NABShow NY - 9-26-16

Analysis for 'NFL'

  • How Four Technologies Combined to Make Twitter’s NFL Broadcast an Online Video Milestone

    Last Thursday night felt like a milestone moment to me in the continued mainstreaming of online video viewing. At 9pm, I turned on my 46-inch Insignia HDTV, toggled to input 3, grabbed my Fire TV remote control, scrolled to the app section, downloaded the Twitter app and began watching the Jets play the Bills over my 100 mbps Comcast broadband connection in pristine quality. Just like that I was watching an NFL game outside the traditional TV ecosystem.

    The whole process took just a few minutes and likely could have been accomplished by the least tech-savvy among us. On the surface it might seem like a relatively trivial undertaking, but in reality, the experience reflected the significant technology and consumer behavioral advancements that have taken place in just the past 10 years or so. Every one of these advancements was critical in enabling the Twitter broadcast. And every one of them is also causing the seismic changes roiling the broader TV industry.

    Consider:

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #317: Live-Streaming Battle Heats Up

    I'm pleased to present the 317th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Live-streaming was in the headlines this week as the NFL announced Twitter as its partner for Thursday Night Football games and Facebook unveiled a slew of new features for Facebook Live.

    On this week’s podcast, Colin and I discuss details of both of these initiatives, comparing and contrasting the upside. Colin is more enthusiastic about the Twitter-NFL deal, which is still a bit of a head-scratcher for me. Conversely, I’m very bullish on Facebook Live and believe it’s a natural extension of how Facebook is already used. The live-streaming battle will heat up further when YouTube launches its own live feature soon.

    All of this means that live-streaming is poised to become a much more mainstream activity going forward.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 51 seconds)



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  • Twitter is the Unlikely Winner of NFL Thursday Night Games

    Underscoring once again how unpredictable the online video space is, Twitter has emerged as the unlikely winner of the rights to stream NFL Thursday Night Football (TNF) games for the 2016-2017 season. Just yesterday I wrote that with Facebook and Apple bowing out, the bidding likely came down to Amazon, Verizon and Google, with Verizon the most likely winner for a variety of reasons.

    On the one hand, Twitter’s interest in streaming the TNF games makes sense, as recently returned CEO Jack Dorsey has publicly stated that a top 2016 priority is live streaming, including leveraging its Periscope product. The 10 TNF games give Twitter a marquee property to highlight live streaming, which complements Twitter activity around all games. And Twitter already had a deal in place with the NFL for highlight clips.

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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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  • Super Bowl Streaming Quality Was Strong, But With Inconsistent Latency Across Devices

    Overall, the quality of streaming of last night’s Super Bowl was strong, although I experienced inconsistent latency across different devices I was using. As shown in the images below, I set up an informal lab in my house, with the game on Comcast, via X1 (center), Roku TV (left rear), Amazon Fire TV on an Insignia (right rear), CBSSports.com (front left and right) and Verizon Go90 (front center).

    As can be seen, each device is lagging behind the CBS broadcast feed on TV and to a different extent. I measured the latency at a few points and it seemed to get worse as the game progressed. For Lady Gaga’s national anthem, the Roku and Amazon feeds were approximately 40 seconds delayed, but by the end of the game, each was over a minute delayed. The online streams were approximately half this delay and the Verizon stream still slightly better.

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  • 5 Reasons Why CBS’s Live Streaming of Super Bowl 50 is a Big Deal

    Continuing the trend of making live sports available to viewers across a wide range of devices, CBS will stream live coverage of this Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 broadcast to viewers both online and through an expanded network of over-the-top connected TV devices, including Xbox One, Apple TV, Roku and Microsoft 10. This decision by CBS and the NFL to allow, and even encourage, the consumption of the premier sports event of the year through connected TV devices is significant for 5 reasons:

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  • NFL's Plan for OTT Streaming of Thursday Night Football Raises Many Questions

    The NFL announced yesterday that it was splitting broadcast rights to Thursday Night Football in 2016 and 2017 between CBS and NBC. The WSJ reported that each network will pay $225 million for the annual rights, a 50% increase over the $300 million per season that CBS alone had been paying.

    But the higher broadcast fees are just the beginning of how the NFL will more fully monetize the upcoming seasons. More intriguing were the sentences from the NFL’s press release: "The NFL is in active discussions with prospective digital partners for OTT streaming rights to Thursday Night Football. A deal announcement is expected in the near future."

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #290: Deep-Dive Q&A With Sports TV Expert Lee Berke

    I'm pleased to present the 290th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On this week’s podcast we do an in-depth Q&A with our guest Lee Berke, who runs LHB Sports, Entertainment and Media, Inc. Lee has helped dozens of teams create and implement sports TV networks. He has a wealth of insights into the role of sports in pay-TV and how online and mobile video are causing leagues and teams to adjust their traditional distribution strategies.

    Sports are a key driver of increased pay-TV rates and as VideoNuze readers know, I’ve been writing for years (examples here, here, here) about the billions of dollars non-fans pay each year in the form of a “sports tax” - subsidizing expensive sports networks they never watch. With the advent of robust, inexpensive OTT entertainment programming options, the pay-TV multichannel bundle has come under more pressure than ever, with subscriber losses peaking in Q2 ’15.

    In our Q&A with Lee we explore these issues and how he sees OTT impacting teams, leagues and sports TV networks. Lee believes TV will remain the most significant revenue source in sports for the foreseeable future, but also sees the leagues more aggressively experimenting online to serve a new generation of fans. Lee also describes how he’s advising teams, particularly on how to maintain flexibility and capitalize on new technologies.      

    Listen in to learn more!



    Click here to listen to the podcast (29 minutes, 26 seconds)

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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.

    Listen in to learn more!


    Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 30 seconds)

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  • NFL Takes a Baby Step, Planning to Exclusively Stream a Single Game Next Season

    The NFL announced yesterday that it plans to exclusively stream a single game next season, a week 7 matchup from London between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The October 25th game will still be televised in the 2 home markets, starting at 9:30am ET, but elsewhere it will only be available online (though the NFL hasn't yet signed a digital distribution partner).

    Brian Rolapp, the NFL's EVP, Media, characterized the move as mainly an experiment, meant to impart as much learning as possible (he also maintained that TV is still the best distribution option). That sounds right to me, though how much can really be learned from streaming a single game is a bit unclear (e.g. advertiser interest? technical or delivery quality? audience size?).

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  • OTT Never Had a Real Chance of Getting NFL Sunday Ticket Deal

    Late yesterday, the NFL announced it renewed its "Sunday Ticket" deal with DirecTV for a reported 8 years at $1.5 billion per year, a 50% increase over their prior deal. Going back about a year, there were rampant rumors that the Sunday Ticket package could go to an OTT player, with Google being the name most often mentioned.

    In reality, though, there was virtually no chance Sunday Ticket was going to go to OTT, and so the DirecTV renewal comes as no surprise. As I wrote over a year ago, there were at least 5 big challenges to a Google-NFL deal in particular. These essentially boil down to a combination of online video not being mature enough yet to exclusively handle marquee sports broadcasts and the incumbent TV ecosystem desperately needing to retain marquee sports broadcasts like Sunday Ticket.

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  • NFL Now is a Brilliant Bid For Mobile Video Ads

    Yesterday the NFL announced a new video initiative called "NFL Now," which will offer fans a trove of short-form videos in a highly personalizable experience. Brian Rolapp, the NFL's EVP of Media told Adweek that the current shortage of mobile video ad inventory was "one of the biggest reasons we are doing this." I'd go one step further - I think capturing mobile video ad dollars is THE reason the NFL is launching NFL Now.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #205 - Sports Leagues Fight Aereo; Broadband Battle in the U.K.

    I'm pleased to present the 205th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Colin is in London this week and shares observations on the intense battle for broadband subscribers in the U.K. BT has been aggressively laying fiber in a bid for broadband subscribers. It recently spent about 1.4  billion pounds on soccer rights to supply its BT Sport channels. Colin says BT has seen lift in both broadband and pay-TV subscribers as a result. One wonders whether Google could try something similar here in the U.S. by bidding for NFL and other rights somewhere down the road?

    Speaking of the NFL, it and Major League Baseball were in the news this week for filing a brief with the Supreme Court urging review of broadcasters' challenge to Aereo. The leagues basically asserted that if Aereo is deemed legal, more of their games will migrate to cable, which of course has been happening anyway. Meanwhile Aereo's lead investor Barry Diller said this week he could see a 35% adoption rate for Aereo long-term, primarily driven by millennials. This would be hugely disruptive if it were to happen.

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (18 minutes, 11 seconds)




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  • At Least 5 Big Challenges for a Google-NFL Sunday Ticket Deal

    The Internet has been buzzing this week with the idea that Google may bid for the NFL's Sunday Ticket package, which is with DirecTV through the 2014 season. The root of the buzz is a story in AllThingsD that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with Google's CEO Larry Page and YouTube's head of content Robert Kyncl and that one of the things they discussed was Sunday Ticket.

    Did they seriously discuss Sunday Ticket or was it the last item on a list of things they were spitballing? Who knows. But let's assume for a moment that Google actually WAS interested in Sunday Ticket. Could it happen and does it make sense?

    There's certainly no financial impediment for Google. DirecTV pays about $1 billion/year currently. Even if Sunday Ticket's value increased by 50% (which is less than the 60-70% increases the broadcasters and ESPN paid to renew their NFL deals in the past 2 years), it would still be small change for Google. Rather than the money, I see at least 5 big challenges Google (and the NFL) would have to surmount:

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  • 80 Billion Reasons Why Pay-TV Will Become Even More Expensive

    If you think your monthly pay-TV bill is already pretty expensive, then brace yourself for rate increases that will definitely be happening over the next several years, particularly in certain geographic areas of the U.S. Why? Because the cost of programming continues to spiral, led by sports. In fact, over the past 24 months, at least $80 billion has been committed by broadcast and cable TV networks to televise sports in the U.S. (note this includes $6 billion, the minimum either News Corp. or Time Warner Cable will likely pay for TV rights to the L.A. Dodgers' games).

    The chart below itemizes all of the deals that I'm aware of; no doubt there are others as well that aren't included. Also not included are the expected increased costs of renewals for some of sports' highest-profile events like the Super Bowl and NCAA March Madness in coming years.

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  • Streaming the Super Bowl is No Big Deal, For Now

    The NFL and NBC garnered a lot of attention yesterday with news that the Super Bowl (along with the Pro Bowl and two Wild Card games) will be streamed online for the first time, and made available to Verizon's mobile subscribers. I'll admit, when I first read the news my reaction was "that's pretty cool!" But when I thought about it for another moment, my feeling changed to "so what's the big deal?" Maybe I'm being a skunk at the picnic, but I'm guessing some of you may have had a similar response. Why?

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  • VideoNuze Report Podcast #114 - Sports Rights Fees and OTT

    I'm pleased to be joined once again by Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group, for the 114th edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for Dec. 16, 2011. In today's podcast Colin and I discuss the escalation in sports rights fees, player salaries, sports networks' affiliate fees and pay-TV rates.

    Earlier this week I wrote about the massive, $254 million contract baseball slugger Albert Pujols signed with the Angels and how a new 20-year, $3 billion deal with Fox Sports enabled the team to afford the deal. But that's already old news, because since then the NFL signed $28 billion worth of deals with CBS, Fox and NBC (on top of the $15.2 billion renewal with ESPN agreed to in September), and ESPN forked over another $500 million for broader rights with NCAA.

    Why does all this matter? Because as I've said repeatedly throughout the year, these deals are largely funded by non sports fans, through their ever-higher monthly pay-TV bills. As Colin and I agree, it's an unsustainable trend that's largely being enabled by consumers' ignorance and inertia about what they're paying for. Coincidentally, just today the NY Times has an article on this topic, the first one I've seen from a mainstream newspaper. The  byproduct of escalating pay-TV rates is that they're opening the door for OTT alternatives to thrive. Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (16 minutes, 11 seconds)



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  • Webinar on Quality of Video Service This Wed, Dec. 8th

    Akamai, IDC and the NFL are presenting an interesting complimentary webcast this Wednesday, discussing their research findings on the correlation between viewer engagement and video quality. As longer-form online-delivered video has proliferated, whether supported by ads or payments, quality has become a critical issue. When viewers sit down to watch for a while, their expectations of quality increase vs. just watching a short clip or two. Content providers and delivery partners need to know specifically what matters and how to deliver it.

    In this webcast, the presenters will review actual findings from 6 recent events. Though user engagement is influenced by video quality, higher bitrates alone didn't always lead to viewing duration. Rather, engagement appears to be more related to the consistency of the viewing experience, so that transitions between bitrates and also the number of re-buffering events are in fact most crucial to audiences. Learn all about the findings during the webcast this Wed, Dec. 8th at 11am PT / 2pm ET.

     
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  • 5 News Items of Interest for the Week of Aug 23rd

    Following is the latest update to VideoNuze's new Friday feature, highlighting 5-6 of the most intriguing industry news items from the week that VideoNuze wasn't able to cover.

    Ads skipped by 86% of TV viewers, but TV ads still most memorable

    A new Deloitte survey unsurprisingly finds high rates of ad skipping among DVR users watching time-shifted programs, yet also notes that 52% of respondents say TV advertising is more memorable than any other type (only 2% cited online video advertising). Is there a love-hate relationship with good old TV advertising?

    Endemol USA Plans Kobe Bryant Web Series
    Online video continues attracting celebrities, with the latest being LA Laker star Kobe Bryant, who will be featured in 8 episodes teaching Filipino kids about hoops. The series is being produced and promoted by powerhouse Endemol. More evidence that independent online video is gaining.

    NFL Sunday Ticket To-Go, Without DirecTV
    DirecTV unbundles its popular NFL package, selling online access to non-subscribers for $350. It's not clear there will be many takers at this price point, but it does raise interesting possibilities about unbundled subscribers connecting to their TVs and also how sports will be impacted by online and mobile viewing.

    TiVo Launches Remote with Slide-Out Keyboard
    TiVo is enhancing navigation with a long-awaited keyboard that slides out of its standard-shaped remote control for $90. With TiVo's new Premiere box offering more video choices than ever, quicker navigation is required. As other connected devices hit the market, it will be interesting to see what clever solutions they come up with too.

    MTVN's Greg Clayman Heads to News Corp to Lead iPad Newspaper
    Amid the ongoing shuffle of digital media executives, MTV Networks lost a key leader in Greg Clayman, who's moving to News Corp to head up their new iPad newspaper. Greg's been on VideoSchmooze panels and we've done webinars together; he always brings great insights as well as a terrific sense of humor.
     
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  • VideoNuze Report Podcast #41 - November 20, 2009

    Daisy Whitney and I are pleased to present the 41st edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for November 20, 2009.

    This week Daisy leads off with thoughts on what the NFL is doing with both online and mobile video, based on her recent interview with Laura Goldberg, GM of NFL.com.

    I then dig deeper into my post from yesterday, "YouTube Direct is Yet Another Smart Move" in which I explained why YouTube Direct, a new initiative which was unveiled earlier this week, makes a lot of sense for both YouTube and its content partners. I've been impressed with how YouTube continues to evolve away from its wild-west UGC roots, finding ways to add value for both its users and also for its partners. Listen in to learn more.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (12 minutes)

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