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Analysis for 'Netflix'

  • Expensive SVOD Talent Wars Are Unlikely to End Well

    Another day, another high-profile - and no doubt incredibly expensive - SVOD talent deal announced. Today’s is between Netflix and the ultra-successful producer Shonda Rhimes, poaching her from ABC, where she’d been for 15 years. For Netflix, it followed last week’s deals with the Coen brothers for a new series and the company’s first acquisition, of Millarworld, plus many others.

    While Netflix has been busily announcing new originals - no doubt timed to offset the fallout from Disney’s decision not to renew its pay-1 output deal upon expiration in 2019 - Amazon hasn’t been sitting still. Last week the company lured Robert Kirkman, creator of the blockbuster “The Walking Dead” series on AMC in an exclusive 2-year deal. That followed recent deals for many other originals, with a heavy emphasis on kids shows. And don’t forget Hulu, which is coming off its biggest original success to date with “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

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  • Disney Blew A Big Strategic Opportunity By Licensing to Netflix in 2012

    By now we’re all familiar with the 3 big announcements Disney made yesterday: 1) a plan to launch its own entertainment-focused SVOD service, in turn sunsetting in 2019 its Netflix licensing deal for Disney/Pixar content, 2) a plan to launch an ESPN OTT service and 3) spending $1.58 billion to buy another 42% of BAMTech and take control of that business.

    Focusing on Disney’s entertainment SVOD service it looks pretty clear now that by signing the original December, 2012 licensing deal with Netflix, Disney blew a big strategic opportunity to get in front of the trend toward direct-to-consumer online distribution.

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  • FX Launches FX+ With Comcast; Is An SVOD A La Carte World Coming Into View?

    This morning, FX and Comcast announced FX+, an ad-free subscription video on demand service available to Xfinity TV subscribers for $5.99 per month. FX+ is quite comprehensive, including full current seasons of 17 different FX shows (e.g. “The Americans,” “Atlanta,” “Taboo,” etc.) along with library seasons of 16 current and prior shows (e.g. “The Shield,” “The League,” “Nip/Tuck,” etc.). In all, there will be over 1,100 episodes of FX programming available to subscribers.

    FX+ follows the recent announcement of AMC Premiere by AMC and Comcast, which is another ad-free SVOD service, available for $4.99 per month. However, AMC Premiere doesn’t include AMC’s deep library of popular programs, highlighted by “The Walking Dead,” “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men,” while also including some original digital content. AMC Premiere’s shallow content selection suggests its success will be modest.

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  • U.S. SVOD Adoption Up to 64% of Homes, With 29% Streaming Daily

    U.S. adoption of Netflix, Amazon Prime and/or Hulu is up to 64% of homes, an increase from 47% in 2014, according to Leichtman Research Group. Of those who have one of these SVOD services, 51% now have more than one of them, up from 35% in 2014.

    On our podcast last week, Colin and I talked about how the number of people taking multiple SVOD services has become a central trend in the industry and is helping spur growth for all providers. Both Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Netflix’s Reed Hastings have insisted over the years that people will take multiple services, and that appears to now becoming reality.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #380: What's Really Behind Netflix's Q2 Subscriber Spike?

    I’m pleased to present the 380th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Earlier this week Netflix reported its Q2 ’17 results, with domestic and international subscriber additions exceeding even the most optimistic Wall St. forecasts. But as Colin and I discuss, it is extremely murky what actually drove the strong performance. In fact, Netflix’s Q2 ’17 varied dramatically from prior years, creating a roller-coaster feel that makes it almost impossible to predict where Netflix is heading next.

    Highlighting the confusion is that Netflix management again emphasized the role of its original content in driving the Q2 numbers. Yet independent research just a couple months ago indicated that in Q1 ’17, 85% of Netflix’s U.S. streams were actually licensed content, despite the many billions the company has invested in originals. To top it off, Colin reports that he repeatedly hears industry friends say “there’s nothing on Netflix to watch.”

    There’s no question Q2 reinvigorated the Netflix growth story. But what’s behind that story feels harder to understand than ever.

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  • 5 Takeaways From Netflix’s Second Quarter Blowout

    Netflix reported eye-popping Q2 ’17 results late yesterday, adding a total of 5.2 million subscribers (1.07 million domestically and 4.14 million internationally). These greatly exceeded the company’s own guidance (which it says is the same as its internal forecast) of 600K domestically and 2.6 million internationally for Q2 ’17. As a longtime Netflix observer, here are my 5 takeaways from the Q2 ’17 results:

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  • User Experience is the New Battleground for Video Providers

    If you’re like me, you may have noticed that recently you’ve become a little less patient when you to try to watch a video and things don’t go exactly right. Whether it’s difficulty finding the desired video, momentary buffering, an intrusive/irrelevant ad or some kind of device issue - these sources of friction are increasingly noticeable and in turn disappointing.

    I don’t find this surprising. We live in a world where instant gratification and seamless user experiences are becoming the new normal. Those that don’t measure up stand out more readily as sore thumbs. Among other things, we can now do a super-convenient voice search using a smart speaker, request a personal driver though Uber or Lyft with just a few taps on our smartphones, get a refund on an Amazon return the moment the package is scanned at UPS and lots more. Simply put, for many of us, the Internet and apps are making life easier all the time.

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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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  • Research: 85% of Netflix’s TV Streams in Q1 ’17 Were Licensed, Non-Original Shows

    Netflix’s multi-billion dollar investment in original shows is a huge part of the company’s narrative, but it turns out that in Q1 ’17, 85% of its total U.S. streams were actually licensed, non-original shows, according to new research from 7Park Data. The firm believes that while viewers wait for new seasons of originals to appear, they spend time catching up on prior episodes of licensed shows.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #367: Netflix Falls Short in Q1; Data Comes to TV Ads

    I’m pleased to present the 367th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Once again, we’d like to thank our podcast sponsor Akamai Technologies, which will show its Media Acceleration capabilities and range of cloud-based solutions at the NABShow in Las Vegas, in booth SL3324. There's still time to schedule a meeting.

    First up on this week’s podcast we discuss Netflix’s Q1 earnings which were released earlier this week. Netflix came up a bit short of its own forecasts for both domestic and international subscribers. Colin provides his analysis of what happened and what might be ahead for Netflix in 2017.

    Then we shift gears to discuss how TV advertising is increasingly about data-enablement. I share further details on my post yesterday on Videology’s research, and also explain iSpot.tv’s new conversion solution. TV is in a race to provide improved targeting and better ROI to advertisers who are being avidly pursued by Google, Facebook and other digital competitors.  

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  • Downloading Continues to Gain Momentum

    Downloading video for offline playback continues to gain momentum with Showtime announcing late last week that it has enabled downloading of its entire roster of programs from its standalone subscription and TV Everywhere apps at no additional cost. Downloading is available on iOS and Android phones and tablets plus Amazon Fire tablets.

    Loyal VideoNuze readers know that I’ve been an enthusiastic downloading proponent for 4 1/2 years, back to when I first experienced TiVo’s implementation of it via TiVo Stream. I immediately saw downloading as a killer app because it allowed high quality out-of-home viewing independent of shaky or non-existent WiFi hotspots and/or eating up expensive mobile data plans (if they could even support video streaming).

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  • HBO Now Tops 2 Million Subscribers, But Pace of Additions Looks Static

    Time Warner’s CEO Jeff Bewkes said on this morning’s earnings call that HBO Now has passed the 2 million subscriber mark. That would be an increase from the 800K HBO Now had at the end of 2015.

    On the one hand, gaining 2 million subscribers since launching HBO Now in April, 2015 is a positive sign of market acceptance for the SVOD service, which entered the market relatively late. But on the other hand, the pace of HBO Now’s monthly subscriber additions seems static, suggesting the service has not been able to accelerate its momentum.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #355: Millennials Go Cordless, Netflix Reality TV, YouTube Targeting and FCC’s Overhaul

    I’m pleased to present the 355th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we discuss four topics that caught our attention and we wrote about: research from GFK MRI that 30% of U.S. millennials are now “cordless” (here), Netflix’s move into reality TV programming (here); Google enabling YouTube ad targeting based on users’ searches (here) and the new chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai (here). We dig into all of these topics and discuss their implications.

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    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 49 seconds)



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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 "Peak TV" Grows, SVOD Providers Will Become Even Stronger in 2017

    Just prior to the holiday break FX released its latest update on “Peak TV” - the name company president John Landgraf coined a couple years ago to describe the exploding number of original scripted TV programs being produced. According to FX, which is tracking Peak TV, in 2016 there were 455 scripted originals, up from 421 in 2015 and 182 in 2002.

    In that 14-year time period, the biggest volume contributor has been ad-supported cable TV networks, increasing from 30 shows in ’02 to 181 shows in ’16. But zeroing in on just the last 3 years, it’s the SVOD providers (Netflix, Amazon and Hulu) that have had the biggest impact. The group tripled their output from 24 shows in ’13 to 93 in ’16 while ad-supported cable TV rose from 161 to 181, broadcast TV bumped up from 131 to 145 and premium TV (HBO, Showtime, etc.) was basically flat, from 33 in ’13 to 36 in ’16. Put another way, in 2013, SVOD accounted for just 6.9% of all scripted TV and in 2016 they tripled their share to 20.4%.

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  • HBO is Losing Ground to SVOD Competitors By Maintaining Market Skimming Price Strategy

    When HBO Now launched in April, 2015, its $14.99/month price was well above competing SVOD services such as Netflix ($11.99/month), Hulu (ad-free $11.99/month) and Amazon ($8.99/month or included with Prime for $99/year). On the one hand, an argument could be made that an HBO subscription is more valuable due to HBO’s rich library and therefore should be priced higher than newer competitors. But HBO’s market-skimming high price strategy means its more aggressively priced competitors are growing far faster than HBO, enabling them to have greater scale, which will be the key to future success.

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  • Netflix Belatedly Offers Downloading

    In a move that was long, long overdue, Netflix announced yesterday that it was enabling downloading of content to iOS and Android mobile devices. Not all shows and movies are available for download, but importantly, it looks like most, if not all, of Netflix’s original productions are included. I tried downloading  last night and it worked perfectly.

    I’ve been saying since 2012 that downloading is a bona fide killer app, after I first started using TiVo’s excellent downloading feature to watch recordings on my iPad when traveling. Amazon totally understood the value of downloading as well, enabling it back in September, 2015. In a press release that both touted the new feature and implicitly tweaked Netflix, Amazon proclaimed it as “The First and Only Subscription Streaming Service to Offer This Feature.”

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #347: Facebook’s Video Ambitions

    I'm pleased to present the 347th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On this week’s podcast we discuss Facebook’s video ambitions. Colin was in London at the OTT TV World Summit where he saw a fascinating presentation by Matthew Corbin, who’s in global product marketing for Facebook. Colin shares highlights of what he learned, including how Facebook thinks of itself as the “world’s discovery agent.” Matthew said Facebook thinks of itself “not as a broadcast network, but as a network of broadcasters,” which feels like an apt description. Combined with Facebook’s targeting capabilities, this translates to lots of potential.

    On Facebook’s Q3 ’16 earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg also highlighted how he wants video to be at the center of all of Facebook’s apps and services. It’s becoming clearer that the primary way Facebook is going to be able to continue its torrid revenue growth is by shifting over more TV ad spending, hence the push toward video.

    After discussing Facebook, we shift gears and spend 5 minutes reviewing the excellent Comcast-Netflix integration which I wrote about earlier this week.

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  • Watch My Demo of Comcast X1’s Superb Netflix Integration [VIDEO]

    Comcast announced on Friday that the integration of Netflix into its X1 set-top box would launch this week. But when I checked my X1 on Friday evening it was already available, so I spent some time over the weekend giving it a test drive. Below is a 12-minute demo video I created that highlights the key benefits of the integration and how expertly it was done.

    As VideoNuze readers know, I’ve had the X1 since its debut, back in July, 2012. I was immediately enthusiastic about its clean and highly responsive web-like UI as well as its ability to quickly retrieve on-demand content. More recently, the voice-powered remote control has delivered even more value. But the biggest potential benefit I’ve always envisioned for X1 was its ability to handle IP apps, giving Comcast a breakthrough way to provide a seamless experience between its own video services and those delivered over-the-top via broadband (e.g. Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, etc.).

    Read More and Watch the Demo Video

     
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  • Netflix's Q3 '16 Brings Yet Another Bumpy Quarter of Subscriber Additions

    It seems the only thing predictable about Netflix’s subscriber growth these days is its unpredictability. After badly missing its target subscriber additions both domestically and internationally in Q2 ’16, yesterday’s Q3 ’16 earnings report showed Netflix beating its Q3 forecast, including by a huge amount in international. Domestically, Netflix added 370K subscribers vs. its forecast of 300K, while internationally it added 3.2 million, well ahead of the 2 million it forecast.

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