Analysis for 'podcast'

  • 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.

    Listen to the podcast (32 minutes, 23 seconds)




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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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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Q3 2022 Bumpiness for Comcast, YouTube, Disney and Apple

    On this week’s podcast Colin Dixon from nScreenMedia and I discuss Q3 2022 bumpiness for four companies heavily focused on streaming. Comcast reported a small gain of 10K residential broadband subscribers compared with 281K a year ago. It also lost 540K residential video subscribers compared with a loss of 382K a year ago, as cord-cutting and cord-nevering continue.

    Meanwhile YouTube ad revenue was down 2% in Q3, after a blistering period of growth during the past couple of years. Apple TV+ is raising its monthly rate by $2, betting subscribers see enhanced value in its 3 year-old service. And Disney’s CEO envisions Disney+ being tied closer to its theme park business. We explore all of them and share our thoughts.

    Listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 7 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Netflix is Poised for 2023 Revenue Growth

    In Q3 ’22 Netflix added 2.4 million subscribers globally, beating its forecast of a million additions, and more importantly, reversing the two prior quarters’ declines. As nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I discuss on this week’s Inside the Stream, there’s a lot of action just ahead for Netflix as it rolls out its ad-supported tier and modifies its longstanding account sharing approach.

    The latter will likely impact tens of millions of subscribers, who will have multiple variables to consider in order for family members to retain access to Netflix. We do a little back of the envelope math that illustrates  the significant revenue opportunities all of this will create for Netflix.

    Listen to the podcast (31 minutes, 11 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Why Samsung and LG License Their TV Operating Systems to Competitors

    This week on Inside the Stream nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I discuss the intensifying competition among TV operating systems and in particular why two large TV manufacturers - Samsung and LG - are licensing their TV operating systems to smaller competitors. Earlier this week Samsung announced deals with three manufacturers to license its Tizen OS.

    Given the competition, it appears that the primary monetization opportunity is through wider distribution of their respective content services, Samsung TV Plus and LG Channels, to gain more advertising revenue. But as we discuss there are likely other motivations as well.

    Listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 9 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Interview with Xperi’s Geir Skaaden

    This week on Inside the Stream Colin and I interview Xperi’s EVP and Chief Products and Services Officer Geir Skaaden. Earlier this week Xperi completed its spinoff and is now an independent company with a portfolio of entertainment technology brands including TiVo, DTS, IMAX Enhanced and HD Radio. Geir walks us through how Xperi is focused on building out its media platform business as an independent partner to TV OEMs and automobile OEMs.

    Listen to the podcast (27 minutes, 9 seconds)

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Interview With Hub’s Jon Giegengack on What Viewers Turn to First

    This week on Inside the Stream Colin and I interview Hub Entertainment Research’s Founder and Principal Jon Giegengack about top conclusions from the firm’s latest “Decoding the Default” survey (excerpt here). Among them are that streaming services continue to gain as the default source for viewers (with Netflix by far the leader), being the default is the best protection from churn, SVOD stacking appears to have plateaued and some streaming services seem to be pretty well insulated from inflation. We discuss all of these and more.

    Listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 25 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Interview With Cinedigm’s David Chu On Cineverse’s Launch

    This week on Inside the Stream Colin and I welcome David Chu, EVP and General Manager of Cinedigm Networks who discusses the recent launch of streaming service Cineverse. David explains Cineverse’s main differentiators, including a large and well-curated VOD offering, exclusive FAST channels for enthusiasts, a unique user experience leveraging the company’s Matchpoint technology and a light ad load. David shares his views on the competitive landscape for streaming services and some of the innovations Cineverse has on its roadmap.  

    (Also a note to listeners that Colin will be moderating a free webinar on September 29th with Zype on hybrid monetization business models. Sign up here.)

    Listen to the podcast (26 minutes, 19 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: IBC 2022 Highlights - FAST, Piracy, Metadata and More

    This week on Inside the Stream Colin shares highlights from IBC 2022, which he just attended in Amsterdam. He focuses on enthusiasm for FAST services, clever new approaches to solving video piracy, advancements in metadata to improve search and discovery, and more. We explore all of the highlights and how they’ll play out in the industry. For further details, check out Colin’s posts here and here.

    Listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 55 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: 25 Million Viewers for The Rings of Power; FASTs Gain Popularity

    Amazon took the unusual step of releasing viewership data for its new Lord of the Rings series “The Rings of Power,” saying that over 25 million Prime members watched it on its first day. On this week’s podcast Colin and I discuss how to put this number into context, and also whether the series is worth the reported $58 million per episode it cost. Then we transition to reviewing new data about viewer satisfaction with ad-supported FAST services vs. ad-free SVOD services.

    Listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 33 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Disney Membership, Paramount Bundles, Netflix CPMs

    On the podcast this week nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I dig into four topics that have caught our attention: Disney’s rumored membership program, Netflix’s plan to charge advertisers CPMs of up to $65, Paramount’s bundling of Paramount+ and Showtime, and how “diginet” channels and FAST linear services are converging.  

    Listen to the podcast (28 minutes, 43 seconds)
     

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Inside the Roku-HBO Max “House of the Dragon” Launch Campaign

    This week, nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I welcome Grace Lam, Roku’s Director of Partner Growth as our guest. Grace takes us inside the campaign that Roku and HBO Max launched for the new TV series “House of the Dragon.” It is the biggest SVOD campaign Roku has undertaken to date, involving multiple elements. Grace walks us through the campaign’s goals, viewer benefits, success metrics and how Roku aims to have the campaign be a template for future SVOD partnerships.

    Listen to the podcast (27 minutes, 1 second)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Can the Big Ten Help Slow Broadcast and Cable TV’s Decline?

    On this week’s episode of Inside the Stream nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I discuss whether the Big Ten (and sports more generally) can help slow broadcast and cable TV’s viewership decline. This week the Big Ten announced a new $7 billion, 7-year media rights deal with Fox, CBS and NBC, which triples the annual revenue the conference receives compared to its current deal.

    Meanwhile Nielsen revealed that in July streaming accounted for 34.8% of TV consumption by Americans, beating cable’s share of 34.4% and broadcast’s 21.6%. It was the first time streaming eclipsed cable. And in Q2, the biggest pay-TV operators lost another 1.9 million subscribers, underscoring cord-cutting’s impact on the industry. All of this raises the question whether the Big Ten, as well as other major sports, can stabilize or reverse broadcast and cable’s decline.

    Listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 17 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: The Impact of Disney’s D2C Price Increases

    On this week’s episode of Inside the Stream nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I discuss Disney’s direct-to-consumer (D2C) performance in its fiscal third quarter, ending July 2, 2022 and the impact of upcoming price increases across all of its streaming services. Disney now has over 221 million streaming subscribers of which 152.1 million are Disney+ subscribers (up 14.4 million in the quarter).

    But these Disney+ subscribers will see their monthly fee increase by 38% in December, from $7.99 to $10.99, no doubt causing higher churn. Disney hopes to offset this with its new ad-supported “Disney+ Basic” tier which will run $7.99 per month. Hulu will increase by $1 per month to $7.99 and ESPN+ will increase by $3 per month to $9.99 as previously announced. Colin and I explore all these changes and what impact they’re likely to have (and Colin has a nice recap of the changes).

    Listen to the podcast (24 minutes)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Can FASTs Become the New Cable?

    This week on Inside the Stream nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I welcome our friend and industry analyst Alan Wolk to discuss his new report, “FASTs are the New Cable” (complimentary download). Alan is the co-founder and lead analyst at TVREV. He is a veteran TV industry follower who coined the term FAST for free ad-supported streaming TV.

    Alan explains the similarities between FASTs and cable TV networks. He views FASTs as one of two streaming business models, with the other being paid subscriptions. But both models feature on-demand and linear content. The FAST ecosystem is complex and Alan describes the three key levels and how they interrelate. He also shares a number of predictions about where FASTs are heading.

    For anyone interested in better understanding FASTs and the impact they’re having, the interview and report are highly valuable.

    Listen to the podcast (32 minutes, 24 seconds)

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  • 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: Netflix’s Plans for Ad Tiers and Paid Account Sharing Bring Complexity

    This week on Inside the Stream nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I discuss Netflix’s plans to launch ad-supported service tiers and introduce paid account sharing options. Netflix provided updates on both during its Q2 ’22 earnings call earlier this week. Colin and I agree that both are important steps for the company but that there are myriad execution challenges as the moves will introduce new complexity and decision-making for subscribers.

    Listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 59 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Xperi EVP Explains Vewd Acquisition, TVOS Opportunity

    This week on Inside the Stream nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I interview Geir Skaaden, EVP and Chief Products and Services Officer at Xperi, which recently acquired Vewd to push further into the TVOS market. Geir walks us through the deal’s rationale and the value of providing an independent TVOS platform to TV OEMs who can retain a share of post-sale streaming economics. Geir also explains how Xperi’s TiVo+ service that includes 160 FAST channels enhances the company’s appeal as a partner for TV OEMs.

    Listen to the podcast (29 minutes, 17 seconds)


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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: The Elvis Presley Channel Launch Illustrates FAST Opportunity

    This week on Inside the Stream nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I explore how the recent launch by Cinedigm of the Elvis Presley Channel illustrates the FAST opportunity for content providers. Cinedigm struck deals with seven different platforms to gain access to over 100 million devices at launch. This demonstrates the reach connected TV now offers though Colin highlights how discovery challenges remain.

    Ad-supported streaming services continue to gain, creating a tailwind for FAST channels. We reference recent comScore data showing the growing popularity of ad-supported services, especially among certain ethnic groups.

    Listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 57 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Unpacking Netflix’s Conflicting Satisfaction Data Among SVOD Services

    This week on Inside the Stream nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I discuss conflicting data about Netflix’s customer satisfaction from ASCI and Whip Media. Netflix remains an essential streaming service for many people, especially for watching drama, according to Parrot Analytics. However, new data from Antenna indicates that in April almost a quarter of Americans who signed up for Netflix dropped it within a month. We try to make sense of it all.

    Listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 24 seconds)




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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.

    Listen to the podcast (29 minutes, 15 seconds)


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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Takeaways from the CTV Ad Summit

    VideoNuze’s Connected TV Advertising Summit virtual was this past Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, featuring over 35 speakers on 8 different sessions sharing tons of great market insights.

    In this week’s Inside the Stream podcast nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I discuss some of our takeaways from the conference, including specific reasons speakers are enthusiastic about CTV advertising, and also what challenges remain.

    I’ll be posting all the session videos on VideoNuze.com early next week.

    Separate, Colin released a new white paper, “O&O is Not Enough: Hybrid Business Models and Multi-Partner Distribution” which is available for complimentary download.  

    Listen to the podcast (27 minutes, 9 seconds)

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: FAST Channels, Aggregator Outlook, CTV Complexity

    In this week’s Inside the Stream podcast nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I discuss a number of topics including how FAST channels are evolving to include live content, whether there will be consolidation of video aggregators, and how complexity in the CTV value chain is being addressed.

    Listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 2 seconds)


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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: YouTube on TV Feature, New FAST Channels and More

    In this week’s Inside the Stream podcast nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I cover a range of topics including the YouTube app’s new feature enhancing viewers’ TV experience, plus new FAST channels from 60 Minutes, The Weather Channel and the BBC.

    Listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 27 seconds)



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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: SVOD’s Growth, NFL+ and More

    In this week’s Inside the Stream podcast nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I mix up our usual format by discussing a range of topics that hit our radar this week, including data supporting SVOD’s strength, a new streaming service the NFL is planning to launch, a live-streaming commerce company called Firework which just raised $150 million, and others stories.

    Listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 32 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: SVOD Services Diversify Monetization Models

    In this week’s Inside the Stream podcast nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I discuss how SVOD services are diversifying their monetization models beyond purely subscriptions. Examples of services doing so include Disney+, Netflix, HBO Max and Curiosity Stream. We examine what’s behind these moves and the multiple benefits they deliver.

    Listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 14 seconds)


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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: New Survey Highlights Streaming’s Surge

    In this week’s Inside the Stream podcast nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I discuss new data from Hub Research that highlights streaming’s ongoing surge. For example, 89% of survey respondents have a streaming subscription, with half of respondents to at least 3 of the “big 5” services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO Max and Disney+). Colin and I explore all of the data and what it means.

    Listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 37 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: NewFronts Takeaways

    In this week’s Inside the Stream podcast nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I discuss some of our takeaways from the NewFronts presentations this week. Connected TV, original shows, audience targeting and shopability were at the forefront. We also touch on Roku’s recent results.

    Listen to the podcast (27 minutes, 41 seconds)


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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Comcast and YouTube Results

    In this week’s Inside the Stream podcast nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I discuss the Q1 results of Comcast and YouTube, as well as a new report from Pixability that details YouTube’s massive reach.

    Colin leads the discussion of Comcast, which lost 512K video subscribers, leading to a total loss of 1.7 million subscribers in the past 4 quarters. On the broadband side, subscriber growth slowed to 262K, compared with 434K a year ago. Peacock was a bright spot, reaching 28 million monthly active users and 13 million paid users.

    Separate, YouTube’s revenue grew at a slower 14% rate in Q1, to $6.9 billion. We discuss more of the details of YouTube’s performance which remains very strong. Pixability also released a valuable new report showing the extent of YouTube’s massive reach and its proliferation on connected TVs. The report is available as a complimentary download.

    Colin wraps up with a few takeaways from NABShow earlier this week.

    Listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 14 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Netflix’s Subscriber Loss

    In this week’s Inside the Stream podcast nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I discuss Netflix’s Q1 results which included a loss of 200K subscribers vs. a forecast gain of 2.5 million.

    Netflix provided a number of reasons for the loss, which we explore. We’re both excited about the prospects for a lower priced ad-supported option, which is long overdue. We’re less sanguine about Netflix reeling in widespread password sharing, which it has traditionally sanctioned and now reaches an estimated 100 million households.

    Listen on to hear all of our observations about Netflix’s challenges and what it can do to restart growth. (29 minutes, 46 seconds)


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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Interview with Backlight’s CEO Ben Kaplan

    In this week’s Inside the Stream podcast nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and I interview Ben Kaplan, president and CEO of Backlight, a media technology company that has launched. Backlight has 5 business units comprising companies it has invested in that span the video creation and distribution lifecycle. Backlight has been funded with a $200 million investment from PSG, a growth equity firm.

    The companies include ftrack, iconik, Celtx, Wildmoka and Zype.

    Listen to the interview (31 minutes, 52 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Philo’s Pro-Subscriber Approach; Nielsen Streaming Data

    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.

    First up this week Colin shares thoughts on Philo’s pro-subscriber approach, based on an interview he listened to with CEO Andrew McCollum. He discusses holding the line on pricing, offering new content packages and personalized channels.

    Next we explore Nielsen’s newly released survey data on streaming, highlighted by the data point that there are over 817K streaming titles now available in the U.S. No wonder that nearly half of respondents feel overwhelmed by all the different streaming options now available.

    Listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 30 seconds)


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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: CNN+ Launch and Apple’s Streaming

    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.

    First up this week, Colin and I discuss CNN+ which launched this week. For now there’s limited connected TV availability, so that’s a key challenge to surmount. Overall we agree it’s a smart strategy by CNN and will fit well with other streaming services from WarnerMedia Discovery.

    Then we catch up on Apple’s latest streaming moves, including starting to stream Major League Baseball games and winning the Oscar for CODA.

    Listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 9 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Exploring NBCUniversal’s ShoppableTV

    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.

    At NBCUniversal’s One22 developer conference this week, ShoppableTV was one of the innovative ad experiences showcased. ShoppableTV allows viewers to buy products while they’re watching TV. In this week’s podcast Colin and I discuss ShoppableTV’s opportunity and what the potential challenges are.

    Listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 25 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Discovery+ and HBO Max’s Future

    This week Colin and I discuss the future integration of Discovery+ and HBO Max. New details were shared this week by the company’s chief financial officer at an industry conference. Specifically, Colin sees strong upside in a discounted bundle of the streaming services and the eventual integration of their respective technology platforms the CFO described. However, he’s skeptical of an eventual plan to actually merge the services. We discuss the pros and cons.

    Separate, we dig into a new test by Netflix to potentially charge subscribers an extra fee for out-of-house users.

    Listen to the podcast (26 minutes, 26 seconds)


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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Apple TV+ Innovates With Comcast

    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 and I discuss a deal announced earlier this week in which Apple TV+ will become available on Comcast’s various broadband and connected devices. The deal is the latest in which Comcast is offering third-party streaming services directly to its subscribers, an evolution from the traditional bundled cable TV model.

    As Colin points out, an innovative part of the deal is that Apple TV+ won’t be offered within its customary Apple TV app, but rather one that was developed using “a common set of development tools and resources of Comcast’s global technology platform” and that apparently won’t have the typical aggregation feature. We explore what this might mean for Apple going forward.

    Listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 16 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: SVOD Subscribers to Double, Ad Measurement Innovation

    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 shares thoughts SVOD growth, citing a new forecast from Digital TV Research forecasting subscriptions will reach 1.75 billion globally in 2027. Then Colin shifts to data from Omdia indicating that vMVPD subscribers use 13.5 streaming services per month, almost double non-vMVPD subscribers.

    We also spend some time discussing the evolution of alternative currencies developing to Nielsen for measuring ads on premium video services.

    Listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 43 seconds)




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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: Disney+ Restarts Growth As Bundling Helps Drive Gains

    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.

    Disney+ added nearly 12 million subscribers in the recent holiday quarter, an encouraging sign that bundling Disney+ with Hulu and ESPN+ is a highly effective strategy. Disney+ also had strong gains in the US and Canada market, adding 6.6 million subscribers in the quarter, while Netflix by comparison added only 1.2 million. Colin and I dig into all the Disney+ numbers and discuss what might be next.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: YouTube’s Strong Growth Continues in Q4

    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.

    Google reported another strong quarter of advertising revenue for YouTube in Q4 ’21, up 25% to over $8.6 billion. For the entire year YouTube ad revenue was nearly $29 billion. Add in subscription fees from YouTube and YouTube Premium and the company’s total revenue in 2021 was likely in the $35 billion range.

    Colin and I discuss the details. Colin also shares new data from Conviva highlighting Roku’s viewership advantage vs. all other streaming devices.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Takeaways from CTV Advertising PREVIEW: 2022

    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.

    The past 2 afternoons were VideoNuze’s Connected TV Advertising PREVIEW: 2022 virtual. Over 25 speakers participated on 9 sessions across the 2 afternoons. On today’s podcast we discuss some of the highlights of the conference and our takeaways.

    I plan to post all of the session videos on VideoNuze early next week.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Netflix’s Growth Slows, But It Remains the SVOD Leader

    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 we discuss Netflix’s Q4 ’21 earnings report released yesterday and its forecast for Q1 ’22. Both came up a little light, as the SVOD category continues to mature, Covid pull-forward creates tough comparisons, there’s intensifying competition, and Netflix’s release schedule for popular content shifts.

    All of that said, with over 220 million global subscribers, Colin and I still see Netflix as the SVOD category leader well into the future.

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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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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Smart TVs at CES, Peacock Olympics, HBO Max’s Success

    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 leads off with highlights of smart TV innovations announced at CES. Then we discuss why Peacock streaming every moment of every event of the upcoming Winter Olympics is a big win for the service and also a milestone decision for parent NBCUniversal.

    Finally, HBO and HBO Max ended the year with nearly 74 million subscribers, which we both shows clear momentum and how they’re moving past the decision to withdraw from Amazon’s Channels programs earlier this year. HBO Max is one of few subscription services that doesn’t need Amazon’s distribution strength.

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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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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Top 10 Streaming Video Stories of 2021

    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.

    It’s been another incredibly busy year in streaming video, with more than enough to write and talk about each week. As is our tradition for the last podcast of the year, today Colin and I parse through the year’s activity and identify what we believe were the top 10 most important stories of the 2021 and why. Please let us know if you agree or disagree with any of our choices, and if we missed something huge that should have been on the list.

    We wish you all happy holidays!

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Four Data Points That Illustrate the Year in Streaming

    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 year people used more streaming services and more of them were free and ad-supported. Many more of us did without pay-TV. And discovery+ is one example of a streaming service that thrived since broadly launching. On this week’s podcast Colin shares four data points that illustrate each of these trends.

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  • Tubi Demonstrates Streaming’s Incremental Reach to Linear TV

    Late last week Tubi and measurement partner TVSquared released new data demonstrating streaming’s incremental reach to linear TV. Of course, in the era of cord-cutting, CTVs proliferating and FASTs surging, it is not surprising that advertisers must increasingly turn to streaming services to reach certain audiences that have tuned out to linear TV.

    But the Tubi/TVSquared data quantifies the opportunity across four industry categories, automotive, quick service restaurants (QSR), consumer packaged goods (CPG) and entertainment. The companies found that 93% of the impressions delivered via Tubi were incremental to linear TV.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Deep Dive on the Huge Potential of FASTs

    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.

    Free ad-supported TV (“FAST”) channels are getting more attention by streaming services and device-makers. Just this week I wrote about the 11 new FAST channels that Vevo launched in The Roku Channel, while Colin wrote about a number of new Google and YouTube initiatives.

    On today’s podcast we do a deep dive on why FAST channels are a win for everyone - content providers, devices, viewers and advertisers. They’re a perfect example of how streaming and CTV open up avenues for different viewer experiences that can match well to particular circumstances. We expect many more FAST channels to launch, especially from companies that have deep content libraries and demonstrated curation skills.

    Join us next week on Zoom for a live version of Inside the Stream on Dec. 15th at 2:30pm ET / 11:30 am PT. We’ll be discussing the top stories of 2021 and doing live audience Q&A. It’s free - join us!

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  • Vevo’s New FAST Channels on Roku Highlight Diverse CTV Viewing Behaviors

    Vevo has launched 11 free ad-supported TV (“FAST”) channels within The Roku Channel. FAST channels are free 24/7 programmed linear experiences that can be tuned into by viewers on-demand. Vevo’s new FAST channels are another reminder that CTV viewers have a diverse range of behaviors; sometimes accessing a single “unit” of programming on-demand (e.g. a movie, a TV episode, a music video, etc.) or binge-watching multiple units, or watching on-demand a curated set of programming from a linear TV or FAST channel, or even accessing a scheduled, linear TV experience (most notably sports).

    I’ve often thought of FAST channels as analogous to playlists in the audio world and the new Vevo channels feel like they fit that mode. The new channels include  Vevo Pop, Vevo R&B, Vevo Hip Hop, Vevo Reggaeton & Trap, Vevo Country, Vevo Latino, Vevo ‘70s, Vevo ‘80s, Vevo ‘90s, Vevo 2K, and Vevo Holiday, which will be accessible through New Year’s Eve. I sampled a few of the channels and as expected they all played their particular genre seamlessly.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: IMDb TV Has Ad Problems But It Will Succeed Anyway

    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.

    IMDb TV, Amazon’s free ad-supported streaming TV service has issues with how the advertising experience is implemented. There is a lot of ad repetition and randomness of ad insertion. This creates a jarring experience for users, and is somewhat incongruous because a show on IMDb TV like “Mad Men” has built in ad breaks from its original broadcast that aren’t being used.

    Colin and I discuss why these issues exist, and further, why they’re not uncommon among other FAST services. Some of the issues are quite thorny and don’t lend themselves to quick resolution. Still, we’re both optimistic long term that they will be resolved, and we’re also optimistic about IMDb TV’s likelihood of success. Its ownership by Amazon means eventually there will be strong targeting and lower funnel, actionable ads (Colin actually saw one like this for a hair dryer).

    A programming note - join us on Zoom for a live version of Inside the Stream on Dec. 15th at 2:30pm ET / 11:30 am PT. We’ll be discussing the top stories of 2021 and doing live audience Q&A. It’s free - join us!

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Key Takeaways From This Week’s Connected TV Ad Brand Suitability Summit

    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.

    Earlier this week was VideoNuze’s Connected TV Ad Brand Suitability Summit virtual, which featured 32 senior executives speaking on 10 sessions across 2 afternoons (all session videos will be available on VideoNuze starting on Monday).

    Some of the sessions focused more generally on the massive shift to CTV advertising, and what’s ahead, while others focused more specifically on brand suitability/safety, DE&I, measurement, identity management, brand building and multi-platform.

    On today’s podcast, Colin and I discuss key takeaways from the conference - both the main opportunities being created by CTV advertising and also the important challenges that still must be addressed for it to reach its full potential.

    One important conclusion that we agree on is that CTV’s ability to enable advertisers to target specific audience segments helps drive more diversity in content creation, which in turns helps foster more inclusivity and multiculturalism. All of this supports society’s evolution to great acceptance and tolerance, which should be critical goals for all.

    CTV advertising’s opportunity is only going to grow in the new year, and there will be ongoing work to solve its challenges. To help better understand all of this, keep an eye for a save the date email from VideoNuze coming soon, announcing the January dates for our inaugural CTV Advertising: Preview 2022 virtual event!

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Can Disney+ Reignite Growth in 2022?

    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.

    Disney+ now has 118.1 million subscribers, less than 2 years since its launch. But Disney+ added just 2.1 million subscribers in the fiscal fourth quarter of 2021, a huge slowdown from the blistering pace of the past 2 years. This raises the question many investors are asking: can Disney+ reignite growth in 2022, and if so, how? Colin and I explore these questions on this week’s podcast.

    Meanwhile, Hulu keeps chugging along, albeit in the shadow of Disney+. But as we also discuss, Hulu is already likely profitable (at least marginally), but looking out, it is poised to become a genuine profit engine for Disney. That’s because Hulu is one of a handful of scaled, ad-supported services and its Live TV + SVOD services is already generating nearly $85 per month in average revenue per subscriber. As CTV advertising becomes increasingly central to advertisers, Hulu is well-positioned to benefit.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: For Comcast and Peacock, It’s Time to Go Big or Go Home

    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.

    On Comcast’s Q3 ’21 earnings call, management was vague about how Peacock is performing. In Corporate America, not highlighting numbers is typically a sign that things are not going as well as hoped and/or the numbers are not as impressive, comparably speaking, as those of competitors. A round of speculation about Peacock’s performance and what might happen next has ensued.

    On this week’s podcast, Colin and I try to explain what we think is happening. The hard truth for Peacock is that it came to market very late and that it is competing against well-funded and highly aggressive competitors which are spending heavily on originals and on promotions - a commitment that Comcast/NBCUniversal have not publicly committed to match. Another issue - at least relative to Paramount+/Showtime, which gained 4.3 million subscribers in Q3 - is that Peacock doesn’t include NBC’s linear feed, and also doesn’t specialize in mature content, which has a strong draw. These two benefits (and “Star Trek”) have no doubt helped Paramount+/Showtime. Yet another issue is that popular NBC programming continues to be available in Hulu.

    All of these factors, and others, are limiting Peacock’s appeal. As if that wasn’t enough, Comcast has mixed incentives related to Hulu, because it still has a 30% stake that is getting more valuable by the day, as Netflix stock hits new highs. Comcast is financially disincented from harming Hulu by pulling programming to help Peacock (all of this would have been moot if only Comcast had acquired Hulu when it had the chance back in 2018). Comcast has missed out on billions in additional revenue and value creation.

    In short, Comcast/NBCU are now facing a dilemma with Peacock that can be boiled down to: Go Big or Go Home. Either commit to spending what's required to compete effectively (either at the AVOD or SVOD level), or recognize Peacock is going to keep treading water and will likely never break out. It’s a tough decision, but it reflects the penalty late entrants face, especially when squaring off against competitors like Netflix, Amazon, Disney, HBO Max, etc.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Why YouTube Advertising is a Grand Slam

    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.

    In Q3 2021 YouTube advertising increased by 43% to $7.2 billion, extending to 7 out of the last 8 quarters that revenue has grown by 30%+. It’s an enviable track record and on this week’s podcast Colin and I dig into what’s driving the outsized performance.

    In short, as I wrote earlier this week, YouTube advertising is succeeding by focusing on the lower part of the marketing funnel, where advertisers concentrate on driving user actions/conversions (e.g. purchase, subscription, etc.). The value of these actions/conversions can be modeled into an ROI formula, and once they’re proven in with high conviction, advertisers will spend more and more, because there’s essentially an unlimited ROI. This is what has driven Google’s and other digital businesses over the years.

    But, as we discuss, the untargeted ads running all over Major League Baseball’s post-season games show that targeting and conversions are still a long way away in TV advertising. That means that despite YouTube’s massive growth, there is still huge opportunity ahead, for both it, and all players in the CTV advertising ecosystem.  
     
    (Note, I misspoke slightly when referring to TV ads I’ve seen in baseball’s post-season; I mentioned Chipotle, but it was actually Taco Bell whose ads I continue to be inundated with…showing how little attention I pay to them. My point about these ads being totally untargeted - since I’m uninterested in Mexican/fast food and there’s no data to suggest otherwise - remains.)

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  • Research: CTV Audiences Reflect U.S. Diversity and Age Profiles

    Connected TV audiences reflect the diversity and age profiles of the U.S. population, making it a better platform for advertisers to achieve their key performance objectives compared to traditional TV (TV consumed though set-top boxes or over the air), according to Magnite’s new “CTV is for Everyone: U.S. 2021” report.

    The percentage of Black viewers (13%) and Hispanic/LatinX viewers (20%) watching CTV match their respective share of the U.S. population. Asian viewers watching CTV slightly over-indexes their share of the U.S. population (8% vs. 7%). White viewers watching CTV slightly under-indexes their share of the U.S. population 59% vs. 60%). Importantly, the research found that traditional TV over-indexes for white viewers (69% vs. 60%) while under-indexing across Black, Hispanic and Asian audiences.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: HBO/Max’s 1.8 Million Q3 U.S. Subscriber Loss is Actually a Good Thing

    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.

    HBO / HBO Max lost 1.8 million subscribers in the U.S. in Q3 2021. On the surface that might seem like a bad thing, especially given how hot the streaming business is these days. But as Colin and I discuss, this week, it’s actually a good thing, as it reflects the rolloff of many millions of subscribers who were acquired via a prior distribution deal with Amazon Channels.

    HBO Max has made an intentional decision to focus on a direct-to-consumer strategy, which we think is smart. Back in August, I explained the challenges SVOD services have with third-party distribution, including with Amazon, based on my personal experience subscribing to AMC+ through Amazon.

    After talking to industry colleagues since, I’ve become more skeptical about the long-term value to SVOD services in these deals. So a DTV strategy, especially for a big player like HBO Max, seems like the right one. As we also discuss, it’s also a smart move given HBO Max, as part of WarnerMedia, will be merged into Discovery in 2022.

    Elsewhere in the podcast we talk about the per subscriber value of the ad-supported vs. ad-free business model, and why I think that in the long-term, the former is far greater in a connected TV dominated world with “full funnel” marketing capabilities. We also dig into HBO Max’s decision to have content parity starting in January between its ad-supported and ad-free tiers. Lots to digest.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Why Even James Bond Can’t Save Hollywood or Theaters

    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.

    The new James Bond movie “No Time to Die” reportedly cost $250 million to produce and another $150 million to promote. So MGM, the movie’s studio, would need to make approximately $400 million to break even. Assuming a 50% take on box office sales, that would mean $800 million of overall ticket sales. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie has currently grossed approximately $331 million worldwide. While anything is possible, it is unlikely the movie will ultimately be profitable, at least based on the box office.

    On today’s podcast Colin and I discuss the hard realities for Hollywood studios and theaters that even the ever-resourceful James Bond can’t solve. In short, if James Bond can’t turn a profit at the box office, the likelihood that others can - aside from super-hero, animation and sequels - is improbable.

    All of that spells big-time trouble for Hollywood and theaters, as I wrote this past summer in “5 Reasons Going to the Movies is Facing an Irreversible Demise” and “Matt Damon Gives a ‘Hollywood 101’ Class on What Ails the Industry.” It also has significant consequences for movie fans and for how streaming is going to become even more central in our lives.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Google Fiber TV is Retired, Linear TV Ratings Fall, SVOD Churn is Stable and Much More

    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.

    Rather than focus on just one story this week as we usually do, today we do segments on 5 different stories that caught our attention. First we pick up on last week’s podcast about the dustup between YouTube TV and NBCUniversal. The companies avoided going over the cliff together and managed to extend their relationship. But it is a harbinger of more fights between networks and virtual (and traditional) pay-TV operators as the size of the pie continues to shrink due to cord-cutting.

    Then Colin and I have a spirited debate about Google’s Fiber TV, which is being retired, and the broader question of whether Google Fiber’s 1 gigabit per second broadband service is a worthwhile product offering (Colin thinks it is and I think it isn’t, and I haven’t since it launched way back in February, 2010, see “Google’s Fiber-to-the-Home Experiment Could Cost $750 Million or More.” Also see "Google Fiber is Out of Synch With Realities of Typical Consumer Technology Adoption" from July, 2012 and "No Surprise, Google Fiber is Falling Short of Expectations" from August, 2016.)

    From there we discuss the steep drop in L7 TV ratings that has continued in the first week of this Fall season. But even at these depressed levels, I assert that the most popular broadcast TV shows like “NCIS” still draw audiences that may likely be bigger than the first 7 days following the drop of a popular show on a big SVOD service like Netflix. Related, we discuss new Kantar data on SVOD churn in Q2. For more insight, have a look at my post from November, 2019, “Will Spinning Video Subscriptions Become a Thing?”

    Finally, there’s a game of musical chairs happening in our industry and this week’s move by Kelly Campbell from president of Hulu to president of Peacock is just the latest example. We discuss why these executives’ shuffling matters to all of us as consumers.

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  • A New Look for VideoNuze and Some Reflections

    A little update on VideoNuze today: I’m pleased to share a new VideoNuze logo and fully redesigned web site and daily newsletter. I hope that you’ll find the logo to be modern and lively. The icon is meant to evoke both the “play” nature of video and also a sense of “forward movement” that tries to capture the dynamic state of our industry. I also hope that you’ll find the web site and newsletter clean, simple and easy to read, which were my primary goals with the redesign project.

    Irrespective of the new logo and redesign, the core elements of VideoNuze remain: daily (or almost daily) posts, constant curation of relevant news from third-party industry sources, “Inside the Stream” podcasts I’m privileged to record each week with nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon and periodic “Perspectives” byline articles from industry executives (more of which I’d like to run). On the main navigation bar are easy links to VideoNuze’s upcoming events and last but not least there’s a tab to browse by “Categories” and search.

    An updated logo and redesign have been on my “to do” list for longer than I care to admit. Part of me has felt like the proverbial “cobbler whose kids have no shoes.” On a daily basis I write about the most up-to-date happenings in our industry, yet the design of my own site and logo were a little bit “Soviet era” if were to be honest. In my defense though, I don’t think I’ve slacking off; over the years since I launched VideoNuze, I have written approximately 2,500 posts (that’s about 2 million words in case you were wondering), curated nearly 20,000 news items from third-party sources and recorded over 600 podcast episodes.

    Beyond the content, I have organized over 20 VideoNuze events that have been attended by thousands of colleagues and at which hundreds of executives have spoken. I’ve also organized panels and keynotes at major industry events like NABShow, CES, etc. that have been attended by many others. November 16th and 17th will bring VideoNuze’s highest impact event yet, the Connected TV Advertising Brand Suitability Summit. And for the first time, in 2022, there will be three VideoNuze events focused on CTV advertising. I’m really excited to share more details about them soon.

    Whew!

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: What’s Really Behind the YouTube TV - NBCUniversal Dispute?

    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.

    YouTube TV and NBCUniversal have become embroiled in a highly public dispute about the details of their distribution agreement. On today’s episode, Colin and Will discuss what’s really behind the dispute and the larger industry shifts that impacting the negotiation.

    It is a very complicated situation as each company is trying to hold on to certain industry conventions (such as most favored nation pricing), while also broadening into new areas (such as including Peacock Premium, a streaming service, with underlying YouTube TV subscriptions). Each company also comes to the table with a host of business imperatives, with many driven by Wall Street’s expectations and the overall streaming market’s evolution.

    Colin and I try to break things down. As I mention, one significant factor weighing on my assessment of things is Comcast’s gigantic missed opportunity when it decided not to acquire the 70% of Hulu it didn’t already own, back in 2018 when Comcast and Disney were battling over control of Fox (see "Why Comcast Should Take Control of Hulu" from May, 2018). Comcast had a one-time opportunity to vastly expand its footprint in streaming and CTV advertising and likely to position a combined Hulu-Peacock entity for eventual spin-off (see "Quick Math Shows Comcast Missed Out on Almost $6 Billion in Annual Revenue by Not Buying the Rest of Hulu" from January, 2020).

    Instead Comcast passed and became a passive owner in Hulu. Comcast will eventually realize a nice return on this stake, but Comcast needs strategic assets for the streaming era far more than it needs additional cash.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Interview with Trusted Media Brands President/CEO about Jukin Media Deal and Industry Trends

    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 we’re really excited to have Bonnie Kintzer, President and CEO of Trusted Media Brands, join us on the podcast. TMB has a storied history as the owner of The Readers Digest, but more recently it has become a player in online media and digital video. Properties like “Taste of Home” and “Family Handyman” have evolved to have strong online presence online where they drive value from advertising, subscriptions and commerce.

    Now TMB is planning for these and other of its brands to have a much bigger presence in CTV and streaming, following TMB’s acquisition of Jukin Media in August. Bonnie explains exactly what motivated TMB, the value she anticipates being created, the role of dedicated OTT channels going forward and where commerce fits into the plan. Bonnie also discusses the essential role of first-party data and how TMB/Jukin are leveraging it across properties. Last but not least, Bonnie discusses the broader marketplace and the best practices a publisher like TMB is pursuing to ensure long-term success in online and CTV.

    Listen in to learn more!


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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Why Has Apple Been Surpassed By Amazon in CTV?

    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.

    On this week’s podcast Colin and I discuss why Apple has been surpassed by Amazon in CTV and streaming video. As Colin articulates very well in “Five ways Amazon is Crushing Apple in the CTV Market” earlier this week, Apple was early to market with its Apple TV CTV device (albeit at the very high price point of $299), and was also the dominant player in movie and TV show rentals and purchases with iTunes not that long ago. But major product strategy mistakes and decisions by Apple, combined with deft, low margin and user-friendly moves by Amazon have led the two companies’ positions in these critical markets to completely reverse themselves. With this new normal, what lies ahead?

    One big measure Apple has taken to try course correcting has been the launch of Apple TV+. We start this week’s podcast by understanding why Apple is spending so heavily on original TV shows for the service, which it is expected to spend $500 million marketing in 2022. A new analysis by the WSJ illuminates Apple’s heavy product placement agenda, in support of ecosystem loyalty and core device sales. As I explain, this strategy - along with Amazon’s - has potentially big implications for established and newer media companies still reliant on traditional advertising and subscription revenue models.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Interview With Alan Wolk About His New Smart TV Report

    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 we’re pleased to have as our guest Alan Wolk, who is the Co-Founder and Chief Analyst at TV[R]EV and who is well-known to all of us in the industry. Alan has released a new report, “The Emerging Smart TV Ecosystem,” which is available for complimentary download and was underwritten by LG Ads, Samsung Ads and VIZIO.

    In a nutshell, Alan believes smart TV makers “are having a moment.” A key part of our discussion is whether and how quickly smart TVs will supplant streaming sticks and boxes as the primary connected TV device. Alan also shares his predictions and assumptions for how quickly smart TV advertising will grow over the next several years. We also get into the crucial role of improved user interfaces, how the big 3 work with FAST services to attract and retain viewers, and where Amazon’s new Omnia smart TV fits in.

    Smart TVs are helping reinvent the living room experience; hopefully our interview provides new insights for how they’re doing so and over what time period their impact will be felt.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Does it Really Make Sense for AMC+ to Partner With Amazon Channels?

    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.

    On this week’s podcast we dig into my post from earlier this week about my experience starting a 7-day free trial to the SVOD service AMC+ using Amazon Channels. I did this in order to watch the movie “A Few Good Men” with extended family last weekend.

    While the sign-up process was very easy, the issue is that neither AMC+ nor Amazon has done anything to try converting me from trial to paid subscriber by explaining the service’s content value. In fact, when I tried cancelling the first time, they did the opposite, offering me a new discount if I stayed on for another two months.

    Colin and I explore the bind that small to mid-size SVOD services find themselves in with Amazon Channels and other big platforms. On the one hand, the platforms are huge potential sources of trial subscribers. On the other hand, if the SVOD service has virtually no insight about their trial subscribers, can’t connect with them to directly promote content and the platform itself does nothing to convert subscribers from trial, is there really any long-term value being created for the SVOD service, or is it just churning through viewers?

    These are tricky questions without clear answers. But they have huge implications for SVOD services and the platforms going forward. Learn more now!

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: FAST Ad Revenue in the U.S. Will Double in the Next Two Years

    (Reminder - if you are a listener of The VideoNuze Report podcast, please update your feed per below to the new Inside the Stream feeds which have been available for a couple of months....we don't want to lose you as a listener as we complete this transition!)

    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 has just released an in-depth white paper on the free ad-supported streaming TV (“FAST”) market, underwritten by Verizon Media, and on today’s podcast he shares his key takeaways and assumptions (note, I have not yet had a chance myself to review the paper which is free to download).

    The paper also includes Colin’s forecast for FAST services’ advertising revenues in the U.S. alone. Colin has built his model with both a top-down industry analysis and a bottoms-up review of FAST services including logging ad pod durations, frequency, fill rates, etc, and consulting with numerous industry leaders. Colin sees FASTs generating $2.1 billion in ad revenue in the U.S. in ’21, increasing to $4.1 billion in ’23, though he notes he may be erring on the conservative side.

    If you’re interested in the FAST market and especially how it relates to AVOD, Colin’s paper is a must to download. Colin’s also eager to refine his model further, so please feel free to share your feedback directly with him.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Will SkyShowtime Shake Up the European TV Market?

    (Reminder - if you are a listener of The VideoNuze Report podcast, please update your feed per below to the new Inside the Stream feeds which have been available for a couple of months....we don't want to lose you as a listener as we complete this transition!)

    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.

    Earlier this week ViacomCBS and Comcast announced a partnership to launch “SkyShowtime,” a new SVOD service launching in 2022 in over 20 European territories with over 90 million homes. On today’s podcast Colin and I discuss why the companies chose to partner, especially since they have incumbent services in Peacock and Paramount+, rather than go it alone.

    As Colin explains, the key here is content - both quality and quantity. The minimum size and selection of content required to be competitive in SVOD, especially in Europe, just keeps getting bigger. Colin brings his insights about the European market to our discussion. Importantly, he discusses the critical role that the big local broadcasters play as well as the “30% rule” for locally-produced content.

    Another topic we explore is how this partnership signals a further evolution for Comcast from a primarily U.S.-focused company to one where a full global presence may be in the cards longer-term. Another intriguing question Colin raises is why, given the relatively unknown “Showtime” brand in Europe, it was incorporated into the service’s name.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Why Hollywood Is In A Deep, Dark Box of Its Own Making

    (Reminder - if you are a listener of The VideoNuze Report podcast, please update your feed per below to the new Inside the Stream feeds which have been available for a couple of months....we don't want to lose you as a listener as we complete this transition!)

    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.

    Hollywood is in a deep, dark box of its own making. On this week’s podcast, Colin and I explain why that is and what the implications are.

    Earlier this week I wrote about how Matt Damon provided a “Hollywood 101” class in the fundamental economics of why making movies in the $30 million - $70 million budget range has become practically a non-starter in Hollywood (except very rare exceptions like “Stillwater”).

    Then Colin shares all the relevant new data from DEG highlighting how SVOD has essentially sucked all the life out of DVD and digital sales and rentals of movies. Now Hollywood is going to exacerbate this trend by shortening the window of time from theatrical release to premiering movies on their own streaming services. This will effectively kill the so-called “Pay-1 window,” depriving studios of yet another once lucrative revenue stream. There are incredibly challenges times coming up for Hollywood studios.

    The biggest losers in all of this are us, the moviegoing public. Today’s is not a happy podcast. Neither Colin nor I see any Hollywood endings to this story. But again, life is unpredictable, so you just never know.

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  • Matt Damon Gives a “Hollywood 101” Class on What Ails the Industry

    Matt Damon has provided a “Hollywood 101” class on what ails the industry as he’s made the rounds over the last 2-3 weeks in support for his new movie “Stillwater.” Leave it to a Boston guy to articulate Hollywood’s dilemma authentically and succinctly. But before getting to Damon’s nuggets of wisdom, let me share my own (thanks NYNEX Yellow Pages for the classic “Vanity Cases” ads as a reminder/inspiration).

    Last month, in “5 Reasons Going to the Movies is Facing an Irreversible Demise,” one of the reasons I cited was that the quality of streaming TV and movies are going in opposite directions (the former is getting better, albeit inconsistently, and the latter is is in a precipitous nosedive). This reason alone would be enough to sink moviegoing over time. On podcasts this summer I have lamented how, despite the reopening, there isn’t a single movie my wife and I have been motivated to see. That has caused us to improvise and reluctantly do other things with our bits of free time (yes, mostly stream).

    But last weekend we did see a movie, “Stillwater;” the first time we had entered a theater since pre-Covid. We saw it in Pittsfield, MA at 8:45pm in one of those luxury theaters with the fold down and heated seats. We got there a little early, plunked ourselves into the middle and waited during the trailers and ads for the audience to fill in. But they never did. Not one other person attended. We sat in a theater all to ourselves and got a “private” screening of “Stillwater” for the princely sum of $10 per ticket.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: FandangoNow and Vudu Merge In Wake of SVOD Crushing TVOD

    (Reminder - if you are a listener of The VideoNuze Report podcast, please update your feed per below to the new Inside the Stream feeds which have been available for a couple of months....we don't want to lose you as a listener as we complete this transition!)

    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.

    Earlier this week the FandangoNow and Vudu movie and TV VOD (“TVOD”) rental sites merged. Colin notes that the move didn’t register on many industry executives’ radar (certainly nowhere near the biggest deal of the week, Blackstone’s acquisition of a majority of Hello Sunshine for $900 million). The tiny ripple FandangoNow-Vudu caused isn’t surprising given the sub 5% market share the two sites jointly have.

    The far bigger story here, which we explore on this week’s podcast, is the tremendous shift in consumer preferences from buying and/or renting movies/TV shows via TVOD sites, to renting access through SVOD services. Indeed, Colin cites data that the market for buying/renting has collapsed by 50% over the past 6 years. Meantime SVOD has skyrocketed. Simply put, SVOD has crushed TVOD.

    Note this shift isn’t just confined to video. The late Steve Jobs long insisted that consumers wanted to own, not rent, their music, going so far as to say in his famous 2003 Rolling Stone interview “I think you could make available the Second Coming in a subscription model, and it might not be successful.” Sorry Steve….in its Q2 earnings report, Spotify alone said it had 365 million monthly active users at the end of Q2, with 165 million of them paying a monthly subscription fee. Apple Music likely has MORE subscribers than that, and the services business is Apple’s most important growth segment. Then there’s YouTube, Amazon and many others.

    Sometimes even the greats get things terribly wrong.

    Be that as it may, Colin and I explore what all of this means to the future of the purchase/rental model and SVOD. Lurking in the wings as another disruptor is AVOD. As Colin notes, Q2 advertising at Tubi, Pluto and Roku was once again off the charts. As the Hello Sunshine team would surely attest, consumer preferences in video are far from settled.

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  • 5 Key Takeaways from Hello Sunshine’s $900 Million Deal

    Lots of industry executives’ heads snapped to attention around 10:30am Eastern Time on Tuesday when the Wall Street Journal posted exclusively that Reese Witherspoon’s media company Hello Sunshine was being majority acquired for $900 million by a new company being formed by former Disney executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, which itself is being backed by the private equity behemoth Blackstone Group.

    Mine was one of those heads snapping, for a variety of reasons. Foremost, $900 million is a whole lot of money for what on the surface seems like *basically* a production company, not to mention one that was only just started 4 1/2 years ago, which therefore means it doesn’t have a deep, monetizable library (which is what justified the recent Amazon-MGM deal). True, Ms. Witherspoon is one of the savviest players in the industry, and her Hello Sunshine business partner and company CEO Sarah Harden has strong industry experience and is also a Harvard Business School Baker Scholar (as an HBS grad myself, but far from a Baker Scholar, which is the top 5% of your 800-person class, I can personally attest that achieving that ranking puts you in the ultimate elite).

    Still….$900 million? Yes, $900 million. I don’t have any insider info, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the company generates $50-$100 million of revenue in 2021, max. So the valuation is likely in the 9-18x revenue range…who knows it could even be more. That’s a rare tech industry valuation these days (for context, Roku's mighty stock has bounced around 12x revenue recently).

    The WSJ reported $500 million of the $900 million will go to cash out existing investors and the balance will be retained by Ms. Witherspoon, Ms. Harden and other company executives, to be rolled over into the new company. That’s a huge tell about how big they think the resulting company can ultimately be worth and what the IPO or SPAC will look like. But that’s just part of the story….here are my 5 takeaways:

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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).

    Listen to the podcast (31 minutes, 11 seconds)

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  • Behold, YouTube

    “There’s something happening here,
    But what it is ain’t exactly clear…”

    -Buffalo Springfield, “For What It’s Worth,” 1967

    Late yesterday, Alphabet released its Q2 ’21 earnings. Included was the single snippet of financial information for YouTube that Alphabet began reporting a couple of years ago: “YouTube ads,” which represents YouTube’s global advertising revenue (non-ad revenue such as YouTube TV and YouTube Music subscriptions, etc. are not included). YouTube’s ad revenue for Q2 ’21 was $7.002 billion, which was 84% higher than the $3.81 billion Covid-affected Q2 ’20 ad revenue, and 94% higher than the $3.60 billion pre-Covid Q2 ’19 ad revenue.

    Yes, Covid dampened Q2 '20 ad revenue, as management had previously said. But still, you read those numbers right. An 84% year-over-year increase. On a very large prior number.

    Consider a little comparative context for YouTube's $7 billion quarter: YouTube’s ad business alone is nearly the size of Netflix’s entire global subscription business, which generated $7.34 billion in revenue in Q2 ’21. But two years ago, Netflix’s Q2 ’19 revenue was $4.92 billion, which means over the past 2 years, Netflix has increased its second quarter revenue by $2.42 billion, or 49%.

    YouTube has increased its ads revenue alone by nearly $3.4 billion, or 42% more than Netflix. Since Alphabet does not disclose YouTube’s specific expenses, it is impossible to calculate its profitability. But because virtually all of YouTube’s content comes from third party creators while Netflix’s annual content tab is approaching $20 billion, suffice it to say YouTube’s ad business is far more profitable than Netflix’s subscription business. It is also fair to project that in Q3 ’21 YouTube’s ad revenue will exceed Netflix’s subscription revenue.

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  • Did Comcast Just Put the Final Nail in Xfinity TV’s Coffin?

    Last Thursday, when I received an email from Comcast PR with a release attached, announcing that Hulu + Live TV would now be available for Comcast’s broadband and Flex users, I did a double-take.

    Of course, it is no secret that Comcast has long emphasized its broadband business over its traditional pay-TV business. Between a benign competitive environment and most recently the Covid catalyst, Comcast had soared to 28.8 million residential broadband subscribers at the end of Q1 ’21, up another 448K, while residential video subscribers fell by 404K to 18.6 million. The 10.2 million difference is the largest yet. It reflects macro-changes around cord-cutting and cord-nevering that have swept through the industry unabated and the rise of streaming and CTV.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Netflix Q2 2021 Earnings - Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Focus?

    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.

    Netflix reported its Q2 2021 earnings this week, and considering the most critical metric of U.S. and Canada subscriber additions/losses, the company did very well. Sure, it lost 430K subscribers, reversing a big Q2 2020 Covid gain, and also tripled its 130K loss from Q2 2019. But it could have been a whole lot worse if post-Covid churn had spiked which would have sent Wall Street into a tizzy.

    After reviewing the numbers, Colin and I zero in on the fact that while Netflix has numerous revenue expansion opportunities, it seems uninterested in any of them. In fact, the theme of this quarter’s earnings conference call was Netflix’s 100% focus on SVOD. It has no plans to make money from its new video gaming service. Live sports is still mainly off the table. The new commerce extension won’t generate anything material. And a lower-priced advertising-supported tier? Well the analyst/moderator didn’t even ask about it.

    Colin and I are really scratching our heads. It’s like Netflix’s management took a sacred oath: “We will not make money beyond SVOD.” “We will not make money beyond SVOD.” “We will not make money beyond SVOD.”

    For my part I’m growing weary of these “religious” responses. I have been doggedly saying Netflix needs to launch a lower-priced ad-supported tier for ages. The CTV ad business in the U.S. alone in 2021 will be $13B, going to at least $28B in 2025. As the biggest player in brand-safe streaming, Netflix has an automatic claim on a portion of this revenue. Perhaps most important, there is simply no other catalyst as sizable for Netflix’s top and bottom lines. But it won’t entertain the option, asserting in the past that it will diminish the user experience, though it hasn’t provided any meaningful backup to support its position.

    There’s a lot to be said for staying focused, but in our view, this is getting a little bit ridiculous.

    Please let us know what you think!

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Parsing the “Black Widow” Numbers Even Further

    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 and I parse Disney’s “Black Widow” opening weekend numbers, building on my analysis from yesterday. We agree that it is premature to extrapolate much from “Black Widow” and anyone doing so is on slippery ground. On the one hand, Disney getting 45% of its opening weekend from Disney+ PVOD is very impressive; on the other hand, it is far from definitive proof that streaming’s role will be robust in the first release window going forward.

    The backdrop to all of this is of course consumers’ decision-making about whether to stay home and watch any of the myriad streaming originals available in the current “Peak TV” era, or choose to return to the theater. Inevitably, we observe the sizable role that quality plays in this decision-making process. Sadly, streaming TV and movies are going in completely opposite directions on this front, with the former getting relentlessly better and the latter getting relentlessly worse. I believe this alone is a key contributor to consumers choosing to stay home, as I wrote last week in “5 Reasons Going to the Movies is Facing an Irreversible Demise.”

    Please let us know what you think!

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  • Mediaocean Acquires Flashtalking as CTV-Focused Dealmaking Remains White Hot

    Mediaocean is acquiring Flashtalking, an independent ad-serving and analytics provider. Deal terms were not disclosed but the Wall Street Journal reported the valuation at $500 million. Although Flashtalking offers open web ad serving and dynamic creative optimization (DCO) for the buy side, its fastest-growing business is connected TV ad serving and analytics, Mediaocean’s CMO Aaron Goldman told me in a briefing about the deal.

    Aaron noted that CTV is also the fastest-growing part of Mediaocean’s business as well, and that the combined companies will be able to do “ad serving and creative optimization along with audience planning and other workflow for both the buy side and the sell side.” A year ago Mediaocean acquired 4C, giving the company a key role in walled garden ad serving and optimization. Aaron said Flashtalking fills a big remaining gap in its portfolio focused on CTV on the open web for the buy side.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Interview with Innovid’s CEO and Co-Founder Zvika Netter on CTV Dynamics and SPAC

    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 we’re pleased to have Zvika Netter, CEO and Co-Founder of Innovid, as our guest. Innovid has been in video advertising for 14 years, evolving from an early player in interactive ads to become the leading delivery and measurement platform for brands and agencies. Importantly, as Zvika explains, Innovid has held fast over the years to being independent - not involved with any media buying or selling, which he views as a clear differentiator.

    Late last week Innovid achieved a major milestone, by filing to go public via a SPAC. Zvika explains the decision process, and his points are a great counterpart to our conversation last week with JW Player’s Dave Otten, who also considered a SPAC, but decided instead to raise a large private round.

    But the bulk of our time with Zvika is spent drilling into CTV, what’s driving the business, the key challenges, how they’re being addressed, what’s ahead, and of course, what role Innovid is playing. For anyone who wants a really deep dive into CTV, the interview is an intimate window into the CTV ad buyers’ perspective and how this is influencing the future shape of the industry.

    (Note, Colin and I will be taking a break next week for the holiday, so we’ll be back in a couple of weeks)

    Listen to the podcast (32 minutes, 17 seconds)

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Interview with JW Player’s CEO and Co-Founder Dave Otten

    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.

    Yesterday, JW Player announced a $100 million financing from LLR Partners. On this week’s podcast, we’re privileged to have JW’s CEO and co-founder Dave Otten joins us as a guest for a wide-ranging discussion.

    Dave provides an update on JW and its competitive differentiators including its ease of deployment and focus on the “monetization layer” (i.e. helping its publishing partners drive revenue from their video assets). Importantly, Dave dives deeply into JW’s data strategy, and how being the video player for such a massive range of publishers gives it critical insights into usage and provides contextual data that can then be leveraged for improved monetization. Dave also gets into why he’s bullish on live, subscription-based models, connected TV, where the industry is heading and much more.

    Dave explains the new financing round and how JW decided to go this route instead of doing a SPAC/IPO which are both very popular (just yesterday Innovid and Buzzfeed announced SPAC deals, here and here).  

    It’s a fascinating interview, which I highly recommend for anyone interested especially in the role of data, and what’s ahead for the video industry.

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  • If the FTC Challenges Amazon-MGM Deal It is Unlikely to Succeed

    The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the FTC will be the agency to review Amazon’s acquisition of MGM. A review was expected, either by the Justice Department or the FTC. The plot thickener here is that the brand new FTC chair is Lina Khan, a law professor and journalist who was confirmed by the Senate last week in a bipartisan 69-29 vote. Importantly Khan is a critic of Amazon and Big Tech, having written a widely circulated article, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” in 2017.

    The article argues, in a nutshell, that the current approach to antitrust, which is focused on “consumer welfare,” is insufficient to oversee platform-based businesses like Amazon which can use predatory pricing for their overall competitive benefit. Rather, Khan believes that antitrust oversight needs to be driven by gauging the concentration of market structures and competitive process, which she writes is a more traditional approach. Khan shares five factors for how to evaluate the competitive process.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Diving Into the Connected TV Advertising Flywheel

    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.

    Today we dive deep into the connected TV advertising flywheel, which I wrote about earlier this week. The TL;DR summary on the CTV ad flywheel is that the massive base of 82% of U.S. households with a CTV device has created a viewing platform for a growing array of free, high-quality ad-supported streaming services, the funding for which is coming from a robust CTV ad model that is siphoning spending from both linear TV budgets and mid-to-lower funnel digital/performance-oriented budgets. (Yes, I know that is a mouthful, but I break it all down on the podcast)

    The CTV ad flywheel is real and it is accelerating as each element gains steam. Evidence of this abounds; just this week Disney said that 40% of its upfront commitments were focused on streaming, Roku announced record viewership of The Roku Channel following the launch of its Roku Originals (primarily the Quibi library it acquired), and Nielsen launched The Gauge, a new reporting visualization for broadcast, cable and streaming (Nielsen said streaming’s share of TV watch time was 14% in 2019, 20% in 2020 and likely 33% by the end of 2021)

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  • The Connected TV Advertising Flywheel is Here, and It’s Only Going to Accelerate

    Last week’s Connected TV Ad Summit, with 46 speakers and 14 sessions, was chock full of insights from executives on the front line of connected TV advertising. Importantly, the speakers brought a diversity of perspectives; ad buyers from agencies, ad sellers from content providers, technology providers enabling CTV advertising and analysts studying and forecasting the industry.

    As the conference host and curator of all the sessions and questions, it was a golden opportunity to fully immerse myself in understanding the critical industry issues. I’ll be publishing a debrief document with all of my key takeaways, but for today, I just want to share one overarching theme that crystallized: a connected TV advertising flywheel is here, and it's only going to accelerate.

    The flywheel concept is well-known to all of us; the idea that when interrelated elements of a business or industry reinforce one another, the momentum of the overall whole is accelerated. For me, the best illustration of the flywheel remains Jeff Bezos’s description of the role video plays in Amazon Prime, in his interview at the Code Conference in 2016. Summing up video’s interrelationship with Prime and the resulting flywheel, Bezos said simply, “When we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes.”

    Back to the CTV advertising flywheel, the three core components are 1) the large and growing base of households with active CTV devices including players, sticks, smart TVs, etc., 2) the proliferation of ad-supported and hybrid paid/ad-supported streaming services, each one with ever-better content and 3) the robustness of CTV ad monetization itself and how this is driving more spending into the category.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Interview with Bloomberg Quicktake’s GM Jean Ellen Cowgill

    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.

    At this week’s Connected TV Advertising Summit, Colin and I interviewed Jean Ellen Cowgill, GM of Bloomberg Quicktake and Global Head of New Ventures for Bloomberg Media. Jean Ellen shared insights and lessons learned since Quicktake expanded beyond its roots as a social video partnership with Twitter last November to become a free, ad-supported 24/7 streaming news network. It serves business professionals and rising leaders and is reaching 7 million monthly viewers.

    Jean Ellen discusses where Quicktake is positioned competitively, how its partnerships work with multiple CTV devices and services, the monetization strategy, upcoming new original programming,  what’s ahead, and lots more.

    Listen to the podcast (31 minutes, 32 seconds)




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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: AVOD Services Creating Original TV Shows Raises Many Questions

    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.

    SVOD providers have been the dominant force in creating original TV shows for streaming, but as the recent NewFronts underscored, AVOD services like Roku, Crackle, Tubi and many others are also forging ahead with their own originals.

    On today’s podcast Colin and I discuss why it’s strategic for AVODs to pursue originals, how they’ll differentiate at a time when SVOD productions are increasingly lavish, what impact lighter ad loads will have and how these originals will be available - solely on-demand or also in free ad-supported TV / FAST? It’s still quite early and there are lots of questions to consider.

    (Note: Colin will be moderating a session titled “FASTs + AVOD = Big Opportunity” at next week’s Connected TV Ad Summit virtual, with executives from Tubi, A+E Networks, Digitas and Wurl, which includes discussion of originals and ad loads. Complimentary registration!)

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Making Sense of Amazon-MGM

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

    After weeks of rumors, Amazon officially announced its acquisition of MGM for $8.45 billion. On this week’s podcast Colin and I explore what the deal means to Amazon and to its Prime members. Colin sees benefits to Amazon beyond bolstering Prime member retention and acquisition, whereas I think these are the deal’s primary rationale.

    Nearly five years ago, Jeff Bezos articulated the “flywheel” dynamic of Prime - how video contributes to member acquisition, usage and retention (jump to the 37 minute point in the video interview). I’m guessing that Amazon did extensive consumer research on different parts of the MGM massive catalog to understand how filtering them into Prime could move the membership needle.

    While the James Bond franchise has received a lot of attention, the MGM catalog includes 4,000 movies and 17,000 TV show. These, plus the potential spinoffs or as Amazon’s Mike Hopkins put it - “the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine” - give Amazon a huge amount of programming optionality for years into the future. It will be fun to see how Amazon curates all of this programming into Prime.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: AT&T-Time Warner Didn’t Work. Will Discovery-WarnerMedia?

    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.

    AT&T is spinning off WarnerMedia, closing a chapter on its ill-advised media foray that cost the company billions of dollars. VideoNuze readers know that I thought the acquisition of Time Warner did not make sense from the beginning as any hoped-for benefits were illusory and it was based on a backward-looking approach that distribution and content belong together. As this became more evident, AT&T, groaning under a mountain of debt and faced with heavy upcoming investments in 5G and streaming to stay competitive, decided on a U-turn in strategy.

    In today’s podcast Colin and I dig deeper into all of this and also consider the prospects for Discovery-WarnerMedia. We both believe it makes a lot more sense than AT&T-WarnerMedia but we’re curious how broad the appeal will be for a bundle of HBO Max and discovery+ which is the most likely route for the deal to work out. The devil is always in the details for whether these big deals actually pay off, and interestingly, once again, company executives were vague about the specifics.

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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Interview With Deloitte’s Vice Chairman Kevin Westcott

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

    Deloitte recently released the 15th edition of its Digital Media Trends survey, and this week we’re pleased to have Kevin Westcott, Deloitte’s vice chairman and leader of its telecom, media and entertainment group join us to discuss key findings.

    The survey shows that SVOD churn has doubled, with many viewers binging hit content and then churning out. Kevin believes services need to focus on retention, adding non-video content (e.g. music, games, audio, etc.) to become more compelling and perhaps most important, offering lower-priced, ad-supported tiers.

    Many like Hulu, Peacock and Paramount+ already have these tiers and HBO Max intends to introduce one. We discuss why others like Netflix and Disney+ are resistant and the implications.

    Kevin speaks at length about the role AVOD services are playing, and especially how different age groups relate to advertising. He notes that for younger viewers, gaming is now their preferred media, with watching TV shows and movies falling to number five.

    These are just a few of the subjects we discuss during the wide-ranging interview.

    Listen to the interview (33 minutes, 32 seconds)


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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: NewFronts Takeaways

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

    This has been NewFronts week, in which 30+ companies pitch to advertisers and agencies why they should be allocated a portion of the tens of billions of dollars of video/TV campaign budgets. NewFronts presentations typically include the presenter sharing audience profile data, updates on how advertisers can best reach their audience and reveals of upcoming original shows, which often include appearances by the talent. The NewFronts are organized by the IAB, which does an incredible job.

    I attended about a dozen presentations, by Roku, Crackle Plus, Tubi, Samsung Ads, VIZIO, Amazon, YouTube, Vevo, A+E, Snap, DoubleVerify, TikTok and NBCUniversal and was very impressed. All emphasized streaming-first messages: younger audiences watch little to no linear TV so running campaigns on streaming is essential, streaming offers full funnel marketing capabilities, and screens like CTV and mobile are the way of the future.  

    Many thanks to our inaugural Inside the Stream sponsor Verizon Media. When you have quality connections at scale, you’re truly connected.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (27 minutes, 18 seconds)


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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Digging Into YouTube’s Advertising Success

    Welcome to Inside the Stream, our weekly podcast with Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia where we take listeners inside the world of streaming video.

    Earlier this week Alphabet reported its Q1 ’21 earnings, including $6 billion in advertising revenue at YouTube, a record for the first quarter. In this week’s podcast, Colin and I dig into what drove YouTube’s advertising, which was nearly twice the level of just two years ago in Q1 ’19 and also up 49% from Q1 ’20.

    YouTube appears to be benefiting from two strong forces: the shift of ad spending from linear TV to CTV to reach younger audiences, and the desire by advertisers for more measurable, performance-oriented advertising, which YouTube has capitalized on with its TrueView for Action format.

    We also spend a little time looking at the over-the-air market and how E.W. Scripps is positioning itself to benefit from the millions of households who still access TV this way.

    Many thanks to our inaugural Inside the Stream sponsor Verizon Media. When you have quality connections at scale, you’re truly connected.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (26 minutes, 58 seconds)


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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Vevo’s Andrea Zapata Explains 10x Jump in CTV Ad Revenue Share in Past Year

    Welcome to Inside the Stream, our weekly podcast with Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia where we take listeners inside the world of streaming video.

    Music video provider Vevo has seen connected TV ad revenue jump from 4% of total revenue in Q1 ’20 to 40% of total revenue in Q1 ’21, a 10x increase in just a year. Vevo’s VP of West Coast Sales Andrea Zapata joins us this week to discuss the strategic moves Vevo made to increase its distribution and reposition itself to ad buyers as a music television network in the living room, rather than being mobile-first.

    Andrea also dives into how Vevo is curating its programming and analyzing viewers’ behaviors to create moods which advertisers can then use for contextual targeting.

    Vevo will be participating in our next Connected TV Advertising Summit (virtual) on June 9th and 10th. Registration is free and you can win a Roku TV and smart soundbar.

    Many thanks to our inaugural Inside the Stream sponsor Verizon Media. When you have quality connections at scale, you’re truly connected.

    Listen to Inside the Stream (28 minutes, 22 seconds)


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  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Smart TVs’ Longer Lifespans; Buyers Switch to CTV Ads

    Welcome to the second edition of the Inside the Stream podcast with Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up we highlight three stories that hit our radar this week: an upgraded Apple TV device possibly in the works, research on growing SVOD subscriptions in the U.S. and TikTok’s new e-commerce ad formats.

    Then we dig into our two main topics this week. Colin explains why smart TV manufacturers have strong incentives to support older units given the promise of high-margin ad revenue. I share details of new research showing advertisers and agencies overwhelmingly plan to move spending into connected TV.

    Many thanks to our inaugural Inside the Stream sponsor Verizon Media. When you have quality connections at scale, you’re truly connected.

    Listen to Inside the Stream (24 minutes, 46 seconds)


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  • Introducing the Inside the Stream Podcast

    Welcome to the first edition of the new Inside the Stream podcast with Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. After many years of recording together, Colin and I decided it was time for a branding refresh. With Inside the Stream we intend to keep providing an insider’s perspective on the streaming video industry. We’re adding a feature at the beginning of the podcast noting a few important stories that hit our radar. We also intend to bring on more guests to the podcast.

    This week we discuss YouTube’s dominance, underscored by Pew’s latest research, showing 81% of U.S. adults use YouTube. Then Colin shares an updated forecast for Disney+ and what it means to the larger Walt Disney company.

    Many thanks to our inaugural Inside the Stream sponsor Verizon Media. When you have quality connections at scale, you’re truly connected.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #555: Higher CTV Usage Translates to Ad Revenue Gains

    Welcome to the 555th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.  

    This week we discuss new data from FreeWheel and Nielsen highlighting gains in connected TV usage. Higher usage directly translates to ongoing CTV advertising revenue gains. One example of how this usage translates was a bullish new forecast from MoffettNathanson which pegs YouTube/AVOD ad revenue growing to $53 billion in the U.S. alone by 2025. MN sees a new “mid-top layer” of the traditional marketing funnel emerging that blends the long-form video experience being driven by CTVs with better targeting and conversion.

    Listen in to learn more!

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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?


    Listen in to learn more!

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #553: Should Netflix Crackdown on Password Sharing or Consider an Ad Model?

    Welcome to the 553rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On today’s podcast Colin and I explore whether Netflix should pursue a crackdown on subscribers sharing their passwords (as it’s doing in a trial) or if it should consider launching a lower-priced, advertising support tier, or if it should do both.

    Earlier this week Colin shared thoughts about the potential consequences of policing passwords and I wrote about the benefits of offering subscribers more pricing flexibility as other streaming services do already. On today’s podcast we dig deeper into both of these approaches and agree an action plan will become more urgent if there’s a fall in U.S. subscribers in the first or second quarter this year.
     
    Listen in to learn more!

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #552: CTV Device Sales Hit a Record But User Experiences Vary

    Welcome to the 552nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week Colin and I discuss recent data from Strategy Analytics showing that globally, a record 109 million connected TV devices were bought in Q4 ’20. For the full year of 2020 over 305 million CTV devices were bought, another record. Amazon had the highest market share.

    But user experiences across different CTVs still vary, including the presence of traditional grid guides and other content navigation which impact viewer choices. Colin provides a couple of tangible examples of how searching for content can yield sub-optimal results. We explore why this is the case and what might be done to change things.
     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #551: Vizio’s Path Ahead; discovery+ Starts Strong

    Welcome to the 551st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Vizio filed to go public this week and it’s looking to take a page out of Roku’s playbook. Vizio’s business is dominated by sales of TV sets today, but it wants to ramp up its Platform Plus segment which includes its advertising and data business. Colin and I discuss the opportunity and also what challenges Vizio will face (note, this is not investment advice).

    Switching topics, discovery+ accounted for 19% of SVOD signups in the U.S. in January, marking a very strong start for the new streaming service. Looking ahead, we explore whether discovery+ will be able to maintain this pace, and also retain these new subscribers.
     

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #550: Paramount+ Details; Netflix Downloads

    Welcome to the 550th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    ViacomCBS shared more content and pricing details for Paramount+ this week, ahead of its March 4th launch. Colin and I agree that from a content perspective, it’s an “everything but the kitchen sink” strategy, with a strong lineup of 30K+ TV episodes and 2,500 movies, plus sports, kids and originals. ViacomCBS repeatedly referred to the Paramount+ approach as a “mountain of entertainment.”

    Paramount+ is also priced aggressively, at $4.99 per month with ads and $9.99 per month without ads. That’s slightly less than Hulu’s comparable tiers and equal to Peacock’s pricing. Colin and I are interested to see what the Paramount+ ad load looks like compared to Hulu and Peacock.

    We also discuss Netflix’s new Downloads For You feature, announced earlier this week. Colin has given it a spin and while we agree the feature is a valuable, it is diminished by the content that is recommended, which didn’t match Colin’s tastes.

    Listen in to learn more!

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  • More Proof Points of Connected TV Advertising’s Surge

    Last Thursday’s Q4 and 2020 earnings reports from The Trade Desk and Roku provide further evidence of connected TV advertising’s surge and also viewers’ significant adoption of streaming video. Because the two companies are heavily invested in connected TV advertising and provide lots of thoughtful insights on their earnings calls (transcripts here and here), their results and sentiments are valuable in gauging the state of the market. Together they provide a holistic picture of the market since The Trade Desk operates on the demand side and Roku on the supply side (primarily).

    For some time, The Trade Desk has talked about the rising importance of CTV advertising on its overall business, which continued this quarter with the pandemic accelerating key trends. Founder and CEO Jeff Green said that advertisers’ CTV spending on the platform more than doubled in 2020 (total spend, including CTV, was $4.2 billion with Q4 revenue up 48% to $320 million). Green said “more than 1,000 brands spend at least $100,000 on CTV on our platform” and that “those brands spending more than $1 million on our platform in 2020 more than doubled from a year ago.”

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #549: Digging Into Roku’s Strong Q4 Results

    Welcome to the 549th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On this week’s podcast, Colin and I dig into Roku’s strong Q4 and full year 2020 results which were reported yesterday. As has been the case for the past several years, “platform” revenue, which includes Roku’s advertising business, led the way. Platform revenue reached  $471.2 million in the quarter, up 81% year-over-year. The Roku Channel was another bright spot for the company in Q4, with 175 ad-supported virtual linear channels now included.

    We discuss these and other topics, including whether Roku’s interest in original content could cause conflicts with existing content partners.

    Listen in to learn more!

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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.


    Listen in to learn more!

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #547: YouTube and Crunchyroll Post Strong Results

    Welcome to the 547th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    A couple of weeks ago on our podcast, Colin and I discussed how both AVOD and SVOD services keep growing strongly. This week we explore two specific examples. In AVOD, YouTube’s ad revenue hit $6.9 billion in Q4 ’20, up 46% and for the full year ad revenue hit $19.8 billion, up 31% from 2019.

    Meanwhile Crunchyroll, the anime OTT service, announced it’s up to 4 million subscribers, adding a million in the past 6 months, a record growth rate. Like many other streaming services, Crunchyroll appears to be benefiting from Covid. Colin and I explore what’s behind both companies’ success and where things go from here.

    Listen in to learn more!

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #546: Comcast Has Nearly 10 Million More Broadband Subscribers Than Video Subscribers

    Welcome to the 546th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Comcast reported its Q4 and full year 2020 this week and as usual, the divergence between residential video and broadband subscribers was stark. Remarkably, Comcast now has nearly 10 million more residential broadband subscribers (28.3 million) than residential video subscribers (18.9 million). The pandemic furthered the divergence, with 1.9 million broadband subscribers added in 2020 (up 47% vs. 2019) while video subscribers declined by 1.3 million (nearly double the 671K lost in 2019).

    Broadband has been Comcast’s core strategy for a while now, and we discuss how Peacock is one of the beneficiaries. Peacock now has 33 million sign-ups and is well ahead of plan. Peacock has also made some strong content moves with “The Office,” “Modern Family,” the WWE Network and some sports coming over from NBCSN which is being closed down.

    Listen in to learn more!

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #545: Both AVOD and SVOD Keep Growing

    Welcome to the 545th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    AVOD services are growing strongly, yet linear TV still accounts for 90% of video ad spending. This week Colin and I discuss a new report from Tubi that details how advertisers can now only reach a sizable share of younger audiences by shifting more spending to AVOD. With AVOD services poised to grow even further in ’21, advertisers will be pressed to reevaluate their spending decisions.

    Meanwhile, it’s not just AVOD that’s growing, it’s SVOD too, as Netflix’s Q4 and full year earnings report underscored. Netflix added nearly 37 million subscribers, with international making the biggest contribution. We dig into the highlights of the report, including analysis of differences in Netflix’s results by region.

    Listen in to learn more!

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #544: Disney+ Will be Challenged in Streaming Movies; AT&T Quits Virtual Pay-TV

    Welcome to the 544th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Kids movies were a big part of the success of Disney+ in 2020, with the service having seven of the top 10 streaming movies, according to Nielsen. But as Colin and I discuss, Disney+ will be challenged this year by Netflix, HBO Max and others. With theaters still running at low capacity due to Covid, 2021 is setting up as a game-changing year for streaming movies.

    Separate, this week AT&T pulled the plug on its AT&T TV Now virtual pay-TV service, which at one point a couple years ago led the category with nearly 2 million subscribers (when it was called DirecTV Now). Colin and I examine what went wrong and why AT&T shifted its strategy so dramatically.  

    Enjoy!

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #543: Roku’s Growth; Discovery+ Impressions

    Happy New Year and welcome to a new year of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.  

    Roku continues to grow, announcing over 50 million active accounts at the end of 2020. On this week’s podcast Colin and I dig into the data that Roku revealed.

    The explosion of premium content for streaming no doubt is helping Roku’s account growth and viewership. A recent entrant is Discovery+ and Colin shares his initial review of the service, including a few surprising limitations he found.

    Enjoy!

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  • Happy Holidays, See You in 2021

    As 2020 comes to an end, I’d like to wish all of you and your families a happy and safe holiday season - and a better year ahead.

    It goes without saying that 2020 has been a year unlike any other. I’d like to express my deepest thanks to everyone in the VideoNuze community - readers, podcast listeners, conference attendees, sponsors, partners, friends and industry colleagues for your support during the year.

    As we all know, the video industry is experiencing incredible change. Viewers have more choices than ever, and the entire industry is undergoing a profound shift to direct-to-consumer streaming services and monetization models. All of the building blocks are in place for key trends to further accelerate in 2021. I look forward to engaging with all of you as the year unfolds.

    Happy Holidays!

     
  • VideoNuze Podcast #542: Top 10 Video Industry Stories of 2020

    I’m pleased to present the 542nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.  

    Keeping with tradition, on today’s podcast, our last of the year, Colin and I discuss our top 10 video stories of 2020. This was certainly a year unlike any we’ve all experienced, and many of our top 10 reflect how Covid has accelerated underlying industry trends.

    Colin and I have had lots of fun discussing all of the industry’s highlights each week - thanks for listening in!

    Enjoy!

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  • Peacock Makes Savvy Move Tiering Access to “The Office”

    Peacock announced a savvy move yesterday, tiering access to “The Office” when it moves to Peacock on January 1st from its current home on Netflix. Peacock said that seasons 1-2 will be available for free, with ads, but that seasons 3-9 will only be accessible on its Peacock Premium (with ads, $5/month) and Peacock Premium Plus (without ads, $10/month) tiers. Paying subscribers will also get access to longer “Superfan Episodes” which are extended cuts with previously unseen footage, starting with season 5.

    The tiered approach makes a ton of sense. Signing up for free is a no-brainer for existing fans who want continued access and will follow “The Office” from Netflix to Peacock. That will help drive up the number of Peacock signups which last week stood at 26 million. For now, this is the only metric Peacock is publicly reporting; it hasn’t yet revealed how many paying subscribers there are.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #541: Premium TV Taps Free Streaming

    I’m pleased to present the 541st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.  

    This week Colin and I discuss the recent activation of a Showtime channel within the free Pluto TV service. Showtime and Pluto TV are both part of ViacomCBS and in this case Showtime is tapping into free streaming to drive more subscriptions and higher brand awareness. Colin sees it as part of a larger trend toward “virtual linear TV” channels that streaming offers and a potential alternative to free trials that SVOD services have long used.

    Listen in to learn more!

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #540: discovery+ Set to Launch; Kids’ Streaming Report

    I’m pleased to present the 540th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.  

    discovery+ is set to launch in the U.S. on January 4th and on this week’s podcast Colin and I share our thoughts on why we’re optimistic about the service, especially in international markets where live sports will be included. We both like the service’s positioning as a complement to major SVOD providers, mainly by focusing on unscripted content.  

    Before we get into discovery+, Colin provides some highlights from his new “Making Screen Time Family Time” report which revealed viewing behavior for families with kids under the age of 12. Colin notes the data around co-viewing, especially on weekday mornings.

    Listen in to learn more!

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  • Survey: YouTube Kids Tops Kids’ Streaming Viewing

    A new report from nScreenMedia and WildBrain Spark reveals that YouTube Kids is the most popular streaming video source for kids 12 years old or younger. Surveyed parents responded that 52% of their kids this age watch YouTube Kids, followed by PBS Kids (46%), Disney+ (24%) and YouTube (15%). Streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ are all in single digits.

    The survey data is included in the new report titled “Making Screen Time Family Time.” Two surveys were fielded, one in late October and one in early November, of U.S. adults who stream video on a weekly basis and have at least one child 12 years old or younger.  The first survey had 2,500 respondents and the second had 500 respondents. nScreenMedia’s chief analyst Colin Dixon is my weekly podcast partner.

    continue reading

     
  • VideoNuze Podcast #539: Strong Third Quarter for Pay-TV

    I’m pleased to present the 539th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.  

    Despite gloomy predictions, the pay-TV industry in the U.S. turned in a relatively healthy third quarter in 2020, likely gaining subscribers. This was due to robust additions by virtual pay-TV providers (led by Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV) and moderating losses by traditional providers (especially AT&T which had a huge loss in Q3 ’19).

    Colin and I discuss how a big reason for Q3’s gains was the return of all major sports. Except for the NFL, major sports aren’t available in Q4. That means churn is likely to be up in Q4, though it could be offset by the pandemic keeping people indoors more.

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 12 seconds)



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  • Cord-Cutting Slows in Q3 as Virtual TV Providers Jump

    Cord-cutting slowed down in Q3 ’20, with top pay-TV providers in the U.S. losing around 120K subscribers, according to Leichtman Research Group. These pay-TV providers account for about 95% of total pay-TV subscribers in the U.S. In Q3 ’19, on a pro forma basis, this group of providers lost approximately 945K subscribers.

    While top traditional pay-TV providers all improved their performance in this year’s third quarter, a key driver of overall industry performance was virtual pay-TV providers, which recorded their best quarter ever. According to LRG, four of the virtuals (Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now and fuboTV) collectively added 1.035 million subscribers in Q3 '20. Hulu + Live TV was by far the biggest contributor, with 700K additions, making it now the fifth largest pay-TV provider with 4.1 million subscribers.

    continue reading

     
  • VideoNuze Podcast #538: Disney+ Reaches Almost 74 Million Subscribers

    I’m pleased to present the 538th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.  

    Disney reported its fiscal year and Q4 results yesterday, with the highlight being that Disney+ had 73.7 million subscribers at the end of the quarter. Coincidentally, yesterday was exactly one year since Disney+ launch. Disney had initially forecast Disney+ would reach 60-90 million subscribers by 2024, so it is already at the midpoint.

    Colin and I dig into the Disney+ numbers, along with its average revenue per paid subscriber, which is still relatively low by SVOD standards. We also discuss results at Hulu and ESPN+, both of which also had a strong Q4 and a strong fiscal year 2020. Overall Disney seems to have successfully pivoted to the direct-to-consumer model and is now investing heavily behind it. More details will be revealed at its investor day on December 10th.

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 20 seconds)



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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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  • VideoNuze Podcast #536: Smart TVs Grow, Peacock Gets 22 Million Signups, TVision Skepticism

    I’m pleased to present the 536th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.  

    Smart TVs have been a big beneficiary of the pandemic-driven viewership shifts as Conviva’s Q3 State of Streaming report showed this week. Colin and I explore what’s driving smart TVs and connected TVs and what’s ahead.

    NBCUniversal announced continued growth for its Peacock streaming service this week, now with 22 million signups. We’re both impressed and in the wake of Quibi’s demise, are reminded how important free is for attracting initial users.

    Finally T-Mobile announced its TVision pay-TV service this week. Colin is skeptical and summarizes all the reasons why.
     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #535: What Could Quibi Have Done Differently?

    I’m pleased to present the 535th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.  

    By far the biggest story of the week was Quibi’s quick demise. On today’s podcast Colin and I discuss where Quibi went wrong in its pricing, content and audience strategies and what it might have done differently. It’s far from clear if these steps would have made a difference to Quibi’s ultimate outcome, but we both think they would have improved its odds of success.

    We also ponder the question, with the list of failures growing, is it possible to succeed with a pure play mobile video startup?
     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #534: More Data on Growth of Online Video and Live Streaming

    I’m pleased to present the 534th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.  

    This week Colin and I discuss a number of data points that have hit our radar this week highlighting the growth of online video and live streaming. Among the sources we cite are Limelight, Akamai, FreeWheel, Disney and Ring Digital. Online video continues to supplant traditional TV viewing and this will be on display in ’21 with a series of marquee sporting events that will have huge streaming viewership. Listen in to learn more!
     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #533: The SVOD-AVOD Continuum

    I’m pleased to present the 533rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.  

    Are AVOD and SVOD services in competition with each other for time and attention, or is there more of a continuum between them? For now at least, with viewership of both exploding, it seems like more of a continuum according to data Colin shares this week.

    However, AVOD/SVOD viewership is coming at the expense of linear TV/pay-TV. This was substantiated again this week by Roku and The Harris Poll’s Consumer Holiday Shopping Report, which found a 19% YOY increase in streaming and a 13% YOY decline in pay-TV viewing. We discuss the details.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 53 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #532: Most Entertainment Viewing Moves to On-Demand

    I’m pleased to present the 532nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.  

    This week we dive into some of the key data from NBCUniversal’s new Cross-Platform Consumption Report, which revealed that for its entertainment programming, 76% of viewing by 18-34 year olds is now done on-demand. For 35-49 year olds it’s 69% and even for 50 year-olds it’s 50%.

    The report points out that connected TVs have become the fastest growing device for consuming on-demand content. Colin and I see this only accelerating and we also discuss new CTVs that have been unveiled in the past week by Amazon, Roku and Google (Chromecast). The consumer experience keeps getting better and for $50 there are multiple solid choices.
     
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  • Connected TV Ad Summit Session Videos Are Available

    Last week’s Connected TV Advertising Summit Virtual Event featured 40 industry executives on 14 different sessions, including research presentations, interviews and panel discussions, both live and pre-recorded.

    As Colin and I talked about on last Friday’s podcast, the CTV Ad Summit illuminated how widespread CTVs already are and why they’ve created such significant opportunity for advertisers and content providers as linear TV and pay-TV continue to decline.

    Several speakers noted CTV is now their company’s number one strategic priority. Over time CTV will capture the best of TV advertising’s reach and impact with the best of digital advertising’s targeting and ROI. CTV is still a work in progress though and many speakers highlighted key ongoing challenges in the areas of measurement, transparency and inventory management.

    Below I have included the program and all of the session videos in one playlist. The thumbnail for each session includes the title slide and list of speakers. Enjoy!

    watch the session videos

     
  • VideoNuze Podcast #531: CTV Ad Summit Takeaways; More OTT Services Coming

    I’m pleased to present the 531st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.  

    VideoNuze’s Connected TV Advertising Summit was earlier this week, and we spend the first half of this week’s podcast reviewing our key takeaways. Many speakers highlighted how central CTV is to their companies’ strategies and how a key goal is attracting TV ad budgets as linear TV declines. We also reflect on challenges that speakers raised and how they’re being addressed.

    TV networks continue to aggressively pursue direct-to-consumer OTT services, and the latest example is Discovery+ which is planned for launch in early 2021. We discuss how, with an ad-supported version of HBO Max also on the horizon, plus other services, CTV viewing will continue to grow strongly.
     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #530: Comcast, AT&T and Broadband’s Rising Tide

    I’m pleased to present the 530th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.  

    This week Colin and I discuss how both Comcast and AT&T, the 2 biggest pay-TV operators, are capitalizing on broadband’s rising tide to evolve their video businesses. Both companies’ CEOs spoke publicly this week about their strategies as consumers continue to shift to SVOD and AVOD services. We share our thoughts on their plans and what it means for the broader industry.
     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #529: Was Disney’s Mulan Successful in PVOD?

    I’m pleased to present the 529th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.  

    This week Colin and I try to scope out whether Disney’s recent PVOD release of Mulan on Disney+ was successful. Disney was looking to both generate PVOD revenues and new Disney+ subscribers. Though it’s hard to discern from available sources exactly what the results were, it seems reasonable to conclude that Mulan wasn’t a home run. But it still seems like the right strategy for Disney to have pursued.

    What does this mean for Disney’s next move in PVOD and PVOD in general as Covid limitations continue? Listen in to learn more.

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 28 seconds)



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  • Podcast #528: Local TV Tries for More OTT Viewing

    I’m pleased to present the 528th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. We hope all our listeners are staying well. 
     
    On this week’s podcast Colin and I dig into local TV’s dilemma of cord-cutting, flattening over-the-air antenna use and the decline of linear TV generally. All of this has combined to marginalize local TV in the OTT era. But Colin is bullish on a newly launched OTT service called VUit (“view it”) from Syncbak that has 200 locals already involved. We discuss its opportunities and challenges 
     
    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast on Colin's site (technical issue on VideoNuze being fixed)
     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #527: Smart TV and CTV Device Updates

    I’m pleased to present the 527th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. We hope all our listeners are staying well.

    On today’s podcast Colin and discuss recent research from Conviva about smart TV and connected TV device penetration and usage. Although smart TVs are growing much faster, the CTV devices (or “SSB” streaming sticks and boxes as Colin calls them) account for a much higher percentage of viewing time. We dig into all the reasons for this.

    The device ecosystem remains very complicated for SVOD and AVOD providers to fully keep pace with, which leads to inconsistent user experiences and device obsolescence.

    Reminder: We’ll be doing a deep dive into CTV and smart TV monetization at our CTV Ad Summit - Virtual Event on September 21 and 22, afternoons. Complimentary sign up now and win a chance for a Roku TV living room makeover.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 26 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #526: Disney is Succeeding With Direct to Consumer

    I’m pleased to present the 526th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. We hope all our listeners are staying well.

    Disney reported its Q3 ’20 results this week, swinging to a $5 billion loss as the pandemic hit multiple parts of the company. The sole bright spot was direct-to-consumer streaming where Disney now has over 100 million subscribers between Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. Disney emphasized how critical DTC is to its future and plans to launch Star as an international SVOD brand while Hulu will remain a domestic brand.

    On today’s podcast Colin and I discuss the remarkable pivot Disney has made toward DTC in just the past couple of years, and what’s ahead. We’re enthusiastic about the premium opportunities Disney has, starting with the “Mulan” PVOD option coming soon, as Disney+ begins to look more like a membership with various exclusive offers.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #525: Comcast Focuses On Broadband

    I’m pleased to present the 525th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. As always we wish our listeners all the best and hope everyone is staying well.

    This week Colin and I discuss Comcast’s Q2 ’20 earnings, which underscored how critical broadband is becoming to the company, with video further receding. Comcast has stated its broadband focus for a while now, but the pandemic is accelerating the impact on the company’s financials. In Q2 broadband subscriber gains were at a record high, as cord-cutting took a toll on video subscribers and NBCUniversal. The percentage of subscribers to a single Comcast service (broadband) are up significantly.

    Comcast’s broadband focus means that both Peacock and Flex, its streaming media player, are critical pieces for leveraging broadband subscribers into OTT services, advertising and devices. This is prompting Comcast to offer 3rd party video services, like Sling TV, for the first time. Comcast’s transformation is part of larger changes in the industry toward OTT and CTV that every company is now pursuing.

    (Separate, Colin also describes an interesting webinar series he’ll be hosting starting August 10th, “The Psychology of the Subscriber” which will probe the consumer’s decision-making process when signing up for SVOD services. Registration is free.)

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 41 seconds)



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  • Peacock Gets 10 Million Sign-ups; Broadband Shines for Comcast

    NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock signed up 10 million users since launching for Comcast’s subscribers in April and nationally in July, Comcast announced today in its Q2 earnings release. On its earnings call Comcast noted that the 10 million figure represents sign-ups, not monthly active accounts or users, and that it was still too early to report on these latter metrics which are critical for ad-supported businesses. However, Comcast said use and engagement times were running ahead of expectations so far. CEO Brian Roberts said “Peacock exceeded our high expectations.”

    continue reading

     
  • VideoNuze Podcast #524: Big Ad Growth Ahead for AVOD as TV Declines

    I’m pleased to present the 524th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. As always we wish our listeners all the best and hope everyone is staying well.

    With the pandemic accelerating a shift from linear TV, sports and pay-TV, AVOD is poised for significant growth in both viewership and ad revenues. Earlier this week, MoffettNathanson forecast AVOD growing from $3 billion in 2019 to $14 billion in 2024, compensating for most of the $14 billion decline in traditional TV ad revenues expected over that same time period.

    On this week’s podcast Colin and I dig into all the factors behind AVOD’s rise and these coming changes.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 37 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #523: Peacock Impressions

    I’m pleased to present the 523rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. As always we wish our listeners all the best and hope everyone is staying well.

    Peacock launched nationally this week and Colin and I are both impressed. The user experience and value proposition to advertisers are both strong. As more library and original content is added, it’s only going to get better. However, Peacock’s distribution is currently limited without deals with Amazon Fire TV and Roku, which is why Comcast’s own Flex device is critical. Peacock is also entering a highly competitive SVOD/AVOD market; it is poised to play a lot of different roles for NBCU and Comcast.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #522: Linear TV Adapts with New Distribution Models

    I’m pleased to present the 522nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. For all our listeners especially in states seeing a spike in Covid, we hope you’re staying safe.

    There were several examples this week of how linear TV is continuing to adapt in the OTT/CTV era which Colin and I discuss. Top on the list is Comcast’s decision to offer the Sling TV app for its Xfinity Flex broadband-only users. Comcast has been adding broadband subscribers and losing video subscribers for a while and the move seems to signal Comcast wants to enhance the competitiveness of Flex, giving cord-cutters an inexpensive option to rejoin the pay-TV world.

    The bar for Flex is getting higher partly due to Fire TV which this week unveiled content discovery integrations with YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV. The integrations make accessing linear TV seamless within one UI, and will drive virtual pay-TV subscriptions within the Fire TV base.

    Listen in to learn more about how linear and “virtual linear” TV are adapting to find viewers!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 18 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #521: Understanding YouTube TV’s Aggressive Rate Increase

    I’m pleased to present the 521st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. Colin and I wish all of our listeners a safe and healthy July 4th weekend.

    YouTube TV raised its price 30% this week, from $50 per month to $65 per month. On today’s podcast Colin and I explore what’s behind the increase and what its likely impact will be.

    From my standpoint, the increase says a lot about how bullish Google now is about using YouTube itself to reach coveted TV ad buyers. That’s due not only to YouTube’s improving content quality but to the adoption of connected TVs as a primary way to consume YouTube content. This dynamic makes YouTube TV less strategic for Google, and therefore diminishes its willingness to subsidize monthly losses.

    Meanwhile Colin sees YouTube TV falling into the “big bundle” trap of adding more networks and continually raising rates, that has led to record cord-cutting among traditional providers.

    Listen in to learn more!

    (As a side note, Colin is participating in an interesting webinar next week on pay-TV providers can help SVOD and AVOD services to succeed. Free registration)
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 39 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #520: Debriefing the NewFronts

    I’m pleased to present the 520th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. With the pandemic currently surging in multiple states, we hope all of our listeners are staying safe and healthy.

    This week was the IAB NewFronts and I watched some or all of about a dozen of the presentations which are directed toward ad buyers. As usual, I was impressed with how well the presenting companies told their stories, through remarks by executives, talent, creators, partners and others. Presenters highlighted compelling usage data, ad formats and effectiveness, often juxtaposed against traditional TV.

    On this week’s podcast we discuss key takeaways and common themes. The migration from linear TV to OTT video was already well underway, but the pandemic has accelerated the shift, making NewFronts presentations even more important, especially for advertisers trying to reach cord-cutters and cord-nevers.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #519: Market Momentum Ahead of IAB’s NewFronts

    I’m pleased to present the 519th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. We hope all of our listeners are staying safe and healthy.

    The IAB NewFronts are next week and over two dozen different companies will be presenting. There is a ton of market momentum going into the NewFronts, with the pandemic having shifted viewership to both SVOD and AVOD services. Advertisers are taking note and per a new IAB survey, 59% of ad buyers are planning to increase connected TV ad spending in the second half of 2020, by 25% or more.

    Colin and I discuss this and other recent data supporting why OTT and CTV advertising are poised to benefit going forward.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 36 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #518: Changing SVOD Viewership Patterns

    I’m pleased to present the 518th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. We hope all of our listeners are staying safe and healthy.

    This week Colin and I dig into a range of different data and forecasts about changing SVOD viewership patterns as the pandemic continues. These include data about co-viewing from Nielsen and average viewing minutes for major SVOD services from 7Park.

    We also highlight new survey data from Magid how sports fans may shift from SVOD when sports returns. Finally we touch on a new forecast from MoffettNathanson that U.S. pay-TV subscribers will drop by 22 million by 2024, with SVOD benefiting.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 37 seconds)
     


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  • VideoNuze Podcast #517: Virtual Linear Channels Mean More Gains Ahead for Connected TV

    I’m pleased to present the 517th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. As always, we hope our listeners are staying well.

    This week Colin and I discuss how new “virtual linear” channels will translate into more viewer engagement and advertising in connected TV. We start the discussion reviewing new data from Innovid and Pixalate showing healthy gains in both CTV ad impressions and programmatic spending.

    Adding to the momentum will be virtual channels, which are essentially on-demand playlists of themed programming. Many CTV platforms are adding these free, ad-supported channels. Colin points out a new partnership between Endemol Shine and Vizio for four unscripted virtual channels. Roku was also in the news this week, launching 40 virtual channels with various programming partners. Virtual channels are also a key feature for Peacock. Colin and I expect the trend to gain momentum. 

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 51 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #516: HBO Max Launches; Why is Support From Roku and Fire TV Missing?

    I’m pleased to present the 516th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. As always, we hope our listeners are staying well.

    After much anticipation HBO Max has launched and we share our initial observations on the app and content. Colin is especially impressed with the recommendation feature, which reportedly mixes algorithms and human curation. Even with its massive content library, HBO Max at $15 per month is at the high end of the market which should slightly limit its appeal.

    A far bigger limiter is that neither Roku nor Amazon Fire TV are supporting HBO Max. Colin and I dig into what’s behind the conflict. Colin believes all the companies are seeking control over the user experience and the accompanying revenue and usage insights. In particular Amazon has around 5 million HBO Now subscribers through its Channels program that it is reluctant to see transition to HBO Max directly.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 4 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #515: TV Viewing Trends During the Pandemic

    I’m pleased to present the 515th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. As always, we hope our listeners are staying well.

    This week Colin shares some of his thoughts about recent viewership data from Alphonso, which he believes might suggest OTT services’ lack of new original content may be leading to a decline in viewing, following the initial March surge. Colin also observes that local TV viewership appears unchanged which is likely due to the ongoing strength of local news.

    Finally, we discuss YouTube Select, which is YouTube’s new initiative to gain a bigger share of TV ad dollars by expanding its range of brand safe curated content viewed on TVs.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 50 seconds)



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  • Behind My Thinking Podcast - Connected TV Use and Quibi’s Launch

    My longtime podcast colleague Colin Dixon at nScreenMedia and I are trying out a format for a second podcast, which we’re calling “Behind My Thinking.” The idea is that we would ask each other a few questions about a post we each wrote recently, to get share a little more insight on why the topic was important and other takeaways - in other words, behind each of our thinking.

    On this episode Colin first asks me about my post about Extreme Reach’s data showing connected TV ad impressions share has varied widely over the past few months. Then we flip to me asking Colin more about his post on why he thinks Covid-19 in an unlikely culprit for Quibi’s weak start.

    Listen to the podcast

     
  • VideoNuze Podcast #514: Digging Into Pay-TV’s Q1 Losses and ViacomCBS’s Gains

    I’m pleased to present the 514th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. As always, we hope our listeners are staying well.

    This week we share thoughts on the nearly 2.1 million video subscribers that large pay-TV operators lost in Q1. It was a record loss, and approximately half of it was attributable just to AT&T. Virtual pay-TV operators also had a tough first quarter. As a result linear TV networks must look to direct-to-consumer models, which is what ViacomCBS is doing with CBS All Access and Pluto. Subscriber gains have been impressive and we examine the company’s successful strategy.

    Listen in to learn more!

     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 45 seconds)



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  • VideoNuze Podcast #513: Viewers Accessing More Video Services

    I’m pleased to present the 513th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. We hope all of our listeners are staying safe as we continue to weather the pandemic.

    Stay-at-home guidelines continue to drive both SVOD and ad-supported viewing, and on this week’s podcast we discuss new research from Hub Entertainment Research detailing both (more here and here). Overall Hub found that the average number of TV services per viewer rose to 4.8 in April, 2020, from 3 services 2 years ago.

    While Netflix remains by far the most popular SVOD service, Amazon, Disney+ and Hulu have all gained. We dig into more of the numbers as well as other research released in the past week that paints a fuller picture of how viewership has changed in the past couple of months.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #512: PVOD Focus Accelerates With Pandemic

    I’m pleased to present the 512th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. We hope all of our listeners are staying safe and doing well.

    On this week’s podcast Colin and I look at what’s ahead for premium video on demand (PVOD), whereby movies are released direct to consumer, preempting the theatrical window. PVOD has been a contentious topic and with theaters currently closed due to the pandemic PVOD’s appeal has accelerated.

    PVOD was in the news earlier this week as the Wall Street Journal wrote how Universal Pictures’ PVOD release of “Trolls World Tour” generated 5 million rentals at $20 apiece. That yielded a split to Universal that was on par with 5 months of theatrical release revenue for the first “Trolls’ movie, underscoring PVOD’s profit potential for studios.

    The article triggered pushback from executives at leading theater chains who are justifiably nervous about PVOD eating into their  windows. Colin and I dig into the pros and cons of PVOD and what’s likely ahead as stay at home orders slowly lift.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #511: Netflix is On a Roll

    I’m pleased to present the 511th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. We wish all of our listeners good health and hope everyone is staying safe.

    Earlier this week, Netflix reported an unexpectedly large gain in global subscribers for Q1 ’20, which management attributed to the shelter-at-home situation. On today’s podcast Colin and I discuss how Netflix has uniquely benefited from shifting viewership and also how it will continue to do so in Q2 and likely during the second half of the year.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #510: Lots of Options for Free Premium Content

    I’m pleased to present the 510th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. We’re keeping all of our listeners in mind and hoping everyone is staying well and healthy.

    On this week’s podcast we discuss the many options available these days to access free TV and movies, as I've written previously. Some companies are being especially consumer-friendly and aggressive with their promotions. Sling TV is notable to us, and their latest “Happy Hour Across America” looks appealing for a number of reasons. But there’s lots more, with special offers from HBO, Amazon, Roku, Noggin, Apple TV, Peacock and others. We dig into all of these and what changes they could drive in the industry.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #509: Disney+ Soars, Quibi’s Challenges

    I’m pleased to present the 509th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. We wish all our listeners well and hope that everyone is staying healthy.

    First up this week, we discuss the success of Disney+ which now has 50 million paid subscribers, less than 5 months since launch. Both Colin and are impressed with the growth, which has been remarkably steady on an average daily basis. Disney+ is clearly way ahead of its forecast of 60-90 million subscribers in September, 2024. Colin thinks there may have been an “under-promise, over-deliver” approach in forecasting. Regardless, Disney+ looks like it’s in a strong position.

    We then turn our attention to Quibi, which launched earlier this week. We both like the app and think it’s quite functional. We also recognize that we’re not in the target audience, so the content isn’t necessarily for us. The big issues are that Quibi needs to be on connected TVs to give viewers more flexibility, and also a tier of free content (past the 90-day trial), to serve as an on-ramp for subscriber acquisition. Quibi is competing against an abundance of free alternatives; while it will get many trial sign-ups, conversion to paid will be the key challenge.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #508: Virus Keeps Changing Viewing and Monetization

    I’m pleased to present the 508th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. We hope all of our listeners are staying well and we urge everyone to take all precautions possible.

    In this week’s podcast, we focus on how the virus and stay at home guidelines are continuing to change viewership and monetization. First up we review Conviva data that shows a huge uptick in daytime viewing. Colin shares Nielsen data that Netflix recently accounted for 29% of video streaming on TVs and 9 out of the top 10 most viewed streaming shows.

    Colin likes Sling TV's “Stay in & SLING” initiative, which seems like a smart on-ramp to get viewers engaged with free VOD content. HBO’s decision to make 500 hours of its classic TV programs and Warner Bros. movies available for free is in line with this thinking and a great promotion for HBO Max. We agree that Quibi could also benefit from a free tier of content, beyond the 90-day trial it is offering at launch.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #507: Virus Brings New Realities

    I’m pleased to present the 507th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First, we hope all of our listeners are staying well. The virus has brought many new realities to our daily lives and also to the video industry. As a quick side note, please check out the Coronavirus Video Research Hub I launched yesterday to help all of us better track relevant data and insights being released by many leading companies.

    On today’s podcast, we dig into some of this research. Colin discusses data from Hub Entertainment showing how much more time viewers are spending with services like Disney Plus, Netflix and Hulu. Colin wonders how sustainable the trend is for Disney Plus though given the production stoppages and lack of new marquee content. There are broader questions about SVOD adoption/churn in this era of belt-tightening.

    An area of continued interest for me is what sports fans are doing with their time given the suspension of live sports and also where associated ad spending is moving. New research from Altman Vilandrie & Co. indicates that “reading” and “watching non-sports on TV” were the 2 activities most cited by sports fans as their preferred activity.

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  • 6 Reasons Why Netflix Should Launch An Ad-Supported Tier Now

    VideoNuze readers will recall that several months ago I made a prediction that Netflix would launch a lower cost (around $5-$7 per month) ad-supported tier in 2020. I predicted this despite Netflix management having steadfastly resisted the model, because I believed the logic was just so compelling and straightforward that no “religious” argument to the contrary would preclude it.

    However, a month after posting, on Netflix’s Q4 ’19 earnings call, management once again rejected the idea. In my and other analysts’ view, Netflix offered what seemed to amount to a “we can’t chew gum and walk at the same time” argument that focused on its perceived inability to compete effectively with the ad triopoly of Google, Facebook and Amazon. Despite CTV ad dollars being scooped up by the likes of Hulu, CBS All Access and other premium video providers, Netflix somehow concluded it simply couldn’t play.

    With the coronavirus upending life and prompting a surge in stay-at-home viewing, I’d like to suggest 6 reasons why now would be the absolute perfect time for Netflix to announce a lower priced ($5-$7 per month) ad-supported tier (note to readers: feel free to let me know if I’m missing something colossally obvious that would negate my assertion).

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #506: Virus Viewing Spike Could Benefit AVOD

    I’m pleased to present the 506th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. It's a difficult time for everyone these days with the virus and we hope all our listeners are staying well.

    On this week’s podcast we discuss how the spike in virus-driven streaming will benefit advertising-supported VOD services. There is still a lot of uncertainty about the extent of the benefit; mainly I believe the question is whether there is enough advertiser demand to meet the soaring supply of inventory.

    Answering this question leads back to how billions of ad spending intended for live sports will be reallocated. Based on discussions I’ve been having with industry leaders, these allocation decisions are currently taking place. But some categories like travel and entertainment are now dark. Can others pick up enough slack?

    We also spend a little time exploring the virus’s impact on SVOD. We are both modestly optimistic, but believe that there are numerous reasons even the stay at home spike won’t ultimately benefit SVOD. We also touch on the impact on pay-TV, which is even murkier given the lack of live sports.

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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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  • VideoNuze Podcast #504: Is Linear TV Dying, Dead, or Just Changing?

    I’m pleased to present the 504th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On this week’s podcast, Colin and I dig into the question of whether linear TV is dying, dead or just changing? The narrative around  conventional linear entertainment TV networks contracting is hard to argue with, especially for younger viewers moving to OTT. However, sports and news continue to do pretty well. And then there are newer types of linear TV experiences, like those from Jukin Media, that are finding new ways to serve linear audiences.

    Colin views Jukin, Xumo, Pluto and other OTT services that offer linear TV options as capitalizing on the “more things change, the more they stay the same” motto In other words, even as people embrace new on-demand options they still value linear TV at certain moments. Colin then discusses how these trends merge with pay-TV operators who are eager to reduce programming expenses. He highlights free, ad-supported Zone.tv, whose 13 “linear-like” channels became available to Cox’s Contour subscribers this week. 

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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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  • VideoNuze Podcast #502: ViacomCBS is Well-Positioned in OTT; Ratings Keep Plunging

    I’m pleased to present the 502nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week, on the heels of ViacomCBS reporting 11 million subscribers between CBS All Access and Showtime, Colin and I agree that the company is looking well-positioned in OTT. While more needs to be learned about its “House of Brands” strategy and how Pluto TV will be fully leveraged, we both believe ViacomCBS is looking more and more like a serious OTT contender. A big unknown remains what pricing and bundling will be for “CBS All Access Max” as Colin dubs it. And then there’s the impact of pricing pressure from Disney+, Apple TV+, Peacock, etc.

    Regardless, ViacomCBS’s OTT success is coming not a moment too soon, because, as we discuss, new UBS data based on Nielsen ratings, shows TV viewership continuing to plunge in Q1 ’20. Net, net, we both believe connected TV advertising is continuing to shape up as TV advertising’s long-term savior…though who falls through the cracks in the meantime remains to be seen.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #501: Roku Reports a Strong Q4; Nielsen Data Shows Viewer Growth Ahead

    I’m pleased to present the 501st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we discuss Roku’s Q4 and full year 2019 results, which were reported late Thursday. Roku now has nearly 37 million active accounts, up almost 10 million in 2019. More important, Roku continues to demonstrate strong capability in monetizing its viewers, with ARPU up $5.19 to $23.14. Looking back over the past few years, Roku’s ability to pivot its business from being player-based to advertising and licensing-based is very impressive, all the more so because it has pulled it off under the long shadow of CTV competition from Amazon, Google and Apple.

    Putting Roku’s growth in perspective though, Colin and I also spend a few minutes reviewing Nielsen’s latest Total Audience report, which showed that overall, streaming still accounts for just 19% of total TV usage. As Colin notes, it’s far higher for younger age groups and cord-cutters. Nonetheless, it’s hard not to conclude that it is still relatively early days for both ad-supported and subscription OTT.

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    (Note: I own a small number of Roku shares)

     
  • Nielsen’s New Research Shows It’s Still Very Early Innings For OTT

    If you’re following media coverage of the “streaming wars” these days, you might think that the viewers have all but abandoned traditional TV. But Nielsen’s February 2020 Total Audience Report illustrates that this is far from the current situation. In fact, it’s still very early innings for OTT, which in turn suggests that if you think streaming is big already, well then - you ain’t seen nothing yet. 

    Nielsen reports that in Q4 ’19 streaming accounted for just 19% of total TV usage time. Within that 19% streaming slice, Nielsen found that, no surprise, Netflix has the biggest piece (31%), followed by YouTube (21%), Hulu (12%) and Amazon (8%). Nielsen didn’t break out any other individual service that collectively amount for 28%.

    Then translating each streaming service’s into its % of TV usage (remember, ALL streaming accounts for 19%), means Netflix accounts for 5.9% of TV usage, YouTube (4%), Hulu (2.3%), Amazon (1.5%) and others (5.3%).

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #500: Digging Into First Numbers from Disney+ and YouTube

    I’m