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Friday, February 27, 2015

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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)

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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)

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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.

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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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  • Research: TV Networks' Viewership Continues Falling, With Structural Shift to SVOD Looming

    Bernstein Research has introduced a new weekly tracking report analyzing ad-supported U.S. TV networks' viewership on a year-over-year basis. The first version, released today, shows that for the week of November 10-16, audiences fell again across the board: down 8% for cable networks, 9% for broadcast and 17% for kids-oriented networks specifically. The declines were similar on a quarter-to-date basis as well.

    Bernstein has previously calculated that ad-supported TV networks' audiences declined by around 13 minutes per day in Q3, while SVOD viewership increased by around 12 minutes per day, making SVOD the dominant driver of the TV networks' audience erosion.

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  • Why Nielsen Measuring SVOD Viewership is Potentially a Very Big Deal

    The WSJ reported last night that next month Nielsen will begin measuring viewership of programs on Netflix and Amazon. This would represent the first time that any sort of granular viewing data by program would be available, offering potentially huge benefits to the ecosystem. According to the WSJ, Nielsen will use its people meters to analyze the audio components of programs. A key caveat is that mobile viewing would not yet be measured.

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  • YouTube Scores Big TV Success in Hungary, Further Blurring Pay-TV/OTT Divide (Part 2)

    Two months ago I wrote about the initial success cable operator UPC Hungary had in offering YouTube to its subscribers via existing set-top boxes. Since its May introduction, about 50% of those who could access YouTube had already done so at least once, and more than 50% of them had become repeat users. Now, 2 months later, 80% of those who have access have tried YouTube, with 80% of them returning.

    The new data was revealed by Arpad Jordan, CTO of UPC Central and Eastern Europe at the OTT World Summit in London. YouTube access was rolled out in a first phase in May to around 250K HD set-top boxes. In September Jordan said that these first phase YouTube users were watching over a million minutes per day with average session lengths of 45 minutes.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #249 - Is SVOD Finally Biting Into TV Ratings and Advertising?

    I'm pleased to present the 249th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we tackle a topic that has gained a lot of recent attention - whether SVOD services (e.g. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.) are starting to bite into broadcast and cable TV networks' ratings and advertising revenues. The mantra from TV network executives and their studio brethren over the past few years has been that SVOD licensing revenue was purely incremental to their ad revenue.

    But a slew of Q3 data, including large declines in C3 viewing (especially among under 49 year-olds), flat-to-down TV ad revenues being reported by TV networks and excellent new analysis from researchers at Bernstein, MoffettNathanson and elsewhere suggest that we may actually be at the beginning of structural audience shift from linear/TV to SVOD, with TV advertising dollars leaking over to digital and online video.

    This would obviously be significant new challenge for TV networks/studios, all the more so because their own content licensing deals are the key enabler of SVOD services' appeal in the first place - and thus the shift.

    It's a fascinating topic with many long-term implications…listen in to learn more!

    (And note, we will dig deep into this topic at the Dec. 4th VideoSchmooze NYC in our opening session with Nielsen's SVP, Client Insights Dounia Turrill and Leichtman Research Group's President and Principal Analyst Bruce Leichtman. Register now to save and to win a TiVo Roamio Plus with Lifetime service!)




    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 46 seconds)

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #248 - Fire TV Stick Risks Cannibalization, YouTube Explores Ad-Free Subscriptions

    I'm pleased to present the 248th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Amazon introduced a new connected TV device this week called the Fire TV Stick, priced at $39 ($19 for Amazon Prime members). We discuss where Fire TV Stick fits in the market - will it cannibalize sales of Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick? Or, as Colin sees things, will it instead cannibalize its sibling the Fire TV, which is priced at $99?   

    Next, we turn to YouTube's potential ad-free subscription service, which the company's CEO Susan Wojcicki teased earlier this week. We dig into YouTube's subscription prospects and its challenges. Together with HBO OTT, CBS All Access plus Vimeo and Starz (both of which also announced subscription plans this week), there's been a huge surge of interest in subscriptions, with more likely to come.

    Listen in to learn more!



    Click here to listen to the podcast (17 minutes, 6 seconds)

    Click here for previous podcasts

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

     
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  • YouTube Considers New Ad-Free Subscription Service

    YouTube, the 800-pound gorilla of free, ad-supported online video, is considering launching a new ad-free subscription-based service, according to YouTube's CEO, Susan Wojcicki. The disclosure came during an interview at Re/code's Code/Mobile event.

    While short on details, Wojcicki emphasized flexibility in providing different viewing options to different viewers. She said, "We've been thinking about other ways it might make sense for us. We're early in that process, but if you look at media over time, most of them have both ads and subscription services."

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  • Why the Timing is Now Perfect for a Netflix-Comcast Partner Deal

    If your head is still spinning from last week's HBO/CBS/potential cord-cutting news, then buckle up, because here's another doozy that seems ripe to be right around the corner: a partnership deal between Netflix and Comcast. You heard that right - two companies that have been sniping at each for years now have a perfect moment to strike a partnership deal with significant upside to both.

    First, as far as the deal itself, it would roughly follow the template Netflix has already established with large pay-TV operators in Europe and smaller ones in the U.S. All those deals' details aren't known, but at a minimum they include operators integrating Netflix's app into their IP-based set-top boxes'/devices' UI, certain co-marketing arrangements, and some type of revenue sharing by Netflix (i.e. one-time new subscriber bounties and/or ongoing revenue sharing).

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  • Data is the Real King, As Netflix Keeps Proving

    "Content is King." No, wait, "Distribution is King." No, wait, "Content and distribution are equals and need to work together." And on the debate has raged for years about what's at the core of the media and entertainment industry's success. Meanwhile, Netflix keeps proving that data is fast becoming the real king, with profound implications for all players in the industry.

    The latest evidence of data's ascendance and Netflix's ability to harness it is the company's new 4 movie deal with Adam Sandler. Opinions about Sandler are all over the board, but in a must-read interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix's content head Ted Sarandos neatly summed up why Netflix made such a big commitment to him:

    "The more global we become, the more access we have to global behavior data so we can see what people are watching all around the world. Very uniquely, he (Sandler) stands out for his global appeal to Netflix subscribers. Even movies that were soft in the U.S. outperformed dramatically on Netflix in the U.S. and around the world."

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #244 - Will Netflix Disrupt Movies' Windowing Practices With "Crouching Tiger" Sequel?

    I'm pleased to present the 244th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Netflix kicked up a lot of dust earlier this week, when it announced the sequel of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," produced by The Weinstein Company, will be available simultaneously as part of Netflix monthly subscriptions and in IMAX theaters when it premieres in August, 2015. The so-called "day-and-date" strategy prompted two of the three big U.S. IMAX chains, Regal and Cinemark, to declare they won't show "Crouching Tiger" on their screens.

    The core issue here is whether a meaningful percentage of Netflix subscribers will opt to watch the movie as part of their subscription, thereby cannibalizing potential theater sales. Colin and I agree this risk is high, mainly because a family of four would pay at least $60-$80 just for tickets to see the movie in IMAX, a stark premium over their $8 Netflix subscription.

    Admittedly, IMAX is a very unique experience, but with the quality of today's HDTVs and home theater, for many, watching at home is quite stellar. As such, theater owners seem well justified in boycotting the movie to preserve their long-term value proposition.

    The "Crouching Tiger" move raises a host of other questions Colin and I also dig into: Will it have a positive impact on piracy? Is Netflix signaling a serious push beyond TV into movies (see also its 4-movie Adam Sandler deal this week)? And, is Netflix shifting toward a more exclusive content strategy?

    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 28 seconds)


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  • VideoNuze Podcast #243 - AT&T Promotes OTT and Broadband With New Amazon Offer

    I'm pleased to present the 243rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Earlier this week both Colin and I were intrigued to see AT&T in the market with a new $39 per month offer putting broadband and OTT front and center, with HBO/HBO Go plus a year of Amazon Prime. Just the low tier of U-verse U-basic TV is included. Colin and I both interpreted this as an aggressive move to attract millennials/cord-nevers.

    The offer is also the latest by a pay-TV operator using OTT services as a lure. We've seen several European and smaller U.S. pay-TV operators promote Netflix as well. Colin and I discuss how operators are clearly becoming more flexible with regard to OTT services. We wrap up with a  preview of some of the new OTT pay-TV services coming to market and whether a linear TV style package makes sense and whether they too should incorporate OTT services.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (17 minutes, 47 seconds)


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

     
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