Verizon Digital Media Services has unveiled research finding that 59% of millennials' video viewing is now done on-demand, with 41% on live TV. Online accounts for 34% of millennials' viewing, with DVR following at 15% and on-demand at 10%. Non-millennials have the opposite viewing pattern, with 59% of their viewing still live TV, next is DVR with 17% with online and on-demand following at 12% each. Verizon found that 64% of millennials said they subscribe to an OTT video source, compared with 33% of non-millennials.
Since Comcast announced its plan to acquire Time Warner Cable, there have been a number of articles about how broadband is really the main driver of the deal. No doubt broadband is very important, but Comcast still believes there's a lot of life left in its video service. To that end, the company has invested heavily in its X1 set-top box platform.
X1 is a hybrid box, delivering video via traditional "QAM" technology, while including a guide and other interactivity/content via web-based IP technology. Comcast said that X1 played a significant role in Comcast adding subscribers in Q4 '13, for the first time in 6+ years.
I've had an X1 since July, 2012, and to give a sense of its potential, I've shot an 11-minute demo of how X1 handles the NBC Olympics "Live Extra" authenticated app which is tightly integrated with its Xfinity on Demand service for highlights. First, for a little context, I show how "Live Extra" and the NBC Olympics apps work on an iPad.
It looks like Apple will be the first casualty of the Comcast-TWC deal. Just yesterday Bloomberg reported that Apple was negotiating with TWC for it to become the first pay-TV operator to make its programming accessible in a new, upgraded Apple TV device. Assuming the report is accurate (and who knows, given the spin game TWC was playing to rebuff Charter's bid), it's pretty fair to say that Comcast will have no interest in Apple getting its nose under the TWC tent.
I'm pleased to present the 213th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. Today we focus on Amazon, which is already an important player in video, and is poised to become more so. Among the topics we discuss:
- plans to increase the price of its Prime service (and the role of expensive video licensing in driving this)
- the possibility video could be split off from Prime and become a more pure competitor to Netflix and others
- the many roles that video advertising could play as part of a new deal with FreeWheel
- why an Amazon connected TV device (widely rumored) would be highly strategic
- whether Amazon will enter the pay-TV business (as has also been widely rumored)
- the role of Amazon's original online productions
All in all, Amazon is circling the video space in many different ways, with potential to be quite disruptive. It's still very early in the game for Amazon and 2014 could be a big year. We'll see how it plays out.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 32 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 212th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Earlier this week, Roku CEO and founder Anthony Wood, who I interviewed at NATPE, described his long-term vision for Roku to replace pay-TV operators' set-top boxes. Anthony believes that as online video apps become more prevalent, and pay-TV operators want to seamlessly offer them, the logistics for doing so will be so complex, that alternative approaches like using Roku, will become more attractive. Colin and I debate the pros and cons of this vision.
Then Colin walks us through Comcast's stellar Q4 '13 results, announced earlier this week. Of particular note, Comcast added video subscribers in the quarter, the first time in over 6 years. Colin has crunched the numbers and concludes that Comcast will likely have more broadband subscribers than video subscribers by mid-to-late 2014, a stunning development. We explore what this means.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 11 seconds)
Roku CEO Anthony Wood shared company updates and his views on the broader video market in an interview with me at NATPE in Miami Beach on Monday. 2013 was a strong year for the company with 8 million cumulative units sold to date (about 3 million in 2013). Roku delivered 1.7 billion hours of video in 2013.
Interestingly, Anthony said that sales accelerated when Chromecast was introduced. He cited the trio of Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast as now dominating the connected TV device space, each with a relatively well-defined prospective customer.
Beachfront Media announced earlier today that its Beachfront.iO video ad platform has been extended to deliver ads to connected TVs/devices including LG, Samsung, Google and Roku. This means that video content/app providers can tap into ads from multiple sources and manage them across smartphones, tablets, desktop and now connected TVs within one dashboard.
Primarily the extension allows content/app providers to maximize their revenues, improve targeting and achieve better time to market. Frank provided more details in a short video interview today at NATPE, see below.
I'm excited to be hosting a one-on-one interview with Roku's CEO and founder Anthony Wood at NATPE in Miami next Monday, Jan. 28th. Anthony is one of the true visionaries in the online video / connected TV device world.
Among the topics on my list to discuss with him are Roku TV (launched with Hisense and TCL at CES last week), how Roku owners actually use the device since there are now over 1,200 channels to choose from, the status of Roku's work with pay-TV operators and whether transactional VOD will play a bigger part in Roku's future. I'm sure we'll also discuss larger industry trends like cord-cutting, the connected TV device landscape, Smart TVs, TV Everywhere and the role of mobile devices.
That's a long list, but what do YOU think I should ask him? Send me suggestions via email or leave a comment!
When Google drops $3.2 billion in cash on an acquisition, as it did yesterday with Nest Labs, maker of the Nest self-learning thermostat, you know there are some big, long-term visions playing in the background.
Most of the reviews I've read involve the companies capitalizing on the still nascent "Internet of things," where all devices are intelligently connected, exchanging valuable information that improves our lives. Even though Google and Nest were pretty vague in their joint announcement, I more or less buy into this rationale for the acquisition.
But, looking at the deal through my video-centric prism, I can also see some interesting possibilities coming from a tight integration between Nest and Chromecast, Google's hot-selling connected TV device.
A new study from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) released yesterday at CES, revealed that it is still very early days for second screen usage in conjunction with TV programs. The study estimates that 44% of the general population has ever accessed TV program related content on a second screen. This is the group that was surveyed.
Of this group, 42% (or about 18% of the general population) accessed "synchronous" content, which is meant to be consumed with the TV program, such as polls, contests, Twitter feeds, chats, etc.), and 91% (or about 40% of the general population) accessed "asynchronous" content which is meant to be consumed before or after the TV program such as actor or behind-the-scenes info, trivia, webisode viewing and Twitter/Facebook activity.
I'm pleased to present the 209th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Colin was at CES this week and I've been avidly following all of the news coming out of Las Vegas, so on this week's podcast we share some of our top observations. On the list are 4K TVs, Smart TVs, Roku TV, Sony's cloud-based pay-TV service, Aereo's new $34 million financing and AT&T's "Sponsored Data" initiative among others.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 4 seconds - sorry, for running long, lots of content this week.)
In yet another sign of how online video and TV advertising are continuing to blur, this morning ActiveVideo and BrightLine have announced a partnership to enable set-top boxes and connected TV devices to deliver interactive video ads from the cloud without any additional technical or creative work. Using ActiveVideo's new "CloudTV AdCast," advertisers and agencies can seamlessly deliver HTML5 ads to set-top boxes and connected TV devices, vastly expanding the reach of their ads and increasing their ROI.
Happy New Year and welcome to 2014!
Perhaps the biggest sleeper hit of 2013 was Google's Chromecast. Launched cautiously and with little fanfare, momentum built in Q4 with a slew of new apps integrating the 'casting' feature. Since its launch, it has been the top-selling electronics item on Amazon. Not surprisingly, Google has big plans for Chromecast in 2014, including the debut of its software development kit (SDK) along with an aggressive international expansion, both certain to broaden consumer adoption.
Chromecast's big difference vs. all other connected TV devices is that it is almost 100% dependent on mobile devices in order to deliver its full value proposition to consumers (of course Chromecast would still work if you only had a computer using the Chrome browser, but it would far less appealing). In other words, Chromecast isn't just another connected TV device for viewing Netflix, Hulu and other OTT content on the TV, rather, it's more of a platform for bringing mobile's capabilities into the living room.
Last Thursday I wrote about how the various connected TV devices are jostling for content deals, creating headaches for content providers and confusion for buyers. Following up that post, yesterday I highlighted holiday deals on Smart TVs which themselves are competing for attention with connected TV devices.
Now, to put a capstone on the discussion, I'm pleased to share a handy infographic that the good folks at Shelby.tv have created, comparing and contrasting 4 of the hottest and most affordable connected TV devices, Apple TV ($99), Chromecast ($35), Roku 3 ($100) and Roku LT ($50). The infographic summarizes key features of each, what content is available (with a nice Venn diagram showing overlaps), capabilities to watch from mobile devices and the web, key drawbacks to each, and which might be most appropriate as a gift this season.
As online video adoption and longer-form viewing have grown, consumers have become increasingly interested in moving the experience to their TVs. This trend has certainly helped to drive interest in connected TV devices (e.g. Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, etc.). But even as these devices have proliferated, TV manufacturers have promoted Smart TVs, which connect to the Internet and generally offer a handful of pre-integrated apps, most prominently Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Pandora and others.
Since connected TV devices are relatively cheap (Chromecast set a new low in 2013 at $35) and are easy to install, no longer must consumers be required to buy a whole new TV simply because they want to stream Netflix, for example. No doubt, this dynamic - combined with the saturation of HDTVs and the adoption of mobile devices for viewing video - all contribute to global TV sales being down in 2013 for the second year in a row, the first time this has ever happened.
I'm pleased to present the 207th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week we first discuss the prospects of a nationwide "virtual pay-TV operator" launching in 2014, as Viacom's CEO Philippe Dauman asserted will happen, in his remarks at the UBS conference earlier this week. Colin and I agree that if this were to happen, Verizon is the most likely candidate. Of note, the company has recently made 2 acquisitions (of upLynk and EdgeCast), through its Verizon Digital Media Services group, that could be very strategic in a virtual pay-TV operator play.
Colin is reasonably bullish that this this type of operator will emerge, but I still remain skeptical. Intel Media's flameout this year with its OnCue service underscores the challenges. We dive into further detail on the challenges and opportunities for virtual operators. (And note, Colin has a free white paper on 5 reasons why virtual operators will ultimately succeed)
Next we turn our attention to how fragmentation among connected TV devices is causing headaches for content providers and consumers, which I wrote about yesterday. Colin contrasts today's devices with buying a TV, noting how ridiculous it would be if some brands could access certain TV networks, and other brands accessing different ones. The TV industry would never have scaled in that case.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 46 seconds)
This holiday season, connected TV devices are among the hottest items on consumers' wish lists. For content providers eager for a foothold in the "digital living room," surging demand is very good news. The bad news, however, is that due to fragmentation and proprietary approaches among devices, content providers are forced to allocate their scarce resources in a one-by-one development model.
This is highly inefficient for content providers and sharply contrasts with how the web's standards helped to drive massive scale years ago. Beyond the inefficiency for content providers, the resulting fragmentation of content availability undermines the scale required for successful video advertising and also creates confusion among consumers about which device to buy. Unlike the web where you can bring home a computer and get access to ALL content, when you get a device you only get a narrower subsection.
Samsung has announced that it has licensed the Reference Design Kit (RDK) from RDK Management to accelerate delivery of next-generation IP video onto new devices. RDK Management is a joint venture between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, with the aim of developing a standardized set of software bundles for set-top boxes.
The RDK is a pre-integrated software bundle, initially developed and licensed by Comcast to create a common framework for powering tru2way, IP or hybrid set-top boxes and gateway devices. The RDK’s software bundle can also power gateway devices, and other devices like connected TVs and other CE devices.
I'm pleased to present the 206th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week we discuss 3 of our key takeaways from this past Tuesday's VideoSchmooze, which over 230 industry executives attended. The morning was jam-packed with learning and insights, which I'll continue to share in the coming weeks, along with the session videos.
First, Colin shares the observation of Craig Moffett, who was on the opening session, that many content providers are assuming Netflix/other OTT providers are not a substitute for pay-TV over time. Craig believes this is an incorrect assumption and that if content providers come to depend too heavily on digital licensing revenues from Netflix and others, they run the risk of addicting themselves, even if/when their core businesses suffer due to audiences shifting.
Next, on the mobile video session I moderated, Silvia Lovato from PBSKids Digital shared the stunning data point that 75% of its viewership from its 2-5 year-old audience now occurs on mobile devices. I believe this has incredibly profound societal implications 10, 20 and 30 years down the road, as kids learn from the earliest age to expect programming fully on-demand.
Last, we turn to Smart TVs. On the online video advertising session, John Nitti from ZenithOptimedia (who oversees $10 billion of client spending) Eric Franchi from Undertone said Smart TVs are too fragmented to be an appealing environment for advertisers for now. As more online viewing shifts to the big screen, it's imperative that advertising follow, but the separate ecosystems of each Smart TV manufacturer makes it difficult for both developers and advertisers for now. Some form of aggregation/streamlining must occur to create the scale advertising requires.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 16 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 203rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week, Colin and I were in Hollywood at BroadbandTV Con, which brought together a large crowd of digital media executives. In the podcast we discuss some of our key observations including AOL's success in online video, the role of online video advertising in funding long-form high-quality originals, whether sports will leak out of the traditional pay-TV ecosystem and how one studio executive thinks there's no going back to appointment TV viewing.
At the beginning of the podcast we also touch on this week's new IHS forecast that global TV shipments will decline for the second straight year, the first time this has ever happened.
Listen in the learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (17 minutes, 3 seconds)