4C - leaderboard - 4-25-18

Analysis for 'Social Media'

  • Facebook’s Video Progress is Still Glacial

    Another quarterly earnings call with Facebook and yet another reminder of how glacial the company’s pace has been with prioritizing and monetizing video. Remarkably, it has been over 2 years since CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in the Q2 ’16 earnings call in July, 2016 that “We see a world that is video first with video at the heart of all our apps and service.”

    Now admittedly, Facebook has had its hands full since then putting out fires that are burning everywhere around it (many unfortunately started by its own negligence). But still…here we are almost 2 1/2 years later and if video were so paramount to Facebook’s future, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect to see some real momentum. All the more so because on the Q3 '17 earnings call, video was practically the only thing Wall St. analysts were interested in asking about.

    Instead, Zuckerberg’s and other Facebook executives’ comments on the Q3 ’18 earnings call yesterday revealed not just underwhelming progress with video, but also how surprisingly slow the company has been in understanding how video fits with its traditional newsfeed product.

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  • Perspective What's this? To Protect Your Brand, You Have to Expose Yourself (to Social Video)

    Over the past several months, we’ve watched the largest video platforms make large-scale improvements to address brand safety. They honed their filters, updated their monetization policies, invited top independent measurement providers to the table and improved transparency.

    It’s clear that the platforms feel and bear the burden of eliminating brand-unsafe content – the undeniably reprehensible videos that no advertiser would want to appear beside.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #433: Facebook’s Watch Struggles; BBC Four Uses AI

    I’m pleased to present the 433rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week we discuss new research showing that 50% of Facebook users haven’t heard of Facebook Watch and another 24% have heard of it, but never used it. The anemic interest demonstrates to us how difficult it is to shift how people customarily use a product (Newsfeed in Facebook’s case) to something totally different (Watch).

    We then switch gears to explore how  AI is being innovatively used in video. Colin shares several examples, the most interesting of which is the BBC’s upcoming BBC 4.1 on the evenings of Sept. 4th and 5th. On these nights BBC is using AI to mine its archives in order to find “hidden gems” from past years.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 3 seconds)



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  • Almost Three-Quarters of Facebook Users Either Haven’t Heard of or Don’t Use Watch

    New research from The Diffusion Group highlights that usage and awareness of Facebook Watch is minimal, a year following its launch. TDG found that 50% of users haven’t heard of Watch and another 24% have heard of it but have never used it. Just 6% of Facebook users use Watch daily, with another 8% using it weekly.

    The low usage and awareness are striking given that the Watch icon sits prominently at the bottom of the Facebook app, right alongside News Feed, friend requests and notifications. It also demonstrates how significantly different Watch is from the way Facebook users typically experience the service, via the News Feed and how difficult it’s proving for Facebook to migrate its users from News Feed.

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  • After Facebook’s Q2 Earnings Flop, Video is More Important Than Ever

    With last week’s Q2 earnings report, Facebook forecast that margins would slide for the next couple of years into the mid-30% range due to higher costs associated with beefed up security. Meanwhile, quarterly growth will decelerate from the high 40% range (or more) from recent quarters to around 30% for the rest of the year.

    Other companies would envy these targets, but given Facebook’s outsized historical growth and profitability, the stock has gotten hammered and dragged the whole tech sector down with it. One key takeaway for me from Facebook’s results and forecasts is that video is more important to the company than ever. Despite its potential, Facebook still doesn’t seem to have a video/monetization strategy. Among the big tech companies, only Apple’s video strategy seems less well-developed than Facebook’s.

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  • Platforms vs. Owned & Operated: Monetizing the Video Everywhere Strategy [VIDEO]

    A critical challenge facing video providers is how to balance distribution of their content on platforms vs. on their owned & operated properties. At the recent VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit, we dug deeply into this topic in a session featuring Trevor Fellows (EVP, Digital Sales and Partnerships, NBCUniversal), Paul Kontonis (Chief Marketing Officer, WHOSAY Viacom), Blake Sabatinelli (CEO, Newsy E.W. Scripps) with Lorne Brown (CEO, Operative) moderating.

    Each of the panelists did an excellent job articulating the specific benefits they seek out in platform deals such as incremental reach, enhanced branding and stronger monetization. They talk about how platform distribution deals work and why advertising is central, the role of data and demographic fit, why producing compelling, premium content is paramount, how they choose to allocate finite resources among various platforms and why scale matters so much, among other topics.

    For anyone considering how to monetize video everywhere, while maintaining a strong O&O presence, the session is really valuable.

    Watch the session video now!

     
  • VideoNuze Podcast #425: AT&T Disrupts TV, World Cup Streaming Surges and More

    I’m pleased to present the 425th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On this week’s podcast we cover a number of topics, starting with AT&T’s newest skinny bundle offering, WatchTV, which is bonus feature for subscribers to 2 of its new unlimited wireless plans. Colin and discuss the implications for the industry as AT&T reshapes consumers’ perceptions of pay-TV as a standalone premium service to a supporting feature in their wireless plan.

    We then turn to the World Cup, which is setting streaming records, even in the early matches. Colin shares the data and his personal experiences on quality, which have been very positive.

    Next, we touch on Apple’s latest high-profile content deals, with Oprah Winfrey and Sesame Workshop. Apple’s continuing to spend through the $1 billion it allocated, but we still wonder, how is this A-list content going to be distributed and monetized? Finally we review Instagram’s new long-form video service, IGTV, which was announced this week. We’re both excited about its prospects, particularly relative to Facebook’s other video initiatives, which have been all over the board.

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  • New Facebook Watch Product Leader Must Pursue Major Revamp

    A couple of days ago Facebook appointed a new leader of its Facebook Watch product team, Mike Bidgoli, who was previously at Pinterest. Watch has become a critical Facebook video initiative, especially with the company’s recent algorithm change to the News Feed, which deemphasizes professional content. Publishers hoping to build out their video businesses on Facebook must now look to Watch.

    Unfortunately, in my experience Watch is a mess, with a non-personalized, incoherent user experience that does virtually nothing to draw in newcomers or reward returning viewers. Compared with Netflix’s UI, for example, which does an excellent job of recommending content based on your usage and profile, Watch seems prehistoric.

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  • Pixability Launches Self-Service Video Ad Buying Across YouTube, Facebook and Instagram

    Pixability has launched a self-service platform for buying video ads across YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. As Pixability’s CTO Andreas Goeldi and Chief Product Officer Alan Beiagi told me in a briefing, the move means that all of the company’s buying tools which have been available only as a managed service to date, will now be available for self-service.

    Pixability believes this is the first time ad buyers have had self-service access to buying tools across these major social networks. The initiative comes in response to major agencies being under pressure to provide more value for clients and take more control over the video ad buying process. Pixability unifies buying and reporting across social networks that have their own disparate ways of targeting users.

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  • Facebook Deemphasizes News Feed Video; Users’ Time Spent Drops

    Facebook released its Q4 ’17 earnings yesterday and on the subsequent earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg disclosed that its decision to deemphasize video shown in the News Feed has already led to a 5% drop in users’ time spent on Facebook in Q4. The reduction translates to approximately 50 million hours per day. The viewership reduction was previously indicated by research from Wochit a couple of weeks ago.

    It’s certainly not every day when a service makes an intentional change that leads to reduced usage, but Zuckerberg explained that the drop is worth it to serve Facebook’s higher mission of prioritizing meaningful social interactions over passive consumption of content. As News Feed VP Adam Mosseri said in a recent Wired interview, Facebook has found that video is more passive in nature so it tends not to drive conversations and connections which are prized.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #403: TV Ads Continue to Evolve; Exploring Facebook’s Video Strategy

    I’m pleased to present the 403rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week Colin shares thoughts on a keynote session from CES he watched featuring Turner’s Chairman and CEO John Martin and Hulu’s CEO Randy Freer. Colin zeros in on the discussion around addressable/targeted ads and how vital they are to profitability and keeping TV competitive with SVOD. Turner has been among the most aggressive TV networks investing in data and segmentation and is clearly urging the industry forward.

    We then transition to discussing Facebook’s News Feed algorithm change, which I wrote about earlier this week. Colin and I are struggling with how to synch up the de-prioritization video is now going to receive with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s repeated assertion that he wants the company to be “video first” in all that they do.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
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  • Research: Publishers’ Video Views on Facebook Declined in Second Half of 2017

    Earlier this week I wrote about how Facebook’s New Feed algorithm change is going to reduce video consumption, but now new research from Wochit reveals that publishers’ video views were already declining in the second half of 2017. This could reflect that algorithm tweaks were already underway prior to the announcement last week.

    According to Wochit’s 2017 Social Performance Index Report, which analyzes 33,000 different videos created by nearly 300 publishers which appeared on over 500 Facebook pages in 2017, views per publisher video declined by 8% in Q3 ’17 and by 15% in Q4 ’17. These declines reversed the growth in views that occurred in the first half of the year.

    continue reading on VideoNuze iQ

     
  • Facebook’s Move to Deemphasize Video in News Feed Has Consequences

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement last week that the company is modifying its News Feed to reduce professional content’s prominence gained a lot of attention. But one surprising result of the move emerged over the weekend: in a Wired interview, Facebook’s VP in charge of the News Feed, Adam Mosseri also said that going forward there will also be less video in users’ News Feeds.

    The move seems to undercut Zuckerberg’s repeated assertion over the past year and a half that the company intended to pivot to be “video-first.” Back in July, 2016, on its Q2 ’16 earnings call, Zuckerberg said that “We see a world that is video first with video at the heart of all our apps and service.” Zuckerberg has reiterated the importance of video on all earnings calls since then and Wall Street has gotten the message: on its Q3 ’17 earnings call in November, 2017, 8 of the 11 analysts who asked Zuckerberg questions focused on trying to understand the company’s video strategy.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #400: The Top 10 Online Video Stories of 2017

    I'm pleased to present the 400th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    In this week’s podcast Colin and I discuss our top 10 online video stories of 2017. It’s been another incredibly busy year with tons of industry innovation and progress. As always, it has been a lot of fun to analyze all of this and report on it. Let us know what you think of our choices, whether you agree or disagree!

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (35 minutes, 45 seconds)



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    Unless there’s some big news, this will be my last post for 2017.

    Happy Holidays to all!

     
  • Google and Facebook Have Single Entity Advantage in Race for TV Ad Dollars

    No surprise, at last week’s SHIFT // Programmatic Video & TV Ad Summit, the “duopoly” of Google and Facebook came up repeatedly on stage, mainly in the context of how they’re pursuing TV ad dollars and what the TV industry is doing to defend itself. In fact, the whole concept of “programmatic TV” - TV networks data-enabling and automating /streamlining the ad transaction process - pretty much captures what the industry is doing to become more competitive. 

    But as I listened to and participated in the SHIFT sessions, one consideration kept coming back to me as possibly being the biggest single influence over how TV advertising evolves in the coming years: the idea that Google and Facebook are single entities, while the TV industry is fragmented with many different powerful players, each with their own agendas, capabilities and resources.

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  • Wall Street Presses Facebook on Video Plans, But End Game Remains Murky

    Facebook and other big platforms are facing lots of scrutiny about Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. So on last week’s Q3 ’17 earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg opened with a long statement about the investments the company is making in security and ad transparency. These investments will contribute to a 45%-60% increase in Facebook’s 2018 expenses.

    One might have expected that Wall Street analysts on the call would then focus their questions mainly on understanding these topics further and their impact to Facebook’s business. And while several did ask for details, 8 of the 11 analysts who asked questions instead focused on Facebook’s video strategy (which was the second main topic Zuckerberg discussed in his opening comments).

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  • Facebook’s March Into Video Begins Now

    Last night Facebook announced “Watch,” as its primary video initiative. Watch is an update of Facebook’s Video Tab, which was originally introduced in April, 2016, but with a greater emphasis on professional video. Facebook positioned Watch as “a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans and earn money for their work.” Watch will roll out to a limited number of users in the U.S. initially with a broader update coming soon.

    Watch is entirely ad-supported, with partners keeping 55% of revenue and Facebook keeping 45%. Facebook is working with partners on a number of short-form shows that it characterized as falling into one of four buckets: shows that engage fans and community, live shows that connect directly with fans, shows that follow a narrative arc or have a consistent theme and live events that bring communities together (here's an initial list). As has been widely reported, Facebook is funding some of the shows itself.

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  • Food Network is Battling BuzzFeed’s Tasty in Competitive Social Video Space

    When Discovery announced that it was acquiring Scripps Networks Interactive earlier this week for $14.6 billion, a lot of the coverage naturally focused on how the combined companies will have more leverage in their pay-TV carriage negotiations and also how significant cost-savings and synergies will result.

    While all of that is true, the inescapable reality is that because pay-TV subscriptions as a whole are shrinking, Discovery’s best case scenario is that it can get a larger piece of a smaller pie. A far more interesting angle, to me at least, is how the company can accelerate its online and social video initiatives. A prime place to start would be by looking at the success that Scripps’ Food Network is having in 2017, as it as slightly surpassed BuzzFeed’s well-publicized Tasty, in the hotly competitive social video food space.

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  • The Playbook for Surviving and Thriving in the Platform Era [AD SUMMIT VIDEO]

    It’s no secret that Google, Facebook and other social platforms can help video publishers expand their audience reach and monetization. But the downside is they create risks around losing control of the business, exposing valuable viewer insights and reducing margins. All publishers are grappling with how to balance opportunity and risk with respect to their platform strategies.

    At our Online Video Ad Summit, we had a really thoughtful panel called “The Playbook for Surviving and Thriving in the Platform Era” which dug into many of these issues and how publishers/agencies are managing the inherent tradeoffs.

    The session included Jarrod Dicker (Head of Commercial Product and Technology, Washington Post), Paul Marcum (President, Truffle Pig), Michael Shane (Global Head of Digital Innovation, Bloomberg Media), with Lorne Brown (President, SintecMedia) moderating. All participants offered highly specific examples of their decision-making and what’s working for them.

    Watch the video (37 minutes, 27 seconds).

    Watch the video now!

     
  • Facebook is Reportedly Willing to Spend Up to $3 Million Per Episode on Originals

    The latest episode of the intensely watched drama, “What Will Facebook Do With Original Video?” arrived yesterday via a Wall Street Journal report. According to the report, Facebook is meeting with talent agencies, telling them it is willing to spend up to $3 million per episode of original scripted shows, which would be about on par with high-quality cable TV originals.

    Facebook is also open to scripted shows under $1 million per episode, and also has an appetite for unscripted content running less than 10 minutes per episode.

    No surprise, Facebook is targeting audiences age 13-34 years-old, with a focus on 17-30 year-olds. But in a twist, Facebook reportedly only wants shows that don’t include politics, news, nudity or bad language. These parameters significantly limit the range of what Facebook could pursue. This type of a Hallmark Channel’ish approach could also misfire with younger audiences who enjoy more authentic-feeling shows (think “Girls” for example).

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