At the recent 9th annual VideoNuze Video Ad Summit, connected TV was a major focus throughout the day. In a presentation, Telaria CEO Mark Zagorski shared research illustrating how connected TV enable customized ad experiences that are more enjoyable, especially for younger viewers, better conversion than social and higher purchase intent than linear TV. With 30% of U.S. households not reachable by linear TV, forecast to jump to 50%, Mark makes a persuasive argument about CTVs’ important role.
A related after lunch session, “Connected TVs Take Center Stage: What Does It All Mean?” delved even deeper. The session included Christina Beaumier (VP, Product, TV Platform, Xandr), Alison Levin (VP, Global Ad Sales and Marketplace, Roku), Harold Morgenstern (SVP, National Advertising Sales, Pluto TV) and Ken Ripley (VP, Sales, Newsy) with Howard Homonoff (Principal, Homonoff Media Group) moderating.
Alison noted that 30% of viewers’ time spent is now spent with CTVs, but only 3% of ad budget are. So there’s a lot of room for budgets to shift. Ken, Harold and Christina explained how today’s media plans must include CTV to be complete, especially given viewership fragmentation. They also discuss the value of brands, discoverability, data, a unified currency, attribution and more.
I’m pleased to present the 466th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Roku posted very strong Q1 ’18 results this week, with active accounts surpassing 29 million and streaming hours up 75%. On today’s podcast Colin and I did into all the relevant performance metrics to illustrate Roku’s astounding growth over just the past couple of years. Roku said it now accounts for 1 in 3 smart TV sold in the U.S. eclipsing Samsung for market leadership. With high profile streaming services from Disney, Apple, WarnerMedia and NBCU yet to debut, even more people will be rotating from linear/pay-TV to OTT, which will further benefit Roku.
Like Hulu, Roku finds itself in the industry’s sweet spot, with a large base of users actively consuming, creating a prime opportunity for advertisers to reach cord-cutters.
(Note: Roku’s VP of Global Ad Sales and Marketplace, Alison Levin, will speak at the 9th annual VideoNuze Video Advertising Summit on May 29th in NYC. Register now and save!)
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Telaria and Hulu have released research finding that CTV advertising is helping Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) brands succeed with their marketing objectives. Importantly, the research notes that the reasons people shop DTC are similar to why they watch programming via CTVs: they care about value, convenience and choice. The implication is that DTC and CTV could create a virtuous cycle, helping the other to grow.
Examples of DTC brands include Caspar, Harry’s, Bonobos and others who create direct transactions with the buyer, primarily through mobile and digital content. DTC brands have been particularly successful in establishing brand awareness and initial scale via social media and banner ads. Jennifer Catto, Telaria’s CMO, believes they’re now primed to capitalize on CTV for big screen ads, since CTV “is accountable to perhaps more modest budgets through digital’s measurable, data and decisioning outcomes.”
I’m pleased to present the 460th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Apple partially pulled back the curtain on its video strategy this past Monday. In today’s podcast Colin and I dig into what Apple revealed, weighing the pros and cons of the strategy.
Apple is checking a bunch of boxes: bolster its TV app to try making it a hub for OTT viewers, enable third-party SVOD/premium TV subscriptions with Apple TV Channels, and tease its Apple TV+ SVOD/originals strategy with a bunch of A-list stars. It’s a start, but Apple is coming to video extremely late and Colin and I agree that all of the above taken together is unlikely to generate a lot of new services revenue in the short term with Apple facing a variety of challenges.
But…Apple has unparalleled user experience DNA, deep pockets, huge flexibility in how it bundles its forthcoming SVOD service with others (i.e. music, games, news) and of course has a massive user base to build from. And Apple is playing the long game, as it must in the new post-iPhone, services-centric era.
With Apple’s SVOD service, Disney+, WarnerMedia and who knows what else set to come to market in the next 6-8 months, it’s going to be a very busy year.
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Well, we finally got some news from Apple about its video ambitions at its big media event today.
Apple’s updated TV app harkens back to the same formula that propelled iTunes in the music industry nearly 16 years ago: the visually strong user experience, integration of well-known brands/artists, seamless transactions and multi-device access. iTunes made sense of a messy music landscape - delivering breakthrough music portability (with the iPod) and billions of much-needed revenue to the music industry.
Apple clearly sees a similar opportunity to bring coherence and value to today’s fragmented video experience and to drive incremental revenue for the industry. Although the same company DNA is evident in the updated TV app, the challenges Apple faces in video are far greater.
68% of U.S. households had a connected TV device (smart TV, streaming device or enabled gaming console) as of September, 2018 according to Nielsen’s new Q3 2018 Total Audience Report. The data point is roughly in line with the 74% level that Leichtman Research found as of June, 2018. Together the data suggests we’re well on our way to having 4 out of 5 U.S. households with a CTV very soon.
For Nielsen, the 68% penetration rate represented a 5 point increase from the 63% it found in September, 2017. Asian American households led with an astounding 85% penetration rate, up from 81% a year ago. Black households had a 67% penetration rate in September, 2018 vs. 61% a year earlier.
I’m pleased to present the 457th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
On this week’s podcast we’re joined by Dan Robbins, who is Roku’s director of advertising and programming research. We explore all of the angles around Roku’s connected TV (CTV) ad business, which has become a critical driver of its growth. As Dan explains, Roku is hyper-focused on helping ad buyers understand how CTV can add incremental value to their campaigns, by using sophisticated tools and industry partnerships.
Among the topics we discuss include which agency buying groups are focused on CTV, how Roku’s measurement partner program is creating new value for advertisers, how Roku is serving the full funnel from lower to upper, why Roku considers itself a “data company, first and foremost,” why the “social contract among advertisers, programmers and viewers is broken,” and lots more.
For anyone interested in how Roku is successfully transitioning its business to ad-supported and the dynamics of the booming CTV category, Dan’s insights are extremely valuable.
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I’m pleased to present the 455th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Connected TVs are rapidly re-making the TV landscape and, according to new data from Extreme Reach yesterday, an emerging benefit is that they’re reenergizing 30-second ads delivered online. On today’s podcast Colin and I talk about why this is happening and more importantly why it’s likely the beginning of a strong trend.
We then transition to talking about “password sharing” which has been a longstanding, but quite murky topic in SVOD. Most SVOD services have dealt with it by imposing caps on concurrent streams, users or devices, relying on subscribers to get hooked on the programming and then feel the need to upgrade or add plans. Colin reviews recent data that supports the idea that password sharing is mostly a nonissue.
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Extreme Reach has released its Q4 and full year 2018 Video Advertising Benchmarks report, which further reinforces the ascendance of connected TV (CTV) viewing and monetization. Importantly, the ER research is the first I’ve seen that highlights how CTVs are actually helping 30-second ads gain share of impressions vs. ads of other durations. This is a critical development as it helps re-energize TV advertising’s traditional workhorse unit that has been under pressure from all corners.
First, CTV’s share of video ad impressions jumped to 38% in 2018, up from 16% in 2017. CTV video ads are benefiting from a perfect storm: rapid device adoption, launch of numerous apps by premium content providers, emphasis on ad-supported business models with the exception of a few SVOD or hybrid stalwarts (e.g. Netflix, Amazon, etc.) and heavy investment in CTV ad tech stacks. All of this is leading ad buyers to rapidly embrace CTV as a must-have in their campaigns. (And by the way as just one indicator of how accessible CTVs have become, I just noticed that Amazon is selling its Toshiba Fire TV 32-inch model for just $100 today only. Yes, you read that right.)
Topics: Extreme Reach
I’m pleased to present the 450th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
At CES this week Apple unveiled partnerships with big TV manufacturers including Samsung, LG, Vizio and Sony. While these represent progress, as Colin and I discuss, Apple still finds itself at a disadvantage both in enabling TV-based viewing for its upcoming slate of original TV shows (which reportedly cost $1 billion) and in trying to become a Connected TV (CTV) leader.
Colin and I dig into how others like Amazon, Netflix, Roku, etc. have succeeded in CTV, enabling their content to thrive. Conversely, we explore why Apple’s CTV presence has remained minimal, with the result now being limited viewer accessibility to its originals. Apple came into the CTV era with just about every advantage imaginable, but its “gilded cage” mentality has left it at the back of the pack of big tech companies forging into TV.
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Likely the most interesting news from CES this year is that Apple is finally partnering in meaningful ways with big TV manufacturers. Most notably, Apple is creating an exclusive iTunes app for certain Samsung smart TVs. It is also enabling AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support on certain Samsung, Vizio, LG and Sony smart TVs which means users can display content from their Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac) on their big screens.
Apple’s moves are certainly a nod to how important its services/content business is becoming. But 2019 is a huge year for Apple in defining its place in the content ecosystem, with a $1 billion reportedly allocated to create original TV shows. The business model for these shows has been shrouded in mystery, but several months ago, CNBC reported that the shows will actually be given away for free to Apple’s device owners as part of the TV app which will also include subscription options akin to Amazon Channels.
Beachfront, a leading video supply-side platform, said that connected TV ad requests jumped to approximately 30 billion in November, 2018, a stunning 1,640% increase from November, 2017 when it received approximately 1.8 billion requests.
Beachfront works mainly with mid-tail and long-tail video providers as well as virtual MVPDs.
Roku continues to dominate, with Beachfront saying that 87% of CTV ad requests in November ’18 were on Roku devices. Trailing well behind were Amazon Fire TV, LG, Samsung TV, Vizio and Chromecast, in that order.
Topics: Beachfront Media
I’m pleased to present the 444th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
In Q3 ’18, Roku continued its pivot to an advertising and licensing based business model, with “Platform” revenues accounting for 58% of total revenues, up from 46% in Q3 ’17.
On this week’s podcast, Colin and I discuss this shift and Roku’s other key metrics, which were all very strong, once again. Roku occupies a unique place in the video ecosystem - at once a device powerhouse with 24 million monthly users, a content provider through its fast-growing The Roku Channel, a connected TV advertising innovator and something akin to a next-gen pay-TV provider offering a la carte access to thousands of content choices.
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The Diffusion Group has released new data showing that Roku users have the lowest levels of traditional pay-TV subscriptions and the highest level of cord-cutting. According to TDG, 64% of Roku box users and 66% of Roku stick users subscribe to pay-TV. 30% of Roku box users and 26% of Roku stick users are cord-cutters.
For all adult broadband users, 73% continue to subscribe to pay-TV, with just 21% saying they’re cord-cutters. Other devices measured, including Fire TV, Apple TV and Chromecast all had slightly higher levels of pay-TV subscriptions and similar to lower levels of cord-cutting.
The mystery of how Apple will monetize its $1 billion investment in original TV programming is finally solved. The answer is it won’t. Instead Apple will give its content away for free to its device owners, as part of its TV app, alongside the ability for users to subscribe to SVOD services, in a manner akin to how Amazon Channels works. I have speculated frequently over the past 21 months what Apple would do to monetize its huge content investment (here, here, here).
The update was reported by CNBC yesterday, coincidentally just a day after Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said at the VF New Establishment Summit that no one, not even the people making Apple’s shows knew how the content will be offered. After almost 2 years of radio silence from Apple on how it would monetize its programming and endless rumors, it seems as though following Sarandos’s comments Apple may have finally felt compelled to leak some initial information.
SpotX and Tru Optik have announced a partnership that enables video content providers to pre-segment and validate their ad inventory, so that buyers are able to create targeted, audience-based connected TV and OTT ad campaigns. Under the partnership, SpotX’s Audience Management Engine has been integrated with Tru Optik’s OTT Data Marketplace.
In addition, advertisers and content providers will gain access to Tru Optik’s Cross Screen Audience Validation (CAV), which provides deduped household reach, frequency, in-target percentage rates, device delivery confirmation and reporting.
A fascinating article in the WSJ over the weekend described the lengths to which Apple is going to maintain a family-friendly strategy for its original TV shows. The article describes how CEO Tim Cook personally screened “Vital Signs” about Dr. Dre and nixed it for being too violent. It also says that producers Jamie Erlicht and Zach Van Amburg, whom Apple hired in June, 2017, spend significant time winning approval from Cook and SVP Eddy Cue for any new projects.
None of this is surprising, as Apple seeks to balance its desire to move into the entertainment business while not causing any damage to its gold-plated brand. Where a TV network can cultivate creativity and push the envelope with a new show with little downside, Apple risks harming sales of its devices if audiences feel an Apple original is discordant with the company’s brand.
I’m pleased to present the 437th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Yesterday’s Q2 Video Monetization Report from FreeWheel put an exclamation mark on just how significantly connected TVs are changing the TV and online video landscape. In Q2 ’18 CTVs accounted for 41% of premium video views, up from just 1.2% in Q2 ’13. In that time, desktop views have dropped from over 81% share, to just 17%.
In today’s podcast we discuss the rise of CTVs and in particular their impact on advertising. We also touch on other interesting data points from FreeWheel’s Q2 VMR.
We then switch gears as Colin reports on highlights of his time at the IBC show in Amsterdam. Tops on his list was the outsized presence of Google and Android TV at the show and its potential impact.
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Connected TV devices and set-top box VOD now account for 57% of all premium video views in the U.S. according to FreeWheel’s Q2 Video Monetization Report (VMR) released today. It is the first time CTV and STB VOD have driven more than half of premium video views, and is up from 49% in Q2 ’17.
However, the big reason for the jump is due to CTV, which jumped from 29% of all premium video views in Q2 ’17 to 41% in Q2 ’18. STB VOD actually declined over the same period from 20% to 16%. I’ve believed for a long time that CTV viewing of SVOD and other ad-supported on-demand OTT programming would eventually chip away at traditional STB-delivered VOD. The Q2 results appear to show this now occurring.
Over 1 billion connected TV (CTV) devices are now active globally according to Strategy Analytics’ just released “Global Connected TV Device Vendor Share: Q2 2018” report. Strategy Analytics said almost 60% of devices are smart TVs while the remainder are players like Roku, Fire TV and Chromecast accounting for the remainder.
Topics: Strategy Analytics