Jeffrey Katzenberg’s NewTV has officially announced a $1 billion financing led by Madrone Capital Partners and including all of the studios, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Liberty Global and Alibaba. Katzenberg has teamed up with Meg Whitman, formerly CEO of Hewlett Packard and eBay, whom he named CEO of NewTV earlier this year.
NewTV is the biggest bet yet on mobile video, a sector that has been a graveyard for other ventures (e.g. Verizon’s Go90, Samung’s Milk, Comcast’s Watchable, Vessel, Vine, etc.). Katzenberg believes things will be different for NewTV (still a placeholder name), by licensing short-form, high-quality content from studios and then creating two subscription tiers, one with a full ad load and one with a lighter ad load.
Katzenberg told the WSJ that NewTV programming could run over $100K per minute, comparable to network TV. Episodes will run 10 minutes or less.
I’m pleased to present the 430th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week Nielsen released its Q1 ’18 Total Audience Report, which led to some media coverage that linear TV still dominates consumer viewing. However, Colin dug into the data and showed that while this is true for older consumers, for younger ones, the exact opposite is occurring: linear TV is becoming less and less relevant. Colin shares his analysis.
On-demand viewing’s importance was underscored yet again this week by Comcast striking a deal to integrate Amazon Prime Video into its X1 experience. The move builds on prior Netflix and YouTube integrations, helping Comcast broaden X1’s value proposition. However, neither of us thinks the move materially addresses aggressive competition from skinny bundles that drove up Comcast’s video subscriber losses in Q2.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 28 seconds)
Comcast will integrate Amazon Prime Video into its X1 platform later this year. Amazon becomes the third major streaming service to be included in X1, following Netflix in 2016 (see here) and YouTube in 2017 (see here). Comcast said it’s the first pay-TV operator to integrate Amazon.
As with the other services, Amazon’s content will become available to X1 users as part of the X1 UI. Comcast is continuing to position X1 as a streamlined gateway to both its own content and also to third-party content. It’s a smart move by Comcast to build more value into the X1, helping justify subscribers spending $10 or more per month to rent the X1 set-top box (although Comcast has recently been emphasizing it sees X1 also as an interface, living on smart TVs and devices, as well).
Extreme Reach has released its Q2 ’18 Video Advertising Benchmarks report, further supporting the rise of connected TV viewing. In the quarter, CTV accounted for 38% of ad impressions, more than double their share of 18% in Q2 ’17. Mobile followed with a 30% share, down slightly from a 33% share in Q2 ’17. Desktop and table both slumped further, with the former dropping from 35% to 23% and the latter dropping from 15% to 9%.
Topics: Extreme Reach
With last week’s Q2 earnings report, Facebook forecast that margins would slide for the next couple of years into the mid-30% range due to higher costs associated with beefed up security. Meanwhile, quarterly growth will decelerate from the high 40% range (or more) from recent quarters to around 30% for the rest of the year.
Other companies would envy these targets, but given Facebook’s outsized historical growth and profitability, the stock has gotten hammered and dragged the whole tech sector down with it. One key takeaway for me from Facebook’s results and forecasts is that video is more important to the company than ever. Despite its potential, Facebook still doesn’t seem to have a video/monetization strategy. Among the big tech companies, only Apple’s video strategy seems less well-developed than Facebook’s.
Video ad tech provider Cedato has introduced its Contextual Lookalike Targeting technology, which uses machine learning to analyze performance data from billions of videos ads in order to decide when and where to serve a new ad to suit an advertiser’s KPIs. The new technology leverages Cedato’s Predictive Knowledge Graph, which is based on data from 400 billion plus video ads.
I’m pleased to present the 429th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
On today’s podcast, Colin and I discuss Comcast’s Q2 results, which it reported yesterday. While broadband subscriber additions were up to a record 260K, video subscriber loss accelerated to 140K.
Although Comcast management admitted on the earnings call that low-cost skinny bundles are to blame, no strategy was articulated for how Comcast will respond. By positioning itself as a “connectivity” provider that doesn’t have a low-cost OTT/direct-to-consumer alternative, Colin and I believe that Comcast’s 21 million video subscribers are very vulnerable to being picked off by skinny bundles’ aggressive promotional offers (DirecTV Now from AT&T being at the top of the list). If that happens video sub losses will accelerate in coming quarters.
We’re both puzzled by Comcast’s seemingly passive approach to defending its core video business and discuss potential explanations. Broadband’s saturation and the coming deployment of 5G both seem to limit the upside of the connectivity strategy as well. While all of this occurring, Comcast is looking to spend $34 billion or more to expand internationally by acquiring Sky.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 20 seconds)
Comcast reported its Q2 ’18 results this morning, with the good news being the addition of 260K broadband subscribers, the best Q2 the company has experienced in the past 10 years, along with the improvement of operating margins. The broadband surge was Exhibit A for management to point to on the earnings call as evidence its strategy of being a “connectivity” provider is paying off.
However, Q2 ’18 also saw the loss of 140K video subscribers, the most in a Q2 since 2014. Video sub losses have accelerated from -4K in Q2 ’16 and -34K in Q2 ’17. On the earnings call, management put the blame squarely on virtual MVPDs or “skinny bundles,” adding that they “expect pressure to continue in the video business” as virtual MVPDs ramp up.