The U.S. pay-TV business performed better than expected in Q3 ’20, with top providers “only” losing around 120K subscribers, according to data compiled by Leichtman Research Group. The results would have been even stronger if a portion of YouTube TV’s one million subscriber additions in 2020 are attributed to Q3 specifically.
Google didn’t break out how many of YouTube TV’s additions came in Q3, but given the return of major sports during the quarter, it’s probably fair to assume at least 500K-600K. Add those to Hulu + Live TV’s 700K additions in Q3 and just these two virtual pay-TV providers may have accounted for 1.2 to 1.3 million additions. That would be enough to more than offset the approximately 1.15 million subscriber losses that the largest cable, satellite and telco pay-TV providers incurred.
There are so many dramas playing out in the TV/video business these days it’s hard to keep up. Cord-cutting, M&A, reorganizations, high-profile executive departures, product launches, discounted pricing, eye-popping A-lister salaries….the list goes on and on.
But one particularly intriguing drama that’s been catching my eye lately revolves around YouTube TV and the YES Network. As with everything in the TV/video business, the background is complicated, so here’s the high level cheat sheet:
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:
I’m pleased to present the 474th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First up this week Colin and I discuss the “detente” that Amazon and Google seem to have achieved, announcing earlier this week that the Prime Video and YouTube apps will be supported on each other’s CTV devices. That’s good news for viewers who have had incomplete experiences.
Then Colin describes a new service Amazon’s Twitch has launched called Twitch Prime. Colin sees it as another opportunity for Amazon to drive value back to the Prime service and even create new Prime subscribers. Last, Colin shares some new data illustrating that even though Prime Video has made progress in video, its original programming is still not at Netflix’s level.
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Frustrated Chromecast and Fire TV users can now breathe a sigh of relief: parent companies Google and Amazon have announced that apps for YouTube and Prime Video are officially available the other company’s CTV devices. That means Prime Video can be cast once again using Chromecast and is on Android TV devices. And YouTube’s app is available on Fire TV Stick (2nd gen), Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Stick Basic Edition, and Fire TV smart TVs (e.g. Toshiba, Insignia, Element, Westinghouse).
I’m pleased to present the 471st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
On this week’s podcast we first discuss local broadcasting’s video opportunity. Colin provides updates on an interview he did about Google News Initiative’s role. Then he shares a few takeaways from a panel he did, highlighting the new Sinclair OTT service Stirr. More broadly we explore how the combination of connected TV, longer engagement time and better monetization is laying the foundation for ad-supported original programming.
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Some great reporting from Ad Age over the past couple weeks reveals how Amazon and Google are ramping up in premium video advertising. Given the size and respective positioning of both companies, their initiatives are worth paying close attention to.
First, on Google, Ad Age reported that YouTube has begun to offer feature length movies like “The Terminator,” “Rocky” and “Legally Blonde” for free and with ad support (note all are also available on The Roku Channel). They’re part of around 100 movies YouTube has collected in a bid to further boost YouTube viewership and give advertisers more access to premium, brand safe content.
For all the talk about cord-cutting over the years, the most important trend in pay-TV these days isn’t consumers dropping out entirely, but rather shifting from traditional multichannel services to lower-priced virtual MVPDs or “skinny bundles.”
The trend of skinny bundle gains offsetting multichannel losses continued again in Q2 ’18 where, according to Leichtman Research Group, the top traditional services lost approximately 800K subscribers. But just the 2 publicly-reporting skinny bundles, Sling TV and DirecTV Now, gained 383K (with the latter accounting for 342K).
Coincidentally, while I was in Israel a couple of weeks ago for the Video Trends conference, the country’s Antitrust Authority opened an investigation into Google and its dominance of the Internet advertising market as a restraint of trade.
The investigation was prompted by a complaint from Artimedia, a global company that entered the Israeli online video advertising market 3 years ago. Artimedia is backed by Singaporean investors, mainly by Mr. Ching Chiat Kwong, chairman and CEO of Oxley Holdings, which is publicly traded in Singapore Exchange market (SGX:5UX). I interviewed Artimedia’s CEO Gal Turjeman to learn more about the investigation. Following is an edited transcript.
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.
Last Friday, while most of the world was focused on the presidential inauguration, Google announced that YouTube advertisers will now be able to target their ads based on users’ past Google searches, as well as their demographic information. Depending how this is executed, there could have significant upside to YouTube’s advertisers, further incenting them to shift budgets from TV to YouTube.
In a blog post, YouTube’s director, product management Diya Jolly provided the example of a user who is searching for winter coats on Google and is then presented with video ads by a particular retailer on YouTube. No doubt we have all had the experience of searching for a product, only to have ads immediately start appearing in web sites we subsequently visit. The same would now happen, but with video ads on YouTube.
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)
Each week brings more innovation, product announcements and new business models to the ever-changing video industry. This week was certainly no different, and news from 3 companies - Google (a deal with CBS for its Unplugged skinny bundle), VUDU (a new ad-supported on-demand movie offering) and LeEco (a range of new products from the Chinese giant, including TVs and content) - caught my attention. Each has the potential to cause further industry disruption, or amount to nothing. Below I share thoughts on each.
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).
TV programmers like Viacom and AMC are in the same position that print companies like The New York Times and Conde Nast were ten years ago. As consumers moved to reading content online, the legacy publishing companies figured they could replicate their business on a new channel. No one could believe that a tech company with no real content could compete for brand advertising budgets. We all know how that played out.
Now, consumers are cutting the cord and moving to digital channels to watch TV. There is more to lose on both the buy and sell side during this time around. TV advertising is considered by advertisers to be the holy grail of inventory, and they don’t want to lose it any more than the TV companies do. However, the siren song of audiences at scale and with technical ease could change their minds.
Despite all the advances in online video in recent years, which have been wide-ranging across technologies, business models and consumption habits, most publishers' approach to mobile video continues to fail. While many feel that 2015 is the year of digital video, the industry won't have truly arrived until we're able to solve our mobile problem, and several other lingering challenges.
These challenges were discussed last month in JW Player's second annual JW INSIGHTS conference, which brought together video experts, influencers and partners from a cross-section of companies including Google, Popsugar and Verizon to discuss the state of the online video industry and the factors that are still holding it back from even greater growth.
Categories: Mobile Video
We all know the Internet is big - some 3.5 trillion web pages big, by the latest comScore estimates. But you wouldn't know it by looking at the current state of the online video market.
Nearly a decade after advertisers started batting around the idea of the Internet's "long tail," highly branded video publishers have yet to grasp the meaning of the phrase. The online video market is now pulling in over $6 billion. That's not bad. But with an injection of democracy, the market could grow to three times that size in very short order.
I'm pleased to present the 254th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
As is our custom for the final podcast of the year, today Colin and I discuss our top 10 online video stories of 2014. Needless to say, it was an incredibly busy year for online video, making it quite a challenge to narrow our list to just 10 top stories. If you disagree with any of our choices, then as always, we welcome your feedback.
Stepping back and reviewing the list, I think there's an argument to be made that when observers look back 10-20 years from now, 2014 could well be viewed as the big turning point for online video - the year when all of the critical pieces to online video becoming a completely mainstream experience fell into place. These pieces include viewer acceptance, burgeoning content, robust monetization, wide deployment of connected devices and mobility. At a minimum, buckle up, because the stage has been set for a huge 2015.
Colin and I would like to thank all of our listeners for tuning into our podcast this year, and wish all of you happy holidays!
There's no doubt connected TV devices will be one of the hottest gifts this holiday season, as online video continues to evolve from an early adopter desktop behavior to a mainstream living room experience. But even the prices of connected TV devices plunge and consumers' enthusiasm builds, the space continues to be marked by the drip, drip, drip inefficient process of one-off additions of video apps to specific connected TV devices.
In fact, if you follow the market closely, you'll notice that seemingly each week there are a handful of announcements regarding a specific video app (or group of them) becoming available on a certain connected TV device(s). For example, in last week's news, Amazon Instant Video became available on TiVo Roamio/Mini devices, and HBO Go became available on Xbox One.
Late yesterday, the NFL announced it renewed its "Sunday Ticket" deal with DirecTV for a reported 8 years at $1.5 billion per year, a 50% increase over their prior deal. Going back about a year, there were rampant rumors that the Sunday Ticket package could go to an OTT player, with Google being the name most often mentioned.
In reality, though, there was virtually no chance Sunday Ticket was going to go to OTT, and so the DirecTV renewal comes as no surprise. As I wrote over a year ago, there were at least 5 big challenges to a Google-NFL deal in particular. These essentially boil down to a combination of online video not being mature enough yet to exclusively handle marquee sports broadcasts and the incumbent TV ecosystem desperately needing to retain marquee sports broadcasts like Sunday Ticket.