I’m pleased to present the 390th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First up this week, we discuss the impact of the “Star Trek: Discovery” launch on CBS All Access. CBS has said that All Access daily subscriber growth is up 200% over last year since the show’s launch. As Colin notes though, it’s hard to draw conclusions yet about how sustainable the additions will be or whether churn will spike. More originals are clearly needed to broaden the service’s appeal.
We then turn to the surprising news this week that YouTube TV will be the presenting sponsor of the 2017 World Series. Colin and I agree it’s really a sign of the times when a skinny bundle has stepped up this way. However, since Fox, the network broadcasting the games, isn’t even available yet on YouTube TV in half the top 50 U.S. markets, the sponsorship carries risks. Colin also notes that given YouTube TV’s programming costs, it is likely losing money for each new subscriber.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 6 seconds)
Sports has been on the forefront of the streaming revolution from the start. Whether it’s early successes like the NCAA basketball tournament or the unprecedented scale of the 2016 Summer Olympics or more recently Thursday Night Football on Twitter and Amazon, sports have continued to push the boundaries of what’s possible with online and mobile delivery.
To better understand what’s happening with streaming sports and the best practices today, Akamai is presenting a free webinar on Thursday, October 19th at 1pm ET, which I will be hosting with Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia, my weekly podcast partner. Joining us will be Clark Pierce, SVP, TV Everywhere and Special Projects at Fox Digital Consumer Group and Ben Weinberger, SVP and Chief Product Officer at Sling TV. Both Fox and Sling TV have been leaders in streaming sports, so Clark and Ben have a wealth of knowledge to share.
In the webinar we’ll also explore distinct new value propositions being created by streaming sports, key challenges and what’s ahead. We’ll draw on insights from Akamai’s recently published thought-leadership paper, Game On! How Streaming Sports is Heating Up, in which we interviewed executives at 8 companies leading the charge on streaming sports. Game On can be downloaded here.
For anyone involved in streaming sports, the webinar will be extremely valuable - register now!
Sports are where you’ll find a lot of the most innovative online video activity happening. In fact, sports have always been a leader in online video, with marque events like the NCAA basketball tournaments and Olympics driving some of the biggest live and on-demand audiences. For fans, online and mobile delivery have brought unprecedented access and immersion - watching sports has never been as much fun and convenient as it is these days.
To better understand the rapid innovation in streaming sports, what lies ahead and the key challenges that remain, my weekly podcasting partner Colin Dixon, of nScreenMedia, and I recently interviewed eight sports leaders for a thought-leadership report presented by Akamai. The report, “Game On! How Streaming Sports is Heating Up,” is available for complimentary download.
The executives we interviewed are from Sling TV, NBC Sports Digital/PlayMaker Media, Fox Sports, NeuLion, ETN Media/Street League, Tennis Channel, Whistle Sports and Akamai. Their companies participate in all facets of sports online - networks, rights-holders, technologists and service providers, leveraging various business models. The interviews provide invaluable insights into what’s working well today and what still must be improved for streaming sports to make further gains.
In addition to the report, we’re also planning a webinar to further explore the topic. Date is TBD, but coming soon.
(Note: Akamai is a VideoNuze sponsor)
I’m pleased to present the 377th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week we start by discussing NBC Sports’ new “Premier League Pass,” which I wrote about a couple days ago. Colin and I agree that Premier League Pass is a clever way for NBC Sports to provide access to cord-cutters and cord-nevers. Going forward, we both like the idea of an “Olympics Pass” as well. Combined with AMC Premiere, which Comcast and AMC announced yesterday, it’s clear established media companies are innovating to offer more flexible access to viewers.
Colin then shares his reactions to an interesting presentation by Chris Ripley, President and CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group, on the company’s ATSC 3.0 vision. I’ll admit this is not a topic I’ve followed too closely, but as Colin explains, Sinclair sees ATSC 3.0 as an entirely new delivery infrastructure it can use to deliver all kinds of services. Important to keep in mind, all of this is still very long-term.
(Note, the audio quality is a bit low this week with Colin being out of office when we recorded)
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 42 seconds)
Yesterday NBC Sports Digital announced its latest OTT subscription service, “Premier League Pass,” which provides access to 130 live matches during the 2017-2018 season for $50. Premier League Pass augments NBC Sports’ broadcast of 250 matches carried on its linear networks and online via TV Everywhere.
Premier League Pass is the latest OTT subscription service to be part of what’s known as “NBC Sports Gold.” Other services include “Cycling Pass” ($40), “Pro Motocross Pass” ($50), “Track and Field Pass” ($70) and “Rugby Pass” ($60).
As NBC Sports continues rolling out these various services, it’s becoming clearer that the company is seeing success in offering super-fans online access to specific sports. But what’s more intriguing is that NBC Sports may be laying the groundwork for how consumers will be paying for more mainstream sports somewhere down the road.
Topics: NBC Sports
I’m pleased to present the 365th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First, we’d like to thank our podcast sponsor Akamai Technologies, which will show its Media Acceleration capabilities and range of cloud-based solutions at the NABShow in Las Vegas, in booth SL3324. Click here to schedule a meeting.
On this week’s podcast, Colin and I discuss Amazon’s burgeoning role in video and how Amazon Prime’s unique model gives the company unprecedented advantages. Prime’s power was on full display earlier this week when Amazon nabbed the rights to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package for $50 million, 5 times more than what Twitter paid last season.
Colin and I agree that Amazon’s ability to view video investments as drivers for Prime membership retention/acquisition and ultimately increased commerce is a huge threat to everyone in the industry. Colin shares research on how the world is starting to wake up to this, though we believe that Amazon’s video potential is nowhere close to being fully appreciated yet.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 59 seconds)
Amazon further reinforced its position as the most influential company in the video industry with news late yesterday that it had won the rights to stream the NFL’s 10 game Thursday night football package for $50 million, with plans to make the games available for Amazon Prime members only (they'll still be broadcast alternatively on CBS and NBC, and on NFL Network). The sum is a whopping 5 times more than the $10 million that Twitter reportedly paid for the same rights last season.
The key to understanding Amazon’s willingness to pay up for the TNF rights is the power of its unique business model, based on Prime. As I wrote last November, Prime is the linchpin for Amazon’s ever-expanding video initiatives.
At last summer’s Recode conference, Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos plainly articulated Prime’s value to the company in driving greater customer loyalty and increased purchases (if you’re a Prime customer, you no doubt know this dynamic yourself). And keep in mind, with approximately 60 million members paying $99 per year, Prime generates $6 billion in revenue for Amazon before a single purchase has been made.
I’m pleased to present the 363rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week Colin and I interview Clark Pierce, who is SVP, TV Everywhere and Special Projects at FOX Sports. Online delivery of sports has become a big driver of video consumption, as FreeWheel’s Video Monetization Report for 2016 highlighted earlier this week. As Clark explains, FOX Sports has fully embraced streaming sports, including 2 different Super Bowls, the World Series, multiple soccer tournaments, professional golf, NASCAR and more.
Clark details how Fox Sports has focused on the authenticated TV Everywhere model for sports streaming to an ever-growing array of connected and mobile devices. He shares insights about how FOX Sports approaches delivery quality, with detailed modeling of live audiences. Clark also talks a lot about how FOX Sports is continuing to innovate the viewer experience, incorporating data, multiple streams, audio and much more.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (30 minutes, 6 seconds)
I’m pleased to present the 357th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First up, Colin shares his experiences streaming the Super Bowl on numerous services and devices. Overall the video quality was pretty strong, especially on Sling TV. Colin also used the Fox VR app with Google Cardboard and relays his reactions.
While Super Bowl LI was one of the best-viewed in history, NFL ratings this past season declined across the board and we discuss what’s likely happening. As I wrote earlier this week, the wide adoption of ad-free SVOD feels like a major culprit.
We then transition HBO Now, which Time Warner reported earlier this week now has over 2 million subscribers. Neither Colin nor I are super-impressed with HBO Now’s growth, especially by comparison with Netflix’s performance in the same time period. We both think HBO Now’s relatively high price of $15/month is the key issue.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 53 seconds)
Here in Boston, our blood pressure is still racing over the unbelievable result of last night’s Super Bowl. The odds of a 25-point comeback with just over a quarter to play are incalculably long. But Patriots fans aren’t the only ones rejoicing this morning; no doubt there’s also euphoria at the NFL’s offices as last night’s game proved once again how riveting professional football can be.
However, the exhilarating Super Bowl cannot fully mask the fact that from a TV audience perspective, this was a season the NFL would just as soon forget. Last Friday MoffettNathanson shared their tally of the final numbers: compared to 2015, overall regular season 2016 TV viewership was down 9% and first 3 weeks of post-season was down 6%. Monday night football was down 13%, Sunday night down 11% and Thursday night down 9%. Compared to 2014, overall regular season was down 7% and ESPN Monday night football was down 15%.
I’m pleased to present the 356th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week we explore the concept of “TV as an app,” which represents a paradigm shift in how TV is accessed by viewers. Of course the rise of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and others has paved the way for app-based viewing, but an entire TV lineup being delivered via an app to a connected TV device is still a significant change from conventional set-top box-based viewing.
“TV as an app” got a boost this week with Comcast’s beta release of the Xfinity TV app for Roku. I’ve given it an initial try and provide some observations. In addition, Colin was moderating a panel on video apps this week and shares further insights he heard.
We then shift focus to this Sunday’s Super Bowl, which will once again feature multiple free streaming options as well as localized dynamic ad insertion in the streams, which is a first. I’m keeping an eye on the ads to see if they offer any meaningful viewer engagement.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 8 seconds)
This Sunday’s Super Bowl will once again be a showcase for great football and for compelling, creative advertising. As always, advertisers will be spending big to be in the game as the rate for a 30-second spot is approximately $5 million. Add in the cost of producing the ad and pre-promoting it, and the Super Bowl is easily the biggest single advertising investment a marketer makes.
While the Super Bowl ads will no doubt entertain and move us, the bigger question is, will they engage us? Will they spur us do something beyond saying “Wow, that was cool!” before we shift our attention to the next ad or back to the game?
Topics: Super Bowl
I'm pleased to present the 350th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week we return to the cost of sports and specifically why sports TV will be under pressure in 2017. Colin noted new SNL Kagan data this week that sports programming now costs pay-TV operators $18.37/month, which is 40% of their total programming budget. Colin also noticed that DirecTV is planning to increase its rates by $2-$6/month next month, which it blamed on the rising costs of programming.
These types of increases will no doubt contribute to a rising level of cord-cutting and cord-nevering, especially for entertainment-centric viewers who now have more choices of great TV shows to watch than ever and therefore have less reason to pay for expensive multichannel bundles. We’ve seen some of this effect already in the soft NFL ratings this season. Then there’s the question of where skinny bundles will fit in with sports; they’ll almost certainly have to keep sports to a minimum to maintain low rates.
As we discuss, all of this threatens the unique value of sports as a firewall for pay-TV, live viewing and advertising - the reasons why sports rights have ballooned in the first place. 2017 is going to be a very important in redefining sports’ actual value in the video ecosystem.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 45 seconds)
Hulu announced yesterday that it has struck deals with 21st Century Fox and Disney for access to over 35 different TV networks for Hulu’s skinny bundle, slated to launch in early 2017. The agreements are no surprise given Fox and Disney are Hulu’s two primary investors, along with Comcast (which has a back seat role per restrictions related to its NBCU acquisition) and Time Warner, which recently took a 10% stake in Hulu.
But the devil is in the details, because when it comes to Hulu’s ability to include live broadcast feeds in its skinny bundle, the Fox and Disney deals only get it a small part of the way. Fox owns 17 stations around the country and Disney owns just 8. Since there are 210 DMAs in the U.S. that means Hulu needs to strike agreements with lots of different local station owners to enable a standardized nationwide skinny bundle offer including local broadcast feeds.
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.
I'm pleased to present the 343rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
As has been widely reported, TV audiences for NFL football games have decreased this season, in some cases by double-digit percentages. That has a lot of people wondering what’s going on, Colin and me included.
In this week’s podcast, we discuss the various explanations that have been raised, most notably interest in the presidential election. But, politics aside, we both wonder whether the proliferation of viewing choices from SVOD and other sources are now having an impact. We’ll know more when we see the NFL ratings post-election.
All of this matters because sports (and the NFL specifically) have been critical to the value of pay-TV subscriptions and advertising, which depends on live viewing. If sports viewing declines, that would further upset TV’s value proposition.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 2 seconds)
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.
I'm pleased to present the 336th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Like tens of millions of others, Colin and I have been watching our fair share of the Olympics. And like lots of others as well, instead of watching on linear TV, much of our viewing has been via the NBC app. Although linear TV viewing of the Olympics is down this year, NBC has reported that over 2 billion minutes have been streamed.
That reflects a broader shift in viewing behavior over the last few years as consumers move from linear to on-demand viewing using various devices. Colin and discuss the implications of this and what we might see in 2020.
Listen now to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 44 seconds)
I'm pleased to present the 335th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First up this week, Colin and I dig into Disney’s new $1 billion investment in BAMTech, the technology spin-off of Major League Baseball Advanced Media. We both like the move as it further positions Disney to capitalize on online delivery, while protecting itself from ongoing changes in viewers’ behavior. In this case, Disney’s sheer size gives it the resources to keep its options open.
Next up, Colin and I were both surprised by Hulu’s move earlier this week to jettison its free, ad-supported viewing service to a new partnership with Yahoo. Colin wrote a great piece earlier this week listing the 5 most important reasons why he thinks this was a mistake, which we discuss. Hulu continues evolving away from its roots, as it prepares to launch its skinny bundle next year, which brings its own set of challenges.
Listen now to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 51 seconds)
Say this for Disney - in just the past couple of years or so it has moved to cover virtually every bet for how online video might impact the company in the future.
With its Maker Studios acquisition, Disney expanded into YouTube-style content creation for kids and millennials. With DisneyLife, it’s moving into SVOD entertainment beyond its pivotal output deal with Netflix. Now with Hulu, it’s addressing cord-cutting and the potential of skinny bundles (as well as with deals with DirecTV Now, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue). And finally, with its new $1 billion BAMTech investment, it’s adding platform capabilities for direct-to-consumer live sports streaming. Plus, with the forthcoming ESPN OTT service, it will test its own direct-to-consumer sports offering.