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  • VideoNuze Podcast #275: Recent Data Highlights Major Changes in Video Industry

    I'm pleased to present the 275th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    We all know the video industry is undergoing unprecedented changes. To make things more tangible, in this week's podcast, we discuss recently released data that we believe illustrates well how different the industry and viewers' behaviors are today vs. just a few years ago.

    In particular, we highlight connected TV adoption data from Leichtman Research Group, long-form/live viewing data from FreeWheel, shifting media consumption data from GfK/IAB, and video delivery forecasts from Cisco.

    The overarching takeaway is that in the past 5 years, online video has evolved from a short-form, lower-quality, desktop-based experience to a long-form, TV-level experience that's now mainstream in the living room. As this trend gains further momentum, there are huge implications for TV networks, pay-TV operators and advertisers.

    Listen in to learn more!



    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 51 seconds)

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  • Connected TVs Now in 56% of U.S. Homes, Up from 24% in 2010

    A new survey from Leichtman Research Group has found that 56% of American homes now have at least one TV connected to the Internet, more than double the 24% level from 2010. 29% of American homes now have TVs connected using multiple devices.

    LRG did not break out the type of connected TV devices used, but last week, FreeWheel's Q1 '15 Video Monetization Report found that Roku has a 43% share, followed by Apple TV (23%), gaming consoles (20%), Chromecast (12%) and Smart TV (2%).

    LRG also found that 29% of adults watch online video on their TVs at least weekly, almost 6x the 5% level in 2010, underscoring how rapidly this has become a mainstream activity. 33% of adults watch video on non-TV devices on a daily basis, with 58% watching on non-TV devices on a weekly basis.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #263 - Debating Cord-Cutting: Is the Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty?

    I'm pleased to present the 263rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

     

    Today we return to the cord-cutting debate, discussing fresh data showing that the largest pay-TV operators lost approximately 125K subscribers in 2014, slightly worse than the 95K subscribers they lost in 2013. There's both a "glass half-full" and a "glass half-empty" way of looking at the results, and we explore both positions. You decide!

     

    We then turn from pay-TV to broadband, where the trend was quite different. The largest broadband ISPs added 3 million subscribers in 2014, up 15% from 2.6 million in 2013, with cable operators accounting for a remarkable 89% of all additions.

     

    With 87.3 million broadband homes in the U.S.at the end of 2014, there is no question that broadband is the foundation on which all online services now stand (a key reason why the FCC's intervention is a risky proposition, as I explained last week).

     

    Listen in to learn more!

     

     

     

    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 1 second)

     

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  • Cord-Cutting Remains Negligible As U.S. Pay-TV Operators Lost Just 125K Subscribers In 2014

    Despite all the talk of massive cord-cutting being just around the corner, evidence continues to demonstrate that the U.S. pay-TV business remains relatively healthy. The latest, from Leichtman Research Group, shows that the 13 largest U.S. pay-TV operators, which together account for 95% of the market, lost just 125K subscribers in 2014. That was basically even with the 95K they lost in 2013 (see chart below).

    LRG president and principal analyst Bruce Leichtman noted that the 220K subscribers lost over the past 2 years represents just about .2% of the operators' total subscriber base. Of course no business ever wants to lose customers, but given the dramatic rise in OTT usage and subscriber levels, along with the vast array of viewing options, losing just .2% over 2 years seems like a pretty good level of stability (consider that Netflix alone added 5.7 million U.S. subscribers in '14).

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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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  • VideoSchmooze [VIDEO] - Nielsen and LRG Analysts Dispel Video Myths

    Below is the full video of the opening season at the recent VideoSchmooze: Online Video Leadership Forum, featuring Dounia Turrill, SVP, Client Insights, Nielsen and Bruce Leichtman, President and Principal Analyst, Leichtman Research Group, with me moderating. It was a fascinating session with Bruce and Dounia dispelling many of the myths around the changing video landscape, while zeroing in on the trends that matter most.

    Among the topics we explored were cord-cutting and pay-TV seasonality, how SVOD is substituting for linear TV viewing, how Netflix is penetrated across different demographics, whether CBS All Access and HBO OTT will succeed, why too much attention is paid to millennials' viewing habits, why TV Everywhere is being marketed incorrectly, and how ad dollars are shifting from TV to online video, plus others.

    Watch the video now

     
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  • Survey: Consumers' Cord-Cutting Intentions Remain Muted

    Interest in cord-cutting remains relatively muted according to new data from Frank N. Magid Associates. The firm, which has been surveying consumers' attitudes towards cord-cutting each of the past 4 years, found 2.9% of respondents agreeing they're "very likely" to cancel their pay-TV service in the year ahead, a slight uptick from 2.7% found in 2013, 2.2% in 2012 and 1.9% in 2011.

    Magid noted that the "very likely" level jumped to 4.9% for 25-34 year-olds, but dropped to 1.4% for those identifying themselves as ESPN viewers (live sports are widely believed to be the most formidable bulwark against cord-cutting).

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  • Broadband is a Booming Business, Especially for Cable Operators

    Broadband Internet access is a booming business in the U.S., especially for cable TV operators. According to data released last Friday by Leichtman Research Group, the top U.S broadband ISPs (accounting for 93% of the market) added nearly 384K subscribers in Q2 '14, the most since Q2 '09.  Q2 '14 additions were 29% higher than those in Q2 '13 and 16% higher than those in Q2 '12.

    Because the law of large numbers is working against broadband ISPs, adding even the same number of subscribers year-over-year is impressive, while adding more is even harder to do. For example, at the end of Q2 '12 there were 80.3 million broadband subscribers in the U.S., while at the end of Q2 '14 there were 85.9 million.

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  • Half of U.S. Households Now Have At Least One Connected TV, Netflix is the Driver

    Here's a new measure of how deeply online video viewing, and Netflix in particular, have penetrated the living room: 49% of all U.S. households now have at least one TV connected to the Internet, slightly over double the 24% level from 2010. For Netflix, 49% of its subscribers report watching online video on their connected TV weekly vs. 8% weekly use among all non-Netflix subscribers. 78% of Netflix streaming subscribers watch Netflix on a connected TV.

    TVs are connected either through game consoles, Blu-ray players, Smart TVs or devices like Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, etc. The data is according to the 8th annual Leichtman Research Group's Emerging Video Services study.

    continue reading on VideoNuze iQ

     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #228 - Broadband Closes In On Pay-TV; Netflix's European Expansion

    I'm pleased to present the 228th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we first discuss how broadband's penetration in the U.S. is closing in on that of pay-TV's. New research from Leichtman Research Group revealed the top providers added nearly 1.2 million broadband subscribers in Q1 '14 (the best quarter in 2 years), as compared with around 260K pay-TV subscribers. The biggest ISPs now have approximately 85.5 million broadband subscribers, whereas the top pay-TV operators have 95.8 million subscribers.

    All of this is relevant because it demonstrates how broadband has become a de facto parallel video distribution platform - the fundamental underlying infrastructure for online video. Many of us take robust broadband almost for granted now, yet in reality it wasn't that long ago that broadband wasn't mainstream and high-quality online video quite scarce.

    We then move on to talk about Netflix's big expansion into 6 new European countries. Colin lays out the case why to be bullish on the expansion, while also noting the new challenges Netflix will face.

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (18 minutes, 57 seconds)



    Click here for previous podcasts

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

     
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  • U.S. Broadband ISPs Add 1.2 Million Subscribers in Q1 '14, Most in 2 Years

    The top 17 U.S. broadband ISPs added nearly 1.2 million subscribers in Q1 '14, notching the best quarter of growth since Q1 '12 (see chart below). These ISPs now have 85.5 million subscribers, with top cable operators accounting for nearly 59% or 50.3 million and top telcos accounting for 41% or 35.2 million. The data is according to Leichtman Research Group.

    The top cable operator ISPs garnered 83% of the quarter's 1.2 million subscriber additions, vs. just 17% for the telcos. This compares with Q1 '13, when the top cable operator ISPs took 72% of net additions, with telcos taking 28%. LRG notes that Q1 subscriber additions historically account for more than Q2 and Q3 additions combined.

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  • Top U.S. Broadband ISPs Add Another 2.6 Million Subscribers in 2013

    The 17 largest broadband ISPs in the U.S. added over 2.6 million subscribers in 2013, down almost 105K vs. the approximately 2.7 million subscribers they added in 2012. These ISPs now have 84.3 million subscribers, with cable TV operator ISPs having 49.3 million (58%) and telco ISPs having 35 million (42%). The data comes from Leichtman Research Group.

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  • U.S. Pay-TV Industry Loses 105K Subscribers in 2013, First-Ever Loss

    The U.S. pay-TV industry lost 105K video subscribers in 2013, the first time in history that the industry has contracted on a year-over-year basis. The industry ended 2013 with approximately 94.6 million subscribers vs. 94.7 subscribers at YE 2012. The 105K loss is a swing of 280K vs. the 175K the industry gained in 2012. (see chart below)

    The data comes from Leichtman Research Group, which has tracked the top pay-TV operators' video subscriber numbers for years.

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  • Nielsen: Over Half Of Broadband-Only Homes Are Age 18-34

    Nielsen released its latest Digital Consumer Report yesterday, finding among things, that 52% of broadband-only homes in the U.S. are in the 18-34 age range. Nielsen notes this group accounts for fewer than 5% of total U.S. households, but believes it's important to understanding the future digital living room. Nielsen said 80% of this group owns game consoles and 41% tablets, both twice the rate of traditional TV households.

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  • Top Video Analysts Debunk Myths of TV's Implosion and Mass Cord-Cutting [VIDEO]

    There are a lot of wild headlines these days proclaiming the death of TV and the prevalence of cord-cutting. But in a session I moderated at the recent VideoSchmooze event in NYC, Bruce Leichtman and Craig Moffett, two of the top video analysts around, shared their current data, which systematically debunks these mythologies. For anyone interested in what's really happening in the video business today, the session's video is a must-watch.

    Bruce and Craig believe that both technology and mainstream media are ginning up these mythologies because they make great headlines. In fact, both cited instances where their data said "x" but the media coverage ended up being "y." All of this underscores how important it is to read media coverage of the industry with a very critical eye.

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  • Study: U.S. Broadband Homes Without Pay-TV are Basically Flat at 9%

    There is a lot of talk these days about pay-TV cord-cutters and cord-nevers and how OTT providers can leverage this group to build their businesses. But a data point from research firm Leichtman Research Group last week that caught my eye suggests this market may be smaller than many people think and also not growing very fast. LRG noted that just 9% of U.S. homes subscribe to a broadband Internet service, but not a pay-TV service, up just slightly from the 8% level in both 2011 and 2012 (see graph below).

    Further, Bruce Leichtman of LRG told me that of the broadband/no pay-TV group, just 37% get their broadband from speedier and pricier cable or telco fiber deployments. That compares with 75% taking these services among other broadband subscribers (remember than cable and telco fiber are by far the most prevalent broadband services).

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  • Tipping Point? Q1 '13 Broadband Subscriber Growth Was 6x Bigger Than Pay-TV's

    New industry data compiled by Leichtman Research Group shows that broadband ISPs that account for 93% of the U.S.  market added over 1.1 million subscribers in Q1 '13, nearly 6 times the 194K pay-TV subscribers that were added in the period by pay-TV operators that account for 94% of the market.

    Broadband subscriber additions have outstripped pay-TV's for years, but the 6x ratio is more than double the average of 2.8x from the prior 2 years. The 194K pay-TV additions in Q1 were down 56% vs. the 445K added in Q1 '12, while the 1.1M broadband additions were off 15% from the 1.3M in each of the prior 2 years.

    On the surface the data suggests that cord-cutting - a shift from viewing video via pay-TV to via broadband - may finally be taking hold. But while LRG's Bruce Leichtman has indeed found an uptick in his calculations of cord-cutting (up from .2% of U.S. homes to .4%-.5%), he sees a far more nuanced picture of what accounted for Q1's swing, plus lots of uncertainty going forward.

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  • Turns Out Most "Mobile Video" Experiences Actually Happen at Home

    Near the top of my personal list of confusing industry terms is "mobile video." Does it mean watching on a smartphone? A tablet? Both? Does it mean using a wireless carrier's network (e.g. Verizon, AT&T) or a WiFi network or both for access? Does it mean watching while out of home (and if so, where?) or at home? And what content is watched - live? on-demand? short-form? long-form? genre? The list goes on and on. Mobile video is truly one of the most confusing and misunderstood industry terms around.

    And that's why recent data from Leichtman Research Group, a well-respected media research firm founded by a former colleague of mine, Bruce Leichtman, really caught my eye. In its 7th annual "Emerging Video Services" survey, of 1,240 adults age 18+, LRG found that of those who said they watched video on their mobile phone in the past month, 63% said they usually watch at home. More striking, of those who watched video on their iPad, tablet or eReader in the past month, 89% of them said they usually watch at home.

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  • Here's the Real Story Behind Pay-TV's Record Q2 '11 Subscriber Losses and the Role of Cord-Cutting

    Today I'm pleased to present a special 2-part VideoNuze Report podcast with guest Bruce Leichtman, who is president and principal analyst of Leichtman Research Group. Bruce has been doing primary consumer research on the pay-TV industry for 15 years and is one of the foremost industry authorities.

    In part 1 of the podcast, Bruce gives a detailed analysis of the industry's record Q2 '11 loss of over 300K subscribers among its 14 largest providers. Bruce explains the industry's historical context, drills down on which companies had the biggest year-over-year change and what accounted for this. Importantly, Bruce focuses on larger macro and micro-economic factors that are influencing the industry's results in a bigger way than new technologies and innovation which often take center stage.

    Then in part 2 we turn our attention to the role of cord-cutting on the industry and the influence of Netflix specifically. First, Bruce clarifies the difference between non-video subscribers and "cord-cutters," a crucial distinction which he believes has recently been overlooked by many. Bruce shares his research on how many actual cord-cutters there are, which types of pay-TV subscribers are most vulnerable to cord-cutting and what role Netflix is playing. We wrap up by discussing what's ahead and how concerned industry CEOs should be about the threat of cord-cutting.

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  • Broadband Subscriptions Chug Along in 2008

    Last Friday, Leichtman Research Group released is quarterly roundup of broadband subscription growth sorted by major cable operators and telcos. LRG, run by my former colleague and friend Bruce Leichtman, has long been the bible for many in the industry for tracking broadband subscriber growth. LRG's numbers continue to demonstrate why broadband video has become such an exciting new distribution medium while adding context to Comcast's and Time Warner's recent moves to begin making online access to cable programming available to their subs.

    To highlight a few key numbers, at the end of '08 the top broadband ISPs had 67.7 million subscribers, with top cable operators accounting for about 54.5% and top telcos the remainder. Top cable operators continue to maintain their edge in subscriber acquisition as well, grabbing 59% of all new broadband subs in '08.

    And no surprise to anyone, with the rising penetration levels, the annual increases in total new subs have continued to slow: in '06 top cable and telco ISPs added 10.4M subs, in '07, 8.5M subs and in '08, 5.4M subs. Still, in the teeth of harsh economic downturn in Q4 '08, these ISPs were still able to add over 1M subs, growth that contracting industries like autos, retail and home-building would no doubt have killed for.

    Broadband has long since become a utility for many American homes, a service that is as much expected as essentials like electricity and plumbing. A key reason broadband video is enjoying the success it is owes to the fact that broadband subscriptions have been driven for other reasons (e.g. faster email access, music downloads, always-on connectivity) over the years. Video has only recently become an additional and highly-valued benefit, which broadband ISPs now expect will drive interest in faster (and more expensive) broadband service plans.

    Broadband's importance to the cable industry is demonstrated by the chart below showing #1 cable operator Comcast's performance over the last 2 years, which I originally posted on last November ("Comcast: A Company Transformed).

     

    Note the company has now lost basic cable subscribers for 7 straight quarters, even as it continues to add digital video subs and broadband subs (and voice subs) at a healthy clip. I expect these trend lines will continue in their current pattern. No doubt this is the kind of picture that has helped spur Comcast (and #2 operator Time Warner Cable) to begin planning online distribution of cable programming, a feature that I believe will provide highly popular. Operators are in a tremendous position to capitalize on the shifting interests of their subscribers.

    What do you think? Post a comment now.

     
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