Last night Facebook announced “Watch,” as its primary video initiative. Watch is an update of Facebook’s Video Tab, which was originally introduced in April, 2016, but with a greater emphasis on professional video. Facebook positioned Watch as “a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans and earn money for their work.” Watch will roll out to a limited number of users in the U.S. initially with a broader update coming soon.
Watch is entirely ad-supported, with partners keeping 55% of revenue and Facebook keeping 45%. Facebook is working with partners on a number of short-form shows that it characterized as falling into one of four buckets: shows that engage fans and community, live shows that connect directly with fans, shows that follow a narrative arc or have a consistent theme and live events that bring communities together (here's an initial list). As has been widely reported, Facebook is funding some of the shows itself.
Categories: Social Media
When Discovery announced that it was acquiring Scripps Networks Interactive earlier this week for $14.6 billion, a lot of the coverage naturally focused on how the combined companies will have more leverage in their pay-TV carriage negotiations and also how significant cost-savings and synergies will result.
While all of that is true, the inescapable reality is that because pay-TV subscriptions as a whole are shrinking, Discovery’s best case scenario is that it can get a larger piece of a smaller pie. A far more interesting angle, to me at least, is how the company can accelerate its online and social video initiatives. A prime place to start would be by looking at the success that Scripps’ Food Network is having in 2017, as it as slightly surpassed BuzzFeed’s well-publicized Tasty, in the hotly competitive social video food space.
It’s no secret that Google, Facebook and other social platforms can help video publishers expand their audience reach and monetization. But the downside is they create risks around losing control of the business, exposing valuable viewer insights and reducing margins. All publishers are grappling with how to balance opportunity and risk with respect to their platform strategies.
At our Online Video Ad Summit, we had a really thoughtful panel called “The Playbook for Surviving and Thriving in the Platform Era” which dug into many of these issues and how publishers/agencies are managing the inherent tradeoffs.
The session included Jarrod Dicker (Head of Commercial Product and Technology, Washington Post), Paul Marcum (President, Truffle Pig), Michael Shane (Global Head of Digital Innovation, Bloomberg Media), with Lorne Brown (President, SintecMedia) moderating. All participants offered highly specific examples of their decision-making and what’s working for them.
Watch the video (37 minutes, 27 seconds).
The latest episode of the intensely watched drama, “What Will Facebook Do With Original Video?” arrived yesterday via a Wall Street Journal report. According to the report, Facebook is meeting with talent agencies, telling them it is willing to spend up to $3 million per episode of original scripted shows, which would be about on par with high-quality cable TV originals.
Facebook is also open to scripted shows under $1 million per episode, and also has an appetite for unscripted content running less than 10 minutes per episode.
No surprise, Facebook is targeting audiences age 13-34 years-old, with a focus on 17-30 year-olds. But in a twist, Facebook reportedly only wants shows that don’t include politics, news, nudity or bad language. These parameters significantly limit the range of what Facebook could pursue. This type of a Hallmark Channel’ish approach could also misfire with younger audiences who enjoy more authentic-feeling shows (think “Girls” for example).
Categories: Social Media
I’m pleased to present the 373rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First up this week, Colin shares his thoughts on the BBC’s new partnership with Twitter to stream coverage of the upcoming U.K. election. We agree this seems strategic for both companies and picks up on Twitter’s work in the U.S. election. As Colin points it, Twitter gives BBC access to critical younger audiences. For Twitter, the BBC deal also follows its recently announced partnership with Bloomberg.
Then we turn our attention back to Facebook video, which we discussed on last week’s podcast. News that A&E, MTV and WGN are all cutting back on scripted originals in the face of SVOD companies’ mounting investments got us wondering exactly what Facebook will get for its $250K per episode (which Mike Shields at BI also raised). Given the middling success AOL, YouTube and others have had with originals, the question of how Facebook will differentiate is intriguing.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 40 seconds)
I’m pleased to present the 372nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week we discuss 4 stories that caught our attention in recent days. First, Viacom’s plan to anchor an entertainment-only skinny bundle without sports or news networks. Colin and I are intrigued, but for a variety of reasons are skeptical Viacom is the right company to lead this.
Next we turn to Facebook, which has made no secret of its interest in pursuing longer-form video. This week brought news of its initial partnerships and potential business models.
We then discuss Amazon Channels expansion into the UK and Germany this week, building on the US model for Prime users to easily subscribe to various SVOD services. Both of us have been very bullish on Channels for a while and see lots of potential for it in other geographies.
Finally we dig into Snapchat Shows, the fast-growing social network’s plan to enlist multiple media companies to make vertical videos. Variety did a really good roundup of all the activity earlier this week, which suggests substantial progress.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 48 seconds)
VidMob, whose platform provides clients access to thousands of video post-production professionals, is expanding its scope, announcing this morning that it is launching a self-service ad platform for Snapchat. This means that small-to-medium sized businesses will be able to buy, create and manage video ad campaigns through one interface. To date only larger brands and agencies have been able to buy Snap Ads.
I’m pleased to present the 358th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Apple and Facebook have contrasting ambitions in video, with the former pursuing a very modest approach while the latter appears to be embarking on an all-out company pivot to being video-first.
Earlier this week I wrote about Apple’s new TV series, “Planet of the Apps” and “Carpool Karaoke” spinoff. They each have their own appeal, but are far from the expensive undertakings we’ve seen from Netflix and Amazon, for example. That means that far from re-inventing TV as Apple was one predicted to do, it will in fact continue to play a very small role, which Colin and I see as a real missed opportunity.
Meanwhile, Facebook has confirmed it will launch connected TV apps as the company aims to have users expand how they engage with the social media giant. Colin and discuss some of the pros and cons of the CTV approach and also Facebook’s motivation, which is to attract TV ad dollars.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 30 seconds)
Yesterday Facebook shed more light on its plans to get users to consume a lot more video, by announcing that it will launch a connected TV app soon for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV, with others to follow. In addition to the blog post, Facebook’s VP of Partnerships Dan Rose was interviewed at Code Media and provided more details on Facebook’s overall video strategy (see video below).
The connected TV app will allow users to watch videos shared by friends or Pages that they follow, live videos and recommended videos. Perhaps the most interesting use case is watching videos that you saved while scrolling your news feed.
Of course the whole idea of a connected TV app being relevant to Facebook users is predicated on the company’s aggressive push into video. In yesterday’s interview, Rose talked at length about the role of the new “video tab” in the Facebook UI which acts as a central repository for live and on-demand videos, augmenting what is seen when scrolling the News Feed.
Many analysts will be looking past Facebook’s Q4 ’16 earnings, which will be reported later today, for reassuring signs of how the company will continue its blazing revenue growth in 2017 and beyond. Over the past couple years, there has been no other company (except possibly Google and Apple) that has benefited financially more from the shift to mobile lifestyles.
Facebook’s 1.8 billion monthly active users in Q3 ’16 were 93% mobile. And 97% of the company’s $7 billion in Q3 ’16 revenue, which was up 56% vs. Q3 ’15, was advertising-based. Clearly Facebook has become a mobile advertising machine.
But trees don’t grow to the sky; the number of global mobile users is slowing and Facebook’s ability to include more ads in users’ newsfeeds is reaching its limit. As a result, Facebook has messaged that revenue growth will soften. Clearly Facebook needs a next act, and so over the past 6-9 months Facebook executives, including CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, have repeatedly signaled that the company intends to be “video-first.”
Brands, publishers and celebrities are all experimenting with Facebook Live, to see how live-streaming can help them connect with their target audiences. One interesting example that hit my radar is Lowe’s home improvement stores, which, this past Saturday night, used Facebook Live to broadcast a 45-minute show featuring HGTV’s “Property Brothers” to reveal a sample of Black Friday sale items.
In the video, Drew and Jonathan Scott open a series of boxes which often contain gentle pranks (e.g. a marching band, confetti, puppies, etc.) as well as actual products that will be on Black Friday sales (e.g. wine chiller, combination tool kit, Roomba vacuum cleaner, etc.). For much of the video, the brothers are ad-libbing, casually jibing each other and keeping the show moving along.
Here’s an eye-opening data point: according to new research from Brightcove, 46% of respondents said they made a purchase as a result of watching a branded video on social media (with 53% of U.S. respondents doing so). And another 32% of respondents said they considered doing so. The data shows the increasing importance of social media as an influential platform for marketers and the power of branded videos - as opposed to conventional 15 or 30-second ads - as a key purchase motivator.
With marketers increasingly concerned about ROI on their spending and consequently shifting dollars into digital media, the research only magnifies the challenge TV networks face in retaining advertisers’ allegiance.
I'm pleased to present the 347th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
On this week’s podcast we discuss Facebook’s video ambitions. Colin was in London at the OTT TV World Summit where he saw a fascinating presentation by Matthew Corbin, who’s in global product marketing for Facebook. Colin shares highlights of what he learned, including how Facebook thinks of itself as the “world’s discovery agent.” Matthew said Facebook thinks of itself “not as a broadcast network, but as a network of broadcasters,” which feels like an apt description. Combined with Facebook’s targeting capabilities, this translates to lots of potential.
On Facebook’s Q3 ’16 earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg also highlighted how he wants video to be at the center of all of Facebook’s apps and services. It’s becoming clearer that the primary way Facebook is going to be able to continue its torrid revenue growth is by shifting over more TV ad spending, hence the push toward video.
After discussing Facebook, we shift gears and spend 5 minutes reviewing the excellent Comcast-Netflix integration which I wrote about earlier this week.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 26 seconds)
As readers of VideoNuze know, live sports is the last bastion of hope for TV execs that want to retain their legendary grip on Madison Avenue. So it’s no surprise The Wall Street Journal catalyzed media insider rumblings with its October 6th piece entitled “Ratings Fumble for NFL Surprises Networks, Advertisers: So far this season, viewership on major networks is down about 10% from last season.” Writers have followed-up with speculation about why the NFL is experiencing the decline.
Is it the content? Perhaps Presidential politics are blame; maybe it’s the “Kaepernick effect”; or, it could be an unlucky streak of boring games.
Is it the disruption of TV ongoing? Perhaps younger viewers are catching the highlights and recaps they need on Social Media. Or young adults might be watching online; or doing something else entirely.
When it comes to questions about the future of Sports Television, Social Media has important things to say. New research from Ring Digital llc gives us insight into the challenges and opportunities facing Sports TV as Social Media consumption grows.
Here are some fascinating findings along with the Thuuz Sports perspective on one possibility that no one’s talking about.
Facebook released an important feature yesterday, enabling certain content creators to schedule and promote Facebook Live broadcasts in advance. While a lot of the hype around live-streaming has been about capturing breaking news - with streams spontaneously discovered - as I explained a few months ago on our weekly podcast, the bigger application for live-streaming is for broadcasts scheduled in advance and promoted to content creators’ fans.
The revelation that Facebook miscalculated the average time viewers watch videos on its platform is an embarrassment and a setback for the company, but it’s hardly a disaster for it or for the online video industry.
First, let’s all admit - any of us who has ever created a spreadsheet has, at one time or another referenced the wrong cell when creating formulas. And the more complicated the formula (and the later into the night it was created!), the more likely there will be an error in a cell reference. Often that error is subsequently caught by a colleague or a manager, looking things over with a fresh eye and methodical approach.
Last Thursday night felt like a milestone moment to me in the continued mainstreaming of online video viewing. At 9pm, I turned on my 46-inch Insignia HDTV, toggled to input 3, grabbed my Fire TV remote control, scrolled to the app section, downloaded the Twitter app and began watching the Jets play the Bills over my 100 mbps Comcast broadband connection in pristine quality. Just like that I was watching an NFL game outside the traditional TV ecosystem.
The whole process took just a few minutes and likely could have been accomplished by the least tech-savvy among us. On the surface it might seem like a relatively trivial undertaking, but in reality, the experience reflected the significant technology and consumer behavioral advancements that have taken place in just the past 10 years or so. Every one of these advancements was critical in enabling the Twitter broadcast. And every one of them is also causing the seismic changes roiling the broader TV industry.
Earlier this week AdAge reported that Facebook confirmed it is running tests of mid-roll ads in live streams by certain publishing partners. The ads can appear 5 minutes into the live stream and can run for a max of 15 seconds. The ads are drawn from promoted video campaigns already running on Facebook, but advertisers are able to opt out if they’d like.
The test is clearly just a toe in the water for Facebook in inserting ads in live streams, which to date have run ad-free. But, to the extent that the initiative develops further, and possibly evolves to allow pre-roll ads, it would signal an important step forward in Facebook monetizing its live streams and becoming an even bigger player in online video advertising.
I'm pleased to present the 333rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Facebook’s blowout Q2 earnings this week attest to how thoroughly the company is capitalizing on mobile. But with its intention to become video-first, Facebook is now embarking on a whole new set of challenges and opportunities, most particularly around monetization, where the company’s massive scale and unique targeting offsets its avoidance of pre-rolls, the workhorse video ad unit.
In today’s podcast, Colin and I further assess Facebook’s video content initiatives (especially Facebook Live) and how they will be monetized. We also contrast Facebook’s live-streaming media partnerships with those of Twitter, which is very focused on live sports and becoming the place for digital water-cooler conversations around them.
Listen now to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 6 seconds)
Facebook announced off-the-charts Q2 ’16 earnings yesterday, including $2 billion in net income, double what it was just 6 months ago. Monthly active users increased to 1.71 billion, with 1.1 billion using Facebook daily. From a standing start in mobile just 4 years ago, Facebook generated $5.2 billion or 84% of its quarterly ad revenue from mobile.
There is no question that Facebook has thoroughly conquered mobile. But, far from sitting on its laurels, Facebook is evolving in many ways and over the past year video has become an ever-bigger part of Facebook’s story. Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s Founder, Chairman and CEO, highlighted the role that video is playing in delivering more engaging experiences. Then on yesterday’s earnings call Zuckerberg went a step further, stating the company’s goals plainly, “We see a world that is video first with video at the heart of all of our apps and service.”