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VideoNuze Analysis

  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Will SkyShowtime Shake Up the European TV Market?

    (Reminder - if you are a listener of The VideoNuze Report podcast, please update your feed per below to the new Inside the Stream feeds which have been available for a couple of months....we don't want to lose you as a listener as we complete this transition!)

    Welcome to this week’s edition of Inside the Stream, the podcast where nScreenMedia’s Chief Analyst Colin Dixon and I take listeners inside the world of streaming video.

    Earlier this week ViacomCBS and Comcast announced a partnership to launch “SkyShowtime,” a new SVOD service launching in 2022 in over 20 European territories with over 90 million homes. On today’s podcast Colin and I discuss why the companies chose to partner, especially since they have incumbent services in Peacock and Paramount+, rather than go it alone.

    As Colin explains, the key here is content - both quality and quantity. The minimum size and selection of content required to be competitive in SVOD, especially in Europe, just keeps getting bigger. Colin brings his insights about the European market to our discussion. Importantly, he discusses the critical role that the big local broadcasters play as well as the “30% rule” for locally-produced content.

    Another topic we explore is how this partnership signals a further evolution for Comcast from a primarily U.S.-focused company to one where a full global presence may be in the cards longer-term. Another intriguing question Colin raises is why, given the relatively unknown “Showtime” brand in Europe, it was incorporated into the service’s name.

    Listen to the podcast (26 minutes, 5 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Why Hollywood Is In A Deep, Dark Box of Its Own Making

    (Reminder - if you are a listener of The VideoNuze Report podcast, please update your feed per below to the new Inside the Stream feeds which have been available for a couple of months....we don't want to lose you as a listener as we complete this transition!)

    Welcome to this week’s edition of Inside the Stream, the podcast where nScreenMedia’s Chief Analyst Colin Dixon and I take listeners inside the world of streaming video.

    Hollywood is in a deep, dark box of its own making. On this week’s podcast, Colin and I explain why that is and what the implications are.

    Earlier this week I wrote about how Matt Damon provided a “Hollywood 101” class in the fundamental economics of why making movies in the $30 million - $70 million budget range has become practically a non-starter in Hollywood (except very rare exceptions like “Stillwater”).

    Then Colin shares all the relevant new data from DEG highlighting how SVOD has essentially sucked all the life out of DVD and digital sales and rentals of movies. Now Hollywood is going to exacerbate this trend by shortening the window of time from theatrical release to premiering movies on their own streaming services. This will effectively kill the so-called “Pay-1 window,” depriving studios of yet another once lucrative revenue stream. There are incredibly challenges times coming up for Hollywood studios.

    The biggest losers in all of this are us, the moviegoing public. Today’s is not a happy podcast. Neither Colin nor I see any Hollywood endings to this story. But again, life is unpredictable, so you just never know.

    Listen to the podcast (31 minutes, 4 seconds)



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  • Matt Damon Gives a “Hollywood 101” Class on What Ails the Industry

    Matt Damon has provided a “Hollywood 101” class on what ails the industry as he’s made the rounds over the last 2-3 weeks in support for his new movie “Stillwater.” Leave it to a Boston guy to articulate Hollywood’s dilemma authentically and succinctly. But before getting to Damon’s nuggets of wisdom, let me share my own (thanks NYNEX Yellow Pages for the classic “Vanity Cases” ads as a reminder/inspiration).

    Last month, in “5 Reasons Going to the Movies is Facing an Irreversible Demise,” one of the reasons I cited was that the quality of streaming TV and movies are going in opposite directions (the former is getting better, albeit inconsistently, and the latter is is in a precipitous nosedive). This reason alone would be enough to sink moviegoing over time. On podcasts this summer I have lamented how, despite the reopening, there isn’t a single movie my wife and I have been motivated to see. That has caused us to improvise and reluctantly do other things with our bits of free time (yes, mostly stream).

    But last weekend we did see a movie, “Stillwater;” the first time we had entered a theater since pre-Covid. We saw it in Pittsfield, MA at 8:45pm in one of those luxury theaters with the fold down and heated seats. We got there a little early, plunked ourselves into the middle and waited during the trailers and ads for the audience to fill in. But they never did. Not one other person attended. We sat in a theater all to ourselves and got a “private” screening of “Stillwater” for the princely sum of $10 per ticket.

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  • Perspective What's this? What’s Next for Identity in CTV?

    Historically, in digital advertising, third-party cookies have been used to identify audiences in desktop and mobile web environments for the purposes of reaching them and gathering insights on consumer activity. Although the timeline has been extended, advertisers are still grappling with what the future of identity will look like across the entire landscape once cookies are eventually deprecated.

    While desktop and mobile are heavily impacted by the fate of cookies, the same challenges that face these environments do not apply to connected TV (CTV) which is an inherently cookie-less environment. Although device identifiers (and their standardization) have advanced audience targeting and measurement capabilities in CTV, challenges do still remain for advertisers that are planning cross-channel or cross-device campaigns.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: FandangoNow and Vudu Merge In Wake of SVOD Crushing TVOD

    (Reminder - if you are a listener of The VideoNuze Report podcast, please update your feed per below to the new Inside the Stream feeds which have been available for a couple of months....we don't want to lose you as a listener as we complete this transition!)

    Welcome to this week’s edition of Inside the Stream, the podcast where nScreenMedia’s Chief Analyst Colin Dixon and I take listeners inside the world of streaming video.

    Earlier this week the FandangoNow and Vudu movie and TV VOD (“TVOD”) rental sites merged. Colin notes that the move didn’t register on many industry executives’ radar (certainly nowhere near the biggest deal of the week, Blackstone’s acquisition of a majority of Hello Sunshine for $900 million). The tiny ripple FandangoNow-Vudu caused isn’t surprising given the sub 5% market share the two sites jointly have.

    The far bigger story here, which we explore on this week’s podcast, is the tremendous shift in consumer preferences from buying and/or renting movies/TV shows via TVOD sites, to renting access through SVOD services. Indeed, Colin cites data that the market for buying/renting has collapsed by 50% over the past 6 years. Meantime SVOD has skyrocketed. Simply put, SVOD has crushed TVOD.

    Note this shift isn’t just confined to video. The late Steve Jobs long insisted that consumers wanted to own, not rent, their music, going so far as to say in his famous 2003 Rolling Stone interview “I think you could make available the Second Coming in a subscription model, and it might not be successful.” Sorry Steve….in its Q2 earnings report, Spotify alone said it had 365 million monthly active users at the end of Q2, with 165 million of them paying a monthly subscription fee. Apple Music likely has MORE subscribers than that, and the services business is Apple’s most important growth segment. Then there’s YouTube, Amazon and many others.

    Sometimes even the greats get things terribly wrong.

    Be that as it may, Colin and I explore what all of this means to the future of the purchase/rental model and SVOD. Lurking in the wings as another disruptor is AVOD. As Colin notes, Q2 advertising at Tubi, Pluto and Roku was once again off the charts. As the Hello Sunshine team would surely attest, consumer preferences in video are far from settled.

    Listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 23 seconds)




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  • 5 Key Takeaways from Hello Sunshine’s $900 Million Deal

    Lots of industry executives’ heads snapped to attention around 10:30am Eastern Time on Tuesday when the Wall Street Journal posted exclusively that Reese Witherspoon’s media company Hello Sunshine was being majority acquired for $900 million by a new company being formed by former Disney executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, which itself is being backed by the private equity behemoth Blackstone Group.

    Mine was one of those heads snapping, for a variety of reasons. Foremost, $900 million is a whole lot of money for what on the surface seems like *basically* a production company, not to mention one that was only just started 4 1/2 years ago, which therefore means it doesn’t have a deep, monetizable library (which is what justified the recent Amazon-MGM deal). True, Ms. Witherspoon is one of the savviest players in the industry, and her Hello Sunshine business partner and company CEO Sarah Harden has strong industry experience and is also a Harvard Business School Baker Scholar (as an HBS grad myself, but far from a Baker Scholar, which is the top 5% of your 800-person class, I can personally attest that achieving that ranking puts you in the ultimate elite).

    Still….$900 million? Yes, $900 million. I don’t have any insider info, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the company generates $50-$100 million of revenue in 2021, max. So the valuation is likely in the 9-18x revenue range…who knows it could even be more. That’s a rare tech industry valuation these days (for context, Roku's mighty stock has bounced around 12x revenue recently).

    The WSJ reported $500 million of the $900 million will go to cash out existing investors and the balance will be retained by Ms. Witherspoon, Ms. Harden and other company executives, to be rolled over into the new company. That’s a huge tell about how big they think the resulting company can ultimately be worth and what the IPO or SPAC will look like. But that’s just part of the story….here are my 5 takeaways:

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Why Peacock’s Olympics Coverage Has Been a Big Missed Opportunity

    Welcome to this week’s edition of Inside the Stream, the podcast where nScreenMedia’s Chief Analyst Colin Dixon and I take listeners inside the world of streaming video.

    Colin leads off the discussion this week, explaining why he believes that Peacock’s Olympics coverage has been a missed opportunity for the fledgling streamer. In particular, Colin notes that even for paying Peacock subscribers, marquee events are not only not available live, they are not even being made available immediately upon their conclusion (note I’m deferring to Colin on this, because as a former Boy Scout, I preemptively chose to record ALL Olympics events in YouTube TV, so I’m not watching anything on Peacock).

    Colin is highlighting a crucial point - that for non-pay-TV households, which have multiplied by millions since the 2016 Rio Games, especially among younger viewers - Peacock has fallen short of its potential to meet viewers’ expectations and fully resonate. We have a spirited debate about why this has happened, and what to expect going forward.

    Notwithstanding all of this, Comcast reported robust Peacock sign-ups yesterday in its Q2 ’20 earnings, up 20 million to 54 million (though still no word on how many are actually paying). It was also a strong quarter for both broadband and pay-TV. But we discuss what role pay-TV is going to play for Comcast in the wake of last week’s announcement to add Hulu with Live TV for broadband/Flex users (and my forecast that YouTube TV availability is likely just ahead).

    Listen to the podcast (31 minutes, 11 seconds)

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  • Behold, YouTube

    “There’s something happening here,
    But what it is ain’t exactly clear…”

    -Buffalo Springfield, “For What It’s Worth,” 1967

    Late yesterday, Alphabet released its Q2 ’21 earnings. Included was the single snippet of financial information for YouTube that Alphabet began reporting a couple of years ago: “YouTube ads,” which represents YouTube’s global advertising revenue (non-ad revenue such as YouTube TV and YouTube Music subscriptions, etc. are not included). YouTube’s ad revenue for Q2 ’21 was $7.002 billion, which was 84% higher than the $3.81 billion Covid-affected Q2 ’20 ad revenue, and 94% higher than the $3.60 billion pre-Covid Q2 ’19 ad revenue.

    Yes, Covid dampened Q2 '20 ad revenue, as management had previously said. But still, you read those numbers right. An 84% year-over-year increase. On a very large prior number.

    Consider a little comparative context for YouTube's $7 billion quarter: YouTube’s ad business alone is nearly the size of Netflix’s entire global subscription business, which generated $7.34 billion in revenue in Q2 ’21. But two years ago, Netflix’s Q2 ’19 revenue was $4.92 billion, which means over the past 2 years, Netflix has increased its second quarter revenue by $2.42 billion, or 49%.

    YouTube has increased its ads revenue alone by nearly $3.4 billion, or 42% more than Netflix. Since Alphabet does not disclose YouTube’s specific expenses, it is impossible to calculate its profitability. But because virtually all of YouTube’s content comes from third party creators while Netflix’s annual content tab is approaching $20 billion, suffice it to say YouTube’s ad business is far more profitable than Netflix’s subscription business. It is also fair to project that in Q3 ’21 YouTube’s ad revenue will exceed Netflix’s subscription revenue.

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