Analysis for 'ESPN'
Wednesday, January 2, 2013, 10:28 AM ET|
Welcome to 2013! If you were mostly checked out over the past 1-2 weeks (or were only paying attention to the fiscal cliff roller coaster), you didn't miss a whole lot in the video world. However, there were 5 items that caught my attention which I briefly describe below:
Monday, December 17, 2012, 8:55 AM ET|
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.
Friday, March 18, 2011, 10:27 AM ET|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.
Monday, December 6, 2010, 9:41 AM ET|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.
Friday, November 19, 2010, 10:29 AM ET|After a short break, VideoNuze's Friday feature of curating 5-6 interesting online/mobile video industry news items that we weren't able to cover this week, returns today. Read them now or take them with you this weekend!
Time Warner Cable Experiments With Lower Tier Video Package
It's a rare day when a cable operator announces a lower-priced offering, but that's what Time Warner Cable did yesterday, unveiling a test of what it's calling "TV Essentials." The new tier, priced between $30-$40, will most notably exclude ESPN, the most expensive channel in the cable universe, meaning right away TV Essentials isn't targeted to sports fans. I've argued for a while now that pay-TV operators have ceded the low-priced/value-oriented end of the video market to Netflix (and others), which given the ongoing recession is a mistake. It will be interesting to see how the new bargain service fares; 2 things that will limit its appeal though are that no channels will be offered in HD, and that it appears those with broadband Internet and telephone services won't benefit from typical package discounts.
Nielsen study: We're still a nation of couch pumpkins
More evidence this week that despite all the deserved enthusiasm over online and mobile delivery, good old-fashioned TV viewing still rules in terms of hours of consumption. Nielsen said that the average person watched 143 hours of TV per month in Q2, essentially flat vs. a year ago. For homes with DVRs, hours of time watched on them nudged up a bit to about 24 1/2 hours. On a related note, this week comScore released its online video viewing data for October, which showed average viewing of 15.1 hours per person. While online video has made huge progress in the last few years, it still has a ton of room to grow to catch up with TV.
More Videos Ads, More User Acceptance
Speaking of the comparison between online video and TV, this week brought some interesting new data on monetization patterns for premium online video. Online video ad manager FreeWheel released data that showed mid-roll ads are the fastest-growing category of ads (up 693% since Q1), and now represent 8% of its ad volume. Completion rates have increased for pre, mid and post-roll ads this year, but notably mid-rolls have the highest completion rate, at 90%. FreeWheel's conclusion is that monetization of premium online video is starting to look a lot like TV, with ad pods inserted throughout. Going a step further, if viewer acceptance of mid-rolls stays high, then this represents a valuable opportunity for TV networks in particular to combat DVR-based ad-skipping.
Startup Claims To Have Set-Top Hulu Can't Block
It was inevitable that Hulu's decision to block access to its programs would set off a game of whack-a-mole, with various devices springing up to do end-arounds. Sure enough, the $99 Orb TV debuted this week, prominently positioning itself as the device that can bring Hulu (among other content) to your TV. One catch is that Orb streams video from your computer and only does so in standard definition. It addresses the "keyboard in the living room" challenge by also including a smartphone app to control the device. It's not a perfect solution, but it does provide a glimpse into the PR-unfriendly dynamic that Hulu, and the broadcast networks, have created for themselves by blocking access to their content by Google TV and others. No doubt there will be plenty more Orb-like devices to come to market in the months ahead, all positioning themselves as solving the blocking problem.
Comcast's Top Digital Exec Amy Banse to Open New Silicon Valley Equity Fund for Cable Giant and NBC
As Comcast enters the final stages of approval for its NBCU deal, the company this week announced a new NBCU management structure. One item that wasn't formally announced yet, but was reported by AllThingsD earlier this week was that Amy Banse, formerly head of Comcast Interactive Media (now headed by Matt Strauss), will be heading to Silicon Valley to run the combined operations of Comcast's current Comcast Interactive Capital venture arm, and NBCU's current Peacock Equity (a JV with GE). With all the distribution, technology and content assets that will be under the Comcast roof, the fund will be at the top of any online/mobile video startup's list of strategic investors. I've known Amy for a while and have enjoyed having her on industry panels; she'll be a huge asset to Comcast in the Valley venture world.
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, September 10, 2010, 10:08 AM ET|Though it was a short week due to the Labor Day holiday, there was no shortage of online video industry happenings this week. As I've been doing each of the last few Fridays, following are 5-6 noteworthy industry stories for your weekend reading pleasure.
Ooyala Raises $22 Million to Accelerate Global Expansion
Online video platform Ooyala's new $22 million round is a bright spot in what's been a pretty slow quarter for online video industry private financings. Ooyala's new funds will help the company grow in the Asia-Pacific region. Ooyala said it is serving 550 customers, double the level of a year ago.
Google TV to Roll Out World-Wide Next Year
Even though the first Google TV-enabled devices have yet to be deployed, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said this week that he envisions a global rollout next year. The connected device landscape is becoming more competitive for Google TV given the growing number of inexpensive connected device options.
Business Groups Question Net Neutrality Rules
Three pro-business trade groups urged the FCC to drop its net neutrality initiative, citing the "flourishing" broadband market and concerns that regulations will curtail new investments and hurt the economy. It seems like everyone has a different opinion about net neutrality, so the consensus needed to move regulation forward is still down the road.
ESPN, YouTube Link Up for Promo Campaign
This week ESPN and YouTube kicked off their "Your Highlight" campaign, enticing ESPN viewers to upload their own sports clips, with the best ones to be shown on SportsCenter. Then the best of the best will win a trip to ESPN's studios to watch a SportsCenter taping. It's a great promotional concept, using online video to further invest ESPN viewers in the brand. Whoever thought it up deserves a shout-out.
Life Without a TV Set? Not impossible
Another interesting data point to tuck into your back pocket: according to a 2010 Pew study, just 42% of Americans feel a TV set is a "necessity," down from 64% in 2006. Pew interprets this as a loss of status for the TV, as other devices like computers and phones have become video capable. The perception of convergence is taking root.
Thursday, July 2, 2009, 9:25 AM ET|
Below is the 23rd edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for July 2, 2009.
This week Daisy shares additional information about ESPN's Ad Lab for emerging media. The Ad Lab, which was first disclosed by ESPN last year, is intended to various ad formats in the ESPN video player. It is one of many different tests and research projects in the market. As Daisy and I say, everyone's trying to learn how best to monetize the nascent online video; this creates a lot of valuable data, which market participants then need to parse through to fully understand.
I get into further details on my post yesterday, "Video Companies Raised $64M in Q2 '09, Notching Another Stellar Quarter." Despite the recession and the slowdown in venture capital investments, at least 26 industry companies have raised at least $219M over the last 3 quarters, which is impressive by any measure. Still, it hasn't been easy, and one indicator of what investors prefer is that not one of the 26 investments is in a content provider or video aggregator.
Click here to listen to the podcast (14 minutes, 24 seconds)
(Note, with vacations planned, our next podcast will be July 24th)
Click here for previous podcasts
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Video Research Around the Web
- Netflix Extends Lead in U.K. Amid Boom in Subscription Streaming Services Variety
- YouTube Videos Featuring Young Children Get Triple The Views Of Videos That Don’t (Study) Tubefilter
- Roku and Amazon Now Control Nearly 70% of U.S. Streaming Media Player Market Multichannel News
- Americans Want to Pay $21 for All Their Streaming Services Combined, Poll Finds The Hollywood Reporter
- TV Long View: The Mind-Blowing Amount of Time Americans Spend Watching TV The Hollywood Reporter
- Targeted Video Ads Jump 48% In 1st Quarter: Freewheel B&C
- Roku Commands 15% Of All Media Streaming Devices Mediapost
- Cord-Cutters Show Interest in Discovery Channel: Survey Multichannel News