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Sunday, March 1, 2015

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #262 - Candid Discussion of Net Neutrality's Risks

    I'm pleased to present the 262nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. Today we candidly discuss the potential impact of the FCC's new net neutrality regulations.

    Over the past 20 years we've all benefited from a continuous improvement in wired and mobile broadband connectivity (albeit not perfectly consistent by geography or provider), fostered mainly by a "light touch" regulatory environment that spurred private sector ISPs to invest tens of billions of dollars in network upgrades. Content and services have flourished across both wired and mobile networks.

    Although I strongly believe we should continue to have an open Internet, and have no issue with rules that would have ensured that, I explain why using the 80 year-old Title II model to classify broadband as a utility was incorrect. Mainly I believe it will drive lots of litigation and create lots of regulatory uncertainty for broadband ISPs, which translates into disincentives to invest and further upgrade their networks. As a result, ongoing innovations in content and services, which rest on the foundation of broadband improvements, will inevitably be impacted.

    Further, I'm always wary of the risk of "unintended consequences" that accompany any new regulations. As such, preemptive regulation - such as yesterday's - where no fundamental problem even yet exists, makes me even more anxious. In short, my attitude is "don't fix what ain't broke."

    I fully recognize that I hold a minority opinion on this because I've discussed the topic with many people in the industry already. Colin disagrees with me, for example, because he believes the disincentive to invest argument is overblown. Unfortunately, I think the whole net neutrality debate has become so confused and politicized that any real purpose of potential government intervention has long since been lost.

    Listen in to learn more!



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

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #261 - TV Everywhere Advances, Linear TV Comes Online

    I'm pleased to present the 261st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week we return to the topic of TV Everywhere, which we've discussed on previous episodes. While TV Everywhere's challenges are well-understood, this week Comcast released encouraging adoption data, which we dig into.

    Comcast also announced it now offers over 70 linear networks via TVE, in addition to on-demand choices. Related, NBC said this week that it will offer authenticated access to its linear feed via its app, but only in its O&O markets. Colin notes that's a very different approach than CBS is using for linear, which is only available via its All-Access service that costs $5.99/month.

    Aside from improved content for TVE, Colin and I also observe that monetization is also improving, with technology providers BlackArrow and This Technology, as examples, recently sharing product updates on dynamic ad insertion (here and here).

    Listen in to learn more!



    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 5 seconds)

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

     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #260 - Will Sling TV's Linear-Only Model Work?

    I'm pleased to present the 260th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week we dig into whether Sling TV's linear-only model can work. I believe Dish and Sling TV deserve a lot of credit for trying to innovate the pay-TV experience, and in certain key respects like the sign-up process, pricing and slimmer bundles, Sling TV distinguishes itself.

    But, as I wrote yesterday, Sling TV's linear-only viewing model seems completely misaligned for its broadband-only millennial target audience. Well-loved features like VOD, DVR, binge-viewing and ad-skipping are missing from Sling TV. Using Sling TV (regardless of its availability on connected and mobile devices) feels like a throwback to 5+ years ago.

    Colin is slightly more sanguine about Sling TV, though he too believes it's not a fit for millennials. Rather, he thinks there could be a small market for it among existing pay-TV subscribers (of course something Sling TV is loath to do).

    It's quite possible that today's Sling TV is just a gen one version and key on-demand/DVR features will be added. These are critical for Sling TV to succeed.

    Listen in to learn more!



    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 23 seconds)

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

     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #259 - Mobile Video's Growth, Debating Net Neutrality

    I'm pleased to present the 259th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week, we discuss mobile video's explosive growth. Cisco's new forecast puts mobile video's share of overall mobile traffic at 72% by 2019, up from 55% in 2014. Mobile video will account for 17.4 exabytes out of the 24.3 exabytes that cross global mobile networks in 2019. We dig into the contributing factors.

    Next up, this week saw the long-expected announcement from FCC chairman Tom Wheeler of net neutrality rules for broadband ISPs. The proposed reclassification to Title II follows President Obama's strong recommendation. While I agree that broadband is now a lifeline service, to me this still feels like a solution in search of a genuine problem. Colin disagrees and thinks Title II is the right move. We also discuss the prospects for approval of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger in light of the new regulations.

    Listen in to learn more!



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

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

     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #258 - Super Bowl Streaming

    I'm pleased to present the 258th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Super Bowl Sunday is upon us. In today's podcast Colin and I first explore the huge role online video has had in driving up the value of Super Bowl ads, which NBC now approximates at $10 million per spot. But despite the ads' tens of millions of incremental online views, we're both still somewhat mystified why the ads don't place more value on viewer engagement, a topic I explored yesterday.

    We then turn our attention to NBC's plan to stream 11 hours of programming on Sunday (including the game) without any TV Everywhere style authentication.

    As Colin explains, "Super Stream Sunday" is correctly focused on educating viewers about TV Everywhere. But Colin notes one big drawback, which is that the game won't be available on smartphones, since Verizon has the exclusive mobile streaming rights. That means smartphone-wielding millennials could be disappointed.

    Listen in to learn more!



    Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 52 seconds)

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

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

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

     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #255 - Assessing Sling TV's Prospects; CES Recap

    I'm pleased to present the 255th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week we assess the prospects for Dish Network's upcoming Sling TV OTT service, which Colin and I each wrote about earlier this week (here and here). We both see Sling TV's slim programming selection as its biggest challenge. Dish is confronting the challenge that both broadcast and cable TV networks are very expensive to carry and so, to the extent Dish wants to keep Sling TV as affordable as possible, it must severely limit what's included.

    We then recap some of the news out of CES that caught our attention including several announcements around 4K TV, the Cisco-Charter partnership for cloud delivery/security and FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's plan to regulate broadband under Title II.

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 13 seconds)



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

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

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

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

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

     
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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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