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Analysis for 'Super Bowl'

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

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

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

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


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  • Super Bowl Streaming Soars to 5.7 Million Viewers

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

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

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #453: Super Bowl Streaming Hits New High

    I’m pleased to present the 453rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This past Sunday’s Super Bowl set the record for the lowest total score in the Big Game’s history, but it also set the highest record for number of people watching the action via the Internet. According to Colin’s excellent analysis, upward of 7 million people streamed some portion of the game. About 2.6 million did so via CBS and NFL digital properties. But per Colin’s calculations nearly twice as many watched via virtual pay-TV operators, which stream their services over the Internet. We both believe YouTube TV played a leading role.

    So while the total TV audience watching shrunk to 98.2 million, its lowest level in over 10 years, the number of people who trusted the Internet to stream the action rose to a new high. We discuss the implications of this and the growing role virtual operators are playing now. We also observe how the Big Game’s advertising roster included SVOD providers and other digital-first companies, a sign of its ongoing superiority in reaching a mass audience.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #435: AT&T Floats Engagement Pricing; CBS Streams Super Bowl to Mobile

    I’m pleased to present the 435th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Escalating programming costs for pay-TV operators are a chronic issue. In the age of cord-cutting and proliferation of SVOD, offsetting these costs with rate increases is no longer an option. One new solution being proposed by AT&T Communications’ CEO John Donovan is “engagement pricing,” whereby TV networks would be paid based on viewers’ actual consumption.

    As Colin explains, it’s a break from industry norms, and even with AT&T leveraging Warner Media’s networks, it will be very difficult to persuade other networks to follow suit. Why get paid on viewership when you’re already getting paid regardless of how many people watched?

    We then shift to CBS Sports’ decision this week to stream Super Bowl LIII to mobile devices without requiring a pay-TV subscription. It’s another nudge toward opening up sports to non-subscribers, though Colin and I agree the vast majority of marquee sports will remain locked behind pay-TV subscriptions.

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  • CBS Sports Extends Mobile Streaming Access to Super Bowl

    CBS Sports announced yesterday that it will extend unauthenticated streaming of Super Bowl LIII to mobile devices. The move means that viewers do not need to have a pay-TV subscription in order to watch the game on mobile, nor do they need to have wireless service with Verizon, as has been required in past years.

    It also means that mobile streaming will be on the same footing as desktop and connected TV viewing, both of which had unauthenticated access the last time CBS had the Super Bowl rights, in 2016. The game will also be available to CBS All Access subscribers.

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  • Oscars are Latest Marquee TV Event in 2018 to Suffer Viewing Decline as Audiences Splinter

    Preliminary overnight numbers for the Oscars show an 18.9 rating in prime time, down 16% vs. 2017’s 22.4 rating. The overnight rating is a new record low for the Oscars, and importantly continues the dismal showing for 2018’s marquee TV events: Golden Globes (-5% vs. 2017), Super Bowl (-7% vs. 2017, worst in 9 years), Olympics (-7% vs. 2014, worst ever) and Grammys (-24% vs. 2017, worst in 9 years). Clearly TV’s biggest events are losing their luster.

    There are always challenges particular to each event (e.g. Olympics time zone issues, Patriots fatigue, etc.). In the case of the Oscars, an ongoing problem is the disconnect between best picture winners and box office performance. A fascinating WSJ article on Friday detailed how only 4 best picture winners in the past 12 years have been among their year’s 25 highest-grossing movies, with none cracking the top 15. In the current era of superheroes, animation and franchise movies, thoughtful best picture nominees simply don’t draw the biggest audiences, in turn diminishing the Oscars’ relevance (2018 could be a quasi-exception with “Black Panther”).

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #406: Super Bowl Streaming; HBO Now Succeeds

    I’m pleased to present the 406th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week, Colin and I share our experiences live-streaming the Super Bowl. Both of us were on the road and were extremely impressed.  Except for latency of up to a minute or so, neither of us experienced any buffering or pixelation. In short, it was nearly a TV-like experience and really demonstrates how far live-streaming at scale has come.

    We then shift gears to discuss strong growth at HBO Now, which just reported hitting the 5 million subscriber mark at end of 2017. HBO Now is benefiting from not being a “buy-through” on top of expensive pay-TV services. By going direct-to-subscriber, HBO Now has made its product much more accessible. We suspect that Amazon Channels and AT&T (which strongly promoted HBO Now in 2017), were pivotal to growth.

    (Apologies, our audio quality isn’t that good this week).

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  • A Superb Super Bowl Streaming Experience

    As a Patriots fan, it was a bummer watching them go down in last night’s Super Bowl, but one major positive surprise was that streaming the game was a superb experience. I was on the road, and watched the entire game (except for the last minute) using the NBC Sports app on my iPad, on the public WiFi network in Palm Beach International airport in Florida where I arrived early for my flight which ended up delayed.

    I could have watched on any number of TVs in restaurants or camped out on the floor like the fans below watching on TVs mounted in the terminal. But the circumstances created a good opportunity to see what it would really be like to be dependent on streaming.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #357: Super Bowl Streaming and NFL Viewing; Assessing HBO Now’s Growth

    I’m pleased to present the 357th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up, Colin shares his experiences streaming the Super Bowl on numerous services and devices. Overall the video quality was pretty strong, especially on Sling TV. Colin also used the Fox VR app with Google Cardboard and relays his reactions.

    While Super Bowl LI was one of the best-viewed in history, NFL ratings this past season declined across the board and we discuss what’s likely happening. As I wrote earlier this week, the wide adoption of ad-free SVOD feels like a major culprit.

    We then transition HBO Now, which Time Warner reported earlier this week now has over 2 million subscribers. Neither Colin nor I are super-impressed with HBO Now’s growth, especially by comparison with Netflix’s performance in the same time period. We both think HBO Now’s relatively high price of $15/month is the key issue.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #356: Exploring "TV As An App," Super Bowl Ads

    I’m pleased to present the 356th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we explore the concept of “TV as an app,” which represents a paradigm shift in how TV is accessed by viewers. Of course the rise of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and others has paved the way for app-based viewing, but an entire TV lineup being delivered via an app to a connected TV device is still a significant change from conventional set-top box-based viewing.

    “TV as an app” got a boost this week with Comcast’s beta release of the Xfinity TV app for Roku. I’ve given it an initial try and provide some observations. In addition, Colin was moderating a panel on video apps this week and shares further insights he heard.

    We then shift focus to this Sunday’s Super Bowl, which will once again feature multiple free streaming options as well as localized dynamic ad insertion in the streams, which is a first. I’m keeping an eye on the ads to see if they offer any meaningful viewer engagement.

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  • Will We See Viewer Engagement in This Year’s Super Bowl Ads?

    This Sunday’s Super Bowl will once again be a showcase for great football and for compelling, creative advertising. As always, advertisers will be spending big to be in the game as the rate for a 30-second spot is approximately $5 million. Add in the cost of producing the ad and pre-promoting it, and the Super Bowl is easily the biggest single advertising investment a marketer makes.

    While the Super Bowl ads will no doubt entertain and move us, the bigger question is, will they engage us? Will they spur us do something beyond saying “Wow, that was cool!” before we shift our attention to the next ad or back to the game?

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #310: Recapping Super Bowl Streaming

    I'm pleased to present the 310th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week Colin and I recap our experiences streaming the Super Bowl to the various devices we tried. As I wrote on Monday, overall I thought the streaming quality was quite strong, with latency being the primary issue. Colin’s experience was more mixed, with his good old over-the-air signal the strongest.

    No surprise, the size of the audience streaming the game set a new record with nearly 4 million unique viewers, up about 60% vs. last year. But I was a bit surprised it wasn’t even bigger given the breadth of OTT options. Unfortunately CBS didn’t provide any details on streaming by device. We discuss the factors that drove audience one way or another.

    With the Super Bowl behind us, all eyes turn to the NFL’s pending OTT deal for its Thursday Night package. There are so many potential bidders in the mix who can leverage the games to their advantage.

    Listen now to learn more!

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  • Super Bowl Streaming Quality Was Strong, But With Inconsistent Latency Across Devices

    Overall, the quality of streaming of last night’s Super Bowl was strong, although I experienced inconsistent latency across different devices I was using. As shown in the images below, I set up an informal lab in my house, with the game on Comcast, via X1 (center), Roku TV (left rear), Amazon Fire TV on an Insignia (right rear), CBSSports.com (front left and right) and Verizon Go90 (front center).

    As can be seen, each device is lagging behind the CBS broadcast feed on TV and to a different extent. I measured the latency at a few points and it seemed to get worse as the game progressed. For Lady Gaga’s national anthem, the Roku and Amazon feeds were approximately 40 seconds delayed, but by the end of the game, each was over a minute delayed. The online streams were approximately half this delay and the Verizon stream still slightly better.

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  • 5 Reasons Why CBS’s Live Streaming of Super Bowl 50 is a Big Deal

    Continuing the trend of making live sports available to viewers across a wide range of devices, CBS will stream live coverage of this Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 broadcast to viewers both online and through an expanded network of over-the-top connected TV devices, including Xbox One, Apple TV, Roku and Microsoft 10. This decision by CBS and the NFL to allow, and even encourage, the consumption of the premier sports event of the year through connected TV devices is significant for 5 reasons:

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  • 5 Reasons Why CBS Live-Streaming Super Bowl Ads Isn’t a Big Deal and Has Drawbacks

    Yesterday Variety reported that for Super Bowl 50 in February, 2016, CBS will run all of the same ads from its broadcast of the game in its live-stream of the game. In effect, Super Bowl advertisers will be required to buy the online spots, which CBS is using in part to justify higher rates vs. what NBC charged in 2015. The approach is a departure from the past few Super Bowls which have been streamed, but where the broadcast TV network sold the online spots separately from the TV spots.

    It’s tempting to see CBS’s move as a coming-of-age for live-streaming and a “Big Moment” for online video advertising. But as I see it there are at least 5 reasons why this is actually neither, and in reality actually has some drawbacks and carries some risk:

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  • Perspective What's this? Live Sports Viewing Creates Entry Point for TV Everywhere Adoption

    2014 was the year during which the "Big Game" became the "Really Big Game." From the Super Bowl and Sochi Olympics kicking off the year, to the college football Bowl Season closing it out. One could hardly turn around in 2014 without hearing of another programmer boasting cutting-edge streaming coverage of tent-pole sporting events or unprecedented depth of exposure for previously hard-to-find games.

    Live sports serve a dual function for programmers trying to expand their digital footprint. In addition to bringing significant numbers of viewers to ultra-premium, high-CPM ad inventory, live sports have also been deployed as an entry point - hooking new adopters and indoctrinating digital viewing habits.

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  • Roundup of Super Bowl Data: Ad Viewing, Streaming and Social Activity

    Super Bowl XLIX will go into the books as one of the most exciting ever, full of unexpected twists and turns, right up until the last few seconds of the game. Importantly, the Super Bowl experience continues to change, with streaming, extended online ad viewing and social sharing. Below I've rounded up the most relevant data I could find about these trends. If I've missed anything, please let me know.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #258 - Super Bowl Streaming

    I'm pleased to present the 258th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Super Bowl Sunday is upon us. In today's podcast Colin and I first explore the huge role online video has had in driving up the value of Super Bowl ads, which NBC now approximates at $10 million per spot. But despite the ads' tens of millions of incremental online views, we're both still somewhat mystified why the ads don't place more value on viewer engagement, a topic I explored yesterday.

    We then turn our attention to NBC's plan to stream 11 hours of programming on Sunday (including the game) without any TV Everywhere style authentication.

    As Colin explains, "Super Stream Sunday" is correctly focused on educating viewers about TV Everywhere. But Colin notes one big drawback, which is that the game won't be available on smartphones, since Verizon has the exclusive mobile streaming rights. That means smartphone-wielding millennials could be disappointed.

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  • Now Valued At $10 Million Apiece, Super Bowl Ads Still Mostly Lack Engagement

    Yesterday, NBCU's EVP of Sales and Sales Marketing Seth Winter announced that all of this Sunday's Super Bowl on-air and online ad units are now sold out. At $4.4-$4.5 million for on-air spots, these are the most expensive Super Bowl ads ever. Winter also reiterated something he said a few weeks ago: he believes a 30-second Super Bowl ad really provides a $10 million value "because of all the incremental exposure that the creative receives on all the different social media platforms like YouTube or publicity."

    The comment resonated with me, because way back in 2007, in "On the Road to the $10 Million Super Bowl Ad," I suggested that eventually Super Bowl would in fact reach this level (note that NBC isn't selling the ads for $10 million - yet. It's only saying that's their value).

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  • Survey: 37% of Consumers Plan to Watch Super Bowl on Connected Devices

    YuMe has released results of a 500-person online survey about Super Bowl XLIX viewing intentions, finding surprisingly strong interest in watching the game via streaming. 37% of those surveyed said they plan to watch via a connected TV device, with 87% watching on TV, thereby implying lots of dual screen watching is in store.

    41% of respondents said it was important to watch the game on multiple devices, with 75% agreeing there's less chance of missing out when using multiple devices.

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