Analysis for 'StudioNow'
4 Items Worth Noting for the Jan 25th Week (Netflix Q4, Nielsen ratings, AOL-StudioNow, Net Neutrality Webinar)Friday, January 29, 2010, 10:09 AM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
With the new Apple iPad receiving wall-to-wall coverage this week, it was easy to overlook other significant news. Here are 4 items worth noting for the January 25th week:
1. Netflix Q4 earnings increase my bullishness - On Wednesday, Netflix reported blowout results for Q4 '09, adding almost 3 million subscribers during the year (and a million just in Q4), bringing their YE '09 subscriber count to 12.3 million. Netflix also forecasted to end this year with between 15.5 million and 16.3 million subscribers, implying subscriber growth will be in the range of 26% to 33%. Importantly, Netflix also said that 48% of its subscribers used the company's streaming feature to watch a movie or TV show in Q4, up from 41% in Q3 and 28% a year ago. Wall Street reacted with glee, sending the stock up $12 yesterday to a new high of $63.04.
VideoNuze readers know I've been bullish on Netflix for some time now, and the Q4 results make me more so. A key concern I've had has been around their ability to gain further premium content for streaming. On the earnings call, CEO Reed Hastings and CFO Barry McCarthy addressed this issue, offering up additional details of their content strategy and how the recent Warner Bros. 28-day DVD window deal will work. On Monday I'm planning a deep dive post based on what I heard. As a preview, I'm now convinced that Netflix is the #1 cord-cutting threat. Cable, satellite and telco operators need to be watching Netflix very closely.
2. Nielsen announces combined TV/online ratings plan, but still falls short - This week brought news that Nielsen intends to unveil a "combined national television rating" in September that merges traditional Nielsen TV ratings with certain online viewing data. This is data that TV networks have been hungering for as online viewing has surged, potentially siphoning off TV audiences. I pointed out recently that the lack of such a measurement could seriously retard the growth of TV Everywhere, as cable networks hesitate to risk shifting TV audiences to unmeasurable online viewing.
Nielsen's move is welcome, but still doesn't go far enough. As reported, it seems the new merged ratings will only count online views that had the same ads and ad load as on-air. That immediately rules out Hulu, which of course carries far fewer ads than on-air, and sometimes uses custom creative as well. Obviously if the new Nielsen ratings don't truly capture online viewership they'll be worth little in the market. Ratings are a story with many future chapters to come.
3. AOL acquires StudioNow in bid for to ramp up video content - Also not to be overlooked this week was AOL's acquisition of StudioNow for $36.5 million in cash. StudioNow operates a distributed network of 3,000 video producers, creating cost-effective video for small and large companies alike. I'm very familiar with StudioNow, having spoken with their CEO and founder David Mason a number of times.
AOL is clearly looking to leverage the StudioNow network to generate a mountain of new video content, complementing its Seed.com "content farm." In addition, AOL picks up StudioNow's recently-launched Video Asset Management & Syndication Platform (AMS) which gives it video management capabilities as well. For AOL the deal suggests the company is finally waking up to video's vast potential. But with the rise of online video syndication, it's still a question mark whether creating a whole lot of new video is the right strategy, or whether AOL would have been better served by just partnering with a syndicator like 5Min.
Meanwhile, AOL isn't the only portal realizing video is the place to be. In Yahoo's earnings call this week, CEO Carol Bartz said "Frankly, our competition is television" and as Liz wrote, Bartz also said "that makes video really important." Yahoo just partnered with Ben Silverman's new Electus indie video shop, and it sounds like more action is coming. Geez, the prospect of AOL and Yahoo competing on acquisitions? It would be like the old days again.
4. Net Neutrality webinar next Thursday is going to be awesome - A reminder that next Thurs, Feb. 4th at 11am PT/2pm ET The Diffusion Group and VideoNuze will present a complimentary webinar "Demystifying Net Neutrality." The webinar is the first in a series of 6 throughout 2010, exclusively sponsored by ActiveVideo Networks. Colin Dixon from TDG and I will be hosting and we have 2 fabulous guests, who are on opposing sides of the net neutrality debate: Barbara Esbin, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Communications and Competition Policy at the Progress and Freedom Foundation and Chris Riley, Policy Counsel for Free Press.
Net neutrality is a critically important part of the landscape for over-the-top video services, and yet it is widely misunderstood. Join us for this one-hour session which promises to be educational and impactful.
Enjoy your weekend!
Friday, September 11, 2009, 8:06 AM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
Daisy Whitney and I are pleased to present the 31st edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for September 11, 2009.
This week Daisy and I first discuss my post from yesterday, "StudioNow Begins March Into Video Platform Space with AMS Launch." For those not familiar with StudioNow, it has been operating a network that links geographically-dispersed video professionals with its clients' projects using a backend work flow/project management platform.
Yesterday the company launched its Video Asset Management & Syndication Platform ("AMS"), which its clients can use to manage, transcode and syndicate their videos. It's a clever move by StudioNow, and I believe paves the way for the company to compete more directly in the video management and publishing platform space. StudioNow will benefit by leveraging its position as a trusted partner to content providers and directories which it serves on the video creation/production side.
We then discuss the new Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) which was just announced yesterday. CIMM brings together 14 different broadcast and cable TV networks, media agencies and advertisers to create new audience measurement for TV and cross-platform media. CIMM intends to run pilot studies focusing on TV measurement through set-top box data and cross-platform media measurement. It's hard not to see CIMM as a "Nielsen-killer" though CIMM has asserted that it should not viewed as such.
With so many companies involved, Daisy is skeptical of the venture's likelihood of success and favors a more market-driven solution. I think it actually can succeed, but only if the partners are truly committed and invest accordingly. I haven't followed measurement that closely, but in my view the partners' commitment level will likely be correlated to the level of dissatisfaction they each have with Nielsen, and this will determine CIMM's eventual success. More detail in the podcast.
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