I’m pleased to present the 358th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Apple and Facebook have contrasting ambitions in video, with the former pursuing a very modest approach while the latter appears to be embarking on an all-out company pivot to being video-first.
Earlier this week I wrote about Apple’s new TV series, “Planet of the Apps” and “Carpool Karaoke” spinoff. They each have their own appeal, but are far from the expensive undertakings we’ve seen from Netflix and Amazon, for example. That means that far from re-inventing TV as Apple was one predicted to do, it will in fact continue to play a very small role, which Colin and I see as a real missed opportunity.
Meanwhile, Facebook has confirmed it will launch connected TV apps as the company aims to have users expand how they engage with the social media giant. Colin and discuss some of the pros and cons of the CTV approach and also Facebook’s motivation, which is to attract TV ad dollars.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 30 seconds)
Yesterday Facebook shed more light on its plans to get users to consume a lot more video, by announcing that it will launch a connected TV app soon for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV, with others to follow. In addition to the blog post, Facebook’s VP of Partnerships Dan Rose was interviewed at Code Media and provided more details on Facebook’s overall video strategy (see video below).
The connected TV app will allow users to watch videos shared by friends or Pages that they follow, live videos and recommended videos. Perhaps the most interesting use case is watching videos that you saved while scrolling your news feed.
Of course the whole idea of a connected TV app being relevant to Facebook users is predicated on the company’s aggressive push into video. In yesterday’s interview, Rose talked at length about the role of the new “video tab” in the Facebook UI which acts as a central repository for live and on-demand videos, augmenting what is seen when scrolling the News Feed.
Many analysts will be looking past Facebook’s Q4 ’16 earnings, which will be reported later today, for reassuring signs of how the company will continue its blazing revenue growth in 2017 and beyond. Over the past couple years, there has been no other company (except possibly Google and Apple) that has benefited financially more from the shift to mobile lifestyles.
Facebook’s 1.8 billion monthly active users in Q3 ’16 were 93% mobile. And 97% of the company’s $7 billion in Q3 ’16 revenue, which was up 56% vs. Q3 ’15, was advertising-based. Clearly Facebook has become a mobile advertising machine.
But trees don’t grow to the sky; the number of global mobile users is slowing and Facebook’s ability to include more ads in users’ newsfeeds is reaching its limit. As a result, Facebook has messaged that revenue growth will soften. Clearly Facebook needs a next act, and so over the past 6-9 months Facebook executives, including CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, have repeatedly signaled that the company intends to be “video-first.”
Brands, publishers and celebrities are all experimenting with Facebook Live, to see how live-streaming can help them connect with their target audiences. One interesting example that hit my radar is Lowe’s home improvement stores, which, this past Saturday night, used Facebook Live to broadcast a 45-minute show featuring HGTV’s “Property Brothers” to reveal a sample of Black Friday sale items.
In the video, Drew and Jonathan Scott open a series of boxes which often contain gentle pranks (e.g. a marching band, confetti, puppies, etc.) as well as actual products that will be on Black Friday sales (e.g. wine chiller, combination tool kit, Roomba vacuum cleaner, etc.). For much of the video, the brothers are ad-libbing, casually jibing each other and keeping the show moving along.
Here’s an eye-opening data point: according to new research from Brightcove, 46% of respondents said they made a purchase as a result of watching a branded video on social media (with 53% of U.S. respondents doing so). And another 32% of respondents said they considered doing so. The data shows the increasing importance of social media as an influential platform for marketers and the power of branded videos - as opposed to conventional 15 or 30-second ads - as a key purchase motivator.
With marketers increasingly concerned about ROI on their spending and consequently shifting dollars into digital media, the research only magnifies the challenge TV networks face in retaining advertisers’ allegiance.
I'm pleased to present the 347th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
On this week’s podcast we discuss Facebook’s video ambitions. Colin was in London at the OTT TV World Summit where he saw a fascinating presentation by Matthew Corbin, who’s in global product marketing for Facebook. Colin shares highlights of what he learned, including how Facebook thinks of itself as the “world’s discovery agent.” Matthew said Facebook thinks of itself “not as a broadcast network, but as a network of broadcasters,” which feels like an apt description. Combined with Facebook’s targeting capabilities, this translates to lots of potential.
On Facebook’s Q3 ’16 earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg also highlighted how he wants video to be at the center of all of Facebook’s apps and services. It’s becoming clearer that the primary way Facebook is going to be able to continue its torrid revenue growth is by shifting over more TV ad spending, hence the push toward video.
After discussing Facebook, we shift gears and spend 5 minutes reviewing the excellent Comcast-Netflix integration which I wrote about earlier this week.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 26 seconds)
As readers of VideoNuze know, live sports is the last bastion of hope for TV execs that want to retain their legendary grip on Madison Avenue. So it’s no surprise The Wall Street Journal catalyzed media insider rumblings with its October 6th piece entitled “Ratings Fumble for NFL Surprises Networks, Advertisers: So far this season, viewership on major networks is down about 10% from last season.” Writers have followed-up with speculation about why the NFL is experiencing the decline.
Is it the content? Perhaps Presidential politics are blame; maybe it’s the “Kaepernick effect”; or, it could be an unlucky streak of boring games.
Is it the disruption of TV ongoing? Perhaps younger viewers are catching the highlights and recaps they need on Social Media. Or young adults might be watching online; or doing something else entirely.
When it comes to questions about the future of Sports Television, Social Media has important things to say. New research from Ring Digital llc gives us insight into the challenges and opportunities facing Sports TV as Social Media consumption grows.
Here are some fascinating findings along with the Thuuz Sports perspective on one possibility that no one’s talking about.
Facebook released an important feature yesterday, enabling certain content creators to schedule and promote Facebook Live broadcasts in advance. While a lot of the hype around live-streaming has been about capturing breaking news - with streams spontaneously discovered - as I explained a few months ago on our weekly podcast, the bigger application for live-streaming is for broadcasts scheduled in advance and promoted to content creators’ fans.
The revelation that Facebook miscalculated the average time viewers watch videos on its platform is an embarrassment and a setback for the company, but it’s hardly a disaster for it or for the online video industry.
First, let’s all admit - any of us who has ever created a spreadsheet has, at one time or another referenced the wrong cell when creating formulas. And the more complicated the formula (and the later into the night it was created!), the more likely there will be an error in a cell reference. Often that error is subsequently caught by a colleague or a manager, looking things over with a fresh eye and methodical approach.
Last Thursday night felt like a milestone moment to me in the continued mainstreaming of online video viewing. At 9pm, I turned on my 46-inch Insignia HDTV, toggled to input 3, grabbed my Fire TV remote control, scrolled to the app section, downloaded the Twitter app and began watching the Jets play the Bills over my 100 mbps Comcast broadband connection in pristine quality. Just like that I was watching an NFL game outside the traditional TV ecosystem.
The whole process took just a few minutes and likely could have been accomplished by the least tech-savvy among us. On the surface it might seem like a relatively trivial undertaking, but in reality, the experience reflected the significant technology and consumer behavioral advancements that have taken place in just the past 10 years or so. Every one of these advancements was critical in enabling the Twitter broadcast. And every one of them is also causing the seismic changes roiling the broader TV industry.
Earlier this week AdAge reported that Facebook confirmed it is running tests of mid-roll ads in live streams by certain publishing partners. The ads can appear 5 minutes into the live stream and can run for a max of 15 seconds. The ads are drawn from promoted video campaigns already running on Facebook, but advertisers are able to opt out if they’d like.
The test is clearly just a toe in the water for Facebook in inserting ads in live streams, which to date have run ad-free. But, to the extent that the initiative develops further, and possibly evolves to allow pre-roll ads, it would signal an important step forward in Facebook monetizing its live streams and becoming an even bigger player in online video advertising.
I'm pleased to present the 333rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Facebook’s blowout Q2 earnings this week attest to how thoroughly the company is capitalizing on mobile. But with its intention to become video-first, Facebook is now embarking on a whole new set of challenges and opportunities, most particularly around monetization, where the company’s massive scale and unique targeting offsets its avoidance of pre-rolls, the workhorse video ad unit.
In today’s podcast, Colin and I further assess Facebook’s video content initiatives (especially Facebook Live) and how they will be monetized. We also contrast Facebook’s live-streaming media partnerships with those of Twitter, which is very focused on live sports and becoming the place for digital water-cooler conversations around them.
Listen now to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 6 seconds)
Facebook announced off-the-charts Q2 ’16 earnings yesterday, including $2 billion in net income, double what it was just 6 months ago. Monthly active users increased to 1.71 billion, with 1.1 billion using Facebook daily. From a standing start in mobile just 4 years ago, Facebook generated $5.2 billion or 84% of its quarterly ad revenue from mobile.
There is no question that Facebook has thoroughly conquered mobile. But, far from sitting on its laurels, Facebook is evolving in many ways and over the past year video has become an ever-bigger part of Facebook’s story. Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s Founder, Chairman and CEO, highlighted the role that video is playing in delivering more engaging experiences. Then on yesterday’s earnings call Zuckerberg went a step further, stating the company’s goals plainly, “We see a world that is video first with video at the heart of all of our apps and service.”
Facebook is pouring lots of resources into video and according to a new report published by ad tech provider Mixpo this morning, the strategy appears to be bearing fruit. In its “State of Digital Advertising for Publishers” report, based on a survey and interviews with 263 digital publishing and advertising executives, Mixpo found that 50.2% of respondents had run video campaigns on Facebook, compared to 31.1% on YouTube. Twitter followed with 17%, then Instagram with 13.2% and all other social platforms were in single digits.
There are more scripted TV shows being made than ever, by one recent count over 400 in 2015, up 10x in the past 10 years. In this sea of choices, how can networks attract viewers and keep them watching? Well, a new study by Canvs suggests that eliciting feelings of hate toward certain characters is the most likely predictor of increased viewership for the show’s subsequent episode.
Canvs said the study is the largest one ever analyzing the correlation between viewership and Twitter data. Canvs is a startup that uses language analytics to detect a range emotions contained in social media, which it then sorts into 56 different categories, such as “hate,” “excited,” “love,” “happy,” etc.). In the study, Canvs looked at tweets related to 5,709 episodes of 432 comedy, reality and drama shows that aired between January, 2014 and June, 2015 across broadcast, ad-supported cable and premium cable networks.
The WSJ is reporting that Facebook has signed deals with almost 140 media companies and celebrities, committing $50 million for guaranteed live-streaming content for Facebook Live. A straight average would value each partner’s deal at over $350K, but as expected, certain partners are getting a disproportionate share.
According the paper, the top 15 providers account for $21.4 million, or almost 43% of the total $50 million. At the top of the list are BuzzFeed ($3.1 million), NY Times ($3 million) and CNN ($2.5 million). I’d guess there are others at the bottom of the list whose deals are in the low 5 figures.
I’ve been enthusiastic about Facebook Live and see at least 5 reasons why the company investing $50 million (which is chump change given 2015 revenue of nearly $18 billion) is so smart:
As video viewing on Facebook has soared, the company has been dogged by “freebooting,” whereby certain users rip copyrighted videos from YouTube and re-post them natively on Facebook. The problem has been widely reported and was perhaps most famously documented in a blistering critique last August by Hank Green (in that piece, Green highlighted data that in Q1 ’15, 725 of the top 1,000 videos on Facebook were freebooted, accounting for 17 billion views).
Being perceived as a place where copyright piracy is rampant is obviously detrimental to Facebook’s efforts to court brands, celebrities and publishers, an initiative which has dramatically ramped up as the company has prioritized video. All this is why Facebook’s announcement yesterday of its new “Rights Manager” tool is an extremely important first step in helping legitimize Facebook as a publisher-friendly video platform.
Categories: Social Media
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)
A year ago, in “Mobile Live Streaming Looks Like An Important New Video Category,” I asserted that, after playing around a bit with Meerkat and Periscope, I was convinced that live-streaming had huge potential. I envisioned lots of interest in both personal and professional uses across breaking news, promoted broadcasts and companion streams to larger events.
Fast forward to yesterday, with Facebook launching a slew of new live-streaming features to Facebook Live, building on its initial launch of live video as part of Mentions last August. With Facebook doubling down on live video, I think it’s pretty clear this is a category that is poised to soar, as infinite applications crop up.
Underscoring once again how unpredictable the online video space is, Twitter has emerged as the unlikely winner of the rights to stream NFL Thursday Night Football (TNF) games for the 2016-2017 season. Just yesterday I wrote that with Facebook and Apple bowing out, the bidding likely came down to Amazon, Verizon and Google, with Verizon the most likely winner for a variety of reasons.
On the one hand, Twitter’s interest in streaming the TNF games makes sense, as recently returned CEO Jack Dorsey has publicly stated that a top 2016 priority is live streaming, including leveraging its Periscope product. The 10 TNF games give Twitter a marquee property to highlight live streaming, which complements Twitter activity around all games. And Twitter already had a deal in place with the NFL for highlight clips.