Analysis for 'Sports'

  • FreeWheel’s Q3 Video Monetization Report Shows Continued Industry Growth

    FreeWheel has released its Q3 ’15 Video Monetization Report (VMR), which reveals the continuation of a number of important industry trends. Both ad views and video views grew 28% vs. Q3 ’14, consistent with growth rates seen over the past few quarters.

    Live video was once again the fastest-growing genre, with a 113% year-over-year growth, compared to 30% for long-form and 9% for short-form. Sports was again the biggest driver of live with 63% of sports video viewed live, compared with 17% of news video viewed live (other genres were in low single digits). News had the biggest proportion of short-form (76%), while Entertainment (60%) ad Kids (59%) had the biggest proportion of long-form.

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  • 67% of Pay-TV Subscribers Don't Cite Sports As Justifying the Multichannel Bundle

    Here's some data that contradicts conventional wisdom: in a new survey from Clearleap, 67% of pay-TV subscribers said sports are not the reason they maintain a subscription, citing viewership of programs on other TV networks instead. Even sports fans didn't express a lot of enthusiasm for sports as justifying the multichannel bundle, with almost half citing other programs they watch as requiring a subscription.

    There has always been a strong industry consensus that live sports were the firewall for pay-TV's multichannel bundle. Even as entertainment programming has proliferated in OTT services and elsewhere, the only place to get marquee sports programming was on pay-TV. Therefore, the reasoning went, sports were the "glue" keeping subscribers on board.

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  • New "Sporting Views" Research Service Details Online Sports Viewership Patterns

    Sporting News Media, which operates a large sports online video syndication network, has launched a new research service called "Sporting Views," which will provide insights about how online viewers engage with sports-related video.

    The data is based on Sporting News Media's SN ePlayer network which syndicates video highlights from major leagues and rights-holders to over 350 publishers' sites, generating over 20 million unique visitors/mo and 300 million streams/mo. The SN ePlayer network has been comScore's top-ranked online video sports property for 9 of the last 12 months.

    In the inaugural report, Sporting Views found that viewing of sports content on local publishers sites is quite diffused, actually drawing big out-of-market audiences. In ten of the largest U.S. markets, 62.1% of viewers who watch sports video on local publishers' sites were from outside that market. Dallas (72.7%), LA (71.3%), New York (70.9%) and Miami (70.3%) led in terms of percentage of viewers from outside their markets.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #240 - NFL Now Looks Brilliant; Ericsson Data Highlights OTT's Edge

    After a 2 week hiatus while I was traveling in France, nScreenMedia's Colin Dixon and I are back with the 240th edition of our weekly podcast.

    The NFL season is now officially underway and with the launch of the NFL Now app, the league is promising to deliver an unprecedented fan experience. Though it's still quite early, Colin and I discuss why NFL Now looks like a very smart move. We're especially impressed with how the NFL is threading the needle between preserving the value in its multi-billion dollar broadcast/cable TV deals while aggressively pursuing online/mobile opportunities. However, for watching live games online, we also note how convoluted the TV Everywhere experience will be this season.

    Before we get to the NFL, Colin shares insights on a new report from Ericsson Consumer Lab, which found that OTT providers are surpassing pay-TV providers in customer satisfaction. Colin compares the data for four criteria - price, quality, mobility and content. I think the report is directionally correct, but question how valid it is to compare OTT services that cost around $8/month with pay-TV that can cost 10x this amount. It's worth noting another key takeaway from the report, which is that almost as many people now watch streaming video per week (75%), as watch scheduled broadcast TV (77%).

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  • Report: TV Everywhere Viewing Spikes, Riding Surge in Live Sports Viewing

    TV Everywhere proponents will find a lot to like in FreeWheel's newly released Q2 2014 Video Monetization Report. Ad views on authenticated on demand long-form plus live-streaming content grew 619% vs. Q2 '13. Fully 38% of these content formats' ad views now come via authentication, up from just 8% a year ago.

    Live content was up 201% year-over-year, with 81% of live ad views attributable to sports. Q2 included marquee events like World Cup, NBA and NHL playoffs. The share of live content's ad views vs. total ad views increased from 8.1% in Q2 '13 to 18.3% in Q2 '14.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #232: World Cup Streaming Records and Mobile Video Adoption

    I'm pleased to present the 232nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    The World Cup is in full swing and as many predicted beforehand, live-streaming is a crucial part of how fans are following the action. Colin notes that Akamai (which is responsible for a lot of the live-streaming globally), said that back in the 2010 World Cup, the peak bandwidth used was 1.4 terabits/second. Akamai was expecting that level to quadruple this year.

    Sure enough, in current group play, the Brazil-Mexico game already almost reached that target, registering 4.59 Tbps. That level will surely be exceeded as play moves on to the knockout stage (in which Colin's beloved England is unlikely to be participating).

    A key part of the World Cup's streaming success is due to the proliferation of mobile viewing devices, and we next discuss data Ooyala released this week revealing that mobile's share of online views increased from 3.4% in Q1 '12 to 21.5% in Q1 '14. Live-streaming in particular was a big-driver, and that's mainly sports. We dig into the details.

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  • Research: Live-Streaming Most Popular Activity for Sports Fans Online

    The Internet has been a boon to sports fans, with the new "Know the Fan" report from Sporting News Media, Kantar Media Sports and SportBusiness Group revealing that approximately 2/3 of U.S. sports fans follow sports online. In particular, 38% of fans who watch sports video online cited live-streaming of games/events as their top activity (up from 33% in 2013), followed by short highlight clips (31%) and videos of sports news (27%).

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  • FreeWheel Q4 '13 Report: Live Video Now Accounts for 10% of Ad Views As TV Everywhere Surges

    FreeWheel has released its Q4 '13 video monetization report, revealing among things, that ads viewed in live streaming jumped 148% vs. Q4 '12, and now account for nearly 10% of ads viewed in online video streams served by pay-TV operators and TV networks. Related, ad views in authenticated, TV Everywhere content rose 268% vs. Q4 '12. Overall, ad views were up 30% year-over-year. Brian Dutt, who manages Advisory Services at FreeWheel and oversaw the report, shared more detail behind these and other data being released.

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  • Adobe: Mobile Dominates as TV Everywhere Streams Double in 2013; Winter Olympics Next Up for Primetime

    Adobe has published its Q4 '13 U.S. Digital Video Benchmark report, finding that authenticated TV Everywhere streams more than doubled in 2013 to 574.2 million, up from 222.5 million in 2012. As the graph below shows, 73% of authenticated views occurred on mobile devices, 22% on desktop and less than 5% each on gaming consoles and connected TVs. For the mobile viewing, tablet share more than doubled vs. 2012 to 42%, with smartphone declining to 31%.

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  • Football is Helping Drive Online Video Advertising

    It turns out that football not only drives audience spikes on TV, but also online video advertising and engagement across devices. That's according to Adap.tv which this morning released select data from its video ad marketplace. Adap.tv has found that football has driven an overall 81% increase in video ad opportunities, with a 127% bump in smartphone video ads, 120% on desktops and 22% on tablets. 

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  • Another Syndication Victory: Perform Sports Tops ESPN In November Viewers

    Another great example of how video syndication is continuing to deliver results: in November's comScore rankings of U.S. sports properties, Perform Sports edged out perennial leader ESPN in number of total monthly unique viewers. As the chart below shows, Perform had 24.532 million viewers and ESPN had 24.092 million. Yahoo Sports is a distant third with 9.988 million, followed by another syndicator, CineSport, with 8.367 million and NFL with 5.936 million.

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  • NBC Olympics Data: Digital Distribution Didn't Hurt On-Air Viewing

    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.

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  • Sports Video Syndicators Nab 2 of Top 4 Traffic Positions in First Half of 2012

    The Olympics is currently dominating the sports world's attention, but have a look at comScore's first half 2012 data (chart below), and what jumps out is that 2 of the top 4 properties aren't well-known branded destinations, but rather little-known video syndicators, Perform Sports and CineSport.  

    Perform is #2, with 14.6 million average monthly unique viewers, trailing predictable leader ESPN, which has 20.5 million. And CineSport is #4 with 11.4 million average monthly unique viewers, behind #3 Yahoo Sports, which has 12.4 million. Following them are properties you'd expect to see on any top 10 list: Turner Sports, MLB, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, NFL and CBS Sports.

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  • NBC: Super Bowl Attracted 2.1 Million Streaming Viewers

    The first-ever streaming Super Bowl attracted over 2.1 million unique viewers, who consumed 78.6 million minutes. That surpassed NBC's expectations, according to Kevin Monaghan, SVP, Business Development and Managing Director of Digital Media at NBC Sports Group, who said that usage increased throughout the game and peaked in Q4 during the Giants' final touchdown drive. According to Omniture and mDialog data, it was the most-viewed live-streamed single game ever.

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  • Guess Which Sports Property Had the Most Unique Viewers in May (Hint: It's Not Yahoo, ESPN, MLB or SI)

    Here's a interesting tidbit from comScore's Video Metrix - the top sports property in May, as ranked by unique viewers, wasn't any of the names you'd expect (e.g. Yahoo Sports, ESPN, MLB, SI, etc.), but rather a little-known, four year-old start-up named CineSport. As the chart below shows, CineSport generated 13.1 million unique viewers in May to top the list (CineSport was actually number one in April too, and has been so periodically before as well). How CineSport is generating so much viewership says a lot about how online video is creating unexpected new opportunities for those with clever approaches. Last week I caught up with CineSport's CEO and founder Gregg Winik to learn more.


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  • ESPN Continues Dampening Cord-Cutting Fears

    ESPN released the its latest round of research on cord-cutting this week, finding that a tiny .18% of American homes with both pay-TV service and a broadband connection dropped their video service between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011. ESPN said the .18% is actually lower than the .28% it found in its prior period research and is fully offset by a comparable number of people who upgraded from a "broadcast-only" service level to a full pay-TV package. Not surprisingly, ESPN said that among medium-to-heavy sports viewers there was zero cord-cutting.

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  • ESPN Wades Into Cord-Cutting Research Fray With New Data

    Not content to sit by and watch the headlines claiming significant cord-cutting is underway, ESPN is wading into the cord-cutting research fray, releasing a new analysis of its own, which it asserts that the activity has been totally overblown.

    By analyzing Nielsen data, ESPN says that in the past 3 months, .28 percent of U.S. households have cut the cord, though mitigating this decrease is that .17 percent of households that had been subscribing to the lowest tier of pay-TV service (dubbed "broadcast-only") upgraded to pay-TV and broadband Internet services. With approximately 110 million households in the U.S., ESPN is saying around 308,000 homes cut the cord, with 187,000 upgrading from broadcast-only, for a net loss due to cord-cutting of 121,000 households. Interestingly, that 121,000 households is quite close to the 119,000 subscribers that SNL Kagan said that U.S. pay-TV operators lost in Q3 '10.

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  • 5 News Items of Interest for the Week of Aug 23rd

    Following is the latest update to VideoNuze's new Friday feature, highlighting 5-6 of the most intriguing industry news items from the week that VideoNuze wasn't able to cover.

    Ads skipped by 86% of TV viewers, but TV ads still most memorable

    A new Deloitte survey unsurprisingly finds high rates of ad skipping among DVR users watching time-shifted programs, yet also notes that 52% of respondents say TV advertising is more memorable than any other type (only 2% cited online video advertising). Is there a love-hate relationship with good old TV advertising?

    Endemol USA Plans Kobe Bryant Web Series
    Online video continues attracting celebrities, with the latest being LA Laker star Kobe Bryant, who will be featured in 8 episodes teaching Filipino kids about hoops. The series is being produced and promoted by powerhouse Endemol. More evidence that independent online video is gaining.

    NFL Sunday Ticket To-Go, Without DirecTV
    DirecTV unbundles its popular NFL package, selling online access to non-subscribers for $350. It's not clear there will be many takers at this price point, but it does raise interesting possibilities about unbundled subscribers connecting to their TVs and also how sports will be impacted by online and mobile viewing.

    TiVo Launches Remote with Slide-Out Keyboard
    TiVo is enhancing navigation with a long-awaited keyboard that slides out of its standard-shaped remote control for $90. With TiVo's new Premiere box offering more video choices than ever, quicker navigation is required. As other connected devices hit the market, it will be interesting to see what clever solutions they come up with too.

    MTVN's Greg Clayman Heads to News Corp to Lead iPad Newspaper
    Amid the ongoing shuffle of digital media executives, MTV Networks lost a key leader in Greg Clayman, who's moving to News Corp to head up their new iPad newspaper. Greg's been on VideoSchmooze panels and we've done webinars together; he always brings great insights as well as a terrific sense of humor.
     
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  • Sports Continues to be Shining Star of Online Video

    The final ESPN3.com and UnivisionFutbol.com streaming viewership numbers for the FIFA World Cup provide the latest evidence that sports are the shining star of the online video world for both free and paid viewing. Here's some sample data for recent free online sporting events:

    FIFA World Cup: ESPN3.com (7.4 million unique viewers, 15.7 million hours viewed), UnivisionFutbol.com (10 million hours viewed)

    2010 NCAA March Madness: CBSSports.com (8.3 million unique visits to MMOD video player, 11.7 million hours of video and audio)

    2009-2010 Sunday Night Football: NBCSports.com (2.2 million unique visits, 1M hours viewed, 29 minutes of average tune-in time)

    2008 Beijing Summer Olympics: NBCOlympics.com (70 million video streams, 10 million hours viewed, 27 minutes of average tune-in time)

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  • Exclusive: FreeWheel Serving Almost 2 Billion Video Ads/Mo, MLB is Newest Customer

    FreeWheel is on a roll, now serving almost 2 billion video ads/month, doubling its volume just since November, 2009. In addition, the company has added Major League Baseball Advanced Media to its customer roster and began implementing ads during the fall playoff season. The MLB win comes on top of recently announced customers Turner Broadcasting System and VEVO. FreeWheel's co-CEO/co-founder Doug Knopper brought me up to speed on all the news late last week.

    Doug said that part of the increase in FreeWheel's volume is attributable to the additional customers that have come on board, but he's also very excited about the year-over-year growth in ad volume FreeWheel is seeing for longer-term customers ("same store sales" if you will). FreeWheel is seeing big increases due to 3 factors: customers posting greater quantities of video, plus deepening viewership of that video (all of this borne out by comScore's '09 video consumption data); customers' improving ability to actually sell ads against these videos (reflecting the shift of budgets to the online video medium); and reduced friction through the emergence of "accepted practices" in ad operations.

    FreeWheel is also benefiting from its specialization in helping content providers monetize their video on third-party sites (e.g. YouTube, AOL, MSN, Fancast, etc.). More and more content executives are realizing that sizable viewership opportunities exist by syndicating their video outside of their own properties. Doug said that every content company FreeWheel is now talking to is interested in some kind of syndication.

    Doug described 3 types of syndication he's seeing: (1) across a family of sister corporate sites, such as PGA.com providing CNN.com video, which are both owned by Turner; (2) between affiliated entities like local MLB teams providing video to the main MLB.com hub and (3) externally, to unaffiliated 3rd parties, such as WMG music providing videos to YouTube. Given all this syndication activity, I was interested to learn from Doug what percentage of the ads FreeWheel serves fall into each of these 3 buckets vs. what percentage are served on the customer's sites themselves. Doug said that FreeWheel is pulling those numbers together in a way that ensures its customers privacy and will get back to me when he has them.

    In addition to the above syndication activity, FreeWheel is seeing experimentation with delivering ads to mobile devices, convergence/CE players and Internet-enabled TVs. In all these cases, customized ad policies determine who sells what ad inventory and how revenue is shared and reported. Powering all of this has been part of FreeWheel's core mission from inception, making it a key player in what I've called the 'syndicated video economy."

    FreeWheel's growth echoes what I've been hearing lately from both video ad network executives and video content providers. They too are talking about rapidly rising volumes and improving monetization. As I wrote recently, I've been impressed lately by efforts to make video ads more engaging and provide a better ROI, a trend I see continuing. Taken together, while it's still relatively early days, online video advertising seems to be making great strides.

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