Posts for 'Hulu'

  • Research: Telaria and Hulu Find CTV Advertising Helps DTC Brands

    Telaria and Hulu have released research finding that CTV advertising is helping Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) brands succeed with their marketing objectives. Importantly, the research notes that the reasons people shop DTC are similar to why they watch programming via CTVs: they care about value, convenience and choice. The implication is that DTC and CTV could create a virtuous cycle, helping the other to grow.

    Examples of DTC brands include Caspar, Harry’s, Bonobos and others who create direct transactions with the buyer, primarily through mobile and digital content. DTC brands have been particularly successful in establishing brand awareness and initial scale via social media and banner ads. Jennifer Catto, Telaria’s CMO, believes they’re now primed to capitalize on CTV for big screen ads, since CTV “is accountable to perhaps more modest budgets through digital’s measurable, data and decisioning outcomes.”

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  • Keynote With Hulu’s SVP/Head of Ad Sales Peter Naylor at May 29th Video Ad Summit

    I’m excited to share that Hulu’s SVP and Head of Advertising Sales Peter Naylor will be our keynote guest at the 9th annual VideoNuze Video Ad Summit on Wednesday, May 29th in NYC. I will be interviewing Peter in a session titled, “Hulu Finds the Winning Formula by Putting Viewers First.”

    Hulu has become an industry leader in connected TV and video advertising, SVOD, virtual pay-TV, original programming, digital distribution and cross-platform user experiences. Hulu now reaches over 50 million viewers with its ad-supported service, making it the largest addressable marketplace for brands in the industry.

    In this keynote interview Peter will share insights about all of these topics and in particular, how Hulu’s dramatic innovation of TV’s advertising experience is driving change across the medium.

    Hulu is playing a key role in every one of the top trends in the industry. It is also entering an even more consequential next chapter - becoming majority owned by Disney and a key part of Disney’s OTT strategy, moving to the front of the pack in the virtual pay-TV industry and aggressively promoting its ad-supported SVOD service by recently reducing its monthly price and also offering it at no extra charge for Spotify Premium members (moves which will contribute to Hulu generating $2.7 billion in ad revenue by 2021, according to eMarketer's latest forecast).

    I’ve known Peter for many years and I’m confident his perspectives will be incredibly valuable for anyone who is trying to learn from Hulu’s industry leadership.

    Save $100 on early bird discounted tickets now and double your chances* of winning a 55-inch Roku TV, generously provided by Roku.

    (*Early bird registrants get 2 entries for the Roku TV drawing.)

  • Corporate Priorities Test Creative Freedom In “Peak TV” Era

    Large corporations’ priorities are testing creative freedom as more shows than ever compete for attention in the “Peak TV” era and video becomes a critical C-level focus. Exhibit A is Apple, which according to a report yesterday from the NY Post, is vexing creators with an abundance of suggestions (or “notes” in industry parlance) on their shows. The notes, which apparently include some from CEO Tim Cook himself, tend to emphasize Apple’s desire to keep shows “family friendly.”

    The goal makes perfect sense; nothing is more important to Apple than its brand image. The prospect of seeing an “Apple Original” icon in the opening credits, followed by an opening scene including profanity, violence or nudity, would be a jarring juxtaposition. Yet this is the “Peak TV” world we now live in; with so many shows competing for viewers’ time, those that are most original and creative, and yes, often include attention-grabbing early scenes, stand out (for a point of reference recall that in the first minutes of Netflix’s “House of Cards” pilot, Kevin Spacey’s character puts a wounded dog out of its misery with his own hands).

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  • Charter’s New Skinny Bundle Will Have Narrow Appeal and Limited Long-Term Value

    Last week Charter, the second-largest U.S. cable TV operator, announced plans to launch “Spectrum TV Essentials,” a $15/month package of 60+ entertainment channels. According to Charter’s press release, Spectrum TV Essentials will be “made available exclusively in Charter’s footprint to Spectrum Internet customers who don’t already subscribe to Spectrum video services.” This means targeting broadband-only subscribers who have either cut the cord or never subscribed. It’s unclear how Charter will handle a prospect looking to downgrade from an existing multichannel TV bundle to Charter’s new skinny bundle (or “virtual pay-TV service,” as these bundles are often called).

    Regardless, the way Spectrum TV Essentials is currently constructed/priced it is likely to have relatively narrow appeal and limited long-term value. It can be compared most to Philo TV, another inexpensive entertainment-only service. Charter has agreements with Viacom, Discovery, A&E, AMC and Hallmark to carry their networks, but NOT CBS, Disney, Fox, NBCUniversal or Turner, at least currently. So a ton of popular TV networks/programs will be missing, raising, once again the “Swiss cheese” problem of inexpensive skinny bundles that have too many holes in their programming lineups to have broad appeal. Such is the nature of striving to keep subscriber rates low; many expensive networks must be excluded.

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  • Signs of Ad Model’s Growing Role in Video Are Everywhere

    Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about Netflix’s solid Q4 subscriber growth was the company’s ongoing success with a pure ad-free subscription model. Netflix is becoming even more unicorn’ish among big video providers in completely eschewing ads. Virtually every other major video provider (aside from established premium TV networks like HBO, Showtime, etc.) is reliant, at least in part, on advertising (Amazon’s ad-free approach gets an asterisk because of the outsized role Prime/free-shipping still plays - and even Amazon is now integrating ads in various ways, see below).

    In fact, though we’re barely a month into 2019, there are signs everywhere of advertising’s growing role in the future of the video industry.

    Consider just the following:

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #451: Sling TV and Hulu Offer SVOD Services; NBCU to Launch DTC

    I’m pleased to present the 451st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week we talk about Sling TV’s new initiative to promote third party SVOD services, including to consumers who aren’t  subscribers to its underlying virtual pay-TV service. Colin and I differ about its potential and whether Sling TV has “permission” to pursue this. We debate the upside of a separate new Sling TV initiative to provide a layer of free on-demand content. We also dig into Hulu’s new emphasis on SVOD aggregation which seems promising to both of us.

    We then shift to discussing NBCUniversal’s plan to launch its own direct-to-consumer (DTC) service for non pay-TV subscribers. Colin is somewhat underwhelmed, while I think it’s a step in the right direction and too early to tell how aggressive the offer will turn out to be.  

    Less than 3 weeks into the new year, it’s clear that big video providers are continuing to experiment and jockey for position.

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 53 seconds)

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  • Hulu’s Success Should Have a Big Impact On Launch of Disney+

    Earlier this week, Hulu announced stellar 2018 results: 48% subscriber growth (8 million additions), bringing year-end subscribers to 25 million. Ad revenue of almost $1.5 billion, up 45% in 2018, with 50% growth in the number of advertisers. And median average viewer age of 32, which is 25 years younger than the average broadcast TV viewer.

    All of this continues to come at a huge cost; by some estimates Hulu is losing upwards of $400 million per quarter. With Disney set to assume a 60% stake in Hulu after the Fox deal closes, managing Hulu’s growth and financial performance is going to be very important for Disney. Fortunately for Hulu, Disney is highly incented to see Hulu succeed because the company is poised to play a linchpin role in what is certainly Disney’s biggest 2019 priority, the successful launch of Disney+, its new SVOD service.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #448: The Top 10 Video Stories of 2018

    I’m pleased to present the 448th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Continuing our tradition for our final podcast of the year, this week Colin and I discuss the top 10 video stories of 2018 - at least in our humble opinions. Once again it has been a very active 12 months, with lots of innovation and change. Colin and I have had a great time analyzing and discussing the critical industry trends each week and we hope you’ve enjoyed listening to our thoughts in 2018.

    Let us know what you think of our choices, whether you agree or disagree!

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (37 minutes, 16 seconds)

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    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today!

  • Pay-TV’s Q3 Stumble: This is What a World Without Aggressive Skinny Bundles Looks Like

    Pay-TV operators took a drubbing in Q3 ’18 as the boost the industry has gotten from consumers migrating to virtual MVPDs or “skinny bundles” mostly evaporated. According to Leichtman Research Group, the industry as a whole lost about 975K traditional subscribers (its worst ever). Subtracting estimated gains for skinny bundles the Q3 loss would have topped a million.

    Going back just one quarter to Q2 ’18, the industry as a whole (both traditional pay-TV and skinny bundles) may have actually eked out a net subscriber gain, as traditional subscribers “cord-shifted” to skinny bundles. But in Q3 that short trend came to screeching halt, as both DirecTV Now and Sling TV additions slid dramatically. In Q3 ’18 the services combined to add just 75K subscribers, down from 536K a year earlier (and that’s on top of escalating subscriber losses at the core satellite services). It’s not clear how other skinny bundles performed in Q3 as they don’t publicly report their numbers.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #438: Comcast’s Hulu Decision; Lessons From Now TV

    I’m pleased to present the 438th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On this week’s podcast, Colin and I take up the question I explored on Wednesday, whether Comcast should divest its 30% stake in Hulu to Disney, as CNBC reported it is interested in doing. Colin and I discuss the many benefits Comcast derives from having a front row seat with 3 senior executives on Hulu’s board. On the other hand, there are many reasons why Comcast would be compelled to sell.

    Meanwhile, as part of its acquisition of Sky, Comcast will also be inheriting Now TV, the innovative OTT service Sky runs. Colin shares his personal experience with Now TV and some of the specific things Comcast might learn and consider bringing to its U.S. operations. As always, rights are a central issue to surmount.

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 35 seconds)

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    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today!

  • Should Comcast Divest Its 30% Stake in Hulu to Disney?

    In the wake of Comcast’s winning $39 billion bid to acquire Sky over the weekend, CNBC has reported that Comcast may be looking to swap its 30% ownership stake in Hulu (plus other consideration TBD), for Disney/Fox’s 39% ownership in Sky (a deal for Comcast to buy that was reported this morning). CNBC said that Comcast sees “only limited value in owning a non-controlling stake in Hulu” given Disney’s 60% share once the Fox deal closes.

    This logic is understandable and in addition, divesting the stake would also relieve Comcast of partly funding Hulu’s losses (reportedly almost $1 billion in 2017). On the other side of the coin, Disney would own 90% of Hulu and give up its non-controlling stake in Sky as Comcast takes control of it.

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  • SVOD’s Big Night at the Emmys

    If you’re looking for more evidence of how SVOD is changing the TV landscape, look no further than last night’s Emmy Awards. The 3 big SVOD providers, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix combined to win a record 35 Emmys, up from 32 in 2017. Netflix itself won 23 Emmys, tying HBO for top honors, with Amazon winning 8 and Hulu winning 4.

    Netflix’s big winner was “The Crown” which took home 5 Emmys. All of Amazon’s awards were for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” including outstanding comedy series, lead actress (Rachel Brosnahan), supporting actress (Alex Borstein) and writing and directing for Amy Sherman-Palladino. Maisel tied with Saturday Night Live for second place behind “Game of Thrones” which won 9, including outstanding drama series.

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  • New Discovery-Hulu Deal Raises vMVPD Profitability Question Again

    Yesterday Hulu and Discovery announced that 5 additional Discovery-owned TV networks will now be included in Hulu with Live TV, the virtual multichannel video programming distributor (“vMVPD” or “skinny bundle”), bringing the total to 8. In addition, approximately 4,000 episodes of Discovery programming will be added to Hulu’s SVOD library.

    The deal further increases the value of Hulu with Live TV to its subscribers. But it also raises the question, yet again, of ballooning vMVPD programming expenses and how these impact profitability. Traditional multichannel pay-TV providers have steadily raised their rates over the years to offset higher programming costs (leading to the lower price opportunity that vMVPDs are trying to capitalize on).

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #434: Amazon Pursues TV Ad Dollars; Forecasting Hulu’s Growth

    I’m pleased to present the 434th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week, Amazon is said to be planning a free ad-supported video service, similar to Roku’s The Roku Channel. The new service, dubbed Free Dive, would be targeted to the nearly 50 million Fire TV users. Colin and I both like the move a lot, as we see multiple promotional and new revenue benefits, especially if Amazon can attract TV ad dollars. However, a key challenge is finding enough compelling content to make Free Dive interesting to audiences.

    We then transition to talking about Hulu. Colin has developed a forecast for subscriber and revenue growth for Hulu through 2020 which he explains. He sees much of Hulu’s revenue growth coming from its Live skinny bundle service, although its profitability will remain challenged due to high programming costs.

    Listen in to learn more!
    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 10 seconds)

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  • Why Google, AT&T and Disney Are Now the Most Important Players in Pay-TV

    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).

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  • Comcast Q2: Skinny Bundles Are Taking Their Toll On Video Business, But No Defense Of It Is In Sight

    Comcast reported its Q2 ’18 results this morning, with the good news being the addition of 260K broadband subscribers, the best Q2 the company has experienced in the past 10 years, along with the improvement of operating margins. The broadband surge was Exhibit A for management to point to on the earnings call as evidence its strategy of being a “connectivity” provider is paying off.

    However, Q2 ’18 also saw the loss of 140K video subscribers, the most in a Q2 since 2014. Video sub losses have accelerated from -4K in Q2 ’16 and -34K in Q2 ’17. On the earnings call, management put the blame squarely on virtual MVPDs or “skinny bundles,” adding that they “expect pressure to continue in the video business” as virtual MVPDs ramp up.

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  • Comcast Drops Fox Bid, Foregoing A Major Opportunity With Hulu

    Comcast has officially dropped out of the bidding for the 21st Century Fox assets, clearing the path for Disney to move forward. Comcast still plans to pursue Sky in the UK. But by dropping its Fox bid, Comcast has also foregone the opportunity to take control of Hulu (by virtue of combining its 30% stake with Fox’s 30% stake). Presumably now Disney will take control of Hulu.

    I believe this is a major missed opportunity for Comcast, leaving the company under-optimized in the fast-changing premium video industry. As we all know, today’s key industry themes include the rise of cord-cutting and consumers’ move to lower cost skinny bundles, the shift to on-demand viewing, with the accompanying growth of ad-free SVOD services (e.g. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu), the rapid adoption of connected TV and mobile devices for viewing and the nationalization/globalization of video services, among others.

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  • Netflix Evolves from Avowed Downloading Skeptic to Impressive Innovator

    Yesterday Netflix announced a very cool new feature called “Smart Downloads,” which automatically deletes an episode you’ve downloaded and finished watching on your mobile device, triggering the download of the subsequent episode. The process happens as soon as you’ve connected to WiFi and occurs invisibly in the background. Smart Downloads is available for Android devices now and for iOS devices later this year.

    Smart Downloads is a clever way of automating a manual process, so that users always have something downloaded and ready to watch (although having to manually download a TV episode clearly falls in the category of “first world problems”). Smart Downloads is a a savvy move by Netflix to increase subscribers’ engagement time, which in turn leads to higher satisfaction and better retention. But perhaps most fascinating about Smart Downloads is that it illustrates how fully and quickly Netflix has evolved from an avowed downloading skeptic to an impressive innovator.

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  • Connected TVs’ Ad-Supported Future [VIDEO]

    As more TV viewing moves to streaming, connected TV is emerging as the most important new source of premium ad-supported inventory. At our recent VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit, we dug into this unfolding opportunity on a session Rich Calacci (Chief Revenue Officer, Pluto TV), Jim Keller (VP, Sales, Hulu), Frank Sinton (Founder, Beachfront Media), Seth Walters (VP, Demand Partnerships, Roku), with Colin Dixon (Principal Analyst, nScreenMedia), moderating.

    The panel explored the key advantages of connected TV ads, including enhanced targetability (at the user level), measurability, in-flight optimization and real-time feedback loops. The panelists also noted that with more cord-cutting happening, CTV is a critical way to reach certain households and build cross-screen campaigns. Still, the panelists noted that it’s relatively early days for CTVs, as virtually all TV will be streamed within 5 years.

    Watch the session video now!

  • VideoNuze Podcast #424: Exploring the Benefits of Advertising on Connected TVs

    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.

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 45 seconds)

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