IBM Cloud Video - leaderboard - 11-8-17

Analysis for 'Apple'

  • VideoNuze Podcast #384: Rounding Up the Week’s Top News

    I’m pleased to present the 384th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On today’s podcast, Colin and I first discuss Q2 ’17 pay-TV video subscriber results. Skinny bundles played a big part in offsetting accelerating losses in traditional multichannel services. Will this continue and if so what are the implications?

    We then dig into the DVD market’s decline which was further accelerated this week when Amazon decided to close down its LOVEFiLM DVD-by-mail business in several European countries. Colin notes that Netflix’s DVD business has had a huge drop-off also and he speculates whether it too might get cut loose. On the bright side, Redbox re-upped its deal with Lionsgate, showing that DVDs still have a bit of life left.

    Finally, Apple was back in the news this week, reportedly allocating $1 billion for original TV shows. We speculate on whether this will be successful and what challenges Apple will face.

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  • Apple Plans to Spend a Billion Dollars on Video, But to What End?

    The WSJ is reporting this morning that Apple has created a budget of $1 billion for original content for the next year, to be managed by Zach Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, two high-profile producers Apple lured from Sony in June to head up its video efforts.

    While details are light (as they always are), the report said Apple could use the funds to acquire and/or produce up to 10 TV shows either to be included in its Apple Music service or in a new standalone video service. The report said that Van Hamburg and Erlicht have “begun meeting with Hollywood agents and holding discussions about shows Apple could acquire.” Another industry executive, Matt Cherniss, previously president of WGN America, has been brought on to run development.

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  • How Comcast Has Eaten Into Apple’s Movie Rentals/Purchase Dominance

    An article in the WSJ over the weekend “Apple’s iTunes Falls Short in Battle for Video Viewers” caught my attention for a number of reasons, not least of which it touched on how quickly Comcast has succeeded in growing its market share in digital movie rentals and downloads.

    While iTunes is estimated to still hold the market share lead in the digital movie rental and purchase industry with a share of between 20% to 35%, that’s down from over 50% in 2012. The article notes that Amazon’s share is now up to around 20% and Comcast’s is at 15%. For Amazon, video rentals and purchases represent another way it leverages its e-commerce expertise. Rentals/purchases are also very complementary to Amazon’s Prime Video service. In many ways, there’s nothing surprising at all about how Amazon has taken a bite out of Apple’s market share.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #376: Proving Value of Streaming Quality; Apple’s Video Mystery

    I’m pleased to present the 376th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we start by discussing research Akamai released this week with Sensum, proving in how streaming video delivered in high quality results in improved satisfaction. Colin and I wrote about it here and here. It’s further evidence of how viewers’ expectations have been set by TV’s quality. Viewers clearly react to quality deficiencies.

    Then we transition to talking about Apple and its hiring late last week of 2 producers who were formerly presidents of Sony Pictures Television. On Monday I wrote how this is a positive step, but still missing was any sense of Apple’s overall video strategy or business model. We debate what Apple might do, and also wonder about what private assurance may have been given to the producers to induce them to move to Apple.

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  • Apple Needs More Than Top-Notch Executives to Succeed in Video

    There was plenty of industry buzz last Friday after Apple announced that it had hired Sony Pictures Television’s presidents Zach Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht to oversee video programming. After all, Apple has long been spinning its wheels in video, and so the hiring of two high profile producers with a string of TV successes (e.g. “Breaking Bad,” “The Crown,” “The Blacklist,” etc.) would appear to signal that the company has finally, belatedly, realized how strategic video is to its future.

    To be sure, it’s almost inconceivable that Van Amburg and Erlicht would take their talents (as LeBron would put it) to Apple without a guarantee from their new boss, and Apple media head, Eddy Cue, that the company was serious, at last, about making high quality TV shows. The problem for Van Amburg, Erlicht and most importantly Apple, is that to actually succeed, the company needs to do far more than just make great shows (which in itself is of course, far from a slam dunk).

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  • 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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  • 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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  • VideoNuze Podcast #358: Apple and Facebook Have Contrasting Ambitions in Video

    I’m pleased to present the 358th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Apple and Facebook have contrasting ambitions in video, with the former pursuing a very modest approach while the latter appears to be embarking on an all-out company pivot to being video-first.

    Earlier this week I wrote about Apple’s new TV series,  “Planet of the Apps” and “Carpool Karaoke” spinoff. They each have their own appeal, but are far from the expensive undertakings we’ve seen from Netflix and Amazon, for example. That means that far from re-inventing TV as Apple was one predicted to do, it will in fact continue to play a very small role, which Colin and I see as a real missed opportunity.

    Meanwhile, Facebook has confirmed it will launch connected TV apps as the company aims to have users expand how they engage with the social media giant. Colin and discuss some of the pros and cons of the CTV approach and also Facebook’s motivation, which is to attract TV ad dollars.

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  • Apple’s Modest Original Video Plans Raise Questions

    Last night at the Code Media conference,  Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of Internet Software and Services, shared thoughts about the company’s original video plans, which have been the subject of intense industry interest for years. Cue was joined on stage by Ben Silverman, Chairman and Co-CEO of Propagate, which is Apple’s co-production partner in “Planet of the Apps,” premiering on Apple Music this Spring.

    Recode’s Peter Kafka interviewed Cue and Silverman about the show and broader plans Apple might have for investing more heavily in original TV shows.

    “Planet of the Apps” is a “Shark Tank” takeoff for app developers that features Jessica Alba, Will.i.Am, Gwyneth Paltrow and Gary Vaynerchuk judging various app ideas for investment and cultivation. While Silverman highlighted a number of creative twists the show will include such as contestants pitching their app idea on an escalator, with judges swiping left or right if interested, at its core, “Planet of the Apps” is another in a long line of reality competition shows.

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  • 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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  • As the iPhone Turns 10, Here Are 7 Reasons Mobile Video Is At A Tipping Point

    It was 10 years ago today that Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that even Jobs could have imagined how profound and far-reaching the iPhone’s impact would be. One short decade later, there is arguably not a single Internet application that hasn’t been impacted by mobile. Meanwhile, many new applications have been created solely as a result of the mobile phenomenon.

    Mobile video is certainly one application that was essentially created by the iPhone and subsequent smartphones. Watching video on smartphones is now a completely mainstream behavior, which countless millions of people engage with regularly. But despite mobile video’s already impressive growth, there are at least 7 reasons mobile video is now at a tipping point, with the biggest growth still ahead:

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  • Apple is Thinking Small With Potential New Video Guide

    Last Monday, in “Apple is Still Spinning Its Wheels in Video While Big Competitors Hit Their Stride,” I explained that while Apple continues to cast around for some type of coherent strategy to be a player in the fast-evolving video landscape, big competitors like Google, Amazon, Comcast and Facebook are all racing ahead and making substantial progress.

    Then last Thursday, Peter Kafka at Recode reported that after failing in its attempt to put together its own TV service, Apple’s latest plan is to create some type of TV guide that would be able to discover and show what’s available in multiple video apps (e.g. HBO, Netflix, ESPN) and work on Apple’s devices. But as Peter noted, the new guide idea would mean Apple is focusing solely on an interface that would have no actual revenue stream.

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  • Apple is Still Spinning Its Wheels in Video While Big Competitors Hit Their Stride

    Last week’s Q2 earnings reports provided another valuable window into how Amazon, Comcast, Google and Facebook have all hit on winning formulas in video (at least for now), while Apple continues to spin its wheels, under-optimizing its ability to capitalize on the massive shifts underway in video and TV.

    To briefly review, Comcast lost just 4K subscribers in Q2, vs. a loss of 162K three years ago, as its sleek X1 set-top box gains further traction and satellite and telco competitors stumble. Facebook reported a blow-out quarter, with earnings of $2 billion, double what they were just 6 months ago. Facebook has become a mobile powerhouse and is now laser-focused on video, as Facebook Live becomes widely adopted (though still under-monetized).

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  • Perspective What's this? CMAF: What It Is and Why It May Change Your OTT Future

    Apple made an important announcement at its recent Worldwide Developers Conference that marks a significant step toward simplifying online video delivery thereby reducing the cost of content preparation. By announcing support for fragmented MP4 (fMP4) within HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), Apple is bringing the industry closer to the realization of a single format for OTT medial delivery. This could save the OTT industry millions in revenue lost from processing their content across the plethora of formats that exist today.

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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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  • VideoNuze Podcast #276: Roundup: Showtime OTT, NFL Live-Streaming, Netflix Ads, Apple's Non-News

    I'm pleased to present the 276th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    It was yet another busy week for industry news, with a highlight being Showtime announcing its new OTT service for $10.99/month. For entertainment-focused viewers who want inexpensive access to great content, the world keeps getting better all the time.

    Meanwhile for sports fans, the NFL announced it's partnering with Yahoo to live-stream a Jaguars-Bills game online in the Fall.

    In one piece of non-news, it appears that neither Apple's OTT service nor an upgraded Apple TV device are going to debut at WWDC next week. And finally, it appears that ads won't be coming to Netflix any time soon either.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #274: Debating the Premature Death of Apple's Television

    I'm pleased to present the 274th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    VideoNuze readers with good memories will remember that back in January, 2013, I wrote how Apple had a massive opportunity to introduce a new type of television, which I thought was 100% inevitable, with the only question being the specific timing of its launch.

    Well, this week, the WSJ reported that Apple actually shelved its TV plans a year ago, believing that it couldn't find a sufficiently compelling differentiator.

    In today's podcast, Colin articulates 5 key reasons why he believes Apple will never make a TV. Colin cites TVs' low margins as the biggest obstacle. Colin's points are well taken, but I disagree with him and think Apple has missed a chance to do something really compelling which partially reflects its growing risk-averseness.

    Colin and I rarely have such polar opposite views, and we have a very vigorous give-and-take on the issue.

    Listen in to learn more!

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  • Report: TV Viewership Patterns and Economic Realities Indicate Difficult Path for "Skinny" Bundles

    So-called "skinny bundles" of TV networks face long odds of success given the dispersion of actual TV viewership, cross-ownership of broadcast-cable TV networks by media conglomerates and underlying economic realities, according to a new analysis by MoffettNathanson.

    The conclusions align with points I made in last Friday's podcast and previously, as I've asserted that the "Swiss cheese" channel lineups found in skinny bundles will lack broad appeal. This was a central finding from recent Bernstein research as well. Conversely, bulking up channel lineups with more TV networks (as Sony has done with its new PlayStation Vue service) eliminates the opportunity for a cost-savings value proposition that would resonate most with would-be cord-cutters or cord-nevers.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #265: Can Apple Succeed With a "Skinny" Bundle of TV Networks?

    I'm pleased to present the 265th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. There's been a lot of buzz this week about a WSJ report that Apple could at last be planning to enter the TV business, by offering a so-called "skinny" bundle of around 25 TV networks this Fall.

    In today's podcast, Colin and I debate whether Apple can succeed with this approach. Colin is relatively sanguine, and believes that if Apple ties the TV service's launch to a new device, it could get a lot of traction. Colin sees Sling TV's skinny bundle as a model for Apple to follow.

    I'm much more skeptical about the skinny approach, and despite Apple's formidable assets, I'm challenged to see how it works. My main issue is that by definition, skinny bundles result in a "Swiss cheese" channel lineup that is unsatisfying for many viewers (this was supported by Bernstein research I wrote about earlier this week). Another issue for Apple, which reportedly wants to include broadcast TV networks (which Sling doesn't include), is the near-certainty that it won't get full linear rights in all U.S. markets, undercutting the service's ubiquity.

    At a minimum it will be fun to watch what Apple does, along with everyone else. Reminder, to help us all gauge these new OTT services' potential, check out the handy scoring framework I shared yesterday.

    Listen in to learn more!



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  • Here's A Proposed Framework for Assessing the Potential of New OTT Services

    As the pace of new OTT services has ramped up, I've been asked by a lot of industry colleagues and press which ones I believe have the most and least potential. It's a great question, and while I don't pretend to have a crystal ball, I certainly have my own opinions (as VideoNuze readers know!). But even as I've been sharing my thoughts, I've increasingly been asking myself - why is it, for example, that I'm more bullish about some (e.g. HBO Now), more skeptical about others (e.g. Sling TV) and more willing to be open-minded about still others (e.g. Apple's and Verizon's TV services)?

    That's led me to think more rigorously about the criteria that I'm personally using to evaluate the potential of these new OTT services. It may be obvious, but when each of us makes judgments about a product or service, we're doing so against some implicit set of criteria. The challenge with all these OTT services is that a lot is still unknown about them and about consumers' reactions to them. On top of this the market is very dynamic. Nonetheless, I think it's still possible to create a set of criteria against which these new OTT services can be more explicitly evaluated (and re-evaluated as more information about them is known).

    With that in mind, below I have shared 9 proposed criteria that I think are important in assessing these new (and existing) services' potential (there may be other criteria too!). By scoring each OTT service on a 1-5 scale against each criteria (i.e. 1 meaning "weak" or "not distinctive" and 5 meaning "strong" or "highly distinctive," their respective total scores emerge, forming a picture of potential winners and losers. If you're interested in using these criteria to do your own scoring, I have created a handy Google doc. Feel free to access, export to Excel, modify, etc. I'm interested in your results and comparing notes.

    Here are my 9 proposed criteria:

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