As a Patriots fan, it was a bummer watching them go down in last night’s Super Bowl, but one major positive surprise was that streaming the game was a superb experience. I was on the road, and watched the entire game (except for the last minute) using the NBC Sports app on my iPad, on the public WiFi network in Palm Beach International airport in Florida where I arrived early for my flight which ended up delayed.
I could have watched on any number of TVs in restaurants or camped out on the floor like the fans below watching on TVs mounted in the terminal. But the circumstances created a good opportunity to see what it would really be like to be dependent on streaming.
I’m pleased to present the 377th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week we start by discussing NBC Sports’ new “Premier League Pass,” which I wrote about a couple days ago. Colin and I agree that Premier League Pass is a clever way for NBC Sports to provide access to cord-cutters and cord-nevers. Going forward, we both like the idea of an “Olympics Pass” as well. Combined with AMC Premiere, which Comcast and AMC announced yesterday, it’s clear established media companies are innovating to offer more flexible access to viewers.
Colin then shares his reactions to an interesting presentation by Chris Ripley, President and CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group, on the company’s ATSC 3.0 vision. I’ll admit this is not a topic I’ve followed too closely, but as Colin explains, Sinclair sees ATSC 3.0 as an entirely new delivery infrastructure it can use to deliver all kinds of services. Important to keep in mind, all of this is still very long-term.
(Note, the audio quality is a bit low this week with Colin being out of office when we recorded)
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Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 42 seconds)
Yesterday NBC Sports Digital announced its latest OTT subscription service, “Premier League Pass,” which provides access to 130 live matches during the 2017-2018 season for $50. Premier League Pass augments NBC Sports’ broadcast of 250 matches carried on its linear networks and online via TV Everywhere.
Premier League Pass is the latest OTT subscription service to be part of what’s known as “NBC Sports Gold.” Other services include “Cycling Pass” ($40), “Pro Motocross Pass” ($50), “Track and Field Pass” ($70) and “Rugby Pass” ($60).
As NBC Sports continues rolling out these various services, it’s becoming clearer that the company is seeing success in offering super-fans online access to specific sports. But what’s more intriguing is that NBC Sports may be laying the groundwork for how consumers will be paying for more mainstream sports somewhere down the road.
Topics: NBC Sports
NBC Sports Live Extra app is now available on both Roku and Apple TV, with the caveat that only authenticated pay-TV viewers will be able to access the app's 3,000 annual live sports streams. The move bolsters TV Everywhere, the pay-TV industry's initiative to enable access to content when, where and how viewers want it.
Last week, I shared new research showing that heavy TV Everywhere users rate pay-TV a much stronger value than lighter users. This is a core TV Everywhere goal - to get viewers watching more TV and feeling better about their expensive monthly subscriptions so they're not tempted to switch to cheaper OTT options. Live sports in particular have been a hugely successful genre in TV Everywhere, as measured by FreeWheel.
I'm pleased to present the 258th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Super Bowl Sunday is upon us. In today's podcast Colin and I first explore the huge role online video has had in driving up the value of Super Bowl ads, which NBC now approximates at $10 million per spot. But despite the ads' tens of millions of incremental online views, we're both still somewhat mystified why the ads don't place more value on viewer engagement, a topic I explored yesterday.
We then turn our attention to NBC's plan to stream 11 hours of programming on Sunday (including the game) without any TV Everywhere style authentication.
As Colin explains, "Super Stream Sunday" is correctly focused on educating viewers about TV Everywhere. But Colin notes one big drawback, which is that the game won't be available on smartphones, since Verizon has the exclusive mobile streaming rights. That means smartphone-wielding millennials could be disappointed.
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Online video platform provider thePlatform announced today that it is powering all of the on-demand video for NBC Olympics across desktops, tablets and smartphones. NBC Olympics uses thePlatform's mpx to upload video, manage metadata, create viewing and ad policies, publish video to its main NBCOlympics.com site, "Live Extra" mobile app and syndication to 3rd parties. NBC Olympics' teams are also using mpx's web-based console to manage their video library.
Since Comcast announced its plan to acquire Time Warner Cable, there have been a number of articles about how broadband is really the main driver of the deal. No doubt broadband is very important, but Comcast still believes there's a lot of life left in its video service. To that end, the company has invested heavily in its X1 set-top box platform.
X1 is a hybrid box, delivering video via traditional "QAM" technology, while including a guide and other interactivity/content via web-based IP technology. Comcast said that X1 played a significant role in Comcast adding subscribers in Q4 '13, for the first time in 6+ years.
I've had an X1 since July, 2012, and to give a sense of its potential, I've shot an 11-minute demo of how X1 handles the NBC Olympics "Live Extra" authenticated app which is tightly integrated with its Xfinity on Demand service for highlights. First, for a little context, I show how "Live Extra" and the NBC Olympics apps work on an iPad.
Akamai and NBC Sports announced this morning that Akamai will be powering video streaming, site performance and security services for the 2014 Winter Olympics on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports Live Extra app. The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia will run from February 6-23.
NBC Sports plans to stream over 1,000 hours of Olympics content, double what it did 4 years ago from Vancouver. Streaming will include all 15 sports across 98 different events, plus lots of exclusive content such as interviews, athlete profiles and backstories that have become standard Olympics fare.
Late yesterday NBC Sports and Yahoo announced a content sharing and promotional partnership that further cements Yahoo's role as a video syndication magnet for big media companies. In addition to the new NBC Sports deal, over the past year, other major media partnering with Yahoo include ABC News, CBS Television Distribution, Wenner Media, Clear Channel, CNBC, Fox Digital Entertainment/DirecTV and others, as each has sought to extend its online video presence beyond their own properties and to generate new ad revenues.
Categories: Syndicated Video Economy
NBC was justifiably crowing late yesterday that the London Olympics was the most-watched TV event in U.S. history with 219.4 million viewers, but a more profound long-term takeaway from this year's games is that digital distribution of most of the competitions did not seem to hurt tape-delayed on-air viewing at all.
That was not a foregone conclusion, and given the billions in broadcast rights fees it paid, NBC made a sizable bet that with most competitions live-streamed and available on-demand, audiences would still tune in during ad-rich, prime-time hours, despite already knowing (or having seen) the results. The impact of digital distribution could have gone wrong, driving lower prime-time ratings, creating disgruntled advertisers and embarrassing NBC Sports executives. The fact that it didn't buttresses the argument that for sports in particular, digital delivery is a compliment, not a substitute, for on-air.
I'm pleased to be joined once again by Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group, for the 142nd edition of the VideoNuze-TDG Report podcast. In this week's podcast Colin and I first discuss NBC's Olympics video streaming. Despite some high profile criticism, we agree that NBC has actually done a pretty good job and has laid a foundation for live streaming to be an expected part of all Olympics coverage in the future.
Next we review Q2 '12 results from some of the largest pay-TV operators. Video subscriber losses continue, although Q2 is historically a soft quarter. Colin notes that recent TDG research shows the pay-TV value proposition is increasingly challenged and he believes that means higher churn is ahead, with bigger opportunities for OTT options.
Speaking of those options, Aereo announced new low-cost plans and both Colin and I agree that they're a clever way to reduce entry barriers and increase viewing flexibility. It's still early, but we like Aereo's odds of success.
Last up, we note the early demise of the Nexus Q media streaming device, a product that both us called a dud a couple of weeks ago.
Listen in to learn more.
Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 43 seconds)
There's a major breakthrough in the TV Everywhere landscape to report - Comcast is "auto-verifying" its Xfinity subscribers' access to NBC's online and mobile video streaming of the Summer Olympics. A Comcast spokesperson confirmed that this is the first time TV Everywhere content is being made available to its subscribers without them having to submit their user name and password credentials to gain access.
This is a real milestone as authentication has been widely viewed as a cumbersome process step for subscribers. That's because many people have not created user names and passwords with their pay-TV operator and/or can't remember them. In addition, authentication systems are not yet stable, often requiring repeated log-ins to the same app, and also across different apps (I've had to repeatedly log-in to every TV Everywhere app I've ever used). Exacerbating things, so much online video is freely available that the TV Everywhere login process feels intrusive for users accustomed to immediately being able to watch.
I was only able to catch a little bit of the Titans-Steelers came last night on NBCSports.com, but what I did see was pretty impressive. This was the first of the "Sunday Night Football Extra" games that NBC Sports and the NFL plan to stream live this season. NBC Sports is using Silverlight for the first time, and the live HD broadcast included 5 different camera angles to choose from. Akamai is providing CDN services and Microsoft's Smooth Streaming for delivery.
NBC has been a pioneer in the delivery of online sports content, and with the 2008 Beijing Olympics setting a new standard. The NFL is not alone in pushing into online delivery though. As I noted recently in "2009 is a Big Year for Sports and Broadband/Mobile Video," there have been a ton of new initiatives this year across baseball, basketball, football, golf, tennis, auto racing, etc.
I'm looking forward to having Perkins Miller, SVP, Digital Media and GM, Universal Sports, NBCU Sports and Olympics on my discussion panel at VideoSchmooze on Mon evening, Oct 13th in NYC. No doubt he'll have lots of great insights and data to share about how the season is progressing.
The next game on NBCSports.com is this Sun night, Bears vs. Packers, 8pm ET.