July Eight

This is our midweek Fix, going deeper on our core topics. This week newTV, next week Merchants and we will alternate. We will get this onto a separate database so people can opt out of this if they want - but if you unsubscribe now you lose Fix Friday too. Would love your thoughts on how we make this better  - hit reply.

Not gonna miss my shot

The Disney deal for the Hamilton movie wasn't unexpected but switching from a cinema release to a streaming release was. And a year ahead of schedule. It seems to have paid off. Hamilton topped Twitter, there was a surge in app downloads and in searches on how to watch.
Disney did invest $8m in TV ads to promote the occasion. By dropping the free trials, we can expect a surge in subscriptions in the next results. And it is a wonderful show - just as enjoyable as when I saw it with the excellent London cast. Sometimes content is still king.
The one area that could be improved is the smart TV apps – I haven't seen any data but I imagine having an app on your smart TV drives more viewing than using Chromecast etc. But the only Disney+ app only works on relatively new TVs (not including my Samsung), prompting a few people I know to hack around with Playstations, Chromecasts and FireSticks etc.
As the replacement cycle on TVs is so much slower than with phones, could an app for older TVs be an opportunity? Netflix, Amazon, iPlayer etc all have compatible TV apps.
The Amazon TV ecosystem is constantly evolving. Now users can set up profiles so the recommendation become more personal. And they have  a new Watch party feature so Prime members can watch socially - chatting with their friends. Lots of learning from Twitch here it seems. It’s interesting that the one browser it doesn't work on is Safari - a tech issue or more beef with Apple?
The size and range of the Amazon involvement in newTV is immense. They also have ambitions in live TV - see this job spec;
Linear (24/7 Television or broadcast programming) is one of the key options for Prime Video customers. We in Prime Video Catalog are building next gen linear catalog systems to provide best-in-class Linear TV experience to Prime Video customers. It is Day 1 for the linear TV experience on Prime Video.
This is a good summary of extent of Amazon newTV services and one Wall Street analyst thinks the Amazon media business alone is worth $500 billion - around a third of their current market cap of $1.5trillion. She explains this;
“AMZN’s media strategy supports our view that the company employs a ‘land and expand’ strategy by entering consumers’ homes through its e-commerce business and subsequently adding services to its consumer-facing bundle that increase” value, Martin wrote. “Media assets also improve AMZN’s data flywheel because they improve AMZN’s consumer data across more demos inside the home, which improves its next add-on product.
This Podcast interview with the analyst is good background and she talks more about their advantages in advertising;
“Amazon is the only one that can really close that loop for any meaningful portion of your ad buys. Television or search or even Facebook – without a shopping cart almost no one else has that ability. That feedback loop is much less direct for any other company.”
Closing that loop is all about attribution and we mentioned a while back they were looking  for someone to lead measurement and research. And they have now hired an impressive Dentsu exec
This is the latest sales deck for Amazon TV - and this is a fascinating chart showing the 3rd party services you can buy through Amazon.

With the best attribution, one can imagine that Amazon will achieve higher prices for this inventory than the inhouse team - so inevitably leading to more inventory. And probably more publishers. Another flywheel for Amazon.
Next; Peacock
Next week sees another Streaming launch - Peacock from NBC. They still haven't agreed carriage with Roku or Amazon but will be available through Apple, Google, xBox etc. This quote from their CEO is the most interesting;
...Peacock’s greatest potential lies in the free-to-watch tier with a light advertising load that promises no more than 5 minutes of commercials per hour. NBCU’s theory is that “Free as a bird” will resonate with millions of Americans who are financially strapped or just too maxed out to pay for yet another streaming package.
Churn rates seem to be on the rise and one theory behind Disney pulling Hamilton forward was to discourage churn as promotional offers come to an end. 
Quibi is right in the middle of this - their free trial launch offer is ending as they clockup 3 months in business and no-one thinks they are going to have too many people choose to pay up. A good long Vulture piece unpacks Quibi, ending with this;
The industry conversion rate from a free trial to a paid subscription hovers below 33 percent. According to research firm Parks Associates, if that holds true for Quibi, it could mean less than 500,000 people would be watching a network that spent hundreds of millions of dollars on brand-new premium content
Does Netflix come calling? They need fresh content. Or did they already pass on most Quibi productions?
The news story about the US looking at banning TikTok isnt a surprise to Fix readers - we raised it back in April 2019;
Learning from China is a constant theme for us but with TikTok we see some potential friction. The hoo ha over Huawei and its role in the UK 5g network highlights concerns over China. And a US Government agency is trying to have the new Chinese owner of gay dating app Grindr sell to to a US firm to avoid worries over blackmail. So we think that people are going to get concerned that huge numbers of Western kids are spending all their time on a Chinese owned app. The Indian government have already banned TikTok but that now seems to have been overturned
Whether or not it can be banned is another question, but their new CEO asserts 
“We are not really a Chinese company.”
The impact of a ban would be enormous - as well as the economics you have a huge amount of time and attention made available. Where would it go and who gets the most benefit?
The Instagram clone Reels has launched in India to try and take advantage of the TikTok ban there. Maybe the synergies created through the Facebook investment in Reliance - the top mobile network there - will help?
Learning from China is informed now by their coming out of Covid. One aspect that is similar to the west was the closure of cinemas and subsequently the online launch of a number of major film releases. Cinema owners were outraged but the performance of the films has been good and this battle for eyeballs (and the releases) will continue
And Netflix are to release their first Chinese animated production 
The latest China Internet Report is a good read and this chart on the progress of live streaming stands out.

ITV - on being The Ideal Environment for Marketing Experimentation 
Caffeine raises $113m to take live rap battles mainstream
More amazing creativity on TikTok
Making the simple complicated is commonplace;  Making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity - Charles Mingus

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