Posts for 'ABC'

  • Broadcast TV Poised to Play Bigger Role in Skinny Bundles’ Success

    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.

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  • Expensive SVOD Talent Wars Are Unlikely to End Well

    Another day, another high-profile - and no doubt incredibly expensive - SVOD talent deal announced. Today’s is between Netflix and the ultra-successful producer Shonda Rhimes, poaching her from ABC, where she’d been for 15 years. For Netflix, it followed last week’s deals with the Coen brothers for a new series and the company’s first acquisition, of Millarworld, plus many others.

    While Netflix has been busily announcing new originals - no doubt timed to offset the fallout from Disney’s decision not to renew its pay-1 output deal upon expiration in 2019 - Amazon hasn’t been sitting still. Last week the company lured Robert Kirkman, creator of the blockbuster “The Walking Dead” series on AMC in an exclusive 2-year deal. That followed recent deals for many other originals, with a heavy emphasis on kids shows. And don’t forget Hulu, which is coming off its biggest original success to date with “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

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  • Broadcast TV’s Role in Skinny Bundles Bolstered by Networks’ Affiliate Deals

    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.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #331: Broadcast TV Networks are Taking Different Approaches to Online Video

    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!

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  • Reaching Audiences at Scale: Will TV Succeed in the Digital Age? [AD SUMMIT VIDEO]

    One of the most interesting panel discussions at the recent Video Ad Summit was “Reaching Audiences at Scale: Will TV Succeed in the Digital Age?” which included Adam Gerber (SVP, Client Development & Communications, ABC), Mike Germano (Chief Digital Officer, VICE Media), Melissa Kihara (Global VP of TV & Video Products, Xaxis), Bob Toohey (President, Verizon Digital Media Services) and Lorne Brown (Founder and CEO, Operative) moderating.

    It’s no secret that video viewing is fragmenting and linear TV is declining as new video sources proliferate and behaviors change. Still, TV networks are running fast, distributing programs in new ways, investing heavily in data to better enable targeting by advertisers and leveraging social media to better engage viewers.  

    As Adam pointed out, research suggests that scale in long-form ad-supported online viewing is dominated by TV networks. But as he also pointed out, scale in data and audiences is dominated by platforms like Facebook and Google. This is one of the key sources of tension for advertisers - how to combine the best of both, to achieve scaled, targeted, efficient, effective, trusted advertising in premium video?

    The panelists agreed that for lots of reasons the market is nowhere close to reaching this nirvana state. They explored all the reasons why, along with things that are being done to move the ball forward. For anyone trying to better understand how TV is evolving in the digital age and what role it will play, it’s a fascinating discussion.

    Watch the video now (39 minutes, 48 seconds).

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  • Has the Viewability Giant Finally Been Slayed? [AD SUMMIT VIDEO]

    Viewability threaded its way through many of our sessions at last month’s Video Ad Summit, underscoring how important a topic it remains in the online video advertising industry.

    Once again, the conference featured a dedicated session on viewability, which was presented by IAB and included Jonah Goodhart (CEO and Co-Founder, Moat), Rick Mandler (VP, Strategy and New Media Sales, ABC Television Networks), Mark Yackanich (CEO, Genesis Media), Julian Zilberbrand (EVP, Activation Standards, Insights and Technology, Zenith Optimedia), with Matt Prohaska (Principal, Prohaska Consulting) moderating.

    The participants discussed the evolution of viewability standards, the challenges of consistently measuring viewability across devices, the complications resulting from Facebook and YouTube not allowing third-party viewability measurement, where viewability is heading over the next 12-18 months and much more.

    Watch the session video now (26 minutes, 20 seconds)

  • Designing A Second Screen Strategy? First Screen Opportunities Should Be Top Of Mind

    According to a recent study by Nielsen, 15% of viewers said they enjoyed watching television more when social media was involved. By now, we know that consumers are using these screens to browse the web, talk on social networks about what they're watching or access complementary content that enhances their experience. So what new and different opportunities does this activity create for pay-TV operators and programmers to leverage the second screen for increased tune-in, engagement and ad revenues?

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  • Big Data is Bringing Opportunities to TV Network Advertising

    Data is changing network TV advertising sales in ways that rival previous industry shifts. Cross-platform advertising and audience measurement, advanced audience selling capabilities, and new campaign creative informed by big data insights are driving this change.

    The result? More opportunities to increase monetization of ad inventory, including working with advertisers and agencies to differentiate cross-platform campaigns, establishing a cohesive premium programmatic strategy, and developing original branded content tailored to resonate with target audience segments.

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  • ABC to Test Programmatic Video Advertising With FreeWheel This Summer

    Programmatic video advertising took a small step into the TV world today as Geri Wang, president of ABC Sales, announced a trial this summer involving online video from ABC and ABC Family. The trial is being conducted with FreeWheel's FourFronts Programmatic solution, which will connect a limited number of media buyers with select demand side platforms (DSPs) using buyers' first-party and other data.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #180 - Does Live Streaming TV Make Sense?

    I'm pleased to present the 180th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. There was a rush of interest around live streaming this week. Among the news items: ABC,TNT and TBS announced live streaming of their linear feeds; YouTube expanded its live feature and Brightcove launched a new live module, which followed thePlatform doing the same last week.

    For live streaming TV, neither Colin nor I believe it will have broad appeal, with the possible exception of sports and maybe certain breaking news/events. It's no secret that on-demand, time-shifted viewing has surged in popularity, due to DVR penetration above 50% of U.S. homes and the widespread availability of TV programs online for on-demand use. So in a way live streaming TV is trying to put the genie back in the bottle - getting on-demand viewers to go back to linear.

    The fundamental inconsistency to me in this is that if you're tech-savvy enough to be drawn to live streaming on an iOS device, you're even more likely to now be a mainly on-demand viewer. And for those not tech-savvy, who still do enjoy linear viewing, well, why do you need an live streaming app when you can just watch on your TV as you always have? Even the sports use case is a bit thin as watching out-of-home for most will be very expensive given mobile data rates, and most mobile device viewing happens in the home anyway.

    Nonetheless, Colin and I describe all the reasons we think other TV networks are likely to roll out live streaming in the coming months as well. Maybe we're missing something, but it strikes us that these will have more to do with PR (countering Aereo for example) and supporting TV Everywhere/retransmission consent negotiations and won't end up resonating broadly with users. More interesting I think is the CW's move to make its shows available free next day on-demand via Apple TV and other devices which seems in synch with users' expectations.

    Listen in to learn more!

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  • ABC Introduces Live Streaming as TV Everywhere's Grip on Broadcast TV Tightens

    ABC will enable live-streaming of its programs through its iOS app, moving beyond an on-demand only programming model for the first time. The "Watch ABC" live feature will no doubt please a subset of the people who have downloaded the ABC app 10 million times to date and who still value live viewing. But Watch ABC will also likely puzzle and irk some users when they discover they must be authenticated as a pay-TV subscriber in order to access the live stream.

    In fact, requiring authentication for Watch ABC is just the latest evidence of TV Everywhere's tightening grip on broadcast TV. Another recent example was NBC making large portions of last summer's Olympics available only to authenticated pay-TV subscribers. In addition, Fox has maintained an 8-day exclusive window for pay-TV subscribers for almost 2 years.

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  • So Far Fox is Alone Among Networks With Authenticated Pay-TV Window

    With the fall TV season upon us, Fox is alone among broadcast networks in deciding to create an 8-day authentication window for pay-TV subscribers. In fact, NBC appears to be taking the opposite posture, announcing last Friday that its iPad app would now include all the same episodes that it makes available online (and I've confirmed they'll all be available in the iPad next day as well). CBS hasn't announced any plans to change its distribution through its web site or And despite some vague signals to the contrary by Disney CEO Bob Iger, ABC, which has been the leader among broadcast networks in embracing online/mobile distribution, hasn't announced any changes either.

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  • 4. Comcast Gets Hit Shows from FOX and ABC for Xfinity TV

    This week brought yet another twist in the intriguing relationships between pay-TV operators and broadcast TV networks, as Comcast announced deals with both FOX and ABC to add recent episodes of over 20 hit shows from the networks to its Xfinity TV video-on-demand line-up. The move is a solid step forward for Comcast, giving it access to all 4 major broadcast networks' programs, a first. This is also content that isn't available on Netflix, providing another good differentiator.

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  • Hulu Also Making Move Into Original Video Production

    While Netflix got a lot of attention this week for possibly moving to distribute an original TV series, "House of Cards," an interesting scoop in Adweek notes that Hulu may also be looking to ramp up its original production efforts. According to the article, Hulu has been building two content groups, one focused on branded entertainment and the other on niche comedy and documentaries.

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  • Quick Thoughts On Oscar Backstage App

    During last night's Oscar broadcast, I was in full "second-screening" mode, flipping around the Oscar Backstage App from ABC, which I had downloaded for $.99 to my iPad. The big question for me was whether the 8 video feeds from various camera angles would hold up under heavy usage and also what the experience of switching back-and-forth among the feeds would be like. The good news is that the video all performed well, and newly chosen feeds came up quickly.

    The bad news is that during most of the broadcast, there wasn't much actually happening in those 8 video feeds. The most active feed was from the Press Room cam, where winners would come to answer un-rehearsed questions from the Hollywood press. Some sessions, like with Christian Bale, seemed to go on and on, while other winners like Natalie Portman never appeared during the actual broadcast. In fact, this is the biggest area I think Oscar Backstage Pass app could improve - adding some simple schedule or navigation so users have an idea of what to expect next. I know the experience is supposed to be sort of impromptu, but the randomness and waiting started detracting after a while.

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  • Looking Forward to Going Backstage At the Oscars

    This Sunday night's Oscars broadcast promises to be like no other, as the show gets the full online video treatment. The NY Times had a rundown this week of all the various apps that are available and will be streaming supplementary video. I've downloaded ABC's Oscar Backstage Pass app to my iPad and my wife and I will be in full "second-screening" mode (for my wife, as for many others, the Oscars is like Super Bowl Sunday).

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  • With New CBS Deal, Netflix Reminds Amazon (and Hulu) Who's King of the Streaming Jungle

    As if on cue, Netflix announced a new streaming deal with CBS this morning, just hours after Amazon took the wraps off its own new streaming feature for Prime users. Under the 2-year deal, Netflix will get episodes from classic series like "Star Trek," "Frasier," "Cheers," "Twin Peaks," "Hawaii Five-O," "The Twilight Zone," and others. It will also include certain episodes from current shows like "Medium" and "Flashpoint." The companies had a previous streaming deal signed in late 2008 that covered series like "NCIS," "CSI" and "Numbers" which appears to have expired.

    The new CBS agreement sends a strong message to Amazon that when it comes to premium content, Netflix is still king of the streaming jungle. If Amazon wants to compete title-for-title, it is going to have to spend aggressively for content. As I pointed out earlier today, Amazon is only likely to do this if it sees meaningful increases in Prime membership due to the new streaming feature, which I believe is unlikely.

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  • Amazon Prime Instant Streaming Launches; Not a Netflix-Killer (Yet Anyway)

    Amazon is announcing this morning that it has added streaming access to 5,000 movies and TV shows to the package of benefits its "Prime" members get, for no extra charge as part of their $79/year subscription. Amazon is offering a one month free trial to Prime to let new users test it out. The move had been widely rumored and of course the first company that comes to mind as being in the cross-hairs of Prime's streaming is Netflix. Those competitive concerns are legitimate, but for now, Prime isn't close to being a Netflix-killer.

    The big Achilles heel of Prime is content selection. Though 5,000 titles sounds like a lot, it won't take long for experienced Netflix users tempted by a switch to Prime to recognize that most of these titles are already available on Netflix streaming as well. I did a quick comparison of 20 randomly-selected titles on Prime and found that with the exception of a few BBC Shakespeare titles and certain episodes of the PBS series "American Experience," everything on Prime is already available on Netflix streaming. In fact, for now Prime relies heavily on British programming and PBS. Though both provide quality productions, they are far from mainstream popularity in the U.S.

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  • Hulu Pulls IPO Due to Lack of Long-Term Content Rights

    The WSJ is reporting that Hulu has pulled its widely-rumored plan for an initial public offering next year due to lack of long-term rights to distribute its three broadcast TV network owners' content. The WSJ says the company may look at other options to raise capital. Hulu's exclusive short-term distribution deals with owners ABC, FOX and NBC are the company's primary asset, and no doubt banks and other would-be investors closely scrutinized whether the rights would be extended.

    As I wrote last April, from a content rights perspective, Hulu is getting squeezed from all sides. Pay-TV providers are ramping up their TV Everywhere rollouts and are trying to lock down online distribution rights themselves, sometimes as part of retransmission consent deals. The NBC rights in particular are subject to extra uncertainty longer-term as Comcast takes over the network. As the biggest subscription TV provider, which is rolling out its own online capabilities, Comcast has little incentive to support an online competitor.

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  • 5 Items of Interest for the Week of Dec. 5th

    Once again I'm pleased to offer VideoNuze's end-of-week feature highlighting and discussing 5-6 interesting online/mobile video industry news items that we weren't able to cover this week. Read them now or take them with you this weekend!

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