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Analysis for 'Social Media'

  • 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.

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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.

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  • 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!

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

    Happy Holidays to all!

     
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  • 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!

     
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  • 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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  • VideoNuze Podcast #373: BBC-Twitter, More On Facebook’s Video Plans

    I’m pleased to present the 373rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week, Colin shares his thoughts on the BBC’s new partnership with Twitter to stream coverage of the upcoming U.K. election. We agree this seems strategic for both companies and picks up on Twitter’s work in the U.S. election. As Colin points it, Twitter gives BBC access to critical younger audiences. For Twitter, the BBC deal also follows its recently announced partnership with Bloomberg.

    Then we turn our attention back to Facebook video, which we discussed on last week’s podcast. News that A&E, MTV and WGN are all cutting back on scripted originals in the face of SVOD companies’ mounting investments got us wondering exactly what Facebook will get for its $250K per episode (which Mike Shields at BI also raised). Given the middling success AOL, YouTube and others have had with originals, the question of how Facebook will differentiate is intriguing.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #372: Weekly Wrap-up: Viacom’s Skinny Bundle, Facebook TV, Amazon Channels Goes International, Snapchat Shows Gain

    I’m pleased to present the 372nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we discuss 4 stories that caught our attention in recent days. First, Viacom’s plan to anchor an entertainment-only skinny bundle without sports or news networks. Colin and I are intrigued, but for a variety of reasons are skeptical Viacom is the right company to lead this.

    Next we turn to Facebook, which has made no secret of its interest in pursuing longer-form video. This week brought news of its initial partnerships and potential business models.

    We then discuss Amazon Channels expansion into the UK and Germany this week, building on the US model for Prime users to easily subscribe to various SVOD services. Both of us have been very bullish on Channels for a while and see lots of potential for it in other geographies.

    Finally we dig into Snapchat Shows, the fast-growing social network’s plan to enlist multiple media companies to make vertical videos. Variety did a really good roundup of all the activity earlier this week, which suggests substantial progress.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
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  • VidMob Powers Self-Service Ad Platform for Snapchat

    VidMob, whose platform provides clients access to thousands of video post-production professionals, is expanding its scope, announcing this morning that it is launching a self-service ad platform for Snapchat. This means that small-to-medium sized businesses will be able to buy, create and manage video ad campaigns through one interface. To date only larger brands and agencies have been able to buy Snap Ads.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #358: Apple and Facebook Have Contrasting Ambitions in Video

    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.

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  • Can Facebook Get Users to Watch Video On Their Connected TVs?

    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.

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  • Here Are The Big Risks For Facebook As It Pursues A "Video-First" Strategy

    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.”

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  • Lowe’s Taps Facebook Live and Property Brothers Hosts for Black Friday Promotion

    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.

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