Sorry VideoNuze readers, my head is spinning again, and this week it’s not just because of the stock market’s wild swings or the drama around the coronavirus. Rather, it’s because yesterday morning, while waiting in the doctor’s office, I read the Wall Street Journal article “Golf’s PGA Tour Gets Big Boost in TV, Streaming Rights.” The article described how ViacomCBS, Comcast and Disney are going to pay the PGA Tour over $700 million per year, up from the current $400 million per year, in a new nine-year media rights deal.
That means the total value of the deal would be $6.3 billion. Add that to the 12-year, $2 billion international rights deal the PGA announced with Discovery in June, 2018 and that’s $8.3 billion in TV money coming to the PGA over the next decade - a good chunk of which will go to its players.
The deal essentially means leaving the status quo of CBS, NBC and Golf Channel handling live and weekend coverage, with ESPN+ taking over streaming from the PGA itself, which has worked with NBC Sports Gold and Amazon Prime. ESPN+ will provide 4,000 hours of streaming coverage per year across 36 PGA tournaments.
I realize that the PGA striking a lucrative media rights deal may not mean that much to many VideoNuze readers. But to me it does, at both a personal and professional level. I am a golf fan; I’ve been watching golf on TV and playing the game since I was 12 years old. For 99.99% of the world, watching golf on TV is akin to watching paint dry. Even for golf fans it is something that is hard to do without multi-tasking (e.g. sending emails, texts, etc.).
On two separate sessions at AdExchanger’s Industry Preview conference last week, NBCUniversal’s Chairman, Advertising and Client Partnerships, Linda Yaccarino and CBS’s President and Chief Advertising Revenue Officer Jo Ann Ross made forceful cases that TV is still highly relevant for advertisers and its impact is essential in the overall marketing mix.
It’s no secret that TV networks are fighting a pervasive media narrative that traditional TV viewing is becoming anachronistic for younger audiences in particular, ad-free SVOD viewing is dominating and big digital platforms like Google and Facebook offer improved ROI to advertisers through targeting.
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.
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 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)
Underscoring once again how unpredictable the online video space is, Twitter has emerged as the unlikely winner of the rights to stream NFL Thursday Night Football (TNF) games for the 2016-2017 season. Just yesterday I wrote that with Facebook and Apple bowing out, the bidding likely came down to Amazon, Verizon and Google, with Verizon the most likely winner for a variety of reasons.
On the one hand, Twitter’s interest in streaming the TNF games makes sense, as recently returned CEO Jack Dorsey has publicly stated that a top 2016 priority is live streaming, including leveraging its Periscope product. The 10 TNF games give Twitter a marquee property to highlight live streaming, which complements Twitter activity around all games. And Twitter already had a deal in place with the NFL for highlight clips.
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).
The NFL announced yesterday that it was splitting broadcast rights to Thursday Night Football in 2016 and 2017 between CBS and NBC. The WSJ reported that each network will pay $225 million for the annual rights, a 50% increase over the $300 million per season that CBS alone had been paying.
But the higher broadcast fees are just the beginning of how the NFL will more fully monetize the upcoming seasons. More intriguing were the sentences from the NFL’s press release: "The NFL is in active discussions with prospective digital partners for OTT streaming rights to Thursday Night Football. A deal announcement is expected in the near future."
I'm pleased to present the 261st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week we return to the topic of TV Everywhere, which we've discussed on previous episodes. While TV Everywhere's challenges are well-understood, this week Comcast released encouraging adoption data, which we dig into.
Comcast also announced it now offers over 70 linear networks via TVE, in addition to on-demand choices. Related, NBC said this week that it will offer authenticated access to its linear feed via its app, but only in its O&O markets. Colin notes that's a very different approach than CBS is using for linear, which is only available via its All-Access service that costs $5.99/month.
Aside from improved content for TVE, Colin and I also observe that monetization is also improving, with technology providers BlackArrow and This Technology, as examples, recently sharing product updates on dynamic ad insertion (here and here).
Listen in to learn more!
Super Bowl XLIX will go into the books as one of the most exciting ever, full of unexpected twists and turns, right up until the last few seconds of the game. Importantly, the Super Bowl experience continues to change, with streaming, extended online ad viewing and social sharing. Below I've rounded up the most relevant data I could find about these trends. If I've missed anything, please let me know.
Yesterday, NBCU's EVP of Sales and Sales Marketing Seth Winter announced that all of this Sunday's Super Bowl on-air and online ad units are now sold out. At $4.4-$4.5 million for on-air spots, these are the most expensive Super Bowl ads ever. Winter also reiterated something he said a few weeks ago: he believes a 30-second Super Bowl ad really provides a $10 million value "because of all the incremental exposure that the creative receives on all the different social media platforms like YouTube or publicity."
The comment resonated with me, because way back in 2007, in "On the Road to the $10 Million Super Bowl Ad," I suggested that eventually Super Bowl would in fact reach this level (note that NBC isn't selling the ads for $10 million - yet. It's only saying that's their value).
I'm pleased to present the 223rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week we dig into the strong performance of Comcast's recently concluded 2nd annual "Watchathon" on-demand week and more broadly, how viewing behaviors on linear, on-demand and OTT are becoming intertwined.
Comcast revealed that Watchathon week drove 61 million views and 50 million hours watched, with "Game of Thrones," "The Walking Dead" and "The Good Wife" topping the list of most popular shows. Of note was the increase in live ratings for shows that were available on Watchathon. For example, Game of Thrones' season 4 premiere was up 17% in Comcast homes, "The Mindy Project" was up 83%, "Archer" was up 78%, "Parks and Recreation" was up 49%, etc.
Colin and I discuss how this appears to support the idea that allowing easy catching-up via on-demand can be an effective tactic for networks (and pay-TV operators) to drive audience to live viewing. In fact, in a prior survey Comcast did, it found that 82% of U.S. adults are binge-viewing now, with 55% saying they preferred to do so with current season programs. By enabling both, Comcast seems to be finding a sweet spot.
One other related data point we found interesting was from Rentrak, which said fully 66% of viewing of broadcast primetime programs on demand occurred after the C3 window. By Colin's calculations, that could mean for certain shows, 20% or more of total audience isn't being counted for advertisers today.
Click here to listen to the podcast (18 minutes, 27 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.
Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group and I are back for the 150th (whoohoo!) edition of the weekly VideoNuze-TDG podcast. This week Colin and I talk about how on-demand viewing - through both DVRs and online - is changing the landscape for TV networks and advertisers.
First up, Colin shares some eye-opening numbers from the start of this year's TV season, as reported by the NY Times. Certain shows like NBC's "Revolution" and "The New Normal" plus CBS's "Hawaii Five-o" gained a whopping 40% more viewers due to DVR-based viewing in the 3 days following their premieres. This new viewing dynamic, particularly among the coveted 18-49 cohort, underscores the new reality of on-demand's importance in assessing a show's potential. Premiere night alone is no longer determinative (if it ever was!).
On-demand viewing is also a conundrum for advertisers and agencies when creating media plans. And that's why this week's announcement by Nielsen of its Cross-Platform Campaign Ratings solution is a big step forward in monetizing audiences across screens. Online has emerged alongside DVRs as a legitimate viewing alternative, and advertisers need to harness its potential. Colin and I discuss how Cross-Platform helps create a "common currency" measurement with TV, which will appeal to TV ad buyers, while helping content providers better value their online ad inventory. It's a complicated topic, but as Colin notes, the shift from "broadcaster-centric to consumer-centric" is causing huge ripple effects in the ecosystem.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (18 minutes, 9 seconds)
The WSJ has broken a big story this morning that the Department of Justice is apparently pursuing an antitrust investigation into whether cable TV companies are taking steps to limit the rise of online video usage. The DOJ is primarily looking into the role of data caps, the use of private networks for delivery of certain programming to connected devices, the use of TV Everywhere authentication, and even the model of most-favored nations clauses between cable TV networks and pay-TV distributors.
While it's generally a good thing for the government to keep an eye on how business is conducted (the recent financial crisis demonstrates what happens when it doesn't), to my mind none of these issues are really hurting consumers, yet anyway. Rather, if the government truly wanted to focus on an immediate, huge, and worsening consumer problem in the pay-TV business, it should be focused squarely on sports, and more specifically the multi-billion dollar annual subsidy that non-sports fans are required to pay due to current cable network bundling practices.
I'm pleased to be joined once again by Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group, for the 131st edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for May 4, 2012. This week Colin and I discuss how fundamental battle lines have been drawn between the traditional TV ecosystem vs. the numerous digital outlets that are launching online-only original programs. To be more specific, the former group seems intent on erecting ever-higher paywalls to access its programs, which is in turn opening up a gigantic opportunity for free, ad-supported programs to be provided by the latter group. How this battle unfolds will have far-reaching and profound implications for everyone involved.
For the traditional TV ecosystem, there appear to be two core drivers at work; first, the desire by broadcast TV networks to morph themselves into cable TV networks, and second, the role that TV Everywhere is taking on as a foundation of paywall economics.
Video ad technology provider FreeWheel added another big content provider to its customer roster yesterday, announcing that it will be powering video ads for a group of NBCU's broadcast and cable networks' properties.
In particular, the deal also covers NBCOlympics.com, the network's destination for the London games this summer. FreeWheel noted that as a result advertisers will be able to make specific digital ad buys and combined broadcast/digital packages, which NBC will be able to deliver. This opens up potential targeting at a more granular level than has been available with traditional TV.
Brightcove is powering NBCU's recently-launched Emmy screener app for the iPad dubbed "NBCU Screen It" with its App Cloud and Video Cloud platforms. The app allows 15,000 members of the Television Academy who vote on the Emmy awards to gain authenticated access to view NBC's programs.