Podcasts

  • Inside the Stream Podcast: How Much Higher Will Average U.S. Spending on SVOD Be in 5 Years?

    Each week on "Inside the Stream" Colin and I try to share fact-based conclusions about critical industry issues. Listeners have continually told us that they derive value from having a weekly resource that helps demystify the confusing cross-currents found in the daily headlines. By seeing things just a little more clearly, listeners are able to be more effective in their roles and hopefully help their companies succeed.

    However, given all of the various independent and interdependent industry drivers, it’s impossible for anyone to have a “crystal ball” on where things ultimately land. So today, Colin and I take a step back to consider all of the different factors that we believe will influence average SVOD spending going forward (in truth the acronym SVOD is practically outmoded with the leakage of live sports from pay-TV to IP/mobile networks and the prevalence of hybrid paid/ad-supported services, so it might just be better to call everything a “streaming service”). We were prompted to consider the question based on a new forecast from Ampere.

    Colin and I agree on one thing up front: average U.S. household spending on SVOD/streaming services will be higher in 5 years than it is now. This conclusion reflects simple Price x Quantity (“P x Q”) economics; prices for streaming services are only going in one direction, and the number of streaming services the average household subscribes to will almost certainly increase as content proliferates and sports migrates to streaming.

    But how much higher spending will be is a function of many different factors. We identify 6-8 of these factors and try to flesh out their respective influences. Whether they will all net out to average SVOD spending increasing by 2%, 6%,12% or something else vs. current is anyone’s best educated guess. But educated guesses are better than nothing.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (29 minutes, 34 seconds) and let us know what you think.




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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).

    Listen to the podcast now!

     
  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Diamond Sports’ Bankruptcy, HBO Max’s Confusing Pricing; YouTube’s Multiview; FAST’s Growth

    This week on Inside the Stream Colin and I do an “around the horn” of four significant industry topics. We lead off with the expected bankruptcy filing of Diamond Sports Group earlier this week, the largest owner of regional sports networks (RSNs), resulting in a complete wipeout of the equity-holders. Where to from here is anyone’s best guess; but I reiterate my stance that sports teams’ franchise values and players’ salaries have already peaked. When the dominant player in an industry - with over 50% market share - goes belly up, nothing good happens next.

    Next up is an update on WBD’s planned pricing strategy for its combined HBO Max and discovery+ streaming service launching soon. Colin’s been all over this one for months and is really scratching his head, as am I.

    In time for March Madness, YouTube TV has launched a new feature called “multiview” allowing subscribers to stream a mosaic of four pre-selected games and choose which audio feed they prefer. I think it’s really cool, and as you’ll hear in real-time I realize that it might mean YouTube TV “automagically” just quadrupled its ad inventory for multiview users. If so, that’s a neat trick; new CEO Neal Mohan is off to an even stronger start than I expected!

    Finally, Colin gives a short wrap-up of the latest doings in the burgeoning FAST market. It’s getting harder and harder to keep up.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (27 minutes, 11 seconds)

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Pay-TV is in Free Fall; What’s it Mean for Sports Teams’ Valuations?

    Pay-TV providers lost another 7 million subscribers (approximately) in 2022 as losses accelerated from 2021. The losses span those actually cutting the cord, plus those that simply don’t take on a pay-TV subscription in the first place.

    On this week’s podcast Colin and I discuss pay-TV’s melting iceberg, and among its consequences, what’s it mean for sports teams’ valuations and players’ salaries. Since cord-cutting came along, there’s always been a notion of sports providing a “firewall” bottom on pay-TV subscribers. But with so many sports rights now leaking into the streaming domain - having been snapped up by Big Tech - the paradigm-busting question looms larger.

    Another, related consequence of pay-TV’s implosion is the demise of regional sports networks (RSNs). They’re also experiencing financial turmoil due to bad deal-making, disconnects with audiences and sub-par demand. Even mighty ESPN has been the subject of M&A rumormongering as newly restored CEO Bob Iger has to pick his priorities.

    All of this is to say that the economics of the sports business are changing in front of our eyes. If sports networks’ financial viability is impaired, rendering them unable to competitively bid for rights, then the question becomes, will Big Tech step in as a backstop, building on their current commitment? As I assert in the podcast, I think their commitment to becoming a viable backstop will only become known as the ultimate CTV ad monetization opportunity crystallizes. Specifically, if CTV can legitimately become full/lower funnel - bringing in buckets of cash with it - then backstop viability is far more likely. Absent that it’s jump ball. We’ll see.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Key Takeaways from CTV Advertising PREVIEW: 2023

    At this past Tuesday’s VideoNuze Connected TV Advertising PREVIEW: 2023 virtual, 22 speakers on 5 sessions provided critical insights about the industry and its future direction. We discuss our key takeaways on today’s podcast.

    All of the videos are posted here.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: In India, Two Initiatives Preview Streaming’s Future

    This week we go on a “field trip” to India, where a battle between multibillionaires - at the intersection of streaming, marquee sports, mobile, commerce and FASTs - provides a glimpse of the future.

    First up, we discuss news that Viacom18 Media Pvt. a joint venture between Paramount Global and multibillionaire Mukesh Ambani’s conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd., the most valuable company in India - which in 2021 won the rights, for $2.7 billion, to stream the hugely popular Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket games - and intends to do so for free to consumers.

    Viacom18 Media actually poached the IPL streaming rights from Disney, which had them previously and used the games to drive Disney+ Hotstar subscriptions. Disney's direct-to-consumer strategy remains murky as Colin and I discussed 2 weeks ago.

    The move underscores trends that Colin and I have discussed extensively around marquee sports moving from broadcast/cable to streaming (most recently in January, with fuboTV's CEO David Gandler) and the accelerating pace of free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST).

    Next, we discuss “miniTV,” a set of freely available video content that is placed front and center within Amazon India’s shopping app. While miniTV, which launched in May, 2021 got off to a modest start, apparently in 2022, its first full year of operations, it has picked up momentum. This is due to the popularity of certain original programming that Amazon has invested in.

    Amazon’s strategy of purposely giving away premium video for free parallels what it has done with Prime Video, investing heavily in originals like “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” without seeking to directly monetize them. Rather, Amazon uses its massive commerce business to subsidize the cost of content creation, because it has been able to demonstrate to itself that video drives higher levels of Prime acquisition/retention, and Prime members buy more stuff from Amazon, of course.

    Jeff Bezos articulated this “flywheel” in an interview with Walt Mossberg at the Code Conference in 2016, putting as fine a point on it as one can imagine, by famously saying “When we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes” (start at the 36:56 mark for the segment). Amazon’s approach to subsidizing video is virtually inimitable, except perhaps by Apple and Google, and should justifiably strike terror in the heart of every media company CEO.

    In India, with miniTV, we are seeing Amazon run the same playbook, except absent a Prime membership requirement, and with a more specific focus on mobile consumption, primarily by younger viewers. If media company CEOs around the world were not already on high alert from Prime Video, miniTV should put them on an immediate DEFCON 1 footing.

    (As a side note, I believe that another flywheel, in CTV advertising, is also developing, as I wrote back in June, 2021. Speakers at next week’s VideoNuze CTV Advertising PREVIEW: 2023 will emphatically drive this home. Note, complimentary sign up is available.)

    Last but not least, and at the risk of stating the obvious: Bezos’s net worth currently stands at approximately $120 billion, while Ambani’s is around $84 billion. In short, both of them bring essentially unlimited resources to the streaming game, free to subsidize anything they believe is in their companies’ long-term interests. The stakes in streaming have never been as high and only the deepest-pocketed need apply.

    The two initiatives in India are a preview of streaming’s future. As I said, DEFCON 1.

    Pack your bags for the trip to India, and listen to the podcast to learn more (27 minutes, 20 seconds)



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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Interview With BBC Studios’ GM of FAST Channels Beth Anderson

    In this week’s podcast, Colin and I are delighted to welcome BBC Studios’ GM of FAST Channels, Beth Anderson as our guest. BBC Studios has been one of the leading innovators and early adopters of FAST, and has a well-developed, highly-strategic plan for how to optimize its vast, 100-year old iconic programming library through aggressive FAST distribution.

    Beth explains all of this and also dives more specifically into how BBC Studios has created a meticulous decision tree to guide which content to incorporate into its FAST channels, how it has completely revamped its audience targeting approach moving away from traditional age/income demo targeting toward “mood-based” programming based on a concept of viewers’ “displaced nostalgia,” why BBC Studios’ is both comfortable with and encouraging of platform partners’ disparate ad monetization strategies even if the consequence is inconsistent viewer experiences with identical BBC FAST channels across platforms,

    During the interview Beth articulates two incisive points about FASTs that are among the best I’ve heard: that FASTs should be thought of as “grandchildren of linear TV, but children of SVOD” and that “FAST is the most equitable form of media we’ve seen in a generation.” Both so well said.

    As a major bonus, Beth will be participating in VideoNuze’s CTV Advertising PREVIEW virtual event on February 28th (complimentary registration) on the panel “FASTs – Road to Gold or Road to “SLOW?” with Tejas Shah (SVP, Commercial Strategy and Analytics, FilmRise), Josh Sharma (VP of Advertising Partnerships, Allen Media Group) and Aneessa Steilen (VP, Media and Distribution Marketing, Vevo) with the one and only Eric John (VP, Media Center, IAB) moderating.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (48 minutes, 7 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer Future Seems Murky

    Disney reported its fiscal 2023 first quarter this week, the first since Bob Iger returned to the CEO role. While other parts of the business are doing reasonably well, for Direct-to-Consumer, which includes Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, subscriber gains were weak and ARPU was down. Iger also shared that Disney will cut its content spending by $3 billion this year. For Colin and me, all of that makes Disney’s DTC future seem murky.

    Disney also plans to lay off 7,000 employees and take a $5.5 billion charge, while also stating it intends to restore its dividend by the end of the year - all a big victory for Wall Street. The layoff continues a disturbing pattern by most large tech and media companies (a topic about which I do a mini-rant during the podcast, sorry) which has put CEOs' lack of accountability on full display and smashed any delusions anyone might have had about any sort of an employer-employee "social contract" still existing (again sorry, I digress)

    The most meaningful quote from Disney’s earnings call on late Wednesday was when Iger said “…the streaming business, which I believe is the future and has been growing, is not delivering basically the kind of profitability or bottom-line results that the linear business delivered for us over a few decades.”

    Nor will it ever.

    As Colin and I discuss this week (and as we’ve discussed ad nauseam in the past), the linear business model was based on the pay-TV multichannel bundle, which was the very definition of artificial economics. In the bundle, lots and lots of channels were delivered for a single price. The bundle’s monthly price steadily increased over the years as broadcast and cable TV networks raised their carriage fees paid by pay-TV operators.

    The “elephant in the room” was that most pay-TV subscribers watched only a handful of TV networks, and yet paid for ALL of them. By far the biggest beneficiaries of pay-TV’s artificial economics were sports networks, with ESPN at the very top of the list. I first wrote about the “sports tax” 12 years ago in “Not a Sports Fan? Then You're Getting Sacked For At Least $2 Billion Per Year.” Things have only gotten worse for non-sports fans since. However, with streaming’s rise, the elephant is now fully visible, and has driven cord-cutting to record levels.

    And just as the Internet has ruthlessly rationalized the economics of practically every other industry, it is now doing the same to the TV industry. The Internet allows zero room for artificial economics and anyone who violates this precept is an ostrich with their heads fully underground. Iger understands this, and his quote should fairly be seen as a signal to Wall Street that Disney is extremely unlikely to ever achieve historical financial performance in its TV businesses.

    As if all of that weren’t enough, Iger then went on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” yesterday and told David Faber that “Everything is on the table…" with respect to Hulu’s eventual ownership resolution (reminder, Disney has a deal in which Comcast can force Disney to buy its 30% stake for a set minimum price that would translate into around $9 billion).

    Iger’s comments basically turned Hulu into a hot potato. Really dedicated VideoNuze readers will recall that almost 5 years ago, in March, 2018 I wrote “Why Comcast Should Take Control of Hulu.” Then, subsequent to Comcast’s Peacock reveal in January, 2020, I followed up with “Quick Math Shows Comcast Missed Out On Almost $6 Billion in Revenue By Not Buying the Rest of Hulu.”

    Instead, Comcast/NBCU launched Peacock and will have lost over $5.5 billion on it just between 2022-2023. If Comcast does come back in and buy Disney’s 70% stake in Hulu it will rank as the #1 irony in all the years I’ve been in the industry.

    And it would make Disney’s DTC future even murkier still.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (34 minutes, 46 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Are FASTs a Road to Gold or a Road to “SLOW?”

    On this week’s podcast, Colin Dixon and I boldly  introduce to the industry a new acronym (technically it’s a “macronym” or “nested acronym”).

    We’re all aware that free ad-supported TV (“FAST) services are currently all the rage and that many are predicting it will become a multibillion dollar streaming segment in the years ahead.  

    Content providers, TV OEMs and TV networks are seizing the opportunity by launching new FAST services to capitalize on two key trends - advertisers’ insatiable demand for premium CTV ad inventory and viewers’ SVOD fatigue especially as economic uncertainty surges.

    All of this makes FASTs a “road to gold” in the short-term.

    But, in the longer-term, an unintended consequence of FASTs’ growth may be to precipitate accelerated churn among SVOD providers. Hence the new macronym: SVOD Losses On the Way (“SLOW”).

    There are still only 24 hours in the day, and viewers constantly make choices about what to watch, what services get displaced and what they’re willing to pay for. If viewers reapportion their viewing time to strong FAST services that are flooding the market, then they’re being “trained” to consume free premium video via FASTs. Further, their expectations for ever-better shows to be accessible without payment also escalates.

    SLOW is a concept I’ve been contemplating for some time, especially as I read one FAST-boosting report or article after another, as well as observing the slowing growth SVODs are already experiencing.

    But this week’s announcements of WBD moving “Westworld” plus a trove of other programming to Tubi and to The Roku Channel FAST services really crystallized things for me. After all, “Westworld” is a show that garnered 54 Emmy nominations and 9 wins in its four-year run. Its popularity has faded recently and HBO cancelled it, but it still boasted a familiar, name-brand cast. For HBO, it was no “Game of Thrones” or “The Sopranos,” but it was respectable. Now all 36 episodes will be available completely for free on Tubi and The Roku Channel.

    To be clear - and as I say in the podcast - I remain a fan of FASTs. I’m only raising the caution flag that the decision-making around which FASTs to launch and what premium content will be included must be made with a lot of strategic awareness. Companies condition their customers what to expect; once this conditioning is set it is incredibly difficult to recondition them.

    Note: There will be a dedicated session on whether FASTs are a road to gold or a road to “SLOW” at VideoNuze’s CTV Advertising PREVIEW virtual event on Feb. 28th afternoon. Sign-up is complimentary. Initial speakers being announced next week.



    Listen to the podcast to learn more (38 minutes, 2 seconds)


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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: ESPN is Getting Squeezed From All Sides

    Cord-cutting is accelerating. Deep-pocketed Big Tech (Amazon, Apple, Google) are scooping up marquee sports rights in an effort to add value to their services businesses. Linear TV viewing is collapsing. Consumers' attention is fragmenting as myriad social media and other activities beckon for eyeballs.

    As Colin and I discuss on this week’s episode, ESPN finds itself at the center of this storm, as the venerable TV network gets squeezed from all sides. Adding urgency to the problem, and as we also explore this week, Sinclair's Diamond Sports Group, which owns Bally Sports, a big collection of Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) acquired from Disney as part of its Fox deal, is edging toward declaring bankruptcy.

    While Diamond’s demise is closely tied to the debt it incurred by overpaying for the Fox RSNs in 2019, it raises more consequential questions about the health of the sports TV ecosystem - and therefore the value of sports broadcasting rights themselves. These rights have been funded primarily through the “sports tax” on pay-TV subscribers who are not sports fans (see “Not a Sports Fan, Then You’re Getting Sacked for At Least $2 Billion Per Year,” which I wrote back in February, 2011). Non-sports fans are getting soaked for far more than this in 2023, with huge - and mostly unknown - sums embedded in their monthly pay-TV bills (partly contributing to escalating cord-cutting).

    Net, net, the delicate equilibrium in the sports TV ecosystem is under major pressure. With respect to ESPN, newly reinstated Disney CEO Bob Iger has a pressing - yet until recently unimaginable - question to address: long-term, is ESPN still a good business? And if it’s not, should Disney keep the network anyway, or seek to sell it off?

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (30 minutes, 18 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Interview With FuboTV’s CEO and Co-Founder David Gandler

    In this week’s podcast, Colin and I do a deep dive interview with FuboTV’s CEO and Co-Founder David Gandler. FuboTV, which reported having 1.6 million subscribers at the end of Q3 ’22, has differentiated itself primarily with sports, which, as we discuss, has its advantages and disadvantages.

    Specifically in the podcast, we dig into escalating and fragmenting sports rights, what impact tech giants like Apple, Amazon and YouTube will have as they stream more sports on their platforms, the role of FAST channels and regional sports networks (RSNs) for pay-TV providers, the decision to shutter FuboTV’s nascent sportsbook, how FuboTV is pursuing AI for cutting-edge user experiences and much more.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (42 minutes, 45 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Evaluating WBD’s New “Warner Pass” Streaming Bundle in France

    In this week’s podcast, Colin and I discuss Warner Bros. Discovery’s plan to launch a new streaming bundle in France dubbed “Warner Pass,” exclusively on Amazon Prime Channels, which Variety reported. Warner Pass will include all HBO content, plus 12 WBD channels including CNN, Discovery Channel, Eurosport and others.

    The move caught our attention because WBD has been quite vocal about its intention to launch a combined HBO Max / discovery+ service (expected to be simply called “Max”), which the Variety report noted it still plans to introduce in France in 2024.

    Colin and I think Warner Pass could offer clues about how WBD will price the combined service eventually (especially in Europe). Yet it raises a concern that having two different streaming brands in France with similar content is clumsy and could cause consumer confusion (not to mention spending required to support two streaming brands).

    Further, as we discussed in December, Warner Pass is yet another step in reversing the company’s strategy on third-party distribution. Prior WarnerMedia management decided to pull HBO from Amazon Prime Channels and others in September, 2021. As I wrote back then, in a direct-to-consumer world, not owning the subscriber, nor seeing their detailed viewing data, are real drawbacks.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (31 minutes, 56 seconds)


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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: How Do Sunday Ticket Economics Work for YouTube?

    Happy new year and welcome to the first edition of Inside the Stream for 2023. Just after recording our Top 10 streaming stories of 2022 podcast a couple of weeks ago YouTube announced its deal with the NFL for Sunday Ticket.

    In this week’s podcast we dig into how we think the economics of the deal might work. Colin modeled many of the variables, which I then tinkered with. The clear caveat is that no external person, including us, really knows all the pieces of the deal, nor the terms. So we’re taking our best guesses, based on how Sunday Ticket has performed for DirecTV and the new value we believe YouTube brings to the package.

    Based on all of this Colin is skeptical about YouTube’s ability to turn a profit on Sunday Ticket, while I’m more optimistic. In addition I highlight a number of valuable strategic aspects of the deal to YouTube and Google, especially gaining direct experience with the NFL for the next 6-7 years. These insights will be extremely valuable as YouTube contemplates potentially bidding for some or all of the NFL broadcast package when it’s up for renewal in 2033.

    Ultimately the value of Sunday Ticket to YouTube hinges on its ability to monetize the package much better than DirecTV did - more subscribers and more advertising revenue.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (30 minutes, 36 seconds)


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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Top 10 Streaming Video Stories of 2022 and Happy Holidays

    Keeping with our end of year tradition, this week on Inside the Stream, Colin and I discuss the top 10 most important streaming video stories (in our humble view) of 2022.

    Several of our top 10 stories focus on broader industry trends that are accelerating, such as cord-cutting and the rise of connected TV advertising. Others focus on changes at specific companies including YouTube, Netflix, Disney and WBD. And others involve emerging themes such as sports rights migrating to streamers, adoption of hybrid video-on-demand (HVOD) business models and the growth of FASTs. The top 10 highlight the industry’s vibrancy, as well as the challenges of navigating an ever-changing landscape.

    Thank you for listening to Inside the Stream in 2022; hopefully you’ve found value in our discussions. We look forward to continuing the dialogue in 2023 and wish you all happy holidays!

    Listen to the podcast (36 minutes, 39 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: World Cup 4K, Netflix Ad Refunds, HBO Max Removes “Westworld”, Music FASTs

    On this week’s edition of Inside the Stream, nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I dig into four topics: World Cup streaming quality and the lack of 4K differentiation, Netflix’s offer to refund advertisers due to inventory shortfalls, WBD’s decision to remove “Westworld” from HBO Max, and the proliferation of music-oriented FAST channels.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (31 minutes, 25 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Does HBO Max Rejoining Amazon Channels Make Sense?

    HBO Max is coming back to Amazon Prime Video Channels, reversing a move by prior owner WarnerMedia just over a year ago. Removing HBO Max led to an immediate loss of 5 million subscribers who had signed up through Amazon Channels (it’s unclear how many rejoined directly).

    On today’s podcast, Colin and I try puzzle through why WBD, which is now HBO’s owner, would want HBO Max to rejoin Amazon Channels. Although Amazon will surely generate some incremental HBO Max subscribers, their lifetime value is likely to be far lower than HBO Max subscribers who sign up directly with the service. That’s because Amazon has “customer ownership” of these subscribers and shares little to no data with SVOD providers that would be critical to retention (starting with an email address to directly communicate with them). I wrote about my personal experience with this in August, 2021.

    The move seems to suggest a push for incremental subscribers, despite the likelihood of a higher churn rate. That’s at odds with streaming services executives recent emphasis on profitability over pure subscriber growth. It’s possible Colin and I are missing something here. If you think you know what it is please let us know.

    To wrap up the discussion we also discuss WBD's reported new strategy to collect its streaming services under the "Max" brand in 2023.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (34 minutes, 4 seconds)



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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: AMC Networks Typifies Challenges Facing TV Networks in DTC Streaming World

    Earlier this week AMC Networks disclosed a large-scale layoff (reportedly 20%) and that their CEO was departing. AMC Networks’ chairman James Dolan said in an internal memo that “It was our belief that cord cutting losses would be offset by gains in streaming. This has not been the case. We are primarily a content company and the mechanisms for the monetization of content are in disarray.”

    AMC Networks’ predicament typifies what’s happening across the industry. In today’s podcast Colin and I share estimates of what AMC might be earning from its streaming services vs. what it earns from its linear channels distributed by pay-TV operators. Other data we share highlights the conundrum broadcast and cable TV networks face: their assumptions for target pricing for their streaming services and subscriber forecasts are too high.

    The monetization disarray AMC and others are experiencing is the messy transition from the pay-TV world that masked what consumers were paying for individual channels and how they were valued vs. the DTC world where consumers are in full control.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (31 minutes, 56 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Highlights from CTV Brand Suitability Summit virtual

    Yesterday was VideoNuze’s Connected TV Advertising Brand Suitability Summit virtual which included 24 speakers on 5 sessions. On today’s podcast nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I discuss some of the key highlights from the afternoon, including the session Colin moderated.

    Speakers are optimistic about CTV for many reasons, despite economic uncertainty. However, throughout the afternoon many noted challenges in transparency, frequency management, fragmentation and measurement. Speakers shared their thoughts on what’s being done, and still needs to be done, to address these challenges.

    Consistent with the conference’s theme, there was a lot of focus on how advertisers and agencies are thinking about brand suitability and also what initiatives they’re pursuing to promote DE&I within their organizations and the work they do. I’ll be posting all of the session videos early next week on VideoNuze for on-demand viewing.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Can Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer Business Become Profitable in 2024?

    Although Disney gained a healthy 14.6 million direct-to-consumer subscribers in its fiscal fourth quarter reported this week, it also lost nearly $1.5 billion in the segment. That raised its annual DTC loss for fiscal 2022 to over $4 billion, more than twice the $1.7 billion it lost in fiscal 2021. Disney reiterated that it expects DTC losses will decrease going forward and that Disney+ specifically will achieve profitability in fiscal 2024, absent a “meaningful shift in the economic climate.”

    On this week’s edition of Inside the Stream, nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I examine the various cross-currents impacting Disney’s DTC business going forward. These include declining ARPU at Disney+ domestically and Disney+ Hotstar, upcoming price increases, SVOD and FAST competition, content costs and more. The stakes are high for Disney to turn the corner on DTC profitability but it isn’t clear when or how that will happen.

    Listen to the podcast (31 minutes, 2 seconds)


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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.

    Listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 48 seconds)




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