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Analysis for 'Podcasts'

  • 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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    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today! (note the link has been updated)

     
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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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  • VideoNuze Podcast #320: Comcast is Firing On All Cylinders As X1 Shines

    I'm pleased to present the 320th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    As both Colin and I wrote this week (here and here), Comcast delivered very strong video and broadband subscriber gains in Q1 '16. Despite all of the rhetoric around cord-cutting and the fact that SVOD services - which were considered a potential substitute for pay-TV - have boomed, Comcast had its best first quarter in 9 years, adding 53K video subscribers vs. a loss of 8K subscribers in Q1 ’15.

    As Colin and I discuss on the podcast, Comcast is benefitting from weakening competition, its own investments in product/content/user experience, and triple-play bundling, powered by broadband adoption. As has been the case for a couple of years now, the X1 set-top box, now in 35% of video subscribers’ homes, continues to be the linchpin in video, driving up ARPU, VOD and DVR usage, reducing churn, etc. In an era of rising viewer expectations, X1 delivers a superb, differentiated, web-like experience.

    Given all of the above, I think Comcast has a strong outlook at least through 2016 if not beyond. Colin is a little less sanguine and we discuss our differences.  

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 4 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #319: Amazon Eyes SVOD Distribution Dominance; NABShow Takeaways

    I'm pleased to present the 319th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Colin and I are back from NABShow where I produced the 2-day Online Video Conference, which included 52 speakers over 15 sessions. One of the highlights for me was doing a keynote interview with Michael Paull, VP of Digital Video at Amazon who oversees the company’s new Streaming Partners Program (SPP).  

    As I wrote yesterday, SPP will likely have a majority of U.S. SVOD services included this year, putting Amazon in the undisputed role as THE third-party distributor of SVOD in the U.S. Colin and I dig into why that is potentially so critical and the implications it could have for Netflix and the pay-TV industry. (Colin provides a personal example of how Amazon hooked him on a subscription to Tribeca Shortlist which he never would have found on his own).

    We then transition to specific takeaways from NABShow. Colin notes that many vendors were demonstrating how online video can be delivered with guaranteed quality and user experiences, making online video every bit as good as TV itself. For pay-TV operators specifically, the imperative to move video services online has never been higher.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 41 seconds)



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    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today! (note the link has been updated)

     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #318: SVOD Dominated by Big Three; Sling TV’s Confusing New Fox Tier

    I'm pleased to present the 318th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week Colin and I dive into the Parks data from yesterday revealing that just 5% of US broadband homes subscribe to one or more of the 98 SVOD services other than the big three (Netflix, Amazon and Hulu). We agree that the data underscores just competitive it will be for the 98 and growing) minnow SVOD services to breakthrough.

    One of those 98 services is Sling TV, which this week announced the beta of a new $20/month multi-stream service that includes select Fox networks. While Colin believes it’s a smart move by Sling TV to further segment the market, I view it as both confusing and also counter to Sling TV’s brand proposition, at least as it’s currently offered.

    By separating the Fox networks and ESPN networks on 2 different tiers, Sling TV is in effect forcing sports fans to take both. That means $40/month for just the 2 base packages, and, as best I can tell there are 22 other networks that are duplicated in both tiers (meaning dual subscribers are in effect paying twice for them).

    It’s hard to see how this represents breakthrough value and simplification of TV. Rather it just seems like unnecessary confusion, likely driven by Disney and Fox licensing restrictions to hedge against Sling TV becoming too popular.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 51 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #317: Live-Streaming Battle Heats Up

    I'm pleased to present the 317th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Live-streaming was in the headlines this week as the NFL announced Twitter as its partner for Thursday Night Football games and Facebook unveiled a slew of new features for Facebook Live.

    On this week’s podcast, Colin and I discuss details of both of these initiatives, comparing and contrasting the upside. Colin is more enthusiastic about the Twitter-NFL deal, which is still a bit of a head-scratcher for me. Conversely, I’m very bullish on Facebook Live and believe it’s a natural extension of how Facebook is already used. The live-streaming battle will heat up further when YouTube launches its own live feature soon.

    All of this means that live-streaming is poised to become a much more mainstream activity going forward.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 51 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #316: Analyzing the Crowded SVOD Landscape

    I'm pleased to present the 316th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    It seems like a week doesn’t go by these days without a new SVOD service being announced or launched. For example, this week Fullscreen said it would launch its “fullscreen” SVOD service on April 26th, while comedian Kevin Hart and Lionsgate announced a new video/games service.

    In today’s podcast, Colin and I discuss these ventures, as well as Redbox’s planned SVOD service, NBCU’s Hayu (“hey you”) reality SVOD startup, Cinedigm’s CONtv, Vessel and YouTube Red, all in the context of the crowded SVOD landscape.

    We’re both convinced that ultimately viewers won’t subscribe to more than a handful of SVOD services, meaning many of these new ventures won’t ever achieve scale. To support our SVOD analysis, we use the framework I posted a year ago with 9 key criteria. I continue to believe it is a valuable tool to add rigor when comparing services.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 56 seconds)
     


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  • VideoNuze Podcast #315: Smart TVs In Flux As TCL and Vizio Pursue Different Paths

    I'm pleased to present the 315th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we turn our attention to the ever-evolving Smart TV space, which saw new developments in this week. First, Colin explains the new line of TCL 4K Roku TVs, which he’s impressed with. Like other manufacturers, TCL has opted to partner with Roku to bring its software, user experience and thousands of apps to its smart TVs, rather than try to replicate all of this itself.

    In contrast, Vizio has chosen a completely different path with its new P-Series launched this week, partnering with Google to embed Google Cast in the TVs, essentially moving the “smarts” to mobile devices which “cast” content to the TV (even the use of the term “TV” is loose with the P-Series considering they don’t have tuners). As I explained yesterday and then further on the podcast, the Google Cast approach has numerous benefits for both developers and consumers.

    Colin and I are encouraged by what may be a consolidation of smart TV platforms, likely to include Roku, Google, Apple and Amazon, in the end. Smart TVs have been a confusing space for all for far too long, creating messy, incomplete consumer experiences and leaving these devices untethered from mainstream ecosystems.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 34 seconds)
     


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  • VideoNuze Podcast #314: TV Everywhere Lags, Buffering Frustrates, SVOD Rolls Over DVDs

    I'm pleased to present the 314th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week, Colin and I dig into the TV Everywhere awareness/usage data from Digitalsmiths’ Q4 ’15 Video Trends report. Both of us found it pretty sobering that 60% of pay-TV subscribers are still unaware of TVE services and usage has stalled out, despite the industry’s big bet. The data indicates that only around 10% of pay-TV subscribers use TVE on a weekly basis.

    We then turn to the frustrations of buffering, which IneoQuest focused on in its “Buffer Rage” survey released this week. But despite the issues online viewers may be having with delivery quality, SVOD remains on a roll. DVDs have clearly been a victim of SVOD’s success and Colin notes that Digitalsmiths’ report found respondents’ usage of Redbox DVD kiosks dropped precipitously from 18.4% in Q1 ’15 to 13.1% in Q4 ’15. This week Redbox’s parent Outerwall said it was exploring “strategic and financial alternatives.”

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 31 seconds)




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  • VideoNuze Podcast #313: SVOD Adoption Surges, But Cord-Cutting Remains Minimal

    I'm pleased to present the 313th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week brought 2 data points that seem at odds with one another: even as SVOD penetration has crossed 50% penetration of U.S. TV households, cord-cutting remained minimal, with the pay-TV industry losing just 385K subscribers in 2015.

    While that number is up substantially over 2014’s loss of 150K, it still represents just a .4% contraction. That seems relatively modest given Netflix alone is now in 45 million U.S. homes. Many had predicted that as SVOD grew it would be a substitute for pay-TV, but increasingly it seems like a complement.

    Colin asserts SVOD will indeed be a substitute for pay-TV for many in the years to come with cord-cutting sharply increasing. There are lots of reasons to believe this, and yet pay-TV continues to remain quite resilient. We debate how things will unfold.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 42 seconds)



    Click here for previous podcasts

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    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today! (note the link has been updated)

     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #312: A Fuzzy Picture Ahead for DIRECTV Now

    I'm pleased to present the 312th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we explore the prospects for DIRECTV Now, the new OTT pay-TV service that AT&T announced this week. Though it didn’t share a lot of details, AT&T emphasized affordability and value, which led me to conclude it will be similar to Sling TV as a skinny bundle, and therefore will encounter the same challenges.

    However, it’s worth noting that John Stankey, CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group, later said (perhaps based on the media’s reaction), “It is a rich bundle of content; it’s not a skinny bundle of content” and went on to say DIRECTV Now “is about getting that middle road” somewhere between a skinny bundle and a full pay-TV lineup. Exactly what that means is hard to say at this point.

    Colin is more sanguine about both Sling TV and also about the prospects for DIRECTV Now. Colin shares how he uses Sling TV currently and whom it might appeal to. I’m still skeptical about the skinny bundle approach (as is Stankey, who also said “We think skinny bundles have a very small application in the market over time”).   

    DIRECTV Now won’t launch until later this year, so it will be a while until we find out exactly what it is.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 15 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #311: NBCU Adopts Programmatic TV; Conflicting Connected TV Forecasts

    I'm pleased to present the 311th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week we discuss NBCU’s announcement on Wednesday that it will allow select advertisers and agencies to buy ads programmatically in its linear TV networks. It’s another important step in advertising becoming more data-infused and targeted, though as I explained, it’s not yet a full-blown programmatic offering like we’ve seen in video and display. Colin and I dig into the details.

    We then turn to new research on connected TV adoption and forecasts. Colin details findings from 3 different sources, which differ from one another. We attempt to reconcile them, although not fully successfully. Regardless, connected TVs remain one of the pivotal areas of online video, providing access to high-quality long-form content in the living room.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 57 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #310: Recapping Super Bowl Streaming

    I'm pleased to present the 310th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week Colin and I recap our experiences streaming the Super Bowl to the various devices we tried. As I wrote on Monday, overall I thought the streaming quality was quite strong, with latency being the primary issue. Colin’s experience was more mixed, with his good old over-the-air signal the strongest.

    No surprise, the size of the audience streaming the game set a new record with nearly 4 million unique viewers, up about 60% vs. last year. But I was a bit surprised it wasn’t even bigger given the breadth of OTT options. Unfortunately CBS didn’t provide any details on streaming by device. We discuss the factors that drove audience one way or another.

    With the Super Bowl behind us, all eyes turn to the NFL’s pending OTT deal for its Thursday Night package. There are so many potential bidders in the mix who can leverage the games to their advantage.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 10 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #309: Cable Operators Buck Cord-Cutting; FCC’s Set-Top Box Mandate

    I'm pleased to present the 309th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week we discuss Comcast’s robust Q4 ’15 earnings results. Despite all of the talk of cord-cutting, Comcast had its best year for video subscribers in 8 years, improving its loss to just 39K. In addition, both Charter and Time Warner Cable actually reported video subscriber gains for 2015.

    Once again, Comcast cited its X1 next-gen set-top box as the key driver of success. Colin and I have talked about X1’s value in the past, and it’s clearly a game-changer for the company.

    Ironically, Comcast’s success with X1 is happening even as FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is calling for a new technology mandate on the pay-TV industry to give access to third-party set-tops. Colin and I discuss why we think market forces are a superior choice to government intervention.

    Last, we’ll both be watching the Super Bowl this weekend, which will be a milestone in allowing cord-cutters and cord-nevers to stream for free to connected TV devices.
     
    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 42 seconds)



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