Big media companies are often cast as lumbering giants, slow to recognize change and even slower to embrace it. But for Disney, that stereotype looks increasingly inappropriate, as the company continues making moves to better position itself for the vastly different upcoming online video era.
Yesterday's report that Disney is mulling an acquisition of Maker Studios for $500 million, one of the biggest of the YouTube multichannel networks ("MCNs") with over 500 million videos viewed/month in January, is the latest sign that Disney recognizes the future rules of the road in the media industry will be far different than they were in the past. Maker - and other big MCNs - underscore 3 of the biggest emerging rules: (1) that talent can now break big without the backing of the traditional media, (2) that YouTube is a bona fide new distribution platform and (3) that traditional media's grip on millennials may be slipping.
Comcast has announced that it will acquire Time Warner Cable in an all-stock transaction valued at $45.2 billion. Comcast is already the biggest video and broadband provider in the U.S. and will now get even bigger, assuming the deal is approved. Comcast has committed to divest around 3 million of TWC's video subscribers to stay below 30% of the total U.S. pay-TV market, so the combined company would have approximately 30M video subscribers. Broadband subscribers would be a little less than 30M.
For me, the big takeaway from the deal is that in the broadband era, scale matters a lot - and to compete effectively, a company simply has to have it. Nearly ubiquitous broadband and wireless connectivity, plus massive proliferation of devices, have enabled online-only players to have easy access to massive global audiences. This context has helped fuel the rise of companies including Google, Facebook, Amazon, YouTube, Netflix, Twitter and many others. With innovative services and solid execution, it's now possible to create huge businesses quicker than ever.
According to a new report from video analytics provider Pixability, beauty brands are dominated on YouTube by independent beauty personalities and video bloggers ("vloggers") in terms of video views and engagement. Pixability found that major brands have just 3% of the 14.9 billion beauty-related video views on YouTube. YouTube vloggers, "haul girls," and other beauty content creators control 97% of conversations around beauty topics and related brands on YouTube.
FOX Sports Digital (FSD) partnered with YouTube to create the FOX Sports Digital VideoFest, a great example of how established media can tap into YouTube's vast online video talent pool. For the Digital VideoFest, YouTube selected 12 of its channel creators and brought them together for several days at YouTube Space LA. Creators were challenged to produce a pilot for a potential web series, with the winner chosen by a panel of 4 FSD executives. The Digital VideoFest was sponsored by Ford Fusion, with the winner receiving a $1 million development deal.
Judging by the pre-show buzz, the main focus at this year's CES (which kicks off next Tuesday) will be on Ultra High-Definition TV, or "4K" TV. If this seems familiar, it's because UHDTVs were the main focus of last year's CES as well. Clearly TV manufacturers have settled on UHDTV as the next "big thing" to motivate consumers to upgrade. However, in 2013, UHDTV's high prices, impractically large screen sizes and lack of 4K content led to extremely limited adoption in the U.S. So the question is: will UHDTVs find better success in the U.S. in 2014?
Poor quality online video experiences cost brands in numerous ways, according to a new Brightcove survey. 62% of respondents are likely to blame the brand, rather than their ISP or video hosting provider such as YouTube, when encountering poor quality video. In addition, 60% of respondents experiencing poor video quality said it would dissuade them from social engagement with the brand, 57% said they'd be less likely to share a low quality video and 23% said low quality would make them hesitant to purchase from the brand.
The Brightcove survey highlights quality issues with YouTube specifically, which brands have aggressively embraced for its massive reach. But while YouTube offers huge audience potential, 75% of survey respondents reported experiencing buffering and freezing on the site, with 33% saying these problems affect half of the videos they watch. This leads to about 1/3 of viewers experiencing problems abandoning the video rather than waiting for the buffering to stop.
Categories: Brand Marketing
YouTube is now getting nearly 40% of its views from mobile devices, up from 6% in 2011. That nugget was shared by Google's CEO Larry Page in its Q3 2013 earnings call yesterday. YouTube is the latest content provider to share strong mobile viewership data; in the past several weeks BBC said its iPlayer mobile views are now up to 32% of total, VEVO said 50% of its views are mobile and PBS Kids said 75% of its are mobile.
These are clearly leaders in mobile and their viewership shows mobile's potential. More often these days, I'm hearing content providers say 20-30% is the range for their mobile views. Note, if you want to learn more about mobile video, both VEVO and PBS Kids (along with ESPN and Beachfront Media) will have executives speaking on the mobile video session at VideoSchmooze on Dec. 3rd (early bird discounted registration is now available).
With 3.7 billion video ads served, the combined AOL-Adap.tv has landed atop comScore's September 2013 U.S. Online Video Rankings. (see chart below) It's the first time that AOL has outranked Google (primarily YouTube), which dropped to second with 3.2 billion video ads served. On its own in August, Adap.tv served over 2.5 billion video ads. AOL-Adap.tv was also tops in total ad minutes in September with over 1.6 billion, followed by BrightRoll with nearly 1.3 billion.
I'm pleased to present the 193rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week Colin and I discuss our experiences with Chromecast, adding details to our respective previous posts (here and here), as well as our initial podcast from a few weeks ago just after the device was announced.
Overall, we're both very positive about Chromecast. Among other things, we like the easy set-up, the "tab-casting" feature, and of course, the low price of $35. We both believe it is hugely strategic for YouTube and other video providers who are outside the pay-TV universe to gain access to the living room. Colin has had a few issues with Netflix crashing his Nexus 4 when trying to use Chromecast (though when it has worked the quality has been strong) and he has had trouble using Chromecast's capability of turning the TV on and off.
I haven't had any problems using Netflix, though the streaming quality feels slightly lower than when I watch on my iPad or via my connected Blu-ray player. I did have problems with Chromecast when trying to watch golf and suspect it would be difficult to watch faster-action sports.
Still, we're both impressed and believe Google deserves lots of credit. We're both expecting big things from Chromecast this holiday season.
On a closing note, we'd like to thank all of you for listening to our weekly podcasts. It's been an incredibly busy summer for online video and we both believe the best is yet to come. For those of you with a long Labor Day weekend ahead, enjoy, and we'll see you in September!
Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 16 seconds)
Underscoring how important YouTube has become as a marketing channel, a new study (free download here) from Pixability has found that all but one of the Top 100 Global Brands (as identified by Interbrand) now maintain a presence on YouTube. Together these 99 brands have generated 9.5 billion views on YouTube across 2,200+ channels, with over 258K videos posted.
Beyond the overall volume of activity, the Pixability study discloses a wide variation in the activity level and effectiveness of the brands' channels. Most striking is that less than half the brand videos posted gained 1,000 views or more while just 1,300 videos - a tiny fraction of all the total posted - achieved more than 1 million views. Further, 37% of brand channels haven't been updated with new content in over 120 days and many brands' channels were simply inactive.
Categories: Brand Marketing
Three items last week brought to mind one central question I've long wondered about: can traditionally free, ad-supported online video providers make the leap to a paid, subscription model? The first item was a long piece in Variety that chronicled the struggles the first set of YouTube content partners trying subscriptions is having upselling their free viewers. Second, Reuters broke the news that Machinima, one of the biggest online video players (and a big YouTube partner) is planning to go it alone in creating its own subscription service to complement its free, ad-supported offering. And third was the milestone news that Netflix, by far the most successful online subscription service, garnered 14 Emmy nominations, including 9 for "House of Cards" alone.
How do these all tie together?
I'm pleased to present the 179th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. Yesterday, YouTube confirmed that it will offer content partners the ability to charge for subscriptions. In what its calling a pilot program, 53 subscription channels are being launched, some from established brands like UFC, PGA, National Geographic and Jim Henson, and many more from less well-known content partners.
In this week's podcast Colin and I discuss whether this is a big deal or not. Colin's more bullish than I am, seeing it as a very important piece in the YouTube puzzle, adding to existing advertising, rental and purchase monetization options.
I agree it's smart move by YouTube, but I don't think it's a game-changer. While I see this as the right thing to offer content partners - especially those with huge audiences on YouTube - this is akin to "freemium" type option that will require partners to very clearly differentiate the incremental content available in their subscription tiers in order to convert a small percentage of their free viewers to monthly subscribers.
A complicating factor is that for many users, YouTube subscriptions will be on top of - not a substitute for - already expensive pay-TV monthly bills. Then there's also a Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon or other SVOD subscriptions which already make a claim on finite entertainment dollars too. Lastly, YouTube is perceived as a "free" site by many, so it will take significant promotion by channels to persuade users to pay.
Bottom line: YouTube is doing right by its content partners in offering this capability, but it's up to the content partners themselves to make it successful. My guess is for most partners, advertising will continue to dominate their YouTube-related revenue for a long time to come.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (18 minutes, 15 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 178th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This was NewFronts week, when a slew of content providers presented their slate of programs and initiatives to advertisers. Having attended a couple of the presentations, I was impressed by the turnout, energy and interest, especially since this was only the second year for these types of presentations.
Advertisers have clearly moved online video beyond the experimental stage and are taking a strong interest. Colin and I agree that this is mainly due to viewers' strong adoption of online video viewing. This should only increase as viewers are presented with an exploding array of content choices. We talk more about the role that mobile and apps are playing in all of this too, and why established media needs to be aggressive in this shifting landscape.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (17 minutes, 53 seconds)
YouTube has been the undisputed 800-pound gorilla of the online video market since the beginning of time. And it's key message to advertisers at last night's "Brandcast" NewFront event was to emphatically remind them of its massive size and its reach into the youth market, factors it believes should drive advertisers' attention and spending.
Whereas last year's Brandcast was all about the 100 new channels that YouTube was funding/launching, this year's event was more of a return to its roots: it's ability to give native digital talent the platform to reach and grow huge audiences. Because a lot of this talent resonates first and foremost with younger digital natives (in Nielsen parlance "Generation C"), YouTube says it's in a unique position to deliver these audiences. YouTube cited Nielsen data that it reaches more 18-34-year-olds than any cable network.
I'm pleased to present the 172nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week we first discuss Google Fiber, which Google announced this past Tuesday would roll out to a second city, Olathe, KS. Nonetheless, as we discuss, it still feels like Google Fiber is a hobby for Google, though its executives recently asserted otherwise. Neither Colin nor I quite understand what Google Fiber's actual market impact or game plan is, and we are skeptical that there's a business case to support its broader rollout.
We then turn our attention to another Google-related item, which is that YouTube announced this week it is now attracting 1 billion visitors/month, even as (according to my analysis), its U.S. online-only traffic has dropped by 32% year-over-year. But, because comScore doesn't measure mobile access, this isn't an accurate portrayal of YouTube's reach, which is clearly expanding. Colin has further data that adds color to the situation.
Separate, Colin has released his excellent new white paper, "Second-Screen Apps for TV" (free download here)
And a reminder to sign up for "Sizing Up Apple TV" a free video webinar on April 2nd featuring Brightcove's Jeremy Allaire and me.
Listen in to learn more!
(update - the correct pronunciation of Olathe, KS is "O lay the" (thanks Frank Hughes!).
Click here to listen to the podcast (18 minutes, 57 seconds)
Here's an eye-popping data point from last week's comScore online video rankings report for Feb. '13: YouTube's total of 11.3 billion monthly views were down 32% vs. Feb. '12 when it had 16.7 billion views (see chart below). But lest you think viewers are fleeing YouTube, the perennial 800-pound gorilla of the online video market, what really appears to be happening is that a sizable chunk of viewers are shifting their viewing to mobile devices, which as I understand it, is not counted in comScore's data.
Today I'm pleased to share a contributed post from Alan Wolk. Alan is Global Lead Analyst at KIT digital. He frequently speaks about the television industry in general and second screen interactions in particular, both at conferences and to anyone who'll listen. Recently named as one of the "Top 20 Thinkers In Social TV and Second Screen" Wolk is one of the main architects behind the award-winning KIT Social Program Guide and writes about the television industry at the Toad Stool blog. You can find him on Twitter at @awolk
If you are interested in contributing to VideoNuze, please contact me!
Social Recommendations: No Surprises There
by Alan Wolk
There’s a firmly held belief in the world of social TV and social media that our social graphs-- the people we are friends with on Facebook and Twitter and other social networks-- are the best source of recommendations for anything from restaurants to movies to TV shows. (Witness this week’s Facebook Graph Search announcement.)
I’m here to suggest that may not be the case, particularly in regards to television.
Let’s take Facebook, the most personal of the social networks. While it is considered good form by many on Twitter and LinkedIin to connect with relative strangers, our Facebook friends are generally people we know in real life.
Categories: Social Media
Audience fragmentation isn't a new concept, but the proliferation of high-quality online-only originals suggests the trend is only going to intensify. These days, a week doesn't go by without another key player announcing a new or renewed online-only series, in turn creating ever-more choices for viewers and advertisers. Combine the surge in originals with the broad adoption of video-enabled connected devices, and the pieces are falling into place for even more changes in viewing behaviors.
Categories: Indie Video
Welcome to 2013! If you were mostly checked out over the past 1-2 weeks (or were only paying attention to the fiscal cliff roller coaster), you didn't miss a whole lot in the video world. However, there were 5 items that caught my attention which I briefly describe below:
YouTube has posted a gallery of the top 20 most-viewed ads of 2012. Topping the list, with almost 21 million views is "Nike Football: My Time Is Now," the 3-minute plus film which debuted for last summer's Eurocup. My personal favorite, with 17.7 million views and in the #3 position, is "The Bark Side," (see below) Volkswagen's 2012 Super Bowl teaser spin on its clever 2011 Super Bowl ad, "The Force" which is now up to 55 million views itself. The top 20 ads have over 200 million views combined.