I'm pleased to present the 177th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. Earlier this week, Netflix reported solid results for Q1 '13, adding a total of about 3 million new subscribers, 2 million in the U.S. and a million internationally. Netflix projects it can ultimately obtain 60-90 million U.S. subscribers, which would be 2-3 times as many as HBO, the biggest "premium TV" network.
As I wrote earlier this week, if that were to occur - and it's still a big if - it would mean Netflix would have to get a lot of middle and lower income American homes to layer on another $8/mo or more to their already substantial pay-TV bills, OR there would have to be material cord-cutting that essentially frees up household budget for SVOD subscriptions. Colin suggests a third way, which would be "cord-shaving" - subscribers cutting back on existing pay-TV services like sports networks or premium channels to make room for Netflix in their budgets.
That of course leads to the question of what HBO might do as it observes Netflix's continued growth. It's hard to see HBO standing still, yet, for reasons HBO has discussed in the past, unbundling itself from pay-TV would be a huge step for the company. Last but not least, Amazon - which become Netflix's biggest U.S. SVOD competitor - is rumored to have a set-top box introduction planned, which could also shift the competitive balance in the U.S. Bottom line, there are a lot of twists and turns yet to occur in SVOD in the U.S.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 6 seconds)
At starting prices of $8/month or so, affordable subscription video on demand (SVOD) services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, Blockbuster and others would seem to appeal to middle and lower income Americans. But a new report from Nielsen finds the exact opposite is true: wealthier homes, with household income over $100K/year, adopt SVOD services at 185% of their index, while lower income homes, with household income under $50K/year, subscribe at just 47% of their index.
Adding to the picture, "Professional" homes subscribing to an SVOD service are at 150% of their index, while "Blue Collar" homes are just 63% of their index.
The data seems to support a contention that Netflix has repeatedly made, which is that SVOD services are typically adopted in addition to - not in substitution for - pay-TV services. To the extent that pay-TV rates have continue to increase, it makes sense that only upper income homes can afford to then layer on an SVOD service on top of pay-TV.
I'm pleased to present the 173rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week we focus on the rising cost of content to pay-TV operators and the rising quality of content found online.
In a post yesterday, Colin validates pay-TV operators' complaints about programming costs, noting, for example, that at Comcast they rose from 34% of video revenue in '08 to 40% in '11 (at Time Warner Cable they were 41% and at DirecTV they were 45%). As we discuss, these escalating costs are eating into operators' profit margins as subscriber rate increases haven't kept pace. As VideoNuze readers know, sports is a major culprit in all of this, though entertainment networks have raised their own rates as well.
Against this backdrop, the quality of content available online is improving markedly. For example in just the past couple of weeks, we've seen Netflix announce another new series, with the producers of The Matrix films and Babylon5, Amazon Studios announce new shows "Betas," "Zombieland" and "Sarah Solves It" and Crackle a second season of "Chosen." Further, anime network Crunchyroll disclosed it's now up to 200K paying subscribers, TheBlaze (Glenn Beck's online video network) is raising $40M. Even the BBC, one of the most traditional TV networks, announced it will be premiering shows on its iPlayer.
In short, the quality of programming online is getting better all the time, while the cost of content to pay-TV operators is escalating, in turn putting pressure on subscriber rates. All of this means viewership patterns are bound to change and with the broader video industry.
Reminder: sign up for "Sizing Up Apple TV" a free video webinar, next Tuesday, April 2nd featuring Brightcove's Jeremy Allaire and me.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (18 minutes, 57 seconds)
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:
Research firm GfK released data from its third annual Over-the-Top TV report late last week, finding, among other things, that consumption by Netflix subscribers age 13-54 is roughly 2,000 minutes per month, about the same as it found in its '11 study. That amount is in the same general ballpark as the 2,388 minutes/sub/mo that BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield calculated for June, 2012, and in line with the 2,000 minutes/sub/mo that I calculated during Q4 '11.
The survey of 1,051 persons age 13-54 and conducted in June, 2012, found the average Netflix subscriber watches 5.1 TV shows and 3.4 movies per week. The survey revealed that 39% of this age group are Netflix subscribers (up from 35% in '11), with 47% having ever been a Netflix subscriber.
After a week off for R&R, I'm pleased to be joined once again by Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group, for the 146th edition of the VideoNuze-TDG Report podcast. Colin is at the IBC conference in Amsterdam this week, so his audio isn't quite as good as usual. There, he attended a fascinating presentation by a Unilever executive on how the company is adapting its advertising to the realities of a multi-screen world. Colin shares his reactions, particularly to how Unilever is creating its own online content in order to engage its audience in ways not possible with traditional TV advertising.
Shifting gears, we then discuss Amazon's aggressive content licensing blitz that I wrote about earlier this week. Having spent hundreds of millions of dollars licensing premium content over the past 15 months in support of its Prime Instant Videos, I think it's pretty clear that Amazon has emerged as the strongest new competitor to Netflix. Colin agrees, but reminds us that although content parity is critical to competitiveness, user experience matter as well. On this front, we agree Amazon still has a lot of work to do to match Netflix. Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 41 seconds)
Back in February, 2011, when Amazon unveiled Prime Instant Video, I noted that the service's Achilles heel was its minimal content selection. And since the video service was embedded in the larger Prime free shipping offer - rather than getting its own standalone brand - I sensed hesitancy that Amazon would spend big bucks to license lots of premium-quality video. That indeed seemed to be the case as Amazon didn't announce a single content licensing deal to support Prime Instant Video until July, 2011.
However, since then, things have changed markedly; Amazon has been on a content licensing blitz over the last 15 months, announcing at least 14 different deals, culminating in today's with EPIX (see below for links to all). Despite the slow start, Amazon's huge content investment shows the company is quite serious about achieving content parity, or better, with its closest rival, Netflix, while leaving others like Google, Apple, Wal-Mart/VUDU, Verizon/Redbox and others playing catch-up in user-friendly subscription OTT services. Including the EPIX content, Amazon says it now has 25,000 titles/episodes, up 5-fold from its February, 2011 launch.
Amazon has been offering its customers the opportunity to upload video product reviews for years, but peruse the site and you'll see that text reviews still dominate, with only a scattering of videos. No doubt recognizing how powerful video has become, it looks like Amazon may be putting a new emphasis on video product reviews. In an email I received yesterday from the company (which millions of other Amazon customers are likely receiving as well), the subject line read "Review your recent purchases at Amazon.com," with a large callout:
"New on Amazon! Grab your video camera or webcam and add video to your customer review. Click on "Review this product" above to upload a video or find a different product to review"
To be accurate, video reviews aren't a new feature on Amazon, though clearly they haven't been used much; for the 3 products I had bought, all had a healthy number of text reviews, but none had any video.