Jeffrey Katzenberg’s NewTV has officially announced a $1 billion financing led by Madrone Capital Partners and including all of the studios, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Liberty Global and Alibaba. Katzenberg has teamed up with Meg Whitman, formerly CEO of Hewlett Packard and eBay, whom he named CEO of NewTV earlier this year.
NewTV is the biggest bet yet on mobile video, a sector that has been a graveyard for other ventures (e.g. Verizon’s Go90, Samung’s Milk, Comcast’s Watchable, Vessel, Vine, etc.). Katzenberg believes things will be different for NewTV (still a placeholder name), by licensing short-form, high-quality content from studios and then creating two subscription tiers, one with a full ad load and one with a lighter ad load.
Katzenberg told the WSJ that NewTV programming could run over $100K per minute, comparable to network TV. Episodes will run 10 minutes or less.
Verizon reported its Q2 ’18 earnings this morning, which included a whopping $658 million pre-tax charge for shutting down its GO90 mobile video service (previously announced) that it launched less than 3 years ago, in October, 2015. If you combine the Q2 charge with the operating expenses, capital Verizon invested in GO90 plus the OnCue acquisition from Intel, it’s highly likely that the company lost well over $1 billion on the failed initiative.
For a behemoth like Verizon, a $1 billion loss barely registers. However, it’s almost certainly the biggest single investment any company has made to try to start a mobile video service from scratch (though former DreamWorks executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, whose NewTV startup has raised over $800 million could well take the crown from Verizon).
Given the magnitude of Verizon’s loss, it’s worth trying to understand how the GO90 bet went so wrong, so quickly. From my vantage point, there are 3 key lessons to be learned:
At our recent VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit, we had a great session focused on succeeding with mobile video which included Chris Carey (Head of Sales, Strategy and Business Development, Verizon Digital Media Services), Amy Mbagwu (Head of Branding Sales, Taboola), Jeremy Sigel (Global SVP of Content and Innovation, Essence), with Keith Grossman (Global Chief Revenue Officer, Bloomberg Media, moderating.
The session explored user behavior in mobile, why scale and premium content matter most to ad buyers, the role of brand safety, how mobile contrasts with OTT delivery, cross-device IDs, the impact of social media / walled gardens, how to use data effectively in mobile and much more.
As a Patriots fan, it was a bummer watching them go down in last night’s Super Bowl, but one major positive surprise was that streaming the game was a superb experience. I was on the road, and watched the entire game (except for the last minute) using the NBC Sports app on my iPad, on the public WiFi network in Palm Beach International airport in Florida where I arrived early for my flight which ended up delayed.
I could have watched on any number of TVs in restaurants or camped out on the floor like the fans below watching on TVs mounted in the terminal. But the circumstances created a good opportunity to see what it would really be like to be dependent on streaming.
Independent programmatic mobile video ad platform Beachfront Media has sold a majority stake to two private equity firms, Growth Catalyst Partners and PSP Capital, a fund started by Penny Pritzker who was previously Secretary of Commerce in the Obama administration. Deal terms were not announced.
As part of the investment, Bill Jennings, previously president of Page Science, will become CEO of Beachfront, with prior colleague Rich O’Connor becoming CFO. Beachfront co-founder and CEO Frank Sinton will become president, while is co-founder and wife Lisa Connell, will leave the business (both will remain owners).
Topics: Beachfront Media
Mobile video usage is exploding as smartphones proliferate, adoption of unlimited data plans grows and social platforms dominate. In this context, optimizing mobile video monetization is more important than ever. At our recent Online Video Ad Summit, our panel “How to Monetize Mobile Video’s Coming Explosion” explored the various opportunities and challenges mobile video represents. These include the context, measurement, fragmentation, ad formats, ad load, viewers’ expectations and lots more.
The session included Brian Danzis (Head of Global Video Monetization, Spotify), Romain Job (GM, Americas, Smart AdServer), Justin Fadgen (VP, Business Development, Beachfront Media) and Mike Law (EVP, Managing Director of Video Investments, Dentsu Aegis Network U.S.) with Tim Hanlon (CEO, The Vertere Group) moderating.
Watch the video (35 minutes, 30 seconds).
On yesterday’s Time Warner Q1 ’17 earnings call, HBO’s CEO Richard Plepler said that the company’s content licensing deal with Amazon would not be renewed and therefore would expire at the end of 2018. The deal was originally announced in April, 2014 and allowed Amazon to include iconic series like “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Deadwood” and others in its Prime Video service.
Although Plepler cited “an acceleration in our digital business” as the reason for the decision, I believe that the more important driver at work is a repositioning of how the immensely valuable HBO will be used when AT&T’s acquisition of HBO parent Time Warner occurs later this year (assuming regulatory approval is granted, which I think is very likely).
Mobile ad platform AdColony has released results from a number of clients’ recent ad campaigns using its “Instant-Play HD Vertical Video” format. Across the campaigns the format delivered an 89% average video completion rate and a 10% average engagement rate. Clients included UFC, a premium cable TV network, a global consumer tech platform and various Fortune 500 brands. The vertical video ads were inserted across popular mobile apps.
AdColony’s Instant-Play HD format, which is integrated with mobile apps via an SDK, includes a “Dynamic End Card” feature that gives advertisers a way to creatively engage users with a rich experience that includes the ability to swipe, tap, watch, purchase and access more content (samples can be found here).
Mobile accounted for 54% of video views globally in Q4 ’16, up from 46% in Q4 ’15, according to Ooyala’s latest Global Video Index, which tracks hundreds of millions viewers from its 500+ customers around the world. Underscoring mobile’s fast adoption, mobile views were 17% as recently as 2013; Ooyala projects mobile in Q1 ’17 will hit nearly 60% of views, a nearly 4x increase.
As always, smartphones accounted for the lion’s share of overall mobile viewing and in Q4 ’16, they also accounted for virtually all of mobile’s growth. In Q4, smartphones racked up 47% of views, with the remainder on tablets. While smartphones’ share grew by 8 percentage points just in 2016, tablets lost almost a percentage point.
Categories: Mobile Video
There is an unmistakable trend taking hold in the wireless industry: video is quickly becoming bait for big carriers to lure and retain subscribers. All 4 of the biggest U.S. carriers have not only launched unlimited data plans, which are being explicitly promoted for video viewing, but in addition 3 of the 4 (T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon) are also tying in aggressive discounts on video services. As I wrote recently, all of this carrier activity will drive more widespread mobile video use.
The start of the trend can clearly be traced to November, 2015 when T-Mobile launched its Binge On program, which now allows users to watch 120+ video services without impacting the user’s data plan. T-Mobile upped the ante in late 2016 by offering AT&T subscribers who switched to T-Mobile a full year of DirecTV Now for free (a $420 value). In January, T-Mobile further tweaked AT&T by adding a free year of Hulu for these subscribers because of the launch problems DirecTV Now experienced.
I’m pleased to present the 359th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week Colin and I interview Arielle Sumits, who is the senior analyst and founder of Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (“VNI”), which has become the gold standard for forecasting data traffic on fixed and wireless networks globally. The interview is focused on mobile video, which the latest VNI forecasts will account for 78% of mobile traffic in 2021.
Arielle shares many insights about what’s driving mobile video as well as the nuances of the market. We dive into the role of smartphones, the trend toward unlimited data plans by mobile carriers, the impact of “reverse migration” from WiFi networks, how video applications like social, live-streaming and long-form viewing will grow, which companies are driving mobile video content usage, how zero-rating will impact mobile viewing, 5G’s rollout schedule and lots more.
Overall, Arielle provides terrific context on mobile video’s future and her comments reinforce my belief that mobile video is at a tipping point.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (32 minutes, 26 seconds)
Mobile video is white hot, and here’s yet another data point illustrating it: 67% of U.S. consumers say they watch mobile video daily, which is almost equal to the 70% of U.S. consumers who say they watch video on their desktop or laptops daily. And 62% of consumers say they plan to watch more online videos in the next 6 months, on whichever device is handiest.
The data comes from AOL’s new 2017 State of the Video Industry Global Research Study, which covered 7 different markets.
Another day, another move by a major wireless carrier that further boosts mobile video. Yesterday, Verizon announced that it is offering unlimited data plans, for $80/month for the first line and $45/month for subsequent lines. It’s the first time Verizon has offered an unlimited data option since 2011 and is yet another sign of how aggressively wireless carriers are embracing mobile video as a key value proposition, in turn pressuring their business model of incremental payments for data usage.
Cisco has released the latest version of its Mobile Visual Networking Index, now forecasting that video will account for 78% of all mobile data traffic by 2021, increasing in volume by 9x since 2016 when it accounted for 60% of mobile traffic.
The new target updates Cisco’s previous mobile video bullishness; in 2015 Cisco forecast that mobile video would account for 72% of all mobile traffic by 2019. Overall, Cisco is forecasting that 38 out of the 49 exabytes per month that will cross mobile networks in 2021 will be video.
Categories: Mobile Video
T-Mobile is continuing its attack on AT&T by introducing a bonus of one free year of Hulu for AT&T customers who switched to T-Mobile under a prior offer where they received a free year of DirecTV Now. T-Mobile has been sniping at DirecTV Now’s sketchy service since it launched, so its new offer amounts to a make-good for customers who made the switch, but may have ended up feeling underwhelmed by DirecTV Now.
I’m pleased to present the 353rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
There are lots of reasons to be optimistic about mobile video’s upcoming growth and on this week’s podcast, Colin and I explore them. 2017 is setting up as a major year of change for mobile video, with numerous positive catalysts.
These include wireless carriers zero-rating their video services and investing in content, mobile data plans becoming more flexible, cable operators entering the wireless market, Facebook emphasizing video, smartphones’ enhanced capabilities, a more conducive regulatory environment and much more. (Colin and I also wrote about these earlier this week here and here)
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 25 seconds)
It was 10 years ago today that Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that even Jobs could have imagined how profound and far-reaching the iPhone’s impact would be. One short decade later, there is arguably not a single Internet application that hasn’t been impacted by mobile. Meanwhile, many new applications have been created solely as a result of the mobile phenomenon.
Mobile video is certainly one application that was essentially created by the iPhone and subsequent smartphones. Watching video on smartphones is now a completely mainstream behavior, which countless millions of people engage with regularly. But despite mobile video’s already impressive growth, there are at least 7 reasons mobile video is now at a tipping point, with the biggest growth still ahead:
Categories: Mobile Video
Watching video on mobile and connected TV devices is exploding, particularly among younger audiences. Yesterday’s Q3 ’16 FreeWheel Video Monetization Report noted that 22% of video ad views were on connected TVs (up 63% YOY) with 17% on smartphones (up 39% YOY) and another 9% on tablets (up 15% YOY). Combined, that means nearly half of all video ad views are on mobile and connected TV devices.
To further explore video advertising on these devices and programmatic’s growing role, at our recent SHIFT // Programmatic Video & TV Ad Summit, we had two dedicated sessions, one on mobile and one on connected TV devices.
The mobile session included Brian Danzis (Head of Global Video Monetization, Spotify), Jeremy Hlavacek (VP, Global Automated Monetization, The Weather Company, an IBM Business), Frank Sinton (CEO and Founder, Beachfront Media), Sarah Warner (Managing Partner, Digital Investment Lead, Programmatic and Video, GroupM), with Alanna Gombert (SVP, Technology & Ad Operations, IAB) moderating.
The connected TV session included Sean Buckley (SVP, Global Revenue, SpotX), Scott Rosenberg (VP, Advertising, Roku), Seth Walters (Senior Partner, Interactive & Connected Television, Modi Media, part of GroupM) with yours truly moderating.
Below are the session videos.
French video ad tech provider Smart AdServer has ramped up its vertical video ad formats to meet market demand by both publishers and advertisers. In a recent briefing, Romain Job, Smart AdServer’s Regional Manager, US, explained to me that the convergence between video and mobile is driving strong demand for ad units that conform to users’ mobile behaviors.
Vertical video has been popularized by social networks like Facebook and Snapchat which encourage users to quickly thumb through feeds and select videos to view. Conversely, some companies like Verizon with its Go90 mobile app, are encouraging users to turn their phones horizontally to view video.
Topics: Smart AdServer
I'm pleased to present the 341st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Over the past few years, online video viewing has become a completely mainstream activity. There are no better indicators of this shift than viewers’ adoption of mobile and connected TV devices for watching increasingly long-form entertainment programming. Yesterday’s FreeWheel VMR for Q2 ’16 revealed key data around these trends, which Colin and I dig into today.
Critical for mobile video viewing (which we explored in depth on last week’s podcast) to expand further is improving viewing experiences. This is being addressed in lots of ways, and I continue to believe that downloading, for offline viewing, is one of the main solutions. Colin and I also discuss the value of downloading, in the context of YouTube Go, a new offline viewing app launched earlier this week.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 56 seconds)