thePlatform leaderboard site - 2-6-15

Analysis for 'Aggregators'

  • Hulu Gets Distribution With 5 Pay-TV Operators, Signaling Further Market Evolution

    Hulu has announced that it has distribution deals with 5 small-to-mid-sized U.S. pay-TV operators: Armstrong, Atlantic Broadband, Mediacom, Midcontinent and WideOpenWest (WOW!). The deals follow last week's news that Hulu has signed up Cablevision as the first U.S. pay-TV operator to distribute its service.

    Like the Cablevision deal, there weren't a lot of specific details shared about pricing or packaging. The 5 operators will be able to offer Hulu's content on their advanced set-top boxes. While the set-tops aren't identified, a number of these operators use TiVo DVRs as their advanced set-tops to offer integrated OTT/pay-TV/VOD experiences.

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  • NewFronts: YouTube's Brandcast Features Birthday Celebration, Testimonials, Entertainment

    2,400 industry executives and fans packed the Madison Square Garden Theater for YouTube's Brandcast NewFront Wednesday night that was part 10-year birthday celebration, part evangelical commercial about online video/YouTube's ascendance and part pure entertainment spectacle.

    The evening began with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki noting that hours watched are up 50% year-over-year and that YouTube now reaches more 18-49 year olds on mobile ALONE, than does any single cable network reach on TV. YouTube daily viewers are up 40% vs. 2014. And in a pitch to how advertisers can succeed on YouTube, Wojcicki said that 4 out of 10 of the top trending videos in 2014 were actually ads, not content.

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  • NewFronts: Hulu Has 9 Million Subscribers and Now Seinfeld

    Hulu held its NewFront on Wednesday, highlighting its growth, which includes approaching 9 million subscribers, up 50% vs. 2014, with 700 million hours of video streamed in Q1 '15, up 83% vs. Q1 '14. Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said that 61% of Hulu's viewers no longer watch on a computer. 82% of Hulu's audience is in the 18-49 year-old age range, with a median age of 33 years-old.

    I have long wondered whether Hulu was going to be the odd man out, sandwiched between Netflix, OTT's 800-pound gorilla, and Amazon, with its unlimited resources. But Hulu is clearly investing heavily in both licensed and original content, and seemingly carving out its place in the OTT landscape.

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  • A Netflix Distribution Deal With Cablevision Now Seems Virtually Guaranteed

    Today Cablevision announced a first of its kind distribution deal with Hulu. The deal follows the introduction of Cablevision's new low-cost "cord-cutter" package (broadband plus a free OTA antenna) last week and its agreement to promote the new HBO Now OTT service. Given all of this I think it is now virtually guaranteed that Cablevision will soon announce that it will also distribute/promote Netflix.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #270: Debating Whether Netflix is Friend or Foe to TV Industry

    I'm pleased to present the 270th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    (Note, we recorded prior to the demise of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal; we'll discuss that next week.)

    Early this week, in "Is Netflix Friend or Foe to the TV Industry? It's More Confusing Than Ever." I laid out both of the arguments. In today's podcast, Colin and I flesh out the debate further, bringing in additional perspectives and data. Importantly, Colin adds his thoughts on how Netflix should be seen internationally.

    It's a fascinating debate, which our friends at MoffettNathanson coincidentally weighed in on this week as well. Using Nielsen data, they believe Netflix's audience size is already 6% of all of TV's, double its level from 2 years ago, and has accounted for 40% of TV's audience declines. They also see Netflix's share rising to low double digits over the next 4 years.

    Listen in to learn more!



    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 50 seconds)

    Click here for previous podcasts

    Click here to add the podcast feed to your RSS reader.

    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today!

     
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  • Is Netflix Friend or Foe to the TV Industry? It's More Confusing Than Ever.

    One of the great riddles of the past few years is whether Netflix is friend or foe to the U.S. television industry, including broadcast TV networks, cable TV networks and pay-TV operators. Over the years, Netflix has downplayed in many ways its disruptive potential to the TV industry (my personal favorite is when CEO Reed Hastings would say "We're more of a bicycle to their car" in comparing Netflix to pay-TV).

    But with Netflix tacking on another 2.3 million subscribers in the U.S. in Q1 '15, bringing its total to 41.4 million, the question is taking on increasing urgency. How should the TV industry REALLY think of Netflix? Below I share what I think are the best "friend" and "foe" arguments, concluding with my own assessment of what Netflix really is now.

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  • YouTube is Poised to Join Subscription VOD Land Grab

    YouTube is poised to be the next major content provider to join the great subscription VOD land grab for consumers' video spending. Per a Bloomberg report yesterday, YouTube has sent a letter to its content creators sharing its intention to launch an ad-free subscription service, though neither the price nor launch date was specified. Content creators would keep 55% of subscription revenue based on their pro rata viewership.

    Plans for a YouTube subscription service were initially mentioned by its CEO Susan Wojcicki last October at the Code Mobile conference.

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  • New Survey Validates Amazon's Success In Bundling 2-Day Shipping and Prime Instant Video

    Strategy Analytics has released the results of a new survey which validate Amazon's decision to bundle Prime Instant Video with free 2-day shipping in its Amazon Prime service. Although Prime members say they're more likely to subscribe to Prime for the shipping benefit than for the videos, once they have the Prime service, they watch the  videos almost as they much as they use their Netflix subscriptions.

    The survey revealed that 59% of U.S. Amazon Prime members used Instant Video in the past month, almost at parity with the 63% of Prime members that used Netflix. Overall, the survey found that 36% of Prime members only used Instant Video, almost equal to the 40% that only use Netflix, and the 23% that use both. The 40% of Netflix-only's are clearly a huge target for Amazon to pursue as it builds out the Prime Video benefit.

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  • Here's A Proposed Framework for Assessing the Potential of New OTT Services

    As the pace of new OTT services has ramped up, I've been asked by a lot of industry colleagues and press which ones I believe have the most and least potential. It's a great question, and while I don't pretend to have a crystal ball, I certainly have my own opinions (as VideoNuze readers know!). But even as I've been sharing my thoughts, I've increasingly been asking myself - why is it, for example, that I'm more bullish about some (e.g. HBO Now), more skeptical about others (e.g. Sling TV) and more willing to be open-minded about still others (e.g. Apple's and Verizon's TV services)?

    That's led me to think more rigorously about the criteria that I'm personally using to evaluate the potential of these new OTT services. It may be obvious, but when each of us makes judgments about a product or service, we're doing so against some implicit set of criteria. The challenge with all these OTT services is that a lot is still unknown about them and about consumers' reactions to them. On top of this the market is very dynamic. Nonetheless, I think it's still possible to create a set of criteria against which these new OTT services can be more explicitly evaluated (and re-evaluated as more information about them is known).

    With that in mind, below I have shared 9 proposed criteria that I think are important in assessing these new (and existing) services' potential (there may be other criteria too!). By scoring each OTT service on a 1-5 scale against each criteria (i.e. 1 meaning "weak" or "not distinctive" and 5 meaning "strong" or "highly distinctive," their respective total scores emerge, forming a picture of potential winners and losers. If you're interested in using these criteria to do your own scoring, I have created a handy Google doc. Feel free to access, export to Excel, modify, etc. I'm interested in your results and comparing notes.

    Here are my 9 proposed criteria:

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  • Verizon and Sony Are Now On Deck in the OTT Land Rush

    Verizon and Sony are both on deck with new OTT services poised to launch shortly, according to new reports over the past couple of days. Both companies have previously stated their intentions to pursue new video services, but haven't been specific about their timelines or anything else.

    That is beginning to change, as Verizon announced yesterday that AwesomenessTV will provide 200+ hours of original content for its forthcoming service, via 2 channels, one targeted to teens and the other to young millennials. The channels will include scripted and unscripted series along with DreamWorksTV animated short-form content.

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  • YouTube Kids App Launches, Further Pressuring Kids Cable TV Networks

    YouTube has officially announced its new free YouTube Kids app, a dedicated space for kids and families to watch age appropriate content, available on Android and iOS. The app puts even more pressure on kids-oriented cable TV networks, whose audiences were already being decimated by OTT options like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.

    YouTube Kids creates a safe, accessible, organized space for young kids. The content is organized into four categories, Shows, Music, Learning and Explore. Content is licensed from Dreamworks TV, Hit Entertainment, Jim Henson TV, Mother Goose Club and National Geographic Kids. Popular shows included are "Fraggle Rock," "Reading Rainbow," "Sesame Street," "Talking Tom and Friends" and "Thomas the Tank Engine."

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  • Netflix's Original Content and International Expansion Plans Create New Risks

    Netflix made waves in its recent Q4 earnings report by announcing a massive acceleration of its international rollout, with its goal to now be in 200 countries by the end of 2016, up from 50 today (note there's some murkiness around counting to 200 countries as well). One of the keys to Netflix's successful international expansion is offering a robust content library, which in turn means owning the worldwide distribution rights to marquee programming.

    But a new note from analysts MoffettNathanson observes that studios are increasingly resisting Netflix's proposed global license fee structure, which only allows for a 20-30% markup on the actual cost of producing the shows. Instead, studios are biased to retain international distribution rights because of the potential for far more lucrative distribution deals.

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  • Just a Month Into 2015, Signs of Video's Momentum Abound, With Big Growth to Come

    (Note, I'll share details of online viewing of Super Bowl ads and the game later today…I'm still pulling all of the relevant data together.)

    We're just a month into 2015, and there are already abundant signs of online and mobile video's momentum, with lots more growth to come as the year unfolds. Here's what's hit my radar so far:

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #257 - SVOD Services Gain Momentum

    I'm pleased to present the 257th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we focus on the momentum of SVOD services, in particular internationally. Netflix shared big news earlier this week in its solid Q4 results that it would expand to 200 countries over the next 2 years and generate material profitability by then as well.

    (One quibble  that Colin and I discuss is the fact that there are actually only 196 countries in the world, and that includes unlikely targets such as North Korea, Angola, Russia, etc. A Netflix spokesman subsequently told me that their list includes territories and dependencies, though he wasn't able to say how many. Regardless, Netflix plans to be in all countries and territories where it can legally operate.)

    Beyond Netflix, Amazon is also on a roll, with its Golden Globes wins, Woody Allen deal, and new movies initiative. And note this Saturday it's running a special on Prime for $72 (vs. the regular $99 rate), which is sure to generate tons of new sign-ups.

    Listen in to learn more!



    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 4 seconds)

    Click here for previous podcasts

    Click here to add the podcast feed to your RSS reader.

    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today!

     
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  • Netflix's Q4 '14 Results: Growth Accelerates Abroad, Slows in U.S.

    Netflix reported solid Q4 2014 results yesterday, with subscriber growth accelerating internationally, while slowing in the U.S. Internationally, the company added 2.43 million subscribers in Q4, compared to 1.74 million in Q4, 13 and 1.81 million in Q4 '12. However, in the U.S. Netflix added 1.9 million subscribers, down from 2.33 million in Q4 '13 and 2 million in Q4 '12.

    Overall the company added 4.33 million subscribers in Q4 '14, slightly ahead of last year's Q4 of 4.07 million, to end the year with 57.4 million subscribers (39.1 in the U.S. and 18.3 internationally).

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  • Study: Netflix Tops for Watching Streaming TV Programs

    Here's more evidence of how watching TV programs is changing: according to part two of a TV viewer survey fielded by NATPE and CEA, 71% of respondents said they have streamed full-length TV programs in the past 6 months. No surprise, Netflix was the go-to source, with 40% having watched there, followed by 26% for YouTube and 25% for network web sites.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #256 - Our 2015 Video Industry Predictions

    I'm pleased to present the 256th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week Colin and I share our predictions for the video industry in 2015. In addition, we look back at our predictions for 2014 and share how we did (yes, accountability!).

    Listen in to learn more!



    Click here to listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 38 seconds)

    Click here for previous podcasts

    Click here to add the podcast feed to your RSS reader.

    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today!

     
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  • VideoSchmooze [VIDEO] - Nielsen and LRG Analysts Dispel Video Myths

    Below is the full video of the opening season at the recent VideoSchmooze: Online Video Leadership Forum, featuring Dounia Turrill, SVP, Client Insights, Nielsen and Bruce Leichtman, President and Principal Analyst, Leichtman Research Group, with me moderating. It was a fascinating session with Bruce and Dounia dispelling many of the myths around the changing video landscape, while zeroing in on the trends that matter most.

    Among the topics we explored were cord-cutting and pay-TV seasonality, how SVOD is substituting for linear TV viewing, how Netflix is penetrated across different demographics, whether CBS All Access and HBO OTT will succeed, why too much attention is paid to millennials' viewing habits, why TV Everywhere is being marketed incorrectly, and how ad dollars are shifting from TV to online video, plus others.

    Watch the video now

     
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  • Discovery Strikes Its First Distribution Deal With Hulu

    Discovery has unveiled its first distribution deal with Hulu this morning. The most prominent program included in the SVOD deal is "Deadliest Catch." Other programs included are "Mythbusters," "The Little Couple," "Say Yes to the Dress," "Treehouse Masters," "How It's Made" and "Homicide Hunter." The programs will become available on January 1st.

    The deal is noteworthy because Discovery has been among the most cautious cable TV networks in licensing its programming to SVOD providers. A deal that Discovery had with Netflix appears to have expired recently with all Discovery, Animal Planet and Learning Channel programs pulled from the SVOD service.

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  • Nielsen's Q3 '14 Data Shows Huge Drop in Linear TV Viewing as Online Video Surges

    Nielsen has released its Q3 '14 Total Audience report (which is the new name for the previous quarterly Cross-Platform report), the highlight of which is the marked reduction in linear TV viewing across every age group except 65+, with an accompanying surge in online video. I charted the new Q3 '14 data vs. Q3 '13 data below.

    The big quarter-vs-quarter change that pops out is the 19.2% reduction in linear viewing per week by adults 18-24. This age group is now watching 17 hours, 34 minutes per week, which is 4h, 11m less than the 21h, 45m a year ago. While this group increased its online video usage by 20.7%, that only accounted for 25 incremental minutes per week.

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