• Inside the Stream Podcast: Why Sky’s Sky Glass is the Right Strategy, But the Wrong Execution

    In October, 2021 Comcast and Sky announced “Sky Glass,” a package including a Sky-branded smart TV, Sky Stream (a streaming satellite TV service) and aggregated CTV apps. Colin was in London this past week attending a conference at which Sky executives spoke - but revealed little information about how Sky Glass is doing.

    On this week’s podcast we dive deeply into the Sky Glass model, in which Sky customers either purchase upfront or in 48 monthly installments a smart TV (3 sizes available, 43-inches, 55-inches or 65-inches), then subscribe to a Sky Stream package, and also gain access to built-in apps from third-parties.

    Sky Glass immediately intrigued me because it seemed to align with a concept I had been noodling around for the prior 6-9 months: the idea of TV OEMs either giving away smart TVs and/or pricing them so ridiculously low that consumers would be compelled to take the offer.

    With each CTV advertising conference I hosted, it was becoming more and more apparent that CTV advertising would continue to boom simply because of linear’s demise and advertisers’ imperative to continue achieving their reach/frequency goals (I have referred to this as the “follow the eyeballs” rocket fuel that has powered CTV’s rise in the past 5 years). That’s all before discussing the targeting, optimization, interactivity and dynamic creative benefits of CTV.

    More exciting to me was that it was beginning to become apparent that in the long-term CTV’s success would evolve beyond “follow the eyeballs” to a lower and/or full funnel medium, allowing it to emulate the massively successful playbook that has been run by search and social. Given the choice between selling smart TVs at negative gross margins, or simply giving them away to consumers, with some guaranteed monetization hooks in both high-margin CTV advertising and SVOD/MVPD services, the choice to me seemed relatively straightforward, particularly for certain TV OEMs.

    I envisioned a third-party startup in the middle of the action (I subsequently discarded the idea for various reasons).

    Listen to the podcast now!

  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Diamond Sports’ Bankruptcy, HBO Max’s Confusing Pricing; YouTube’s Multiview; FAST’s Growth

    This week on Inside the Stream Colin and I do an “around the horn” of four significant industry topics. We lead off with the expected bankruptcy filing of Diamond Sports Group earlier this week, the largest owner of regional sports networks (RSNs), resulting in a complete wipeout of the equity-holders. Where to from here is anyone’s best guess; but I reiterate my stance that sports teams’ franchise values and players’ salaries have already peaked. When the dominant player in an industry - with over 50% market share - goes belly up, nothing good happens next.

    Next up is an update on WBD’s planned pricing strategy for its combined HBO Max and discovery+ streaming service launching soon. Colin’s been all over this one for months and is really scratching his head, as am I.

    In time for March Madness, YouTube TV has launched a new feature called “multiview” allowing subscribers to stream a mosaic of four pre-selected games and choose which audio feed they prefer. I think it’s really cool, and as you’ll hear in real-time I realize that it might mean YouTube TV “automagically” just quadrupled its ad inventory for multiview users. If so, that’s a neat trick; new CEO Neal Mohan is off to an even stronger start than I expected!

    Finally, Colin gives a short wrap-up of the latest doings in the burgeoning FAST market. It’s getting harder and harder to keep up.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (27 minutes, 11 seconds)

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  • Beachfront’s Head of Strategy and Operations Laura Wu on CTV Advertising Innovation

    Beachfront’s head of strategy and operations Laura Wu discusses connected TV advertising innovations in a 10-minute interview below. Laura dives into how publishers are better controlling/monetizing ad pods, using first-party data and converting CTV into a lower-funnel channel. Laura also explains how consumers crave simplicity, which will likely lead to more bundling going forward.

    If you want to hear more from Laura, then after the jump, check out her recent session at VideoNuze’s Connected TV Advertising PREVIEW: 2023, “The Big Picture: Trends and Opportunities in CTV in 2023.” Laura is joined by Aaron Goldman (Chief Marketing Officer, Mediaocean), Paul Josephsen (Chief Strategy Officer, WMX Content & Media Division @Warner Music Group) and Brian Wieser (Principal, Madison and Wall), with Danielle DeLauro (EVP, VAB) moderating.

    Watch Laura’s interview now.

  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Pay-TV is in Free Fall; What’s it Mean for Sports Teams’ Valuations?

    Pay-TV providers lost another 7 million subscribers (approximately) in 2022 as losses accelerated from 2021. The losses span those actually cutting the cord, plus those that simply don’t take on a pay-TV subscription in the first place.

    On this week’s podcast Colin and I discuss pay-TV’s melting iceberg, and among its consequences, what’s it mean for sports teams’ valuations and players’ salaries. Since cord-cutting came along, there’s always been a notion of sports providing a “firewall” bottom on pay-TV subscribers. But with so many sports rights now leaking into the streaming domain - having been snapped up by Big Tech - the paradigm-busting question looms larger.

    Another, related consequence of pay-TV’s implosion is the demise of regional sports networks (RSNs). They’re also experiencing financial turmoil due to bad deal-making, disconnects with audiences and sub-par demand. Even mighty ESPN has been the subject of M&A rumormongering as newly restored CEO Bob Iger has to pick his priorities.

    All of this is to say that the economics of the sports business are changing in front of our eyes. If sports networks’ financial viability is impaired, rendering them unable to competitively bid for rights, then the question becomes, will Big Tech step in as a backstop, building on their current commitment? As I assert in the podcast, I think their commitment to becoming a viable backstop will only become known as the ultimate CTV ad monetization opportunity crystallizes. Specifically, if CTV can legitimately become full/lower funnel - bringing in buckets of cash with it - then backstop viability is far more likely. Absent that it’s jump ball. We’ll see.

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