I’m pleased to present the 497th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week Colin and I share our initial impressions of Peacock, NBCU’s new streaming service. Our impressions are based on watching the investor day presentations yesterday. We break down our discussion into covering Peacock’s economics, release plan and user experience. Again these are all our first impressions and not meant to be an exhaustive analysis.
Perhaps the most interesting thing to me is that Peacock’s Premium tier viewer monetization is below its two nearest ad-supported comparables, Hulu and CBS All Access. Both charge $6 per month while Peacock is $5 per month. Peacock is also ensuring maximum ad load of just 5 minutes per hour, which it forecast would amount to $6-7 per viewer, compared to the $7-10 per viewer Hulu is currently generating.
Peacock’s pricing and financial projections remind me why I still believe Comcast should have bought the remaining 70% of Hulu it didn’t own, as I wrote in May, 2018. It feels like an even bigger missed opportunity now. It probably would have cost Comcast around $12-$14 billion to do so, a fraction of the $39 billion it paid to acquire Sky - and it would have been more strategic.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 44 seconds)
This afternoon at 4pm ET, Comcast will host an Investor Meeting to share details about NBCUniversal’s upcoming Peacock streaming service. It is a session comparable to what Disney and Apple did last year for Disney+ and Apple TV+ respectively (and what AT&T/WarnerMedia will do for HBO Max). So we all get to learn all the official information about Peacock: pricing, availability, content, overall strategy/fit with existing businesses, marketing, etc.
Following the format of other investor days, we will hear from senior NBCU and Peacock executives, and likely someone from Comcast. Matt Strauss, an old friend of mine, who was moved over from Comcast to become Chairman of Peacock and NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises late last year, will no doubt be the maestro of this afternoon’s session. All the dribs and drabs of information that have been shared by the company previously will be reconciled with all of the rumors and speculation that have gurgled up from around the web.
NBCUniversal’s SVOD service will be known as “Peacock” and will launch in April with over 15,000 hours of content. As expected, classic shows like “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” will be exclusively on Peacock, along with “30 Rock,” “Cheers,” “Frasier,” “Will and Grace” and numerous others.
Peacock will be available both ad-supported and ad-free, though NBCUniversal didn’t announce any pricing just yet (Peacock will be included at no charge for Xfinity subscribers). SVOD pricing has been under pressure since Disney announced initial Disney+ pricing at $6.99/month, with Apple TV+ following at $4.99/month. HBOMax is likely to be at the high end around $14.99/month.
I’m pleased to present the 471st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
On this week’s podcast we first discuss local broadcasting’s video opportunity. Colin provides updates on an interview he did about Google News Initiative’s role. Then he shares a few takeaways from a panel he did, highlighting the new Sinclair OTT service Stirr. More broadly we explore how the combination of connected TV, longer engagement time and better monetization is laying the foundation for ad-supported original programming.
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I’m pleased to present the 456th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
On this week’s podcast we cover 3 different topics. First, AT&T had a busy week - its deal for Time Warner was finally cleared after the DOJ’s appeal was rejected, both HBO CEO Richard Plepler and Turner president David Levy resigned, and a Variety report has Disney interested in buying AT&T’s 10% stake in Hulu. Colin and I discuss all of these and their implications.
Next, Colin weighs in on the new collaboration between the BBC and ITV to launch a version of BritBox in the U.K. and why it matters. Finally, another week, another YouTube content malefactor(s), leading to an advertiser pullback. We discuss how YouTube is playing whack-a-mole but that at the end of the day advertisers need YouTube and are unlikely to leave altogether.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 47 seconds)
It’s no secret that everyone in the TV advertising business is trying to make ads more data-driven, automated and effective as platforms like Google, Facebook and Amazon double down on their efforts to siphon away TV ad dollars. Videa is one company that is having a real impact, tightly focusing on helping TV broadcast stations become more competitive in the fast-changing ad business. I caught up with Videa’s president Shereta Williams recently for an update.
Videa had a strong 2018 and is closing in on relationships with 600 different stations from all major station owners spanning nearly 160 markets around the U.S., with Shereta adding that the goal is to have 90% coverage by the end of 2019. Through these partnerships Videa gains access to the stations’ full schedule of local inventory across all dayparts in the stations’ primary linear feed, regardless of whether the viewer is accessing over the air, via pay-TV or a virtual pay-TV operator (e.g. YouTube TV, DirecTV Now, etc.). Some virtual pay-TV operators enable dynamic ad replacement or non-linear ads and Videa is not selling those ads. Videa is 100% linear at this time but they aspire to sell across the other streams in the future.
I’m pleased to present the 431st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
It’s been Q2 earnings season, which provides a valuable opportunity to check in on how different companies’ OTT strategies are flowing through to their financial performance. On today’s podcast Colin and I talk about two companies whose OTT fortunes are moving in opposite directions.
Moving the wrong way is Dish and its Sling TV skinny bundle. Sling TV was the first to market in the category several years ago. Though it quickly gained over 2 million subscribers, growth slowed to just 41K additions last quarter as others boomed. As Colin and I discuss, a key weakness in its service is the lack of broadcast channels. The other big skinny bundles, YouTube TV, Hulu Live and DirecTV Now have all decided to pay top dollar to include them, which is helping fuel their growth. Sling TV is at a competitive disadvantage requiring subscribers to install antennas which many people can’t or won’t do.
All broadcasters are benefiting from the shift to skinny bundles, but CBS’s Q2 results show that its OTT success extends further, to direct-to-consumer, targeted advertising and SVOD production, as well. CBS is benefiting from decisions it made years ago to retain digital rights (most famously by not joining Hulu), even though it wasn’t clear back then how the monetization of them would fully unfold.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 16 seconds)
CBS’s Q2 ’18 results reported last week, along with more details shared on its earnings call, reveal how the company is hitting on all OTT cylinders. CBS has become a shining example of how a traditional media company has been able to capitalize on the significant new opportunities that OTT presents in direct-to-consumer, skinny bundles, targeted advertising and producing for big SVOD providers.
CBS has been one of the most innovative big media companies pursuing OTT initiatives. At the June 12th VideoNuze Ad Summit, we were privileged to have David Lawenda, CBS’s EVP, Digital Sales and Sales Strategy as our keynote guest, interviewed by Mike Shields, Business Insider’s Advertising Editor.
David addresses many interesting topics including how CBS is catching up to Facebook and Google in data-enabling its ad inventory, the benefits of its direct-to-consumer services like CBS All Access in understanding viewer behavior, how ready agencies really are to buy beyond age and gender today, whether TV networks reducing their ad loads will meet with success, the impact no holistic measurement capability, the role programmatic TV will or won’t play in the future, how CBS’s upfront is going so far and much more.
For anyone interested in learning how CBS and network TV are adapting to the vastly changing video landscape, the interview is must-see.
Fresh off the show floor at NAB Show in Las Vegas, I was struck by three very clear trends:
- Broadcasters are keen to understand what they need to do to adopt ATSC 3.0, the IP-based over-the-air (OTA) TV broadcast standard that combines broadcasting and broadband internet,
- Many are working to reorient workflows to support 'Advanced Advertising' and cross-screen measurement, and
- Cross-screen multi-touch attribution is now a 'must-have' for the sell-side to merchandise their unique value to buyers.
Meanwhile back in New York, the annual TV Upfronts and Digital Video Newfronts are in full swing. My only hope is that we're not going another year planning our Marketing efforts in separate linear vs. digital siloes.
I’m pleased to present the 415th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Colin and I were both at the NABShow in Las Vegas this week. I was producing the Online Video Program once again, which featured 30+ speakers on 8 different sessions. On today’s podcast, I share some of the highlights of the keynote session with Christy Tanner, EVP/GM of CBS News Digital, who oversees CBSN, the 24x7 OTT news service. CBSN has an average viewer age of 38, which is 20 years younger than the average CBS News viewer.
Christy explained how the CBSN team collaborates internally with its focus on news/facts vs. punditry. She also noted that 50% of consumption is on connected TVs, with 30% on desktop and 20% on mobile. CBSN is an example of how OTT is giving traditional media a whole new way to connect with viewers.
We then turn our attention to some of Colin’s takeaways from the show, including Android TV deployments and the value of open platforms, how operators are broadening their focus to broadband/OTT as viewers are increasingly assembling their own preferred services and the growth of live-streaming.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 39 seconds)
Yesterday I produced the Online Video Program at the NABShow in Las Vegas. It was a great day of learning, with 30+ speakers on 8 sessions focusing on the rise of OTT. There were many highlights, but to be brief, below I’ve summarized 5 soundbites that hit my radar:
Preliminary overnight numbers for the Oscars show an 18.9 rating in prime time, down 16% vs. 2017’s 22.4 rating. The overnight rating is a new record low for the Oscars, and importantly continues the dismal showing for 2018’s marquee TV events: Golden Globes (-5% vs. 2017), Super Bowl (-7% vs. 2017, worst in 9 years), Olympics (-7% vs. 2014, worst ever) and Grammys (-24% vs. 2017, worst in 9 years). Clearly TV’s biggest events are losing their luster.
There are always challenges particular to each event (e.g. Olympics time zone issues, Patriots fatigue, etc.). In the case of the Oscars, an ongoing problem is the disconnect between best picture winners and box office performance. A fascinating WSJ article on Friday detailed how only 4 best picture winners in the past 12 years have been among their year’s 25 highest-grossing movies, with none cracking the top 15. In the current era of superheroes, animation and franchise movies, thoughtful best picture nominees simply don’t draw the biggest audiences, in turn diminishing the Oscars’ relevance (2018 could be a quasi-exception with “Black Panther”).
I’m pleased to present the 409th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
On this week’s podcast we dig into NBCUniversal’s decision to reduce the number of ads in commercial pods by 20% and ad time by 10% across all its networks in prime time. Colin and I agree that it’s a clear recognition that the traditional TV ad experience isn’t sustainable for viewers or advertisers.
But how the move will ultimately work out for NBCUniversal isn’t clear. Colin is skeptical that the math is going to add up, citing larger industry headwinds, such as Netflix’s massive content investments, that will keep depleting TV audiences. While the challenges are steep, TV does have certain inherent advantages and the move is a start in the right direction. It will be fascinating to see how things unfold.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 6 seconds)
Yesterday, NBCUniversal announced plans to reduce the number of ads in commercial pods by 20% and reduce ad time by 10% across all its networks in prime time. The move will almost certainly meet its goals of creating a better viewer and advertiser experience. But an overarching question is whether it will ultimately benefit NBCUniversal and the broader TV industry? The answer to these questions lie in whether NBCUniversal can make the math work on fewer ads and less ad time.
Obviously it’s a risky move for any business to reduce the quantity of what it sells, betting that customers will be willing to pay more for a scarcer resource. But basic laws of supply and demand are in NBCUniversal’s favor: when supply is reduced, then even at constant demand, prices should rise.
I’m excited to share that Christy Tanner, EVP and GM of CBS News Digital, will be the keynote guest at the NABShow’s Online Video Program on April 10th in Las Vegas. I will be interviewing Christy about how CBSN, which is CBS News’ streaming video news service launched in 2014, creates new value for viewers, advertisers and the CBS Corporation.
As a direct-to-consumer service, CBSN offers live news coverage from 5am to 10pm 7 days a week. It delivered 280 million live streams in 2017, up 17% vs. 2016. CBSN leverages CBS News’ original reporting, simulcasts special reports and rebroadcasts programming such as “CBS This Morning” and “Face the Nation” in addition to its own original programming. CBSN is a free, ad-supported service.
As a Patriots fan, it was a bummer watching them go down in last night’s Super Bowl, but one major positive surprise was that streaming the game was a superb experience. I was on the road, and watched the entire game (except for the last minute) using the NBC Sports app on my iPad, on the public WiFi network in Palm Beach International airport in Florida where I arrived early for my flight which ended up delayed.
I could have watched on any number of TVs in restaurants or camped out on the floor like the fans below watching on TVs mounted in the terminal. But the circumstances created a good opportunity to see what it would really be like to be dependent on streaming.
I’m pleased to present the 405th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week we dig into Fox’s newly announced deal to broadcast NFL Thursday Night Football games for the next 5 years. The price was reportedly $3 billion, which translates to an average of $60 million per game, a 30% increase vs. what CBS and NBC paid last season.
Sports have long been thought of as TV’s firewall, but given the NFL’s own ratings declines, combined with accelerating changes in viewers’ behaviors, cord-cutting and adoption of ad-free SVOD, this deal carries risks for Fox. Can Fox turn a profit on the games as pay-TV operators push back on rate increases and advertisers balk at smaller audiences? Will we see a direct-to-consumer streaming service emerge? Time will tell.
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Also note, Colin has a new white paper out on content portability in the EU. Download it here.
Fox will have broadcast rights to NFL Thursday Night Football for the next 5 years in a deal that is reportedly worth over $3 billion. That would work out to an average of $60 million per game, up from the $45 million NBC and CBS paid per game over the past 2 years and up from the $37.5 million CBS alone paid in 2014 and 2015. The broadcasts will be presented by Bud Light.
The deal gives fresh credence to the idea that “live sports are TV’s firewall” against changing viewer behaviors and the rise of SVOD. The “firewall” concept has been around for years now and has driven the exorbitant rise in sports rights and the multi-billion dollar “sports tax” that pay-TV subscribers who are not sports fans pay each year.
On two separate sessions at AdExchanger’s Industry Preview conference last week, NBCUniversal’s Chairman, Advertising and Client Partnerships, Linda Yaccarino and CBS’s President and Chief Advertising Revenue Officer Jo Ann Ross made forceful cases that TV is still highly relevant for advertisers and its impact is essential in the overall marketing mix.
It’s no secret that TV networks are fighting a pervasive media narrative that traditional TV viewing is becoming anachronistic for younger audiences in particular, ad-free SVOD viewing is dominating and big digital platforms like Google and Facebook offer improved ROI to advertisers through targeting.