Netflix Is A Ratings Winner

NBCUniversal president of research and media development Alan Wurtzel got a bit cheeky with Netflix this week, leaking some preliminary data from Symphony, the network-backed rating system (still in beta) that uses audio-recognition technology to measure viewership of unrated OTT channels like Netflix.

According to Wurtzel, Symphony measured the average audience in the 18-49 demo for each episode of Netflix original series within 35 days of their debut on the service between September and December, and over that time Netflix’s most-watched show was “Jessica Jones,” which averaged piper-orange-is-the-new-black4.8 million viewers per episode. “Master of None” was second, with an average audience of 3.9 million, while “Narcos” pulled in 3.2 million per episode. “Orange is the New Black” remains Netflix’s most-watched series, according to Wurtzel, but the current season was released in June and most of the viewing happened during the summer. During the period covered by the study, OITNB averaged 644,00 viewers per episode.

In comparison, the most watched scripted series in the 18-49 demo on linear TV channels during the 2014-2015 TV season, in the live-plus 7-day window, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” averaged 13.2 million viewers per week, followed by Fox’s “Empire” at 9.0 million and CBS’ “Big Bang Theory” at 8.3 million. Read More »

Hulu’s Ad-Free Epics

Those looking for evidence that Hulu is getting ready to introduce an ad-free, premium-plus tier got a big helping of it Sunday when the streaming service announced a deal with digital movie network Epix after Netflix decided it would not renew its expiring, five-year old deal with the three-studio consortium.

The deal brings to Hulu films from Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate, including such recent hits as  “Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” “World War Z,” and “Wolf of Wall Street,” marking a major expansion of Hulu’s movie offehulu_nocbs-1rings.

“Hulu already offers some of the best and biggest titles in television programming, but our subscribers have been asking us for more, and more recent, big movies. We
listened,” Hulu’s senior VP and head of content, Craig Erwich said in a statement. “Through this new deal with Epix, we are proud to now be able to offer a huge selection of the biggest blockbusters and premium films. This is a landmark deal for Hulu and it marks a huge expansion for our offering of premium programming.”

Added Epix CEO Mark Greenberg: “Hulu has become one of the most popular premium streaming services and Epix’s agreement is evidence of their understanding of the value that our blockbuster Hollywood films, deep library of classic film titles and original programming brings to consumers.” Read More »

Comcast Antes Up For a Peak At New Media Data

This post originally appeared at Smart Content News.

That $45 billion Comcast did not get to spend on Time Warner Cable seems to be burning a hole in its pocket.

On Monday, Comcast announced it would invest $200 million in BuzzFeed at a valuation of $1.5 billion, giving the old-line cable MSO entree to BuzzFeed’s more than 200 million unique monthly visitors, including 82.4 million in the increasingly elusive 18-34 age group.

“BuzzFeed has built an exceptional global company that harmonizes technology, data and superior editorial abilities to create and share content in innovative ways,” BuzzFeed_BadgesNBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said in a statement. “They reach a massive, loyal audience and have proven to be among the most creative, popular and influential new media players. We are pleased to be making this investment and for our companies to partner and work together.”

The BuzzFeed deal comes one week after Comcast unveiled a similar $200 million investment in Vox Media, valuing the parent of SB Nation, The Verge and Vox.com at roughly $1 billion.

Comcast is also reportedly planning to launch a new digital video service called Watchable that will focus on original, unlicensed content and made available to Comcast subscribers with an X1 set-top box. Read More »

Big Data’s Big Impact on the Future of Advertising 

Technology innovation will make it possible to trim a great deal of waste out of advertising by making it more precise. As advertising becomes more precise, it will become more efficient, which will drive up its ROI. This higher ROI will then lead to more investment in advertising. Yes, spending more, which many are reluctant to do, will become the attractive option, the smart business move.

Source: Big Data’s Big Impact on the Future of Advertising | Re/code

Broadcasters, Cable Companies and MVPDs Unite for Video Advertising Bureau

The group has a new name, a new logo and new members (all the broadcast networks, for the first time), but the same goal as the CAB: providing advertisers with the most current insights about premium, multiscreen TV content. By working together, VAB members hope to provide advertisers a single source for the best research and insight on video advertising, including primary research on the impact of TV advertising.

Source: Broadcasters, Cable Companies and MVPDs Unite for Video Advertising Bureau | Adweek

BTIG Research » Watch TV Execs Repudiate Digital and Mobile Advertising During the 2015 Upfronts

The tone for the 2015 Upfronts was set by NBC, with Linda Yaccarino shifting from calling television TV to Premium Video, a term also used repeatedly during Turner’s Upfront later in the week.  The shift to a premium video definition is being driven by consumers moving away from watching on television sets and instead utilizing laptops, tablets and smartphones to consume increasing amounts of video content.  Yet, we find the use of the word “premium” hard to digest, as it is increasingly difficult to distinguish premium from non-premium.  Are Bethany Mota, Vice, Michelle Phan and PewDiePie non-premium simply because they are not native TV shows/personalities? If a brand’s goal is to move product off shelves or cars off lots, why should they care if the advertising airs in front of “premium” or non-premium content?   Furthermore, there is an increasing level of engagement occurring with native, online content that does not exist in traditional television content, regardless of whether it is called TV or premium video.

Source: BTIG Research » Blog Archive » Watch TV Execs Repudiate Digital and Mobile Advertising During the 2015 Upfronts

TV Networks Now Wait for Word From Sponsors 

Television networks entered the annual upfront presentations last week determined to impress marketers with their lineups of shows for the coming season and stanch the potential flow of ad dollars to digital media. Broadcast and cable networks held elaborate events and parties across Manhattan in the hopes of attracting tens of billions of dollars from advertisers.

Now come the negotiations, when advertisers will judge whether the offerings from the television networks seem as exciting as their presentations. If things go well, TV networks will sell as much as 75 percent of their advertising time in the negotiations. If they do not, the thrum of trepidation about television’s place on advertising budgets will grow louder.

Source: TV Networks Now Wait for Word From Sponsors – NYTimes.com

Comcast to share coveted viewer data with NBCUniversal 

Comcast announced Thursday that it’s giving its NBCUniversal media division access to the extremely valuable viewer data collected by its cable division’s set-top boxes.

The country’s No. 1 cable company had kept this information from NBCU while seeking to merge with Time Warner Cable.

Source: Comcast to share coveted viewer data with NBCUniversal | New York Post

comScore, Nielsen Battle Over Estimates: Not Users, But Advertisers 05/15/2015

In a report sent to investors this morning, Wall Street analyst Brian Wieser says both companies’ claims of dominance are likely specious and irrelevant. Citing recent claims by comScore that 25 of the top 25 advertisers currently use its online audience ratings vs. Nielsen’s claim that 20 of the top 25 advertisers use its version, Wieser says something didn’t add up, so his team at Pivotal Research Group did some research of its own, reaching out to “several of our industry contacts to get to the bottom of the “dueling” claims by the online measurement services.

Source: comScore, Nielsen Battle Over Estimates: Not Users, But Advertisers 05/15/2015

What Verizon’s AOL Acquistion Might Mean For OTT Advertising 

When it comes to OTT and advertising, that nascent sector could used some fueling. The sector represents a confusing mishmash of outlets offering small pieces of the puzzle to advertisers, ranging from pay-TV providers to media companies to TV manufacturers to OTT device companies like Roku–which all have some access to TV app ad inventory.  ”It’s confusing and scattered,” said Darcy Bowe, vp, media direct, Starcom MediaVest. “There is no one place with scale.”

Source: What Verizon’s AOL Acquistion Might Mean For OTT Advertising – CMO Today – WSJ

Why the Verizon-AOL deal just might work: Mobile video ads are worth a lot 

For many onlookers, Verizon’s $4.4 billion acquisition of AOL this week echoed another multibillion dollar deal—AOL’s own $162 billion acquisition of Time Warner more than 15 years ago. That deal famously collapsed before the end of the decade. But Verizon’s move may differ because of one salient fact: there’s a ton of money in the video advertising being increasingly watched on mobile devices.

Source: Why the Verizon-AOL deal just might work: Mobile video ads are worth a lot | Ars Technica

Rentrak Making TV Measurement Headway

Growing acceptance over the past several years of Rentrak’s TV viewing data as at least a complement to Nielsen’s has resulted in tangible benefits for TV stations and media agencies. But challenges remain for the ratings upstart.

TV station executives — particularly those in small diary-only markets — say the more detailed and immediate Rentrak numbers have improved their selling position, and media agencies say they like Rentrak’s melding of viewership and product purchasing data.

Source: Rentrak Making TV Measurement Headway | TVNewsCheck.com

With Rumors Flying, Will It Be Summer of Consolidation in Ad Tech? 

Could Verizon’s $4.4 billion purchase of AOL spark a summer of acquisitions in the ad-tech space? It depends on whom you ask.

Yahoo has reportedly considered making Foursquare a big offer in recent weeks. The Google-purchasing-Twitter chatter has gone on for months and won’t die. Yelp is reportedly entertaining suitors from Yahoo to Google and Amazon, with some analysts speculating that foreign companies Alibaba and Rakuten are in the mix. Even mighty Salesforce.com has found itself the subject of speculation about a Microsoft takeover.

Source: With Rumors Flying, Will It Be Summer of Consolidation in Ad Tech? | Adweek