Posts for 'Devices'

  • Inside the Stream: Walmart-VIZIO Deal; Super Bowl Streamers Mystery

    Earlier this week the WSJ reported that Walmart is seeking to acquire VIZIO for over $2 billion. Colin and I discuss the likely strategic rationale behind the deal. We both like the benefits to both companies with grabbing a bigger share of CTV ad spending a big upside.

    Meanwhile, the Super Bowl scored a record 123.4 viewers across all platforms according to Paramount. The company also said it was the most-streamed Super Bowl in history, but didn’t disclose how many streamers there actually were. We dig into the numbers and Colin provides his estimates.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (22 minutes, 52 seconds)

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  • Inside the Stream: NASCAR’s $8B Rights Deals, D2C vs. Pay-TV, TikTok vs. YouTube

    This week on Inside the Stream Colin and I cover a number of different topics that have been in the news. First up, NASCAR has signed new rights deals with TV and streaming partners for nearly $8 billion, a huge increase from its current deals.

    Next we discuss new research indicating that non-pay-TV viewers will outpace traditional pay-TV viewers by the end of the year. Then, TikTok is encouraging creators to make longer videos, in a move to compete with YouTube. Last, Hub reports that built-in apps on Smart TVs get greater usage.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (36 minutes, 54 seconds)

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  • Inside the Stream: Xumo Stream Box is Good For Cable But Limited Elsewhere

    The new Xumo Stream Box from partners Comcast and Charter began rolling out this week. On this week’s Inside the Stream we discuss the new device’s opportunities. Overall it seems like a smart play for the cable TV operators to streamline their device strategy, blending traditional pay-TV with streaming. So within their footprint Xumo Stream Box should find success. However, as we discuss, the box will likely have limited appeal outside of their footprints.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (25 minutes, 59 seconds)

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  • Inside the Stream: Interview with Ben Serridge, Director of Product Management, Google

    This week we’re pleased to interview Ben Serridge, Director of Product Management, Google, who is focused on Google TV’s content and monetization. Ben explains what Google TV is and how it’s being positioned in a highly competitive TV OS market. He also details how Google TV is working with various TV OEMs. In particular, Ben emphasizes how Google TV anchors on personalized content recommendations. Key to this is Google TV’s new live guide which just received a big upgrade. Ben also shares what’s ahead for the live guide.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (30 minutes, 3 seconds)

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Max or Min? Can Google TV Catch Up to Roku?

    This week on Inside the Stream we focus on two main topics: first, is Warner Bros. Discovery’s decision to brand/bundle its streaming services under “Max” going to be successful, or is it going to be “Min” (as in have Minimum impact)? There’s little daylight between how Colin and I see things.

    Of all the many issues, to me the most worrisome is the fact that the discovery+ library is being thrown into Max for no additional cost. That means WBD assigns its incremental, measurable value in the bundle at $0.

    Next we turn our attention to the dynamics in the CTV/device industry. Colin is excited about a new initiative Google unveiled this week, where it provides improved guide/UI access to 800+ FAST channels. Colin sees this as a meaningful competitive differentiator, and believes Google TV / Android TV will grow briskly outside of the U.S. and even gain a few points of market share domestically.

    It’s hard to argue against better discovery being valuable, yet I don’t see it as a game-changer in the CTV space, at least domestically, because, well, to start with, very few people actually use Google TV domestically.

    In fact, according to insights from Beachfront’s CTV Marketplace for H2 2022, Google TV’s share of impression volume was a measly 1.9%. Meanwhile Roku, the perennial market share leader in the U.S., notched 39.2% of impressions, roughly consistent with the range I’ve seen for Roku for years.

    While Colin and I agree that Google TV / YouTube / YouTube TV is a formidable collection of assets for Google, I remain quite sanguine about Roku’s ability to compete in the land of the giants. There have been no shortage of Roku naysayers over the years, since I wrote “Scrappy Roku Makes More Deals, Keeps Elbowing Its Way Into the Big Leagues” back in January, 2013, following a keynote interview I did with CEO/Founder Anthony Wood at NATPE in Miami.

    In the 10 years since, Roku has more than held its own, and is arguably the most innovative company in the ad industry. Roku is focused and relentless, and it has a very strong talent bench. As I put it in 2013, Roku remains “more a work horse than a show horse.” As for Google, a sub-2% CTV/device share after all these years? The good news: there (continues to be) really only one way to go from here.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (36 minutes, 47 seconds)

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  • 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).

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Roku’s Q3 Was Solid But Q4 is Uncertain

    This week on Inside the Stream nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I discuss Roku’s Q3 ’22 results which were reported earlier this week. The company had a pretty strong quarter, adding 2.3 million active accounts to reach 65.4 million. Platform revenue, which includes advertising, increased 15% to $670 million. And streaming hours increased by 1.1 billion to 21.9 billion from Q2 ’22.

    While the Q3 results showed strong resiliency for Roku, company executives were less upbeat on the earnings call about Q4. While noting that the Q4 holiday season is typically the strongest period for most companies, including Roku, executives expect this year to be different. Roku has already observed a decline in “pretty much every vertical” category of advertisers due to uncertainty about an upcoming recession and is also worried about the impact of inflation on consumer spending, which hurts its device sales.

    However Roku continues to benefit from the shift in ad spending from linear to CTV, its international and original programming expansion and a new set of smart home products.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Why Samsung and LG License Their TV Operating Systems to Competitors

    This week on Inside the Stream nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I discuss the intensifying competition among TV operating systems and in particular why two large TV manufacturers - Samsung and LG - are licensing their TV operating systems to smaller competitors. Earlier this week Samsung announced deals with three manufacturers to license its Tizen OS.

    Given the competition, it appears that the primary monetization opportunity is through wider distribution of their respective content services, Samsung TV Plus and LG Channels, to gain more advertising revenue. But as we discuss there are likely other motivations as well.

    Listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 9 seconds)

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  • Understanding the Intersection of Addressable TV and CTV

    The rise of streaming represents a generational shift in consumer behaviors. The pandemic radically accelerated what had been a persistent, long-simmering trend, and now the entire industry is transfixed by the challenge and the opportunity that is advertising on a connected TV (CTV) device.

    The problem is, CTV and streaming are not exactly synonymous. Streaming is content delivered over an internet connection to any device, often via a direct relationship with the streaming service. The concept of CTV refers to the device itself, such as a smart TV, and the concept of CTV advertising covers the full range of opportunities made possible by having a screen that big connected to the digital advertising ecosystem.  Linear TV programming, when run across an internet-connected CTV device, can in theory present media buyers with addressable advertising opportunities on the big screen.

    Marketers can be forgiven for conflating the two, because the fact is, Linear TV inventory has become addressable and programmatic at a slower rate than many expected, at least relative to the meteoric rise of streaming. A crisis of trust in common measurement standards has only slowed progress further. Folks today see CTV and assume streaming.

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  • Vevo’s New FAST Channels on Roku Highlight Diverse CTV Viewing Behaviors

    Vevo has launched 11 free ad-supported TV (“FAST”) channels within The Roku Channel. FAST channels are free 24/7 programmed linear experiences that can be tuned into by viewers on-demand. Vevo’s new FAST channels are another reminder that CTV viewers have a diverse range of behaviors; sometimes accessing a single “unit” of programming on-demand (e.g. a movie, a TV episode, a music video, etc.) or binge-watching multiple units, or watching on-demand a curated set of programming from a linear TV or FAST channel, or even accessing a scheduled, linear TV experience (most notably sports).

    I’ve often thought of FAST channels as analogous to playlists in the audio world and the new Vevo channels feel like they fit that mode. The new channels include  Vevo Pop, Vevo R&B, Vevo Hip Hop, Vevo Reggaeton & Trap, Vevo Country, Vevo Latino, Vevo ‘70s, Vevo ‘80s, Vevo ‘90s, Vevo 2K, and Vevo Holiday, which will be accessible through New Year’s Eve. I sampled a few of the channels and as expected they all played their particular genre seamlessly.

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  • Here's Why Not Too Long From Now, Streaming Media Players Will be Free for Certain Consumers

    All of the Cyber Monday and Black Friday deals flying around are reinforcing an idea I’ve been thinking about for much of 2021: not too long from now, some streaming media players/devices will be offered for free to certain consumers under specific circumstances.

    There are three fundamental reasons why this is likely to happen 1) The gross profit margins on these players is negligible if not non-existent, 2) The gross margin on advertising revenue for player providers is significant, and likely to strengthen even further, and 3) the entire streaming player / streaming services industry is in a massive land grab that isn’t close to being over.

    Following is how I look at the three reasons, and what comes next:

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: HBO/Max’s 1.8 Million Q3 U.S. Subscriber Loss is Actually a Good Thing

    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.

    HBO / HBO Max lost 1.8 million subscribers in the U.S. in Q3 2021. On the surface that might seem like a bad thing, especially given how hot the streaming business is these days. But as Colin and I discuss, this week, it’s actually a good thing, as it reflects the rolloff of many millions of subscribers who were acquired via a prior distribution deal with Amazon Channels.

    HBO Max has made an intentional decision to focus on a direct-to-consumer strategy, which we think is smart. Back in August, I explained the challenges SVOD services have with third-party distribution, including with Amazon, based on my personal experience subscribing to AMC+ through Amazon.

    After talking to industry colleagues since, I’ve become more skeptical about the long-term value to SVOD services in these deals. So a DTV strategy, especially for a big player like HBO Max, seems like the right one. As we also discuss, it’s also a smart move given HBO Max, as part of WarnerMedia, will be merged into Discovery in 2022.

    Elsewhere in the podcast we talk about the per subscriber value of the ad-supported vs. ad-free business model, and why I think that in the long-term, the former is far greater in a connected TV dominated world with “full funnel” marketing capabilities. We also dig into HBO Max’s decision to have content parity starting in January between its ad-supported and ad-free tiers. Lots to digest.

    Listen to the podcast (33 minutes, 57 seconds)

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  • Roku-Shopify Partnership Brings CTV Ads’ Full-Funnel Future a Step Closer

    Yesterday’s partnership announcement between Roku and Shopify brings CTV advertising another step closer to realizing its ultimate potential as a full-funnel channel for advertisers. Loyal VideoNuze readers know that I have been advocating for CTV advertising to become full-funnel for a while now (see “How CTV Advertising Can Drive Super Bowl Ads Above $10 Million Per Spot,” “Behold, YouTube,” “The CTV Advertising Flywheel is Here, and It’s Only Going to Accelerate,” and “Connected TV’s Big Opportunity at the Bottom of the Funnel.”).

    CTV advertising is of course surging these days, with eMarketer forecasting CTV ads in the U.S. alone will more than double to over $27 billion in 2021. CTV ads are benefiting from proliferating adoption of CTV devices, many new streaming services creating compelling content for audiences, cord-cutting, and massive changes in viewers’ behaviors. Still, when I talk to industry executives, there’s broad consensus that today CTV ad spending is coming mostly from the shift in spending from linear TV to CTV as advertisers seek to maintain their reach and frequency goals. In other words, CTV is mainly a “follow the eyeballs” strategy.

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  • Apple’s Product Placements in Its Originals Reveal Commerce Agenda and Shifting Industry Leverage

    Ever since Apple started ramping up its investments in original programming there has been lots of speculation about the company’s true motivation for the initiative. Keep up with the competition? Drive more “services” revenues? Burnish its brand? Ensure executives have tickets to award shows and after parties? All of the above? None of the above? Something else?

    The most accurate motivation is likely to keep viewers loyal to Apple’s ecosystem and thereby sell more Apple products to them. That’s the conclusion from a compelling new analysis by Kenny Wassus, senior video journalist at the Wall Street Journal, explained in a 7 minute video (see embedded below). Wassus studied which Apple products appeared and how often in five Apple originals, “Defending Jacob,” “The Morning Show,” “Mythic Quest,” “Ted Lasso” and “Trying.” He watched a total of 74 episodes, totaling over 2,600 minutes, logging every Apple product placement.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Interview With Alan Wolk About His New Smart TV Report

    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.

    This week we’re pleased to have as our guest Alan Wolk, who is the Co-Founder and Chief Analyst at TV[R]EV and who is well-known to all of us in the industry. Alan has released a new report, “The Emerging Smart TV Ecosystem,” which is available for complimentary download and was underwritten by LG Ads, Samsung Ads and VIZIO.

    In a nutshell, Alan believes smart TV makers “are having a moment.” A key part of our discussion is whether and how quickly smart TVs will supplant streaming sticks and boxes as the primary connected TV device. Alan also shares his predictions and assumptions for how quickly smart TV advertising will grow over the next several years. We also get into the crucial role of improved user interfaces, how the big 3 work with FAST services to attract and retain viewers, and where Amazon’s new Omnia smart TV fits in.

    Smart TVs are helping reinvent the living room experience; hopefully our interview provides new insights for how they’re doing so and over what time period their impact will be felt.

    Listen to the podcast (36 minutes, 32 seconds)

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  • The Connected TV Advertising Flywheel is Here, and It’s Only Going to Accelerate

    Last week’s Connected TV Ad Summit, with 46 speakers and 14 sessions, was chock full of insights from executives on the front line of connected TV advertising. Importantly, the speakers brought a diversity of perspectives; ad buyers from agencies, ad sellers from content providers, technology providers enabling CTV advertising and analysts studying and forecasting the industry.

    As the conference host and curator of all the sessions and questions, it was a golden opportunity to fully immerse myself in understanding the critical industry issues. I’ll be publishing a debrief document with all of my key takeaways, but for today, I just want to share one overarching theme that crystallized: a connected TV advertising flywheel is here, and it's only going to accelerate.

    The flywheel concept is well-known to all of us; the idea that when interrelated elements of a business or industry reinforce one another, the momentum of the overall whole is accelerated. For me, the best illustration of the flywheel remains Jeff Bezos’s description of the role video plays in Amazon Prime, in his interview at the Code Conference in 2016. Summing up video’s interrelationship with Prime and the resulting flywheel, Bezos said simply, “When we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes.”

    Back to the CTV advertising flywheel, the three core components are 1) the large and growing base of households with active CTV devices including players, sticks, smart TVs, etc., 2) the proliferation of ad-supported and hybrid paid/ad-supported streaming services, each one with ever-better content and 3) the robustness of CTV ad monetization itself and how this is driving more spending into the category.

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  • Connected TV Advertising Summit Virtual on June 9th and 10th

    The Connected TV Advertising Summit virtual will be taking place on June 9th and 10th, starting at 1pm ET / 10am PT each day.

    Registration is complimentary. If you haven’t registered already, you can do so during the Summit and you’ll receive an email from VideoNuze Events with the Zoom links.

    You can also follow along on Twitter at #CTVAds2021. See you at the Summit!

  • Don’t Delay: Tomorrow the CTV Ad Summit (virtual) Starts, With Over 45 Speakers on 14 Sessions

    A final reminder, tomorrow afternoon and Thursday afternoon are VideoNuze’s Connected TV Advertising Summit virtual, featuring over 45 speakers on 14 sessions. Registration for the CTV Ad Summit is complimentary and all attendees will be entered to win a 50-inch Roku TV and Smart Soundbar, generously provided by Roku.

    Each afternoon will kick off with a research presentation sizing the massive size of the CTV advertising opportunity. Tomorrow Bruce Leichtman from Leichtman Research Group will share newly released data highlighting, among other things, that CTVs are now in 82% of U.S. homes, with over 400 million devices deployed. On Thursday Eric Haggstrom from eMarketer / Insider Intelligence will share the details of the firm’s CTV ad forecast in the U.S., which it recently increased to over $27 billion per year by 2025.

    The conference also features executives from Roku, NBCUniversal, Bloomberg, Tubi, Amplifi/Dentsu, Publicis, LG, Samsung, VIZIO, Vevo, A+E Networks, fuboTV, Crackle, Digitas and many others. They will explore all of the most important topics in CTV advertising, including challenges that still need to be worked out, in transparency, measurement and frequency, for example.

    Many thanks to our partners Beachfront, Comcast Technology Solutions, DoubleVerify, Evergent, Extreme Reach, IRIS.TV, Mediaocean, Roku, Verizon Media, Wurl and Xandr.


    (If you’ve already signed up, please disregard this message and check your inbox for important Zoom links for the conference.)

  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Smart TVs’ Longer Lifespans; Buyers Switch to CTV Ads

    Welcome to the second edition of the Inside the Stream podcast with Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up we highlight three stories that hit our radar this week: an upgraded Apple TV device possibly in the works, research on growing SVOD subscriptions in the U.S. and TikTok’s new e-commerce ad formats.

    Then we dig into our two main topics this week. Colin explains why smart TV manufacturers have strong incentives to support older units given the promise of high-margin ad revenue. I share details of new research showing advertisers and agencies overwhelmingly plan to move spending into connected TV.

    Many thanks to our inaugural Inside the Stream sponsor Verizon Media. When you have quality connections at scale, you’re truly connected.

    Listen to Inside the Stream (24 minutes, 46 seconds)

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  • Survey: 57% of U.S. TV Households Have Roku or Amazon Smart TVs or Devices

    57% of U.S. TV households had either Roku or Amazon Fire TV smart TVs or streaming devices in Q1 ’20, according to survey results in the newest Connected Home report from Hub Entertainment Research. The two companies’ combined share rose from 51% in Q1 ’20.

    Among just U.S. homes with a smart TV or streaming device, Roku’s and Amazon’s share was a combined 69%. Of this Roku has a 40% share and Amazon Fire TV has a 29% share. These numbers are very close to those in FreeWheel’s recent Video Marketplace Report, which found the companies with a combined 72% share (Roku with 43% and Amazon with 29%). Hub didn’t report findings for smart TVs and players beyond Roku and Amazon.

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