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Saturday, December 20, 2014

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #254 - The Top 10 Online Video Stories of 2014

    I'm pleased to present the 254th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    As is our custom for the final podcast of the year, today Colin and I discuss our top 10 online video stories of 2014. Needless to say, it was an incredibly busy year for online video, making it quite a challenge to narrow our list to just 10 top stories. If you disagree with any of our choices, then as always, we welcome your feedback.

    Stepping back and reviewing the list, I think there's an argument to be made that when observers look back 10-20 years from now, 2014 could well be viewed as the big turning point for online video - the year when all of the critical pieces to online video becoming a completely mainstream experience fell into place. These pieces include viewer acceptance, burgeoning content, robust monetization, wide deployment of connected devices and mobility. At a minimum, buckle up, because the stage has been set for a huge 2015.

    Colin and I would like to thank all of our listeners for tuning into our podcast this year, and wish all of you happy holidays!


    Click here to listen to the podcast (26 minutes, 39 seconds)

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #253 - CBS-Dish and OTT Rights; HBO Outsources to MLBAM

    I'm pleased to present the 253rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Colin gets us started this week, discussing the new CBS-Dish Network deal, highlighting that OTT rights were excluded. This is noteworthy because of Dish's plans to launch a $30/month OTT service soon (dubbed "NuTV"), so it's not clear if or how CBS will fit in (CBS has recently launched its own "All Access" OTT service).

    There have been previous reports Dish isn't planning to include broadcast networks in NuTV, instead requiring a surcharge. All of this continues to make me skeptical about NuTV's prospects. Note that even CEO Charlie Ergen has tamped down expectations for NuTV.

    We then turn our attention to HBO's decision to outsource its OTT backend to MLBAM, as disclosed by Fortune this week. On Wednesday, I wrote that while MLBAM's solution is first rate, and it's a short-term win for HBO to get to market quickly, I still see the decision as a long-term competitive disadvantage for HBO. In my view, HBO needs to develop its own tech DNA to fully compete with Netflix and other OTT players, particularly in leveraging data, which I believe is the new king. Colin disagrees and thinks HBO made the right call.

    Listen in to learn more!


    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 54 seconds)

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

     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #252 - 4 Key Takeaways from VideoSchmooze

    I'm pleased to present the 252nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Colin and I recorded the podcast shoulder-to-shoulder in NYC, where we were both at VideoSchmooze on Thursday. There were many great insights from panelists throughout the morning and we share 4 quick takeaways on this week's podcast. (Note, I'll be posting all session videos over the next couple of weeks.)

    Our takeaways include discussion around Nielsen's new Total Audience report, which showed a decline of linear TV viewing across all age groups, most particularly among 18-24 year-olds; funding of high-quality online originals; a data point shared by comScore's Anne Hunter, that 36% of online video ad impressions are by bots, not humans; and last, the rise of autoplay video content, driven by Facebook.

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 27 seconds)


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  • VideoNuze Podcast #251 - Nielsen to Measure SVOD; OTT Initiatives in Europe

    I'm pleased to present the 251st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week we dig into Nielsen's new plan to measure viewership on SVOD services. Both Colin and I believe this holds a lot of potential for TV networks and studios, though we're cautious until we learn more about the data that is produced (for more, Nielsen's SVP, Client Insights Dounia Turrill will be speaking at the Dec. 4th VideoSchmooze and this will be a topic of discussion).

    We then transition to talking about specific OTT initiatives underway in Europe. Colin was in London this week attending a conference where he had a number of valuable conversations with broadcasters and pay-TV operators. He shares some specifics.

    (Apologies - our recording quality is a little shaky this week due to connection issues)

    Listen in to learn more!


    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 34 seconds)

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #250 - Sports are Driving TV Everywhere Adoption; Yahoo Acquires BrightRoll

    I'm pleased to present the 250th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    (Programming note - While we were quite tempted to add our voices to this week's raging net neutrality debate, we decided to pass, on the assumption that listeners are likely fatigued. But if you'd like us to do an episode on net neutrality, please let us know.)

    Instead, we start this week with FreeWheel's newly-released Q3 '14 Video Monetization Report (VMR), and specifically how sports are playing a big role driving TV Everywhere's adoption. As Colin wrote, a whopping  82% of live online video ad views are now tied to sports content. Live video ads themselves grew by 214% year-over-year and now account for 21% of all video ad views for programmers.

    This is critical because it's increasingly clear that sports are going to play a pivotal role in broader TVE adoption. Colin will be moderating a session at VideoSchmooze on Dec. 4th that will dive deep into the subject with FreeWheel's Brian Dutt, who oversees the VMR, along with executives from Comcast, NBCU and Fox Sports. The session is a key part of our jam-packed VideoSchmooze program.

    We then discuss Yahoo's acquisition of video ad platform BrightRoll for $640 million cash. As I wrote earlier this week, the deal is the latest in a string of video ad tech acquisitions, fueled by the market's growing acknowledgement of online/mobile video advertising's growing importance. We also dig into what the deal means for Yahoo.  

    Listen in to learn more!


    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 41 seconds)

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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)

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #247 - Hybrid Set-Top Boxes Poised to Play Critical Role

    I'm pleased to present the 247th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we talk about so-called "hybrid set-top boxes" and why we believe they're poised to play a critical role in the video ecosystem, especially for pay-TV operators. A hybrid STB can handle both traditional linear TV feeds and also broadband/IP/apps. Comcast's X1 is a great example, as are TiVo's boxes. Another technology approach which creates the same capability is from ActiveVideo Networks.

    Colin and I both like hybrid STBs because they give the operator the ability to blend pay-TV/VOD/DVR with OTT. One prime opportunity of this that I see is for Netflix to be included in Comcast's X1, as I explained earlier this week. Just to give one example of how compelling these integrations can be, Colin cites the example of UPC Hungary, which integrated the YouTube app. Within a few months, 72% of its subscribers have used YouTube, averaging 45 minutes per session.

    Colin notes the big win for subscribers here is convenience - it's just easier for people to use one device to access everything. We share additional thoughts on why we think hybrid STBs are beneficial and will become a big trend going forward.

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 56 seconds)


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  • VideoNuze Podcast #246 - Will HBO OTT Be Seismic or a Dud?

    I'm pleased to present the 246th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    HBO's big OTT announcement generated massive coverage this week. Following my initial 8 reactions I shared on Wednesday, in today's podcast, Colin and I hash out whether HBO OTT will be a seismic event (as many people want to believe) or whether it will be a complete dud.

    Given the scarcity of details HBO shared, it's still a lot of guesswork. But Colin and I do our best to frame things, including the all-important questions of what content will be included in HBO OTT and what the price point will be.

    These decisions put HBO executives in an extraordinarily sensitive position. It's no exaggeration to say HBO OTT has the potential to reshape HBO's future as well as its parent company Time Warner and more broadly, the contours of the entire TV, Hollywood, OTT and sports industries. Note however, that "potential" is the epically operative word here.

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 24 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #245 - Debating Virtual Pay-TV Operators' Odds of Succeeding

    I'm pleased to present the 245th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Today we debate the odds of success for so-called "vPops," or virtual pay-tv operators - companies looking to deliver pay-TV services over-the-top. I expand on some of the points I made earlier this week for why I think the odds are against vPops succeeding. Fundamentally this comes down vPops' inability to cost-effectively access programming and package it in an appealing way to gain market interest.

    Colin sees it very differently, believing vPops CAN create skinnier bundles of channels and successfully target highly specific cord-nevers, cord-cutters and even some existing pay-TV subscribers. Colin believes these bundles can be created at a $30 retail price point and include a compelling array of channels. He also sees room for vPops to offer full channel line-ups at lower cost than today's pay-TV operators, complete with lots of user experience enhancements.

    It's a great debate and we're both eager to see what vPops actually DO come to market with over the next 6-9 months to see how things turn out.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 50 seconds)



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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!

     
  • VideoNuze Podcast #242 - Four Big Technology Themes from IBC

    I'm pleased to present the 242nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Colin joins from Norway this week, after attending the huge International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam earlier this week. Colin was impressed with what he saw and today we discuss what he perceived as the 4 biggest technology themes there: (1) end-to-end multiscreen solutions, (2) hybrid pay-TV and OTT services, (3) cloud delivery and (4) content security. Colin also highlights a number of companies and their products that hit his radar.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 25 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #241 - Debating Apple's Priorities: Choosing Watches Over TVs

    I'm pleased to present the 241st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week Colin and I debate Apple's priorities, as the company has chosen a major push into the smart watch category instead of pursuing smart TVs and more robust connected TV devices.

    Earlier this week I wrote how I find it confounding that Apple hasn't been more proactive about staking a claim in the digital living room, even as Roku, TiVo, Google, Amazon and many others have. To me, it's a big missed opportunity for Apple that the company hasn't laid down as big a bet on the digital living room as it now has on watches.

    Conversely, Colin thinks Apple has its priorities right. He articulates numerous reasons why the watch play is savvy and why Apple hasn't yet pursued the living room more aggressively. It's a solid debate with no clear right or wrong answers. Listen in and let us know what you think!

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


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  • VideoNuze Podcast #240 - NFL Now Looks Brilliant; Ericsson Data Highlights OTT's Edge

    After a 2 week hiatus while I was traveling in France, nScreenMedia's Colin Dixon and I are back with the 240th edition of our weekly podcast.

    The NFL season is now officially underway and with the launch of the NFL Now app, the league is promising to deliver an unprecedented fan experience. Though it's still quite early, Colin and I discuss why NFL Now looks like a very smart move. We're especially impressed with how the NFL is threading the needle between preserving the value in its multi-billion dollar broadcast/cable TV deals while aggressively pursuing online/mobile opportunities. However, for watching live games online, we also note how convoluted the TV Everywhere experience will be this season.

    Before we get to the NFL, Colin shares insights on a new report from Ericsson Consumer Lab, which found that OTT providers are surpassing pay-TV providers in customer satisfaction. Colin compares the data for four criteria - price, quality, mobility and content. I think the report is directionally correct, but question how valid it is to compare OTT services that cost around $8/month with pay-TV that can cost 10x this amount. It's worth noting another key takeaway from the report, which is that almost as many people now watch streaming video per week (75%), as watch scheduled broadcast TV (77%).

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (18 minutes, 23 seconds)


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  • VideoNuze Podcast #239 - Digging Deeper Into FreeWheel's Q2 '14 Video Monetization Report

    I'm pleased to present the 239th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Today we dig deeper into FreeWheel's Q2 '14 Video Monetization Report. Yesterday I briefly highlighted the data around TV Everywhere, and first we discuss that, with Colin adding data from other sources that tempers the picture a bit.

    We're also both intrigued by the lengthening ad loads FreeWheel found and discuss viewers' tolerance levels for more ads. Finally we examine the distribution of viewing devices FreeWheel found, including a comparison to distribution in the UK and other data Colin shares.

    Once again the report can be downloaded here.

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 40 seconds)


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  • VideoNuze Podcast #238 - Fox, Time Warner and the Imperative of Investing for the Future

    I'm pleased to present the 238th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we talk about the now fizzled Fox-Time Warner deal and the imperative of investing for the future.  As I wrote, I think the deal's collapse is actually a positive outcome for Fox, as it was a risky bet to double down on the saturated and stressed pay-TV ecosystem. A more forward-looking, growth-oriented investment strategy would capitalize on changes being driven by online and mobile video.

    Two of the biggest changes are among viewers and advertisers. Illustrating how younger viewers' attitudes are quickly evolving, we discuss new data showing YouTube stars are now more influential among American teens than Hollywood celebrities.

    Meanwhile, underscoring how advertisers are now able to take their messages directly to consumers, we note that Nike dominated World Cup branded video viewership even though it wasn't even an official event partner. Another great example is Acura's creative sponsorship of Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."

    Last but not least, this week brought news that Netflix's subscription revenue for Q2 '14 edged out HBO's for the same period - an important milestone showing how OTT business models are coming of age.

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (18 minutes, 47 seconds)

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

     
  • VideoNuze Podcast #237 - Is YouTube Indomitable or Is It Vulnerable to New Competitors?

    I'm pleased to present the 237th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we dive deep into the question of whether YouTube is indomitable or vulnerable to new competitors. Colin observes that the 45% revenue split YouTube keeps has opened the door for everyone from Vessel (former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar's startup) to Yahoo to others to approach YouTube stars about better deal terms. Major MCNs like Maker Studios (acquired by Disney) and Fullscreen (rumored to be acquired by Otter Media) are expanding beyond YouTube with their own properties.

    However, I don't see much changing with the revenue split, except maybe the largest players getting improved terms. For both established and startup content providers, YouTube offers unparalleled audience reach, publishing tools and monetization. I offer a few examples as proof of YouTube's power: PewDiePie (which now has an astounding 29 million subscribers), Vice News (a pure YouTube news channel now able to take over the NYTimes.com's masthead ad) and Sorted Food (a British startup that has gained 870K+ subscribers on YouTube and now tops its Food category).

    For all of these content providers and tons of others, YouTube provides an open, flexible distribution platform unlike anything before it in the media business. Ad splits will continue to be a bone of contention, but YouTube is poised to only get stronger going forward.

    (Related, Colin has a complimentary new white paper on how to win and retain OTT customers available here.)

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 19 seconds)


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  • VideoNuze Podcast #236 - Demise of Qplay and Xbox Studios

    I'm pleased to present the 236th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we discuss the demise of two online video businesses that were short-lived, Qplay and Xbox Entertainment Studios. Qplay was founded by 2 TiVo founders and backed by blue-chip venture capitalists, but lasted in the market just 6 months. Colin provides a cogent analysis of the 4 key challenges the company faced, which it couldn't surmount.

    Xbox Studios was shut down for completely different reasons, and, as I wrote last week, it is just the latest lesson in how difficult it is to create high-quality, long-form content.

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 53 seconds)

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #235 - World Cup Streaming Recap; NBA to Drive "Sports Tax"

    I'm pleased to present the 235th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week, Colin recaps how well the recently wrapped-up World Cup did with live-streaming. As Colin notes, the final game delivered 1.8 million concurrent live viewers. Also interesting was how mainstream streaming mid-day games seemed to become. Unlike March Madness games, which have always been streamed in the workplace somewhat surreptitiously, World Cup streaming seemed completely acceptable.

    Continuing our sports theme, we then turn to a WSJ article this week which revealed that the NBA is seeking to double the approximately $930 million per year in TV rights fees it receives from Disney/ESPN and Time Warner/Turner when these deals expire after the 2015/2016 season.

    If the NBA were to succeed, and gain $2 billion or so in fees, that would translate into around $20 per year for each of the approximately 100 million U.S. pay-TV subscribers (even more when you factor in the pay-TV operator's retail margin).

    The dirty little secret of these super-expensive sports deals is that ALL subscribers pay - whether you're a fan or not - meaning the "sports tax" on non-fans is getting bigger all the time. With escalating pay-TV bills, the big question is whether non-fans will become heavier cord-nevers and cord-cutters.

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 5 seconds)



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