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Analysis for 'Amazon'

  • 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.
     
    Listen now to learn more!

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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!



    Click here to listen to the podcast (28 minutes, 57  seconds)

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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!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 59 seconds)



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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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  • 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!



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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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