I’m pleased to present the 507th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First, we hope all of our listeners are staying well. The virus has brought many new realities to our daily lives and also to the video industry. As a quick side note, please check out the Coronavirus Video Research Hub I launched yesterday to help all of us better track relevant data and insights being released by many leading companies.
On today’s podcast, we dig into some of this research. Colin discusses data from Hub Entertainment showing how much more time viewers are spending with services like Disney Plus, Netflix and Hulu. Colin wonders how sustainable the trend is for Disney Plus though given the production stoppages and lack of new marquee content. There are broader questions about SVOD adoption/churn in this era of belt-tightening.
An area of continued interest for me is what sports fans are doing with their time given the suspension of live sports and also where associated ad spending is moving. New research from Altman Vilandrie & Co. indicates that “reading” and “watching non-sports on TV” were the 2 activities most cited by sports fans as their preferred activity.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 1 second)
Everyone is struggling to adapt to the new realities of life with the coronavirus. One of the big side effects is a spike in stay-at-home viewing of both ad-supported (AVOD) and subscription-supported (SVOD) video. Changes in consumption are being strongly influenced by the suspension of live sports and the postponement of this summer's Olympics. In addition, billions of dollars of ad spending are being reviewed - either to be reallocated elsewhere currently, eliminated or banked for the future.
A lot of valuable data and insights are being provided by industry leaders that helps us better understand these rapidly-shifting times. I will be trying to curate as many of the links to all of it as possible on a daily basis on this Coronavirus Video Industry Research hub, which is part of our sister site, VideoNuze iQ (where lots of other great industry data is also available).
If you have data or insights to share, please send them to me, along with appropriate links and any other suggestions you might have. I'll be contributing interviews with industry leaders as well. Hopefully this hub can assist all of us in getting through these challenging times.
There are a lot of questions swirling these days about how ad spending is going to be reallocated given the virus's interruption of live sports. I'll be publishing a series of short interviews with industry thought-leaders sharing their current experiences and what changes they're seeing due to the virus. The first interview is with Jeremy Steinberg, Global Head of Ecosystem, MediaMath, which is an adtech company serving brands and their partners (also known as a demand side platform).
VideoNuze: What are you seeing so far from clients in terms of shifting spending from live content (e.g. sports, etc.) that have been cancelled to AVOD?
Jeremy Steinberg: Brands and agencies are obviously rethinking their marketing strategies. Because we are seeing a significant uptick in OTT viewership as daily consumer behavior is shifting with more individuals staying at home and we have recommended to our clients that they should re-invest their media budgets into home-based channels most specifically CTV. We are seeing budgets pulled from live sports and many other channels including experiential. Quality of the content has never been more critical, as clients across all industry verticals demand the purity of the connections between brands and consumers. They are focused on reaching real people on real devices, as we see consumers purchasing more goods and services and streaming more content at home.
VideoNuze readers will recall that several months ago I made a prediction that Netflix would launch a lower cost (around $5-$7 per month) ad-supported tier in 2020. I predicted this despite Netflix management having steadfastly resisted the model, because I believed the logic was just so compelling and straightforward that no “religious” argument to the contrary would preclude it.
However, a month after posting, on Netflix’s Q4 ’19 earnings call, management once again rejected the idea. In my and other analysts’ view, Netflix offered what seemed to amount to a “we can’t chew gum and walk at the same time” argument that focused on its perceived inability to compete effectively with the ad triopoly of Google, Facebook and Amazon. Despite CTV ad dollars being scooped up by the likes of Hulu, CBS All Access and other premium video providers, Netflix somehow concluded it simply couldn’t play.
With the coronavirus upending life and prompting a surge in stay-at-home viewing, I’d like to suggest 6 reasons why now would be the absolute perfect time for Netflix to announce a lower priced ($5-$7 per month) ad-supported tier (note to readers: feel free to let me know if I’m missing something colossally obvious that would negate my assertion).
A new app called Watchworthy is the antidote for viewers who are overloaded by the bewildering array of program choices in the Peak TV era. Watchworthy, introduced by Ranker, the fan-rankings company, asks for a minimal 30-60 second investment of the user’s time upfront so it can start making program recommendations. Viewers are quickly shown a sequence of images for existing programs. Then like a dating app they swipe left/right (or thumbs up/thumbs down) to indicate their preference if they’re familiar with them.
Those preferences and the programs’ attributes are analyzed against data gleaned from a billion preference votes that have been cast on Ranker over the years to generate the recommendations. Clark Benson, CEO of Ranker, told me in a briefing that there are currently 100-120 programs that viewers can cast preferences on in the upfront process, which can then be translated into recommendations from a pool of 7,000-12,000 different shows.
I’m pleased to present the 506th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. It's a difficult time for everyone these days with the virus and we hope all our listeners are staying well.
On this week’s podcast we discuss how the spike in virus-driven streaming will benefit advertising-supported VOD services. There is still a lot of uncertainty about the extent of the benefit; mainly I believe the question is whether there is enough advertiser demand to meet the soaring supply of inventory.
Answering this question leads back to how billions of ad spending intended for live sports will be reallocated. Based on discussions I’ve been having with industry leaders, these allocation decisions are currently taking place. But some categories like travel and entertainment are now dark. Can others pick up enough slack?
We also spend a little time exploring the virus’s impact on SVOD. We are both modestly optimistic, but believe that there are numerous reasons even the stay at home spike won’t ultimately benefit SVOD. We also touch on the impact on pay-TV, which is even murkier given the lack of live sports.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 32 seconds)
A reminder to join Colin Dixon from nScreenMedia and me for a free webinar next Tuesday, March 24th, “TV in Your Pocket: The Do’s and Don’ts of Mobile Video Downloading.” We will be joined by Josh Pressnell, CTO of Penthera, a leading provider of download solutions.
In the webinar you’ll learn the best practices that leading video services use to drive download success. We’ll explore key features such as selectable quality, Wi-Fi only downloading and auto-restart that distinguish some video download experiences from others. Importantly, we’ll dive into the business considerations of mobile video downloading - it can reduce churn, increase share of view time, create new monetizable ad inventory, etc.
Colin and I recently completed research and a white paper on the mobile video downloading, where we analyzed 80 of the top video service providers. We found that 28 of them support downloading, including virtually all of the most popular services, yet their implementations vary widely. During the webinar we’ll discuss some of our specific findings. I have long been a huge fan of downloading, so it’s been really cool to see the market begin to embrace it.
The white paper is available as a complimentary download.
Register Now for this timely and relevant webinar!
With people spending more time at home due to the virus, there has been a ton of speculation around what impact this will have on streaming consumption. For example, based on prior disruptive incidents, Nielsen estimates viewing could increase 61%. WURL released data that it saw 7%-44% regional increases on its platform last weekend. A message I received yesterday from SpotX said its experienced a 16% increase in video ad inventory across their entire global marketplace. So the data suggests increases, the range of them is pretty wide.
A sub-question within the “streaming is surging” speculation is how it affects AVOD vs. SVOD services. Even before the virus the dynamics in both categories were fluid. AVOD services are benefiting from multiple tailwinds: cord-cutting, CTV-based viewing, targeting, content proliferation, etc. SVOD services were proliferating, with new competitors like Disney+, Apple TV+, Peacock and soon HBO Max (Quibi could be included too, although its mobile-only). From my perspective, the new competition made incumbents like Netflix look vulnerable. I calculated there was a decent chance Netflix would actually lose subscribers in its US/Canada region in Q1, which would be unprecedented.