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Analysis for 'Podcasts'

  • VideoNuze Podcast #431: Sling TV is Sliding, CBS is Accelerating

    I’m pleased to present the 431st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    It’s been Q2 earnings season, which provides a valuable opportunity to check in on how different companies’ OTT strategies are flowing through to their financial performance. On today’s podcast Colin and I talk about two companies whose OTT fortunes are moving in opposite directions.

    Moving the wrong way is Dish and its Sling TV skinny bundle. Sling TV was the first to market in the category several years ago. Though it quickly gained over 2 million subscribers, growth slowed to just 41K additions last quarter as others boomed. As Colin and I discuss, a key weakness in its service is the lack of broadcast channels. The other big skinny bundles, YouTube TV, Hulu Live and DirecTV Now have all decided to pay top dollar to include them, which is helping fuel their growth. Sling TV is at a competitive disadvantage requiring subscribers to install antennas which many people can’t or won’t do.

    All broadcasters are benefiting from the shift to skinny bundles, but CBS’s Q2 results show that its OTT success extends further, to direct-to-consumer, targeted advertising and SVOD production, as well. CBS is benefiting from decisions it made years ago to retain digital rights (most famously by not joining Hulu), even though it wasn’t clear back then how the monetization of them would fully unfold.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 16 seconds)

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #430: Setting the Record Straight on Linear Viewing; Comcast Integrates Amazon Prime Video

    I’m pleased to present the 430th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week Nielsen released its Q1 ’18 Total Audience Report, which led to some media coverage that linear TV still dominates consumer viewing. However, Colin dug into the data and showed that while this is true for older consumers, for younger ones, the exact opposite is occurring: linear TV is becoming less and less relevant. Colin shares his analysis.

    On-demand viewing’s importance was underscored yet again this week by Comcast striking a deal to integrate Amazon Prime Video into its X1 experience. The move builds on prior Netflix and YouTube integrations, helping Comcast broaden X1’s value proposition. However, neither of us thinks the move materially addresses aggressive competition from skinny bundles that drove up Comcast’s video subscriber losses in Q2.

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    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 28 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #429: Comcast’s Puzzling Video Strategy

    I’m pleased to present the 429th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On today’s podcast, Colin and I discuss Comcast’s Q2 results, which it reported yesterday. While broadband subscriber additions were up to a record 260K, video subscriber loss accelerated to 140K.

    Although Comcast management admitted on the earnings call that low-cost skinny bundles are to blame, no strategy was articulated for how Comcast will respond. By positioning itself as a “connectivity” provider that doesn’t have a low-cost OTT/direct-to-consumer alternative, Colin and I believe that Comcast’s 21 million video subscribers are very vulnerable to being picked off by skinny bundles’ aggressive promotional offers (DirecTV Now from AT&T being at the top of the list). If that happens video sub losses will accelerate in coming quarters.

    We’re both puzzled by Comcast’s seemingly passive approach to defending its core video business and discuss potential explanations. Broadband’s saturation and the coming deployment of 5G both seem to limit the upside of the connectivity strategy as well. While all of this occurring, Comcast is looking to spend $34 billion or more to expand internationally by acquiring Sky.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #428: Young Viewers in US and UK Shift Away From Traditional TV

    I’m pleased to present the 428th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week Colin and I discuss new research highlighting how younger viewers are shifting away from traditional TV and toward OTT sources. Colin recaps research from Hub Entertainment focusing on the US while I share highlights from Ofcom’s new Media Nations report covering viewing behaviors in the UK.

    While the numbers are slightly different, the general trends are similar. For example, in the US, just 26% of 18-34 year-olds consider live TV their default service. In the UK, for 18-34 year-olds, 54% of their video consumption is now from OTT sources.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #427: HBO’s Risky Path Forward Under AT&T

    I’m pleased to present the 427th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    AT&T wants HBO to up its game - producing more content, gaining more subscribers and increasing engagement, in a bid to stay competitive in the streaming era. On today’s podcast, Colin and I explore why the new approach makes sense directionally, but also carries big risks. Can HBO scale up its production spending and broaden its distribution while retaining its brand positioning? It won’t be an easy feat.

    While AT&T isn’t highlighting Netflix as its key competitor, it’s clearly implied. And this week’s Emmy nominations, which saw HBO eclipsed for the first time in 17 years as the most honored network (by Netflix), is a clear sign of the times. Astoundingly, Netflix has gone from just 14 nominations 6 years ago to an industry-leading 112 this year.

    Beyond the HBO-Netflix content battle, Netflix continues raising the stakes on SVOD user experience. As we also dig into, this week Netflix announced “Smart Downloads,” a clever way of enhancing offline viewing, which will no doubt delight millions of its subscribers.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #426: Magid’s Cord-Cutting Research; Sling TV Updates

    I’m pleased to present the 426th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up on this week’s podcast, we discuss Magid’s latest research showing another uptick in cord-cutting intent among pay-TV subscribers, especially for millennials. Even sports fans are now considering cutting the cord. Perhaps most surprising, cost is no longer the main motivator; it’s not watching enough TV to make it worth it.

    That’s indicative of more pay-TV subscribers shifting their viewership to SVOD, and suggesting an opportunity for low-cost virtual pay-TV operators to gain momentum. One such player, Sling TV just made some interesting updates to its service this week which we discuss.

    I think the Magid research is part of the reason why we need to revise how we talk about cord-cutting. Increasingly, I think an equally, if not more appealing, option for prospective cord-cutters will be downgrading to a skinny bundle, rather than dropping entirely. More on this on VideoNuze soon.


    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 45 seconds)




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  • VideoNuze Podcast #425: AT&T Disrupts TV, World Cup Streaming Surges and More

    I’m pleased to present the 425th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On this week’s podcast we cover a number of topics, starting with AT&T’s newest skinny bundle offering, WatchTV, which is bonus feature for subscribers to 2 of its new unlimited wireless plans. Colin and discuss the implications for the industry as AT&T reshapes consumers’ perceptions of pay-TV as a standalone premium service to a supporting feature in their wireless plan.

    We then turn to the World Cup, which is setting streaming records, even in the early matches. Colin shares the data and his personal experiences on quality, which have been very positive.

    Next, we touch on Apple’s latest high-profile content deals, with Oprah Winfrey and Sesame Workshop. Apple’s continuing to spend through the $1 billion it allocated, but we still wonder, how is this A-list content going to be distributed and monetized? Finally we review Instagram’s new long-form video service, IGTV, which was announced this week. We’re both excited about its prospects, particularly relative to Facebook’s other video initiatives, which have been all over the board.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 25 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #424: Exploring the Benefits of Advertising on Connected TVs

    I’m pleased to present the 424th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    At this past Tuesday’s VideoNuze Online Video Advertising Summit, Colin moderated a session, “Connected TVs’ Ad-Supported Future,” with Rich Calacci (Pluto TV), Jim Keller (Hulu), Frank Sinton (Beachfront Media) and Seth Walters (Roku) participating. In the first segment of this week’s podcast, we discuss the reasons panelists cited for why ads on connected TVs are so appealing to advertisers, among other topics.

    We then transition to some of the highlights of the keynote interview with David Lawenda (EVP, Digital Sales and Strategy, CBS), with particular focus on his comments about advertisers’ reluctance to pay more just because ad loads are lighter. A range of TV networks are lightening their ad loads to provide a better experience compared to ad-free SVOD, but the benefits are uncertain according to David.

    Finally, we touch on interesting data that Group Nine Media’s SVP of Ad Solutions and Innovation Hayden Lynch made in my interview with him around the difficulties of monetizing video distributed on platforms. Group Nine’s properties generate around 6 billion views/month, but only 10-20% of them are being monetized, which is pretty eye-opening.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 45 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #423: Apple and Amazon Help Pay-TV Operators. Wait, What?

    I’m pleased to present the 423rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Apple and Amazon aren’t two companies that come to mind for helping traditional pay-TV operators, but this week brought news of both doing exactly that. Apple announced at its WWDC the integration of Charter’s Spectrum app in Apple TV that will allow users to gain “zero sign-on” access to the app’s content. Other operators have made their apps available on connected TV devices, but this was a first for Apple TV.

    Then Amazon announced its Fire TV Cube, a mashup of Echo and Fire TV that also aspires to control your entertainment center. The device includes IR blasters to provide limited control over existing set-top boxes, a rare instance where Amazon is looking to help a prior technology rather than disrupt it.

    Colin and I discuss both moves, as well as the broader context that we see for the “appification of TV.” This is already happening with vMVPDs and we expect over the next couple years all major pay-TV operators will have apps for their services available on all major CTVs. For consumers this will be a huge win as they can avoid renting often outdated and expensive set-tops.

    (Note, Colin will be moderating the “Connected TV’s Ad-Supported Future” panel at the VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit on Tuesday. Register now!)

    Listen in to learn more!


     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 44 seconds)


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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)

    Listen in to learn more!


     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 7 seconds)


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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.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
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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.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 31 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #419: New Connected TV Research, Roku’s Q1 Results; Apple Video Subscriptions

    I’m pleased to present the 419th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. We’re grateful to this week’s podcast sponsor, Ad-ID, which is the standard for identifying advertising assets. This week, Ad-ID, Extreme Reach, Adstream, and the IAB Tech Lab, released a paper about ad clouds and a universal asset identifier.

    (Apologies that our audio quality is a little choppy this week)

    First up, Colin discusses highlights from his new report, The Secret Life of Streamers, Part II, which details the rise of connected TV usage, especially in primetime. Colin shares some of the key data points, including how PC viewing has been eclipsed in the past year and how viewership patterns vary by country.

    Speaking of CTV usage, Roku reported a very strong Q1 ’18 earlier this week, with Platform revenues (which includes advertising and licensing), edging ahead of device sales for the first time. With Platform’s higher margins, Roku’s overall financial performance improved as well. We dig into the details.

    Finally, we touch on this week’s Bloomberg report that Apple may enable video subscriptions in its TV app. It seems like a smart move to both of us, though very late, given Amazon has been in market with its Channels program since 2015.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 25 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #418: Why Skinny Bundles Could Succeed

    I’m pleased to present the 418th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Earlier this week, I wrote how I’ve been rethinking the opportunity for skinny bundles. I’ve been skeptical, but I’m becoming more optimistic because of expanded local broadcast TV carriage (YouTube TV in particular has invested very heavily), parent companies’ larger strategic priorities that are motivating them to subsidize skinny bundles’ lack of profitability and the ongoing value of linear TV if priced appropriately.

    On this week’s podcast, Colin and I explore all of these reasons in further depth. Skinny bundles are also benefiting from the quality of SVOD’s programming, which makes second-tier cable networks not included in skinny bundles less missed - a dynamic that could have broad consequences for pay-TV in general. We also discuss how Hulu with Live TV could be one to watch among skinny bundles as it benefits from the 20 million plus SVOD subscriber base.

    It’s still extremely early days for skinny bundles but the likelihood of their success is definitely improving.

    Listen in to learn more!


     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 15 seconds)


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  • VideoNuze Podcast #417: Exploring AT&T’s and Comcast’s Divergent Video Strategies

    I’m pleased to present the 417th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. We’re grateful to this week’s podcast sponsor, Ad-ID, which is the standard for identifying advertising assets. Ad-ID has recently released a new paper with examples of the value and importance of using a standard identifier. Learn more here.

    On this week’s podcast, Colin and I analyze AT&T’s and Comcast’s video subscriber results for Q1 ’18, which were announced this week. AT&T has aggressively promoted its skinny bundle DirecTV Now, which gained 312K subscribers in Q1, more than offsetting the 188K loss for traditional DirecTV.

    By contrast, because Comcast doesn’t have a meaningful skinny bundle (Xfinity Instant TV is mainly a broadcast TV package that also hasn’t been heavily promoted), it felt the full impact of losing 93K residential video subscribers.

    While the underlying economics of skinny bundles remain questionable, AT&T has settled on a strategy of using their low-cost package to support their core wireless business. Multichannel pay-TV is a business that has contracting margins and accelerating subscriber defections. Colin and I speculate on whether Comcast should similarly embrace skinny bundles to support their core broadband business and have a meaningful alternative to provide to prospective cord-cutters.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (26 minutes, 13 seconds)



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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.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 7 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #415: NABShow Highlights

    I’m pleased to present the 415th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Colin and I were both at the NABShow in Las Vegas this week. I was producing the Online Video Program once again, which featured 30+ speakers on 8 different sessions. On today’s podcast, I share some of the highlights of the keynote session with Christy Tanner, EVP/GM of CBS News Digital, who oversees CBSN, the 24x7 OTT news service. CBSN has an average viewer age of 38, which is 20 years younger than the average CBS News viewer.

    Christy explained how the CBSN team collaborates internally with its focus on news/facts vs. punditry. She also noted that 50% of consumption is on connected TVs, with 30% on desktop and 20% on mobile. CBSN is an example of how OTT is giving traditional media a whole new way to connect with viewers.

    We then turn our attention to some of Colin’s takeaways from the show, including Android TV deployments and the value of open platforms, how operators are broadening their focus to broadband/OTT as viewers are increasingly assembling their own preferred services and the growth of live-streaming.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 39 seconds)




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  • VideoNuze Podcast #414: DVDs Fade Out; 4K Streaming Hits Data Caps

    I’m pleased to present the 414th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    DVDs have been fading for years now, as viewers shift to streaming alternatives. This week marked another milestone in that evolution as Oppo, which made high-end DVD players, announced it was shutting down its manufacturing. Colin shares the statistics on DVDs’ decline and how inexpensive smart TVs and connected TV devices that support both UHD/4K and HDR have gained share.

    However, the downside of streaming UHD/4K content is that it uses up a ton of bandwidth. Colin shares his personal story of almost exceeding his 1 TB/month data cap and the math behind how easy it is to do that when consuming UHD/4K content. He also explains the challenge of controlling the quality of what stream is delivered and how to overcome it.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
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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.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
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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.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 11 seconds)



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