VideoNuze 2016 Online Video Advertising Summit EB - leaderboard - 4-22-16

Analysis for 'Amazon'

  • YouTube Shouldn’t Be Worried About Amazon Video Direct, At Least Not Yet Anyway

    When Amazon Video Direct (AVD) was announced last week, lots of industry observers saw it as a new YouTube competitor. At some point that may be true, but for now, there is little for YouTube, the undisputed 800-pound gorilla of the online video industry, to be worried about.

    While video content providers will welcome another deep-pocketed third-party distributor into the market, the most important challenge AVD faces is proving that it can make incremental money for these providers, beyond what they can already earn on YouTube, their own direct channels/apps and elsewhere.

    Amazon revealed 4 different ways that content providers can monetize their videos, but each has challenges.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #322: How to Parse Smart Experimentation From Wild Pitches in Today’s Crazy Video World

    I'm pleased to present the 322nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week’s announcement by Amazon of “Amazon Video Direct” - seemingly a YouTube competitor and not an obvious extension for the company - prompted Colin and me to reflect on how many recent video industry initiatives have struck us as incongruous. There’s no doubt we’re living through an unprecedented period of instability in the video and TV industries, and a persistent question is how to parse smart experimentation/expansion from wild pitches?

    In today’s podcast we discuss 7 different industry moves we’ve recently observed that seem to us like long shots that are disconnected from their companies’ core competencies vs. those that seem like natural extensions of their companies’ brand perceptions and capabilities. (Our biggest head-scratcher is Dish Network’s decision to expand into in-home iPhone repairs. Huh?).

    Still, Colin and I readily acknowledge this is not hard science. To that end, we also identify a few examples that at one time may have seemed like odd pursuits, but have turned into big successes  (Snapchat’s move into professional video, with its Discover feature, is a prime example). It’s all great food for thought as we continue to assess the dynamic video landscape each day.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #319: Amazon Eyes SVOD Distribution Dominance; NABShow Takeaways

    I'm pleased to present the 319th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Colin and I are back from NABShow where I produced the 2-day Online Video Conference, which included 52 speakers over 15 sessions. One of the highlights for me was doing a keynote interview with Michael Paull, VP of Digital Video at Amazon who oversees the company’s new Streaming Partners Program (SPP).  

    As I wrote yesterday, SPP will likely have a majority of U.S. SVOD services included this year, putting Amazon in the undisputed role as THE third-party distributor of SVOD in the U.S. Colin and I dig into why that is potentially so critical and the implications it could have for Netflix and the pay-TV industry. (Colin provides a personal example of how Amazon hooked him on a subscription to Tribeca Shortlist which he never would have found on his own).

    We then transition to specific takeaways from NABShow. Colin notes that many vendors were demonstrating how online video can be delivered with guaranteed quality and user experiences, making online video every bit as good as TV itself. For pay-TV operators specifically, the imperative to move video services online has never been higher.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 41 seconds)



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  • Amazon is Likely to Have a Majority of All U.S. SVOD Services in Its Partners Program This Year

    Amazon is likely to have a majority of all SVOD services available in the U.S. included in its recently launched Streaming Partners Program (SPP) this year, setting the stage for the company to become the main third-party distributor for dozens of SVOD services. As this happens, there will be significant implications for the structure of the SVOD industry, not least of which will be changing the competitive dynamic between Amazon and Netflix, just as the latter’s domestic subscriber growth appears to be flattening. Another important implication would be Amazon’s impact on the U.S. pay-TV industry and role with cord-cutters.

    Michael Paull, Amazon’s VP of Digital Video, who runs the SPP, told me during our keynote interview on Tuesday at the NABShow Online Video Conference that he expects “dozens” of SVOD services in the U.S. will become part of the SPP in the coming months. When added to the 30+ SVOD services already available in SPP, the result would be that the majority of U.S. SVOD services would be part of SPP. (Note, according to Parks Associates’ recent research there are 98 U.S. SVOD services aside from Netflix, Hulu and Amazon currently available).

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  • Amazon Raises SVOD Stakes With New Standalone Monthly Plan

    Amazon has launched an $8.99/month standalone plan for its Prime Video service, breaking it out of the overall Prime service for the first time. The company is also offering a $10.99/month option for Prime itself, a first time departure from the traditional annual approach.

    The standalone plan for Prime Video means that for the first time Amazon’s video service can be valued by consumers on an apples-to-apples basis with other SVOD services without being clouded by other Prime benefits. By bundling video with Prime Amazon was able to introduce video to millions of Prime subscribers without them having to make an incremental purchase decision, enabling buzz to build about Prime’s original programming.

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  • Research: Subscriptions to OTT Services Aside From Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Remain Minimal

    Here’s a measure of how dominant the big three SVOD services (Netflix, Amazon and Hulu) are in the US: according to new OTT data from Parks Associates, just 5% of all broadband homes subscribe to one or more of the 98 SVOD services available in the US aside from the big three. Among the 98 services Parks counted are high-profile offerings like HBO Now, CBS All Access and Sling TV.

    At the end of 2015, there were approximately 96.3 million broadband homes in the US, according to Leichtman Research. So that would mean that about 4.8 million broadband homes were subscribing to one or more of the 98 SVOD services outside of the big three. Parks did not specify the actual subscriber levels of any of the 98 SVOD services.

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  • Twitter is the Unlikely Winner of NFL Thursday Night Games

    Underscoring once again how unpredictable the online video space is, Twitter has emerged as the unlikely winner of the rights to stream NFL Thursday Night Football (TNF) games for the 2016-2017 season. Just yesterday I wrote that with Facebook and Apple bowing out, the bidding likely came down to Amazon, Verizon and Google, with Verizon the most likely winner for a variety of reasons.

    On the one hand, Twitter’s interest in streaming the TNF games makes sense, as recently returned CEO Jack Dorsey has publicly stated that a top 2016 priority is live streaming, including leveraging its Periscope product. The 10 TNF games give Twitter a marquee property to highlight live streaming, which complements Twitter activity around all games. And Twitter already had a deal in place with the NFL for highlight clips.

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  • With Facebook and Apple Out of NFL Thursday Night Bidding, Who’s in the Pole Position Now?

    Late Friday afternoon, Bloomberg reported that Facebook had dropped out of the bidding for streaming rights to the NFL’s Thursday night package. That news followed Recode’s report from last month that Apple had also withdrawn. With two of the most likely candidates now gone, the only digital players remaining who are both big enough to afford the deal and for whom it potentially makes enough strategic sense are likely Verizon, Google and Amazon (I’m excluding Yahoo since its own instability almost certainly precludes a bid).

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  • Research: SVOD Penetration in U.S. Passes 50%

    New research from Pivotal Research Group, based on Nielsen data, reveals that at the end of February, 2016, SVOD services were in over 50% of U.S. TV households, up from 43% in February 2015. The SVOD services included are Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu.

    No surprise, Netflix is by far the most popular SVOD service, in 45% of U.S. homes (up from 38% a year ago), followed by Amazon Prime in 21% of homes (up from 15% a year ago) and then Hulu in 10% of homes (up from 7% a year ago).

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #308: Week in Review - Facebook, Nielsen Data, Sundance, Netflix Censorship

    I'm pleased to present the 308th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    In today’s podcast we discuss a number of different items that hit our radar this week. We start with Facebook’s growing impact in video, which was detailed on the company’s earning call earlier this week.

    We then transition recent research from Nielsen which Colin analyzed, showing the level of viewership by device.

    Next up, Colin and I were watching reports from the Sundance Film Festival noting the aggressive bidding by Amazon and Netflix, underscoring another industry segment being disrupted by SVOD. Last, we touch on the problems Netflix is already running into with its international expansion. Indonesia was the latest country to raise red flags on Netflix’s content this week.
     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #303: The Top 10 Online Video Stories of 2015

    I'm pleased to present the 303rd 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 2015. A lot happened this year and it’s been tons of fun to cover and try to make sense of it. If you disagree with any of our choices, then as always, we welcome your feedback.

    We’re going to try to slip in one year-end podcast next week, but in case you’re heading out early for the holidays, Colin and I would like to thank all of our listeners for tuning into our podcast this year, and wish all of you happy holidays!

    Listen now to learn more!



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  • Amazon Adds More Content to Fire TV, But SPP Implementations Have Barely Begun

    Amazon announced this morning that it has added content from NBC, NBC Sports, Watch HGTV, Watch Food Network, Watch Travel Channel, Fox Now, NPR One, GoPro and others to Fire TV. Amazon said there are now over 4,000 channels, apps and games available in Fire TV, which it believes is the largest of any connected TV device. Amazon also said Amazon is the top-selling connected TV device “across all retailers” from July-October, though it’s not clear what retailers are included.

    All of this additional content strengthens Fire TV, especially in the all-important holiday season. Conversely, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my Fire TV over the past week, and I’ve been surprised, and quite disappointed, with Fire TV’s implementation (or lack thereof) of the 20 content partners Amazon announced on Dec. 8th as part of its new “Streaming Partners Program” (SPP).

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #302: Amazon Could Disrupt SVOD, But First It Needs to Step Up Its Execution

    I'm pleased to present the 302nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Earlier this week I wrote bullishly about Amazon’s new “Streaming Partners Program,” (SPP), which could disrupt the SVOD industry. I emphasized the word “could” because, as with everything in life, execution is everything.

    In that post, I noted that SPP on Amazon’s web site was already implemented well, but that the iPhone app experience didn’t work. In today’s podcast, Colin shares his experiences on both Android and Fire TV, which are shockingly incomplete.

    It’s very surprising to see Amazon, which is typically an execution machine, come up so short here, and it suggests they rushed SPP to market before being 100% ready.

    Implementation issues aside, we discuss the overall merits of SPP and Colin’s view that Netflix is actually better positioned for an SPP-like role in SVOD. I still like Amazon’s SPP strategy a lot and will keep an eye on how things unfold.

    Listen now to learn more!



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  • Amazon Could Disrupt the Entire SVOD Industry With Its New “Streaming Partners Program”

    Amazon made a very significant announcement this morning, unveiling its “Streaming Partners Program,” which I believe could disrupt the entire SVOD industry if executed well. There are many ramifications of the Streaming Partners Program (which has been rumored, and I’ll call “SPP” for short) that I’ll explain below, albeit based on still limited information.

    First, what is SPP? From an SVOD provider’s perspective, it’s an opportunity to have Amazon promote the SVOD service to tens of millions of Prime subscribers, with special pricing and promotions. Amazon handles subscriber acquisition, customer service, billing, credit card management, video streaming and device compatibility. Basically it frees up SVOD providers to focus on what they do best - create great content. Amazon announced that Showtime, Starz and 18 other SVOD providers are initial SPP partners.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #300: Disney Launches SVOD Service in UK; Amazon Video Takes Flight With JetBlue

    I'm pleased to present the 300th edition (wow!) of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week we discuss Disney’s newly launched “DisneyLife” SVOD service in the U.K. In his post on the launch, Colin noted that Disney CEO Bob Iger said DisneyLife lets the company “reach consumers directly and not through middlemen.” That’s a huge departure from the traditional pay-TV model, and more aligned with Apple CEO Tim Cook’s vision of “TV as an app.” Colin sees broad implications of DisneyLife, though I think expanding it to other geographies, given rights issues, will be difficult in the short-term.

    We then dig into some good news for JetBlue fliers - unlimited Amazon Prime video streaming will now be available on 150 JetBlue airplanes per an announcement from the companies this week. If it works well, this would be a winning deal for everyone involved - Amazon, JetBlue and passengers. We explain why and what could follow.

    Listen now to learn more and happy Thanksgiving to everyone!



    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 4 seconds)

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #292: TiVo BOLT and New Chromecasts Raise the Bar for Connected TV Devices

    I'm pleased to present the 292nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Last month Colin and I discussed on our podcast how the connected TV device market is in flux, and this week’s introduction of the TiVO BOLT and the new Chromecast provided yet more evidence of this (not to mention the new Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV).

    Colin and I are both very impressed with the BOLT and its new features (after we use the review units we’ll have more to share). We agree that the new “SkipMode” feature - which allows viewers to skip an entire commercial break for a set of 20 TV networks during primetime - is the biggest news with BOLT.

    Beyond BOLT, Google also announced new versions and form-factors for its Chromecast device, which Colin and I have both been big fans since its initial release. Colin reviews Chromecast’s new capabilities, which at $35, makes it an appealing mobile device complement.

    Stepping back, both of continue to be struck by how all the innovation in connected TV devices is laying the groundwork for SVOD services (which are making investments in long-form programming) to thrive in the living room.

    (Note, we recorded before news broke that Amazon has banned Apple TV and Chromecast from its store, the latest twist in the connected TV device competition.)

    Listen in to learn more!

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #291: Amazon’s Big Video Investments are Paying Off

    I'm pleased to present the 291st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Video is emerging as a top priority for Amazon and its varied investments appear to be paying off as it builds an ecosystem to compete with Apple. On this week’s podcast Colin and I dig into the key device and content announcements Amazon has made recently (see also my post from earlier this week) and why they’re important.

    Amazon has clearly concluded that video is a successful driver for its Prime service, which is one of the company’s most important consumer-facing priorities. Colin notes that research released from Digitalsmiths earlier this week showed that Amazon Prime video is now used by over 20% of U.S. households, up from 7.5% 2 years ago (by comparison Netflix increased from 28% to 49.4% and Hulu increased from 6.3% to 11.8%).

    Colin and I expect a lot more video-related investments by Amazon as it leverages its deep pockets and multiple lines of business to change the rules of the game in OTT.

    Listen in to learn more!

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  • Across Devices and Content, Amazon Keeps Upping the Video Ante

    HBO thoroughly dominated at the Emmys last night, riding the big success of “Game of Thrones.” However, Amazon took home 5 Emmys (all for “Transparent”), just behind ABC (6), but ahead of CBS (4) and Netflix (4). The Emmys are a high-profile gauge of Amazon’s early success in video, but to get a fuller picture of the force that the company is poised to become, it’s important to look at the range of video initiatives Amazon is pursuing.

    The past month has been a whirlwind of news in video devices, content and how Amazon is differentiating through their integration. Last Thursday brought a flurry of announcements related to Amazon’s Fire tablets and Fire TV connected TV devices. The new Fire HD tablet was “designed from the ground up for entertainment,” with an 8” or 10.1” high-resolution display. Among the innovations Amazon touted was a brand new feature called “On Deck,” which will auto-download popular content from Prime Instant Videos to the Fire HD in a “shadow mode.”

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  • Netflix’s Anti-Downloading Stance is Perplexing and Frustrating

    It’s been 4 years since Netflix’s “Qwikster” fiasco, in which the company infamously tried to separate its DVD business, eliciting emphatic objections from its subscribers. Netflix offered implausible explanations for its move and ultimately reversed itself. Since then the company has executed flawlessly, expanding its content, extending its international footprint, watching its stock price soar and most importantly, winning back the love of its subscribers.

    Thus it is perplexing and frustrating to see Netflix oppose the idea of enabling its content to be downloaded for offline viewing, as an augment to streaming it. Reminiscent of Qwikster, Netflix is offering up bizarre and non-sensical explanations for opposing the download feature that it readily admits its subscribers are hungry for. Further, with Amazon’s expansion of Prime Video downloading to iOS and Android devices last week, it also appears to be a new competitive lever among SVOD providers.

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  • In Wild West of SVOD Launches, EPIX Stays Disciplined and Signs On With Hulu

    Yesterday pay-TV network EPIX announced a multi-year distribution deal with Hulu that will kick in on October 1st, as EPIX’s current deal with Netflix phases out.

    Perhaps most noteworthy here is that in the current Wild West environment where everyone and their brother are launching standalone SVOD services, EPIX has remained disciplined in choosing to instead team up with a large SVOD player (EPIX has a separate SVOD deal with Amazon dating to 2012 as well).

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