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Analysis for 'Facebook'

  • Here’s the Math For How YouTube’s Total Revenue Could Exceed $25 Billion in 2020

    Finally, finally, finally, Google provided some transparency about YouTube’s financial condition, in its Q4 ’19 and full year 2019 earnings report yesterday. YouTube’s financials have been treated as a state secret by Google since the beginning of time, with only high level usage information periodically shared.

    Even yesterday’s reveal was only for YT’s advertising revenue, which came in at $4.7 billion for Q4 ’19 and $15.1 billion for the year. YT’s subscription revenues - which consist of YT Music, YT Premium includes YT Music) and YT TV (its virtual pay-TV service) - were buried in “Google other revenue.” On the earnings call, CEO Sundar Pichai said all YT subscriptions had a $3 billion annual run rate at the end of 2019.  

    Using some conservative assumptions and relatively quick math, it’s clear that YT’s total revenue could exceed $25 billion in 2020. As I also detail below, YT has to be considered among the best acquisitions in corporate America’s history. For Google, only the acquisition of Android (for the measly price of $50 million) could be considered more successful.

    Here are my calculations:

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  • Facebook’s Video Progress is Still Glacial

    Another quarterly earnings call with Facebook and yet another reminder of how glacial the company’s pace has been with prioritizing and monetizing video. Remarkably, it has been over 2 years since CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in the Q2 ’16 earnings call in July, 2016 that “We see a world that is video first with video at the heart of all our apps and service.”

    Now admittedly, Facebook has had its hands full since then putting out fires that are burning everywhere around it (many unfortunately started by its own negligence). But still…here we are almost 2 1/2 years later and if video were so paramount to Facebook’s future, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect to see some real momentum. All the more so because on the Q3 '17 earnings call, video was practically the only thing Wall St. analysts were interested in asking about.

    Instead, Zuckerberg’s and other Facebook executives’ comments on the Q3 ’18 earnings call yesterday revealed not just underwhelming progress with video, but also how surprisingly slow the company has been in understanding how video fits with its traditional newsfeed product.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #433: Facebook’s Watch Struggles; BBC Four Uses AI

    I’m pleased to present the 433rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week we discuss new research showing that 50% of Facebook users haven’t heard of Facebook Watch and another 24% have heard of it, but never used it. The anemic interest demonstrates to us how difficult it is to shift how people customarily use a product (Newsfeed in Facebook’s case) to something totally different (Watch).

    We then switch gears to explore how  AI is being innovatively used in video. Colin shares several examples, the most interesting of which is the BBC’s upcoming BBC 4.1 on the evenings of Sept. 4th and 5th. On these nights BBC is using AI to mine its archives in order to find “hidden gems” from past years.

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  • Almost Three-Quarters of Facebook Users Either Haven’t Heard of or Don’t Use Watch

    New research from The Diffusion Group highlights that usage and awareness of Facebook Watch is minimal, a year following its launch. TDG found that 50% of users haven’t heard of Watch and another 24% have heard of it but have never used it. Just 6% of Facebook users use Watch daily, with another 8% using it weekly.

    The low usage and awareness are striking given that the Watch icon sits prominently at the bottom of the Facebook app, right alongside News Feed, friend requests and notifications. It also demonstrates how significantly different Watch is from the way Facebook users typically experience the service, via the News Feed and how difficult it’s proving for Facebook to migrate its users from News Feed.

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  • After Facebook’s Q2 Earnings Flop, Video is More Important Than Ever

    With last week’s Q2 earnings report, Facebook forecast that margins would slide for the next couple of years into the mid-30% range due to higher costs associated with beefed up security. Meanwhile, quarterly growth will decelerate from the high 40% range (or more) from recent quarters to around 30% for the rest of the year.

    Other companies would envy these targets, but given Facebook’s outsized historical growth and profitability, the stock has gotten hammered and dragged the whole tech sector down with it. One key takeaway for me from Facebook’s results and forecasts is that video is more important to the company than ever. Despite its potential, Facebook still doesn’t seem to have a video/monetization strategy. Among the big tech companies, only Apple’s video strategy seems less well-developed than Facebook’s.

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  • New Facebook Watch Product Leader Must Pursue Major Revamp

    A couple of days ago Facebook appointed a new leader of its Facebook Watch product team, Mike Bidgoli, who was previously at Pinterest. Watch has become a critical Facebook video initiative, especially with the company’s recent algorithm change to the News Feed, which deemphasizes professional content. Publishers hoping to build out their video businesses on Facebook must now look to Watch.

    Unfortunately, in my experience Watch is a mess, with a non-personalized, incoherent user experience that does virtually nothing to draw in newcomers or reward returning viewers. Compared with Netflix’s UI, for example, which does an excellent job of recommending content based on your usage and profile, Watch seems prehistoric.

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  • Facebook Deemphasizes News Feed Video; Users’ Time Spent Drops

    Facebook released its Q4 ’17 earnings yesterday and on the subsequent earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg disclosed that its decision to deemphasize video shown in the News Feed has already led to a 5% drop in users’ time spent on Facebook in Q4. The reduction translates to approximately 50 million hours per day. The viewership reduction was previously indicated by research from Wochit a couple of weeks ago.

    It’s certainly not every day when a service makes an intentional change that leads to reduced usage, but Zuckerberg explained that the drop is worth it to serve Facebook’s higher mission of prioritizing meaningful social interactions over passive consumption of content. As News Feed VP Adam Mosseri said in a recent Wired interview, Facebook has found that video is more passive in nature so it tends not to drive conversations and connections which are prized.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #403: TV Ads Continue to Evolve; Exploring Facebook’s Video Strategy

    I’m pleased to present the 403rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week Colin shares thoughts on a keynote session from CES he watched featuring Turner’s Chairman and CEO John Martin and Hulu’s CEO Randy Freer. Colin zeros in on the discussion around addressable/targeted ads and how vital they are to profitability and keeping TV competitive with SVOD. Turner has been among the most aggressive TV networks investing in data and segmentation and is clearly urging the industry forward.

    We then transition to discussing Facebook’s News Feed algorithm change, which I wrote about earlier this week. Colin and I are struggling with how to synch up the de-prioritization video is now going to receive with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s repeated assertion that he wants the company to be “video first” in all that they do.

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  • Research: Publishers’ Video Views on Facebook Declined in Second Half of 2017

    Earlier this week I wrote about how Facebook’s New Feed algorithm change is going to reduce video consumption, but now new research from Wochit reveals that publishers’ video views were already declining in the second half of 2017. This could reflect that algorithm tweaks were already underway prior to the announcement last week.

    According to Wochit’s 2017 Social Performance Index Report, which analyzes 33,000 different videos created by nearly 300 publishers which appeared on over 500 Facebook pages in 2017, views per publisher video declined by 8% in Q3 ’17 and by 15% in Q4 ’17. These declines reversed the growth in views that occurred in the first half of the year.

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  • Facebook’s Move to Deemphasize Video in News Feed Has Consequences

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement last week that the company is modifying its News Feed to reduce professional content’s prominence gained a lot of attention. But one surprising result of the move emerged over the weekend: in a Wired interview, Facebook’s VP in charge of the News Feed, Adam Mosseri also said that going forward there will also be less video in users’ News Feeds.

    The move seems to undercut Zuckerberg’s repeated assertion over the past year and a half that the company intended to pivot to be “video-first.” Back in July, 2016, on its Q2 ’16 earnings call, Zuckerberg said that “We see a world that is video first with video at the heart of all our apps and service.” Zuckerberg has reiterated the importance of video on all earnings calls since then and Wall Street has gotten the message: on its Q3 ’17 earnings call in November, 2017, 8 of the 11 analysts who asked Zuckerberg questions focused on trying to understand the company’s video strategy.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #400: The Top 10 Online Video Stories of 2017

    I'm pleased to present the 400th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    In this week’s podcast Colin and I discuss our top 10 online video stories of 2017. It’s been another incredibly busy year with tons of industry innovation and progress. As always, it has been a lot of fun to analyze all of this and report on it. Let us know what you think of our choices, whether you agree or disagree!

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    Unless there’s some big news, this will be my last post for 2017.

    Happy Holidays to all!

     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #398: Pay-TV’s Programming Costs, Netflix Embraces Downloading, Facebook Starts Pre-Rolls

    I’m pleased to present the 398th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. Many thanks to Brightcove, our podcast sponsor, which, with SpotX and the IAB Tech Lab, shared a great presentation at last week’s SHIFT event about how server side ad insertion complements programmatic (session video is here).

    First up on this week’s podcast, Colin shares his thoughts about why programming costs are likely to continue rising for pay-TV operators, counter to Charter’s CEO Tom Rutledge belief that they’ll moderate. Colin details his reasoning, which could portend higher subscriber bills and therefore more cord-cutting.

    Next, we discuss Netflix’s surprised reaction to the popularity of downloading among its subscribers. I had a laugh out loud moment reading about it earlier this week, since Netflix was steadfastly against downloading until a year ago, when, having been leap-frogged by Amazon, it finally began offering the feature. Netflix’s bias against downloading has been really bizarre and showed a real disconnect in understanding its subscribers.  

    Speaking of reversals, Facebook has had a change of heart about running pre-rolls and now plans to introduce them in Watch. Colin and I discuss why Facebook made the change and what it means for the industry.

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  • Google and Facebook Have Single Entity Advantage in Race for TV Ad Dollars

    No surprise, at last week’s SHIFT // Programmatic Video & TV Ad Summit, the “duopoly” of Google and Facebook came up repeatedly on stage, mainly in the context of how they’re pursuing TV ad dollars and what the TV industry is doing to defend itself. In fact, the whole concept of “programmatic TV” - TV networks data-enabling and automating /streamlining the ad transaction process - pretty much captures what the industry is doing to become more competitive. 

    But as I listened to and participated in the SHIFT sessions, one consideration kept coming back to me as possibly being the biggest single influence over how TV advertising evolves in the coming years: the idea that Google and Facebook are single entities, while the TV industry is fragmented with many different powerful players, each with their own agendas, capabilities and resources.

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  • Wall Street Presses Facebook on Video Plans, But End Game Remains Murky

    Facebook and other big platforms are facing lots of scrutiny about Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. So on last week’s Q3 ’17 earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg opened with a long statement about the investments the company is making in security and ad transparency. These investments will contribute to a 45%-60% increase in Facebook’s 2018 expenses.

    One might have expected that Wall Street analysts on the call would then focus their questions mainly on understanding these topics further and their impact to Facebook’s business. And while several did ask for details, 8 of the 11 analysts who asked questions instead focused on Facebook’s video strategy (which was the second main topic Zuckerberg discussed in his opening comments).

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  • Nielsen Boosts Distributed Video Model By Crediting Facebook, YouTube and Hulu Views

    Nielsen announced this morning that it will begin giving video clients credit in its Digital Content Ratings service for views generated on Facebook and YouTube. Hulu will also start giving certain content partners credit for current series available on its streaming service.

    The move is significant because it means an independent third party measurement service will be providing audience metrics that can be used when aggregating total viewing across platforms. It’s particularly noteworthy because video providers are leveraging the “distributed model” by pumping video through YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms to massively expand their reach and drive their business models.

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  • Facebook’s March Into Video Begins Now

    Last night Facebook announced “Watch,” as its primary video initiative. Watch is an update of Facebook’s Video Tab, which was originally introduced in April, 2016, but with a greater emphasis on professional video. Facebook positioned Watch as “a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans and earn money for their work.” Watch will roll out to a limited number of users in the U.S. initially with a broader update coming soon.

    Watch is entirely ad-supported, with partners keeping 55% of revenue and Facebook keeping 45%. Facebook is working with partners on a number of short-form shows that it characterized as falling into one of four buckets: shows that engage fans and community, live shows that connect directly with fans, shows that follow a narrative arc or have a consistent theme and live events that bring communities together (here's an initial list). As has been widely reported, Facebook is funding some of the shows itself.

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  • Facebook is Reportedly Willing to Spend Up to $3 Million Per Episode on Originals

    The latest episode of the intensely watched drama, “What Will Facebook Do With Original Video?” arrived yesterday via a Wall Street Journal report. According to the report, Facebook is meeting with talent agencies, telling them it is willing to spend up to $3 million per episode of original scripted shows, which would be about on par with high-quality cable TV originals.

    Facebook is also open to scripted shows under $1 million per episode, and also has an appetite for unscripted content running less than 10 minutes per episode.

    No surprise, Facebook is targeting audiences age 13-34 years-old, with a focus on 17-30 year-olds. But in a twist, Facebook reportedly only wants shows that don’t include politics, news, nudity or bad language. These parameters significantly limit the range of what Facebook could pursue. This type of a Hallmark Channel’ish approach could also misfire with younger audiences who enjoy more authentic-feeling shows (think “Girls” for example).

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #373: BBC-Twitter, More On Facebook’s Video Plans

    I’m pleased to present the 373rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week, Colin shares his thoughts on the BBC’s new partnership with Twitter to stream coverage of the upcoming U.K. election. We agree this seems strategic for both companies and picks up on Twitter’s work in the U.S. election. As Colin points it, Twitter gives BBC access to critical younger audiences. For Twitter, the BBC deal also follows its recently announced partnership with Bloomberg.

    Then we turn our attention back to Facebook video, which we discussed on last week’s podcast. News that A&E, MTV and WGN are all cutting back on scripted originals in the face of SVOD companies’ mounting investments got us wondering exactly what Facebook will get for its $250K per episode (which Mike Shields at BI also raised). Given the middling success AOL, YouTube and others have had with originals, the question of how Facebook will differentiate is intriguing.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
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  • VideoNuze Podcast #372: Weekly Wrap-up: Viacom’s Skinny Bundle, Facebook TV, Amazon Channels Goes International, Snapchat Shows Gain

    I’m pleased to present the 372nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we discuss 4 stories that caught our attention in recent days. First, Viacom’s plan to anchor an entertainment-only skinny bundle without sports or news networks. Colin and I are intrigued, but for a variety of reasons are skeptical Viacom is the right company to lead this.

    Next we turn to Facebook, which has made no secret of its interest in pursuing longer-form video. This week brought news of its initial partnerships and potential business models.

    We then discuss Amazon Channels expansion into the UK and Germany this week, building on the US model for Prime users to easily subscribe to various SVOD services. Both of us have been very bullish on Channels for a while and see lots of potential for it in other geographies.

    Finally we dig into Snapchat Shows, the fast-growing social network’s plan to enlist multiple media companies to make vertical videos. Variety did a really good roundup of all the activity earlier this week, which suggests substantial progress.

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  • A World Awash In Video - Part 2

    Ten years ago, in my pre-VideoNuze days, I wrote “A World Awash in Video,” for my then once per month e-newsletter. Based on numerous recentIy announced initiatives, I predicted that we were “on the cusp of experiencing an explosion in the quantity of high-quality video available” and that all of these choices would create a “golden age of video.”

    Of course that was all before Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and many others exploded. My main premise - that broadband’s open platform, which removed the traditional friction of reaching audiences - was a powerful catalyst that would fuel a massive escalation of video production.

    Indeed, there’s no doubt that we have more choices than ever, but reviewing last week’s news, it’s clear we ain’t seen nothing yet. We are on the brink of being even more awash in video than ever. And one big difference vs. 10 years ago is that today’s boom is driven by companies that all have extraordinary resources and very strong incentives to invest heavily in video.

    Here’s a quick recap:

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