Posts for 'AMC'

  • Inside the Stream Podcast: Does it Really Make Sense for AMC+ to Partner With Amazon Channels?

    Welcome to this week’s edition of Inside the Stream, the podcast where nScreenMedia’s Chief Analyst Colin Dixon and I take listeners inside the world of streaming video.

    On this week’s podcast we dig into my post from earlier this week about my experience starting a 7-day free trial to the SVOD service AMC+ using Amazon Channels. I did this in order to watch the movie “A Few Good Men” with extended family last weekend.

    While the sign-up process was very easy, the issue is that neither AMC+ nor Amazon has done anything to try converting me from trial to paid subscriber by explaining the service’s content value. In fact, when I tried cancelling the first time, they did the opposite, offering me a new discount if I stayed on for another two months.

    Colin and I explore the bind that small to mid-size SVOD services find themselves in with Amazon Channels and other big platforms. On the one hand, the platforms are huge potential sources of trial subscribers. On the other hand, if the SVOD service has virtually no insight about their trial subscribers, can’t connect with them to directly promote content and the platform itself does nothing to convert subscribers from trial, is there really any long-term value being created for the SVOD service, or is it just churning through viewers?

    These are tricky questions without clear answers. But they have huge implications for SVOD services and the platforms going forward. Learn more now!

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  • AMC+ on Amazon Channels Highlights Challenges of Third-Party SVOD Distribution

    VideoNuze readers know that I’ve long been bullish on Amazon Channels, the program Amazon provides to distribute SVOD services. Amazon offers these services access to its massive audience and comprehensive delivery infrastructure, while retaining a share of the monthly subscription revenue for itself. For SVOD services, Amazon Channels is an attractive and highly tempting way to quickly scale up their subscriber base. For Amazon, it’s yet another way to bolster its presence in the media business, generate high-margin revenue and leverage its reach and tech capabilities.

    But an experience I’ve had over the past few days has highlighted the execution challenges SVOD services encounter when partnering with Amazon Channels and more broadly, the downside of third-party distributor relationships at a time when building direct-to-consumer bonds is more important than ever.

    On the last night of vacation this past Friday with extended family, we decided to watch “A Few Good Men” after dinner. A quick search revealed it was available on AMC+ which itself could be subscribed to either directly or through Amazon Channels. I chose the latter route (why not, Amazon already has my credit card, etc.). With a couple clicks on the Roku TV, I started my 7-day free trial to AMC+ and we were watching the movie. Easy, easy.

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  • Can An Entertainment-Centric Skinny Bundle Succeed?

    Can an entertainment-centric skinny bundle succeed? That question will be answered soon when a new service including TV networks from Discovery, Viacom, AMC, A+E and Scripps launches, according to a recent WSJ report. The service will be called “Philo” which is the same name as the technology provider that will power it.

    Skinny bundles have received a huge amount of attention over the past couple of years as a lower cost approach the pay-TV industry is using to retain would-be cord-cutters. However, skinny bundles have faced the vexing question of whether to include expensive sports networks in their offers, which in turn pressure already minuscule profit margins.

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  • Video Providers Pursue Advertising, Subscriptions or Both

    Advertising, subscriptions, or both? All video providers are currently grappling with the fundamental question of what business model to pursue. With the cost of producing high-quality video and the challenge of attracting and audience more daunting than ever, deciding which path to follow has taken on increasing urgency.

    But if the stakes are higher, so too is the murkiness, especially when it comes to what consumers will pay for. Just because Netflix has 50 million U.S. subscribers doesn’t mean getting to a million is straightforward for an SVOD wannabe.

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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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  • Disney Blew A Big Strategic Opportunity By Licensing to Netflix in 2012

    By now we’re all familiar with the 3 big announcements Disney made yesterday: 1) a plan to launch its own entertainment-focused SVOD service, in turn sunsetting in 2019 its Netflix licensing deal for Disney/Pixar content, 2) a plan to launch an ESPN OTT service and 3) spending $1.58 billion to buy another 42% of BAMTech and take control of that business.

    Focusing on Disney’s entertainment SVOD service it looks pretty clear now that by signing the original December, 2012 licensing deal with Netflix, Disney blew a big strategic opportunity to get in front of the trend toward direct-to-consumer online distribution.

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  • FX Launches FX+ With Comcast; Is An SVOD A La Carte World Coming Into View?

    This morning, FX and Comcast announced FX+, an ad-free subscription video on demand service available to Xfinity TV subscribers for $5.99 per month. FX+ is quite comprehensive, including full current seasons of 17 different FX shows (e.g. “The Americans,” “Atlanta,” “Taboo,” etc.) along with library seasons of 16 current and prior shows (e.g. “The Shield,” “The League,” “Nip/Tuck,” etc.). In all, there will be over 1,100 episodes of FX programming available to subscribers.

    FX+ follows the recent announcement of AMC Premiere by AMC and Comcast, which is another ad-free SVOD service, available for $4.99 per month. However, AMC Premiere doesn’t include AMC’s deep library of popular programs, highlighted by “The Walking Dead,” “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men,” while also including some original digital content. AMC Premiere’s shallow content selection suggests its success will be modest.

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  • User Experience is the New Battleground for Video Providers

    If you’re like me, you may have noticed that recently you’ve become a little less patient when you to try to watch a video and things don’t go exactly right. Whether it’s difficulty finding the desired video, momentary buffering, an intrusive/irrelevant ad or some kind of device issue - these sources of friction are increasingly noticeable and in turn disappointing.

    I don’t find this surprising. We live in a world where instant gratification and seamless user experiences are becoming the new normal. Those that don’t measure up stand out more readily as sore thumbs. Among other things, we can now do a super-convenient voice search using a smart speaker, request a personal driver though Uber or Lyft with just a few taps on our smartphones, get a refund on an Amazon return the moment the package is scanned at UPS and lots more. Simply put, for many of us, the Internet and apps are making life easier all the time.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #378: Turner Classic Movies Emphasizes Community; AMC Premiere’s Opportunity

    I’m pleased to present the 378th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week, Colin shares reactions to a presentation he attended by Jennifer Dorian, GM of Turner Classic Movies and FilmStruck about how TCM is focusing on its core fans to build community and strengthen its brand. Colin was very impressed with the range of initiatives TCM is taking as examples of how a traditional cable TV network can deepen its relationships with viewers.  

    We then transition to discuss AMC Premiere, the new $4.99 per month service recently launched by AMC and Comcast allowing ad-free viewing of current season programs. I really like the fact that the companies are experimenting with a new business model, but as I wrote, based on other similar services, I’m not super-confident that there is huge pent-up demand to pay extra to avoid ads, especially since the programming available is limited.

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  • Comcast Launches Ad-Free AMC Premiere

    AMC Premiere, an ad-free version of the popular cable network AMC, will be available for $4.99 per month to Comcast’s Xfinity TV subscribers, the latest initiative by pay-TV incumbents to offer more flexible access to viewers. AMC Premiere provides ad-free access to the network’s current season programs along with a variety of exclusive and first-look content and movies.

    However, AMC Premiere does not include past seasons of “The Walking Dead” for example, or any of the iconic programming like “Mad Men” or “Breaking Bad,” which put AMC on the map for high-quality originals. All of those have long been licensed to Netflix. The most recent season of “The Walking Dead,” as well as prior ones, are available on demand from Comcast for $2.99 per episode. Many other shows from other networks are available at no charge on demand from Comcast.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #366: Are More Online TV Services Coming Soon?

    I’m pleased to present the 366th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Once again, we’d like to thank our podcast sponsor Akamai Technologies, which will show its Media Acceleration capabilities and range of cloud-based solutions at the NABShow in Las Vegas, in booth SL3324. Click here to schedule a meeting.

    This week rumors of two more online TV services surfaced on Bloomberg - one is an alliance of AMC, Discovery and Viacom and the other, from NBCU, would include programs from the company’s broadcast and cable TV networks. Both services appear to be in the mold of CBS All Access, with the AMC/Discovery/Viacom service being positioned as a sports-free and offered by pay-TV providers. Bloomberg said it was too early to tell whether sports or a linear feed of NBC would be included in the second.

    At first blush, Colin and I are intrigued by both as they appear to target “entertainment-only” viewers who don’t care about sports. Netflix and Amazon, among others have been super-successful targeting this entertainment-onlys and we both believe there’s still growth available for additional services. We discuss the opportunity as well as potential stumbling blocks in this week’s podcast.

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  • "Mad Men" Creator Matthew Weiner Explains How SVOD’s International Distribution Changes TV’s Economics

    “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner explained how Netflix’s and Amazon’s international distribution capabilities are changing the TV industry’s economics as well as mitigating domestic viewership fragmentation, in an interview he did with Videology’s Chairman and CEO Scott Ferber at the company’s “Full Frontal 2017” event on March 8th.

    It’s no secret that both Netflix and Amazon are aggressively promoting their SVOD services in approximately 200 different countries around the world. But Weiner explained how having their own international distribution footprint distinguishes them from other networks, enabling them to pursue projects with the intention of globally distributing the programs without the necessity of having partners.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #298; T-Mobile Disrupts Mobile Video, SVOD Licensing in Flux

    I'm pleased to present the 298th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    T-Mobile announced something breakthrough earlier this week, with its new “Binge On” program that allows its subscribers to watch unlimited video from 24 different providers without it counting against their data plans. Granted video quality will be a modest 480p or better, but the significance here is that T-Mobile is enabling long-form viewing out of the home, without needing to hunt down a good WiFi connection or risk massive data plan overage charges.

    Over 2 years ago, I questioned whether optimistic forecasts for mobile video consumption were realistic given expensive data plans. In fact, research has shown that most “mobile” video viewing actually occurs in the home. But with T-Mobile’s Binge On, it will be fascinating to see if other wireless carriers are compelled to do something similar, which would be a huge boon to video providers. Colin and I discuss the ramifications.

    We then turn our attention to SVOD licensing, which is all over the board. Last week, Time Warner said it was going to pull back on SVOD licensing, but earlier this week AMC said it will continue to pursue a one year window. Meanwhile, Time Warner is now rumored to be investing in Hulu, in a deal that would include a content commitment. TV networks and studios are clearly caught between the short term appeal of SVOD revenue vs. the long term concern that it undermines the ecosystem. We dig into the issues.

    Listen now to learn more!

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  • NewFronts: Hulu Has 9 Million Subscribers and Now Seinfeld

    Hulu held its NewFront on Wednesday, highlighting its growth, which includes approaching 9 million subscribers, up 50% vs. 2014, with 700 million hours of video streamed in Q1 '15, up 83% vs. Q1 '14. Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said that 61% of Hulu's viewers no longer watch on a computer. 82% of Hulu's audience is in the 18-49 year-old age range, with a median age of 33 years-old.

    I have long wondered whether Hulu was going to be the odd man out, sandwiched between Netflix, OTT's 800-pound gorilla, and Amazon, with its unlimited resources. But Hulu is clearly investing heavily in both licensed and original content, and seemingly carving out its place in the OTT landscape.

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  • Lisa Judson, GM, YEAH! On Super-Serving Movie Lovers

    (Note: Following is the first of several interviews I'm doing with speakers appearing at X Media Research's upcoming BroadbandTVCon in Hollywood on Nov. 5th and 6th, where I'll also be moderating. VideoNuze readers can save $75 on registration using the code "VideoNuze.")

    Following is an edited transcript of my interview with Lisa Judson, GM of YEAH!, a new streaming movie service launched by AMC Networks this past March.

    What is the philosophy behind YEAH!?

    We believe that movies have become a commodity online and that we could provide a unique experience, to enrich a film with original content about the film. We try to tell the story of the movie while you watch the movie. We see ourselves as movie lovers, so we're aligned with our audience. We don't want to just deliver a movie, but rather an overall experience that will connect and engage audiences (see screenshot below).

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  • How Technology Made "Breaking Bad" My First All On-Demand Series

    (Note: I will NOT disclose anything about last night's series finale, so fans, you're safe to read on without spoilers.)

    Last night was the series finale of the hit AMC show "Breaking Bad." I count myself among the millions of super-fans who fell in love with the series from the start and have been loyal ever since. Importantly though, my viewing experience with Breaking Bad distinguished itself from every other TV show I've ever watched: it was the first one where I watched every single episode on-demand and without ads.

    In fact, my experiences with Breaking Bad perfectly illustrate so many of the video industry themes I write about on VideoNuze each day that I thought it would be worth sharing some of them and what I learned.

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  • It's Time to Get Real About the Limits of the Multichannel TV Bundle

    One of the big side effects of the current Viacom-DirecTV and Dish-AMC carriage disputes has been a renewed questioning of the durability of the traditional multichannel TV bundle by many industry observers. But while outsiders and consumers may be looking for the pay-TV industry to reinvent the way it packages and prices its services,  attending the NECTA cable industry conference last Friday was yet another reminder of how committed the industry is to preserving the multichannel TV model.

    To be fair, for many households (particularly heavy viewers), multichannel service is optimal and a great value. But consumers aren't monolithic, and it's time for the pay-TV industry to get real about multichannel's limits. Operators' main approach continues to be promoting an entry level tier of digital TV that has grown ever more expensive (moderator Bruce Leichtman pegs the mean monthly spending on multichannel TV service at $78.63, 7% higher than in 2011). This has, in turn, created a well-documented affordability issue for the industry.

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  • Netflix Lays Down Its Bets on "House of Cards"

    Netflix served notice of its official arrival on the Hollywood scene this afternoon, announcing a bold deal for first-run rights to the new David Fincher directed TV series, "House of Cards," starring Kevin Spacey. Whereas the company has built a base of 20 million plus subscribers and a streaming franchise largely on catalog movies and TV series, the first-run deal signals that the company will not rest on its successful content acquisition strategy.

    In my analysis of the rumored deal (as it stood just a couple days ago), I pointed to three ways that a first-run deal for "House of Cards" contrasted with Netflix's traditional approach. Having discussed the deal with a Netflix spokesman this afternoon, and having read other interviews and analysis, this afternoon, following are updates on those three items:

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  • A Netflix Deal For "House of Cards" Would Be a Big Shift In Its Strategy

    A report late yesterday by Deadline.com, that Netflix is potentially going to bid $100 million to stream/broadcast the new David Fincher/Kevin Spacey TV series "House of Cards" has been ricocheting around the Internet like a pinball since. Deadline also reported that Netflix is bidding against HBO and AMC and could take the unusual step of not even piloting the series before making this huge financial commitment. As a close observer of Netflix's rise over the past several years, the move would break with several key tenets of the company's success formula. Though I've learned to never say never, following are a few Netflix strategies that would be changed with a deal for "House of Cards":

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  • Cable's Original Programs Should Be A Bulwark Against Cord-Cutting

    A WSJ article today, "TV's Alternate Universe," about the proliferation and inventiveness of basic cable programs, provides an unintentional reminder of the value these shows have as a bulwark against cord-cutting. The article points out that basic networks will spend $23 billion this year on 1,462 originals, up from $14 billion on 863 shows just 5 years ago. The fact that these shows are both finding an audience and that they are virtually unavailable for free online makes them highly strategic assets as the pay-TV industry is increasingly buffeted by over-the-top video competition.

    Two years ago, in "Cutting the Cord on Cable: For Most of Us It's Not Happening Any Time Soon," I argued that there are 2 key reasons mass-scale cord-cutting was unlikely, at least in the short term: first, the difficulty of watching online-delivered video on TVs (instead of on computers) limited its appeal as a substitute for pay-TV service for mainstream consumers,  and second, the loss of numerous popular cable entertainment programs resulting from cord-cutting would give many people pause.

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