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Analysis for 'Satellite'

  • VideoNuze Podcast #384: Rounding Up the Week’s Top News

    I’m pleased to present the 384th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On today’s podcast, Colin and I first discuss Q2 ’17 pay-TV video subscriber results. Skinny bundles played a big part in offsetting accelerating losses in traditional multichannel services. Will this continue and if so what are the implications?

    We then dig into the DVD market’s decline which was further accelerated this week when Amazon decided to close down its LOVEFiLM DVD-by-mail business in several European countries. Colin notes that Netflix’s DVD business has had a huge drop-off also and he speculates whether it too might get cut loose. On the bright side, Redbox re-upped its deal with Lionsgate, showing that DVDs still have a bit of life left.

    Finally, Apple was back in the news this week, reportedly allocating $1 billion for original TV shows. We speculate on whether this will be successful and what challenges Apple will face.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #371: Pay-TV Losses Are Being Driven By More Than Just Cord-Cutting

    I’m pleased to present the 371st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    The persistent media narrative around pay-TV cord-cutting has gained a lot of traction in the past few weeks as it became clear that the industry lost 700,000-800,000 traditional multichannel video subscribers in Q1 ’17, the first time a first quarter loss has ever occurred.

    But pay-TV’s losses are attributable to key factors beyond cord-cutting as our guest this week, Bruce Leichtman, president of Leichtman Research Group, and a premier industry analyst, explains. Bruce reveals why the Q1 loss in fact has more to do with specific pay-TV providers (primarily Dish Network) cutting back on new subscriber promotions. This reduction in “top of the funnel” additions ultimately flows into the net subscriber numbers.

    While cord-cutting is indeed ticking up, Bruce walks us through his analysis of why the industry’s dynamics are more nuanced than most media reports suggest. We also dig into the role of connected TVs, the prospects for skinny bundles, SVOD’s impact and how Comcast in particular is bucking industry trends using X1. Bruce also discusses the significance of there now being more broadband subscribers than video subscribers in the U.S.

    (Apologies in advance, the recording is a bit scratchy as we were in 3 locations and had some WiFi challenges.)

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #361: Pay-TV’s Woes Illustrated in TiVo’s Research

    I’m pleased to present the 361st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week Colin and I discuss TiVo’s 16th quarterly Video Trends Report, which we both covered this week (here and here). We agree that the pay-TV industry has painted itself into a high-cost corner. The consequences of this are increases in cord-cutting, cord-shaving and adoption/use of SVOD, reduction in perception of per channel values and budding interest in new skinny bundles.

    All of this is bad news for the industry and the report illustrates the specifics of each of these trends.

    The report is available as a complimentary download here.

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  • Cord-Cutting Remained Modest in Q3, But Potentially Turbulent 2017 Looms

    According to industry data compiled by Leichtman Research Group, cord-cutting remained relatively modest in Q3 ’16, with the top 11 pay-TV operators, which account for approximately 95% of the market, losing 255K subscribers vs. 210K lost in Q3 ’15. As has been the trend in recent quarters, cable operators performed better than satellite and telco operators, which are disprorportionately bearing the brunt of the overall market’s slow, but ongoing, contraction.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #345: At $35 Per Month, Is DirecTV Now Going to Disrupt the Pay-TV Industry?

    I'm pleased to present the 345th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    What a week it’s been. Google Fiber’s expansion being put on hold. Vessel sold off just for its technology to Verizon. Twitter planning to close Vine. And yet, none of those are the big story of the week for today’s podcast.

    Rather, we dig into the news that DirecTV Now will be priced at just $35/month, a level which virtually guarantees it will be a money-loser from day 1 for AT&T. Worse, it runs the risk of cannibalizing high-margin existing pay-TV subscribers from both DirecTV and other pay-TV operators. We don’t know yet which “100+ premium” channels will be in DirecTV Now, but if they include most of what people are currently paying 2-3 times as much for per month, it could be very disruptive.

    More broadly we discuss AT&T’s pay-TV strategy, the DirecTV acquisition last year and now the pending Time Warner deal. All of it is a real head-scratcher for me.

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  • Perspective What's this? The Future of TV is TV: A Recipe for Pay-TV Success

    The pay-TV industry has undergone a seismic shift since the introduction of OTT streaming. Although broadcast TV viewing remains robust in the U.S. with TV’s weekly reach remaining steady at 86 percent in Q4 2015, according to Nielsen viewing figures, both online video and subscription video on demand (SVOD) services, like Netflix, are growing. SVOD penetration rates in the U.S. are currently around 20 percent but are expected to reach 30 percent by 2020. Online video streaming is on the rise as well. As YouTube points out on its own website, consumers watch “hundreds of millions of hours” of its content on a daily basis.

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  • Gracenote Enables Pay-TV Operators to Pursue Music Services

    Music services are omnipresent, but pay-TV operators haven’t had much of a role. Seeking to change that, data provider Gracenote, a subsidiary of Tribune Media Company, has announced a suite of music data and services to enable pay-TV operators to launch their own music video channels and services, identify music on TV and search for artists’ on linear and on-demand programming.

    Noting that 72% of YouTube viewership is music videos (according to Statista), Gracenote believes pay-TV operators have an opportunity to launch various services that bring music videos to HDTVs and home media environments.

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  • Cord-Cutting Remained Modest in Q2 '16, As Cable Operators Continue to Gain

    Major pay-TV operators made it through another quarter without any substantial acceleration in cord-cutting, according to industry data tallied by analysts MoffettNathanson. In Q2 ’16, pay-TV operators lost an estimated 757K subscribers, compared with a loss of 683K subscribers in Q2 ’15. Note also that the second quarter is always the seasonally weakest. When estimated Sling TV subscribers are added in, the loss declines to 708K in Q2 ’16 vs. 613K lost in Q2 ’15.

    In a continuing trend, cable operators again picked up market share at the expense of telcos and satellite providers. Cable’s loss in Q2 ’16 declined to 242K subscribers from 404K lost in Q2 ’15, while telcos swung from a gain of 5K subscribers in Q2 ’15 to a loss of 526K subscribers in Q2 ’15. AT&T accounted for the vast majority of that loss (minus 391K) as it transitioned U-Verse subscribers to DirecTV. Verizon had a loss 41K vs. a gain of 26K a year earlier as it experienced an employee work stoppage.

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  • Cord-Cutting Remains Muted As Major Pay-TV Providers Lost 385K Subscribers in 2015

    Cord-cutting remains one of the industry most-talked about themes, but it still appears relatively muted. According to Leichtman Research Group’s calculations, the 13 biggest pay-TV operators, which account for about 95% of the industry, lost approximately 385K subscribers in 2015. While that’s up from a 150K loss in ’14 and 100K loss in ’13, it still represents a minuscule .4% subscriber contraction, hardly the free fall many observers have long been predicting.

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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!

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  • AT&T Partners With Videology for Programmatic TV Advertising

    AT&T has partnered with video ad tech provider Videology to enable advertisers to buy ads on linear TV across over 130 different cable TV networks in 26 million DirecTV and U-Verse homes. At Videology’s Full Frontal Video event in NYC this morning, I did an on-stage interview with Jason Brown, VP, National Advertising Sales for AT&T AdWorks about the new initiative and how it will be implemented.

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  • Putting Sling TV’s Growth Into Perspective

    Skinny bundle service Sling TV got a lot of press last week as parent company Dish Network reported its Q4 ’15 and full year results. Based on a lot of assumptions, analysts MoffettNathanson estimated that Sling TV ended the year with 523K subscribers. Meanwhile, the WSJ cited unnamed sources estimating Sling TV now has more than 600K subscribers.

    Once again, Dish Network provided no detailed breakout on Sling TV’s subscriber growth. As many analysts have observed, that’s a deliberate strategy to obscure the subscriber losses occurring in Dish’s core direct satellite service. On the earnings call, Sling TV’s CEO Roger Lynch only said that the vast majority of Sling TV subscribers are not currently pay-TV subscribers, noting they were either cord-nevers or cord-cutters.

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  • Cable Operators Have Standout Q2 in Both Video and Broadband, OTT Should Accelerate Momentum

    It’s been a rough few weeks for all companies in the TV and pay-TV industries as cord-cutting and advertising shifts have taken center stage. Stock market sentiment has turned bearish as investors have extrapolated that the long-stable days of TV and pay-TV are officially over.

    But a more granular analysis of actual video and broadband subscriber data for Q2, as well as a clearer understanding of what’s driving the market forward, suggests that such a broad brush approach to all players is misplaced. In reality, big cable operators had a standout second quarter in both video and broadband and should be poised for even further gains going forward as OTT becomes the single biggest industry influence.

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  • Here's the Most Important Number in Netflix's Q2 '15 Earnings Report

    Netflix released its Q2 ’15 earnings late yesterday, adding 3.28 million subscribers globally, almost twice as many as the 1.69 million it added in Q2 ’14. Everyone knows that Netflix has been expanding fast internationally, but what was most intriguing about the Q2 report was that Netflix added 900K subscribers in the U.S. vs. its forecast of 600K. The 900K compares with 570K U.S. adds in Q2 ’14, 630K in Q2 ’13 and 530K in Q2 ’12.

    In other words, in Q2 ’15 Netflix significantly broke out of a relatively narrow growth range it had been in over the past 3 years in the seasonally-weak second quarter. The 900K add is even more noteworthy because Netflix has almost twice as many U.S. subscribers (42.3 million) now than it did 3 years ago (23.9 million). The law of large numbers suggests the bigger a company gets, the harder it is to achieve even comparable unit growth, much less greater growth.

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  • Cord-Cutting Accelerates in Q1 '15 as Pay-TV Operators Lose 31K Subscribers

    U.S. pay-TV operators lost 31K video subscribers in Q1 '15, compared to a gain of 271K in Q1 '14, according to analysts MoffettNathanson. The loss was the first time the industry has ever lost subscribers in a first quarter, and signals an acceleration of cord-cutting (or cord-nevering, since it's hard to pull the two apart), contributing to a .5% industry contraction over the past 4 quarters (461K subscribers).

    MoffettNathanson has always tried to put pay-TV results in context with both occupied housing net additions and new household net additions. In Q1, the former declined by 407K, but the latter increased by 1.3 million, suggesting around 900K households were added in the U.S. Despite the gain the industry still lost subscribers.

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  • Cord-Cutting Remains Negligible As U.S. Pay-TV Operators Lost Just 125K Subscribers In 2014

    Despite all the talk of massive cord-cutting being just around the corner, evidence continues to demonstrate that the U.S. pay-TV business remains relatively healthy. The latest, from Leichtman Research Group, shows that the 13 largest U.S. pay-TV operators, which together account for 95% of the market, lost just 125K subscribers in 2014. That was basically even with the 95K they lost in 2013 (see chart below).

    LRG president and principal analyst Bruce Leichtman noted that the 220K subscribers lost over the past 2 years represents just about .2% of the operators' total subscriber base. Of course no business ever wants to lose customers, but given the dramatic rise in OTT usage and subscriber levels, along with the vast array of viewing options, losing just .2% over 2 years seems like a pretty good level of stability (consider that Netflix alone added 5.7 million U.S. subscribers in '14).

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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.

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  • 5 Reasons Why Dish's New Sling TV OTT Service Will be a Tough Sell

    Dish Network has finally announced its OTT virtual pay-TV operator ("vPop") service, dubbed "Sling TV," priced at $20/month and available in Q1 '15 on multiple connected and mobile devices.

    Sling TV includes 12 linear cable TV networks from Disney (ESPN, ESPN2, Disney Channel and ABC Family, plus a feed of Maker Studios' videos), Turner (Cartoon Network, CNN, TBS, TNT and Adult Swim) and Scripps (Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel). Beyond the obvious missing cable TV networks, none of the big 4 broadcast TV networks are included.

    In addition to the $20/month tier, Sling TV is also offering two $5/month packages - one for kids (with Disney Junior, Disney XD, Boomerang, Baby TV and Duck TV) and one with news and information (with HLN, Cooking Channel, DIY and Bloomberg TV).

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  • Year-End Target for Dish's OTT Launch Looks Questionable

    With time ticking away to December 31st, it's looking increasingly questionable whether Dish Network is going to meet its self-imposed year-end deadline to launch its $30/month virtual pay-TV service ("vPop"). Dish's chairman Charlie Ergen, reiterated the company's commitment to the year-end deadline in his Q3 '14 earnings call comments.

    But he also lowered expectations for the new service, citing numerous technical and operational challenges. I think it's fair to add to that list significant programming challenges, which always existed and have no doubt only increased given Dish's recent and current skirmishes with big TV networks.

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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!



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