• Inside the Stream: Roku-MAGNA Interview About CTV Home Screen Research

    This week we interview Roku’s Head of Ad Marketing Jordan Rost and MAGNA’s EVP, Intelligence Solutions Kara Manatt, about their companies’ new research - "From Power On to Power Off" - about viewers’ content discovery journeys and the role of CTV Home Screen advertising. A key takeaway of the research is that almost half (44%) of streaming sessions begin with the viewer browsing, rather than knowing what they want to watch.

    That opens up a huge content discovery opportunity on the home page, which dovetails with advertisers (especially streaming services) desire to gain awareness and action. We discuss this dynamic and other findings from the research about viewers’ mindsets and receptivity to ads along with how home page ads are already being executed.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (38 minutes, 3 seconds)

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  • Inside the Stream: Streaming is Tops on VIZIO, Max Raises Rates, Streaming TV is Loved

    New research from Inscape analyzing the viewing behavior of 23 million opted-in VIZIO smart TV owners reveals streaming’s ascendance. In Q1 ’24, fully 58% of these viewers only streamed content, up 3 percentage points since Q4 ’23. 38% watched both streaming and pay-TV (cable, satellite and OTA), and just 3% only watched pay-TV. The streaming-only group has increased from 45% in Q4 ’21. We discuss these and other key findings.

    Then we turn our attention to Max’s immediate rate increase, announced this week. Of note, only the two ad-free tiers are getting $1 per month increases, while the “Max With Ads” tier will remain $10 per month. As we discuss, this is the latest evidence of how traditionally ad-free streaming services (e.g. Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video) are incenting subscribers to take ad-supported plans - and why CTV advertising is poised to become more valuable than ever.

    Last up we review new research from the American Customer Satisfaction Index showing record-high satisfaction levels for streaming services. Neither of us are surprised, given the strength of streaming’s value proposition. This year Amazon Prime Video topped the satisfaction list, but all streamers perfumed well and were tightly clustered.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (33 minutes, 31 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream: Box Office Plummets, Ad Experience Matters, Netflix’s Bundling Angle

    Memorial Day weekend was a disaster for Hollywood, with approximately $128 million in box office, down 36% from 2023’s total, and the worst in decades. There are some specific reasons, such as the steep underperformance of “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.” But as we discuss, any poor box office performance these days must always be viewed in the context of streaming’s myriad choices for viewers. Compounding matters for the box office are streaming’s inexpensive new bundles; on last week’s podcast we noted that Xfinity subscribers in particular can now access 6 top streaming services for just $30 per month.  

    Next we return to bundling topic, in light of new research from Antenna showing subscriber loyalty to top streaming services. No surprise, Netflix has the highest loyalty, which in turn begs the question: how does Netflix benefit from participating in discounted bundles? We offer our thoughts.

    Also on our radar this week is FreeWheel’s latest research from its Viewer Experience Lab, focusing on factors that diminish the viewer’s ad-supported experience. The testing found that viewers were most bothered by slow or buffering ads (78%), ads that unnaturally interrupt the programming (71%) and “we’ll be right back” slates (33%). The research is important because as CTV advertising becomes an ever more critical revenue stream, delivering top-notch ad experiences will be essential for optimizing monetization.

    Last up, we review new research from Horowitz Research which found that of sports viewers, 58% of 18-34 year-olds and 57% of 35-49 year-olds say they’re likely or very likely to subscribe to the new Venu Sports streaming service for $35-$40 per month. While the research validates basic interest in Venu, it still feels early to accurately estimate true demand for Venu. A big looming question for Venu’s value proposition is whether TNT is able to renew its NBA package.

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  • Inside the Stream: Comcast’s New StreamSaver Bundle is Appealing to the Budget-Conscious

    Earlier this week Comcast took the wraps off StreamSaver, its new streaming bundle available for Xfinity subscribers. For $15 per month, StreamSaver bundles Peacock Premium, Netflix Standard with ads and Apple TV+. If subscribed to separately the combined total would be $25 per month, as of July 1st when Peacock Premium’s price will rise to $8 per month. That means StreamSaver provides a bundled discount of $10 per month, or 40% off the standalone rates.

    As Colin and I discuss, StreamSaver’s discount is in the same range as Disney’s Duo and Trio bundles, which fall between 35% and 44%. It also means that if Xfinity subscribers took both bundles, they would get 6 top streaming services - Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Apple TV+, Peacock and ESPN+ for $30 per month, or an average of $5 per month per service.

    From our standpoint, all this seems really appealing, especially to budget-conscious consumers. Think for a moment about the vast selection of entertainment and sports programming across these 6 services - all for $30 per month, which is far less than it would cost to take a family of 4 to a single movie, for just 2 hours of entertainment.

    But as we also discuss, these discounted bundles need to perform their critical function of reducing churn and extending subscriber lifetime value. With so many different decisions required by viewers about what bundle (if any) to choose, it’s gong to be challenging to pinpoint causalities and correlations, making the elusive goal of streaming profitability ever more opaque.

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