I’m pleased to present the 450th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
At CES this week Apple unveiled partnerships with big TV manufacturers including Samsung, LG, Vizio and Sony. While these represent progress, as Colin and I discuss, Apple still finds itself at a disadvantage both in enabling TV-based viewing for its upcoming slate of original TV shows (which reportedly cost $1 billion) and in trying to become a Connected TV (CTV) leader.
Colin and I dig into how others like Amazon, Netflix, Roku, etc. have succeeded in CTV, enabling their content to thrive. Conversely, we explore why Apple’s CTV presence has remained minimal, with the result now being limited viewer accessibility to its originals. Apple came into the CTV era with just about every advantage imaginable, but its “gilded cage” mentality has left it at the back of the pack of big tech companies forging into TV.
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Likely the most interesting news from CES this year is that Apple is finally partnering in meaningful ways with big TV manufacturers. Most notably, Apple is creating an exclusive iTunes app for certain Samsung smart TVs. It is also enabling AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support on certain Samsung, Vizio, LG and Sony smart TVs which means users can display content from their Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac) on their big screens.
Apple’s moves are certainly a nod to how important its services/content business is becoming. But 2019 is a huge year for Apple in defining its place in the content ecosystem, with a $1 billion reportedly allocated to create original TV shows. The business model for these shows has been shrouded in mystery, but several months ago, CNBC reported that the shows will actually be given away for free to Apple’s device owners as part of the TV app which will also include subscription options akin to Amazon Channels.
Beachfront, a leading video supply-side platform, said that connected TV ad requests jumped to approximately 30 billion in November, 2018, a stunning 1,640% increase from November, 2017 when it received approximately 1.8 billion requests.
Beachfront works mainly with mid-tail and long-tail video providers as well as virtual MVPDs.
Roku continues to dominate, with Beachfront saying that 87% of CTV ad requests in November ’18 were on Roku devices. Trailing well behind were Amazon Fire TV, LG, Samsung TV, Vizio and Chromecast, in that order.
Topics: Beachfront Media
I’m pleased to present the 444th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
In Q3 ’18, Roku continued its pivot to an advertising and licensing based business model, with “Platform” revenues accounting for 58% of total revenues, up from 46% in Q3 ’17.
On this week’s podcast, Colin and I discuss this shift and Roku’s other key metrics, which were all very strong, once again. Roku occupies a unique place in the video ecosystem - at once a device powerhouse with 24 million monthly users, a content provider through its fast-growing The Roku Channel, a connected TV advertising innovator and something akin to a next-gen pay-TV provider offering a la carte access to thousands of content choices.
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The Diffusion Group has released new data showing that Roku users have the lowest levels of traditional pay-TV subscriptions and the highest level of cord-cutting. According to TDG, 64% of Roku box users and 66% of Roku stick users subscribe to pay-TV. 30% of Roku box users and 26% of Roku stick users are cord-cutters.
For all adult broadband users, 73% continue to subscribe to pay-TV, with just 21% saying they’re cord-cutters. Other devices measured, including Fire TV, Apple TV and Chromecast all had slightly higher levels of pay-TV subscriptions and similar to lower levels of cord-cutting.
The mystery of how Apple will monetize its $1 billion investment in original TV programming is finally solved. The answer is it won’t. Instead Apple will give its content away for free to its device owners, as part of its TV app, alongside the ability for users to subscribe to SVOD services, in a manner akin to how Amazon Channels works. I have speculated frequently over the past 21 months what Apple would do to monetize its huge content investment (here, here, here).
The update was reported by CNBC yesterday, coincidentally just a day after Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said at the VF New Establishment Summit that no one, not even the people making Apple’s shows knew how the content will be offered. After almost 2 years of radio silence from Apple on how it would monetize its programming and endless rumors, it seems as though following Sarandos’s comments Apple may have finally felt compelled to leak some initial information.
SpotX and Tru Optik have announced a partnership that enables video content providers to pre-segment and validate their ad inventory, so that buyers are able to create targeted, audience-based connected TV and OTT ad campaigns. Under the partnership, SpotX’s Audience Management Engine has been integrated with Tru Optik’s OTT Data Marketplace.
In addition, advertisers and content providers will gain access to Tru Optik’s Cross Screen Audience Validation (CAV), which provides deduped household reach, frequency, in-target percentage rates, device delivery confirmation and reporting.
A fascinating article in the WSJ over the weekend described the lengths to which Apple is going to maintain a family-friendly strategy for its original TV shows. The article describes how CEO Tim Cook personally screened “Vital Signs” about Dr. Dre and nixed it for being too violent. It also says that producers Jamie Erlicht and Zach Van Amburg, whom Apple hired in June, 2017, spend significant time winning approval from Cook and SVP Eddy Cue for any new projects.
None of this is surprising, as Apple seeks to balance its desire to move into the entertainment business while not causing any damage to its gold-plated brand. Where a TV network can cultivate creativity and push the envelope with a new show with little downside, Apple risks harming sales of its devices if audiences feel an Apple original is discordant with the company’s brand.
I’m pleased to present the 437th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Yesterday’s Q2 Video Monetization Report from FreeWheel put an exclamation mark on just how significantly connected TVs are changing the TV and online video landscape. In Q2 ’18 CTVs accounted for 41% of premium video views, up from just 1.2% in Q2 ’13. In that time, desktop views have dropped from over 81% share, to just 17%.
In today’s podcast we discuss the rise of CTVs and in particular their impact on advertising. We also touch on other interesting data points from FreeWheel’s Q2 VMR.
We then switch gears as Colin reports on highlights of his time at the IBC show in Amsterdam. Tops on his list was the outsized presence of Google and Android TV at the show and its potential impact.
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Connected TV devices and set-top box VOD now account for 57% of all premium video views in the U.S. according to FreeWheel’s Q2 Video Monetization Report (VMR) released today. It is the first time CTV and STB VOD have driven more than half of premium video views, and is up from 49% in Q2 ’17.
However, the big reason for the jump is due to CTV, which jumped from 29% of all premium video views in Q2 ’17 to 41% in Q2 ’18. STB VOD actually declined over the same period from 20% to 16%. I’ve believed for a long time that CTV viewing of SVOD and other ad-supported on-demand OTT programming would eventually chip away at traditional STB-delivered VOD. The Q2 results appear to show this now occurring.
Over 1 billion connected TV (CTV) devices are now active globally according to Strategy Analytics’ just released “Global Connected TV Device Vendor Share: Q2 2018” report. Strategy Analytics said almost 60% of devices are smart TVs while the remainder are players like Roku, Fire TV and Chromecast accounting for the remainder.
Topics: Strategy Analytics
Former professional golfer Greg Norman’s Shark Experience gives golfers a range of video and other media options while on the course. Shark Experience’s new software development partner is Edison Interactive, an in-ride digital media firm co-founded by Jeremy Ostermiller, formerly CEO of Altitude Digital, a video ad tech provider which merged with Genesis Media last year.
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
Another sign of connected TVs’ ascendance: in a blog post on Friday, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said that its users are now watching an average of over 180 million hours of YouTube video per day on TV screens. To put that in perspective, given the 1.9 billion logged-in users YouTube says it has per month, it would mean an average of almost 11 minutes per day per user watching YouTube on TV.
No doubt that’s far less that the average Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime Video subscriber spends watching those services on TV. And it also pales in comparison to the over 50% of YouTube consumption on mobile devices the company has touted for several years now.
More evidence of the boom in connected TV ads: AppNexus reported advertising spend in its connected TV marketplace grew by 748% in Q2 ’18 vs. Q2 ’17, with sequential growth of 69% in Q2 ’18 vs. Q1 ’18. AppNexus said it sees over 20 billion monthly CTV impressions on smart TVs, set-top boxes and game consoles, which underscores the rapid adoption of ad-supported video on CTV.
As more TV viewing moves to streaming, connected TV is emerging as the most important new source of premium ad-supported inventory. At our recent VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit, we dug into this unfolding opportunity on a session Rich Calacci (Chief Revenue Officer, Pluto TV), Jim Keller (VP, Sales, Hulu), Frank Sinton (Founder, Beachfront Media), Seth Walters (VP, Demand Partnerships, Roku), with Colin Dixon (Principal Analyst, nScreenMedia), moderating.
The panel explored the key advantages of connected TV ads, including enhanced targetability (at the user level), measurability, in-flight optimization and real-time feedback loops. The panelists also noted that with more cord-cutting happening, CTV is a critical way to reach certain households and build cross-screen campaigns. Still, the panelists noted that it’s relatively early days for CTVs, as virtually all TV will be streamed within 5 years.
I’m pleased to present the 424th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
At this past Tuesday’s VideoNuze Online Video Advertising Summit, Colin moderated a session, “Connected TVs’ Ad-Supported Future,” with Rich Calacci (Pluto TV), Jim Keller (Hulu), Frank Sinton (Beachfront Media) and Seth Walters (Roku) participating. In the first segment of this week’s podcast, we discuss the reasons panelists cited for why ads on connected TVs are so appealing to advertisers, among other topics.
We then transition to some of the highlights of the keynote interview with David Lawenda (EVP, Digital Sales and Strategy, CBS), with particular focus on his comments about advertisers’ reluctance to pay more just because ad loads are lighter. A range of TV networks are lightening their ad loads to provide a better experience compared to ad-free SVOD, but the benefits are uncertain according to David.
Finally, we touch on interesting data that Group Nine Media’s SVP of Ad Solutions and Innovation Hayden Lynch made in my interview with him around the difficulties of monetizing video distributed on platforms. Group Nine’s properties generate around 6 billion views/month, but only 10-20% of them are being monetized, which is pretty eye-opening.
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I’m pleased to present the 423rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Apple and Amazon aren’t two companies that come to mind for helping traditional pay-TV operators, but this week brought news of both doing exactly that. Apple announced at its WWDC the integration of Charter’s Spectrum app in Apple TV that will allow users to gain “zero sign-on” access to the app’s content. Other operators have made their apps available on connected TV devices, but this was a first for Apple TV.
Then Amazon announced its Fire TV Cube, a mashup of Echo and Fire TV that also aspires to control your entertainment center. The device includes IR blasters to provide limited control over existing set-top boxes, a rare instance where Amazon is looking to help a prior technology rather than disrupt it.
Colin and I discuss both moves, as well as the broader context that we see for the “appification of TV.” This is already happening with vMVPDs and we expect over the next couple years all major pay-TV operators will have apps for their services available on all major CTVs. For consumers this will be a huge win as they can avoid renting often outdated and expensive set-tops.
(Note, Colin will be moderating the “Connected TV’s Ad-Supported Future” panel at the VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit on Tuesday. Register now!)
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Amazon launched its new Fire TV Cube this morning - logically combining an Echo device with a Fire TV. But the Fire TV Cube has higher ambitions: to be an entertainment hub, controlling compatible TVs, sounds bars, A/V receivers and even cable or satellite set-top boxes, to deliver 4K TV. The set-top box integrations mean that Amazon is positioning the Fire TV Cube as a surprising friend to pay-TV, rather than a disruptor, the company’s typical role.
Amazon said that the Fire TV Cube is compatible with set-top boxes from Comcast, Dish and DirecTV, Spectrum, Verizon, Cox, Alice and Frontier, covering more than 90% of households with a cable or satellite subscription. The feat is accomplished through the use of IR blasters in the Fire TV Cube that can switch the input to the set-top box and then turn it on/off and change channels. I haven’t tried the Fire TV Cube yet so I don’t know how well any of this works, but my prior experiences with IR have shown it can be finicky.
Our 8th annual VideoNuze Online Video Advertising Summit is coming up on Tuesday, June 12th. In the next few weeks leading up to it, I’m going to do something new - a series of posts called “In Focus,” each of which will provide a preview of one Ad Summit Session, including what I hope you’ll learn and why I think the topic is important.
There is a ton going on in the video industry these days, and as an analyst, I’m constantly trying to identify and write about the most critical trends and news. I use the same approach in programming the Ad Summit. Hopefully the result is an outstanding day of learning for Ad Summit attendees.
This first “In Focus” post looks at our 2:10pm session, Connected TVs’ Ad-Supported Future, which includes Rich Calacci (Chief Revenue Officer, Pluto TV), Jim Keller (VP, Sales, Hulu), Frank Sinton (Founder, Beachfront Media) and Seth Walters (VP, Demand Partnerships, Roku), with Colin Dixon (Principal Analyst, nScreenMedia) moderating.