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Analysis for 'Citi'

  • Is the Cable Ratings Drop-off the Tip of the OTT Iceberg?

    I'm constantly on the lookout for data points that provide insights into how viewer behavior may be changing, particularly with respect to possible shifts from traditional pay-TV offerings to new over-the-top (OTT) alternatives.

    That's why a client note from the media analysts at Citigroup this week, which highlighted the ratings drop-off that cable TV networks as a group are experiencing, caught my eye. The Citigroup note follows a recent WSJ report explaining that 11 of the top 15 cable networks have lost audience this year, including a whopping 25% decline at Nickelodeon among its kids 2-11. Citigroup said that for each of the last 6 months, cable's total day ratings decline has actually accelerated, from 2.3% last October to 7.8% in March.

    Citigroup's main concern about this ratings drop-off is that cable networks' ad revenue growth is slowing as well, in turn pressuring their media company owners' valuations. While that is surely a worry for investors, an even broader issue to consider is whether the drop-off in cable's ratings is the tip of the OTT iceberg, signaling that the explosion of online-delivered alternatives is beginning to impact viewership patterns. While it's too early to conclude this, all of the elements that would drive OTT's rise - at cable's expense - appear to be falling into place.

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  • YouTube Dominating Online Video Ad Business; $1.3 Billion Forecast in 2011

    A new report this week from Citi analyst Mark Mahaney forecasted that YouTube revenue could exceed $1.3 billion in 2011 and rise to almost $1.7 billion in 2012 (see below). Mahaney's conclusion is based on YouTube driving higher video views and an improved ability to monetize these views with advertising.  Google has of course been famously tight-lipped about YouTube's financial condition, other than to issue increasingly optimistic statements in its quarterly earnings calls.

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