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.
In all the virus craziness of the past few days, I didn’t have an opportunity to share an update on WURL, which last week announced key growth metrics for its first full year of operations. WURL is benefiting from all of the key trends around connected TVs (CTVs), CTV advertising, programmatic, direct-to-consumer and cord-cutting.
WURL offers a solution to ad-supported video providers and producers to efficiently deliver their live, linear and VOD content onto all of the most popular CTV devices. This is critical because, as has been said a million times in recent years, content providers are not technology companies. With the rare exception of behemoths like Netflix, Disney and Amazon, the vast majority of content providers don’t have the specific technology expertise in-house to navigate each CTV device’s detailed specs for stream formats, close captions, metadata and other things.
I’m pleased to present the 505th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First up this week we discuss the PGA Tour’s $6.3 billion, nine-year rights deal announced this week with CBS, NBC/Golf Channel and ESPN+. The deal will reportedly generate $700 million in fees, up 75% from the current deal’s $400 million. Anyone looking to me to explain how the PGA managed to get this increase, despite so many factors that should have given the TV networks leverage, is going to be disappointed. I just don’t get it, but as a golf fan, it’s still lots of fun to talk about.
One thing is for certain - with the bulk of the new money going to the Tour’s players, the 2020s are going to be a very good period for them. As is to give a sneak preview, when this weekend’s PLAYERS Championship was cancelled after round 1 yesterday, half the purse of $15 million was divided evenly among the field of 144 players. So each player got $52,083, irrespective of how they played in round one. So if average round lasts 4 hours then they earned $13,020 per hour. Or if they shot par 72 they received $723 per shot (including gimme putts). Life is good.
ESPN+ popped up as the streaming partner in the new PGA deal, which provided a good opportunity for Colin to explain the remarkable turnaround Disney has effected with the network. ESPN is now in 98.1 million U.S. homes vs. 98.5 million in 2013. After dipping to 89.7 million in 2017, ESPN successfully negotiated its way onto all major virtual pay-TV operators’ lineups (8.9 million). And it cleverly bundled ESPN+ with Disney+ and Hulu (another 7.5 million) creating significant DTC optionality down the road.
Reviewing the new PGA deal and ESPN’s bounce back, we believe executives for both entities deserve to be on the Mount Olympus of media negotiators.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 58 seconds)
Join Colin Dixon from nScreenMedia and me for a free webinar on 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 complementary and relevant webinar!
Effectv, which was recently re-branded from Comcast Spotlight, has released a new white paper, “OTT and Its Place in the TV Ecosystem.” The paper is yet another reminder that linear TV and OTT (or online video or CTV or digital or whatever one’s preferred term is) are complementary. Effectv presents a slew of data and case studies illustrating how linear TV still accounts for most viewing time for most viewers, so it should be foundational to any campaign plan. But in order to achieve incremental reach with non-linear viewers (who are typically younger), OTT advertising is essential.
The paper’s thesis is of course correct at a high level - though as linear TV continues to decline across all age groups, it becomes slightly less correct with each passing day. But at a deeper level, focusing on younger viewers in particular, the paper could be written in the inverse - that OTT advertising is the foundation to reach this audience and linear (especially sports) would be the complementary part of the campaign. There are plenty of DTC brands that would gladly be case study examples for this approach.
Sorry VideoNuze readers, my head is spinning again, and this week it’s not just because of the stock market’s wild swings or the drama around the coronavirus. Rather, it’s because yesterday morning, while waiting in the doctor’s office, I read the Wall Street Journal article “Golf’s PGA Tour Gets Big Boost in TV, Streaming Rights.” The article described how ViacomCBS, Comcast and Disney are going to pay the PGA Tour over $700 million per year, up from the current $400 million per year, in a new nine-year media rights deal.
That means the total value of the deal would be $6.3 billion. Add that to the 12-year, $2 billion international rights deal the PGA announced with Discovery in June, 2018 and that’s $8.3 billion in TV money coming to the PGA over the next decade - a good chunk of which will go to its players.
The deal essentially means leaving the status quo of CBS, NBC and Golf Channel handling live and weekend coverage, with ESPN+ taking over streaming from the PGA itself, which has worked with NBC Sports Gold and Amazon Prime. ESPN+ will provide 4,000 hours of streaming coverage per year across 36 PGA tournaments.
I realize that the PGA striking a lucrative media rights deal may not mean that much to many VideoNuze readers. But to me it does, at both a personal and professional level. I am a golf fan; I’ve been watching golf on TV and playing the game since I was 12 years old. For 99.99% of the world, watching golf on TV is akin to watching paint dry. Even for golf fans it is something that is hard to do without multi-tasking (e.g. sending emails, texts, etc.).
I’m pleased to present the 504th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
On this week’s podcast, Colin and I dig into the question of whether linear TV is dying, dead or just changing? The narrative around conventional linear entertainment TV networks contracting is hard to argue with, especially for younger viewers moving to OTT. However, sports and news continue to do pretty well. And then there are newer types of linear TV experiences, like those from Jukin Media, that are finding new ways to serve linear audiences.
Colin views Jukin, Xumo, Pluto and other OTT services that offer linear TV options as capitalizing on the “more things change, the more they stay the same” motto In other words, even as people embrace new on-demand options they still value linear TV at certain moments. Colin then discusses how these trends merge with pay-TV operators who are eager to reduce programming expenses. He highlights free, ad-supported Zone.tv, whose 13 “linear-like” channels became available to Cox’s Contour subscribers this week.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 21 seconds)
There are so many dramas playing out in the TV/video business these days it’s hard to keep up. Cord-cutting, M&A, reorganizations, high-profile executive departures, product launches, discounted pricing, eye-popping A-lister salaries….the list goes on and on.
But one particularly intriguing drama that’s been catching my eye lately revolves around YouTube TV and the YES Network. As with everything in the TV/video business, the background is complicated, so here’s the high level cheat sheet: