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Analysis for 'Amazon'

  • Perspective What's this? Breaking Through With New TV Experiences

    Execs from broadcasters, content owners and tech companies recently joined 100,000 of their peers at the NABShow 2017 convention in Las Vegas. A key focus for many at the show was how to drive breakthrough multiscreen experiences, get consumers to engage more and fully monetize the many opportunities that are emerging.

    During the Online Video Conference's “Breaking Through With New TV Experiences” session I moderated, attendees heard about the latest efforts underway by industry leaders to bring more personalization, discoverability and innovation to content delivery. Consumers have an incredible range of choices of multiscreen services that now span beyond VOD and linear to include fast-evolving OTT offerings. Representatives from Comcast Technology Solutions, Amazon, Gracenote and TiVo joined the discussion to shed insight into ongoing work, challenges ahead and what it takes to deliver industry-leading multi-screen experiences. Panelists also pulled back the curtain on the back-end capabilities that will be required to support these increasingly complex services.

     
    IBB Consulting works closely with operators and content owners to help design and execute multiscreen distribution strategies. Many of the efforts and activities that we heard about from the panelists are being undertaken or considered by a range of stakeholders today.

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  • IBM Cloud Video - full banner - 4-24-17
  • VideoNuze Podcast #372: Weekly Wrap-up: Viacom’s Skinny Bundle, Facebook TV, Amazon Channels Goes International, Snapchat Shows Gain

    I’m pleased to present the 372nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we discuss 4 stories that caught our attention in recent days. First, Viacom’s plan to anchor an entertainment-only skinny bundle without sports or news networks. Colin and I are intrigued, but for a variety of reasons are skeptical Viacom is the right company to lead this.

    Next we turn to Facebook, which has made no secret of its interest in pursuing longer-form video. This week brought news of its initial partnerships and potential business models.

    We then discuss Amazon Channels expansion into the UK and Germany this week, building on the US model for Prime users to easily subscribe to various SVOD services. Both of us have been very bullish on Channels for a while and see lots of potential for it in other geographies.

    Finally we dig into Snapchat Shows, the fast-growing social network’s plan to enlist multiple media companies to make vertical videos. Variety did a really good roundup of all the activity earlier this week, which suggests substantial progress.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 48 seconds)



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  • Why An Amazon Skinny Bundle Seems All But Inevitable

    Although there are already 5 major skinny bundles in the market - DirecTV Now, Hulu With Live TV, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV and YouTube TV - it seems all but inevitable that a 6th will emerge, from Amazon, which could be the most disruptive one yet. While I continue to be skeptical about how big the market for skinny bundles currently is, Amazon has a number of unique attributes that could both enlarge the potential audience and change the current competitive dynamics.

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  • IBM Cloud Video - full banner - 4-24-17
  • A World Awash In Video - Part 2

    Ten years ago, in my pre-VideoNuze days, I wrote “A World Awash in Video,” for my then once per month e-newsletter. Based on numerous recentIy announced initiatives, I predicted that we were “on the cusp of experiencing an explosion in the quantity of high-quality video available” and that all of these choices would create a “golden age of video.”

    Of course that was all before Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and many others exploded. My main premise - that broadband’s open platform, which removed the traditional friction of reaching audiences - was a powerful catalyst that would fuel a massive escalation of video production.

    Indeed, there’s no doubt that we have more choices than ever, but reviewing last week’s news, it’s clear we ain’t seen nothing yet. We are on the brink of being even more awash in video than ever. And one big difference vs. 10 years ago is that today’s boom is driven by companies that all have extraordinary resources and very strong incentives to invest heavily in video.

    Here’s a quick recap:

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  • HBO to End Amazon Content Relationship As It Repositions for Future Under AT&T

    On yesterday’s Time Warner Q1 ’17 earnings call, HBO’s CEO Richard Plepler said that the company’s content licensing deal with Amazon would not be renewed and therefore would expire at the end of 2018. The deal was originally announced in April, 2014 and allowed Amazon to include iconic series like “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Deadwood” and others in its Prime Video service.

    Although Plepler cited “an acceleration in our digital business” as the reason for the decision, I believe that the more important driver at work is a repositioning of how the immensely valuable HBO will be used when AT&T’s acquisition of HBO parent Time Warner occurs later this year (assuming regulatory approval is granted, which I think is very likely).

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  • IBM Cloud Video - full banner - 4-24-17
  • Downloading Continues to Gain Momentum

    Downloading video for offline playback continues to gain momentum with Showtime announcing late last week that it has enabled downloading of its entire roster of programs from its standalone subscription and TV Everywhere apps at no additional cost. Downloading is available on iOS and Android phones and tablets plus Amazon Fire tablets.

    Loyal VideoNuze readers know that I’ve been an enthusiastic downloading proponent for 4 1/2 years, back to when I first experienced TiVo’s implementation of it via TiVo Stream. I immediately saw downloading as a killer app because it allowed high quality out-of-home viewing independent of shaky or non-existent WiFi hotspots and/or eating up expensive mobile data plans (if they could even support video streaming).

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #365: Exploring Amazon Prime’s Vast Potential in Video

    I’m pleased to present the 365th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First, we’d like to thank our podcast sponsor Akamai Technologies, which will show its Media Acceleration capabilities and range of cloud-based solutions at the NABShow in Las Vegas, in booth SL3324. Click here to schedule a meeting.

    On this week’s podcast, Colin and I discuss Amazon’s burgeoning role in video and how Amazon Prime’s unique model gives the company unprecedented advantages. Prime’s power was on full display earlier this week when Amazon nabbed the rights to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package for $50 million, 5 times more than what Twitter paid last season.

    Colin and I agree that Amazon’s ability to view video investments as drivers for Prime membership retention/acquisition and ultimately increased commerce is a huge threat to everyone in the industry. Colin shares research on how the world is starting to wake up to this, though we believe that Amazon’s video potential is nowhere close to being fully appreciated yet.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 59 seconds)




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  • Amazon’s NFL Deal is Further Evidence of How Prime is Upending the Video Industry

    Amazon further reinforced its position as the most influential company in the video industry with news late yesterday that it had won the rights to stream the NFL’s 10 game Thursday night football package for $50 million, with plans to make the games available for Amazon Prime members only (they'll still be broadcast alternatively on CBS and NBC, and on NFL Network). The sum is a whopping 5 times more than the $10 million that Twitter reportedly paid for the same rights last season.

    The key to understanding Amazon’s willingness to pay up for the TNF rights is the power of its unique business model, based on Prime. As I wrote last November, Prime is the linchpin for Amazon’s ever-expanding video initiatives.

    At last summer’s Recode conference, Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos plainly articulated Prime’s value to the company in driving greater customer loyalty and increased purchases (if you’re a Prime customer, you no doubt know this dynamic yourself). And keep in mind, with approximately 60 million members paying $99 per year, Prime generates $6 billion in revenue for Amazon before a single purchase has been made.

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  • Never Mind Apple Bundling Premium TV Networks, Amazon is Really the One to Watch

    Recode reported a couple days ago that Apple is potentially looking to sell online subscriptions to HBO, Showtime and Starz in a single bundle to subscribers. Since Apple has made so little progress in video compared to its peers, a bundling move like this could give it a boost. But if I were handicapping which company is much more likely to sell HBO, Showtime and Starz in a discounted bundle - and succeed with it - I’d put my money on Amazon far sooner than Apple.

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  • VertaMedia - full banner - 4-3-17
  • HBO Now Tops 2 Million Subscribers, But Pace of Additions Looks Static

    Time Warner’s CEO Jeff Bewkes said on this morning’s earnings call that HBO Now has passed the 2 million subscriber mark. That would be an increase from the 800K HBO Now had at the end of 2015.

    On the one hand, gaining 2 million subscribers since launching HBO Now in April, 2015 is a positive sign of market acceptance for the SVOD service, which entered the market relatively late. But on the other hand, the pace of HBO Now’s monthly subscriber additions seems static, suggesting the service has not been able to accelerate its momentum.

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  • Amazon’s New Anime Strike is the First of More Branded SVOD Services to Come

    Last Thursday Amazon announced Anime Strike, its own branded SVOD service, available to Prime members in the U.S. for $4.99/month. Anime Strike is the first SVOD service from Amazon (aside from its flagship Prime Video service), and based on an interview I did with Michael Paull, VP for Amazon’s Channels program, it won’t be the last. Rather, Anime Strike is the latest signal of Amazon’s ever-expanding video ambitions.

    The Channels program itself (which launched in December, 2015 and was originally called the Streaming Partners Program), has grown by leaps and bounds, and now includes over 100 different SVOD services that Prime members can easily add, with all video viewable in the Prime Video app across devices. For content providers, Amazon handles all hosting, delivery and billing, in exchange for a revenue share.

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  • Beachfront - full banner - 3-26-17
  • Late to the Party, Apple Now Plans to Enter Crowded Scripted TV Market

    Talk about showing up late to the party: the WSJ is reporting that Apple is now planning to invest in original scripted TV shows and movies. Whether the move actually materializes though is unclear. But if it does, it would be happening years after countless false starts and rumors about the company’s plans to build out a content strategy. Importantly, it would also happen as the number of scripted TV shows rocketed to over 450 in 2016, marked by “Peak TV’s” escalating budgets and intense competition.

    According the WSJ article, Apple is engaged with various producers and could be offering scripted TV shows by the end of 2017. Apple’s commitment still seems modest by the standards of Netflix, Amazon and numerous TV networks, with just a handful of productions planned.

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  • Roku’s Smart TV Strategy is Paying Off, So Now Amazon Follows

    Roku’s strategy of powering TV manufacturers’ smart TVs is meeting with success as the company announced yesterday that its Roku TVs accounted for 13% of smart TV sales in the U.S. as of December, 2016 according to IHS. So naturally Roku’s success is attracting others to the model, with Amazon announcing yesterday that it has partnered with 3 Chinese brands, Seiki, Westinghouse Electronics and Element Electronics to integrate Fire TV functionality into multiple new 4K TVs.

    The Amazon integrations mean that the Fire TV experience, including all of its 7,000 apps, will be available on the new TVs without needing an external connected TV device. This is the same benefit of Roku TVs - all the functionality of a Roku, but without the box. This type of integration makes it more straightforward for users to access OTT content alongside broadcast and cable TV content from separate sources. The Amazon integrations also feature voice search powered by Alexa to search content, launch apps, play music, etc.

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  • Beachfront - full banner - 3-26-17
  • As "Peak TV" Grows, SVOD Providers Will Become Even Stronger in 2017

    Just prior to the holiday break FX released its latest update on “Peak TV” - the name company president John Landgraf coined a couple years ago to describe the exploding number of original scripted TV programs being produced. According to FX, which is tracking Peak TV, in 2016 there were 455 scripted originals, up from 421 in 2015 and 182 in 2002.

    In that 14-year time period, the biggest volume contributor has been ad-supported cable TV networks, increasing from 30 shows in ’02 to 181 shows in ’16. But zeroing in on just the last 3 years, it’s the SVOD providers (Netflix, Amazon and Hulu) that have had the biggest impact. The group tripled their output from 24 shows in ’13 to 93 in ’16 while ad-supported cable TV rose from 161 to 181, broadcast TV bumped up from 131 to 145 and premium TV (HBO, Showtime, etc.) was basically flat, from 33 in ’13 to 36 in ’16. Put another way, in 2013, SVOD accounted for just 6.9% of all scripted TV and in 2016 they tripled their share to 20.4%.

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  • Amazon Rolls Out Prime Video to 200+ Countries

    Amazon has officially made Prime Video available in over 200 countries and territories around the world, a move that has been expected. Prime Video will be included for Amazon Prime members in Belgium, Canada, France, India, Italy and Spain. Elsewhere, Prime Video is being offered for a special rate of either $2.99 or 2.99 Euros per month for the first 6 months, after which it will revert to the standard rate of $5.99 or 5.99 Euros per month.

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  • HBO is Losing Ground to SVOD Competitors By Maintaining Market Skimming Price Strategy

    When HBO Now launched in April, 2015, its $14.99/month price was well above competing SVOD services such as Netflix ($11.99/month), Hulu (ad-free $11.99/month) and Amazon ($8.99/month or included with Prime for $99/year). On the one hand, an argument could be made that an HBO subscription is more valuable due to HBO’s rich library and therefore should be priced higher than newer competitors. But HBO’s market-skimming high price strategy means its more aggressively priced competitors are growing far faster than HBO, enabling them to have greater scale, which will be the key to future success.

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  • Netflix Belatedly Offers Downloading

    In a move that was long, long overdue, Netflix announced yesterday that it was enabling downloading of content to iOS and Android mobile devices. Not all shows and movies are available for download, but importantly, it looks like most, if not all, of Netflix’s original productions are included. I tried downloading  last night and it worked perfectly.

    I’ve been saying since 2012 that downloading is a bona fide killer app, after I first started using TiVo’s excellent downloading feature to watch recordings on my iPad when traveling. Amazon totally understood the value of downloading as well, enabling it back in September, 2015. In a press release that both touted the new feature and implicitly tweaked Netflix, Amazon proclaimed it as “The First and Only Subscription Streaming Service to Offer This Feature.”

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  • IBM Cloud Video - full banner - 4-24-17
  • Prime’s Unique Business Model is Fueling Amazon’s Ever-Growing Video Ambitions

    Evidence of Amazon’s expansive video ambitions is everywhere these days. The company has transformed itself into arguably the most influential industry player heading into the new year. There are now so many Amazon video initiatives, it’s getting hard to keep track.

    First and foremost, it’s critical to understand the most important attribute Amazon is bringing to bear in video, that enables everything else and makes it such a formidable new competitor: its unique business model, based on Prime. As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explained in a Recode interview this past summer (see 37:32 cue point), Prime has become a “physical digital hybrid membership program that is unlike anything else.” Bezos clearly spells out how video helps drive new Prime memberships and retention. Prime members are more loyal to Amazon, purchasing more products.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #342: Will Amazon’s SVOD Partnering Success Prompt Others to Follow Its Model?

    I'm pleased to present the 342nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Earlier this week I wrote about the success Amazon is having with its Streaming Partners Program, which now includes 75 different SVOD services, likely representing about three-quarters of all SVOD offerings in the U.S. As I explain on the podcast, the program appears to be a win for all parties, including viewers.

    Colin is enthusiastic as well, noting he’s signed up for 3 different services already. Amazon’s early aggregation success will likely lead to others to follow its model, and one example that’s hit Colin’s radar is VRV ("verve"). Colin shares details about VRV’s strategy and why Mondo Media, a successful adult animation creator, just signed up with VRV.  

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 12 seconds)


    Click here for previous podcasts

    Click here to add the podcast feed to your RSS reader.

    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today!

     
  • Beachfront - full banner - 3-26-17
  • Amazon Has 75 SVOD Services In Its Streaming Partners Program, Though Some Big Names Missing

    Amazon now has 75 SVOD services participating in its Streaming Partners Program (“SPP”), which is approximately three-quarters of all the SVOD services available in the U.S. As of this past April, Parks Associates said there were 98 SVOD services in the U.S. though clearly more have launched since.

    The update on SPP was provided by Michael Paull, Amazon’s VP of Digital Video, at last week’s On Demand conference in NYC, as reported by Multichannel News.

    When an SVOD service joins SPP, it is included in a “Channels” section for Amazon Prime members, who can then quickly add it (see below image). All services include a trial period. Once the channel is added, it’s available on all devices that support Prime Video. Amazon provides billing, delivery, operational support as well as periodic promotions and recommendations for the SVOD service, including on Fire TV, all in exchange for a share of the monthly revenue.

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