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Analysis for 'Netflix'

  • VideoNuze Podcast #392: There’s Netflix and There’s Everyone Else

    I’m pleased to present the 392nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Netflix reported another strong quarter earlier this week, adding 5.3 million subscribers, and also forecasting an increase in its content spend in 2018 to $7-8 billion. On today’s podcast we discuss the results and what’s ahead.

    Despite Netflix’s successful quarter, Colin and I both observed some ambiguity on the part of its executives in explaining what actually drove the subscriber additions. Overall industry momentum, original content, or both? It’s not clear.

    What is clear however is that with Netflix now up to 109 million global subscribers, we’ve moved into a phase where there’s Netflix and there’s everyone else. No other company has close to Netflix’s global footprint or content budget. To put the content budget alone in context, in 2018 it will likely be 3-4x of what mighty HBO spends. Size clearly has its advantages.

    Colin and I explore what this all means for the industry going forward.

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  • Netflix Rumbles On, But It’s Still Hard to Discern Original Content’s Role

    Netflix reported a strong Q3 ’17, growing domestic subscribers by 850K and international subscribers by 4.45 million. Those compared to Q3 ’16 of 370K domestic and 3.2 million international. Adding 5.3 million subscribers in a single quarter, off a base of approximately 100 million is certainly nothing to sneeze at. But yesterday's earnings call with company executives once again raised the question of what’s actually driving the growth? Netflix itself has offered ambiguous answers.

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  • For Disney’s New OTT Service, Success is All About the Price

    Though it won’t launch until late 2019, anticipation for Disney’s entertainment-focused OTT service further increased last week when CEO Bob Iger said at the Bank of America investor conference that the Marvel and Star Wars films would be a part of the service. Whether they too would move over from Netflix was a key unanswered question when Disney initially announced the OTT plan last month.

    Iger also detailed everything that’s intended to be included in the service: the entire output of the Disney studio plus Pixar and Marvel, 4-5 original live-action movies exclusively for OTT, a library of 400-500 films, 4-5 original Disney-branded TV series and 3-4 TV movies per year, 7,000 episodes of Disney branded TV, including recent seasons of Disney Channel programming (though not in-season episodes) and thousands of shorts.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #386: Roku’s IPO, T-Mobile-Netflix Promo, Hulu-Spotify Bundle, Newsy to Cable TV

    I’m pleased to present the 386th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    After taking a couple weeks off from the podcast, Colin and I are back, and today we discuss 4 different industry stories that have caught our attention. First up, just before Labor Day, Roku filed its S-1 IPO document, sharing financial details for the first time. Colin and I are both struck by the strength of Roku’s “platform revenues” and believe the company’s strategy of innovating with low-priced streaming devices to gain market share has opened up many revenue options (though Colin’s a bit worried about Roku losing its valuable neutrality position in the wake of launching the Roku Channel this week).

    We then move on to T-Mobile’s plan to give away Netflix to its unlimited family plan subscribers. It’s the latest “video as bait” play by a wireless carrier, and we both see this trend accelerating. Another interesting bundle play this week was the $5/mo promotion from Hulu and Spotify. We discuss its potential to extend beyond the initial college student target.

    Finally, Colin and I were both intrigued by a plan unveiled by Newsy, a popular millennial-focused news app, to create a linear TV channel by taking over Retirement Living TV’s pay-TV subscribers. It’s a relatively unusual move given most TV networks are launching OTT apps these days.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #385: The Role of Advertising and Subscriptions for Premium Video

    I’m pleased to present the 385th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On today’s podcast, Colin and I discuss the role of advertising and subscriptions for premium video. I wrote about this topic earlier this week, observing that video providers today are experimenting with all models to see what succeeds. The urgency to find the successor to the lucrative multichannel bundle approach is becoming more urgent as cord-cutting increases.

    Colin and I both believe the picture is currently quite murky. We contrast the success Netflix, for example has had with ad-free viewing while subscribers to both CBS All Access and Hulu still appear to prefer to pay less and get a full ad load.

    I think there’s real power in a brand’s original identity and it’s quite hard to transition from one model to another. Colin sees more upside from “freemium” approaches that introduce viewers to content with ads but then try to upsell them to subscriptions.

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  • Video Providers Pursue Advertising, Subscriptions or Both

    Advertising, subscriptions, or both? All video providers are currently grappling with the fundamental question of what business model to pursue. With the cost of producing high-quality video and the challenge of attracting and audience more daunting than ever, deciding which path to follow has taken on increasing urgency.

    But if the stakes are higher, so too is the murkiness, especially when it comes to what consumers will pay for. Just because Netflix has 50 million U.S. subscribers doesn’t mean getting to a million is straightforward for an SVOD wannabe.

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  • 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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  • 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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