Analysis for 'Broadcasters'
Friday, December 4, 2015, 10:36 AM ET|
I'm pleased to present the 301st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First up on this week’s podcast, I share some of the key highlights from this past Tuesday’s SHIFT // 2015 Programmatic Video & TV Ad Summit. Perhaps the biggest takeaway is the diversity of perspectives on what programmatic means in video and TV. Most definitions focus on automation and data, but understanding which business model applies makes things fuzzier. I’ll have a lot more on SHIFT as I post the session videos in the coming weeks.
Next we discuss Digitalsmiths’ new Q3 2015 Video Trends Report which was released this week. Colin zeroes in on a couple of noteworthy data points: the soaring adoption of over-the-air antennas plus how these complement SVOD subscriptions and the wide variation of SVOD subscription rates by pay-TV operator. Colin has much more detail in his analysis of the report here.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015, 3:16 PM ET|
Here's more evidence of how watching TV programs is changing: according to part two of a TV viewer survey fielded by NATPE and CEA, 71% of respondents said they have streamed full-length TV programs in the past 6 months. No surprise, Netflix was the go-to source, with 40% having watched there, followed by 26% for YouTube and 25% for network web sites.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 9:41 AM ET|
Nielsen has released its Q3 '14 Total Audience report (which is the new name for the previous quarterly Cross-Platform report), the highlight of which is the marked reduction in linear TV viewing across every age group except 65+, with an accompanying surge in online video. I charted the new Q3 '14 data vs. Q3 '13 data below.
The big quarter-vs-quarter change that pops out is the 19.2% reduction in linear viewing per week by adults 18-24. This age group is now watching 17 hours, 34 minutes per week, which is 4h, 11m less than the 21h, 45m a year ago. While this group increased its online video usage by 20.7%, that only accounted for 25 incremental minutes per week.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 9:08 PM ET|
The latest evidence supporting the craze around binge-viewing was released by consultancy Miner & Co., finding that 70% of U.S. TV viewers now consider themselves binge-viewers. Miner defined binge-viewing as watching 3 or more episodes in a single session. For most, binge-viewing is still a monthly activity (90%), followed by weekly (63%) and daily (17%).
The survey found that 55% of binge-viewers and 61% of frequent binge-viewers were millennials. It also defined three categories of binge-viewers: "Streamers" (35%) who use services like Netflix/Hulu Plus/Amazon; "Marathoners" (18%) who watch TV marathons and "DVRers" (16%) who mostly binge-view using their DVR.
Monday, April 21, 2014, 10:38 AM ET|
TiVo Research has released data indicating that time-shifting by viewers of 10 broadcast TV primetime programs to between 4-7 days following their initial airing resulted in approximately $88 million in total lost ad revenue by their respective networks (see chart below).
For these 10 programs, TiVo found that the 4-7 day period increased ratings between 4.1% ("American Idol") to 10.9% ("Modern Family"). Because "American Idol" had the highest average number of ads per episode (61), it had the highest level of lost ad revenue in the 4-7 day period for the full season ($14.4 million). Conversely, "The Good Wife," which had an average of 29 ads per episode, but had the second-lowest 4-7 day ratings increase, had the lowest level of lost ad revenue ($3.6 million).
Tuesday, December 10, 2013, 12:26 PM ET|
There is no doubt the TV industry is changing dramatically, largely due to the rise of online and mobile video viewing. But is it "dying," "imploding" or being "nuked" as some recent tech media headlines assert? No, not yet anyway. As a close observer of all things video, it's just mind-boggling sometimes to see how data is conflated to support distorted conclusions. If your company's product strategy were guided by today's headlines alone, you'd be on a course to disaster.
To help set things straight, Piksel's Alan Wolk has put together a really good slide deck with data debunking 7 of the bigger myths floating around these days (1) cord-cutting is a mass movement, (2) kids ignore mainstream TV, (3) your pay-TV provider is the one forcing you to pay for 800 channels, (4) cutting the cord lets you stick it to the cable company, (5) second screen is all about social TV, (6) TV viewing has decreased and (7) in the future we'll be able to watch TV wherever, whenever and however we want.
Thursday, April 4, 2013, 10:09 AM ET|Posted by Stewart Schley
A new survey of local TV stations by video marketing platform provider Mixpo has found that between 58%-70% of local TV stations' online tune-in campaign budgets (depending on market size) are allocated to online video ads. Fully 85% of local stations intend to use online video advertising for tune-in campaigns in 2013.
Keeping this in perspective though, online advertising still only represents 14%-24% of local stations' tune-in ad spending, with stalwarts radio and cable still leading. However, online advertising already has strong buy-in from stations, with between 86%-100% reporting that they'll use it in 2013. And online advertising is poised to get a greater share of stations' ad budgets, as between 36%-57% of stations said they intend to increase online ad budgets. Video advertising would be a clear beneficiary of such moves.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012, 10:38 AM ET|
NBC was justifiably crowing late yesterday that the London Olympics was the most-watched TV event in U.S. history with 219.4 million viewers, but a more profound long-term takeaway from this year's games is that digital distribution of most of the competitions did not seem to hurt tape-delayed on-air viewing at all.
That was not a foregone conclusion, and given the billions in broadcast rights fees it paid, NBC made a sizable bet that with most competitions live-streamed and available on-demand, audiences would still tune in during ad-rich, prime-time hours, despite already knowing (or having seen) the results. The impact of digital distribution could have gone wrong, driving lower prime-time ratings, creating disgruntled advertisers and embarrassing NBC Sports executives. The fact that it didn't buttresses the argument that for sports in particular, digital delivery is a compliment, not a substitute, for on-air.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012, 8:50 AM ET|
A new report being released today from London-based video ad technology provider Videoplaza, and research firm IHS Screen Digest adds to the case that broadcasters must diversify into IP-based delivery of their content to multiple devices in order to achieve continued growth. The report, "A Future for TV: IP-delivered Video Advertising in a Connected World" presents new data on adoption of connected devices by TV and PC households in North America and Western Europe, share of ads now being delivered by non-PC devices and video ad loads by device, among other data.
Thursday, February 17, 2011, 9:42 AM ET|U.S. newspapers uploaded approximately 2.4 million videos in 2010, more than 3x the volume of the next-closest industry verticals of broadcast and online media, according to the latest "online video & the media industry" report from Brightcove and TubeMogul for Q4 '10. Newspapers uploaded 1.2 million titles in Q4 alone, a 147% increase in volume over Q3. The accelerating trend suggests newspapers are deepening their commitment to online video as a way of boosting online engagement and increasing ad revenue. The new data also seems to offset recent news that newspapers are reducing their involvement with online video.
Friday, January 14, 2011, 10:51 AM ET|Even though I was very focused this week on the CES "takeaways" series, there was still plenty of news happening in the online and mobile video industries. So as in the past, I'm pleased to offer VideoNuze's end-of-week feature highlighting 5-6 interesting online/mobile video industry news items that we weren't able to cover this week. Enjoy!
Level 3 fights on in Comcast traffic dispute
Level 3 is showing no signs of relenting on its accusations that Comcast is unfairly trying to charge the CDN for Internet traffic it delivers to Comcast's network. In an interview this week, Level 3 said it may use the "Open Internet" provisions of the FCC's new network neutrality rules to press its case. Level 3's challenge is coming at the 11th hour of the FCC's approval process of the Comcast-NBCU deal; it's not really clear if Level 3 is having any impact on slowing the approval, which appears imminent.
Comcast-NBCU deal challenged over online video proposal
Speaking of challenges to the Comcast-NBCU deal, word emerged this week that Disney is voicing concern over the FCC's proposed deal condition that would force Comcast to offer NBC programming to any party that had concluded a deal with one of NBC's competitors for online distribution. The Disney concern appears to be that the condition would have an undue influence on how the online video market evolves and how Disney's own deals would be impacted. While the FCC should be setting conditions to the deal, the Disney concerns highlights how, in a nascent, fast-moving market like online video, government intervention can cause unintended side effects.
YouTube is notching 200 million mobile video views/day
As if on cue with my CES takeaway #3, that mobility is video's next frontier, YouTube revealed this week that it is now delivering 200 million mobile views per day, tripling its volume in 2010. That would equal about 6 billion views per month, which is remarkable. And that amount is poised to increase, as YouTube launched music video site VEVO for Android devices. YouTube clearly sees the revenue potential in all this mobile video activity; it also said that it would append a pre-roll ad in Android views for tens of thousands of content partners.
Google creates video codec dust-up
Google stirred up a hornet's nest this week by announcing that it was dropping support for the widely popular H.264 video codec in its Chrome browser, in favor of its own WebM codec, in an attempt to drive open standards. Though Chrome only represents about 10% market share among browsers (doubling in 2010 though), for these users, it means they'll need to use Flash to view non-WebM ended video. There are a lot of downstream implications of Google's move, but for space reasons, rather than enumerating them here, check out some of the great in-depth coverage the issue has received this week (here, here, here, here).
Netflix usage drives up Canadian broadband bills
An interesting test of Canadian Netflix streaming showed that a user there might have to pay an incremental $12/month under one ISP's consumption cap. That would be more than the $7.99/mo that the Netflix subscription itself costs, leading to potential cord-shaving behavior. This type of upcharge hasn't become an issue here in the U.S. because even ISPs that have caps have set them high relative to most users' current consumption. But if streaming skyrockets as many think it will, and the FCC allows usage-based billing, this could fast become a reality in the U.S. as well.
Friday, December 10, 2010, 10:31 AM ET|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!
Friday, October 29, 2010, 10:03 AM ET|Lots more happened this week in online/mobile video, and so to make your lives easier, VideoNuze is once again curating 5-6 interesting industry news items that we weren't able to cover this week. Read them now or take them with you this weekend!
No Longer 'Must-See TV'
The WSJ reported this week that Thursday night TV viewership (live or recorded) among 18-49 year-olds is down 4.3% this season to 48.5 million, a drop of 2.2 million viewers. For this age group, the drop across all nights (live or recorded) is 2.7%. While the decreases have immediate implications on networks' ad revenue, the bigger issue of course is what the drops say about shifting consumer preferences. For example, I continue to hear anecdotes about users with connected devices now tuning in first to their Instant Watch queues instead of channel surfing or visiting their DVR libraries or VOD. The Nielsen data corroborates other data (here, here) about the decline of TV viewing, especially among young people, and is another reason why broadcast networks in particular should be embracing connected devices like Google TV, not blocking them.
CW Says Study 'Dispels Myth' About Aversion to Ads in Online Video
Speaking of networks and their online distribution, this week CW released some interesting new data that detailed extremely low abandonment rates for its shows consumed online, even with ad loads almost equal to those on-air. While it is too early to generalize, the data provides a very encouraging sign that networks may be able to achieve parity economics with on-air, even when they window their online releases for delayed availability. It's also an important sign that online video may be a firewall against DVR-based ad-skipping.
Comcast Launches Free Streaming Video Service Xfinity for All Digital Subs
In addition to releasing stellar Q3 earnings this week (albeit with a bigger-than-expected subscriber loss), Comcast also pulled the "beta" label off its Xfinity TV service this week, and relaxed its rules about who can gain access. Now any video subscriber, regardless of who they take their broadband Internet service from, can access XFTV.
Some began to speculate that it could be a precursor for Comcast allowing non-video subs to also gain access to XFTV. This is the concept I wrote about in over a year ago, in "How TV Everywhere Could Turn Cable Operators and Telcos Into Over-the-Top's Biggest Players." The idea is that TV Everywhere services like XFTV could be offered outside of Comcast's franchise areas to allow them to poach video subscribers from other pay-TV operators. It's still a fascinating concept, but nothing about Comcast's move this week suggests it's coming soon.
Insight To Bow 50-Mbps Internet In Two Markets
If you think all that Netflix and other long-form streaming is going to strain users' bandwidth, think again, as yet another cable operator/broadband ISP, 9th-largest Insight Communications unveiled plans for a speedy 50 megabit per second broadband tier. Big players like Comcast and Time Warner Cable have been offering this for a while already. It's still very pricey, but as some viewers shift more of their consumption to online and away from conventional TV viewing (see above), more bandwidth will be worth the price. Update - I missed this item, that over in the U.K. Virgin Media began taking sign-ups for a 100 Mbps broadband service. Net, net, last-mile bandwidth will keep expanding to meet increasing demand.
Promoted Videos hit half a billion views
Fresh evidence this week that YouTube is finding innovative ways to monetize its massive audience: the company's performance-based "Promoted videos" format achieved its 500 millionth view, just 2 years after being introduced. With Promoted videos, anyone uploading a video to YouTube (brand, content provider, amateur), can buy opportunities to have that video appear alongside relevant keyword-based searches in YouTube. It's a similar format to AdWords, and of course the video provider only pays when their video is actually clicked on. As I said recently, YouTube is becoming a much more important part of Google's overall advertising mix, while for many brands, YouTube's home page is fast-becoming the most desirable piece of online real estate.
Friday, October 22, 2010, 10:16 AM ET|It was another busy week for online/mobile video, and so VideoNuze is continuing its Friday practice of curating 5-6 interesting industry news items that we weren't able to cover this week. Read them now or take them with you this weekend!
Networks block Google TV to protect themselves
Yesterday news started breaking that ABC, CBS and NBC are blocking access by Google TV. There are numerous concerns being cited - potential disruption of advertising, encouraging cord-cutting, incenting piracy, diminished branding, unsatisfactory ad splits with Google, and general worry about Google invading the living room. Each item on its own is probably not enough to motivate the blocking action, but taken together they are. Still, doesn't it feel a little foolish that broadcasters would differentiate between a computer screen and a TV screen like this? For Google, it's more evidence that nothing comes easy when trying to work with Hollywood. I'm trying to find out more about what's happening behind the scenes.
TWC Lines Up For ESPN Online Kick
An important milestone for TV Everywhere may come as early as next Monday, as #2 cable operator Time Warner is planning to make ESPN viewing available online to paying subscribers. Remote access is part of the recent and larger retransmission consent deal between Disney and TWC. TV Everywhere initiatives have been slow to roll out, amid cable programmers' reluctance. Further proving that remote authenticated access works and that it's attractive with a big name like ESPN would increase TV Everywhere's momentum.
Hulu Plus, Take Two: How's $4.95 a Month?
Rumors are swirling that Hulu may cut the price of its nascent Hulu Plus subscription service in half, to $4.95/mo. That would be a tacit recognition of Hulu Plus's minimal value proposition, largely due to its skimpy content offering. As I initially reported in August, over 88% of Hulu Plus content is available for free on Hulu.com. More important, Netflix's streaming gains have really marginalized Hulu Plus. Netflix's far greater resources and subscriber base have enabled it to spend far bigger on content acquisition. Even at $4.95, I continue to see Hulu Plus as an underwhelming proposition in an increasingly noisy landscape.
Viacom Hires Superstar Lawyer to Handle YouTube Appeal
Viacom is showing no signs of giving up on its years-long copyright infringement litigation against Google and YouTube. This week the company retained Theodore Olson, a high-profile appellate and Supreme Court specialist to handle its appeal. While most of the world has moved on and is trying to figure out how to benefit from YouTube's massive scale, Viacom charges on in court.
Verizon to sell Galaxy Tab starting November 11th for $599.99
Verizon is determined to play its part in the tablet computer craze, this week announcing with Samsung that it will sell the latter's new "Tab" tablet for $600 beginning on November 11th. The move follows last week's announcement by Verizon that it will begin selling the iPad on Oct. 28th, which was widely interpreted as the first step toward Verizon offering the iPhone early next year. Apple currently owns the tablet market, and it remains to be seen whether newcomers like the Tab can break through. For his part, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said on Apple's earnings call this week that all other tablets are "dead on arrival." Note, if you want to see the "Tab" and learn more about how connected and mobile devices are transforming the video landscape, come to the VideoSchmooze breakfast at the Samsung Experience on Wed., Dec. 1st.
One-Third of US Adults Skip Live TV: Report
A fascinating new study from Say Media (the entity formed from the recent merger of VideoEgg and Six Apart), suggesting that 56 million, or one-third of adult Internet users, have reduced their live TV viewership. The research identified 2 categories: "Opt Outs" (22 million) who don't own a TV or haven't watched TV in the last week and stream more than 4 hours/week, and "On Demanders" (34 million) who also stream more than 4 hours/week and report watching less live TV than they did a year ago. Not surprisingly, relative to Internet users as a whole, both Opt Outs and On Demanders skew younger and higher educated, though only the latter had higher income than the average Internet user. This type of research is important because the size of both the ad-supported and paid markets for live, first-run TV is far larger than catalog viewing. To the extent its appeal is diminishing as this study suggests poses big problems for everyone in the video ecosystem.
Friday, October 1, 2010, 10:04 AM ET|It's Friday and that means that once again VideoNuze is featuring 5-6 interesting online/mobile video industry stories that we weren't able to cover this week. Have a look at them now, or take them with you for weekend reading!
Nielsen Unveils New Online Advertising Measurement
comScore Introduces Digital GRP `Overnights` in AdEffx Campaign Essential
Dueling initiatives from Nielsen and comScore were announced on Monday, aimed at translating online usage into comparable TV ratings information, including reach, frequency and Gross Ratings Points (GRPs). While online video ad buying is ramping up, the tools to measure viewership in a comprehensive way have been lacking. This is one of the main issues holding back content providers from participating in TV Everywhere.
Analyst: Cord-cutting fears overblown
New research shared this week by BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield concludes that less than 8% of the market is actually interested in cord-cutting. The big impediment: losing access to sports and cable programming, which is unlikely to migrate to free over-the-top alternatives. Greenfield's conclusion is that cord-cutting isn't a major threat to pay-TV operators over the next 3-5 years. Notwithstanding the research, another factor I'd point to that could tip cord-cutting the other way is consumers' belt-tightening. Much as nobody wants to lose access to programming, if the price is perceived as too high, they'll make compromises.
Why YouTube Viewers Have ADD and How to Stop It
Abandonment rates for online video have always been a concern, and using new research, Visible Measures CMO Matt Cutler now quantifies the behavior. Expect 20% of the audience to drop out within 10 seconds of hitting play, 33% by the 30 second mark and 44% by 60 seconds in. Pretty sobering data but incredibly important in thinking about content creation and monetization.
Networks Have Sharing Issues With Hulu
Hulu's New Hoop
On the one hand, Hulu's network partners, ABC, NBC and Fox are reportedly pulling back ad inventory that Hulu is allowed to sell, yet on the other, Hulu is reportedly out aggressively selling ads in Hulu Plus, its subscription service. Meanwhile this week Hulu also announced that Hulu Plus will be accessible on both Roku devices and TiVo Premiere, as it continues chasing Netflix in the subscription game.
The New Apple TV Reviewed: It`s All About the Video
Apple TV devices started shipping this week, and reviews began popping up all over the web. This mostly positive review indicates that the user experience is solid, but that content selection is still skimpy. That's no surprise given how few deals Apple has struck to date. Yet to be seen is how Apple TV performs when it can access other iOS apps.
Friday, June 18, 2010, 10:10 AM ET|Daisy Whitney and I are pleased to present the 65th edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for June 18, 2010.
This week Daisy and I return to the topic of cord-cutting, with Daisy tamping down some of what she reported about possible momentum here. Daisy cites new research from Nielsen and from Leichtman Research Group as evidence that in fact cord-cutting isn't actually happening (at least not yet). For my part, as I've said going back to my post in Oct, '08, I don't see much cord-cutting happening any time soon, both because viewers would lose cable TV network programs they love and because it's still not mainstream to connect broadband to TVs.
We then discuss my post early this week about ABC doubling the ad load on its iPad app, and soon on ABC.com as well. As I said earlier this week, it's tough from a consumer standpoint to see more ads, but the reality is these programs need to be effectively monetized, or well, these programs will cease to exist.
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Monday, March 29, 2010, 9:35 AM ET|An article I read last week in Mediaweek about new comScore research which concluded more ads are tolerable in online-delivered TV programs really intrigued me. The research was presented by Tania Yuki, comScore's director of cross media and video products at an Advertising Research Foundation meeting. I called Tania to follow up and learn more about the data. Today I'm pleased to share her presentation with the research findings as a complimentary PDF download. Outside of the ARF meeting, this is the first time this data has been made available.
Click here to download the research presentation
As VideoNuze readers know, I've been a proponent of increasing the number of ads in online TV shows, in order to improve their economics. Note, I'm not advocating a jump to 18-20 minutes of ads typically found in on-air distribution that would likely turn users off. But I do believe that the current model of 3-4 minutes of ads in premium network programs is way too light, and that viewers will tolerate more without any drop-off in usage, particularly if the ads are well-targeted and engaging. ABC has told me in the past that research it conducted when it experimented with doubling its ad load corroborated this point, just as the comScore research now does as well. Just last week the CW announced it would double the number of ads in its online-delivered programs.
Increasing the number of ads - and thereby strengthening the economic model for online-delivered TV - is critical for the industry to succeed long-term. The current lack of economic parity between online and on-air is gaining urgency; just last week when Hulu blocked access to its content via the new Kylo browser (meant for on-TV browsing), we were reminded of the absurd lengths to which the popular site will go to prevent its viewership from migrating to TVs. This is because Hulu was conceived as an online-only augment. Given its lack of economic parity with on-air (or with DVR viewing, as ABC.com is now achieving), Hulu on TV would undermine its owners' P&Ls.
The new comScore research concludes that viewers will tolerate 6-7 minutes of "total advertising time" during online-delivered TV programs. And note that this response reflects expectations of conventional advertising. I think it's quite possible that if respondents had been shown the kinds of targeted, entertaining and interactive video ads that blip.TV and others are now offering, they would have said their tolerance would be even higher. Providing further comfort that more ads are reasonable, when asked about the most important reasons for watching TV online, the answers were first, "Missed an episode on TV" (71%) and second, "Convenience" (57%). A distant third was "Less ads" (38%). Ad avoidance is important to online viewers, but it isn't their sole motivator.
The comScore research further underscores the growing importance of online, particularly in terms of raising programs' visibility and sampling. For example, for people who watch both on TV and online, an "online video site" (28%) is already the third most-cited way of discovering new TV shows, following "TV advertising" (59%) and "Friend/family member recommendation" (44%). Related, 28% said that they believed that if they hadn't been made aware of their favorite program online first, they probably wouldn't have discovered it on TV, and therefore would have missed the show entirely. Across all respondents, 20% of shows watched regularly had been watched first online.
As Tania reminded me, TV is still by far the dominant platform for viewing TV programs and that it's important to remember that online-only viewing is nascent. ComScore's research found that only 6% of respondents tune-in online only, though another 29% view both online and on-air. The key for me is looking toward the future. When the 6% of online-only viewers is broken down by age groups, about 75% are between 18-34. And if my 8 and 10-year old kids are any example, no doubt that those under 18 are only going to be even more avid online video viewers. In order for the TV industry to succeed in the future, it is essential that the business models to sustain online viewing be figured out pronto.
For this research, comScore which surveyed 1,825 people from its U.S.-only panel, weighted to match the total online population in age, income and gender. The research was conducted between Dec. 30, 2009 and Jan. 22, 2010. It was not sponsored by any third-party.
A reminder that if you're keen on this topic, join us for the complimentary April 8th webinar, "Demystifying Free vs. Paid Online Video" and then at the April 26th VideoSchmooze in NYC, where our panel topic is "Money Talks: Is Online Video Shifting toe the Paid Model?" (early bird tickets now available).
What do you think? Post a comment now (no sign-in required).
4 Items Worth Noting for the Jan 4th Week (Netflix-WB Continued, comScore Nov. '09 stats, TV Everywhere, 3D at CES)Friday, January 8, 2010, 10:13 AM ET|
Following are 4 items worth noting for the Jan 4th week:
1. TechCrunch disagrees with my Netflix-Warner Bros. deal analysis - In "Netflix Stabs Us In The Heart So Hollywood Can Drink Our Blood," (great title btw) MG Siegler at the influential blog TechCrunch excerpts part of my post from yesterday, and takes the consumer's point of view, decrying the new 28 day "DVD window" that Netflix has agreed to in its Warner Bros deal. Siegler's main objection is that "Hollywood thinks that with this new 28-day DVD window deal, the masses are going to rush out and buy DVDs in droves again." Instead, Siegler believes the deal hurts consumers and is going to touch off new, widespread piracy.
I think Siegler is wrong on both counts, and many of TechCrunch's readers commenting on the post do as well. First, nobody in Hollywood believes DVD sales are going to spike because of deals like this. However, they do believe that any little bit that can be done to preserve the appeal of DVD's initial sale window can only help DVD sales which are critical to Hollywood's economics. Everyone knows DVD is a dying business; the new window is intended to help it die more gracefully. And because new releases are not that critical to many Netflix users anyway, Netflix has in reality given up little, but presumably gotten a lot, with improved access for streaming and lower DVD purchase prices.
The argument about new, widespread piracy by Netflix users is specious. With or without the 28 day window, there will always be some people who don't respect copyright and think stealing is acceptable. But Netflix isn't running its business with pirates as their top priority. With 11 million subscribers and growing, Netflix is a mainstream-oriented business, and the vast majority of its users are not going to pirate movies - both because they don't know how to (and don't want to learn) and because they think it's wrong. Netflix knows this and is making a calculated long-term bet (correctly in my opinion) that enhancing its streaming catalog is priority #1.
2. comScore's November numbers show continued video growth - Not to be overlooked in all the CES-related news this week was comScore's report of November '09 online video usage, which set new records. Key highlights: total video viewed were almost 31 billion (double Jan '09's total of 14.8 billion), number of videos viewed/average viewer was 182 (up 80% from Jan '09's 101) and minutes watched/mo were approximately 740 (more than double Jan '09's total of 356).
Notably, with 12.2 billion views, YouTube's Nov '09 market share of 39.4% grew vs. its October share of 37.7%. As I've previously pointed out, YouTube has demonstrated amazingly consistent market dominance, with its share hovering around 40% since March '08. Hulu also notched another record month, with 924 million streams, putting it in 2nd place (albeit distantly) to YouTube. Still, Hulu had a blowout year, nearly quadrupling its viewership (up from Jan '09's 250 million views). But with 44 million visitors, Hulu's traffic was pretty close to March '09's 41.6 million. In '10 I'm looking to see what Hulu's going to do to break out of the 40-45 million users/mo band it was in for much of '09.
3. Consumer groups protest TV Everywhere, but their arguments ring hollow - I was intrigued by a joint letter that 4 consumer advocacy groups sent to the Justice Department on Monday, urging it to investigate "potentially unlawful conduct by MVPDs (Multichannel Video Programming Distributors) offering TV Everywhere services." The letter asserts that MVPDs may have colluded in violation of antitrust laws.
I'm not a lawyer and so I'm in no position to judge whether any actions alleged to have taken place by MVPDs violated any antitrust laws. Regardless though, the letter from these groups demonstrates that they are missing a fundamental benefit of TV Everywhere - to provide online access to cable TV programming that has not been available to date because there hasn't been an economical model for doing so. In the eyes of people who think that making money is evil, the TV Everywhere model of requiring consumers to first subscribe to a multichannel video service seems anti-consumer and anti-competitive. But to people trying to make a living creating quality TV programming, the preservation of a highly functional business model is essential.
These advocacy groups need to remember that consumers have a choice; if they don't value cable's programming enough to pay for it, then they can instead just watch free broadcast programs.
4. 3D is the rage at CES - I'll be doing a CES recap on Monday, but one of the key themes of the show has been 3D. There were two big announcements of new 3D channels, from ESPN and Discovery/Sony/IMAX. LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony announced new 3D TVs. And DirecTV announced that it would launch 3 new 3D channels by June 2010, with Panasonic as the presenting sponsor. 3D sets will be an expensive proposition for consumers for some time, but prices will of course come down over time.
Something that I wonder about is what impact will 3D have on online and mobile video? Will this spur innovation in computer monitors so that the 3D experience can be experienced online as well? And how about mobile - will we soon be slipping on 3D glasses while looking at our iPhones and Android phones? It may seem like a ridiculous idea, but it's not out of the realm of possibility.
Enjoy your weekend!
4 Items Worth Noting for the Nov 16th Week (FCC's Open Access, Broadcast woes, Droid sales, AOL cuts)Friday, November 20, 2009, 9:46 AM ET|
Following are 4 items worth noting for the Nov 16th week:
1. FCC raises "Open Access" possibility, would further government's control of the Internet - As reported by the WSJ this week, the FCC is now considering an "Open Access" policy that would require broadband Internet providers to open up their networks for use by competitors. The move comes on top of FCC chairman Julius Genachowski's recent proposal for formalizing net neutrality, a plan that I vigorously oppose. Open Access gained steam recently due to a report released by Harvard's Berkman Center that characterized the U.S. as a "middle-of-the-pack" country along various broadband metrics. The report has been roundly dismissed by service providers as drawing incorrect conclusions due to reliance on incomplete data.
The FCC is in the midst of crafting a National Broadband Plan, as required by Congress, aimed at providing universal broadband service throughout the U.S. as well as faster broadband speeds. Improving broadband Internet access in rural areas of the U.S. is a worthy goal, but the FCC should be pursuing surgical approaches for accomplishing this, rather than turning the whole broadband industry upside down. As for increasing speeds, major ISPs are already pushing 50 and 100 mbps services, more than most consumers need right now anyway. Broadband connectivity is the lifeblood for online video providers and any government initiative that risks unintended consequences of slowing network infrastructure investments is unwise.
2. Broadcast TV executives waking up to online video's challenges - Reading the coverage of B&C/Multichannel News's panel earlier this week, "Free Streaming: Killing or Saving the Television Business" featuring Marc Graboff (NBCU), Bruce Rosenblum (Warner Bros.), Nancy Tellem (CBS) and John Wells (WGA), I kept wondering where were these sentiments when the Hulu business plan was being crafted?
Hulu is of course the poster child for providing free access to the networks' programs, with just a fraction of the ad load as on-air. While the panelists agreed that the industry should be dissuading consumers from cord-cutting, Hulu is (purposefully or not) the chief reason some people consider dropping cable/satellite/telco service. For VideoNuze readers, it's old news already that broadcast networks have been hurting themselves with their current online model. What was amazing to me in reading about the panel is that what now seems obvious should have been very apparent to industry executives from the start.
3. Motorola Droid sales off to a strong start - The mobile analytics firm Flurry released data suggesting that first week Verizon sales of the Motorola Droid smartphone were an estimated 250,000. Flurry tracks applications on smartphones to estimate sales volume of devices. While the Droid results are lower than the 1.6 million iPhone 3GS units sold in that device's first week, Flurry notes that the iPhone 3GS was available in 8 countries and also had an installed base of 25 million 1st generation iPhones to draft on.
The Droid's success is important for lots of reasons, but from my perspective the key is how it expands the universe of mobile video users. As I noted in "Mobile Video Continues to Gain Traction," a robust mobile ecosystem is developing, and getting more smartphones into users' hands is crucial. I was in my local Verizon store this week and saw the Droid for the first time - though it lacks some of the iPhone's sleekness, the video quality is even better.
4. AOL's downsizing suggests further pain ahead - AOL was back in the news this week, planning to cut one-third of its employees ahead of its spin-off from Time Warner on Dec. 9th. The cuts will bring the company's headcount to 4,500-5,000, down from its peak of 18,000 in 2001. As I explained recently, no company has been hurt more by the rise of broadband than AOL, whose dial-up subscribers have fled en masse to broadband ISPs. Now AOL is going all-in on the ad model, even as the ad business itself is getting hurt by the ongoing recession. New AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is clearly a guy who loves a challenge; righting the AOL ship is a real long shot bet. I once thought of AOL as being a real leader in online video. Now I'm hard-pressed to see how the AOL story is going to have a happy ending.
Enjoy your weekends!
Friday, September 25, 2009, 9:41 AM ET|
Following are 4 news items worth noting from the week of Sept. 21st:
1. Bashing Hulu gains steam - what's going on here? - These days everyone seems to want bash Hulu and its pure ad-supported business model for premium content. Last week it was Soleil Securities releasing a report that Hulu costs its owners $920 per viewer in advertising when they shift their viewership. This week, it was a panel of industry executives turn. Then a leaked email from CBS's Quincy Smith showed his dissatisfaction with Hulu, and interest in trying to prove it is the cause of its parent networks' ratings declines.
What's happening here is that the world is waking up to the fact that although Hulu's user experience is world-class, its ad model implementation is simply too light to be sustainable. I wrote about this a year ago in "Broadcast Networks' Use of Broadband Video is Accelerating Demise of their Business Model," following up in May with "OK, Hulu Now Has ABC. But When Will it Prove Its Business Model?" Content executives are finally realizing that it is still too early to put long form premium quality video online for free. Doing so spoils viewers and reinforces their expectation that the Internet is a free-only medium. When TV Everywhere soon reasserts the superiority of hybrid pay/ad models, ad-only long-form sites are going to get squeezed. At VideoSchmooze on Oct 13th, we have Hulu's first CEO George Kliavkoff on our panel; it's going to be a great opportunity to understand Hulu's model and dig further into this whole issue.
2. TiVo data on ad-skipping for Emmy-winning programs should have TV industry alarmed - As if ad-skipping in general wasn't already a "hair-on-fire" problem for TV executives, research TiVo released this week on ad-skipping behavior specifically for Emmy-winning programs should have the industry on DEFCON 1 alert. Using data from its "Stop | Watch" ratings service, TiVo found that audiences for the winning programs in the 5 top Emmy categories - Outstanding Comedy Series, Drama Series, Animated Program, Reality-Competition and Variety/Music/Comedy Series - all show heavier than average (for their genre) time-shifting. The same pattern is true for ad-skipping; the only exception is "30 Rock" (winner of Outstanding Comedy Series) which performs slightly better than its genre average.
The numbers for AMC's "Mad Men" (winner of Outstanding Drama Series), are particularly eye-opening: 85% of the TiVo research panel's viewers time-shifted, and of those, 83% ad-skipped. (Note as an avid Mad Men viewer, I've been doing both since the show's premiere episode. It's unimaginable to me to watch the show at its appointed time, and with the ads.) The data means that even when TV execs produce a critical winner, their ability to effectively monetize it is under siege. How long will BMW sign up to be Mad Men's premier sponsor with research like this? TiVo's time-shifting data shows why network executives have to get the online ad model right. When TV Everywhere launches it will cater to massive latent interest in on-demand access by viewers; it is essential these views be better monetized than Hulu, for example, is doing today.
3. Radio stations push into online video as GAP Broadcasting launches with VMIX - Lacking its own video, the radio industry has been a little bit of the odd man out in the online video revolution. Some of the industry's bigger players like Clear Channel have jumped in, but there hasn't been a lot of momentum, especially with the ad downturn. But this week GAP Broadcasting, owner of 116 stations in mostly smaller markets announced a partnership with video platform and content provider VMIX. I talked to VMIX CEO Mike Glickenhaus who reported that radio stations are starting to get on board. For GAP, VMIX is providing an online video platform, premium content from hundreds of licensed partners, user-generated video tools and sales training, among other things. GAP's goal is to be a "total audience engagement platform" not just a radio station. Sounds right, but there's lots of hard work ahead.
4. So is there a "Long Tail" or isn't there? Ever since Chris Anderson's book "The Long Tail" appeared in 2006 there have been researchers challenging his theory which asserts that infinite shelf space drives customer demand into the niches. The latest attempt is by 2 Wharton professors, who, using Netflix data, observe that the Long Tail effect is not ironclad. Sometimes it's present, sometimes it's not. Anderson disputes their findings. The argument boils down to the definitions of the "head" and "tail" of the markets being studied. Anderson defines them in absolute terms (say the top 100 products), whereas the Wharton team defines them in terms of percentages (the top 1 %).
I've been fascinated with the Long Tail concept since the beginning, as it potentially represents a continued evolution of video choice; over-the-air broadcasting allowed for 3 channels originally, cable then allowed for 30, 50, 500, now broadband creates infinite shelf space. Independent online video producers and their investors have bet on the Long Tail effect working for them to drive viewership beyond broadcast and cable. With Nielsen reporting hours of TV viewership holding steady, we haven't yet seen cannibalization. However, with Nielsen, comScore and others reporting online video consumption surging, audiences may be carving out time from other activities to go online and watch.
Enjoy your weekends! There will be no VideoNuze on Monday as I'll be observing Yom Kippur.
Video Research Around the Web
- U.S. Homes Adding SVOD Services Falls To 3.9% in 2Q, Kantar Reports B&C
- As streaming surges globally, Roku is falling behind abroad Protocol
- World-Wide Streaming Subscriptions Pass One Billion During Pandemic WSJ
- Cable Now Controls Nearly 70% of U.S. Fixed Broadband After Biggest Year Since 2008 Next TV
- Cord Cutting’s Worst Year Ever: Analyst B&C
- Disney Plus Will Surpass Netflix in Customers by 2026, Research Company Says Next TV
- Tubi Says Streaming Rose 58% In 2020, With Half Of Viewers Younger Than 35 Deadline
- U.S. SVOD Revenue Spiked 39% in Q3 to $5.5 Billion Next TV