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Analysis for 'SVOD'

  • Netflix Evolves from Avowed Downloading Skeptic to Impressive Innovator

    Yesterday Netflix announced a very cool new feature called “Smart Downloads,” which automatically deletes an episode you’ve downloaded and finished watching on your mobile device, triggering the download of the subsequent episode. The process happens as soon as you’ve connected to WiFi and occurs invisibly in the background. Smart Downloads is available for Android devices now and for iOS devices later this year.

    Smart Downloads is a clever way of automating a manual process, so that users always have something downloaded and ready to watch (although having to manually download a TV episode clearly falls in the category of “first world problems”). Smart Downloads is a a savvy move by Netflix to increase subscribers’ engagement time, which in turn leads to higher satisfaction and better retention. But perhaps most fascinating about Smart Downloads is that it illustrates how fully and quickly Netflix has evolved from an avowed downloading skeptic to an impressive innovator.

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  • With Netflix Envy, AT&T Begins Revamp of HBO’s Success Formula

    Just weeks after closing its acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T has begun the process of revamping HBO’s traditional success formula, with Netflix envy apparently the main catalyst. According to a new NY Times article detailing a town hall meeting that Warner Media CEO John Stankey had with HBO employees, the new strategy boils down to wanting HBO to produce vastly more content with a goal of driving up engagement time and growth.

    That sounds a lot like the formula that Netflix has employed for years, spending billions of dollars per year on scores of original programs in a global land grab for subscribers, while de-emphasizing profit maximization. Of course Wall Street has fallen in love with Netflix’s approach. Conversely, HBO has pursued a more limited “boutique” content strategy, with a few key marquee programs, while maximizing profitability.

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  • Nielsen: Hulu's Growth Rate is Highest Among Major SVOD Services

    Pivotal Research has released an analysis of Nielsen data on growth rates of U.S. SVOD services, finding that Hulu had grown access by TV households by 39% at the end of May 2018 compared with a year ago. By Nielsen’s estimate, Pivotal said Hulu had 21 million SVOD subscribers, about in line with the 20 million plus that Hulu itself announced on May 2nd.

    Pivotal attributed the growth to both Hulu’s programming and its vMVPD service which includes SVOD access. At 21 million, Hulu would have grown 4 million subscribers or nearly 24% vs. its year-end 2017 level of 17 million plus.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #422: Exploring Hulu With Live TV’s 800K Subscriber Count

    I’m pleased to present the 422nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week Hulu’s CEO Randy Freer said in a CNBC interview that the company had “surpassed 800,000 subscribers” for its Hulu with Live TV service. It was the first time Hulu has revealed subscribers for its skinny bundle service which was launched just over a year ago.

    Colin and I are both impressed with the number, which represents 4% of its overall 20 million subscribers and probably puts it in fourth place in the category behind YouTube TV, Sling TV and DirecTV Now. Based on rough calculations, the Live TV service is likely generating almost $300 million in run-rate revenue now (whether its profitable is another question). That’s a strong start and more evidence Hulu has found a winning formula.

    Back on the SVOD service, we also discuss James Murdoch’s comment that about half of Hulu’s subscribers are taking the ad-supported option, (which Hulu said is actually more than 60%), but that would still be down from “the vast majority” which Hulu has consistently said in the past. Finally, we discuss the pros and cons of either Comcast or Disney taking control of Hulu due to the battle over 21st Century Fox assets. I wrote last week Comcast would benefit more.

    (Note, Hulu’s VP of Ad Sales Jim Keller will be on Colin’s panel “Connected TVs' Ad-Supported Future” at the VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit on June 12th)

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #421: Comcast-Fox, SVOD Movies, Reduced Ad Loads

    I’m pleased to present the 421st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On this week’s podcast we cover 3 different topics. First up is Comcast’s announcement this week this it plans an all-cash offer for the Fox assets Disney has agreed to buy. We don’t have time to fully analyze the move, but both of us see it as a bold doubling-down by Comcast on the traditional multichannel TV model. We speculate about whether Comcast should diversify with a skinny bundle offering, as I described yesterday in taking control of Hulu.

    Next up we discuss new research from ACSI focused on the lagging role of movies in SVOD and Netflix specifically (which is being addressed with 86 releases in 2018). Lastly, we turn to data from Advertiser Perceptions showing ad buyers are only willing to pay a small premium to be in lighter ad load environments. I’ve previously speculated about whether the math would work for TV networks by reducing their ad loads.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #420: AT&T Pursues All Video Price Points; Amazon Dominates SVOD Distribution

    I’m pleased to present the 420th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    AT&T is planning to deliver its DirecTV satellite services over broadband at a reduced cost, further demonstrating the company’s commitment to OTT video delivery. With the DirecTV broadband service and its upcoming skinnier bundle “AT&T Watch” for $15/mo, AT&T is pursuing every price point for its different video services. Colin and I discuss why all this helps AT&T with its wireless bundling strategy.

    We then transition to new TDG research showing Amazon Channels is driving 55% of all direct-to-consumer streaming subscriptions including 70% and 72% for Starz and Showtime respectively. We’ve both been big fans of Channels since it launched as the Streaming Partners Program in late 2015, and it appears to be paying off really well.

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  • Research: Amazon Channels is Driving Over Half of Direct-to-Consumer Video Subscriptions

    New research from The Diffusion Group finds that 55% of all direct-to-consumer video subscriptions are being driven by Amazon Channels. As the chart below shows, for Showtime, Channels accounts for 72% of new subscriptions, for Starz 70% and for HBO 53%. Both HBO and Showtime reported record subscriber levels at the end of 2017 and the new TDG data underscores how pivotal Channels has been in the 2 premium networks’ revitalization.

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  • Apple’s Plan to Offer Video Subscriptions Would Be Smart, But Way Late

    Bloomberg reported yesterday that Apple may enable video subscriptions within its TV app, which is available across iOS devices and Apple TV. It would be a smart, although very late, move by Apple to horn in on the video subscription boom. And Bloomberg correctly characterized it as an apparent copycat effort by Apple to emulate what Amazon has been doing with its Channels program since it originally launched way back in December, 2015 as the Streaming Partners Program.

    If you haven’t used Apple’s TV app, it allows single sign-on access to many cable and broadcast TV Everywhere apps, which would otherwise need to be individually authenticated, cross-app browsing, search and recommendations and multi-platform viewing. For people with an Apple TV in particular, it’s a handy app that aggregates a lot of content (including what you’ve purchased from iTunes) and in typical Apple style, presents it in a nice interface.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #416: Netflix’s Impressive Q1; Amazon and Best Buy Partner for Smart TVs

    I’m pleased to present the 416th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Netflix reported its Q1 ’18 results earlier this week and once again the performance was very strong, with revenue up 43% and average paid streaming subscribers up 25% to 125 million globally. Colin and I discuss what’s driving the company. With 55.1 million paid U.S. subscribers at the end of Q1, it’s possible that Netflix will hit 60 million by the end of 2018, which is the low end of the range of 60-90 million the company has long said it believed it could achieve.

    We then turn to discussing Amazon’s new deal with Best Buy for its “Fire TV Edition” smart TVs, which were announced earlier this week. We agree that the move is yet another aggressive step in Amazon’s goal to dominate both the living room and whole home. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also announced this week that Prime has hit 100 million subscribers with video continuing to drive acquisition and retention. Colin and I both see Amazon expanding further by launching a skinny bundle pay-TV service sometime in 2018.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #413: Spielberg’s Backward-Looking View On Netflix’s Cannes Film Festival Ban

    I’m pleased to present the 413th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week Colin and I wade into the debate over Netflix’s films being banned from consideration at the Cannes Film Festival. We were both struck by Steven Spielberg’s support of the ban, as it seems to us backward-looking and dependent on an outdated definition of what constitutes a “film.” That said, we both understand the deep cultural and economic motivations behind banning Netflix. This week’s BBC report that younger viewers are now consuming more Netflix than BBC content reinforces the global vs. local battle that’s unfolding.

    We contrast to this backward-looking approach, by highlighting how Hulu has embraced a viewer-first model, which appears to really be paying off for the service. There are lessons local broadcasters around the world could gain from observing Hulu’s model, starting with giving viewers as much choice as possible.

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  • Hulu Finds Winning Formula By Putting Viewers First

    In his keynote interview at New Bay’s Advanced Advertising conference yesterday, I was impressed with how Hulu’s SVP of Ad Sales Peter Naylor continually said that viewers are now in charge and have vastly higher expectations of their TV experiences. Nothing could be truer in the online video era and by putting viewers first, Hulu has hit on a winning formula.

    One great example of Hulu being viewer-first is how it provides subscribers with the choice of “Limited Commercials” for $7.99/mo or “No Commercials” for $11.99/mo. Naylor reiterated what Hulu has said many times before, that the majority take the ad-supported plan, which on the surface seems incongruous given Netflix’s and Amazon’s success with ad-free services.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #412: Deloitte Research Reveals Video Convergence; Amazon’s Math on Originals

    I’m pleased to present the 412th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    New data from Deloitte shows a convergence of streaming video behaviors among 3 age groups, Gen Z (14-20 year-olds), millennials (21-34 year-olds) and Gen X (35-51 year-olds) in terms of viewing frequency, subscription levels and binge-watching. Colin and I discuss the data and what’s  likely driving the convergence.

    We then dig into the math behind Amazon’s originals and how they contribute to Prime memberships and the company’s profitability. Jeff Bezos has spoken publicly about how video drives commerce. My analysis of Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle” supports this, proving that Amazon is a totally new breed of competitor in the video and TV industries.

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  • Deloitte Sees Convergence of Streaming Behaviors Among 14-51 Year-Olds

    The average 45 year-old may not think they have a lot in common with the average 15 year-old, but according to the newly-released 12th edition of Deloitte’s Media Trends Survey, it turns out they do. In fact, Deloitte has concluded that the media consumption behaviors of Gen Z (14-20 year olds), millennials (21-34 year-olds) and Gen X (35-51 year-olds) is actually converging, causing the firm to firm to dub the combined group, “MilleXZials.” This group’s behaviors are increasingly distinct from Baby boomers (52-70 year-olds) and Matures (71+ year-olds).

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #410: Vimeo’s OTT Free Trial Conversion Research, Oscars Viewing Plunge

    I’m pleased to present the 410th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Our first topic this week is data from a new Vimeo report showing that 60% of people who sign up for a free trial with an OTT service convert to become a paying subscriber (with an app, the rate jumps to 72%). As Colin and I discuss, these rates seem incredibly high, especially in the context of “freemium” service conversion rates which are often less than 10%. Granted, it’s not a pure apples-to-apples comparison, but still, the Vimeo data makes a compelling case for OTT services to offer free trials.

    We then switch gears to discuss the Oscars which notched its lowest-ever broadcast audience this past Sunday night, with 26.5 million viewers. We explore the range of issues affecting the Oscars, some of which relate to the divergence between box office hits and award winners while some are more about changing viewers’ behaviors and fragmentation. The Oscars ratings reflect an industry in the midst of a huge change.

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  • Fox News is Latest Network to Jump on Super-Fan Streaming Strategy

    Count Fox News as the latest TV network planning to launch a streaming service catering to its most loyal viewers, or super-fans as they’ve come to be known. According to a NY Times report this morning, later this year Fox News will launch Fox Nation, a standalone streaming service including hours of new daily programming with new anchors and commentators. The direct to consumer service would exist outside the traditional pay-TV world. No monthly price was revealed for the new Fox News service.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #407: Netflix Has Erased Up to $6 Billion of TV Ad Inventory; YouTube TV Improves

    I’m pleased to present the 407th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week, Colin explains a very interesting analysis he has done indicating that Netflix viewership may be erasing up to $6 billion in TV ad inventory annually, which could be up to 8% of the market. Colin explains how all the binge-viewing that’s going on is taking time away from ad-supported TV, a trend that is only accelerating.

    Part of the TV industry’s solution to this problem is to make ad-supported TV available more inexpensively through so-called “skinny bundles” or “vMVPDs.” One of these, YouTube TV, this week announced it added the Turner networks and plans to raise its rate by $5 per month. We discuss how YouTube TV appears to be gaining momentum and what Google’s long game likely is.

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  • Netflix Hits a Grand Slam in Q4 ’17 Powered by Hit Content

    Netflix hit a grand slam in Q4 ’17, adding a total of 8.3 million global subscribers, the biggest in the company’s history and up 18% compared to 7.05 million added in Q4 ’16 and a forecast of 6.3 million. Domestically, Netflix added 1.98 million vs. 1.93 million in Q4 ’16 and ahead of the 1.25 million forecast. Internationally, Netflix added 6.36 million vs. 5.12 million in Q4 ’16 and above the forecast of 5.05 million. Netflix executives did not break down regional results, instead saying performance was “strong across the board.”

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #402: Hulu’s Growth, DVDs Fall and CES Recap

    I’m pleased to present the 402nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we start by discussing Hulu’s growth to over 17 million subscribers, which it reported earlier this week. Both of us are impressed by the numbers, which makes Hulu a firm #3 in the SVOD market. The key number that we’d like to know is how many new subscribers are taking the ad-supported version, which has dominated in the past.

    Hulu’s and SVOD’s growth have come at the expense of viewers owning and renting video, as Colin explains in his review of recent Q4 ’17 DEG data. DVDs fell a whopping 22% vs. Q4 ’16 and rentals were down as well. The only category that grew was SVOD. Related, the dominance of SVOD makes me wonder how Apple is going to monetize its high-profile original TV shows. If Apple sticks with a transactional model it will be facing serious headwinds.

    Finally, Colin shares a few thoughts on CES product news from Samsung, LG and Intel.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #401: Top Video Trends for 2018

    Happy New Year! I’m pleased to present the 401st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, and our first of 2018, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    As is our tradition, we discuss our top trends for the new year. 2017 was extremely busy for the industry and we expect 2018 to be no different. Among our top trends are wireless providers pushing deeper into video, YouTube TV starting to break out among skinny bundles, cord-cutting accelerating and Amazon pursuing many different opportunities to build its video business. We also discuss 4-5 additional trends to watch.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #400: The Top 10 Online Video Stories of 2017

    I'm pleased to present the 400th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    In this week’s podcast Colin and I discuss our top 10 online video stories of 2017. It’s been another incredibly busy year with tons of industry innovation and progress. As always, it has been a lot of fun to analyze all of this and report on it. Let us know what you think of our choices, whether you agree or disagree!

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    Unless there’s some big news, this will be my last post for 2017.

    Happy Holidays to all!

     
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