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Analysis for 'Amazon'

  • 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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  • Sesame - HBO Deal Also Underscores Difficulty of Niche SVOD Model

    When Sesame Workshop announced its deal with HBO last week, everyone seemed to have an opinion about whether another “poor door” had been created, this time for Elmo and his iconic friends.

    It’s an interesting societal debate, but what was more intriguing to me was that Sesame’s deal with HBO signaled that its own SVOD efforts had not delivered material results (and with the new HBO deal, I’d guess will likely be phased out at some point). That in turn reinforced my belief that the niche SVOD model is extremely difficult given the rise of “super” SVOD services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.

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  • Comcast Should Prioritize Integrating Popular OTT Services in X1 Instead of Curating Online Video

    There’s been a lot written in the past few days about Comcast’s reported plan to introduce a new platform called “Watchable,” that will curate short-form online video content from various providers for viewing on its X1 set-top boxes and eventually on mobile devices. The initiative is seen as helping Comcast increase its appeal to millennial viewers and drive additional online video advertising revenue.

    On the one hand, I applaud the company’s desire to dive more deeply into online video, which has many synergies with Comcast’s broadband and TV businesses. Without knowing any of the details, the biggest issue to me with Watchable is that it’s hard to understand why Comcast would prioritize it as a current initiative when a far more significant opportunity would be integrating popular OTT services into X1, which would have huge subscriber acquisition and retention benefits.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #285: Understanding SVOD’s Role for Viewers and the Media Ecosystem

    I'm pleased to present the 285th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    It’s been a wild week for major media companies as mixed earnings reports, fears that cord-cutting is accelerating and anxiety over ad dollars leaving TV all combined to send big media stocks plummeting. Meanwhile, with Netflix expanding internationally, Hulu and Amazon gaining ground and many other SVOD services launching in 2015, the question of what role SVOD will play for consumers and in the media ecosystem of the future is becoming more relevant all the time.

    Those are the topics of today’s podcast, as we start by analyzing recent Parks research (which both Colin and I wrote about, here and here) revealing high levels of churn for various SVOD services. Colin is less concerned about high churn than I am, as I see high churn as indicative of a broader challenge SVOD services have with consumers, namely, not being seen more as transactional opportunities, given how frictionless it is to add/drop these services.

    Colin and I agree that great content is going to be the key to SVOD services retaining subscribers. But with more people walking around with binge-viewing bucket lists, I think it’s going to be harder than ever to hook viewers on shows they didn’t have an interest in already, especially given the proliferation of great content. We explore these dynamics further.

    Listen in to learn more!



    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 17 seconds)

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  • Why SVOD Services Are At Risk Of Being Downgraded by Consumers to Transactional VOD

    Research released late last week by Parks Associates, which revealed high levels of churn for many smaller SVOD services, reinforced for me that many of these services are at risk of being seen as little more than transactional VOD opportunities by consumers. If this occurs it would have huge implications for both the SVOD services and larger ecosystem.

    First, to review the research, Parks found that for SVOD services other than Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, the churn rate over the past 12 months was equal to 60% of those who subscribed to such services. For Hulu Plus, 7% of U.S. broadband subscribers cancelled their subscription in the past 12 months (equaling churn of half or more of Hulu Plus’s subscribers). Parks estimated Amazon’s churn at around 25% (though that’s clouded by value of the overall Prime service). Only Netflix fared well, with churn in the past 12 months running around 9% of its subscriber base. Note, none of these SVOD services publicly disclose their churn rates.

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  • New Survey Validates Amazon's Success In Bundling 2-Day Shipping and Prime Instant Video

    Strategy Analytics has released the results of a new survey which validate Amazon's decision to bundle Prime Instant Video with free 2-day shipping in its Amazon Prime service. Although Prime members say they're more likely to subscribe to Prime for the shipping benefit than for the videos, once they have the Prime service, they watch the  videos almost as they much as they use their Netflix subscriptions.

    The survey revealed that 59% of U.S. Amazon Prime members used Instant Video in the past month, almost at parity with the 63% of Prime members that used Netflix. Overall, the survey found that 36% of Prime members only used Instant Video, almost equal to the 40% that only use Netflix, and the 23% that use both. The 40% of Netflix-only's are clearly a huge target for Amazon to pursue as it builds out the Prime Video benefit.

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  • New Noggin OTT Service Will Be Next Test of Consumers' Willingness-to-Buy

    Yesterday Viacom announced Noggin, a new $5.99/month ad-free, mobile-centric OTT service for preschoolers that will launch on March 5th. Viacom said that Noggin's content will be solely library-based, making it distinct from what's already available on-air on Nick Jr. Noggin will include programs such as "Blue's Clues," "Little Bear" and "Ni Hao, Kari-lan," plus others. In addition to the OTT offering, Viacom said it's talking to pay-TV operators about Noggin being a premium offer for authenticated subscribers.

    Noggin is the latest response by TV networks to the dramatic market changes currently playing out. As I recently described, disruption has been particularly acute in the kids' space, where kids' cable TV networks' ratings are plunging as OTT services have avidly built out their kids offerings. Just since writing that piece 2 weeks ago, YouTube has launched a kids-focused app, Netflix has added 5 new kids series and Amazon has renewed 4 others, all amping up the pressure on kids TV networks even further.

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  • Kids-Oriented Cable TV Networks Are Being Decimated By OTT Options

    There's no better illustration of the massive disruptive impact of OTT options like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime than the decimation of kids-oriented cable TV networks currently playing out. According to Todd Juenger, senior analyst at Bernstein, whose weekly TV Audience Tracker (which is based on Nielsen data), I closely follow, viewership of kids cable TV networks is down 23% quarter-to-date in 2015 vs. the same period of 2014.

    The trends are even worse. For the most recent week (ending Feb. 1st), viewership was down 28%, following the prior week when it was down 29%. These declines compare to the relatively more modest-looking Q4 '14 decline of 16.8% vs. Q4 '13. For the Feb. 1st week, all kids cable networks were down, with Nickelodeon losing the most - a whopping 44% of its prior year viewership, and Cartoon Network losing the least - 3% vs. the prior year. Every kids cable network Bernstein follows is down so far this year, except Cartoon, which is up 6%.

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  • Just a Month Into 2015, Signs of Video's Momentum Abound, With Big Growth to Come

    (Note, I'll share details of online viewing of Super Bowl ads and the game later today…I'm still pulling all of the relevant data together.)

    We're just a month into 2015, and there are already abundant signs of online and mobile video's momentum, with lots more growth to come as the year unfolds. Here's what's hit my radar so far:

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #257 - SVOD Services Gain Momentum

    I'm pleased to present the 257th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we focus on the momentum of SVOD services, in particular internationally. Netflix shared big news earlier this week in its solid Q4 results that it would expand to 200 countries over the next 2 years and generate material profitability by then as well.

    (One quibble  that Colin and I discuss is the fact that there are actually only 196 countries in the world, and that includes unlikely targets such as North Korea, Angola, Russia, etc. A Netflix spokesman subsequently told me that their list includes territories and dependencies, though he wasn't able to say how many. Regardless, Netflix plans to be in all countries and territories where it can legally operate.)

    Beyond Netflix, Amazon is also on a roll, with its Golden Globes wins, Woody Allen deal, and new movies initiative. And note this Saturday it's running a special on Prime for $72 (vs. the regular $99 rate), which is sure to generate tons of new sign-ups.

    Listen in to learn more!



    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 4 seconds)

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  • Perspective What's this? 3 Ways Binge-Watching is Changing the TV Game

    In early September, my 11-year-old son filled out a get-to-know-you school questionnaire, listing his favorite things - tigers, the color orange, and...binge-watching.

    My boy, who dove deep during summer break into Alphas (originally on Syfy, now on Netflix, highly underrated), has tons of company. More than 75% of TV Guide users say they binge-watch regularly. Remarkably, a behavior for which we didn’t even have a name a few years ago is now an exploding mass-market consumer habit that is changing the TV game - and benefitting both consumers and entertainment companies - in three major ways:

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  • Amazon Expands Into Movies for Theaters and Prime Instant Video

    Amazon announced this morning plans to produce and acquire original movies for theatrical release and for distribution on its Prime Instant Video service. The company's goal is to release 12 movies per year, with production starting later in 2015.

    One key twist of Amazon's plan is to release movies on its Prime Instant Video service in the U.S. just 4-8 weeks after theatrical debut, significantly shorter than the typical 39-52 weeks that movies usually take before showing up on Netflix or other SVOD services. One obvious question arising from the shorter window to SVOD release is whether audiences might be reluctant to buy increasingly expensive theater tickets to Amazon's movies when they'll be on the service so soon after (a year of Amazon Prime costs less than taking a family of 4 to the movies, when including pricey concessions). If that proves to be the case, theaters themselves may be reluctant to show Amazon's movies.

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  • Amazon Gets First-Ever Woody Allen TV Series

    In yet another sign of how SVOD is upending the traditional TV industry, Amazon has announced this morning that renowned film director Woody Allen has signed on to create his first-ever TV series. Amazon ordered a full season of the half-hour series, named "Untitled Woody Allen Project." It will available in Prime Instant Video in the U.S., U.K. and Germany at launch. No additional information on release date, casting or subject matter was released.

    In typical Woody Allen fashion, he is quoted in the press release saying "I don't know how I got into this. I have no ideas and I'm not sure where to begin. My guess is that (VP of Amazon Studios) Roy Price will regret this."

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  • Amazon's and Netflix's Golden Globes Underscore OTT's Role as Bona Fide Alternative to TV

    At last night's Golden Globe awards, Amazon's series "Transparent" won Best Comedy, with its star Jeffrey Tambor winning best actor - TV Comedy, while Netflix's "House of Cards" star Kevin Spacey won for best actor - TV drama. Granted, it's just one awards show, and just two programs, but the Amazon and Netflix wins further legitimize OTT as a bona fide alternative source of high-quality programming to broadcast and cable TV.

    The operative word here is "alternative." Note that for years, Netflix in particular has characterized itself as "supplemental" to broadcast and cable TV. And to be sure, with around 37 million Netflix subscribers in the U.S. and cord-cutting still relatively muted, the reality is that today Netflix still is mostly a "supplemental" service.

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  • Research: TV Networks' Viewership Continues Falling, With Structural Shift to SVOD Looming

    Bernstein Research has introduced a new weekly tracking report analyzing ad-supported U.S. TV networks' viewership on a year-over-year basis. The first version, released today, shows that for the week of November 10-16, audiences fell again across the board: down 8% for cable networks, 9% for broadcast and 17% for kids-oriented networks specifically. The declines were similar on a quarter-to-date basis as well.

    Bernstein has previously calculated that ad-supported TV networks' audiences declined by around 13 minutes per day in Q3, while SVOD viewership increased by around 12 minutes per day, making SVOD the dominant driver of the TV networks' audience erosion.

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  • Drip, Drip, Drip - Video Apps Slowly Get Added to Connected TV Devices

    There's no doubt connected TV devices will be one of the hottest gifts this holiday season, as online video continues to evolve from an early adopter desktop behavior to a mainstream living room experience. But even the prices of connected TV devices plunge and consumers' enthusiasm builds, the space continues to be marked by the drip, drip, drip inefficient process of one-off additions of video apps to specific connected TV devices.

    In fact, if you follow the market closely, you'll notice that seemingly each week there are a handful of announcements regarding a specific video app (or group of them) becoming available on a certain connected TV device(s). For example, in last week's news, Amazon Instant Video became available on TiVo Roamio/Mini devices, and HBO Go became available on Xbox One.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #251 - Nielsen to Measure SVOD; OTT Initiatives in Europe

    I'm pleased to present the 251st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week we dig into Nielsen's new plan to measure viewership on SVOD services. Both Colin and I believe this holds a lot of potential for TV networks and studios, though we're cautious until we learn more about the data that is produced (for more, Nielsen's SVP, Client Insights Dounia Turrill will be speaking at the Dec. 4th VideoSchmooze and this will be a topic of discussion).

    We then transition to talking about specific OTT initiatives underway in Europe. Colin was in London this week attending a conference where he had a number of valuable conversations with broadcasters and pay-TV operators. He shares some specifics.

    (Apologies - our recording quality is a little shaky this week due to connection issues)

    Listen in to learn more!


    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 34 seconds)

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  • Study: Netflix Dominates Wired Internet Usage, YouTube Tops on Mobile

    Sandvine has released its latest Global Internet Phenomena Report based on data collected in March, 2014 across leading wired and mobile broadband networks. Focusing just on North America, Netflix once again dominates primetime usage, accounting for 34.9% of downstream bandwidth, more than the next 6 services combined. YouTube was second with 14.04% of bandwidth.

    It's a different story on mobile however, where YouTube remains the top downstream provider, eating up 19.75% of bandwidth, up from 17.7% a year ago, with Netflix in 5th place with just 4.51%.  The usage pattern largely reflects the difference between Netflix's long-form content focus vs. YouTube's short-form focus. YouTube's CEO Susan Wojcicki recently disclosed that 50% of YouTube's usage is now on mobile.

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  • Why Nielsen Measuring SVOD Viewership is Potentially a Very Big Deal

    The WSJ reported last night that next month Nielsen will begin measuring viewership of programs on Netflix and Amazon. This would represent the first time that any sort of granular viewing data by program would be available, offering potentially huge benefits to the ecosystem. According to the WSJ, Nielsen will use its people meters to analyze the audio components of programs. A key caveat is that mobile viewing would not yet be measured.

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  • 8 Initial Reactions to HBO's New OTT Service

    HBO has dropped a bombshell, announcing plans to launch a standalone over-the-top service in the U.S. in 2015. The announcement was extremely short on details, except to say it was targeted to the 80 million U.S. homes that do not currently subscribe to HBO. Here are my 8 quick reactions to the news. Many more thoughts to follow as more details are released.

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