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)
I’m bullish on ad-based free streaming channels on Connected TVs. eMarketer projected the CTV ad market would grow to $14B in 2023, double the 2019 figure. Why is the Free Ad-based Streaming TV market, or FAST, so hot?
Because after a decade of flubs by TV OEMs, they’ve finally nailed it. Many licensed Roku. Others, Android TV. Samsung iterated to get steadily better. LG’s Web OS was good from the get-go. And Vizio’s revamped SmartCast gained accolades at CES. This is in addition to the blockbuster success of OTT set-tops like Roku and Fire TV. Another factor? The rapidly maturing live linear streaming tech stack. It is far less glitchy and buffery than a year ago even, and costs are dropping.
It adds up. Unboxing a TV is a new game. Just connect to Wi-fi and watch hundreds of free channels of news, sports and entertainment within seconds. No roof climbing. No scanning. No input switching. No cable guy.
And more are coming. The Consumer Technology Association projected 41 million new TVs will be shipped in the US this year. Nielsen says we have 120 million homes. Just spit-balling here, but every three years we’re sending another new TV -- with hundreds of free streaming channels -- to every home in America?
So why should we curb our enthusiasm?
As stay at home guidelines remain in place, it seems like more and more free TV and video are being made available, spanning the short and long ends of the tail (meaning super-premium through user-generated) - and everything in between. Not only does this create more choices for viewers, which will be welcomed, it also means more competition for subscription video services which were already vulnerable to belt-tightening. And for free TV/video that is ad-supported, it means more inventory and choices for advertisers.
Here’s what’s caught my eye just in the past week:
Likely the most interesting news from CES this year is that Apple is finally partnering in meaningful ways with big TV manufacturers. Most notably, Apple is creating an exclusive iTunes app for certain Samsung smart TVs. It is also enabling AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support on certain Samsung, Vizio, LG and Sony smart TVs which means users can display content from their Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac) on their big screens.
Apple’s moves are certainly a nod to how important its services/content business is becoming. But 2019 is a huge year for Apple in defining its place in the content ecosystem, with a $1 billion reportedly allocated to create original TV shows. The business model for these shows has been shrouded in mystery, but several months ago, CNBC reported that the shows will actually be given away for free to Apple’s device owners as part of the TV app which will also include subscription options akin to Amazon Channels.
I'm pleased to present the 315th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week we turn our attention to the ever-evolving Smart TV space, which saw new developments in this week. First, Colin explains the new line of TCL 4K Roku TVs, which he’s impressed with. Like other manufacturers, TCL has opted to partner with Roku to bring its software, user experience and thousands of apps to its smart TVs, rather than try to replicate all of this itself.
In contrast, Vizio has chosen a completely different path with its new P-Series launched this week, partnering with Google to embed Google Cast in the TVs, essentially moving the “smarts” to mobile devices which “cast” content to the TV (even the use of the term “TV” is loose with the P-Series considering they don’t have tuners). As I explained yesterday and then further on the podcast, the Google Cast approach has numerous benefits for both developers and consumers.
Colin and I are encouraged by what may be a consolidation of smart TV platforms, likely to include Roku, Google, Apple and Amazon, in the end. Smart TVs have been a confusing space for all for far too long, creating messy, incomplete consumer experiences and leaving these devices untethered from mainstream ecosystems.
Listen now to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 34 seconds)
Back in July, 2013, when Google introduced Chromecast, I speculated in “Just When TVs Were Getting Smart, Chromecast Will Make Them Dumb Again,” that the little $35 device could overturn years of TV manufacturers’ investments in making TVs “smart.” Flash forward to this week’s formal unveiling of “Google Cast” and the Vizio P-Series with SmartCast, and the vision of TVs heading back to dumb-dumb land could be underway.
CES '09 is now behind us. As has become typical, this year's show saw numerous broadband video product and technology announcements. As I wrote often last week, the key theme was broadband-enabled TVs. Assuming TV manufacturers deliver on their promises, Christmas '09 should mark the start of real growth in the installed base of connected TVs.
Here are the noteworthy announcements that I caught, in no particular order (I'm sure I've missed some; if so please add a comment and include the appropriate link):
At CES, Yahoo is making its presence felt in the budding broadband-to-the TV space with its "Yahoo Widget Engine." It has announced deals with TV manufacturers Samsung, LG, Sony and Vizio (see next post). It's an impressive list, and these Yahoo-enabled TVs are expected in the market later in '09.
Some of you may recall that the Yahoo Widget Engine debuted last summer as part of a broader alliance with Intel called the "Widget Channel". The two companies have come together to create an applications framework running on new Intel media processing chips. An SDK allows 3rd party developers to use web-standard technologies to develop applications for TVs and other CE devices. That's a mouthful, but the news coming out of CES appears to show that Yahoo/Intel are making progress building out the ecosystem of both TV manufacturers and 3rd parties applications.
In addition to Yahoo content like news, weather, finance and Flickr, there's 3rd party content from USA Today, YouTube, eBay and Showtime. And there are premium movie and TV programs from Netflix, Amazon VOD and Blockbuster. The list of others involved goes on.
All of this is very positive for the budding broadband-to-the-TV space and clearly demonstrates how much emphasis the non-incumbent video service provider (cable/satellite/telco) world is placing on "over the top" services. As expected, these incumbents have a big disruptive bull's-eye on their foreheads. For the numerous 3rd parties that have never had access to the consumers' TV, broadband's openness provides their first-ever entry pass.
As exciting as all this is, the jumble of TV, content, technology and aggregation brands coming to market is prime to create mass confusion for consumers being targeted with these services. Here's the scenario: a prospective TV buyer walks into a Best Buy just looking for a new HDTV, but pretty quickly starts hearing about all these different services and brands. Within minutes the consumer's head is going to be swimming. Which service and content is free and which costs extra? How does it all connect? What if I already have Netflix, Flickr or YouTube passwords - do they automatically work? Do I need to change something that's already in my house, like my home network? And who do I call if something's not working right? One sure winner with these new broadband TVs coming out is the Geek Squad!
Still, this is exciting stuff. A whole new world of broadband on the TV content and applications is finally poised to see the light of day and with it will come all kinds of new opportunities.
What do you think? Post a comment now.
Broadband video integrated TVs got another big boost as Vizio, one of the top 3 flat panel brands in the U.S. announced its new "Connected HDTV" platform at CES this afternoon. The move comes on top of Netflix's LG announcement, and other chip-based announcements from Adobe with Intel and Broadcom. More broadband TV announcements are sure to follow.
The new Vizio TVs will incorporate the Yahoo Widget Engine and support for Adobe Flash Lite. Importantly, the TVs will allow access to a very broad range of content including Netflix Watch Instantly, Amazon VOD, Blockbuster OnDemand, Accedo, Flickr, Pandora, Rhapsody and Yahoo. For Netflix and Amazon specifically, the Vizio deal continues building out the portfolio of 3rd party devices that play their video libraries.
From a consumer standpoint, I think it's becoming increasingly clear that by late '09 into '10, buying an HDTV will almost always include the experience of bringing the set home, connecting it to your home wireless network and browsing a growing collection of paid and free broadband video choices. I envisioned for a while that 3 devices - game consoles, Blu-ray players and IP-enabled TVs - would be leading the charge into the "over-the-top" market. With these CES announcements and more to come, TVs could well become the most prolific of the three in the long run.
What do you think? Post a comment now.