I'm pleased to present the 205th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Colin is in London this week and shares observations on the intense battle for broadband subscribers in the U.K. BT has been aggressively laying fiber in a bid for broadband subscribers. It recently spent about 1.4 billion pounds on soccer rights to supply its BT Sport channels. Colin says BT has seen lift in both broadband and pay-TV subscribers as a result. One wonders whether Google could try something similar here in the U.S. by bidding for NFL and other rights somewhere down the road?
Speaking of the NFL, it and Major League Baseball were in the news this week for filing a brief with the Supreme Court urging review of broadcasters' challenge to Aereo. The leagues basically asserted that if Aereo is deemed legal, more of their games will migrate to cable, which of course has been happening anyway. Meanwhile Aereo's lead investor Barry Diller said this week he could see a 35% adoption rate for Aereo long-term, primarily driven by millennials. This would be hugely disruptive if it were to happen.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (18 minutes, 11 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 204th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
We start off this week discussing the latest Hulu rumor, that it is seeking a closer alignment with pay-TV operators for Hulu Plus. Colin and I both like the possibilities here, though we recognize numerous obstacles. From a user experience standpoint, the idea of finding all of a TV show's episodes in one place - from pilot to last night's -resonates with me and would be a huge step forward from today's silo'd worlds of SVOD/OTT and VOD/TV Everywhere.
Colin points out too that Hulu's owners are already key programming suppliers to pay-TV operators, giving Hulu a better shot at partnering than, say Netflix, has. Last but hardly least, Hulu's new CEO Mike Hopkins most recently ran distribution for Fox Networks, so his expertise is perfect for figuring out how to get Hulu Plus carriage with pay-TV operators.
We then shift to discussing the launch today, of Amazon Studios' first original, "Alpha House" starring John Goodman. While we're uncertain about its critical reception, we do believe that, given originals' strategic role supporting Prime, it's the first step of an aggressive agenda. Amazon is cleverly combining data, wisdom of the crowds and traditional TV skills to select which originals to pursue.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (18 minutes, 42 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 203rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week, Colin and I were in Hollywood at BroadbandTV Con, which brought together a large crowd of digital media executives. In the podcast we discuss some of our key observations including AOL's success in online video, the role of online video advertising in funding long-form high-quality originals, whether sports will leak out of the traditional pay-TV ecosystem and how one studio executive thinks there's no going back to appointment TV viewing.
At the beginning of the podcast we also touch on this week's new IHS forecast that global TV shipments will decline for the second straight year, the first time this has ever happened.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (17 minutes, 3 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 202nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week we dig into why Smart TVs are going to be increasingly challenged by connected TV devices like Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV and others. As my colleague Jose Alvear wrote yesterday, new IHS research shows relatively low purchase intent for Smart TVs, despite high awareness. Price has emerged as the top driver for consumers, which means inexpensive connected TV devices will become more attractive alternatives for OTT viewing.
This is all part of a larger context for how TVs will be integrated with mobile devices in the home. Colin notes that discovery is best suited to mobile devices, but the critical link to the TV's set-top box is still missing. Some operators like Comcast are fixing this, but for tens of millions of homes the TV remains essentially an island unto itself. This is certain to change in the years ahead as new devices proliferate.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 15 seconds)
(Note: Colin and I will both be in LA next week at BroadbandTV Con. If you're attending, send us a note and let's meet up. VideoNuze readers get $75 off registration using the code "VideoNuze.")
I'm pleased to present the 201st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week we're joined by special guest Ramesh Sitaraman, professor at University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an Akamai fellow. Ramesh and Akamai's S.S. Krishnan released an academic research paper this week studying the effectiveness of online video advertising (I wrote about it here and Colin here).
In the podcast, Ramesh adds color to his findings. Among other things, he discusses mid-rolls' high completion rates, time-of-day's low impact on completion, geographic viewership differences and abandonment of ads vs. slow-starting content.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (17 minutes, 55 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 200th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week we debate whether U.S. cable operators should partner with Netflix, a prospect that was reported this past Monday by the WSJ.
Colin and I have very different opinions on the topic - I believe that on balance it would be disadvantageous for operators to partner and integrate Netflix into their experiences while Colin thinks it would be beneficial for them. As I wrote earlier this week, I think that operators helping Netflix get bigger and stronger ultimately means it becomes a stronger competitor and therefore a more potent cord-cutting and shaving threat.
Conversely, Colin believes integrating Netflix (as a couple of European operators are doing) would help their subscribers' user experience, which should be their overriding goal. Colin doesn't see Netflix as a threat, even as it looks more and more like HBO over time. I think that's underestimating Netflix's competitive potential. Rather than partnering with Netflix, operators should be doing everything possible to enhance their TV Everywhere and VOD initiatives.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 29 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 199th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. In this week's edition we discuss the new "See It" tool announced in a partnership between Comcast/NBCU and Twitter.
Beginning in November, certain tweets about TV shows will carry the "See It" button. When users click on it, they will be given choices to watch the program now on their mobile device, tune their Comcast X1 set-top to that channel to watch on TV, set their DVR or receive a reminder (more about how See It works here).
Colin and I both like See It's potential to convert the "chatterfest" that now regularly occurs on Twitter around TV shows and live events (sports, award shows, etc.) into higher viewership. Tightly coupling social discovery and the opportunity to immediately watch is very compelling. If Twitter can show See It can actually driving viewership (note, still a big "if"), it would become a very important promotion tool for the TV industry.
We also discuss how See It works with authentication/TV Everywhere, the critical role that Comcast's new IP-based X1 set-tops play in enabling See It, how the rest of the pay-TV industry might adopt See It, and the potential to spread See It to other social sites. See It's widespread adoption will require a lot of TV ecosystem support, but if its value is quickly proven, we believe that could happen.
(Last - Colin and I will both be participating in BroadbandTV Con in Hollywood Nov. 4-6. Come meet us! VideoNuze readers get $75 off conference registration using the code "VideoNuze." Colin will also be hosting a pre-conference workshop.)
Click here to listen to the podcast (17 minutes, 19 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 198th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Just as Hulu was announcing this week that Hulu Plus is now Chromecast-enabled, new research from Parks Associates revealed that 50% of people already using Chromecast to watch Hulu content on TV are actually watching the free Hulu.com service. They're able to do this by using Chromecast's "tab casting" feature to stream from a tab in the Chrome browser. Their behavior undermines a key Hulu Plus value proposition (and differentiator from Hulu.com) of being able to watch Hulu content on connected TVs.
This isn't random behavior either; the Parks research also revealed that 34% of Chromecast owners stream Hulu content to their TVs every day, with 43% watching Netflix this way.
In today's podcast, Colin and I talk about how Chromecast is convoluting Hulu's model and more broadly how technology and consumer behaviors continue to pressure Hollywood's licensing/windowing practices. As a Hulu Plus subscriber, Colin also shares 2 other wrinkles: first, that certain Hulu Plus content is just available for "web-only" viewing and NOT for connected devices like Roku, Xbox or Chromecast, and second, that in the case of the USA Network program "Psych," there are actually more recent episodes freely available on Hulu.com than there are on Hulu Plus. I've reached out to Hulu PR for comment and will update as appropriate.
(UPDATE: A Hulu PR representative told me that permission to stream to devices is granted by the content provider and varies by show, so it's not possible to stream all Hulu Plus content to devices. More info about the policies is here.)
Click here to listen to the podcast (17 minutes, 41 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 197th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. At Advertising Week this week in NYC, the dominant theme I heard about was programmatic video advertising. Though it's an important and growing part of the larger video advertising space, it's still early days, so even the very definition of "programmatic" doesn't seem to have clear consensus.
In this week's podcast I explain the 3 main elements of programmatic as I understand them: automating certain buy/sell processes, using data to improve targeting and optimize yield/ROI, and using dynamic pricing models like real-time bidding. Depending on who you talk to, programmatic can refer to one or more of these elements.
One of the key topics of the week was how programmatic can be used by "premium" video content providers/publishers. In the podcast I also discuss this in-depth. I'm personally continuing to get my head around programmatic, so if I've misstated or mischaracterized anything, let me know and/or leave a comment!
Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 22 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 196th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. Colin was at the big IBC event in Amsterdam last week and today we discuss 3 of his key themes: how Amazon Web Services (AWS) has become deeply immersed in the online video industry, the rollout of HEVC (high efficiency video coding) plus 4K TV, and the prevalence of multi-screen video solutions.
Colin explains how AWS has succeeded in online video, particularly with cloud-based transcoding that leverage its elastic computing resources. This is a theme I hear repeatedly as well and wrote about recently with T3Media's integration with AWS.
Colin then discusses how HEVC is rolling out, but notes continued industry reservations about 4K TV. Last, Colin observes that multi-screen video solutions were on display everywhere at IBC. With the rise of mobile phones, tablets and connected TV devices, multi-screen has become mainstream. One thing Colin notes was nowhere to be found at IBC was 3D, which he views as now dead on arrival.
Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 2 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 195th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. Colin patched in from Amsterdam, where he's attending the big IBC show. Colin sat in on an interesting session with Keith Hindle, CEO of FremantleMedia's Digital & Branded Entertainment Division. For those not familiar with Fremantle, it is one of the biggest producers of TV shows in the world, with credits like American Idol and The X Factor.
Colin shares some of Hindle's key observations about how the TV landscape is shifting, the powerful role of 2nd screen apps in attracting advertisers, the paradigm of "paid/owned/earned" media and how to balance TV distribution vs. online (Fremantle is the 12th-ranked YouTube content partner). Lots of great insights.
We then shift our focus to the plethora of data this week quantifying the surge in mobile and tablet viewing. I have covered new reports from FreeWheel, Ooyala, VEVO and TubeMogul this week, all supporting this trend. VEVO in particular is capitalizing, with 50% of its views now on mobile, tablet and connected TVs (note, the success of VEVO TV has been a huge contributor on the latter).
Still, as we agree, it's important to remember that TVs and desktops are where the vast majority of video viewing currently occurs, per Nielsen and FreeWheel data respectively. This is changing each quarter, but it's an evolutionary, not revolutionary shift.
Click here to listen to the podcast (17 minutes, 43 seconds)
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(Note there is a 3 second drop-out in the audio mid-way. Apologies, we're not sure what happened. During it, I am referencing VEVO TV.)
I'm pleased to present the 194th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. First up this week we discuss CBS CEO Leslie Moonves' remarks on CNBC essentially declaring victory in the company's retrans dispute with Time Warner Cable because it had preserved its ability to license its programs to Netflix and Amazon. Listeners will recall that 3 weeks ago on the podcast we talked about how OTT licensing was at the heart of the dispute and the consequences for TV Everywhere.
Next we transition to questioning whether there's any real benefit for TV networks and pay-TV operators to stream linear channels to connected TVs. Colin observes that recent data from the BBC indicating very low levels of linear streaming on connected TVs appears to question the value of the Disney-Apple TV and Time Warner Cable-Xbox 360 deals. We speculate that these are mainly meant for 2nd or 3rd TVs that don't have pay-TV set-top boxes.
Last, we chat briefly about the massive 3-part series that the NY Times ran just before Labor Day on ESPN's dominant role in college football - a long, but fascinating read. As I wrote, it's well worth the time for anyone interested in the influence of big time TV money not only on college sports but also on the broader American higher education system.
Click here to listen to the podcast (17 minutes, 41 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 193rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week Colin and I discuss our experiences with Chromecast, adding details to our respective previous posts (here and here), as well as our initial podcast from a few weeks ago just after the device was announced.
Overall, we're both very positive about Chromecast. Among other things, we like the easy set-up, the "tab-casting" feature, and of course, the low price of $35. We both believe it is hugely strategic for YouTube and other video providers who are outside the pay-TV universe to gain access to the living room. Colin has had a few issues with Netflix crashing his Nexus 4 when trying to use Chromecast (though when it has worked the quality has been strong) and he has had trouble using Chromecast's capability of turning the TV on and off.
I haven't had any problems using Netflix, though the streaming quality feels slightly lower than when I watch on my iPad or via my connected Blu-ray player. I did have problems with Chromecast when trying to watch golf and suspect it would be difficult to watch faster-action sports.
Still, we're both impressed and believe Google deserves lots of credit. We're both expecting big things from Chromecast this holiday season.
On a closing note, we'd like to thank all of you for listening to our weekly podcasts. It's been an incredibly busy summer for online video and we both believe the best is yet to come. For those of you with a long Labor Day weekend ahead, enjoy, and we'll see you in September!
Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 16 seconds)
My partner Colin Dixon and I are taking a Friday off from our weekly podcast, but we we'll be back next Friday, August 30th for our 193rd edition, the last one of a very busy summer.
I'm pleased to present the 192nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
In this week's discussion, we talk more about the unexpected role that Netflix and Amazon are playing in the CBS-Time Warner Cable retransmission consent dispute, which has knocked CBS off the air in major markets like NYC, LA, Dallas and elsewhere. As I wrote earlier this week, though "retrans" disputes have become commonplace, a new wrinkle in this particular one is that digital distribution rights are actually the main sticking point.
Having made lucrative digital deals with both Netflix and Amazon, CBS is justifiably reluctant to simply throw digital access to its programs into a deal with TWC, as it has in the past. The standoff highlights the uphill battle that pay-TV operators are having gaining content rights for their TV Everywhere services, which remain like Swiss cheese, with major holes in program availability. It also underscores the transformational role OTT powerhouses like Netflix and Amazon are having on the broader TV industry.
Further, Colin believes there's an opportunity for new market entrants (e.g. Intel Media, Sony, Apple, Google, etc.) to bid for both digital and linear rights, and then package access for consumers in inventive new ways. Colin sees broadband's lower cost of delivery creating a big advantage for these new players. I'm skeptical however, noting that the huge expense involved in licensing content and promoting a service from scratch would more than outweigh delivery savings. But, with so much change happening in the market these days, nothing can be counted out.
Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 25 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 191st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This was a big week for online video advertising, with 3 key milestones: AOL's acquisition of Adap.tv for $405 million (the biggest of CEO Tim Armstrong's tenure), YuMe's IPO, and Tremor Video reporting solid 2nd quarter results, in its first quarter as a public company.
As I explained earlier this week, the success of AOL-Adap.tv is riding on 3 key market trends, the shift from linear TV style viewing to anywhere/anytime/any device viewing, the democratization of video production and distribution which has led to a plethora of online originals, and the influence of technology in the ad buying/selling process. AOL is seeking to capitalize on all this through Adap.tv's programmatic platform.
Meanwhile Tremor Video, whose stock has had a bumpy start since the company went public in early July, posted a strong 2nd quarter, with revenue growing by 41% year-over-year. As CEO Bill Day explained on the earnings call, key to this was a focus on premium performance-based in-stream video advertising, which grew from 20% of revenue in Q2 '12 to 34% in Q2 '13. Mobile was also a big contributor to the quarter, rising from 4% of revenue to 13% of revenue. Bill noted the company is highly focused on providing transparency and analytics around traditional brand metrics such as brand lift, engagement, completion rates, etc. to engage buyers.
More broadly, as Colin observes, online video is giving brands and content providers more flexibility to insert product placements and other deep product integration. I agree, though for the foreseeable future, I see the vast majority of online video ad revenue coming from more traditional pre-, mid- and post-roll advertising.
Click here to listen to the podcast (18 minutes, 57 seconds)
(Note: YuMe and Tremor Video's VideoHub are VideoNuze sponsors)
I'm pleased to present the 190th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
We start our discussion with data that TiVo Research and Analytics (TRA) released this past Monday, which concluded, among other things, that Netflix does not cannibalize traditional TV viewing. TRA also identified the percentage of respondents who subscribe to Netflix (and other services) who watched "House of Cards." Using these numbers, Colin calculates that about 10 million people watched the program, a healthy amount by any standard (Netflix hasn't publicly released HoC's audience). Colin sees a class of "super-viewers" whose traditional TV consumption is augmented by, not substituted with, Netflix.
One thing that caught my attention in the TRA data was that while Netflix had a 57% adoption rate among respondents, Amazon Prime was right behind it, at 50% (Hulu Plus was further back at 18%). To be fair, it's not clear whether these Prime members are actually watching video included in Prime, or are mainly focused on the unlimited shipping benefit. But, assuming that many DO watch video, it's an impressive number for Amazon, and underscores how far Prime has come in the 2 1/2 years since Instant Videos were launched.
Colin and I discuss Amazon's broader agenda and how its aggressive pursuit of video is strategic in supporting both Prime and the Kindle ecosystem (all of which I described in my post this past Monday). Given Amazon's willingness to operate on razor-thin margins, I foresee the price for licensing high-quality content continuing to rise, which will in turn pinch profitability (and subscriber growth) at pure play OTT providers like Netflix.
Click here to listen to the podcast (16 minutes, 48 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 189th edition of the VideoNuze weekly podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week we debate whether Google's new $35 Chromecast media streamer is a game-changer or not. I'm in the former category and Colin is in the latter. The caveat to my enthusiasm is that I haven't used Chromecast yet so I'm going by the Google demo and description.
As I wrote yesterday, I really like how Chromecast integrates the TV with mobile devices - something that Smart TVs hadn't achieved, but which many consumers yearn for. For many video content providers outside the pay-TV ecosystem, Chromecast offers, at last, a clear path into the living room, with increased advertising and subscription potential. If the Chromecast SDK is straightforward, I'm betting many content providers / app developers will quickly integrate it. Even with currently limited content, Chromecast sales are apparently very strong.
On the other hand, Colin is more cautious. He sees Chromecast as more of a transitional product. Colin likes how it helps the Google/YouTube ecosystem in offering an easy TV viewing solution, but doesn't see other content providers being as motivated, given other device priorities. Colin highlights the key question of how broadcasters will react to Chromecast - will they try to block its access to their online TV programs as they did with Google TV? If this is possible and they succeed, it would diminish Chromecast's value proposition.
It's a very robust debate, with no clear answers just yet. But one thing is for sure: Google has clearly stirred up the connected TV space with Chromecast. Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 16 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 188th edition of the VideoNuze weekly podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week rumors were once again flying about Apple and Google looking to enter the pay-TV industry, which Colin and I separately wrote about here and here.
In our discussion, Colin notes that any potential move would be expensive, given the need to carry many networks in a typical bundle. Colin also believes that Apple's rumored plan to compensate networks for ads skipped in a premium service it may offer has some merit based on his back-of-the-envelope analysis. But Colin is skeptical the networks will be interested in shifting their model away from advertising.
I see it the other way around; given high DVR penetration, networks could be intrigued by the idea of moving more of their economics to fees. The problem is I just don't see how the economics would work for Apple or consumers.
Regrettably, all of this is based on rumors so we readily admit we don't have solid facts on which to base our arguments. And that's why I consider Apple and Google's pay-TV aspirations to be the industry's longest-running soap opera.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 53 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 187th edition of the VideoNuze weekly podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. During the short July 4th week news broke that Samsung acquired Boxee. Today, we discuss whether the deal makes sense and how much Samsung could benefit. Colin believes that Samsung will benefit by being able to integrate live broadcast TV more seamlessly into its Smart TVs, something that has been missing to date, but which Boxee excelled at with its Boxee TV service.
While that would be a step forward, it feels to me like a relatively limited value proposition, since cable TV networks wouldn't be included unless a CableCARD slot was available. Even as a second TV in the home as Colin proposes, a Samsung/Boxee Smart TV seems like it would have limited appeal, due to the rise of tablet-based viewing and the ability to access broadcast TV via Hulu, network sites/apps, pay-TV operator apps, etc. (a larger question raised is whether 2nd TVs have much of a future themselves).
While Colin and I agree that the rumored $30 million purchase price for Boxee is a drop in the bucket for a goliath like Samsung, it's not clear yet how much of a return they'll get.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 52 seconds)