4C - leaderboard - 4-25-18

Analysis for 'Amazon'

  • VideoNuze Podcast #423: Apple and Amazon Help Pay-TV Operators. Wait, What?

    I’m pleased to present the 423rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Apple and Amazon aren’t two companies that come to mind for helping traditional pay-TV operators, but this week brought news of both doing exactly that. Apple announced at its WWDC the integration of Charter’s Spectrum app in Apple TV that will allow users to gain “zero sign-on” access to the app’s content. Other operators have made their apps available on connected TV devices, but this was a first for Apple TV.

    Then Amazon announced its Fire TV Cube, a mashup of Echo and Fire TV that also aspires to control your entertainment center. The device includes IR blasters to provide limited control over existing set-top boxes, a rare instance where Amazon is looking to help a prior technology rather than disrupt it.

    Colin and I discuss both moves, as well as the broader context that we see for the “appification of TV.” This is already happening with vMVPDs and we expect over the next couple years all major pay-TV operators will have apps for their services available on all major CTVs. For consumers this will be a huge win as they can avoid renting often outdated and expensive set-tops.

    (Note, Colin will be moderating the “Connected TV’s Ad-Supported Future” panel at the VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit on Tuesday. Register now!)

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  • Amazon’s New Fire TV Cube Plays Nice With Pay-TV Set-Top Boxes

    Amazon launched its new Fire TV Cube this morning - logically combining an Echo device with a Fire TV. But the Fire TV Cube has higher ambitions: to be an entertainment hub, controlling compatible TVs, sounds bars, A/V receivers and even cable or satellite set-top boxes, to deliver 4K TV. The set-top box integrations mean that Amazon is positioning the Fire TV Cube as a surprising friend to pay-TV, rather than a disruptor, the company’s typical role.

    Amazon said that the Fire TV Cube is compatible with set-top boxes from Comcast, Dish and DirecTV, Spectrum, Verizon, Cox, Alice and Frontier, covering more than 90% of households with a cable or satellite subscription. The feat is accomplished through the use of IR blasters in the Fire TV Cube that can switch the input to the set-top box and then turn it on/off and change channels. I haven’t tried the Fire TV Cube yet so I don’t know how well any of this works, but my prior experiences with IR have shown it can be finicky.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #420: AT&T Pursues All Video Price Points; Amazon Dominates SVOD Distribution

    I’m pleased to present the 420th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    AT&T is planning to deliver its DirecTV satellite services over broadband at a reduced cost, further demonstrating the company’s commitment to OTT video delivery. With the DirecTV broadband service and its upcoming skinnier bundle “AT&T Watch” for $15/mo, AT&T is pursuing every price point for its different video services. Colin and I discuss why all this helps AT&T with its wireless bundling strategy.

    We then transition to new TDG research showing Amazon Channels is driving 55% of all direct-to-consumer streaming subscriptions including 70% and 72% for Starz and Showtime respectively. We’ve both been big fans of Channels since it launched as the Streaming Partners Program in late 2015, and it appears to be paying off really well.

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  • Research: Amazon Channels is Driving Over Half of Direct-to-Consumer Video Subscriptions

    New research from The Diffusion Group finds that 55% of all direct-to-consumer video subscriptions are being driven by Amazon Channels. As the chart below shows, for Showtime, Channels accounts for 72% of new subscriptions, for Starz 70% and for HBO 53%. Both HBO and Showtime reported record subscriber levels at the end of 2017 and the new TDG data underscores how pivotal Channels has been in the 2 premium networks’ revitalization.

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  • Apple’s Plan to Offer Video Subscriptions Would Be Smart, But Way Late

    Bloomberg reported yesterday that Apple may enable video subscriptions within its TV app, which is available across iOS devices and Apple TV. It would be a smart, although very late, move by Apple to horn in on the video subscription boom. And Bloomberg correctly characterized it as an apparent copycat effort by Apple to emulate what Amazon has been doing with its Channels program since it originally launched way back in December, 2015 as the Streaming Partners Program.

    If you haven’t used Apple’s TV app, it allows single sign-on access to many cable and broadcast TV Everywhere apps, which would otherwise need to be individually authenticated, cross-app browsing, search and recommendations and multi-platform viewing. For people with an Apple TV in particular, it’s a handy app that aggregates a lot of content (including what you’ve purchased from iTunes) and in typical Apple style, presents it in a nice interface.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #416: Netflix’s Impressive Q1; Amazon and Best Buy Partner for Smart TVs

    I’m pleased to present the 416th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Netflix reported its Q1 ’18 results earlier this week and once again the performance was very strong, with revenue up 43% and average paid streaming subscribers up 25% to 125 million globally. Colin and I discuss what’s driving the company. With 55.1 million paid U.S. subscribers at the end of Q1, it’s possible that Netflix will hit 60 million by the end of 2018, which is the low end of the range of 60-90 million the company has long said it believed it could achieve.

    We then turn to discussing Amazon’s new deal with Best Buy for its “Fire TV Edition” smart TVs, which were announced earlier this week. We agree that the move is yet another aggressive step in Amazon’s goal to dominate both the living room and whole home. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also announced this week that Prime has hit 100 million subscribers with video continuing to drive acquisition and retention. Colin and I both see Amazon expanding further by launching a skinny bundle pay-TV service sometime in 2018.

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  • Amazon Pushes Into Smart TVs With Rival Best Buy as Unlikely Partner

    Amazon is making a major push into smart TVs, with rival Best Buy as an unlikely partner. The companies announced that Best Buy will introduce more than ten 4K and HD “Fire TV Edition” TVs from Toshiba this summer and in-house brand Insignia later this year. Best Buy has had a deal with Roku for its Insignia line, which will now end. Amazon has had a Fire TV Edition model with Element that is being discontinued.

    The new Fire TV Edition TVs will be sold exclusively in Best Buy physical stores, on BestBuy.com and from Best Buy as a third-party seller on Amazon.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #412: Deloitte Research Reveals Video Convergence; Amazon’s Math on Originals

    I’m pleased to present the 412th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    New data from Deloitte shows a convergence of streaming video behaviors among 3 age groups, Gen Z (14-20 year-olds), millennials (21-34 year-olds) and Gen X (35-51 year-olds) in terms of viewing frequency, subscription levels and binge-watching. Colin and I discuss the data and what’s  likely driving the convergence.

    We then dig into the math behind Amazon’s originals and how they contribute to Prime memberships and the company’s profitability. Jeff Bezos has spoken publicly about how video drives commerce. My analysis of Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle” supports this, proving that Amazon is a totally new breed of competitor in the video and TV industries.

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  • The Math Behind How an Amazon Hit TV Program Contributes to the Company’s Profitability

    Last week Reuters reported data from internal Amazon documents that for the first time provided insights into viewership of the company’s original TV programs and their contribution to creating new Prime subscriptions. Below I’ve done some additonal math using separately reported information to calculate how profitable at least one of Amazon's original programs could be.

    Last October, Fortune reported research from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners indicating that Amazon Prime subscribers spend an average of $1,300 per year compared to an average of $700 per year that non-Prime subscribers spend. (Note, back in Fall, 2016, Morgan Stanley said that according to its survey, Prime subscribers spend nearly $2,500 per year, vs. $544 for non-subscribers). For the purpose of my calculations, I just used the CIRP estimate of $600 incremental spending per year by subscribers.

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  • Oscars are Latest Marquee TV Event in 2018 to Suffer Viewing Decline as Audiences Splinter

    Preliminary overnight numbers for the Oscars show an 18.9 rating in prime time, down 16% vs. 2017’s 22.4 rating. The overnight rating is a new record low for the Oscars, and importantly continues the dismal showing for 2018’s marquee TV events: Golden Globes (-5% vs. 2017), Super Bowl (-7% vs. 2017, worst in 9 years), Olympics (-7% vs. 2014, worst ever) and Grammys (-24% vs. 2017, worst in 9 years). Clearly TV’s biggest events are losing their luster.

    There are always challenges particular to each event (e.g. Olympics time zone issues, Patriots fatigue, etc.). In the case of the Oscars, an ongoing problem is the disconnect between best picture winners and box office performance. A fascinating WSJ article on Friday detailed how only 4 best picture winners in the past 12 years have been among their year’s 25 highest-grossing movies, with none cracking the top 15. In the current era of superheroes, animation and franchise movies, thoughtful best picture nominees simply don’t draw the biggest audiences, in turn diminishing the Oscars’ relevance (2018 could be a quasi-exception with “Black Panther”).

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  • SpotX Gains Server-Side Ad Interoperability with Amazon Web Services

    Video ad tech provider SpotX has announced server-side ad insertion interoperability with Amazon Web Services’ Elemental MediaTailor service. This means that content providers which are joint customers of SpotX and AWS Elemental MediaTailor are able to use SpotX’s ad decisioning capabilities to dynamically serve targeted ads, using server-side ad insertion.

    With server-side ad insertion (“SSAI”), which is also known as ad stitching, relevant ads are integrated with the content at the server level, providing a better viewer experience as compared with when ads are inserted by the player on the user's device. The latter model often results in buffering as the player transitions between content and ads and vice versa. Buffering is major challenge for content providers because it is the leading cause of abandonment, which in turn diminishes monetization.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #401: Top Video Trends for 2018

    Happy New Year! I’m pleased to present the 401st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, and our first of 2018, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    As is our tradition, we discuss our top trends for the new year. 2017 was extremely busy for the industry and we expect 2018 to be no different. Among our top trends are wireless providers pushing deeper into video, YouTube TV starting to break out among skinny bundles, cord-cutting accelerating and Amazon pursuing many different opportunities to build its video business. We also discuss 4-5 additional trends to watch.

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  • Will Amazon Move Into Video Advertising in 2018?

    In 2017 Amazon continued launching into new businesses as it leveraged its massive scale and resources to disrupt the status quo. As we look ahead to 2018, online video adverting appears to be yet another juicy opportunity for Amazon to pursue, as all the pieces seem to be falling into place.

    As background, Amazon is already investing heavily in ad tech and ad sales staff. Of course, ads and recommendations have long been a part of the Amazon shopping experience, with text and banner ads popping up following searches and on product pages. But video ads give the company a whole new opportunity.

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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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  • VideoNuze Podcast #393: Hulu’s CEO Departs; Amazon Studios’ Brain Drain

    I’m pleased to present the 393rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    It’s been a big week for executive changes in the SVOD world. Hulu’s CEO Mike Hopkins is departing to become chairman of Sony Pictures Television. Randy Freer, president and COO of Fox Networks will take over as Hulu’s new CEO. Colin and I both think Hopkins accomplished a lot in his four years at Hulu and we review the company’s progress. Still, the SVOD space is more competitive than ever and Hulu has a range of challenges ahead of it.

    Speaking of executive changes, Amazon Studios is undergoing a brain drain, with its head Roy Price leaving due to sexual harassment charges followed by 3 other senior executives. Amazon Studios was already under pressure to create blockbuster programming and these management changes would seem to only increase the pressure. We dig into what’s happening at Amazon.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #391: Disney’s Winning Move With Movies Anywhere, Amazon Video Ads and More

    I’m pleased to present the 391st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia (apologies in advance, my audio quality is low).

    We cover 4 different items this week starting with the news that 4 major studios have joined with Disney’s cloud-based venture, now renamed “Movies Anywhere.” The move validates Disney’s prior decision not to join UltraViolet and presents an exciting consumer value proposition incorporating multiple online stores and spanning key devices.

    Colin then shares highlights of new global research from Ericsson Consumer Labs. No surprise, the report showed a big shift in viewing from linear to on-demand and also much higher satisfaction scores for on demand video services vs. traditional TV.  The report comes just ahead of the Q3 earnings season which is likely to show an uptick in cord-cutting.

    We then turn to a report from CNBC that Amazon is making moves in video advertising. Colin and I believe this would make a ton of sense from multiple perspectives.

    Reminder that next Thursday, October 19th we’ll be hosting a webinar on streaming sports, hosted by Akamai. Join us!

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  • SpotX Bolsters Amazon’s Transparent Ad Marketplace For Video Header Bidding

    Late last week SpotX announced that it has integrated its recently-launched header bidding solution for video ads with Amazon Publisher Services’ Transparent Ad Marketplace (TAM). To learn more about the integration and the benefits to publishers, SpotX and Amazon, I spoke with Tal Almany, SpotX’s Senior Director, Advanced Integrations who recently joined the company from OpenX.

    For those not familiar with header bidding, this is an approach that video providers use to offer their ad inventory simultaneously to multiple demand sources to optimize bidding and monetization. Amazon’s TAM is a header bidding solution that is cloud-based and server side, which means less code is running on the publisher’s site, creating efficiencies. TAM is relatively new to the market, but because it’s from Amazon, it has gained a lot of attention.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #385: The Role of Advertising and Subscriptions for Premium Video

    I’m pleased to present the 385th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On today’s podcast, Colin and I discuss the role of advertising and subscriptions for premium video. I wrote about this topic earlier this week, observing that video providers today are experimenting with all models to see what succeeds. The urgency to find the successor to the lucrative multichannel bundle approach is becoming more urgent as cord-cutting increases.

    Colin and I both believe the picture is currently quite murky. We contrast the success Netflix, for example has had with ad-free viewing while subscribers to both CBS All Access and Hulu still appear to prefer to pay less and get a full ad load.

    I think there’s real power in a brand’s original identity and it’s quite hard to transition from one model to another. Colin sees more upside from “freemium” approaches that introduce viewers to content with ads but then try to upsell them to subscriptions.

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  • Video Providers Pursue Advertising, Subscriptions or Both

    Advertising, subscriptions, or both? All video providers are currently grappling with the fundamental question of what business model to pursue. With the cost of producing high-quality video and the challenge of attracting and audience more daunting than ever, deciding which path to follow has taken on increasing urgency.

    But if the stakes are higher, so too is the murkiness, especially when it comes to what consumers will pay for. Just because Netflix has 50 million U.S. subscribers doesn’t mean getting to a million is straightforward for an SVOD wannabe.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #384: Rounding Up the Week’s Top News

    I’m pleased to present the 384th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On today’s podcast, Colin and I first discuss Q2 ’17 pay-TV video subscriber results. Skinny bundles played a big part in offsetting accelerating losses in traditional multichannel services. Will this continue and if so what are the implications?

    We then dig into the DVD market’s decline which was further accelerated this week when Amazon decided to close down its LOVEFiLM DVD-by-mail business in several European countries. Colin notes that Netflix’s DVD business has had a huge drop-off also and he speculates whether it too might get cut loose. On the bright side, Redbox re-upped its deal with Lionsgate, showing that DVDs still have a bit of life left.

    Finally, Apple was back in the news this week, reportedly allocating $1 billion for original TV shows. We speculate on whether this will be successful and what challenges Apple will face.

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