Posts for 'Sports'

  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Exploring the Launch of NFL+

    This week on Inside the Stream nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I explore the launch of NFL+, the new direct-to-consumer streaming service the NFL announced earlier this week. The service is mobile-only and most of the content is non-exclusive, leading Colin and me to wonder who is the target customer, and how big a market is it?

    But given the contraction in the pay-TV industry, in the long-term the NFL may be heading to all streaming future, either direct-to-consumer or with partners. So NFL+ gives the league a new opportunity to connect directly with fans.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Apple - Major League Soccer Deal Moves Sports Deeper Into Streaming

    Apple has signed a ten-year deal with Major League Soccer to stream all MLS matches starting in 2023, without any local broadcast blackouts. The deal moves sports deeper into streaming, and away from traditional pay-TV.

    Chris Harris, Publisher of World Soccer Talk, joins Colin and me this week to understand the significance of the deal and what impact it may have on sports going forward. Chris is an authority on global soccer and also wrote about how Apple might price the MLS subscription service. We explore all angles of the deal with Chris.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Streaming Super Bowl Scores Again

    Welcome to this week’s edition of Inside the Stream, the podcast where nScreenMedia’s Chief Analyst Colin Dixon and I take listeners inside the world of streaming video.

    Last Sunday’s Super Bowl was viewed by over 112 million people with around 10% or more streaming the game. On today’s podcast Colin and I discuss the mostly positive experiences that streamers had, albeit with latency that ranged up to 40+ seconds.

    We also discuss strong results for Paramount+ and what’s ahead for the company.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: More Sports Coming to Streaming; NBCU Picks First Nielsen Alternative

    Welcome to this week’s edition of Inside the Stream, the podcast where nScreenMedia’s Chief Analyst Colin Dixon and I take listeners inside the world of streaming video.

    This week Colin has been following various reports of NBA, MLB and Premier League potentially coming to streaming, courtesy of Sinclair, Apple and DAZN. Colin explains more about what this might mean for the industry, as consumers seek out new alternatives.

    Then we discuss NBCUniversal’s move that it has selected iSpot.tv as its first cross-platform video certified measurement partner. NBCU’s move is the latest by the industry to find a new currency alternative to Nielsen, the long-time standard and to better compete with digital options. NBCU said more measurement partners will be announced.

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  • Peacock Makes Smart Move Live Streaming Full Winter Olympics

    Yesterday Peacock and NBCUniversal announced that every minute of every live event at the upcoming Winter Olympics from Beijing will be streamed on Peacock. In addition, full replays of all competition will be available on Peacock immediately upon conclusion. Peacock viewers will also have access to the Opening and Closing ceremonies, the studio shows and medal ceremonies.

    The announcements are smart moves and allow Peacock to clearly communicate and promote that all events will be available on the service. It’s a big improvement from last summer’s Olympics, which had incomplete coverage on Peacock and where replays and clips of concluded events sometimes were delayed and/or showed up on YouTube prior to being posted on Peacock itself. The execution fell short of many Peacock viewers’ expectations.

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  • How CTV Advertising Can Drive Super Bowl Ads Above $10 Million Per Spot

    News yesterday that NBC has certain advertisers willing to pay a record price of up to $6.5 million for a 2022 Super Bowl spot, 18% higher than this year, and that it has fewer than five unsold 30-second spots remaining for February’s big game, brought to mind a newsletter I wrote way back in February, 2006 entitled “The $10 Million Super Bowl Ad?” (Unfortunately link no longer available). In it I asserted that Super Bowl ads would eventually command $10 million.

    For reference, back in 2007 NBC sold spots in Super Bowl LXI for $2.5 million apiece. That means the price per spot has grown by an annual compounded rate of approximately 6.5%. That is 3.5x the rate of inflation over that 15 year period, which was approximately 1.9%. If Super Bowl ad rates continue to increase at an average of 6.5% per year, then the price will hit $10 million per spot in about 7 years, for the 2029 big game.

    (Note, back in 2015, when NBC was charging $4.5 million per Super Bowl spot, NBC Sports Group’s EVP of Sales and Marketing Seth Winter said “$4.5 million is a steal. We think the Super Bowl is worth closer to $10 million in incremental exposure for marketers.” Worth it or not, 6 years later NBC believes a spot is now valued by the market at $6.5 million and to be fair some of the ads’ value is tied to a packaging approach NBC is taking with the 2022 Winter Olympics).

    What’s going on here?

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Why Peacock’s Olympics Coverage Has Been a Big Missed Opportunity

    Welcome to this week’s edition of Inside the Stream, the podcast where nScreenMedia’s Chief Analyst Colin Dixon and I take listeners inside the world of streaming video.

    Colin leads off the discussion this week, explaining why he believes that Peacock’s Olympics coverage has been a missed opportunity for the fledgling streamer. In particular, Colin notes that even for paying Peacock subscribers, marquee events are not only not available live, they are not even being made available immediately upon their conclusion (note I’m deferring to Colin on this, because as a former Boy Scout, I preemptively chose to record ALL Olympics events in YouTube TV, so I’m not watching anything on Peacock).

    Colin is highlighting a crucial point - that for non-pay-TV households, which have multiplied by millions since the 2016 Rio Games, especially among younger viewers - Peacock has fallen short of its potential to meet viewers’ expectations and fully resonate. We have a spirited debate about why this has happened, and what to expect going forward.

    Notwithstanding all of this, Comcast reported robust Peacock sign-ups yesterday in its Q2 ’20 earnings, up 20 million to 54 million (though still no word on how many are actually paying). It was also a strong quarter for both broadband and pay-TV. But we discuss what role pay-TV is going to play for Comcast in the wake of last week’s announcement to add Hulu with Live TV for broadband/Flex users (and my forecast that YouTube TV availability is likely just ahead).

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  • Research: Sports Viewership is Migrating to CTV and Streaming

    Sports has long been considered the “firewall” for pay-TV subscriptions, with marquee events carried by must-have broadcast and cable TV networks. But new research from The Trade Desk shows that sports viewership is increasing migrating away from linear TV and toward connected TVs and streaming. In its fourth “Future of TV” report, The Trade Desk found that 57% of Americans watch sports at least once per week, and that of these viewers, 44% are watching outside of linear TV. The number rises to 65% for 18-34 year olds.

    The viewership levels underscore the degree to which top tier sports have begun “leaking” out of the traditional broadcast/cable TV world and into streaming, and also the existential threat to pay-TV if a big chunk of sports eventually moves into the streaming realm. Importantly, The Trade Desk found that just 19% of TV viewers are returning to their pre-pandemic sports viewing mode, with 44% of fans saying they’re watching sports outside of linear TV (65% for 18-34 year olds).

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #554: Exploring the “Stability” of the NFL’s New Distribution Deals

    Welcome to the 554th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week we dig into the NFL’s new distribution deals with Amazon, CBS, ESPN, Fox and NBC, in the context of major changes that are happening in the TV and video industries.

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the deals bring “an unprecedented era of stability” to the NFL. But as Colin explains there are at least three key challenges that are going to buffet the NFL and the TV networks in the years ahead: diminished pay-TV subscriptions, which are the dominant way to watch games; shift in ad budgets to CTV and digital, especially as linear audiences drop; ad loads in NFL games that are far heavier than what viewers are being conditioned to expect, suggesting the games themselves need to be shortened.

    With a rumored $100 billion in distribution fees at stake, what do all of these challenges mean to the NFL and the networks?


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  • NFL Rights Deals Soar As Pay-TV Subscribers Contract

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the fees CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN each pay to broadcast NFL games will double or more in new long-term agreements currently being finalized. Once again we are presented with the incongruity that sports rights are escalating even as the pay-TV subscriber audience able to watch these networks is shrinking.

    As the Q4 earnings season wrapped up, the contraction of pay-TV was again in the news this week as analysts tallied the final losses for 2020. MoffettNathanson pegged the subscriber loss in 2020 among traditional cable, satellite and telco operators at approximately 6 million, with virtual operators (e.g. YouTube TV, Hulu, etc.) offsetting it by adding approximately 2 million subscribers.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #548: Disney Reaches 146 Million DTC Subscribers; Super Bowl Streaming Jumps

    Welcome to the 548th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Disney turned in yet another strong quarter of direct-to-consumer streaming growth, with 146.4 million subscribers at the end of its fiscal Q1. Disney+ added 21.2 million to reach 94.9 million subscribers. The only hiccup was that Hulu with Live TV dropped by 100K to 4 million subscribers. Colin and I dig into the numbers to better understand the trends revealed in the quarter.

    Then we shift to discussing this past Sunday’s Super Bowl TV ratings which were down and streaming viewers which were up. We discuss what drove each - and add a little commentary about our favorite ads.


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  • Super Bowl Streaming Soars to 5.7 Million Viewers

    The average minute audience for Super Bowl LV was a record 5.7 million viewers across all digital platforms according to data released by CBS Sports. This year’s streaming viewership was up approximately 67% from last year’s 3.4 million when the game was broadcast on Fox. It’s also over double the 2.6 million streaming viewers for the game two years ago, the last time it was broadcast by CBS.

    CBS Sports also said that viewers consumed over one billion streaming minutes, a first for Super Bowl viewing. CBS All Access also enjoyed a record day for new subscribers, unique devices, streams and time spent viewing. The game featured lots of clever ads for Paramount+, which launches on March 4th and will fold in CBS All Access.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #537: Regional Sports TV’s Troubles; Roku’s Strong Q3

    I’m pleased to present the 537th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.  

    On this week’s podcast, Colin and I return to sports, one of our favorite topics over the years. This week we focus on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s $4.2 billion write-down of the value of its regional sports networks (RSN) group, which was acquired in May, 2019. Sinclair has specifically been adversely affected by virtual pay-TV operators dropping its RSNs, Covid, cord-cutting and other industry trends that are being felt throughout sports TV.

    One of the beneficiaries of the industry’s restructuring is Roku, which reported a very strong Q3 ’20 yesterday. We wrap up the podcast touching on the highlights.


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  • Sinclair’s $4.2 Billion Regional Sports Write-Down Highlights Fundamental Industry Shifts

    Sinclair Broadcast Group reported its Q3 ’20 results this morning, including a $4.2 billion write-down on goodwill associated with its regional sports networks (RSNs), which a Sinclair subsidiary acquired just 18 months ago, at a valuation of $10.6 billion. $8.2 billion, or 85% of the $9.6 billion RSNs’ purchase, was financed with debt.

    The move means a stunning 40% of the deal’s value has been erased in very short order. The 21 RSNs were originally owned by Fox, but were assumed by Disney as part of the larger Disney-Fox takeover deal. Sinclair’s RSN devaluation is further proof of the shifting of the pay-TV industry and audience preferences.

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  • Samba TV’s Q3 Viewership Report Provides Insights About Dynamic Quarter

    It’s no surprise to anyone that the TV industry is being roiled by huge viewership changes accelerated by the pandemic. Samba TV’s new State of Viewership Quarterly Report for Q3 provides useful insights about the key trends that unfolded in the quarter, following an unprecedented first 6 months of the 2020.

    Among Samba TV’s key findings:

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  • Why Smart Brands Aren’t Scared of Sports TV Ratings Declines - Especially Not Now

    The  postponement and cancelation of every major sports league has created an entirely new reality for marketers and broadcasters alike. Sports have emerged as the absent center of the media landscape, one that has come to symbolize the disruption from COVID-19 in our industry. 

    It makes it easy to forget that, before the sudden pause, the value of live sports was coming under serious scrutiny. The NBA’s TV ratings were down dramatically. The Olympics, March Madness, MLB, and other marquee sports properties are demonstrating similar trends. Super Bowl ratings this year had inched upward - but it was the first time that had happened in five years, and the multi-year downward trend for the landmark game is unlikely to change course.

    Across the board, traditionally reported sports TV ratings were down, and it all begs the still-pressing question: should networks and advertisers freak out?

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #505: PGA Tour and ESPN Negotiators Belong on Mt. Olympus

    I’m pleased to present the 505th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week we discuss the PGA Tour’s $6.3 billion, nine-year rights deal announced this week with CBS, NBC/Golf Channel and ESPN+. The deal will reportedly generate $700 million in fees, up 75% from the current deal’s $400 million. Anyone looking to me to explain how the PGA managed to get this increase, despite so many factors that should have given the TV networks leverage, is going to be disappointed. I just don’t get it, but as a golf fan, it’s still lots of fun to talk about.

    One thing is for certain - with the bulk of the new money going to the Tour’s players, the 2020s are going to be a very good period for them. As is to give a sneak preview, when this weekend’s PLAYERS Championship was cancelled after round 1 yesterday, half the purse of $15 million was divided evenly among the field of 144 players. So each player got $52,083, irrespective of how they played in round one. So if average round lasts 4 hours then they earned $13,020 per hour. Or if they shot par 72 they received $723 per shot (including gimme putts). Life is good.

    ESPN+ popped up as the streaming partner in the new PGA deal, which provided a good opportunity for Colin to explain the remarkable turnaround Disney has effected with the network. ESPN is now in 98.1 million U.S. homes vs. 98.5 million in 2013. After dipping to 89.7 million in 2017, ESPN successfully negotiated its way onto all major virtual pay-TV operators’ lineups (8.9 million). And it cleverly bundled ESPN+ with Disney+ and Hulu (another 7.5 million) creating significant DTC optionality down the road.  

    Reviewing the new PGA deal and ESPN’s bounce back, we believe executives for both entities deserve to be on the Mount Olympus of media negotiators.


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  • Has Google Decided to Take the Lead on Tackling the RSN and Sports Bubble?

    There are so many dramas playing out in the TV/video business these days it’s hard to keep up. Cord-cutting, M&A, reorganizations, high-profile executive departures, product launches, discounted pricing, eye-popping A-lister salaries….the list goes on and on.

    But one particularly intriguing drama that’s been catching my eye lately revolves around YouTube TV and the YES Network. As with everything in the TV/video business, the background is complicated, so here’s the high level cheat sheet:

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #503: Live Sports Streaming Grows; CTV Ad Share in 2019

    I’m pleased to present the 503rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up on this week’s podcast, Colin shares details of Verizon Media’s new research on live sports streaming, which found that 53% of fans are paying for some type of extra subscription service. Also noteworthy is that two-thirds of respondents said DVR is a critical feature and that 39% use the DVR feature to skip ads.

    These underscore how different the user experience is becoming between ad-free SVOD viewing and ad-heavy live sports viewing. Lots of fans seem to be willing to watch time-delayed just to avoid the ads. But we agree that connected TV is going to drive lots of innovation in both sports streaming and advertising/monetization going forward. On that topic, we also review Extreme Reach’s latest Video Benchmarks Report. Though CTV ad share settled around 50% in 2019, Colin and I see plenty of growth ahead - and accompanying innovation.

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  • Regional Sports Networks Become an Albatross for AT&T

    Not that long ago, regional sports networks (RSNs) were the beachfront property of the pay-TV industry. RSNs had exclusive rights to air local sports teams’ games in their markets and rabid fans willing to pay virtually any price to watch (especially if the local team was having a winning season). But the icing on the cake was that even non-fans were often paying for pricey RSNs, because their fees cleverly became inseparable from the most popular TV packages. In short, RSNs practically had a license to print money.

    But few things last forever, and RSNs have become the latest example of the Internet’s disruption. Yesterday, the NY Post reported that AT&T’s auction of four of its RSNs, in Denver, Houston, Pittsburgh and Seattle, has drawn meager interest. AT&T was looking to sell the group for around $1 billion, but the bids have come in “around or below $500 million.” A big red flag was the four RSNs’ financial performance - an expected drop in earnings from $115 million in 2019 to just $55 million in 2020.

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