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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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Analysis for 'TiVo'

  • Charter Rolls Out Digitalsmiths for Enhanced Video Discovery

    Charter Communications has begun rolling out personalized video search and recommendations to its 5 million subscribers, using Digitalsmiths' Seamless Discovery Platform. Billy Purser, VP of Marketing at Digitalsmiths told me that Charter actually began introducing this to its web and Charter TV mobile app users over the past 3 months and has now started rolling it out to subscribers with IP set-top boxes.

    The Digitalsmiths search and recommendations are based on the company's Unified Data Service, which structures numerous individual data services (e.g. TMS, Rovi, Thuuz, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, Common Sense Media, etc.). This data is then paired with both implicit (e.g. viewer behavior) and explicit (e.g. viewer ratings).

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  • Here's a Surprise: OTT and Pay-TV Could Wind Up As Best Friends

    The traditional narrative around online/over-the-top video is that it will incent cord-cutting and cord-nevering. But now, in a twist, instead of a looming battle between OTT and pay-TV, it could well be that we're on the brink of a new era of cooperation between the two, which could have profound implications for everyone in the video ecosystem.

    Stepping back for a moment, pay-TV operators have always been in the business of improving the delivery of available video and packaging it into bundles. Initially operators distributed broadcast channels and then in the 70's and 80's, with the advent of satellite delivery, operators began bundling "cable" channels as well (e.g. ESPN, MTV, CNN, USA, etc.).

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  • TiVo: 10 Broadcast TV Programs Missed Out On $88 Million in Ad Revenue Due to C3 Limitations

    TiVo Research has released data indicating that time-shifting by viewers of 10 broadcast TV primetime programs to between 4-7 days following their initial airing resulted in approximately $88 million in total lost ad revenue by their respective networks (see chart below).

    For these 10 programs, TiVo found that the 4-7 day period increased ratings between 4.1% ("American Idol") to 10.9% ("Modern Family"). Because "American Idol" had the highest average number of ads per episode (61), it had the highest level of lost ad revenue in the 4-7 day period for the full season ($14.4 million). Conversely, "The Good Wife," which had an average of 29 ads per episode, but had the second-lowest 4-7 day ratings increase, had the  lowest level of lost ad revenue ($3.6 million).

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  • Study: 58% of Consumers are Interested in Downloading Pay-TV Content to Tablets

    According to a new study by Vubiquity, 58% of consumers would like the ability to download to their tablets TV shows and movies that are included in their pay-TV subscriptions. Of these, 63% would be willing to pay $1 to $5 to stream or download content. Respondents who expressed interest in downloading already consume proportionately more content across all platforms.

    Vubiquity believes a downloading feature offers a big opportunity for pay-TV operators to differentiate themselves. Coincidentally, Will wrote back in October, 2012 how he believed TiVo Stream's download feature was a killer app. In late 2012 Comcast introduced a similar feature for certain TV shows (there are rights issues involved in deploying this more broadly).

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  • Survey: 72% of Millennials Use Free Video Streaming, 60% Use SVOD Services

    TiVo's 2013 Millennial Video Entertainment survey reveals that 72% of millennials use free video streaming sources like Hulu, YouTube and network TV sites, making these the most-used source for their video viewing. In second place, cited by 60%, were SVOD services like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus and HBO Go. Just behind SVOD is physical media, cited by 59%, followed by pay-TV in fourth place with 46%.

    Millennials' viewing sources differ dramatically vs. all other generations, where pay-TV was the most-used source (with 58%), followed by physical media (56%) and free streaming/SVOD tied for third place with 40%. For both millennials and all other generations, individual purchases, free downloads, antenna and other lagged much further back in usage.

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  • TiVo Doubles Down on the Cloud With Digitalsmiths Acquisition

    TiVo's acquisition of Digitalsmiths for $135 million, announced yesterday, is further evidence of the cloud's increasingly important role in powering video discovery on TVs and devices. According to Jeff Klugman, TiVo's EVP/GM of Products/Revenue, who shared background on the deal with me, Digitalsmiths' leading cloud-based content discovery and recommendations technology will give TiVo greater flexibility to serve pay-TV operators with branded and white label solutions independent of TiVo's hardware.

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  • How Technology Made "Breaking Bad" My First All On-Demand Series

    (Note: I will NOT disclose anything about last night's series finale, so fans, you're safe to read on without spoilers.)

    Last night was the series finale of the hit AMC show "Breaking Bad." I count myself among the millions of super-fans who fell in love with the series from the start and have been loyal ever since. Importantly though, my viewing experience with Breaking Bad distinguished itself from every other TV show I've ever watched: it was the first one where I watched every single episode on-demand and without ads.

    In fact, my experiences with Breaking Bad perfectly illustrate so many of the video industry themes I write about on VideoNuze each day that I thought it would be worth sharing some of them and what I learned.

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  • TiVo to Bring Out-of-Home Streaming With New Roamio DVRs

    TiVo has introduced its new line of DVRs dubbed "Roamio," and among other new features, the highlight is out-of-home streaming (note the caveats below). Out-home-streaming means that users with a Roamio DVR will be able to access their stored content on iOS devices (and Android at some point too), effectively unlocking content from the DVR itself.

    Out-of-home streaming extends in-home streaming and downloading that have been available via the TiVo Stream device. I've been using Stream since last year and is one of my favorite devices, enabling me to download content before making a trip and then watch when not connected, a great benefit. The 2 higher-end Roamios (Plus and Pro) have TiVo Stream built in, while the base model does not.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #190 - TiVo-Netflix Research; Amazon Ups the Ante for Video Rights

    I'm pleased to present the 190th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    We start our discussion with data that TiVo Research and Analytics (TRA) released this past Monday, which concluded, among other things, that Netflix does not cannibalize traditional TV viewing. TRA also identified the percentage of respondents who subscribe to Netflix (and other services) who watched "House of Cards." Using these numbers, Colin calculates that about 10 million people watched the program, a healthy amount by any standard (Netflix hasn't publicly released HoC's audience). Colin sees a class of "super-viewers" whose traditional TV consumption is augmented by, not substituted with, Netflix.

    One thing that caught my attention in the TRA data was that while Netflix had a 57% adoption rate among respondents, Amazon Prime was right behind it, at 50% (Hulu Plus was further back at 18%). To be fair, it's not clear whether these Prime members are actually watching video included in Prime, or are mainly focused on the unlimited shipping benefit. But, assuming that many DO watch video, it's an impressive number for Amazon, and underscores how far Prime has come in the 2 1/2 years since Instant Videos were launched.

    Colin and I discuss Amazon's broader agenda and how its aggressive pursuit of video is strategic in supporting both Prime and the Kindle ecosystem (all of which I described in my post this past Monday). Given Amazon's willingness to operate on razor-thin margins, I foresee the price for licensing high-quality content continuing to rise, which will in turn pinch profitability (and subscriber growth) at pure play OTT providers like Netflix.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (16 minutes, 48 seconds)




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  • Best Buy Circular Ad Highlights Cord-Cutting Content Package

    Flipping through yesterday's Best Buy circular, I noticed an ad (see below), which I believe is indicative of the type of pitches that are going to become increasingly prevalent to prospective cord-cutters and cord-nevers. The ad offers a packaged discount to an over-the-air ClearStream HD antenna from Antennas Direct with a TiVo Premiere and highlights logos from Netflix, Hulu Plus and Pandora. While the ad doesn't explicitly say "Dump your expensive pay-TV service now!," it has several key messages that might as well.

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  • Comcast App Now Allows Video Downloads to Mobile Devices for On-The-Go Viewing

    Comcast has announced that Xfinity TV subscribers who use the Xfinity TV Player app on their Android and iOS mobile devices can now download certain TV shows and movies, so they can watch when they're not connected to a broadband network. The download option closely mirrors TiVo's recently announced "Stream" device, which also allows downloading.

    As I wrote in my review of TiVo Stream, I think the offline viewing use case is a killer app. Despite the proliferation of 4G services, the reality is there are still plenty of times when connectivity is sub-par or non-existent, particularly in transit situations (e.g. airplanes, cars, trains, etc.). Further, the elimination of unlimited data plans by wireless carriers makes streaming long-form content prohibitively expensive. As a result, the download option is very attractive, especially for travelers.

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  • TiVo Stream's Downloading Feature is a Bona Fide Killer App

    "Killer app" is surely one of the most cliche terms in technology and one I try hard to avoid using. But today I'm making an exception because, in my opinion, the new TiVo Stream device actually has a bona fide killer app: the ability to wirelessly download recorded programs from a TiVo Premiere DVR to an iOS device for offline, high-quality playback. I've been using Stream mainly for this purpose for the past month and have absolutely fallen in love with the device.

    The ability to download recorded programs is huge for several reasons. First and foremost, often when out of the home, it just isn't possible to stream video. A high-quality WiFi network may not be available (for instance, when flying). And even if it is, it may be over-shared, lacking necessary capacity for streaming. Wireless carrier 3G aircards similarly lack capacity, and with 4G aircards, data usage plan caps quickly kick in, making streaming an expensive proposition.

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  • AOL Updates Its Connected TV App, Now Includes Ad Support

    AOL is announcing this morning version 2.0 of its connected TV app, which will include a refreshed UI and advertising support for the first time. The app has been known as "AOL HD" but will now be known as "The AOL On" app. It is available on Samsung and Sony connected TVs and devices, plus Roku, and within a few weeks on TiVo Premiere DVRs. The move is another sign of how major content providers are getting more serious about migrating the online video experience from the desktop to the living room.

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  • A Big Picture Debate on the Future of Online Video Advertising [VIDEO]

    At last month's VideoNuze 2012 Online Video Advertising Summit, our closing session was a big picture debate on the future of online video advertising, featuring AOL's Frank Besteiro, NBCU's Peter Naylor, TiVo's Tara Maitra, TubeMogul's Brett Wilson and YouTube's Suzie Reider, which I moderated.

    One of the things the group addresses is whether buyers of online video advertising will prefer an impression-based model (akin to traditional TV advertising) or an engagement-based model (akin to search and other forms of online advertising). I believe it's a key question as it goes to the heart of how video advertising will work and the experience viewers will have online. Within this larger question is the omnipresent issue of measurement - when will there be an accepted currency for online video advertising, and what will it be?

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  • VideoNuze Report Podcast #135 - Verizon's Speedy Broadband, TiVo's Stream, Apple TV, Tom Brady

    I'm pleased to be joined once again by Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group, for the 135th edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for June 1, 2012. This week we cover 3 different topics: Verizon's announcement of ultra-fast new broadband service tiers (up to 300 mbps); TiVo's new "Stream" companion device which will allow 1-click video downloading to iOS devices and the fresh rumors around Apple introducing a television following CEO Tim Cook's interview at the D10 conference this week. We wrap up on a light-hearted note - the hilarious video from Funny or Die for Under Armour, "Tom Brady's Wicked Accent."

    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 11 seconds)



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  • TiVo's New iPad Video Downloader is a Winner for On the Go Viewing [VIDEO]

    Streaming video is awesome, but of course it requires you to have a robust broadband connection. Once you're outside your home or business, that's an iffy proposition. WiFi hotspots aren't always available, and even when they are, they're often over-shared so connection quality is too low for video. Wireless 3G or 4G cards are better, but their relatively low data caps seriously crimps viewing. And if you're on a plane, forget streaming entirely, Gogo doesn't cut it at all.

    These real-world mobile limitations mean downloading video in advance, rather than streaming it, is the key to on the go viewing. This has been one of the value props of iTunes, Amazon and other services. But the reality is that lots of great content is already sitting on your DVR (and if you're like me, 30K feet is when I most often actually have time to watch any of it). Further, you've already paid a lot of great content with your pay-TV subscription. The problem is that DVR video has been pretty much locked in your home, without an easy way to take it with you. All of above problems are solved with TiVo's new "Stream" companion device, which TiVo announced last week.

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  • TiVo Research: OTT and DVR Viewing Surges, Live Viewing Plummets

    More research validating how on-demand viewership is ascendant and live viewing is declining. TiVo released new data showing that 62% of viewing on connected TiVo devices is either of recorded programs or from over-the-top sources, while 38% of viewing is live. For TiVo users that watched Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus and other OTT options, live viewership declined to 27%.

    The research is based on second-by-second analysis of users of 2 million TiVo devices. No trend data was released, so it's not clear how these numbers compare to prior periods.

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  • Comcast's TiVo Deal Breaks New Ground, Unifies VOD, OTT Navigation

    Yesterday, Comcast and TiVo announced an interesting deal that allows TiVo Premiere owners who subscribe to Comcast's digital video service to also receive Xfinity TV VOD alongside over-the-top choices like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, etc. It's a little bit of an alphabet soup situation to understand, which will make marketing it a challenge, but if the two companies are successful, it could actually be quite meaningful to consumers who choose to take advantage of the offer. I caught up with TiVo's EVP Jeff Klugman and had a slew of questions answered by Comcast to understand things better.

    Under the deal, TiVo Premiere owners can have Comcast come to their home at no charge and install the box and a CableCARD, making sure everything is working properly with the video service and their broadband connection (this will start in the SF area, with other markets to follow). One of Premiere's primary benefits is that when a user search is conducted for a TV show or movie, the results include all potential sources - Comcast linear and VOD as well as OTT options. That's beneficial to users because as long as rights are granted according to studios' adherence to windows, trying to understand what's available on which service/device at any particular time is virtually impossible for any average consumer.

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  • TiVo Links Up With Charter

    TiVo scored a big deal this week, as Charter Communications, the fourth-largest U.S. cable operator, announced that it would be offering TiVo's interface and its latest Premiere boxes to its subscribers. Because TiVo has integrations with lots of online video sources (including Netflix, Amazon, etc.), the deal is significant because it blends the traditional cable experience with the new over-the-top competitors. The deal also suggests what I pointed out in my review of Cisco's "Videoscape " - that beyond the very largest pay-TV operators, partnerships are going to be the way to go for them to deliver competitive experiences. For TiVo, the Charter win follows recent deals with both DirecTV and Cox. No doubt more will follow.
     
  • Both Roku and TiVo Get Hulu Plus Access

    Hulu is extending access to its Hulu Plus subscription service to Roku devices and to TiVo Premiere. The service will be available to owners of these devices for $9.95/mo. Roku and TiVo follow availability of Hulu Plus on Samsung connected devices, Sony PS3 and the iOS devices.

    Of course it's a real benefit to Hulu Plus subscribers to gain on-TV viewing through inexpensive connected devices, and no doubt we can expect more devices to come, with boxee right at the top of the list. Still, with Hulu Plus following Netflix onto these devices, consumers are inevitably going to closely compare the two services. In this respect, as I've pointed out numerous times, most recently in the wake of Netflix's expanded deal with NBCU, Hulu Plus's content is going to look skimpy.

    To be fair, for what it is - access to current and past seasons of broadcast programs, Hulu Plus is a great service. The problem is that DVRs already solve the current season episode value proposition for many (40% of homes and growing, according to Leichtman Research) while the prior seasons episodes are increasingly available on Netflix. Meanwhile, with TV Everywhere rolling out, Hulu Plus will be challenged to get access to cable TV network programs.

    Expanding the number of devices that can access Hulu Plus is the right move (and a refreshing update after previously blocking free Hulu.com content). Nonetheless the big challenge for Hulu Plus remains getting more content.

    What do you think? Post a comment now (no sign-in required).

     
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