Late last week Roku announced it was developing a hybrid set-top box, expanding on the “Roku Powered” partner program it announced back in September, 2014. Roku’s hybrid set-top will give pay-TV operators a single, inexpensive device to deliver linear and OTT services. Variety also reported that Roku has raised an additional $45.5 million, bringing total funding to date to approximately $200 million.
Ironically (though perhaps not coincidentally), Roku’s hybrid set-top news came at the end of a week during which FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler unveiled a new regulatory initiative to “Unlock the Set-Top Box.” While his plan is light on details, it would essentially impose a new technology mandate on pay-TV operators to provide access to their programming to device manufacturers such that new interfaces and retail business models could be developed.
I'm pleased to present the 308th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
In today’s podcast we discuss a number of different items that hit our radar this week. We start with Facebook’s growing impact in video, which was detailed on the company’s earning call earlier this week.
We then transition recent research from Nielsen which Colin analyzed, showing the level of viewership by device.
Next up, Colin and I were watching reports from the Sundance Film Festival noting the aggressive bidding by Amazon and Netflix, underscoring another industry segment being disrupted by SVOD. Last, we touch on the problems Netflix is already running into with its international expansion. Indonesia was the latest country to raise red flags on Netflix’s content this week.
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Facebook reported record results for 2015 late yesterday and on the earnings call, video was the first thing Mark Zuckerberg highlighted when discussing the company’s product strategy for delivering more engaging experiences. He added that 100 million hours of video are now watched daily on Facebook by 500 million people (though “watch” can be an ambiguous term for Facebook given its autoplay, audio-off format).
At last month’s SHIFT // Programmatic Video & TV Ad Summit, David Szahun, American Express’s Director of US Media, Global Brand Marketing and Digital Partnerships shared his insights about the evolution of programmatic video & TV and why he’s bullish on both. In particular, David zeroed in on the need for “premium programmatic video” which he defines as a direct buyer-to-publisher relationship, with a fixed CPM, guaranteed premium reserve inventory and first-party data overlay. David explains more about why he believes this is valuable.
In a follow-up interview with me, David also provides thoughts on why programmatic TV is developing more slowly than video, why addressable TV with automation isn’t here yet, how American Express is organized and what role its agency plays, and the key challenges for programmatic. Throughout, David is quite candid and thoughtful about how AmEx views programmatic and how it’s being incorporated into the company’s marketing mix.
Note, all of the SHIFT session videos are now included in the player below.
Wochit, whose technology allows publishers to quickly create short-form, shareable videos from a rights-cleared library, has reported strong 2015 momentum, along with new features. Wochit said it grew revenues 300% in 2015 while doubling the number of customers. The US grew 200% and Europe 450%, with similar growth rates expected in 2016.
Wochit is benefiting from the larger industry trend of publishers’ desire to inexpensively create engaging video that often accompanies traditional text-based stories. With users’ insatiable appetite to watch short-form video on social/mobile, Wochit-created videos give publishers the ability to greatly increase their footprint, as well as tap into video advertising.
Just before the holidays, Innovid, one of the pioneers of online video advertising, raised a $27.5 million round, including $12.5 million in debt. It was one of the larger financings in the video ad tech space in the last several months and followed a March, 2015 $10 million investment in Innovid by Cisco. Innovid’s CEO and co-founder Zvika Netter caught me up on plans for the new funds and the company’s transition to a leading video ad server. Following is an edited transcript.
VideoNuze: Congratulations on the new financing. How will you use the funds?
Zvika Netter: We plan on using the funds for 2 main purposes: First, technology - We are continually innovating based on both what our partners need to help grow their businesses and how we envision the Future of TV advertising. And second, international expansion – 80% of our clients are global brands and agencies. We’ve been asked by most of them to provide similar solutions and services in new markets in EMEA and APAC.
Videology announced this morning that its clients will be able transact video ad campaigns on a new viewability currency (“vCPM”) for a guaranteed price on guaranteed viewable impressions. The impressions are measured by third-parties Moat, DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science.
Clients can use the MRC viewability standard (50% of pixels on screen for at least 2 consecutive seconds) or the stricter Extended Viewability Standard (100% of pixels on screen for at least 50% of the video’s duration with audio on and not autoplay).
Sky Q, which is Sky’s next-generation video service launching in 2016, will incorporate AirTies mesh technology to facilitate whole home pay-TV service on multiple devices. With AirTies mesh technology in Sky Q’s set-top boxes, routers and accessory devices, each is turned into a hot spot, so that linear, OTT and recorded video can be accessed on screens even in harder-to-reach locations in the home.