Everyone understands that being able to seamlessly run and measure cross-screen video ads is the holy grail. But behind the scenes there are all kinds of challenges, which were explored in the opening session of our recent VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit, which included Mark London (VP, Ad Operations, Advanced Ad Products, Fox), Greg Lubetkin (Executive Director of Sales Operations, Disney ABC Digital) and Bunker Sessions (VP, Business Development, Extreme Reach) moderating.
The panelists discussed buyers’ expectations for unified analytics, optimizing monetization of all video streams, brand safety, maintaining strong user experiences with ad insertion, the role of AD-ID, how to manage programmatic across platforms and much more.
At our SHIFT // Programmatic Video & TV Ad Summit a couple weeks ago we had two sessions that were connected: one that focused on executing the roadmap for success in audience buying and one that focused on maximizing data’s ROI.
Panelists for the audience buying panel included Gabe Bevilacqua (SVP of Product Management, Advanced Advertising, Viacom), Jason DeMarco (VP, Audience and Data Solutions, A+E Networks), Anupam Gupta (Chief Product Officer, 4C Insights) and Adam Hecht (VP, Monetization, SintecMedia), with Mary Ann Halford (Senior Advisor, FTI Consulting), moderating.
Panelists for the maximizing data’s ROI panel included Scott Ashby (Sr. Director, Advanced Ad Products, Fox Networks Group), Judith Hammerman (SVP, Data Solutions & Programmatic Solutions, Time Inc.), Mark Risis (Head of Global Data Partnerships, IBM Watson Advertising), Damian Garbaccio (Global Chief Revenue Officer, Nielsen Marketing Cloud), with Brian Leder (Partner and Chief Strategy Officer, Promatica), moderating.
Watch the session videos now!
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.
Don’t blink or you might miss it.
Last week, it was reported that Mars and Duracell are each airing two six-second television ad spots during this Sunday’s Teen Choice Awards. Fox announced that the ads, which take the place of a single 15 or 30-second ad, will be part of new 29-second pods that will begin by telling viewers to stay-put for four six-second ads.
The reasoning behind this move should come as no surprise - today’s teens show a clear preference for short-form content and clearly seem to be influenced by short ad lengths.
But the news underscores a bigger issue - are demographics the key driver of shorter ad lengths?
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 334th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
In this week’s podcast, Colin and continue the debate we began back in early May (see here) about whether Hulu’s “skinny bundle” makes sense. We took up the debate again because earlier this week Time Warner announced that it was acquiring a 10% interest in Hulu and that its ad-supported cable networks would be included in the skinny bundle.
As I wrote on Wednesday, the deal seems to muddy Hulu’s skinny bundle proposition further. With all of the TW networks included, Hulu’s cost of programming also rises, in turn driving up the skinny bundle’s retail price. If the bundle ends up starting at $40, $50 or $60 per month, it won’t be able to create meaningful cost savings vs. pay-TV. Even with TW’s networks, there’s still the “Swiss cheese” risk inherent to all skinny bundles - not offering enough breadth to satisfy a family. If all that isn’t enough, Hulu will be competing with its best customers, a very risky approach.
Colin disagrees and thinks this is a big opportunity for networks to take more control of their destiny. Colin argues that given all the uncertainty of the video market, being able to experiment and get actionable insights from viewer data is valuable. In short, he only sees upside opportunity.
It’s a great debate and we’re both very eager to see how the Hulu skinny bundle will actually look when it’s introduced.
Listen now to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 2 seconds)
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)
With so much uncertainty in the TV and online video industries these days, I keep telling myself to never be surprised by anything anymore. But last night, when the WSJ headline, “Hulu is Developing a Cable-Style Online TV Service” popped up in my Twitter feed, I have to admit it tested the boundaries of my imagination.
The most immediate head-scratcher was that such a move would position Disney and Fox, two of the three network shareholders in Hulu (along with Comcast, which is now a silent partner due to terms of its NBCU acquisition) as direct competitors of pay-TV operators, their biggest distributors. These companies spend billions of dollars per year to carry the very same TV networks that would now be included in the skinny Hulu lineup.
Last Friday afternoon, Hulu's owners Disney, Fox and NBCU/Comcast (note NBCU/Comcast is a passive owner) announced that they wouldn't be selling Hulu, despite an active bidding process. Instead, the companies will retain their interests and plan to invest $750 million in Hulu to grow it. Although the principal reason for the sale was a disagreement over Hulu's business strategy, the announcement said Fox and Disney are "fully aligned in our collective vision and goals for the business (although what they actually are were not disclosed).
This was the second time a Hulu sale failed to materialize and I believe that once again, the reason was that Hulu's owners realized "you can't have your cake and eat it too." Translation: Disney and Fox wanted to retain all kinds of content rights and flexibility, yet still wanted a very high valuation for the business. Since Hulu's next-day broadcast rights are at the core of its valuation, Disney and Fox's attempt to chip away at them led bidders to reduce what they were willing to pay, obviously beyond the level at which Fox and Disney felt it was still worthwhile selling the business.
Final bidding was scheduled to close last Friday in the Hulu sale process, with the list of potential buyers apparently narrowed to DirecTV, Chernin Group/AT&T and Guggenheim Digital Media. According to various reports (here and here), Hulu's active owners Disney and Fox (Comcast is a passive owner) have been insisting on a number of content licensing related deal points.
Hulu's next-day access to its 3 broadcast owners' hit shows has always been the heart of the company's value proposition. But a lot has changed in the online video landscape since Hulu was initially formed in March, 2007. As a result, in my view, there are at least 3 key reasons Hulu's owners are justified in bargaining hard over content licensing rights: the importance of TV Everywhere, the growth of well-funded over-the-top licensees and the potential of online video advertising. Following, I delve into each.
I'm pleased to present the 169th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. First up today, we review the latest video industry litigation, Cablevision vs. Viacom. We mostly agree that major industry change is unlikely to occur due to the litigation, but rather, over time, the expense of pay-TV and appeal of OTT alternatives will drive changes in consumer choices, which in turn is what will change the pay-TV industry's dynamics.
Speaking of changing dynamics, it's no secret that live TV viewing is under huge pressure as viewers turn to on-demand choices and DVR usage. To help reverse things, Colin discusses an interesting new initiative announced this week by Fox and Watchwith. Fox will be syndicating its FOX NOW "sync-to-broadcast" second screen companion content via Watchwith to numerous network partners such as Shazam, Viggle, ConnecTV and NextGuide, helping drive higher usage and monetization. As Colin wrote earlier this week, it's a clever way of proliferating FOX NOW content and improving the live experience.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 21 seconds)
If you think your monthly pay-TV bill is already pretty expensive, then brace yourself for rate increases that will definitely be happening over the next several years, particularly in certain geographic areas of the U.S. Why? Because the cost of programming continues to spiral, led by sports. In fact, over the past 24 months, at least $80 billion has been committed by broadcast and cable TV networks to televise sports in the U.S. (note this includes $6 billion, the minimum either News Corp. or Time Warner Cable will likely pay for TV rights to the L.A. Dodgers' games).
The chart below itemizes all of the deals that I'm aware of; no doubt there are others as well that aren't included. Also not included are the expected increased costs of renewals for some of sports' highest-profile events like the Super Bowl and NCAA March Madness in coming years.
Late yesterday NBC Sports and Yahoo announced a content sharing and promotional partnership that further cements Yahoo's role as a video syndication magnet for big media companies. In addition to the new NBC Sports deal, over the past year, other major media partnering with Yahoo include ABC News, CBS Television Distribution, Wenner Media, Clear Channel, CNBC, Fox Digital Entertainment/DirecTV and others, as each has sought to extend its online video presence beyond their own properties and to generate new ad revenues.
Categories: Syndicated Video Economy
Variety is reporting on an internal Hulu memo indicating that the imminent buyout of Hulu's private equity partner may spark a series of changes, including the possible departure of CEO Jason Kilar and modifications to its content licensing arrangements with its broadcast network TV owners. Kilar has done an excellent job with Hulu, creating a top-notch user experience that is monetized through both ads, and more recently through subscriptions at Hulu Plus. Kilar has more than defied the skeptics who dismissively labeled Hulu "Clown Co." prior to its launch.
Nonetheless, there can be no disputing the fact that Hulu's essential asset from the outset has been exclusive next-day access to programs from Fox and NBC (now Comcast) and more recently, Disney/ABC. Broadcast TV is still by far the most popular programming around, and even though Hulu has added dozens of content partners, including a high-profile deal with Viacom, the reality is that for many Hulu users, it's a destination to catch up on their favorite broadcast programs.