Cheap TVs: Last Week’s Plunge In Pay-TV Stocks Could Have Lasting Effect

This post originally appeared at Smart Content News.

Last week’s meltdown among media stocks left many Wall Street professionals scratching their heads.

Objectively speaking, the earnings news that triggered the sell-off, first from Disney and followed by Time Warner, Discovery and Viacom, was sobering but hardly catastrophic. Disney made a modest downward adjustment to its full-year forecast for its cable unit, led by ESPN, from “high single digits” to “mid-single digits” due stock-arrow-downto continued subscriber losses among pay-TV providers. Viacom reported a 9 percent year-on-year decline in advertising revenue, driven by falling ratings for its cable networks, but its net income for the quarter actually beat Wall Street estimates.

Yet it was enough to start a stampede that wiped out more than $45 billion in market value across seven pay-TV companies.

Some of those losses are likely to be recovered over the coming weeks and months as investors get a grip on themselves and the companies trim spending to boost EPS. But the massive selloff could still have a lasting effect on the sector.

The abrupt selloff, well beyond what the fundamentals of the stocks would justify, seemed to reflect a dramatic shift in market sentiment regarding valuation benchmarks and appropriate share-price multiples for media companies as investors focus on structural changes in the pay-TV business.  Resetting those assumptions to pre-meltdown levels might require some restructuring of the sector. Read More »

Anvato adds instant TV everywhere syndication with live-to-VOD 

The new feature is designed to allow content owners and programmers to create video-on-demand files from their live linear streams and then syndicate these files in near real time to multiple online destinations such as Netflix and Hulu, as well as MVPDs including cable operators and telcos.

Source: Anvato adds instant TV everywhere syndication with live-to-VOD | VOD | News | Rapid TV News

OTT & the Net New Effect 

For premium programmers, over-the-top video is very much a double-edged sword. On the one hand, OTT video is creating new competitors and threatening the dearly held dual-stream revenue model that includes income both from advertising and from licensing deals with pay-TV operators. On the other hand, OTT also gives programmers a new distribution channel and a way to create new content packages that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

Source: OTT & the Net New Effect | Light Reading

FIFA Women’s World Cup Takes Fox Sports Go to New Heights 

For Team USA’s first Group Stage match — a 1-0 win over Australia on June 8 — Fox Sports registered 118,000 unique streams on its Fox Sports Go platform for desktop, tablets, and smartphones. That made it the most-streamed authenticated event ever on the app, beating out even Game 7 of the 2014 World Series.

Source: FIFA Women’s World Cup Takes Fox Sports Go to New Heights : Sports Video Group

Sony docs: Apple expressed interest in 4K video streaming in 2013

As divulged by WikiLeaks, a materials access letter (PDF link) from Culver Digital Distribution, an entity associated with Sony Pictures Television, served as a formal agreement for “testing and/or preparing” 4K film and television content for non-exclusive distribution.

Source: Apple expressed interest in 4K video streaming in 2013, leaked Sony documents show

ESPN and the Skinny Bundle

The results of a consumer survey released Wednesday by Digitalsmiths raised some eyebrows for what they said about pay-TV viewers’ channel preferences in a hypothetical a la carte pay-TV universe, particularly with respect to ESPN.

Asked if they would prefer to be able to select the channels they subscribe through a la carte, rather than in pre-selected bundles, nearly 82 percent said “yes.” That espn_leadergroup was then given a list of 75 channels and asked to pick their own, ideal bundle. Fewer than 36 percent included ESPN in their ideal bundle, putting the top rated cable network in the U.S. well behind the Discovery Channel, which was cited by 62 percent of respondents.

Even Digitalsmiths was surprised.

“The top channels selected by this group were ABC, Discovery Channel, CBS, NBC, and the History Channel,” the company wrote in the accompanying report on the findings. “Digitalsmiths finds the high demand for the Discovery Channel (ranked second) to be very interesting, but even more shocking is ESPN, which ranked
twentieth. ESPN is some of the highest-priced content compared to other channels and is likely more expensive than the Discovery Channel” (full chart below). Read More »

Cloud DVR Is a Killer App… Just Not in 2015 

According to data from Parks Associates , the number of subscribers to cloud DVR services still falls well below the 5 million mark globally, but by 2018 that total should roughly quintuple to around 25 million subs. And, anecdotally, Spriester can confirm that more than half of the operators he’s talked to in his position at Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) have either already implemented cloud DVR or are seriously considering a deployment in the near future.

Source: Cloud DVR Is a Killer App… Just Not in 2015 | Light Reading

Sony Launches iPad App for PlayStation Vue

Sony has released an iPad app for PlayStation Vue, the over-the-top pay TV service that has been launched in three markets – Chicago, New York and Philadelphia. The iPad is the first mobile device and the first outside the Sony device ecosystem to support PlayStation Vue, which is currently available to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 owners in Sony’s initial set of markets.

Source: Sony Launches iPad App for PlayStation Vue | Multichannel

ABC, Cox, Hearst station groups up the stakes in live local news OTT streaming 

Disney-owned ABC is among five major broadcast TV station groups that are joining forces to develop NewsON, a service that will provide live streaming of local newscasts to viewers in 84 viewing markets nationwide.The service will directly challenge live local streaming efforts by CBS, which is working to bring local newscasts to its CBS All Access service. The venture could also threaten Granite Broadcasting-owned, fledgling manufacturer TabletTV, an over-the-air antenna and streaming device that has been trying to solve the local news conundrum for cord cutters.

Source: ABC, Cox, Hearst station groups up the stakes in live local news OTT streaming – FierceOnlineVideo

Why Does the Cable-TV Bundle Exist Anyway? 

The typical pay-TV subscriber watches only 17 channels regularly, according to a Nielsen report from last year. That is a big reason why a new generation of viewers are finding online alternatives to avoid paying the average $74 a month it costs for cable. That basic bundle has expanded to more than 100 channels on average, according to SNL Kagan, and is required for consumers to then add on premium networks like HBO or Showtime or specialty services like NFL Network.

Source: Why Does the Cable-TV Bundle Exist Anyway? – WSJ

How Periscope, Meerkat, And Snapchat Will Change How TV Covers News, Sports, And Weather

The $70-billion-a-year television business (in the U.S.) has been under attack from all sides—Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, and other services are all stealing attention (and revenue). But amid the shift to on-demand entertainment, traditional TV has doubled down on what only it can offer: live events, particularly news, sports, and weather. Easy-to-use, mobile live-streaming services could upend what has been the last sacrosanct aspect of the TV industry.

Source: How Periscope, Meerkat, And Snapchat Will Change How TV Covers News, Sports, And Weather | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Binge-Watching: Turner, Comcast Move To Capture VOD Crowd 

Binge-watching was once characterized as a niche behavior adopted by those technophiles who wanted to indulge in subscription-video-on-demand entertainment services. As it turns out, however, this way of viewing TV is growing. Using video on demand to explore new programming “is part of how our customers view TV,” said Steve Meyer, vice president of video strategy and analysis at Comcast Cable. “We are finding the primary use is not just catching up on VOD, but discovering content on VOD.”

Source: Binge-Watching: Turner, Comcast Move To Capture VOD Crowd | Variety

Cord-Bundlers Are the True Disruptors

The cutters and the cord-nevers (linear TV’s lost generation) are not the centers of influence in accelerating audience fragmentation. It’s the cord-bundlers — the households stitching together a host of subscription VOD services (like iTunes, Netflix or Hulu), in addition to their cable subscriptions — that are proving the most disruptive. The ever-expanding number of devices powering the delivery of this content only serves to increase the relative value of OTT services versus linear TV, with a majority of Americans now preferring streaming content to live TV, according to Deloitte’s latest Digital Democracy Survey.

Source: Cord-Bundlers Are the True Disruptors | Multichannel