Beachfront - leaderboard - 7-1-18

Analysis for 'SVOD'

  • VideoNuze Podcast #468: How Many Streaming Video Services Will Viewers Ultimately Use?

    I’m pleased to present the 468th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    How many streaming video services will viewers ultimately use? This is a pressing long-term question for all video services, whether subscription, ad-supported or a hybrid - especially those that are late entrants like Disney+, Apple TV+, WarnerMedia and others.

    This week Colin and I explore this question, focusing on variables such as viewers’ willingness to pay, the explosion in original programming choices and the recent growth of free ad-supported services. New data from Hub Research this week indicates many viewers already feel overloaded with choices and unwilling to pay for new services without dropping existing ones.

    What all this means for the economics of SVOD and ad-supported services is a huge unknown.

    (Reminder the 9th annual VideoNuze Video Advertising Summit is next Wednesday, May 29th in NYC. Register now!)

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 8 seconds)



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  • Comcast to Transition Out of Hulu Under New Deal With Disney

    Comcast and Disney have announced a deal under which Comcast can effectively transition out of its 33% ownership stake in Hulu beginning in January 2024. The exit can occur at either Disney’s or Comcast’s instigation and at an assessed market value of Hulu that won’t be less than $27.5 billion. That means Comcast’s 33% stake could be worth approximately $9.1 billion though that could be reduced to a minimum of $5.8 billion if Comcast doesn’t fund any of Hulu’s capital needs between now and January 2024.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #465: Hulu Is In the Video Industry’s Sweet Spot

    I’m pleased to present the 465th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Hulu is in the video industry’s sweet spot. A hybrid ad-supported brand-safe streaming service, now with 28 million subscribers. The best opportunity TV advertisers have to recapture young TV-watching audiences who are the biggest cord-cutters. Disney as its primary owner which itself is all in on streaming, willing to support Hulu’s land grab investments in original programming and marketing. And perhaps the biggest growth driver yet to come: bundling with Disney+ starting later this year.

    On this week’s podcast Colin and I talk about all of the above (and a few challenges Hulu still faces).

    If you want to learn more about Hulu’s success, come to the 9th annual Video Advertising Summit for my keynote interview with Hulu’s SVP and Head of Ad Sales Peter Naylor!

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 15 seconds)



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  • Hulu Tops 28 Million Subscribers as Viewership Surges

    Hulu announced this morning that it has topped 28 million subscribers, with 26.8 million paid and 1.3 million promotional (Hulu operates both ad-supported/ad-free SVOD services and Hulu Live TV but didn’t provide a breakdown). Hulu added 7.5 million paid subscribers in 2018. Viewership also intensified with average time spent per subscriber up over 20% in 2018 and total hours watched per subscriber up 75%. Importantly, 80% of Hulu’s viewing occurs in the living room.

    While Netflix has become the market leader in ad-free OTT viewing,  Hulu has become the clear market leader in hybrid ad-supported premium OTT viewing. This is an extremely valuable place to be as cord-cutting accelerates and advertisers seek out viewer-friendly and targetable environments for their TV ad budgets. Hulu made a very smart move earlier this year, actually cutting the price of their ad-supported SVOD service by $2, to $6 per month, which no doubt is continuing to add to subscriber growth. A deal with Spotify announced in March to give Spotify Premium subscribers access to Hulu's ad-supported service is also likely having an early impact.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #463: Disney+ Ultra Low Price Will Ripple Through SVOD

    I’m pleased to present the 463rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    The SVOD industry’s dynamics are harder than ever to predict now that Disney+ plans to come to market with a robust content offering priced at just $7 per month. So for example while Netflix reported a strong Q1 ’19, when Colin looks ahead to how Q4 ’19 or Q1 ’20 will shape up for Netflix given omnipresent promotion of Disney+ that’s coming, he sees an adverse impact on domestic subscriber additions.

    We discuss how significant the impact could be not just on Netflix but also on Apple TV+ which will come to market in late ’19 too, but have a much less competitive content offering vs. Disney+. A key question is how low must Apple TV+’s price now be to compete?

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 48 seconds)



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  • Low Price for Disney+ Puts the Squeeze on Apple TV+

    The biggest piece of news from last week’s Disney+ mega event was certainly the reveal of the service’s rate: just $7/month, or $70/year, and its implications for competitors, most notably Apple TV+.

    Back in September, 2017, just after Disney CEO Bob Iger announced Disney was shifting its strategy toward a direct to consumer (DTC) model, and gave a preview of the massive trove of Disney/other content that would be included, I wrote that success for the service would be highly dependent on its price.

    Would Disney+ be priced on the lower end of market expectations (I speculated about $10/month) to achieve strong adoption like Netflix has? Or would it be priced on the higher end (say $20-$25/month) in a market “skimming” approach like what HBO Now has followed? Given the money Disney would be foregoing in third-party distribution fees by going DTC, there was huge conflicting pressures on the pricing decision.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #458: DirecTV Now Changes Packaging; Fact-Checking Netflix

    I’m pleased to present the 458th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Earlier this week, DirecTV Now changed its packaging and pricing by introducing 2 new tiers, DirecTV Now Plus and DirecTV Now Max. They are both anchored by HBO, but also lose popular networks from Viacom, Discovery and AMC.

    On today’s podcast Colin and I discuss the likely rationale behind the changes and what impact they’ll have. One thing seems clear: given the spectrum of TV networks they carry, Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV are poised to become leaders in the virtual pay-TV industry.

    Next, Colin updates us on several statements a Netflix executive made earlier this week that he believes need further clarity. Colin delights in “keeping them honest” and his watchdog role benefits all of us trying to understand industry data.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 30 seconds)



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  • Corporate Priorities Test Creative Freedom In “Peak TV” Era

    Large corporations’ priorities are testing creative freedom as more shows than ever compete for attention in the “Peak TV” era and video becomes a critical C-level focus. Exhibit A is Apple, which according to a report yesterday from the NY Post, is vexing creators with an abundance of suggestions (or “notes” in industry parlance) on their shows. The notes, which apparently include some from CEO Tim Cook himself, tend to emphasize Apple’s desire to keep shows “family friendly.”

    The goal makes perfect sense; nothing is more important to Apple than its brand image. The prospect of seeing an “Apple Original” icon in the opening credits, followed by an opening scene including profanity, violence or nudity, would be a jarring juxtaposition. Yet this is the “Peak TV” world we now live in; with so many shows competing for viewers’ time, those that are most original and creative, and yes, often include attention-grabbing early scenes, stand out (for a point of reference recall that in the first minutes of Netflix’s “House of Cards” pilot, Kevin Spacey’s character puts a wounded dog out of its misery with his own hands).

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  • 5 Reasons Why Netflix Will Maintain Strong Subscriber Retention Despite Boosting Rates

    Wall Street cheered last week when Netflix announced rate increases across all of its tiers. Meanwhile, analysts weighed in on how higher rates could impact subscriber retention. Coincidentally, The Diffusion Group released research detailing potential downgrades, cancellations and retention levels at $1, $3 and $5 rate increases (the breakout is at bottom and TDG head Michael Greeson concluded the new rates won’t lead to a mass exodus of Netflix subscribers).

    Obviously it’s impossible predict exactly how well subscribers will absorb the rate increases, though Netflix’s track record is very strong. From my vantage point there are at least 5 interdependent reasons to believe Netflix will weather the new round very well:

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #451: Sling TV and Hulu Offer SVOD Services; NBCU to Launch DTC

    I’m pleased to present the 451st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week we talk about Sling TV’s new initiative to promote third party SVOD services, including to consumers who aren’t  subscribers to its underlying virtual pay-TV service. Colin and I differ about its potential and whether Sling TV has “permission” to pursue this. We debate the upside of a separate new Sling TV initiative to provide a layer of free on-demand content. We also dig into Hulu’s new emphasis on SVOD aggregation which seems promising to both of us.

    We then shift to discussing NBCUniversal’s plan to launch its own direct-to-consumer (DTC) service for non pay-TV subscribers. Colin is somewhat underwhelmed, while I think it’s a step in the right direction and too early to tell how aggressive the offer will turn out to be.  

    Less than 3 weeks into the new year, it’s clear that big video providers are continuing to experiment and jockey for position.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 53 seconds)



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  • Hulu’s Success Should Have a Big Impact On Launch of Disney+

    Earlier this week, Hulu announced stellar 2018 results: 48% subscriber growth (8 million additions), bringing year-end subscribers to 25 million. Ad revenue of almost $1.5 billion, up 45% in 2018, with 50% growth in the number of advertisers. And median average viewer age of 32, which is 25 years younger than the average broadcast TV viewer.

    All of this continues to come at a huge cost; by some estimates Hulu is losing upwards of $400 million per quarter. With Disney set to assume a 60% stake in Hulu after the Fox deal closes, managing Hulu’s growth and financial performance is going to be very important for Disney. Fortunately for Hulu, Disney is highly incented to see Hulu succeed because the company is poised to play a linchpin role in what is certainly Disney’s biggest 2019 priority, the successful launch of Disney+, its new SVOD service.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #449: Why Most Subscription Video Services Will Trend Away From DTC Model

    I’m pleased to present the 449th edition of the VideoNuze podcast (and our first of the new year!), with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On this week’s podcast, Colin and I discuss why we both believe most subscription video services will trend away from a pure direct-to-consumer (DTC) model and instead embrace large platforms for distribution. Roku’s plan to support subscription services (following Amazon Channels and Apple’s TV app) bolsters the trend.

    There are numerous benefits to third party distribution for both content providers and consumers. DTC will still have a place in go-to-market strategies, but it will become smaller, except for major players like Netflix and Hulu.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 10 seconds)



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  • Subscription Video Services Turn to Third Party Platforms for Growth

    Yesterday’s announcement by Roku, that it would begin offering SVOD and ad-free premium cable TV networks (what Roku calls “Premium Subscriptions”) within The Roku Channel, is the latest sign that subscription video services are turning to bigger third party platforms to add and retain paying subscribers. Despite all the industry excitement over direct-to-consumer (“DTC”) business models, third party distribution remains critical.

    Roku’s move evokes what Amazon has been doing with its Amazon Channels program for just over 3 years, which I've been bullish on from the beginning. Prime subscribers are able to choose from dozens of different small and large SVOD services and premium cable TV networks and have the fees billed directly to their credit card on file with Amazon. Free trials are commonplace and the content is viewed seamlessly within the Prime Video app on multiple devices.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #448: The Top 10 Video Stories of 2018

    I’m pleased to present the 448th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Continuing our tradition for our final podcast of the year, this week Colin and I discuss the top 10 video stories of 2018 - at least in our humble opinions. Once again it has been a very active 12 months, with lots of innovation and change. Colin and I have had a great time analyzing and discussing the critical industry trends each week and we hope you’ve enjoyed listening to our thoughts in 2018.

    Let us know what you think of our choices, whether you agree or disagree!

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (37 minutes, 16 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #447: Classic Movie Services Struggle Online

    I’m pleased to present the 447th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    It’s been a tough couple of months for fans of classic movie streaming video services, with AT&T pulling the plug on FlimStruck while another independent/classic movie service, Fandor, is laying off most of its staff and putting its assets up for sale.

    On this week’s podcast we explore possible explanations for why these services  didn’t succeed, including relatively high monthly rates, lack of fit with target audiences, overall economics and more. Colin was a big FilmStruck fan, so he’s now going to have to find other outlets until the classic movies re-appear in the WarnerMedia’s SVOD service coming later in 2019.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 50 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #446: YouTube Doubles Down on Video Ads

    I’m pleased to present the 446th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    YouTube has long been the 800-pound gorilla of online video advertising; now it is positioning itself for further gains in premium video. On this week’s podcast, Colin and I discuss a couple of the highlights: YouTube’s recent decision to add over 100 movies for free, ad-supported viewing and to shift its originals strategy from an SVOD model (YouTube Premium) to ad-supported.

    As we explore, there is another interesting angle here as well, which is the interplay between Roku and YouTube. As I wrote earlier this week, The Roku Channel’s success was no doubt an influence on YouTube’s decision to launch free movies. As well, Roku’s huge footprint of connected TVs (as well as others like Chromecast, etc.) has created a living room environment perfect for longer viewing times and a more TV-like experience that YouTube is capitalizing on.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 11 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #438: Comcast’s Hulu Decision; Lessons From Now TV

    I’m pleased to present the 438th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On this week’s podcast, Colin and I take up the question I explored on Wednesday, whether Comcast should divest its 30% stake in Hulu to Disney, as CNBC reported it is interested in doing. Colin and I discuss the many benefits Comcast derives from having a front row seat with 3 senior executives on Hulu’s board. On the other hand, there are many reasons why Comcast would be compelled to sell.

    Meanwhile, as part of its acquisition of Sky, Comcast will also be inheriting Now TV, the innovative OTT service Sky runs. Colin shares his personal experience with Now TV and some of the specific things Comcast might learn and consider bringing to its U.S. operations. As always, rights are a central issue to surmount.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 35 seconds)



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  • Should Comcast Divest Its 30% Stake in Hulu to Disney?

    In the wake of Comcast’s winning $39 billion bid to acquire Sky over the weekend, CNBC has reported that Comcast may be looking to swap its 30% ownership stake in Hulu (plus other consideration TBD), for Disney/Fox’s 39% ownership in Sky (a deal for Comcast to buy that was reported this morning). CNBC said that Comcast sees “only limited value in owning a non-controlling stake in Hulu” given Disney’s 60% share once the Fox deal closes.

    This logic is understandable and in addition, divesting the stake would also relieve Comcast of partly funding Hulu’s losses (reportedly almost $1 billion in 2017). On the other side of the coin, Disney would own 90% of Hulu and give up its non-controlling stake in Sky as Comcast takes control of it.

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  • SVOD’s Big Night at the Emmys

    If you’re looking for more evidence of how SVOD is changing the TV landscape, look no further than last night’s Emmy Awards. The 3 big SVOD providers, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix combined to win a record 35 Emmys, up from 32 in 2017. Netflix itself won 23 Emmys, tying HBO for top honors, with Amazon winning 8 and Hulu winning 4.

    Netflix’s big winner was “The Crown” which took home 5 Emmys. All of Amazon’s awards were for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” including outstanding comedy series, lead actress (Rachel Brosnahan), supporting actress (Alex Borstein) and writing and directing for Amy Sherman-Palladino. Maisel tied with Saturday Night Live for second place behind “Game of Thrones” which won 9, including outstanding drama series.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #434: Amazon Pursues TV Ad Dollars; Forecasting Hulu’s Growth

    I’m pleased to present the 434th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week, Amazon is said to be planning a free ad-supported video service, similar to Roku’s The Roku Channel. The new service, dubbed Free Dive, would be targeted to the nearly 50 million Fire TV users. Colin and I both like the move a lot, as we see multiple promotional and new revenue benefits, especially if Amazon can attract TV ad dollars. However, a key challenge is finding enough compelling content to make Free Dive interesting to audiences.

    We then transition to talking about Hulu. Colin has developed a forecast for subscriber and revenue growth for Hulu through 2020 which he explains. He sees much of Hulu’s revenue growth coming from its Live skinny bundle service, although its profitability will remain challenged due to high programming costs.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 10 seconds)

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