I'm pleased to present the 297th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. For a change, this week Colin and I recorded together in NYC after we spoke at a CTAM Think event.
First up this week we dig into CBS’ decision to create a new “Star Trek” series and include it in its CBS All Access SVOD service rather than on its TV network. Colin astutely points out the various risks in this approach. Yet the move is not all that surprising as consistent with how SVOD services are using high-profile original content to differentiate themselves. In this light, if CBS wants to get share of wallet vs. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and others, it has no choice but to beef up the originals available exclusively in CBS All Access.
The CBS “Star Trek” move came during a week when public media companies reported mixed results, reduced guidance and a strong emphasis on launching their own direct-to-consumer video services. Importantly, Time Warner messaged that it is going to pull back on its SVOD licensing. As we note, all of this clouds the access that the big SVOD services will get to well-known TV programs as networks and studios strive to preserve long-term value in the pay-TV ecosystem.
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Why did companies pay more than $9 million per minute for commercial time during the last Super Bowl? The answer: they knew that tens of millions of people would be watching their ad. Advertising rates during any broadcast are tied to viewership – the more eyeballs, the more the spot is worth. Viewership is the currency that determines how much an ad is worth, and ad revenue keeps the broadcast industry running. But what happens when you want to place an ad during a show streamed online? How much is 30 streamed seconds worth to an advertiser when there is no viewer currency to trust?
CBS announced this morning that it will release a new “Star Trek” TV series in January, 2017. But in a novel approach, the premier episode will be previewed on the CBS Television Network but will then move to CBS All Access, where it and all subsequent episodes will be exclusively available for U.S. audiences. That makes the new “Star Trek” the first TV series CBS has developed specifically for CBS All Access, the company’s $5.99/month SVOD service.
Eyeview has integrated its video ad platform with WideOrbit’s WO Programmatic TV, so that Eyeview clients can programmatically buy and then measure and optimize ads on local broadcast TV. WO Programmatic TV, which is WideOrbit’s supply-side platform, includes broadcasters covering 115 U.S. media markets, including 18 of the top 25, and 59% of U.S. households.
The line between TV and online video is blurring still further, as Comcast has announced that it is adding short-form online video content from 30 broadcast and cable TV networks to its X1 platform and online at Xfinity.com. The beta launch means that millions of X1 customers will be able to surf the Web tab of the On Demand section on X1 to access the clips.
Yesterday, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball Advanced Media announced a multi-faceted 6-year deal in which MLBAM will pay $600 million to take over distribution and operations of NHL’s GameCenter LIVE and Center Ice online subscription services (including via pay-TV operators), manage all of NHL’s web sites, manage all of NHL Network’s operations (including taking over ad sales) and jointly develop new digital products. As part of the deal, NHL is reportedly getting a 7%-10% stake
in MLBAM, which is also reportedly going to be spun off (finally) from Major League Baseball. (clarification, per MLBAM spokesman, NHL's stake is in BAM Tech, the technology arm of MLBAM)
That’s a mouthful, but what it amounts to is a major expansion in MLBAM’s scope of business, instantly morphing the company from being primarily a provider of technology services supporting rights-holders to being a multi-platform distribution company in its own right. As such, MLBAM may have just become the most disruptive force in sports TV, signaling to every broadcast and cable TV network which has an interest in sports TV - from CBS, ABC, NBC, ESPN and on down the line - that the ground just shifted underneath them. Here’s why.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…"
If you’re looking for a stark illustration of the diverging fortunes of the online video and pay-TV industries - as well as the generational attention/passion gap between the two - then comparing the buzz out of last week’s 6th annual VidCon with the poor early Q2 video subscriber numbers from big pay-TV operators is about as good as it gets.
For those not familiar with VidCon, it’s the annual convention of YouTube creators, fans and increasingly advertisers that want to weave themselves into this community. This year VidCon drew somewhere between 20K-30K attendees (up from 1,200 just 5 years ago) to the Anaheim Convention Center, with the vast majority being teenagers seeking to get up close to their favorite YouTube celebrities for a coveted selfie.
Comcast has announced a new $15/month online video service called Stream, offering yet another choice to consumers not interested in the full multichannel TV bundle.
Stream will be available only to Comcast’s broadband subscribers on a no-commitment, monthly basis, with no equipment required. Stream will include broadcast networks and HBO plus Streampix and a cloud DVR. It will be available only on laptops, tablets and smartphones, so no TV access. And the linear feeds will only be available in-home, though it sounds like recordings will be viewable out of home. Stream will debut in Boston in late summer, then Seattle and Chicago later this year and elsewhere in 2016.
I'm pleased to present the 281st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Earlier this week SNL Kagan released an updated forecast of fee increases for pay-TV operators to carry broadcast and TV networks. Using that data Colin modeled what DirecTV’s programming costs would be and how they would translate into higher subscriber rates and lower margins.
No surprise, Colin’s analysis further highlights how expensive pay-TV is becoming. Colin and I discuss how this directly translates into more cord-cutting and cord-nevering given the range of inexpensive, high-quality OTT options.
All of this is happening against a backdrop of kids abandoning TV altogether. That trend was illustrated by new research from Miner and Co. Studio, which revealed that 57% of parents of kids age 2-12 say their kid prefers a device OTHER than the TV to watch video. Worse, almost half of these parents said sometimes as a punishment they take their kid’s device away and instead make their kid watch TV. We discuss the implications. (make sure to watch Miner’s video interviews too)
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These are complicated times for video content providers, with more opportunities to monetize their video inventory and partner with advertisers, yet more complexity as well. How to succeed in this rapidly evolving environment was the topic of our Video Ad Summit panel, “Modernizing the Monetization of Video: The Content Provider’s Perspective.”
The session included Lorne Brown (Founder & CEO, Operative), Sean Holzman (Chief Digital Revenue Officer, Bonnier), Stephano Kim (SVP, Ad Operations & Chief Digital Strategist, Turner Broadcasting), David Morris (Chief Revenue Officer, CBS Interactive) and Lisa Valentino (Chief Revenue Officer, Conde Nast Entertainment), with Tom Herman (CEO, DashBid) moderating.
The wide-ranging discussion touched on various topics including how campaign success metrics are changing, why performance and engagement are paramount, how content providers are creating their own data management platforms and selectively exposing their first-party data, why the consumer is really in the driver’s seat, the role of branded entertainment, the challenges of moving to a direct-to-consumer approach at scale, ad-blocking and much, much more.
I'm pleased to present the 270th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
(Note, we recorded prior to the demise of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal; we'll discuss that next week.)
Early this week, in "Is Netflix Friend or Foe to the TV Industry? It's More Confusing Than Ever." I laid out both of the arguments. In today's podcast, Colin and I flesh out the debate further, bringing in additional perspectives and data. Importantly, Colin adds his thoughts on how Netflix should be seen internationally.
It's a fascinating debate, which our friends at MoffettNathanson coincidentally weighed in on this week as well. Using Nielsen data, they believe Netflix's audience size is already 6% of all of TV's, double its level from 2 years ago, and has accounted for 40% of TV's audience declines. They also see Netflix's share rising to low double digits over the next 4 years.
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One of the great riddles of the past few years is whether Netflix is friend or foe to the U.S. television industry, including broadcast TV networks, cable TV networks and pay-TV operators. Over the years, Netflix has downplayed in many ways its disruptive potential to the TV industry (my personal favorite is when CEO Reed Hastings would say "We're more of a bicycle to their car" in comparing Netflix to pay-TV).
But with Netflix tacking on another 2.3 million subscribers in the U.S. in Q1 '15, bringing its total to 41.4 million, the question is taking on increasing urgency. How should the TV industry REALLY think of Netflix? Below I share what I think are the best "friend" and "foe" arguments, concluding with my own assessment of what Netflix really is now.
So-called "skinny bundles" of TV networks face long odds of success given the dispersion of actual TV viewership, cross-ownership of broadcast-cable TV networks by media conglomerates and underlying economic realities, according to a new analysis by MoffettNathanson.
The conclusions align with points I made in last Friday's podcast and previously, as I've asserted that the "Swiss cheese" channel lineups found in skinny bundles will lack broad appeal. This was a central finding from recent Bernstein research as well. Conversely, bulking up channel lineups with more TV networks (as Sony has done with its new PlayStation Vue service) eliminates the opportunity for a cost-savings value proposition that would resonate most with would-be cord-cutters or cord-nevers.
I'm pleased to present the 265th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. There's been a lot of buzz this week about a WSJ report that Apple could at last be planning to enter the TV business, by offering a so-called "skinny" bundle of around 25 TV networks this Fall.
In today's podcast, Colin and I debate whether Apple can succeed with this approach. Colin is relatively sanguine, and believes that if Apple ties the TV service's launch to a new device, it could get a lot of traction. Colin sees Sling TV's skinny bundle as a model for Apple to follow.
I'm much more skeptical about the skinny approach, and despite Apple's formidable assets, I'm challenged to see how it works. My main issue is that by definition, skinny bundles result in a "Swiss cheese" channel lineup that is unsatisfying for many viewers (this was supported by Bernstein research I wrote about earlier this week). Another issue for Apple, which reportedly wants to include broadcast TV networks (which Sling doesn't include), is the near-certainty that it won't get full linear rights in all U.S. markets, undercutting the service's ubiquity.
At a minimum it will be fun to watch what Apple does, along with everyone else. Reminder, to help us all gauge these new OTT services' potential, check out the handy scoring framework I shared yesterday.
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Here's more evidence of how watching TV programs is changing: according to part two of a TV viewer survey fielded by NATPE and CEA, 71% of respondents said they have streamed full-length TV programs in the past 6 months. No surprise, Netflix was the go-to source, with 40% having watched there, followed by 26% for YouTube and 25% for network web sites.
I'm pleased to present the 253rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Colin gets us started this week, discussing the new CBS-Dish Network deal, highlighting that OTT rights were excluded. This is noteworthy because of Dish's plans to launch a $30/month OTT service soon (dubbed "NuTV"), so it's not clear if or how CBS will fit in (CBS has recently launched its own "All Access" OTT service).
There have been previous reports Dish isn't planning to include broadcast networks in NuTV, instead requiring a surcharge. All of this continues to make me skeptical about NuTV's prospects. Note that even CEO Charlie Ergen has tamped down expectations for NuTV.
We then turn our attention to HBO's decision to outsource its OTT backend to MLBAM, as disclosed by Fortune this week. On Wednesday, I wrote that while MLBAM's solution is first rate, and it's a short-term win for HBO to get to market quickly, I still see the decision as a long-term competitive disadvantage for HBO. In my view, HBO needs to develop its own tech DNA to fully compete with Netflix and other OTT players, particularly in leveraging data, which I believe is the new king. Colin disagrees and thinks HBO made the right call.
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I'm pleased to present the 252nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Colin and I recorded the podcast shoulder-to-shoulder in NYC, where we were both at VideoSchmooze on Thursday. There were many great insights from panelists throughout the morning and we share 4 quick takeaways on this week's podcast. (Note, I'll be posting all session videos over the next couple of weeks.)
Our takeaways include discussion around Nielsen's new Total Audience report, which showed a decline of linear TV viewing across all age groups, most particularly among 18-24 year-olds; funding of high-quality online originals; a data point shared by comScore's Anne Hunter, that 36% of online video ad impressions are by bots, not humans; and last, the rise of autoplay video content, driven by Facebook.
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Nielsen has released its Q3 '14 Total Audience report (which is the new name for the previous quarterly Cross-Platform report), the highlight of which is the marked reduction in linear TV viewing across every age group except 65+, with an accompanying surge in online video. I charted the new Q3 '14 data vs. Q3 '13 data below.
The big quarter-vs-quarter change that pops out is the 19.2% reduction in linear viewing per week by adults 18-24. This age group is now watching 17 hours, 34 minutes per week, which is 4h, 11m less than the 21h, 45m a year ago. While this group increased its online video usage by 20.7%, that only accounted for 25 incremental minutes per week.
Bernstein Research has introduced a new weekly tracking report analyzing ad-supported U.S. TV networks' viewership on a year-over-year basis. The first version, released today, shows that for the week of November 10-16, audiences fell again across the board: down 8% for cable networks, 9% for broadcast and 17% for kids-oriented networks specifically. The declines were similar on a quarter-to-date basis as well.
Bernstein has previously calculated that ad-supported TV networks' audiences declined by around 13 minutes per day in Q3, while SVOD viewership increased by around 12 minutes per day, making SVOD the dominant driver of the TV networks' audience erosion.
I'm pleased to present the 251st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First up this week we dig into Nielsen's new plan to measure viewership on SVOD services. Both Colin and I believe this holds a lot of potential for TV networks and studios, though we're cautious until we learn more about the data that is produced (for more, Nielsen's SVP, Client Insights Dounia Turrill will be speaking at the Dec. 4th VideoSchmooze and this will be a topic of discussion).
We then transition to talking about specific OTT initiatives underway in Europe. Colin was in London this week attending a conference where he had a number of valuable conversations with broadcasters and pay-TV operators. He shares some specifics.
(Apologies - our recording quality is a little shaky this week due to connection issues)
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