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  • VideoNuze Podcast #340: Mobile Video Soars, With Big Changes Ahead in 2017

    I'm pleased to present the 340th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we return to the topic of mobile video, which we last discussed in June. Mobile video has reached a milestone, according to new Ooyala data, reaching nearly 51% of all video views, which is 10 times greater share than just 4 years ago.

    Mobile video has soared mainly due to the proliferation of smartphones. However monthly data caps have curbed mobile video, as users have learned how expensive exceeding their plans can be. This is why T-Mobile’s “Binge-On” has been so popular and why we’re now seeing the advent of other “zero-rated” services like DirecTV Now.

    But as Colin and I discuss, mobile video could get a big boost in 2017 as Comcast and Charter both announced this week they’ll enter the mobile business (here and here). Because they’ll be leveraging millions of their WiFi hotspots, they will likely be able to not only offer bigger data plans, but also charge subscribers less by bundling mobile phone with other services.

    (Note, one clarification - I said I didn’t know of any video service on Verizon Wireless that is zero-rated, but in fact Go90 is.)

    Listen in to learn more
     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #339: Turner Moves Toward Direct-to-Consumer; Tough Realities for Skinny Bundles

    I'm pleased to present the 339th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week we discuss Time Warner’s investment earlier this week in You.i TV, a video app development platform. Colin notes that the acquisition furthers Turner’s strategy of owning its own technology and going direct-to-consumer. From my standpoint, You.i TV is critical in streamlining Turner’s app development across multiple connected devices, where viewing is migrating.

    We then transition to talking about skinny bundle research from Altman Vilandrie & Co., which I wrote about yesterday. The data confirmed my skepticism about how difficult it will be for skinny bundle providers to offer sufficiently comprehensive channel lineups while still enticing subscribers with cost savings. We dig into some of the most salient data points.

    (apologies, the recording quality was a little sub-par this week)

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 16 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #338: The Rise of Dumb Authentication Services and Amazon’s Disruptive Role

    I'm pleased to present the 338th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Today we first dig into an idea Colin outlined earlier this week, that pay-TV could become a “dumb authentication service” as the trend of subscribers migrating their TV viewing away from set-top boxes and toward authenticated TV apps on connected TV devices gains momentum. This is an important shift that is already happening for many people (listen to our podcast 2 weeks ago for more).

    In this model pay-TV operators still continue to authenticate viewers and manage billing, but do little else. In fact, the FCC’s current plans to “unlock the box” mean the scenario has even more credibility. We agree that’s a precarious place for operators to be and opens up opportunities for disruptors, like Amazon.

    Speaking of Amazon, just this week it made 2 important updates to its Fire TV devices which reinforce the growing role the company is playing in the SVOD and TV ecosystems and why it so well-positioned. Building on this, just today Bloomberg reported Amazon is now eyeing live sports deals, which would push it even further into pay-TV’s turf.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 32 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #337: TV Everywhere Viewing Migrates to Connected TVs

    I'm pleased to present the 337th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week Colin and I discuss the highlights of Adobe’s new Q2 2016 TV Everywhere report. The headline data point is that 44% of time spent viewing TV Everywhere is actually happening via connected TV devices in the home. That’s up from 27% in Q2 ’15. Whereas TV Everywhere was touted as an on-the-go viewing feature, the new data suggests that most viewers instead look at it as a more convenient way to watch TV at home.

    With the surge in connected TV viewing, browser-based time spent viewing share fell from 33% a year ago to 16% in Q2 ’16. Android was up from 11% to 13%, whereas iOS was down from 29% to 27%. More broadly, using Adobe’s data, Colin shares his calculations about how much TV Everywhere’s momentum slowed in Q2 ’16.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 35 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #336: Olympics Viewing Shifts to Online

    I'm pleased to present the 336th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Like tens of millions of others, Colin and I have been watching our fair share of the Olympics. And like lots of others as well, instead of watching on linear TV, much of our viewing has been via the NBC app. Although linear TV viewing of the Olympics is down this year, NBC has reported that over 2 billion minutes have been streamed.

    That reflects a broader shift in viewing behavior over the last few years as consumers move from linear to on-demand viewing using various devices. Colin and discuss the implications of this and what we might see in 2020.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 44 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #335: Disney Bets on BAMTech; Hulu Cuts Loose Free Service

    I'm pleased to present the 335th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week, Colin and I dig into Disney’s new $1 billion investment in BAMTech, the technology spin-off of Major League Baseball Advanced Media. We both like the move as it further positions Disney to capitalize on online delivery, while protecting itself from ongoing changes in viewers’ behavior. In this case, Disney’s sheer size gives it the resources to keep its options open.

    Next up, Colin and I were both surprised by Hulu’s move earlier this week to jettison its free, ad-supported viewing service to a new partnership with Yahoo. Colin wrote a great piece earlier this week listing the 5 most important reasons why he thinks this was a mistake, which we discuss. Hulu continues evolving away from its roots, as it prepares to launch its skinny bundle next year, which brings its own set of challenges.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 51 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #334: Debating Whether Hulu’s Skinny Bundle Makes Sense (Part 2)

    I'm pleased to present the 334th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    In this week’s podcast, Colin and continue the debate we began back in early May (see here) about whether Hulu’s “skinny bundle” makes sense. We took up the debate again because earlier this week Time Warner announced that it was acquiring a 10% interest in Hulu and that its ad-supported cable networks would be included in the skinny bundle.

    As I wrote on Wednesday, the deal seems to muddy Hulu’s skinny bundle proposition further. With all of the TW networks included, Hulu’s cost of programming also rises, in turn driving up the skinny bundle’s retail price. If the bundle ends up starting at $40, $50 or $60 per month, it won’t be able to create meaningful cost savings vs. pay-TV. Even with TW’s networks, there’s still the “Swiss cheese” risk inherent to all skinny bundles - not offering enough breadth to satisfy a family. If all that isn’t enough, Hulu will be competing with its best customers, a very risky approach.

    Colin disagrees and thinks this is a big opportunity for networks to take more control of their destiny. Colin argues that given all the uncertainty of the video market, being able to experiment and get actionable insights from viewer data is valuable. In short, he only sees upside opportunity.

    It’s a great debate and we’re both very eager to see how the Hulu skinny bundle will actually look when it’s introduced.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 2 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #333: Assessing Facebook’s Video-First Opportunities and Challenges

    I'm pleased to present the 333rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Facebook’s blowout Q2 earnings this week attest to how thoroughly the company is capitalizing on mobile. But with its intention to become video-first, Facebook is now embarking on a whole new set of challenges and opportunities, most particularly around monetization, where the company’s massive scale and unique targeting offsets its avoidance of pre-rolls, the workhorse video ad unit.

    In today’s podcast, Colin and I further assess Facebook’s video content initiatives (especially Facebook Live) and how they will be monetized. We also contrast Facebook’s live-streaming media partnerships with those of Twitter, which is very focused on live sports and becoming the place for digital water-cooler conversations around them.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 6 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #332: Understanding Netflix’s Sputtering Subscriber Growth

    I'm pleased to present the 332nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Earlier this week Netflix released its Q2 ’16 results, showing abysmal subscriber growth both domestically and internationally. Netflix largely blamed the downturns on rate increases that kicked in for longer-term subscribers and the media coverage of them.

    In today’s podcast, Colin and I dig into what we believe is happening. As we both wrote earlier this week (here and here), competition and market saturation are playing a big role, resulting in much more fragile subscriber retention. Meanwhile Netflix may have miscalculated just how big the international opportunity really is, especially in newer markets. In particular, we’re both mystified how Netflix could have launched in 130 countries in January, and yet seen international subscriber additions decline by 36% year-over-year.

    Overall, it’s an incredibly murky picture and the next few quarters will be pivotal in understanding how much growth still lies ahead for Netflix.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 20 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #331: Broadcast TV Networks are Taking Different Approaches to Online Video

    I'm pleased to present the 331st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Broadcast TV networks are taking different approaches to online video and this week saw updated online initiatives from Fox and ABC with the former announcing live-streaming of its primetime lineup in all 210 U.S. markets and the latter launching updates to its online service including classic shows, original digital series and more.

    Meanwhile NBC is gearing up for the Olympics in 3 weeks, which promises to be the most ambitious online sports event to date. And CBS is continuing to aggressively pursue its own independent path online, even as recent rumors have the network participating in YouTube’s forthcoming online subscription service.

    In this week’s discussion Colin and I review the Fox and ABC moves, comparing and contrasting them as well as NBC’s and CBS’s approaches.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 11 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #330: Comcast-Netflix is a Big Win; Video is a Hit for Amazon Prime Members

    I'm pleased to present the 330th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Colin and I were both very enthusiastic about news earlier this week that Comcast will integrate Netflix into its X1 set-top box, a move we’ve been advocating for a while. In this week’s podcast we discuss how complicated this negotiation must have been, and why joint subscribers will be the big winners.

    Surely a motivating factor for Comcast was the acknowledgment that viewers are spending more time on SVOD, which new research from IBM Cloud Video highlighted this week.

    More specifically, the research showed how important video has become for Amazon Prime members, with 75% of them now watching. By not charging for video in Prime, Amazon is potentially a big disruptor in the video/TV industry down the road.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 9 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #329: New Data Shows Continued Evolution of TV and Video

    I'm pleased to present the 329th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    There was lots of data this week showing the continued evolution of TV and video, with viewers taking further control of their experiences. On this week’s podcast we discuss some of the most relevant findings. We start with Nielsen’s Total Audience Report, which among other things highlighted a 13% year-over-year decline in linear viewing by 12-17 year-olds and SVOD pulling even with DVRs in U.S. household penetration. Separate, Nielsen also gave a glimpse of its ability to track viewership in SVOD services this week, citing Netflix's season 4 premiere of "Orange is the New Black" as attracting 6.7 million viewers, which would make it the second-most watched show on cable.

    Nielsen also noted the increasing role of connected TV devices, a point that new Magid research also emphasized. Colin and I agree that the virtuous cycle of proliferating connected TVs, strong SVOD content and robust broadband infrastructure are contributing to a leveling of the playing field in the living room between OTT and pay-TV.

    A key ingredient in OTT’s rise is delivery quality, and Colin also touches on new research he did for Verizon Digital Media Services that reinforces viewers’ intolerance for lower-quality experiences. Colin will be doing a webinar next Wednesday, further digging into his findings.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 12 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #328: A Milestone Week for Live-Streaming

    I'm pleased to present the 328th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    It’s been a milestone week for live-streaming, starting with news that Facebook is spending $50 million with media partners to create content for Facebook Live. Then there was C-SPAN live-streaming the Democrats’ gun protest sit-in via Facebook Live and Periscope after C-SPAN’s cameras were shut down.

    Meanwhile, adding more momentum to live-streaming this week, Tumblr announced that it would support live-streaming via YouNow, Kanvas, Upclose and YouTube. And then just yesterday, YouTube announced that it will soon introduce mobile live-streaming within the YouTube app - arguably a catch-up move given Periscope, Meerkat and others already enabling this for a while - but significant given YouTube’s massive scale. Last but not least, game 7 of the NBA finals garnered WatchESPN its largest audience ever for an NBA game, with nearly 1.8 million viewers.

    In today’s podcast we discuss Facebook’s live-streaming moves and the industry’s broader opportunity. I continue to be very bullish on live-streaming’s potential and believe we’ll see a lot of interesting applications of it going forward.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 31 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #327: Can VRV Capitalize on Crunchyroll’s Success With Niche Audiences?

    I'm pleased to present the 327th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week, Ellation, which is backed by Otter Media, itself a joint venture of The Chernin Group and AT&T, announced a new SVOD service called VRV (pronounced “Verve”). VRV is targeted mainly to the gamer/geek audience with a mix of anime, animation, gaming, comedy, fantasy and technology content.

    While VRV has multiple content partners already signed up to participate, Crunchyroll, the anime SVOD service in which Otter Media holds a majority stake, is clearly the anchor tenant of VRV. Crunchyroll is perhaps the most successful niche SVOD service, with approximately 750K paying subscribers, plus a larger free ad-supported audience.

    To learn more about VRV, Colin was briefed by Ellation’s head of marketing and distribution Arlen Marmel and I was briefed by CEO Tom Pickett. Colin is very enthusiastic about how VRV will leverage Crunchyroll and believes VRV’s freemium approach will find success with its target audience. While I like VRV’s parallels to Amazon’s Streaming Partners Program, I’m more cautious in my outlook, mainly because it’s not quite clear to me how VRV’s pricing/value proposition for a la carte channels vs. its bundle offer will work until VRV launches later this year.

    Stepping back, VRV represents further innovation in business models and user experiences for video services and is part of a broader trend toward SVOD curation/aggregation that we envision gaining momentum.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 9 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #326: Mobile Video Poised to Explode Over Next 5 Years

    I'm pleased to present the 326th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Mobile video is poised to explode over the next 5 years, according to new forecasts from Cisco (which I wrote about here) and Ericsson (which Colin wrote about here). In today’s podcast, Colin and I dig into the highlights.

    When you step back, it’s pretty incredible how dominant video and smartphones have become in driving network investments for both wired and wireless carriers. Viewers’ expectations that they can watch video whenever, wherever and however they want has become THE main theme in growing network capabilities. Colin also explains specific technologies being deployed by mobile carriers to support the upcoming data explosion.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 10 seconds)




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  • VideoNuze Podcast #325: How Did Apple Become an Also-Ran in Video and TV?

    I'm pleased to present the 325th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    It’s been nearly 5 years since the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson was published, in which Jobs said “I finally cracked it,” referencing a next-generation TV he envisioned. But despite incessant rumors since of Apple’s plans to reinvent TV, the reality is more sobering: Apple seems to be completely stymied in video and TV.

    Sure, there’s iTunes and there’s a new Apple TV, which appears to be selling reasonably well, and soon an original TV show. But when you consider how Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, Comcast, Snapchat and others have innovated and flourished in video and TV over the last 5 years, Apple’s progress seems pretty modest by comparison.

    In today’s podcast we explore why Apple seems to have become an also-ran in video. We’re both surprised at this turn of events given Apple’s vast resources, superior design capabilities and omnipresent devices (see more of Colin’s thoughts here). Perhaps the famously secretive Apple has a video surprise just ahead, but from our current vantage point, Apple looks like it will just continue to fade further behind the leaders.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 5 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #324: Exploring How SVOD is Reinventing the TV Business

    I'm pleased to present the 324th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Earlier this week provided a synopsis of a fascinating article in Vulture describing the massive changes that big SVOD providers have brought to the TV production business. The most startling statistic is that the number of scripted TV shows has soared from 36 in 2005 to over 400 in 2015.

    In today’s podcast we discuss the consequences of this explosion and speculate on whether all of this is sustainable, or whether a bubble has been created, and if so, what might cause it to burst. Colin is more optimistic that current production volumes can continue, while I’m more skeptical simply because SVOD business models are still in flux.

    Another dimension to the value of more TV shows is how important both stacking rights for current seasons and access to back catalogs are becoming for the existing ecosystem. With VOD, binge-viewing and time-shifting all on the rise, there appears to be an emerging consensus on broader availability of TV shows. We explore all of this as well.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 1 second)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #323: Rio Olympics on X1 Will Be a Breakthrough Experience

    I'm pleased to present the 323rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Colin and I were both very impressed by the demo that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts did at INTX earlier this week of how the X1 set-top box will blend linear TV and online video streams from this summer’s Rio Olympics into one experience.

    We both believe this will be a truly breakthrough viewer experience, showcasing X1’s broadband capabilities and the value of the two-way interactive network. We envision Comcast launching a massive marketing campaign in the months leading up to the Olympics highlighting how experiencing the Olympics will be “best on X1,” in turn driving new subscriber acquisitions and upgrades.

    More broadly, we discuss how valuable X1 and Comcast’s back-end infrastructure are as a platform for launching new features and services. We touch on how Amazon too is leveraging its platform for its Streaming Partners Program, underscoring the anticipated competition between big video platform owners. The role of a robust platform in determining the ultimate video winners is becoming increasingly clear.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 54 seconds)
     


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  • VideoNuze Podcast #322: How to Parse Smart Experimentation From Wild Pitches in Today’s Crazy Video World

    I'm pleased to present the 322nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week’s announcement by Amazon of “Amazon Video Direct” - seemingly a YouTube competitor and not an obvious extension for the company - prompted Colin and me to reflect on how many recent video industry initiatives have struck us as incongruous. There’s no doubt we’re living through an unprecedented period of instability in the video and TV industries, and a persistent question is how to parse smart experimentation/expansion from wild pitches?

    In today’s podcast we discuss 7 different industry moves we’ve recently observed that seem to us like long shots that are disconnected from their companies’ core competencies vs. those that seem like natural extensions of their companies’ brand perceptions and capabilities. (Our biggest head-scratcher is Dish Network’s decision to expand into in-home iPhone repairs. Huh?).

    Still, Colin and I readily acknowledge this is not hard science. To that end, we also identify a few examples that at one time may have seemed like odd pursuits, but have turned into big successes  (Snapchat’s move into professional video, with its Discover feature, is a prime example). It’s all great food for thought as we continue to assess the dynamic video landscape each day.

    Listen now to learn more!

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



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #321: Debating Whether Hulu’s Skinny Bundle Makes Sense

    I'm pleased to present the 321st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Hulu was in the news in a big way this week, confirming a WSJ report that it plans to launch a skinny bundle next year. As I wrote on Monday, the move raises numerous questions, which Colin and I debate on this week’s podcast.

    Absent more information, I’m still somewhat skeptical. It feels very risky to me for Disney and Fox to convert Hulu into a pay-TV competitor. It’s also not clear that the economics of a direct subscriber relationship are superior to the steady flow of monthly retransmission consent and affiliate fees. Finally, I wonder about how big the addressable market is and how appealing the Hulu skinny bundle actually will be, particularly from an all-in cost perspective.

    Colin, on the other hand, is much more optimistic. He doesn’t believe there’s much risk, thinks the economics are better going direct and believes the service can be very appealing. So clearly we’re coming at this from very different angles.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 40 seconds)


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