Akamai - leaderboard - 9-1-17

Analysis for 'Broadcasters'

  • Broadcast TV Poised to Play Bigger Role in Skinny Bundles’ Success

    The competitive dynamics among skinny bundles are still developing, but one thing is becoming increasingly clear: including a full array of broadcast TV channels in all of the biggest U.S. markets, and even many of the smaller ones, will be table stakes. It seems as if a week doesn’t pass these days without one of the five major skinny bundles announcing a new carriage deal for certain broadcast channels in a variety of local markets.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #382: Digging Into CBS All Access and Star Trek Premiere

    I’m pleased to present the 382nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    It’s been a little while since Colin and I last discussed CBS All Access, which now has approximately 1.5 million subscribers. But with the launch of “Star Trek: Discovery” coming on September 24th (first episode on-air, then exclusively on All Access), the timing is good to dig into its place in the market and the role of originals.

    Interestingly, Colin and I have differing views on almost everything related to CBS All Access; he sees their progress to date as modest (whereas I’m more impressed), but he thinks Star Trek alone could boost subscribers all the way to the 4 million point, which is the 2020 goal (whereas I’m much more cautious), and he sees All Access as threatening to CBS’s local affiliates (whereas I think they’ve largely been brought under the tent).

    Most of all, Colin believes Star Trek is a relatively risky move by the company, while I see it as taking a page from a playbook well-established by Netflix and others who have used originals to methodically build their businesses.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 23 seconds)
     


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  • VideoNuze Podcast #377: NBC’s Premier League Pass; Sinclair’s ATSC 3.0 Vision

    I’m pleased to present the 377th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we start by discussing NBC Sports’ new “Premier League Pass,” which I wrote about a couple days ago. Colin and I agree that Premier League Pass is a clever way for NBC Sports to provide access to cord-cutters and cord-nevers. Going forward, we both like the idea of an “Olympics Pass” as well. Combined with AMC Premiere, which Comcast and AMC announced yesterday, it’s clear established media companies are innovating to offer more flexible access to viewers.

    Colin then shares his reactions to an interesting presentation by Chris Ripley, President and CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group, on the company’s ATSC 3.0 vision. I’ll admit this is not a topic I’ve followed too closely, but as Colin explains, Sinclair sees ATSC 3.0 as an entirely new delivery infrastructure it can use to deliver all kinds of services. Important to keep in mind, all of this is still very long-term.

    (Note, the audio quality is a bit low this week with Colin being out of office when we recorded)

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 42 seconds)



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  • NBC Sports Extends Push Into OTT Subscriptions with $50 Premier League Pass

    Yesterday NBC Sports Digital announced its latest OTT subscription service, “Premier League Pass,” which provides access to 130 live matches during the 2017-2018 season for $50. Premier League Pass augments NBC Sports’ broadcast of 250 matches carried on its linear networks and online via TV Everywhere.

    Premier League Pass is the latest OTT subscription service to be part of what’s known as “NBC Sports Gold.” Other services include “Cycling Pass” ($40), “Pro Motocross Pass” ($50), “Track and Field Pass” ($70) and “Rugby Pass” ($60).

    As NBC Sports continues rolling out these various services, it’s becoming clearer that the company is seeing success in offering super-fans online access to specific sports. But what’s more intriguing is that NBC Sports may be laying the groundwork for how consumers will be paying for more mainstream sports somewhere down the road.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #373: BBC-Twitter, More On Facebook’s Video Plans

    I’m pleased to present the 373rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week, Colin shares his thoughts on the BBC’s new partnership with Twitter to stream coverage of the upcoming U.K. election. We agree this seems strategic for both companies and picks up on Twitter’s work in the U.S. election. As Colin points it, Twitter gives BBC access to critical younger audiences. For Twitter, the BBC deal also follows its recently announced partnership with Bloomberg.

    Then we turn our attention back to Facebook video, which we discussed on last week’s podcast. News that A&E, MTV and WGN are all cutting back on scripted originals in the face of SVOD companies’ mounting investments got us wondering exactly what Facebook will get for its $250K per episode (which Mike Shields at BI also raised). Given the middling success AOL, YouTube and others have had with originals, the question of how Facebook will differentiate is intriguing.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 40 seconds)
     


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  • Broadcast TV’s Role in Skinny Bundles Bolstered by Networks’ Affiliate Deals

    I’ve been a skeptic of skinny bundles, partially because of the huge holes in their channel lineups (what I’ve dubbed the “Swiss cheese” problem) which I believe narrows their appeal. The most glaring hole has been the absence of all the broadcast TV networks except in a handful of the biggest metropolitan areas. Not having all the broadcast networks is a serious drawback because even in the fragmented cable era, they still draw the biggest audiences outside of sports.

    But there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic that this problem may soon be solved. Three of the four big broadcast networks have announced agreements with their affiliate boards which essentially allow the networks to negotiate carriage in skinny bundles on their behalf. NBC was the first to announce its deal, on April 13th. That was followed by Disney ABC on April 24th. And then yesterday, CBS announced its own deal. While FOX hasn’t announced a deal, it has added more affiliates to DirecTV Now, which is a positive sign of progress.

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  • Hulu Officially Enters Crowded Skinny Bundle Fray

    As expected, Hulu announced its skinny bundle offering today at its NewFront/Upfront presentation. Dubbed “Hulu With Live TV,” and priced at $39.99 per month, the service includes 50+ live and on-demand channels, 50 hours of DVR recording, 2 concurrent streams and 6 profiles.  

    Hulu With Live TV is the latest skinny bundle to come to market, joining Sling TV, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue and others rumored still to come from Comcast, Verizon, etc. All of these skinny bundles are vying for a slice of the approximately 15-20 million broadband-only homes in the U.S. (and growing). And though they won’t say it, they’re also looking to draw some of the approximately 95 million existing pay-TV subscribers who are questioning the value of their expensive multichannel bundle as their viewership moves to SVOD services like Netflix, Amazon and others.

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  • NBCUniversal Makes $1 Billion Commitment to Data-Enabled Ads in Upfronts

    Showing growing confidence in its ability to deliver more precise ads for clients, NBCUniversal announced this morning that it is committing $1 billion of ad inventory in advance of the upfronts for clients who want to buy targeted ads across NBCUniversal’s portfolio. The move is the latest by TV networks to enable data-driven ad buying in order to better compete with digital behemoths like Google and Facebook which are increasingly pursuing traditional TV ad dollars.

    With the move, NBCUniversal is guaranteeing that data-driven campaigns will deliver “precisely defined customers” on its platforms, part of its “Symphony” strategy of tapping into all of its broadcast and cable TV networks, digital properties, distribution partners, theme parks and talent.

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  • NBCU EVP Dan Lovinger On How to Balance Audience-Targeted Ads With Traditional Context-Based Ads [SHIFT VIDEO]

    NBCU is balancing audience-based targeting conducted though a variety of data and platform initiatives with ads sold the traditional way, based on context and Nielsen metrics. That was one of the key takeaways from a keynote with Dan Lovinger, NBCU’s EVP, Advertising Sales, NBC Sports at our recent SHIFT // Programmatic Video & TV Ad Summit.

    In a wide-ranging interview with Wall Street Journal senior editor Mike Shields, Dan discussed how NBCU’s Audience Targeting Platform (ATP) enables the company to re-optimize upfront buys across its entire portfolio, using its own data. Dan contrasted ATP with the company’s recently-launched NBCUx for Linear TV, which allows advertisers to bring their own data and then review all available scatter inventory to create an audience-targeted media plan.

    As Dan explained, both approaches are meant to give advertisers more flexibility and efficiency in reaching desired audiences. While the use of data is core, Dan sees data more as a commodity, with the real value being how and where it’s being applied. And while audience-based targeting is gaining momentum, Dan noted that context is still very important and many advertisers remain focused on that.

    In the interview Dan also discussed how NBCU is expanding its access to more digital inventory via deals with BuzzFeed and Apple News. He also elaborated on digital viewership in the recent Rio Olympics and how those ads were sold, especially how NBCU structured deals with both Facebook and Snapchat. Dan also highlighted how NBCU has reduced its ad loads in VOD and is very focused on optimizing the viewer’s experience, among other topics.

    NBCU has become a leader in the use of data and automation to mine more value from its broad portfolio of networks and digital inventory. Dan’s interview offers great insights about how NBCU is thinking about data and evolving its business going forward.

    Watch the keynote interview

     
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  • Hulu Gets Fox and Disney Networks, But Live Broadcasts are a Challenge as World Series Shows

    Hulu announced yesterday that it has struck deals with 21st Century Fox and Disney for access to over 35 different TV networks for Hulu’s skinny bundle, slated to launch in early 2017. The agreements are no surprise given Fox and Disney are Hulu’s two primary investors, along with Comcast (which has a back seat role per restrictions related to its NBCU acquisition) and Time Warner, which recently took a 10% stake in Hulu.

    But the devil is in the details, because when it comes to Hulu’s ability to include live broadcast feeds in its skinny bundle, the Fox and Disney deals only get it a small part of the way. Fox owns 17 stations around the country and Disney owns just 8. Since there are 210 DMAs in the U.S. that means Hulu needs to strike agreements with lots of different local station owners to enable a standardized nationwide skinny bundle offer including local broadcast feeds.

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  • Google, VUDU and LeEco: 3 More Potential Video Disruptions Coming?

    Each week brings more innovation, product announcements and new business models to the ever-changing video industry. This week was certainly no different, and news from 3 companies - Google (a deal with CBS for its Unplugged skinny bundle), VUDU (a new ad-supported on-demand movie offering) and LeEco (a range of new products from the Chinese giant, including TVs and content) - caught my attention. Each has the potential to cause further industry disruption, or amount to nothing. Below I share thoughts on each.

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  • How Four Technologies Combined to Make Twitter’s NFL Broadcast an Online Video Milestone

    Last Thursday night felt like a milestone moment to me in the continued mainstreaming of online video viewing. At 9pm, I turned on my 46-inch Insignia HDTV, toggled to input 3, grabbed my Fire TV remote control, scrolled to the app section, downloaded the Twitter app and began watching the Jets play the Bills over my 100 mbps Comcast broadband connection in pristine quality. Just like that I was watching an NFL game outside the traditional TV ecosystem.

    The whole process took just a few minutes and likely could have been accomplished by the least tech-savvy among us. On the surface it might seem like a relatively trivial undertaking, but in reality, the experience reflected the significant technology and consumer behavioral advancements that have taken place in just the past 10 years or so. Every one of these advancements was critical in enabling the Twitter broadcast. And every one of them is also causing the seismic changes roiling the broader TV industry.

    Consider:

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #336: Olympics Viewing Shifts to Online

    I'm pleased to present the 336th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Like tens of millions of others, Colin and I have been watching our fair share of the Olympics. And like lots of others as well, instead of watching on linear TV, much of our viewing has been via the NBC app. Although linear TV viewing of the Olympics is down this year, NBC has reported that over 2 billion minutes have been streamed.

    That reflects a broader shift in viewing behavior over the last few years as consumers move from linear to on-demand viewing using various devices. Colin and discuss the implications of this and what we might see in 2020.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 44 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #331: Broadcast TV Networks are Taking Different Approaches to Online Video

    I'm pleased to present the 331st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Broadcast TV networks are taking different approaches to online video and this week saw updated online initiatives from Fox and ABC with the former announcing live-streaming of its primetime lineup in all 210 U.S. markets and the latter launching updates to its online service including classic shows, original digital series and more.

    Meanwhile NBC is gearing up for the Olympics in 3 weeks, which promises to be the most ambitious online sports event to date. And CBS is continuing to aggressively pursue its own independent path online, even as recent rumors have the network participating in YouTube’s forthcoming online subscription service.

    In this week’s discussion Colin and I review the Fox and ABC moves, comparing and contrasting them as well as NBC’s and CBS’s approaches.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 11 seconds)



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  • CBS Interactive President and COO Marc Debevoise Discusses Successful Video Strategies [AD SUMMIT VIDEO]

    One of the highlights of the recent Video Ad Summit was the keynote interview I did with Marc Debevoise, who was just promoted to be President and COO of CBS Interactive.  Marc oversees strategy and operations for all of the CBSi’s 25+ entertainment, sports, news, technology, gaming and media brands. Marc has also led the development of the CBS All Access SVOD service and CBSN 24/7 digital news service.

    In the interview Marc shares the 3 biggest market trends that are guiding CBSi’s strategy and what’s ahead. We discuss in detail the strategic drivers behind the launch of CBS All Access and CBSN, including advertising strategies for both and how well they’ve been accepted by viewers. Marc shares lots of details about viewers’ profiles, how they engage with the two services, the devices that are most successful and how CBS is using them to broaden its appeal to younger viewers. Marc also explains how original programs (e.g. “Star Trek” and “The Good Wife” spinoff) are playing a big role in CBS All Access game plan.

    We also talk about how CBS has become a leader in online sports, trailing only ESPN overall in the first part of 2016. Streaming the Super Bowl to connected TVs was a big milestone earlier this year and Marc discusses why CBS decided to do this and what impact it will have on streaming other sports. We wrap up by looking ahead to big challenges that CBSi is addressing.

    There is a lot of skepticism floating around about the role of broadcast TV in the fast-evolving online video landscape, but Marc does a great job of explaining all the moves CBS is making to remain a leader.

    Watch the keynote interview (35 minutes, 30 seconds)

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  • Reaching Audiences at Scale: Will TV Succeed in the Digital Age? [AD SUMMIT VIDEO]

    One of the most interesting panel discussions at the recent Video Ad Summit was “Reaching Audiences at Scale: Will TV Succeed in the Digital Age?” which included Adam Gerber (SVP, Client Development & Communications, ABC), Mike Germano (Chief Digital Officer, VICE Media), Melissa Kihara (Global VP of TV & Video Products, Xaxis), Bob Toohey (President, Verizon Digital Media Services) and Lorne Brown (Founder and CEO, Operative) moderating.

    It’s no secret that video viewing is fragmenting and linear TV is declining as new video sources proliferate and behaviors change. Still, TV networks are running fast, distributing programs in new ways, investing heavily in data to better enable targeting by advertisers and leveraging social media to better engage viewers.  

    As Adam pointed out, research suggests that scale in long-form ad-supported online viewing is dominated by TV networks. But as he also pointed out, scale in data and audiences is dominated by platforms like Facebook and Google. This is one of the key sources of tension for advertisers - how to combine the best of both, to achieve scaled, targeted, efficient, effective, trusted advertising in premium video?

    The panelists agreed that for lots of reasons the market is nowhere close to reaching this nirvana state. They explored all the reasons why, along with things that are being done to move the ball forward. For anyone trying to better understand how TV is evolving in the digital age and what role it will play, it’s a fascinating discussion.

    Watch the video now (39 minutes, 48 seconds).

    Watch now!

     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #321: Debating Whether Hulu’s Skinny Bundle Makes Sense

    I'm pleased to present the 321st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Hulu was in the news in a big way this week, confirming a WSJ report that it plans to launch a skinny bundle next year. As I wrote on Monday, the move raises numerous questions, which Colin and I debate on this week’s podcast.

    Absent more information, I’m still somewhat skeptical. It feels very risky to me for Disney and Fox to convert Hulu into a pay-TV competitor. It’s also not clear that the economics of a direct subscriber relationship are superior to the steady flow of monthly retransmission consent and affiliate fees. Finally, I wonder about how big the addressable market is and how appealing the Hulu skinny bundle actually will be, particularly from an all-in cost perspective.

    Colin, on the other hand, is much more optimistic. He doesn’t believe there’s much risk, thinks the economics are better going direct and believes the service can be very appealing. So clearly we’re coming at this from very different angles.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 40 seconds)


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    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today! (note the link has been updated)

     
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  • Skinny Hulu Subscription Service Raises Many Questions

    With so much uncertainty in the TV and online video industries these days, I keep telling myself to never be surprised by anything anymore. But last night, when the WSJ headline, “Hulu is Developing a Cable-Style Online TV Service” popped up in my Twitter feed, I have to admit it tested the boundaries of my imagination.

    The most immediate head-scratcher was that such a move would position Disney and Fox, two of the three network shareholders in Hulu (along with Comcast, which is now a silent partner due to terms of its NBCU acquisition) as direct competitors of pay-TV operators, their biggest distributors. These companies spend billions of dollars per year to carry the very same TV networks that would now be included in the skinny Hulu lineup.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #319: Amazon Eyes SVOD Distribution Dominance; NABShow Takeaways

    I'm pleased to present the 319th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Colin and I are back from NABShow where I produced the 2-day Online Video Conference, which included 52 speakers over 15 sessions. One of the highlights for me was doing a keynote interview with Michael Paull, VP of Digital Video at Amazon who oversees the company’s new Streaming Partners Program (SPP).  

    As I wrote yesterday, SPP will likely have a majority of U.S. SVOD services included this year, putting Amazon in the undisputed role as THE third-party distributor of SVOD in the U.S. Colin and I dig into why that is potentially so critical and the implications it could have for Netflix and the pay-TV industry. (Colin provides a personal example of how Amazon hooked him on a subscription to Tribeca Shortlist which he never would have found on his own).

    We then transition to specific takeaways from NABShow. Colin notes that many vendors were demonstrating how online video can be delivered with guaranteed quality and user experiences, making online video every bit as good as TV itself. For pay-TV operators specifically, the imperative to move video services online has never been higher.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 41 seconds)



    Click here for previous podcasts

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    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today! (note the link has been updated)

     
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  • Perspective What's this? TV Companies Must Build A Common Audience or Lose to Digital Giants

    TV programmers like Viacom and AMC are in the same position that print companies like The New York Times and Conde Nast were ten years ago. As consumers moved to reading content online, the legacy publishing companies figured they could replicate their business on a new channel. No one could believe that a tech company with no real content could compete for brand advertising budgets. We all know how that played out.

    Now, consumers are cutting the cord and moving to digital channels to watch TV. There is more to lose on both the buy and sell side during this time around. TV advertising is considered by advertisers to be the holy grail of inventory, and they don’t want to lose it any more than the TV companies do. However, the siren song of audiences at scale and with technical ease could change their minds.

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