SpotX has released new research highlighting how use of connected TV has become mainstream behavior, with 40% of U.S. adults using CTV, for an estimated reach of 100 million 18+ adults. Among CTV viewers 63% watch daily and 94% watch weekly. CTV users watch an average of 3 hours per day (pre-Covid when SpotX fielded its survey). CTV viewers are quite evenly distributed by age group; 18-24 year-olds represent 21%, 24-34 year-olds (24%), 35-54 year-olds (27%) and 55+ (29%).
These findings and others are included in SpotX’s new paper, “CTV is for Everyone: An In-Depth Look at Connected TV Viewership in the U.S.”
I’m pleased to present the 522nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. For all our listeners especially in states seeing a spike in Covid, we hope you’re staying safe.
There were several examples this week of how linear TV is continuing to adapt in the OTT/CTV era which Colin and I discuss. Top on the list is Comcast’s decision to offer the Sling TV app for its Xfinity Flex broadband-only users. Comcast has been adding broadband subscribers and losing video subscribers for a while and the move seems to signal Comcast wants to enhance the competitiveness of Flex, giving cord-cutters an inexpensive option to rejoin the pay-TV world.
The bar for Flex is getting higher partly due to Fire TV which this week unveiled content discovery integrations with YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV. The integrations make accessing linear TV seamless within one UI, and will drive virtual pay-TV subscriptions within the Fire TV base.
Listen in to learn more about how linear and “virtual linear” TV are adapting to find viewers!
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Connected TV ownership continues to surge, with 80% of U.S. TV households now having at least one CTV, according to new research from Leichtman Research Group. The penetration of CTVs has grown steadily from 24% in 2010 to 57% in 2015 to 74% in 2018.
The mean ownership is 4.1 CTV devices per CTV household, translating into approximately 400 million CTVs currently deployed, according to LRG, up 60% from 250 million in 2016. 64% of CTV households said they had 3 or more CTVs.
Topics: Leichtman Research Group
I’m pleased to present the 517th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. As always, we hope our listeners are staying well.
This week Colin and I discuss how new “virtual linear” channels will translate into more viewer engagement and advertising in connected TV. We start the discussion reviewing new data from Innovid and Pixalate showing healthy gains in both CTV ad impressions and programmatic spending.
Adding to the momentum will be virtual channels, which are essentially on-demand playlists of themed programming. Many CTV platforms are adding these free, ad-supported channels. Colin points out a new partnership between Endemol Shine and Vizio for four unscripted virtual channels. Roku was also in the news this week, launching 40 virtual channels with various programming partners. Virtual channels are also a key feature for Peacock. Colin and I expect the trend to gain momentum.
Listen in to learn more!
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Roku is highlighting its ability to support “agile investment plans” by advertisers as it rolls out Upfront presentations to attract more ad spending on its platform. Roku is focusing on delivering advertisers enhanced agility, control and value as they navigate huge market uncertainty.
Dan Robbins, Roku’s VP of Ad Marketing and Partner Solutions, told me in an interview that the shift to streaming, acceleration in cord-cutting and the pandemic’s suspension of live sports and stay-at-home guidelines have led to “each advertiser facing a different reality.” In particular, Dan said more agility is the “number one request” Roku is getting from advertisers. Roku’s goal is to help align advertisers’ spending with actual media consumption. He noted that half of 18-34 year-olds’ consumption is now streaming, requiring different strategies by advertisers targeting this age group.
I’m pleased to present the 516th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. As always, we hope our listeners are staying well.
After much anticipation HBO Max has launched and we share our initial observations on the app and content. Colin is especially impressed with the recommendation feature, which reportedly mixes algorithms and human curation. Even with its massive content library, HBO Max at $15 per month is at the high end of the market which should slightly limit its appeal.
A far bigger limiter is that neither Roku nor Amazon Fire TV are supporting HBO Max. Colin and I dig into what’s behind the conflict. Colin believes all the companies are seeking control over the user experience and the accompanying revenue and usage insights. In particular Amazon has around 5 million HBO Now subscribers through its Channels program that it is reluctant to see transition to HBO Max directly.
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My longtime podcast colleague Colin Dixon at nScreenMedia and I are trying out a format for a second podcast, which we’re calling “Behind My Thinking.” The idea is that we would ask each other a few questions about a post we each wrote recently, to get share a little more insight on why the topic was important and other takeaways - in other words, behind each of our thinking.
On this episode Colin first asks me about my post about Extreme Reach’s data showing connected TV ad impressions share has varied widely over the past few months. Then we flip to me asking Colin more about his post on why he thinks Covid-19 in an unlikely culprit for Quibi’s weak start.
After a period of relative consistency, connected TV’s share of ad impressions has varied widely in recent months, according to Extreme Reach’s Video Benchmarks Report for Q1 ’20 and through May 11th. CTV ad impression share stayed in a tight range from 47%-51% for each quarter of 2019. But in January they dropped to 41%, in February to 35%, in March to 36% and in the first two weeks of April to 29%. However, in the period from April 15 to May 11, they rebounded to 42%.
Topics: Extreme Reach
Roku has launched OneView Ad Platform, a demand side platform (DSP), enabling ad buyers with a set of self-serve tools to create and manage campaigns across screens and ad formats. The move positions Roku to further increase the value of viewing data from its 40 million active accounts to help ad buyers allocate their TV, OTT and digital spending more effectively. As Dan Robbins, VP of Ad Marketing and Partner Solutions told me in a briefing “OneView Ad Platform is informed by TV but built to be omnichannel.” Launch partners include Drizly, Experian, Intuit TurboTax, Lexus and others.
Streaming viewing hours were up 57% in Q1 ’20 vs. a year earlier, with on-demand consumption up 79% and live up 19%, according to Conviva’s State of Streaming first quarter 2020 report. On-demand consumption accounted for 72% of viewing time in Q1 ’20 vs. 63% in the prior year. The quarter included a spike in streaming for the Super Bowl and college football. The shift to on-demand consumption is likely to accelerate in Q2, as live sports remains suspended.
Roku shared upbeat estimates on its Q1 ’20 active accounts, streaming hours and profitability yesterday, ahead of its May 7th earnings release. Roku said active accounts were approximately 39.8 million at the end of the quarter, up almost 3 million during the 3 months. That’s 49% higher than the 2 million active accounts it added in Q1 ’19. Roku has nearly doubled its active account base in the past 2 years; back on March 31, 2018 it was 20.8 million.
Streaming hours in Q1 ’20 also surged, to 13.2 billion, up 49% from 8.1 billion in Q1 ’19 and more than double the 5.1 billion hours from Q1 ’18. The increase in streaming hours is noteworthy because Roku said that in Q1 it finished rolling out its “Are you still watching?” feature which prompts the viewer after 4 hours of viewing and will terminate the session if there’s inactivity. The feature would suppress growth in streaming hours because sessions when people have fallen asleep or left the room would not play on indefinitely. The other impact is that for free, ad-supported services being watched on Roku and for Roku itself, ad inventory and monetization would be suppressed.
As stay at home guidelines remain in place, it seems like more and more free TV and video are being made available, spanning the short and long ends of the tail (meaning super-premium through user-generated) - and everything in between. Not only does this create more choices for viewers, which will be welcomed, it also means more competition for subscription video services which were already vulnerable to belt-tightening. And for free TV/video that is ad-supported, it means more inventory and choices for advertisers.
Here’s what’s caught my eye just in the past week:
After the Democratic Party primary results last night, lots of heads are spinning this morning, including mine.
But my head was already spinning yesterday afternoon. Here’s why: In the morning I received the note “U.S. Media: Watching the Slow Death of Linear TV…Live (2019 Edition),” from Michael Nathanson at MoffettNathanson. Michael’s an old friend as is his partner Craig Moffett, and together they provide must-read data and insights. I began skimming the note and, as expected, it was jam-packed with all the current evidence supporting the “linear TV is dead (except sports and news)” narrative - especially for younger audiences who have moved to OTT.
The head-spinning part of the day for me came later in the afternoon when I had a briefing call with Jill Goldfarb, VP of Linear Programming at Jukin Media. If you’re not familiar with Jukin, it’s a user-generated content / viral video powerhouse with over 200 million social media followers globally.
Topics: Jukin Media
Extreme Reach has released its Q4 and full year 2019 Video Benchmarks Report, finding, among other things, that connected TV (CTV) has settled into a range of approximately 50% share of all video ad impressions. In Q4 ’19 CTV impression share landed at 47%, slightly down sequentially from 51% in Q3 ’19 (also its peak quarter for the year), but slightly up YOY from 44% in Q4 ’18.
Three months ago, when I reviewed ER’s Q3 ’19 benchmarks report, I wondered whether CTV share would step up in the Q4 holiday season since cord-cutting was accelerating and new services were launching. But it looks like the answer was no, at least for now.
Topics: Extreme Reach
Connected TV advertising has a mile-wide opportunity ahead, but there are a few critical challenges that loom, including viewer privacy, lack of cookie-based targeting and cross-screen identity management. There are lots of initiatives addressing these challenges and I have little doubt that over time they’ll all be fully resolved and/or the industry will get comfortable with approaches irrespective of their particular limitations; CTV advertising is simply becoming too strategic for too many players for it to be derailed.
Helping move the ball forward, this morning Beachfront and Beeswax announced they are adopting LiveRamp’s IdentityLink identifier for clients' CTV ad buying. Beachfront is an ad management/SSP in both video and TV. Beeswax is a DSP for programmatic ad buyers. LiveRamp started as a data on-boarding company and has evolved to an identity solution provider.
I’m excited to announce the first 7 partners for the Connected TV Advertising Summit on June 11th in NYC. Our Presenting partner is Deloitte; Gold partners are Extreme Reach and SpringServe, and Silver partners include Beachfront, Roku, SpotX and Xandr. I’m extremely grateful for all of these leading companies’ commitments to the CTV Ad Summit. There are a lot of other partner discussions underway, and I’m confident we’ll have participation from just about every significant CTV company in the industry.
The CTV Ad Summit is shaping up to be the #1 event for executives from brands, agencies, content providers, technology companies and other stakeholders seeking a deep-dive day of learning and networking focused on CTV advertising. The agenda is coming together nicely with a strong balancing of sessions that are focused on the longer-term strategic role of CTV in the TV/video ecosystem and those that are focused on the here-and-now operational aspects of succeeding with CTV ads today. More coming soon on initial speakers and sessions.
Meanwhile, early bird discounted registration is available. Early registrants save $100 per ticket. Further discounts are available for students, startups and media partners (to be announced soon). 5-pack and 10-pack tickets are also available at further discounts.
If the future of your business is tied to the growth and success of CTV* advertising, then the CTV Ad Summit is a must-attend event.
Please contact me if you’d like to learn more!
LEARN MORE AND REGISTER NOW!
*Connected TV (CTV) refers to any TV that is connected to the Internet and can play OTT video content/ads and also display graphical ads. CTVs have the capability to return user data to device manufacturers, content providers and ad buyers. CTVs support secure transactions such as subscriptions and e-commerce.
Examples of CTVs are smart TVs as well as TVs that are connected to the Internet via streaming media players/sticks (e.g. Roku, Fire TV), gaming consoles (e.g. PlayStation, Wii), DVRs, pay-TV operators’ IP set-top boxes (e.g. X1) and other devices.
I’m pleased to present the 501st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week we discuss Roku’s Q4 and full year 2019 results, which were reported late Thursday. Roku now has nearly 37 million active accounts, up almost 10 million in 2019. More important, Roku continues to demonstrate strong capability in monetizing its viewers, with ARPU up $5.19 to $23.14. Looking back over the past few years, Roku’s ability to pivot its business from being player-based to advertising and licensing-based is very impressive, all the more so because it has pulled it off under the long shadow of CTV competition from Amazon, Google and Apple.
Putting Roku’s growth in perspective though, Colin and I also spend a few minutes reviewing Nielsen’s latest Total Audience report, which showed that overall, streaming still accounts for just 19% of total TV usage. As Colin notes, it’s far higher for younger age groups and cord-cutters. Nonetheless, it’s hard not to conclude that it is still relatively early days for both ad-supported and subscription OTT.
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If you’re following media coverage of the “streaming wars” these days, you might think that the viewers have all but abandoned traditional TV. But Nielsen’s February 2020 Total Audience Report illustrates that this is far from the current situation. In fact, it’s still very early innings for OTT, which in turn suggests that if you think streaming is big already, well then - you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Nielsen reports that in Q4 ’19 streaming accounted for just 19% of total TV usage time. Within that 19% streaming slice, Nielsen found that, no surprise, Netflix has the biggest piece (31%), followed by YouTube (21%), Hulu (12%) and Amazon (8%). Nielsen didn’t break out any other individual service that collectively amount for 28%.
Then translating each streaming service’s into its % of TV usage (remember, ALL streaming accounts for 19%), means Netflix accounts for 5.9% of TV usage, YouTube (4%), Hulu (2.3%), Amazon (1.5%) and others (5.3%).
Amazon announced this morning that it has over 40 million active Fire TV users globally, up from over 37 million that it reported in early September, 2019. The 3 million or so gain would represent monthly growth of around 750K Fire TV users. Amazon said there will be 150+ Fire TV edition models in 10+ countries by the end of 2020. Fire TVs include sticks, boxes, smart TVs, sound bars, auto screens and devices for pay-TV operators.
By Amazon’s count, Fire TV was already the top connected TV (CTV) provider globally in Q3 ’19, and its lead over Roku will likely expand just a bit for year-end 2019. Roku will report Q4 ’19 results on February 19th. At the end of Q3 '19 Roku reported 32.3 million active user accounts. In Q4 ’18 Roku added 3.3 million active user accounts, which would mean even if Roku doubled its quarterly growth in Q4 ’19 (which is unlikely), it would still be shy of Fire TV’s total.
Happy New Year!
Recently, eMarketer forecasted Connected TV (CTV) advertising will increase from approximately $7 billion in 2019 to over $14 billion in 2023. The forecast gained a lot of attention in the closing weeks of 2019 as CTV came into focus as one of the industry’s most important themes in 2020. To learn more and get behind the numbers, I recently interviewed eMarketer video analyst Ross Benes who was responsible for the forecast. A lightly edited transcript follows.
(Reminder, for a deeper dive, check out VideoNuze’s Connected TV Advertising Summit on June 11th in NYC)
VideoNuze: eMarketer recently released a forecast showing CTV ad revenues increasing from approximately $7 billion in 2019 to over $14 billion in 2023. What are the key contributors to this rapid growth?