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October Seven
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Cinema vs Streaming
 
One of the key building blocks of newTV is films. Look across any channel - linear or streaming - and most event programming is a film; new and not so new. And when Hollywood produces these films, a large part of the math is likely TV revenues across the life of the movie. A constant tension has been over who drives this math? Cinema or TV?
 
Covid has thrown the game into the air. With the closure of cinemas worldwide - and their gradual reopening - we have seen a number of experiments. Windowing has reduced to 17 days in one case.
 
Disney rolled the dice with Hamilton, Artemis Fowl and Mulan all opening online, in some format. The next earnings call will give us more insight into the outcome of these experiments. But given they have announced that 3 of their biggest upcoming movies will be delayed until well into 2021 we can deduce the math doesn’t add up. At least not for Disney.
 
Tenet also demonstrates the problem - it has made about $280m so far and it cost $150m to make. So it’s not a disaster. But his last film (Dunkirk) made $405m - itself just half that of Dark Knight Rises. So if a Christopher Nolan film can’t get people into cinemas, what can?
 
The new Bond film is the canary in this coal mine. And that is going back to next April. Without any big films coming, some of the (heavily leveraged) cinema chains are closing. Will they ever open again?
 
Netflix and Amazon do think they can make money from movies launching with them. The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a good example. Facing Covid, Paramount sold the flights to Netflix and after a short time in cinema - garnering good reviews and some word of mouth - it opens on Netflix on October 16. The rumoured price was $56m and given Paramount save on a marketing campaign, it sounds like a reasonable deal.
 
But no-one wants to strengthen Netflix and Amazon. So with an extended cinema run and Warner owned HBO Max needing a boost, maybe that’s where Tenet ends up?

One other thing to think about is how the power in Hollywood has changed. Now Talent Agents package and drive some of the biggest films - with the talent often sharing in the upside. Getting paid now from Netflix and Amazon may suit some top talent,rather than waiting for things to go back to some sort of normal. 
 
One  of the most interesting cinema chains is Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - an arthouse sort of chain in the US that pioneered food and drink in cinemas. This is a good interview with their CEO on the cinema of the future.
 
SVOD vs AVOD
 
So all the headlines in streaming tend to go to the big subscription plays; Netflix and Amazon dominate with Disney+ closing in. Then we have Peacock and HBO etc. But people - at least in the US - are voting with their remotes and free services are booming. Like Tubi and Pluto, Xumo is owned by a big network but gets a little overlooked. With 24m monthly users Xumo is a little behind Tubi (with 33m) and Pluto (with 26.5) but hours are growing fast too. 
 
Comcast buying Xumo in February, Fox buying Tubi in March and The Pluto acquisition in 2019 by Viacom all look like good deals. This Digiday piece from a few weeks ago summed it up well  ‘We’re still in the wild west
 
The other Viacom play is Showtime, which is a subscription business and is building distribution - with an Apple deal for example. With a great track record in content ( Homeland, Chi, Billions and more) they sit at the quality end of the market. But can they get scale?
 
Ads
 
We shared the fascinating new Behind the Screens report from our friends at Samsung Ads the other week. Its findings have driven lots of conversation since - especially the revelation that streaming accounts for 59% of viewing time on the 5million ish Samsung TV sets across the UK. In this podcast with the IAB Alex Hole of Samsung shares more insight.
The research also covered the key European markets of Germany, France, Italy and Spain too - and this video of a DMexco 2020 panel on The Future of TV Advertising is Digital is more good background on this Shift. A panel of people from Seat, PHD and Samsung Ads discuss the way a recent Seat campaign used CTV, with really good results.
 
Samsung Ads Launches Samsung Demand-Side Platform in the US. This comes after their 2017 acquisition of Canadian DSP And Ad Server AdGear
 
Britbox
 
Lots of press for Britbox as they revive Spitting Image. I have heard good things but some reviews were mixed. The big question is whether it can drive subscriptions.
 
In the US they have agreed distribution with Facebook Portal even as BritBox US is doing quite well -although their US CEO is to leave
 
Their UK MD is talking things up “We are very happy with how the performance has gone, and a deal to offer 6 months of BritBox free for BT broadband customers is imminent.
 
I guess their big challenge with Spitting Image is whether to keep it on Britbox alone or finding some way of exploiting it for ITV too - maybe running a few days later?
 
ITV
 
ITVs long anticipated move into connected TV has arrived. PlanetX has been developed with Amobee and their CDO said;
 
 “ITV has a progressive vision and, with the launch of Planet V, is making a bold statement to the market about how major content owners with unique data should operate.
 
This is a significant move as ITV is the key player in UK TV and Planet V will educate buyers and brands on how to make the most of tech enabled advertising. They expect other broadcasters to add inventory over the coming months. This interview with the Director of Advanced Advertising is good insight into how this will develop.
 
Podcasting
 
Is Audio industry that different to the newTV business? This FT article makes parallels between the streaming wars and how rivalry between Spotify and the rest of the podcast world is developing. Especially as both Amazon and Apple begin to get involved.
 
This fantastic interview with Daniel Ek gives real insight into Spotify - and reminds us that Ted Sarandos (Co-CEO of Netflix) is on the Spotify board.
 
Spotify are working with Chernin to see if their exclusive podcasts can be turned into TV shows and movies. Given IP is always fluid and Chernin has a first look deal with Netflix this could be helpful.
 
Gatekeeper Tech
 
The fight to be a gatekeeper to new TV is intensifying. Facebook are putting a lot of energy into Portal - with exclusives like Spitting Image as mentioned above and now they have agreed a Netflix deal. And they plan a new remote to make it easier to access things like Netflix and Prime Video
 
This detailed comparison of both the new Chromecast and the Amazon Fire stick highlight just how important the remotes can be - and reminds us that Apple are due a new device before long. The new Chromecast underlines Google ambition, as they emphasise Google TV.
 
With the Roku set top box another real contender as a gateway, how long before someone buys them? It would put Facebook right into the fight.
 
Plus
 
Even in Streaming TV, Advertisers Are Dealing With Fraud
 
House Democrats say Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet, Apple enjoy 'monopoly power'
 
Time for advertisers to move beyond piecemeal CTV measurement
 
Ad Tech Could Be the Next Internet Bubble
 
Featured: The Ubiquitous Metaverse – 2PM
 
The Battle For Our Screens, Part 1: The Race to Entertain Us
Making the simple complicated is commonplace;  Making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity - Charles Mingus

I'm with Charles. Too many people make things overly complicated.
I try to really understand what's going on, and look for the patterns that unlock opportunities. How can I help you unlock the potential of newTV?


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