Welcome to this week’s edition of Inside the Stream, the podcast where nScreenMedia’a Chief Analyst Colin Dixon and I take listeners inside the world of streaming video.
SVOD providers have been the dominant force in creating original TV shows for streaming, but as the recent NewFronts underscored, AVOD services like Roku, Crackle, Tubi and many others are also forging ahead with their own originals.
On today’s podcast Colin and I discuss why it’s strategic for AVODs to pursue originals, how they’ll differentiate at a time when SVOD productions are increasingly lavish, what impact lighter ad loads will have and how these originals will be available - solely on-demand or also in free ad-supported TV / FAST? It’s still quite early and there are lots of questions to consider.
(Note: Colin will be moderating a session titled “FASTs + AVOD = Big Opportunity” at next week’s Connected TV Ad Summit virtual, with executives from Tubi, A+E Networks, Digitas and Wurl, which includes discussion of originals and ad loads. Complimentary registration!)
Listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 16 seconds)
Wurl’s CEO Sean Doherty explains why he’s super optimistic about ad-supported streaming in a 10-minute video interview below. Wurl powers distribution for almost 900 ad-supported streaming channels, with active users up 45% in Q1 and ad impressions up 428% from Q1 ’20 to Q1 ’21. The company added 30 new employees so far in 2021 and is looking to double its headcount this year.
One of the main reasons Sean is so bullish on streaming is the changing behavior of younger viewers who expect unconstrained access to their chosen content. Traditional TV and advertisers need to be more in synch with these expectations. To break through, AVOD services need to provide compelling content and improve their monetization.
Hear more from Sean at VideoNuze’s CTV Ad Summit virtual on June 9th and 10th, on the session “FAST + AVOD = Big Opportunity,” with A+E Networks, Tubi and Digitas. Registration is complimentary and you can win a Roku TV and Streaming Soundbar.
If you were one of the 14,000 attendees of last week’s NewFronts presentations, a central message that you couldn’t miss was that streaming has become an essential way for advertisers to reach 18-49 year olds. The coveted age group, which has long been the bread and butter for TV networks, is rapidly shifting its video consumption behaviors, and NewFronts presenters wanted ad buyers to know that they can either follow the eyeballs or risk losing access to this huge cohort.
Presenters expressed the message in different ways, but here are a few that caught my attention:
Yesterday, CNBC reported that HBO Max’s upcoming ad-supported tier will be priced at $9.99 per month, a $5 per month discount vs. $14.99 per month for its existing ad-free service. The $5 differential is mostly in line with the approach other subscription services with an ad-supported tier, such as Hulu, Peacock and Paramount+ have taken and is therefore unsurprising.
But there are still many interesting questions about the HBO Max ad-supported tier and how it will be positioned relative to the ad-free tier. One big one is which content will actually carry ads, and which won’t. At AT&T’s recent investor day, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said “We will not be having advertising inside the HBO original series.” Does “inside” mean that only mid-roll ads are off the table, but pre-rolls and post-rolls will be ok? Or does it mean no ads for HBO original series, period? If the latter, does it imply that Max originals are going to be the main content that will have ads?
Topics: HBO Max
More than 120 million U.S. viewers streamed YouTube or YouTube TV on a connected TV last December, according to a blog post yesterday from Neal Mohan, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer. That’s up from 100 million per month that YouTube last revealed in June, 2020 at its Brandcast presentation during the NewFronts. Mohan reiterated that while mobile is still the most popular way to consume YouTube content, CTV is the fastest-growing.
Mohan also said that in December over 25% of logged-in YouTube CTV viewers in the U.S. watched over 90% of their YouTube content on CTV. Mohan quoted comScore data that 41% of all ad-supported streaming watch time occurs on YouTube, which makes YouTube by far the biggest CTV player.