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  • Inside the Stream: YouTube Ads in Q1 ’23, Pluto TV's Tony Play, Exploring AI Drake

    First up this week on Inside the Stream we discuss YouTube’s advertising revenue for Q1 ’23, which was $6.7B, down 2.6% from Q1 ’22 of $6.9B. Obviously growth, not contraction, is the goal, but given the huge headwinds blowing through the ad business, in my view, a slight dip can rightly be considered a clear win. And the quarters that YouTube is now lapping were extremely strong to begin with, so comps will be tough by definition.

    We also spend a few minutes discussing YouTube’s four priorities outlined in the earnings call. I’m looking forward to attending YouTube’s NewFront presentations on Monday morning, especially “AI and the Future of Creative Transformation.”

    Next up, we both like how Paramount is leveraging Pluto TV by having it stream “THE TONY AWARD: ACT ONE,” preceding the main Tonys broadcast on CBS and Paramount+ on June 11th. ACT ONE is a perfect example of how “shoulder content” that can drive free streaming viewership (helping build Pluto’s brand) while acting as lead gen for Paramount+ and maybe even a little incremental retention for pay-TV.

    We expect to see a lot more of this “shoulder content on FAST” playbook run in the future elsewhere too. It’s a solid, synergistic play.

    Last, we make a maiden foray into the intersection of AI, video and music, prompted by a well-reported - though maybe slightly over-dramatic - article in The Verge about “AI Drake.” It’s a bit of a head-spinner to keep track of the machinations, but the net of it is that - no surprise to anyone - generative AI is already kicking up some dust related to copyright and Fair Use.

    Big players like Google and Microsoft will have to sort out what positions they ultimately want to stake out given their varied business interests. We do our best to decipher things and discuss implications. No easy answers here, but expect a lot more about AI on Inside the Stream in the future.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (31 minutes, 59 seconds)

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  • Light Ad Loads Drive AVOD’s Appeal

    In the political arena, the 2020 U.S. election may seem like the event that never ends. But for the ad-supported streaming video category, a surge of political advertising has now subsided, returning the fast-growing AVOD business to something approaching normalcy.

    What “normal” means in the AVOD camp is different, of course, from the broader ad-supported television economy. For one thing, AVOD participants like ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV and the Crackle video service tend to insert significantly fewer advertisements per hourly viewing session than what viewers elsewhere have come to expect. An ad-load analysis for November shows that even though these two services topped the AVOD charts for total ad time, their totals remain well less than the 16 minutes or more per hour typically seen in the national television network ecosystem.

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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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  • Why Connected TVs Will Shift More Ad Spending [VIDEOS]

    At the recent 9th annual VideoNuze Video Ad Summit, connected TV was a major focus throughout the day. In a presentation, Telaria CEO Mark Zagorski shared research illustrating how connected TV enable customized ad experiences that are more enjoyable, especially for younger viewers, better conversion than social and higher purchase intent than linear TV. With 30% of U.S. households not reachable by linear TV, forecast to jump to 50%, Mark makes a persuasive argument about CTVs’ important role.

    A related after lunch session, “Connected TVs Take Center Stage: What Does It All Mean?” delved even deeper. The session included Christina Beaumier (VP, Product, TV Platform, Xandr), Alison Levin (VP, Global Ad Sales and Marketplace, Roku), Harold Morgenstern (SVP, National Advertising Sales, Pluto TV) and Ken Ripley (VP, Sales, Newsy) with Howard Homonoff (Principal, Homonoff Media Group) moderating.

    Alison noted that 30% of viewers’ time spent is now spent with CTVs, but only 3% of ad budget are. So there’s a lot of room for budgets to shift. Ken, Harold and Christina explained how today’s media plans must include CTV to be complete, especially given viewership fragmentation. They also discuss the value of brands, discoverability, data, a unified currency, attribution and more.

    Watch the videos now!

  • Signs of Ad Model’s Growing Role in Video Are Everywhere

    Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about Netflix’s solid Q4 subscriber growth was the company’s ongoing success with a pure ad-free subscription model. Netflix is becoming even more unicorn’ish among big video providers in completely eschewing ads. Virtually every other major video provider (aside from established premium TV networks like HBO, Showtime, etc.) is reliant, at least in part, on advertising (Amazon’s ad-free approach gets an asterisk because of the outsized role Prime/free-shipping still plays - and even Amazon is now integrating ads in various ways, see below).

    In fact, though we’re barely a month into 2019, there are signs everywhere of advertising’s growing role in the future of the video industry.

    Consider just the following:

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #439: Exploring the Rise of Ad-Supported Online Video

    I’m pleased to present the 439th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    In today’s podcast, Colin and I explore the rise of free, ad-supported online video. While SVOD services like Netflix and Amazon have gained tons of attention, there is a ton of activity in ad-supported as well. Colin highlights The Roku Channel, Pluto TV and others. Amazon is rumored to be launching its own ad-supported service soon as well.

    We’re both bullish on the role of ad-supported video for a variety of reasons we discuss, including the growing footprint of connected TVs, the upper limit on how many paid services most consumers will adopt, the explosion of content and the maturing of video advertising in general. We dig into all of this and more.

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  • Connected TVs’ Ad-Supported Future [VIDEO]

    As more TV viewing moves to streaming, connected TV is emerging as the most important new source of premium ad-supported inventory. At our recent VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit, we dug into this unfolding opportunity on a session Rich Calacci (Chief Revenue Officer, Pluto TV), Jim Keller (VP, Sales, Hulu), Frank Sinton (Founder, Beachfront Media), Seth Walters (VP, Demand Partnerships, Roku), with Colin Dixon (Principal Analyst, nScreenMedia), moderating.

    The panel explored the key advantages of connected TV ads, including enhanced targetability (at the user level), measurability, in-flight optimization and real-time feedback loops. The panelists also noted that with more cord-cutting happening, CTV is a critical way to reach certain households and build cross-screen campaigns. Still, the panelists noted that it’s relatively early days for CTVs, as virtually all TV will be streamed within 5 years.

    Watch the session video now!

  • VideoNuze Podcast #424: Exploring the Benefits of Advertising on Connected TVs

    I’m pleased to present the 424th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    At this past Tuesday’s VideoNuze Online Video Advertising Summit, Colin moderated a session, “Connected TVs’ Ad-Supported Future,” with Rich Calacci (Pluto TV), Jim Keller (Hulu), Frank Sinton (Beachfront Media) and Seth Walters (Roku) participating. In the first segment of this week’s podcast, we discuss the reasons panelists cited for why ads on connected TVs are so appealing to advertisers, among other topics.

    We then transition to some of the highlights of the keynote interview with David Lawenda (EVP, Digital Sales and Strategy, CBS), with particular focus on his comments about advertisers’ reluctance to pay more just because ad loads are lighter. A range of TV networks are lightening their ad loads to provide a better experience compared to ad-free SVOD, but the benefits are uncertain according to David.

    Finally, we touch on interesting data that Group Nine Media’s SVP of Ad Solutions and Innovation Hayden Lynch made in my interview with him around the difficulties of monetizing video distributed on platforms. Group Nine’s properties generate around 6 billion views/month, but only 10-20% of them are being monetized, which is pretty eye-opening.

    Listen in to learn more!

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