I’m pleased to present the 479th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Q2 was a very tough quarter for pay-TV operators, with cord-cutting soaring to a record level. This week we dive into the numbers and discuss why things have changed so dramatically since Q2 ’18. Then we transition to the Viacom-CBS deal, which was formally announced this week. Colin sees substantial upside, leveraging Pluto TV, which Viacom acquired earlier this year.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 20 seconds)
The OTT era is challenging established premium video providers to adapt their businesses to a totally new set of ground rules. At our 9th annual Video Advertising Summit on May 29th, our opening panel shared their insights on the adaptation process and also what advertisers are looking for in where they allocate budgets in the OTT era.
The discussion included Rob Aitken (Managing Director, Deloitte Consulting), Danielle DeLauro (EVP, Video Advertising Bureau), Domenic DiMeglio (SVP, Distribution and Operations, CBS Interactive) and James Shears (VP, Advanced Advertising, Extreme Reach) with moderator Mike Shields (Shields Strategic Consulting).
A few key takeaways: premium video providers may be known for one particular business model today but eventually they're likely to utilize a variety of business models, live retains significant consumption and is a a critical part of the viewing mix even for OTT services, advertisers recognize live and on-demand are synergistic in terms of extending reach and attribution is an essential KPI for direct-to-consumer companies using TV advertising that traditional advertisers are emphasizing as well.
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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Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 36 seconds)
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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Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 7 seconds)
I’m pleased to present the 431st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
It’s been Q2 earnings season, which provides a valuable opportunity to check in on how different companies’ OTT strategies are flowing through to their financial performance. On today’s podcast Colin and I talk about two companies whose OTT fortunes are moving in opposite directions.
Moving the wrong way is Dish and its Sling TV skinny bundle. Sling TV was the first to market in the category several years ago. Though it quickly gained over 2 million subscribers, growth slowed to just 41K additions last quarter as others boomed. As Colin and I discuss, a key weakness in its service is the lack of broadcast channels. The other big skinny bundles, YouTube TV, Hulu Live and DirecTV Now have all decided to pay top dollar to include them, which is helping fuel their growth. Sling TV is at a competitive disadvantage requiring subscribers to install antennas which many people can’t or won’t do.
All broadcasters are benefiting from the shift to skinny bundles, but CBS’s Q2 results show that its OTT success extends further, to direct-to-consumer, targeted advertising and SVOD production, as well. CBS is benefiting from decisions it made years ago to retain digital rights (most famously by not joining Hulu), even though it wasn’t clear back then how the monetization of them would fully unfold.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (25 minutes, 16 seconds)
CBS’s Q2 ’18 results reported last week, along with more details shared on its earnings call, reveal how the company is hitting on all OTT cylinders. CBS has become a shining example of how a traditional media company has been able to capitalize on the significant new opportunities that OTT presents in direct-to-consumer, skinny bundles, targeted advertising and producing for big SVOD providers.
CBS has been one of the most innovative big media companies pursuing OTT initiatives. At the June 12th VideoNuze Ad Summit, we were privileged to have David Lawenda, CBS’s EVP, Digital Sales and Sales Strategy as our keynote guest, interviewed by Mike Shields, Business Insider’s Advertising Editor.
David addresses many interesting topics including how CBS is catching up to Facebook and Google in data-enabling its ad inventory, the benefits of its direct-to-consumer services like CBS All Access in understanding viewer behavior, how ready agencies really are to buy beyond age and gender today, whether TV networks reducing their ad loads will meet with success, the impact no holistic measurement capability, the role programmatic TV will or won’t play in the future, how CBS’s upfront is going so far and much more.
For anyone interested in learning how CBS and network TV are adapting to the vastly changing video landscape, the interview is must-see.
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.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 45 seconds)
I’m pleased to present the 415th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Colin and I were both at the NABShow in Las Vegas this week. I was producing the Online Video Program once again, which featured 30+ speakers on 8 different sessions. On today’s podcast, I share some of the highlights of the keynote session with Christy Tanner, EVP/GM of CBS News Digital, who oversees CBSN, the 24x7 OTT news service. CBSN has an average viewer age of 38, which is 20 years younger than the average CBS News viewer.
Christy explained how the CBSN team collaborates internally with its focus on news/facts vs. punditry. She also noted that 50% of consumption is on connected TVs, with 30% on desktop and 20% on mobile. CBSN is an example of how OTT is giving traditional media a whole new way to connect with viewers.
We then turn our attention to some of Colin’s takeaways from the show, including Android TV deployments and the value of open platforms, how operators are broadening their focus to broadband/OTT as viewers are increasingly assembling their own preferred services and the growth of live-streaming.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 39 seconds)
I’m excited to share that Christy Tanner, EVP and GM of CBS News Digital, will be the keynote guest at the NABShow’s Online Video Program on April 10th in Las Vegas. I will be interviewing Christy about how CBSN, which is CBS News’ streaming video news service launched in 2014, creates new value for viewers, advertisers and the CBS Corporation.
As a direct-to-consumer service, CBSN offers live news coverage from 5am to 10pm 7 days a week. It delivered 280 million live streams in 2017, up 17% vs. 2016. CBSN leverages CBS News’ original reporting, simulcasts special reports and rebroadcasts programming such as “CBS This Morning” and “Face the Nation” in addition to its own original programming. CBSN is a free, ad-supported service.
On two separate sessions at AdExchanger’s Industry Preview conference last week, NBCUniversal’s Chairman, Advertising and Client Partnerships, Linda Yaccarino and CBS’s President and Chief Advertising Revenue Officer Jo Ann Ross made forceful cases that TV is still highly relevant for advertisers and its impact is essential in the overall marketing mix.
It’s no secret that TV networks are fighting a pervasive media narrative that traditional TV viewing is becoming anachronistic for younger audiences in particular, ad-free SVOD viewing is dominating and big digital platforms like Google and Facebook offer improved ROI to advertisers through targeting.
The competitive dynamics among skinny bundles are still developing, but one thing is becoming increasingly clear: including a full array of broadcast TV channels in all of the biggest U.S. markets, and even many of the smaller ones, will be table stakes. It seems as if a week doesn’t pass these days without one of the five major skinny bundles announcing a new carriage deal for certain broadcast channels in a variety of local markets.
I’ve been a skeptic of skinny bundles, partially because of the huge holes in their channel lineups (what I’ve dubbed the “Swiss cheese” problem) which I believe narrows their appeal. The most glaring hole has been the absence of all the broadcast TV networks except in a handful of the biggest metropolitan areas. Not having all the broadcast networks is a serious drawback because even in the fragmented cable era, they still draw the biggest audiences outside of sports.
But there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic that this problem may soon be solved. Three of the four big broadcast networks have announced agreements with their affiliate boards which essentially allow the networks to negotiate carriage in skinny bundles on their behalf. NBC was the first to announce its deal, on April 13th. That was followed by Disney ABC on April 24th. And then yesterday, CBS announced its own deal. While FOX hasn’t announced a deal, it has added more affiliates to DirecTV Now, which is a positive sign of progress.
I'm pleased to present the 344th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week was busier than usual in the video industry and on today’s podcast, Colin and I discuss a number of news items that hit our radar. First we talk about the new Google-CBS deal for the upcoming Unplugged skinny bundle. Next up is VUDU’s Movies on Us, new free, ad-supported VOD service which we both think has potential. We then dig into Facebook’s new feature for advance scheduling and promoting live broadcasts. Finally we review LeEco’s new content and TVs (Colin attended the company’s big launch event this week.)
Clearly there was a lot happening this week as major players in the video industry continue jockeying for position. One news item that broke after we recorded is the rumor about AT&T acquiring Time Warner. That type of deal would be straight out of the Comcast-NBCU playbook and could trigger even more distribution-content tie-ups.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (26 minutes, 17 seconds)
Last Thursday night felt like a milestone moment to me in the continued mainstreaming of online video viewing. At 9pm, I turned on my 46-inch Insignia HDTV, toggled to input 3, grabbed my Fire TV remote control, scrolled to the app section, downloaded the Twitter app and began watching the Jets play the Bills over my 100 mbps Comcast broadband connection in pristine quality. Just like that I was watching an NFL game outside the traditional TV ecosystem.
The whole process took just a few minutes and likely could have been accomplished by the least tech-savvy among us. On the surface it might seem like a relatively trivial undertaking, but in reality, the experience reflected the significant technology and consumer behavioral advancements that have taken place in just the past 10 years or so. Every one of these advancements was critical in enabling the Twitter broadcast. And every one of them is also causing the seismic changes roiling the broader TV industry.
I'm pleased to present the 331st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Broadcast TV networks are taking different approaches to online video and this week saw updated online initiatives from Fox and ABC with the former announcing live-streaming of its primetime lineup in all 210 U.S. markets and the latter launching updates to its online service including classic shows, original digital series and more.
Meanwhile NBC is gearing up for the Olympics in 3 weeks, which promises to be the most ambitious online sports event to date. And CBS is continuing to aggressively pursue its own independent path online, even as recent rumors have the network participating in YouTube’s forthcoming online subscription service.
In this week’s discussion Colin and I review the Fox and ABC moves, comparing and contrasting them as well as NBC’s and CBS’s approaches.
Listen now to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 11 seconds)
One of the highlights of the recent Video Ad Summit was the keynote interview I did with Marc Debevoise, who was just promoted to be President and COO of CBS Interactive. Marc oversees strategy and operations for all of the CBSi’s 25+ entertainment, sports, news, technology, gaming and media brands. Marc has also led the development of the CBS All Access SVOD service and CBSN 24/7 digital news service.
In the interview Marc shares the 3 biggest market trends that are guiding CBSi’s strategy and what’s ahead. We discuss in detail the strategic drivers behind the launch of CBS All Access and CBSN, including advertising strategies for both and how well they’ve been accepted by viewers. Marc shares lots of details about viewers’ profiles, how they engage with the two services, the devices that are most successful and how CBS is using them to broaden its appeal to younger viewers. Marc also explains how original programs (e.g. “Star Trek” and “The Good Wife” spinoff) are playing a big role in CBS All Access game plan.
We also talk about how CBS has become a leader in online sports, trailing only ESPN overall in the first part of 2016. Streaming the Super Bowl to connected TVs was a big milestone earlier this year and Marc discusses why CBS decided to do this and what impact it will have on streaming other sports. We wrap up by looking ahead to big challenges that CBSi is addressing.
There is a lot of skepticism floating around about the role of broadcast TV in the fast-evolving online video landscape, but Marc does a great job of explaining all the moves CBS is making to remain a leader.
Watch the keynote interview (35 minutes, 30 seconds)
One of the highlights of the upcoming 6th annual VideoNuze Online Video Advertising Summit on Tuesday, June 14th in NYC will be my morning keynote interview with Marc Debevoise, EVP/GM of CBS Digital Media at CBS Interactive.
Marc oversees all of CBS Interactive’s major digital properties in Entertainment, Sports and News. These include CBS.com, CBS apps, SVOD service CBS All Access, CBSSports.com, CBSNews.com and the 24/7 digital news network CBSN, among others. Marc also manages all digital content distribution on all platforms, TV Everywhere and original digital productions.
All of this gives Marc an excellent perspective on what’s happening at the intersection of online video and TV. I’ve known Marc for years and have always been impressed by how he balances strategic priorities and practical realities.
In our discussion, Marc will discuss what he sees as the most important industry trends and how they’re informing CBS’s digital strategies. We’ll dive into topics such as how convergence is shaping CBS’s monetization approaches, the value of platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Amazon to video providers, CBS’s goals in providing marquee TV programming for its CBS All Access SVOD service, how the company is leveraging viewer data and much more. Marc will also share thoughts on where the industry is heading in the near term.
Overall the session will offer valuable insights for anyone with a stake in the video/TV business going forward. Marc will also take audience questions at the end of the session.
Aside from Marc’s keynote interview, there are a dozen other sessions throughout the day focused on all of the hottest topics in the industry and featuring 40+ senior executives. The Video Ad Summit promises to be a must-attend day of learning and networking for anyone who wants to really understand what’s happening with the convergence of video and TV.
Learn more and register now!
Underscoring once again how unpredictable the online video space is, Twitter has emerged as the unlikely winner of the rights to stream NFL Thursday Night Football (TNF) games for the 2016-2017 season. Just yesterday I wrote that with Facebook and Apple bowing out, the bidding likely came down to Amazon, Verizon and Google, with Verizon the most likely winner for a variety of reasons.
On the one hand, Twitter’s interest in streaming the TNF games makes sense, as recently returned CEO Jack Dorsey has publicly stated that a top 2016 priority is live streaming, including leveraging its Periscope product. The 10 TNF games give Twitter a marquee property to highlight live streaming, which complements Twitter activity around all games. And Twitter already had a deal in place with the NFL for highlight clips.
Late Friday afternoon, Bloomberg reported that Facebook had dropped out of the bidding for streaming rights to the NFL’s Thursday night package. That news followed Recode’s report from last month that Apple had also withdrawn. With two of the most likely candidates now gone, the only digital players remaining who are both big enough to afford the deal and for whom it potentially makes enough strategic sense are likely Verizon, Google and Amazon (I’m excluding Yahoo since its own instability almost certainly precludes a bid).