coincidentally, The Diffusion Group released research detailing potential downgrades, cancellations and retention levels at $1, $3 and $5 rate increases (the breakout is at bottom and TDG head Michael Greeson concluded the new rates won’t lead to a mass exodus of Netflix subscribers).
Obviously it’s impossible predict exactly how well subscribers will absorb the rate increases, though Netflix’s track record is very strong. From my vantage point there are at least 5 interdependent reasons to believe Netflix will weather the new round very well:
I’m pleased to present the 451st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First up this week we talk about Sling TV’s new initiative to promote third party SVOD services, including to consumers who aren’t subscribers to its underlying virtual pay-TV service. Colin and I differ about its potential and whether Sling TV has “permission” to pursue this. We debate the upside of a separate new Sling TV initiative to provide a layer of free on-demand content. We also dig into Hulu’s new emphasis on SVOD aggregation which seems promising to both of us.
We then shift to discussing NBCUniversal’s plan to launch its own direct-to-consumer (DTC) service for non pay-TV subscribers. Colin is somewhat underwhelmed, while I think it’s a step in the right direction and too early to tell how aggressive the offer will turn out to be.
Less than 3 weeks into the new year, it’s clear that big video providers are continuing to experiment and jockey for position.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 53 seconds)
I’m hosting a free webinar today at 1pm ET / 10am PT focused on the Future of Live Streaming. I’ll be joined by guests Alec Hendry, Senior Director of Technology Convergence at Viacom and Henrik Eriksson, Service Line Manager at Akamai, which is presenting the webinar, for a roundtable discussion, followed by audience Q&A.
We’ll dig into key topics such as the state of live streaming today, how to measure quality and ensure a positive user experience, which business models are being used successfully in live streaming, best practices, key challenges, future directions and more. Alec and Henrik have a wealth of experience live streaming hundreds of events and they’ll share their unique perspectives.
The webinar builds on a white paper I just wrote for Akamai in which I interviewed 5 leading media executives about their live streaming initiatives. The edited transcripts of these interviews are included in the white paper which will be released shortly.
Bolster your live streaming efforts in 2019 by joining us for this free webinar today!
Categories: Live Streaming