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)
Research firm IHS has updated its forecast for 2013 global TV shipments, now predicting a decline of 5% for the full year. This would be the second consecutive down year, following a 7% falloff in 2012 (I'm confirming whether this is the first time IHS has ever seen consecutive year declines. UPDATE: IHS has confirmed this is the first-ever 2 year consecutive decline). Shipments for 2013 are now estimated at 226.7 million units. IHS believes 2014 shipments will increase by just 1% in 2014 to 229 million units.
IHS analyst Jusy Hong noted that there are a number of reasons for the 2013 decline, but the main ones are global economic weakness and maturity of the TV market in advanced regions. Just last week, IHS released a survey on Smart TVs, showing relatively high awareness, but low purchase intent in the U.S. as price emerged as the top decision-making driver, eclipsing screen size.
I'm pleased to present the 202nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week we dig into why Smart TVs are going to be increasingly challenged by connected TV devices like Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV and others. As my colleague Jose Alvear wrote yesterday, new IHS research shows relatively low purchase intent for Smart TVs, despite high awareness. Price has emerged as the top driver for consumers, which means inexpensive connected TV devices will become more attractive alternatives for OTT viewing.
This is all part of a larger context for how TVs will be integrated with mobile devices in the home. Colin notes that discovery is best suited to mobile devices, but the critical link to the TV's set-top box is still missing. Some operators like Comcast are fixing this, but for tens of millions of homes the TV remains essentially an island unto itself. This is certain to change in the years ahead as new devices proliferate.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 15 seconds)
(Note: Colin and I will both be in LA next week at BroadbandTV Con. If you're attending, send us a note and let's meet up. VideoNuze readers get $75 off registration using the code "VideoNuze.")
When Comcast said earlier this week that it was increasing to 35 the number of channels available for out-of-home streaming for its subscribers, available on iOS and Android mobile devices (in addition to computers), it was another powerful sign of how TV is moving beyond the traditional confines of the living room and set-top box.
But as I thought about how robust this new out-of-home offering will be, it got me wondering, again, about the risk of subscribers sharing their passwords with non-subscribers. "Do no harm" is a key mantra among all media companies these days who must take care not to have new services or features undermine traditional value propositions. Until now this hasn't been a big issue for Comcast with its out-of-home streaming feature, as it included only on-demand content and a limited number of live channels which were solely viewable on computers. It was interesting package, but not super-compelling.
Today I'm pleased to introduce the newest VideoNuze contributor, Jose Alvear, who is a research analyst specializing in the pay-TV and online video industries. Jose has authored research reports on content delivery networks, IPTV, OTT video, cloud-based TV and social TV for leading firms in the industry. Jose is currently working on a book focusing on the disruption of the TV industry.
Survey: Price Sensitivity and Connected TV Devices Cloud Picture for Smart TV Adoption
by Jose Alvear
Researcher IHS released survey results earlier this week suggesting a muted forecast for Smart TVs amid rising consumer price sensitivity and a proliferation of inexpensive connected TV devices. IHS found that 73% of U.S. consumers are not interested in buying a Smart TV in the next 12 months. IHS said that once consumers are educated about Smart TVs and learn more about their features, interest does increase. Overall awareness of Smart TVs is high, at 86%, with 30% expressing purchase intent over the next 12 months.
But how intent translates into actual purchase is always tenuous and in this case, particularly so. That's because IHS also found that price has now vaulted to the top position as a driver for TV purchases, surpassing "screen size," which had been cited by more than 50% of respondents in 2012.
Video-on-demand and pay-per-view provider iN DEMAND has chosen software platform Clearleap to help it move to an all IP terrestrial distribution network for multi-screen delivery. Under the deal, Clearleap will handle 4,000 hours of HD and SD movies per month that iN DEMAND distributes to its cable operator affiliates for their transactional, subscription and free VOD offerings.
Clearleap's CEO Braxton Jarratt told me that iN DEMAND will be able to now limit its use of satellite delivery mainly for live events. Clearleap's management platform is layered on top of iN DEMAND's IP infrastructure, giving the company a single user interface to manage all of its content for quick delivery in multiple formats to cable operators. This is critical to support VOD viewing by subscribers on TVs and other connected devices.
Early Chromecast owners appear to be integrating the device into their lives, with almost a third or more of them using it daily or almost daily, according to a survey conducted by research firm Parks Associates. Not surprisingly, using Chromecast to watch video on TV is most popular on a daily/almost daily basis (38%). But right behind is "displaying web pages on your TV" (36%), followed by "listening to online music through your TV" (32%).
YouTube was the most-used video source on a daily/almost daily basis (49%) followed by Netflix (47%), Hulu (38%), other video web sites (36%), HBO GO (30%) and Amazon Instant Video (30%). Note that all but the YouTube and Netflix usage must be happening by "tab casting" from the Chrome browser, since none of these video sources have yet integrated Chromecast's "casting" feature (the survey was taken in August, before Hulu Plus integrated casting).
I'm pleased to present the 198th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Just as Hulu was announcing this week that Hulu Plus is now Chromecast-enabled, new research from Parks Associates revealed that 50% of people already using Chromecast to watch Hulu content on TV are actually watching the free Hulu.com service. They're able to do this by using Chromecast's "tab casting" feature to stream from a tab in the Chrome browser. Their behavior undermines a key Hulu Plus value proposition (and differentiator from Hulu.com) of being able to watch Hulu content on connected TVs.
This isn't random behavior either; the Parks research also revealed that 34% of Chromecast owners stream Hulu content to their TVs every day, with 43% watching Netflix this way.
In today's podcast, Colin and I talk about how Chromecast is convoluting Hulu's model and more broadly how technology and consumer behaviors continue to pressure Hollywood's licensing/windowing practices. As a Hulu Plus subscriber, Colin also shares 2 other wrinkles: first, that certain Hulu Plus content is just available for "web-only" viewing and NOT for connected devices like Roku, Xbox or Chromecast, and second, that in the case of the USA Network program "Psych," there are actually more recent episodes freely available on Hulu.com than there are on Hulu Plus. I've reached out to Hulu PR for comment and will update as appropriate.
(UPDATE: A Hulu PR representative told me that permission to stream to devices is granted by the content provider and varies by show, so it's not possible to stream all Hulu Plus content to devices. More info about the policies is here.)
Click here to listen to the podcast (17 minutes, 41 seconds)
Hulu has announced that its Hulu Plus apps for Android and iPad are now Chromecast-enabled (iPhone coming soon). The Hulu Plus apps join the initial launch apps (Netflix, YouTube, Google Play), which were announced concurrent with the device's debut in late July.
I'm not a Hulu Plus subscriber so I haven't tested with Chromecast, but from the company's blog post, it looks like all the existing apps' features are maintained, with integrated one touch casting to the TV via Chromecast the only change. In my original post on Chromecast, I noted that a key Chromecast advantage for content providers was that it leveraged existing apps, and via a simple SDK could enable the integrated casting capability. This means Chromecast updates are relatively simple and inexpensive to execute - both huge factors in getting content providers' much-coveted attention.
TV powerhouse FremantleMedia has launched a new mobile video app for its hit show Family Feud, available for iOS and Android devices. The app was built using Beachfront Media's Beachfront Builder technology and is being monetized via the company's Beachfront.io platform. The app offers dozens of short highlight clips categorized into channels such as Greatest Hits, Rated R, Interesting Answers, etc. FremantleMedia's Nicholas Dale said the app is meant to "connect with viewers in new ways and create engaging experiences in a multiplatform world."
Beachfront's CEO Frank Sinton told me in a briefing that a key part of FremantleMedia's decision to build its own app was to gain more control and improve the user experience vs. existing mobile viewing on YouTube and also to better monetize viewership. FremantleMedia will now funnel more of its mobile viewership to its own app.
(Note: I will NOT disclose anything about last night's series finale, so fans, you're safe to read on without spoilers.)
Last night was the series finale of the hit AMC show "Breaking Bad." I count myself among the millions of super-fans who fell in love with the series from the start and have been loyal ever since. Importantly though, my viewing experience with Breaking Bad distinguished itself from every other TV show I've ever watched: it was the first one where I watched every single episode on-demand and without ads.
In fact, my experiences with Breaking Bad perfectly illustrate so many of the video industry themes I write about on VideoNuze each day that I thought it would be worth sharing some of them and what I learned.
Amazon has announced its new Kindle Fire HDX tablet which includes many new features, but from a video perspective the one that stands out as a key differentiator is the ability to download Prime Instant Videos and watch them while not connected to the Internet. The downloading feature will be available to Prime members at no extra charge.
The new downloading feature opens up great new use cases (on a plane, at a beach, no WiFi, etc.) that add meaningful value to Prime membership and help to differentiate Prime from Netflix and the HDX from the category-leading iPad.
Last week Piksel (formerly KIT Digital) released results of one of the first consumer surveys to address the phenomenon of "binge" video viewing. Among findings: fully 94% of respondents are engaging in some level of binge viewing, either by quickly immersing themselves in as many episodes of a new series as possible, watching 1-2 episodes every few days (what Piksel calls "sippers"), or combining these two habits (see chart below).
ActiveVideo Networks has scored a big win, announcing that Liberty Global, the largest international cable operator with over 24 million subscribers, has chosen ActiveVideo's CloudTV software to enhance Liberty's rollout of Horizon TV, its next-gen video platform. Sachin Sathaye, ActiveVideo's VP of Strategy and Marketing, told me that Liberty will use CloudTV as a complement to Horizon for existing set-top boxes and connected TV devices (i.e. where new Horizon STBs aren't deployed). Services will include cloud DVR, VOD navigation and advanced apps. Timing for rollout hasn't been disclosed yet.
Ooyala is showing a new mosaic player, giving viewers the option to watch up to 5 live or on-demand video streams simultaneously. The company has also released its Q2 2013 Global Video Index, with new data reinforcing the growth of mobile and tablet video.
The mosaic player (see screen shot below) will first be available on the desktop, and subsequently will roll out on tablets, smartphones and connected devices. Ooyala's director of products Sudhir Kaushik showed it to me last week and explained it is mainly intended for sports broadcasters looking to provide multiple camera angles and/or sports fans trying to watch multiple games at once. Sudhir touted the increased monetization opportunities that the mosaic player creates, as well as the personalization for users. All of Ooyala's analytics are included in the mosaic player.
FreeWheel has released its quarterly Video Monetization Report for Q2 2013, and among other things, it shows a gap in video ads viewed on smartphones vs. videos viewed on them. Per the chart below, FreeWheel found that although 13.2% of videos were viewed on smartphones, just 5.6% of video ads were viewed on them. Tablets had a gap too, albeit smaller, with 4.3% of video views and 3% of ad views, while the ration of connected TV device views to ads was in-line at 1.2%-1.3%. Only desktop ad views surpassed video views in relative viewership.
There was an eye-opening data point in VEVO's viewership report for the first half of 2013, published this week: 50% of its U.S. video views now come from mobile, tablet and connected TV devices. In fact, in an interview on Bloomberg in late August (see below), VEVO CEO Rio Caraeff said non-desktop U.S. views are now over 500 million per month, more than half of its approximately 1 billion U.S. monthly views. He also characterized non-desktop as the fastest growing part of VEVO's business.
The 50% non-desktop number is the highest I've seen disclosed by any online video content provider. Over the past year, when I've informally asked content providers about mobile/connected TV views, I've typically heard 25%-30%. By comparison, YouTube (note, VEVO is the largest partner) says on its site that mobile is 25% of its global watch time.
Mobile is emerging as the locus of innovation in the video user experience, with yesterday's unveiling of the new Yahoo Screen app as the latest evidence. Content providers appear to have realized that the tablet, in particular, offers a new navigation canvas that enables elegant design and graphics with intuitive touch-based interactivity. Combined, the user can be immersed in content to an unprecedented level.
I'm pleased to present the 194th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. First up this week we discuss CBS CEO Leslie Moonves' remarks on CNBC essentially declaring victory in the company's retrans dispute with Time Warner Cable because it had preserved its ability to license its programs to Netflix and Amazon. Listeners will recall that 3 weeks ago on the podcast we talked about how OTT licensing was at the heart of the dispute and the consequences for TV Everywhere.
Next we transition to questioning whether there's any real benefit for TV networks and pay-TV operators to stream linear channels to connected TVs. Colin observes that recent data from the BBC indicating very low levels of linear streaming on connected TVs appears to question the value of the Disney-Apple TV and Time Warner Cable-Xbox 360 deals. We speculate that these are mainly meant for 2nd or 3rd TVs that don't have pay-TV set-top boxes.
Last, we chat briefly about the massive 3-part series that the NY Times ran just before Labor Day on ESPN's dominant role in college football - a long, but fascinating read. As I wrote, it's well worth the time for anyone interested in the influence of big time TV money not only on college sports but also on the broader American higher education system.
Click here to listen to the podcast (17 minutes, 41 seconds)