Archive for February, 2015

Linear and Digital TV Convergence: 3 Trends to Watch

As linear and IP-delivered television continue to converge, viewers are coming to expect to watch whatever they want, wherever they are, on any device. Here are some key trends and opportunities the media and entertainment industry is facing in 2015 and beyond:

  1.     Media companies with a deep understanding of their audience will have a competitive edge

When competing for consumer attention, companies that best understand their audience will have an edge. This may seem intuitive, but we’ve heard some of the largest media companies in the world observe that they don’t know how to use data effectively to derive meaningful insights about their own viewers.

Data can provide an understanding of viewing behaviors, both online and offline, which can power personalized experiences, content recommendations, and one-to-one advertising. Smart data management is the starting point for all these things. That’s why we believe that data management will begin to play a much bigger role in helping programmers and operators to generate a better understanding of their audience and use it to drive tune-in and engagement over time.

  1.     Alternatives to the traditional cable bundle will continue to increase viewer choice

Programmers will continue to launch direct-to-consumer offerings to capture three key opportunities. First, to gain a better understanding of their viewers. Second, to make their back catalogs available as directly monetizable VOD assets. Third, to reach cord cutters and cord nevers who can’t be reached through cable distribution agreements.

Already, CBS went direct-to-consumer with their All Access platform. Rumor has it that direct-to-consumer offerings from HBO, Showtime, Nickelodeon, and ESPN (for Cricket’s World Cup) will launch this year. Disney CEO Bob Iger has hinted at TV streaming plans for Marvel and Star Wars. We expect this trend will continue.

Another win for viewer choice will come from a new crop of a la carte services from the pay-TV providers themselves. Dish Network’s Sling TV debuted a TV service in February approaching the a la carte model. It offers a $20-a-month package with $5-a-month add-ons. Verizon has announced an intention to launch an a la carte service by mid-2015, and Cablevision is exploring strategic options for OTT. One thing is for certain — consumers stand to benefit from the fierce competition that’s only just beginning to heat up.

  1.     Pressure will be on TV programmers and operators to monetize every ad impression

As TV Everywhere and OTT continue to attract consumer attention, it will be essential for TV programmers and operators to achieve optimal ad monetization of all the views happening outside of traditional, linear TV. Traditional, linear TV will still account for the single biggest share of ad spend in 2015, with 42% of total spend, or nearly $79 billion in the U.S. However, signs of a decelerating linear TV ad market make monetization of TV Everywhere and OTT all the more important. For example, Pooja Midha, SVP Digital Ad Sales & Operations for Disney ABC TV group, reports that “traditional, linear GRPs are declining.”. Scripps Networks executive Lori Hickok reports that, “Scatter versus scatter CPM pricing across the network was flat to down low-single-digits year-over-year.” One way to mitigate these risks is to understand and monetize audience more effectively across screens and devices.

These three trends reveal a lot of action in the areas of data management, alternatives to the traditional cable bundle, and ad monetization. What big trends are you seeing? Let us know in the comments.

Granting Pay TV Subscribers Broader Access to Content

One key idea behind TV Everywhere is that if a customer has a paying relationship with a brand for one type of premium service, then that brand can reward the customer with free access to related services. Typically, this idea is used to allow pay TV subscribers to use their pay TV credentials to watch TV for free on connected devices.

Yet, the use of pay TV credentials to extend access to services can be applied much more broadly to validate access to any internet-delivered content. For example, Rogers Media recently granted free access to the digital editions of its Sportsnet Magazine on Android, iOS and Windows 8 devices to all of its Sportsnet ONE, TV Everywhere subscribers coming through either Rogers or Shaw Go. Now, millions of Sportsnet ONE subscribers get free Sportsnet Magazine content on their mobile devices.

Using pay TV credentials to access Sportsnet Magazine on an Android device

Primetime-Sportsnet-One

Granting pay TV subscribers access to magazine content was easy for Rogers Media. It was already using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to produce the Sportsnet Magazine digital editions and Adobe Primetime to power Sportsnet ONE’s TV Everywhere authentication. So, getting one login to provide access to its TV and digital editions on connected devices was a simple integration between the two Adobe solutions. Now, when Sportsnet ONE customers verify themselves in the Sportsnet Magazine iOS, Android or Windows 8 apps, they’re using Adobe Primetime’s authentication capabilities.

Integrations like what Rogers Media has done for Sportsnet demonstrate just how flexible the TV Everywhere model can be. Customers can pay once for access to content across media types and channels. This allows media companies to provide a great deal of value to loyal customers while enabling the flexibility to use alternate revenue models. For example, the Sportsnet app earns additional revenue by selling individual magazine issues to non-subscribers through an in-app purchase.

Adobe Primetime Scores Touchdown with NBC Sports Digital, Powers Super Bowl Live Streams

Adobe Primetime has powered viewer experiences for NBC Sports Digital across screens since the 2012 Summer Olympics. The Super Bowl was a major sports milestone for live online streaming and whether you were rooting for the New England Patriots or Seattle Seahawks, one thing is for certain: People tuned into the big game in big numbers, across devices, in real-time to bring the Super Bowl beyond the living room.

NBC Sports Live Extra used Adobe Primetime’s playback and ad insertion capabilities to bring the Super Bowl to 1.3 million concurrent viewers across devices at its peak – the most for any Super Bowl (up 18% from last year). Thanks to NBC Universal, a special promotion (Super Stream Sunday) enabled viewers to watch the Super Bowl, a special episode of The Blacklist, and preceding programming without requiring the usual credentials and login information from broadcasters and pay-TV service providers.

Some other online viewership stats that made this Super Bowl stand out based on NBC Sports Live Extra data:

  • New streaming record with 800,000 average viewers per minute  (up 52% from last year’s Super Bowl)
  • 213 million total minutes viewed (up 99% from last year’s Super Bowl)
  • 5 million unique total online views (not just concurrent), up 9% from last year’s Super Bowl
  • Quality of NBC Sports Live Extra stream was high with engagement at 84.2 minutes per viewer

Sports content is a huge driver for online viewing and getting users to set up online accounts to enable TV Everywhere. 2014 was a landmark year for TV Everywhere and the biggest year yet with special events like the Sochi Winter Olympics and Soccer World Cup. In fact, the Adobe Digital Index Q2 2014 U.S. Digital Video Benchmark report found that sports networks saw frequency of viewing rise 31% year-over-year (YoY). We are excited to see what 2015 holds for the future of TV and continuing our partnership with NBC Sports Digital. Stay tuned for more to come!

Super Bowl_NBC Sports