I’m pleased to present the 516th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. As always, we hope our listeners are staying well.
After much anticipation HBO Max has launched and we share our initial observations on the app and content. Colin is especially impressed with the recommendation feature, which reportedly mixes algorithms and human curation. Even with its massive content library, HBO Max at $15 per month is at the high end of the market which should slightly limit its appeal.
A far bigger limiter is that neither Roku nor Amazon Fire TV are supporting HBO Max. Colin and I dig into what’s behind the conflict. Colin believes all the companies are seeking control over the user experience and the accompanying revenue and usage insights. In particular Amazon has around 5 million HBO Now subscribers through its Channels program that it is reluctant to see transition to HBO Max directly.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 4 seconds)
I’m bullish on ad-based free streaming channels on Connected TVs. eMarketer projected the CTV ad market would grow to $14B in 2023, double the 2019 figure. Why is the Free Ad-based Streaming TV market, or FAST, so hot?
Because after a decade of flubs by TV OEMs, they’ve finally nailed it. Many licensed Roku. Others, Android TV. Samsung iterated to get steadily better. LG’s Web OS was good from the get-go. And Vizio’s revamped SmartCast gained accolades at CES. This is in addition to the blockbuster success of OTT set-tops like Roku and Fire TV. Another factor? The rapidly maturing live linear streaming tech stack. It is far less glitchy and buffery than a year ago even, and costs are dropping.
It adds up. Unboxing a TV is a new game. Just connect to Wi-fi and watch hundreds of free channels of news, sports and entertainment within seconds. No roof climbing. No scanning. No input switching. No cable guy.
And more are coming. The Consumer Technology Association projected 41 million new TVs will be shipped in the US this year. Nielsen says we have 120 million homes. Just spit-balling here, but every three years we’re sending another new TV -- with hundreds of free streaming channels -- to every home in America?
So why should we curb our enthusiasm?
Ad spending by leading SVOD services is up 87% in the 2 month period from March 15 to May 16, 2020 as compared to the same period of 2019, according to a new analysis from MediaRadar. SVOD competition has intensified as new entrants like Disney+, Quibi and HBO Max vie to gain awareness and a share of consumers’ video services budget.
MediaRadar found that YTD Disney+, Hulu and Quibi were the leading SVOD advertisers, collectively spending $135 million. However, each SVOD service’s spending has fluctuated in 2020. For example, MediaRadar noted that Netflix’s ad spending in April was down 11% vs. the prior year. That may be because Netflix was benefiting from stay-at-home guidelines with consumers proactively seeking out subscriptions.
In a new survey by Leichtman Research Group, 53% of American adults agreed (selecting 8, 9 or 10 on a 1-10 scale) that they spend more time watching TV during the pandemic. Just 16% selected 1, 2 or 3 that they disagreed that they were spending more time watching TV.
LRG didn’t find significant age, income or gender differences among those agreeing. 56% of pay-TV subscribers agreed while 45% of non-subscribers agreed. The results are from an online survey fielded in April and May. Q1 also saw the worst decline in pay-TV ever, with over 2 million subscribers lost, while SVOD services like Netflix added record subscribers. Lack of live sports, budget tightening and the availability of inexpensive or free OTT services were surely primary drivers.