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September Nine
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Ad supported Netflix
 
This week we have seen some really significant moves - events that will shape the newTV business for years to come. The first is something we have been talking about for ages - free Netflix.
 
It makes perfect sense to offer a selection of your best programmes, free to non subscribers, as a sampling exercise. And that’s what Netflix are now doing - sharing the first episodes of some of their top shows. For free. And with pre roll ads. To be fair the ads are - currently - just for Netflix. But how long before they sell that to a brand?
 
It’s inevitable that media businesses take ads. Despite all the naysayers, it is the perfect business model - if done properly.
 
Brands can cost effectively promote their products - driving sales and creating jobs for their workers.
 
Media Creators / Curators get an income to cover their costs and the better they are at aggregating an audience, the better they do.
 
People get to enjoy their favourite content for free - or at least cheaper - and discover products they may be interested in - whether that’s the latest SUV, the new Samsung or the kids favourite cereal.
 
And it can be so lucrative. A fascinating new essay from Benedict Evans suggests that Amazon now make more money from their (still nascent) ad business than they do from Ecommerce. And all the newTV inventory that they are securing has yet to really kick in.
 
Google is an ad business. Facebook is an ad business. Amazon is becoming an ad business. And all the shenanigans at Apple suggest they want to grow their ad business. 
 
So why would Netflix resist? The price of content is increasing and they will need more than subscription revenue to compete for the best.
 
(HBO are looking at how they blend subscriptions with ad revenue but there is reluctance to include ads in some shows)
 
Mulan & Tenet
 
Windowing is another core element of the newTV ecology that is being reimagined. Mainly out of necessity as Covid closed cinemas, but as the saying goes; never let a crisis go to waste. 
 
The standard 75 days window (the time a movie plays exclusively in movie theaters) has been debated for years but the cinema chains have managed to protect it. Until now. Universal has agreed a window of 17 days and we suspect Hollywood will push to make that standard. With Amazon and Netflix the main beneficiaries.
 
Mulan is the first real test of the new model - a tentpole summer movie that was switched to pay per view. Disney+ subscribers can watch for an additional PPV fee of $30 as can Amazon Fire customers after an 11th hour-deal
 
There is some precedent - Trolls made $100m when released on PPV - but Mulan cost $200m to make, so needs a much better performance. Add in the marketing costs and they need even more. In the important Chinese market the film isn't yet out but pirated copies are widespread and have caused some negative reaction to the film
 
Tenet - where director Christopher Nolan insisted on a cinema release - has done reasonably well and is at the $150m mark - but again cost $200m to make and has been extensively (and expensively) promoted.
 
The big test is the new Bond film - planned for a cinema release in November. The new trailer for No Time to Die is excellent. But what happens if the cinemas are not open or enough people are not going? 
 
Could Amazon or Netflix swoop in? Netflx financed the Irishman, which is rumoured to cost north of $150m. If they want to maximise the number of Prime members in the run up to Christmas, how much could Amazon afford to pay for Bond? They - and Netflix - are talking with studios about movies for 2021. Someone must be thinking about this right now.
 
This is a great analysis of the changing economics of Film, with some great data, from a Fix friend. And our friends at Samsung have shared smart thinking on what this rise in home cinema means for Connected TV - see the end of the mail.
 
Bundles 
 
The fragility of subscriber numbers is shown with some new bundling in the US. Verizon now offers the Disney channels for free - Disney+ Hulu and ESPN are included in the deal for some of their wireless customers. (O2 had a similar offer with Disney+ in the UK)
 
AppleTV have a new bundle where customers can get CBS and Showtime for half the price of going direct.
 
In a good interview with Reed Hastings of Netflix ( promoting his new book) he comments of the success of Disney+;
 
“Disney,” he said. “If you’d asked us a year ago, ‘What are the odds that they’re going to get to 60 million subscribers in the first year?’ I’d be like 0. I mean how can that happen? It’s been super impressive execution.”
 
But how many of those 60m are paying the full price? And was Disney planning these discounts or is the imminent recession forcing their hand? All the financial models for all the streaming businesses were done pre covid. I don’t think they add up any more.
 
Adtech
 
As the Convergent TV Luma chart we shared in our last Fix/newTV shows, there is huge energy around the adtech needed to power newTV. But many of the problems of digital are migrating to new TV. As people combine businesses the legacy tech doesn't talk to each other. Managing frequency is a key issue - it wastes the clients money and annoys people. But it is still an issue in traditional media too.
 
One of the most positive things about newTV adtech is how many pioneers of adtech are now focused on newTV. For example Fix friend Dave Morgan at Simulmedia and now John Battelle whose video journalism startup is very focused on newTV - and in a good interview he makes this point;
 
It’s always the Holy Grail: Understanding who your audience is, matching them to your own data, and delivering contextually appropriate messaging that respects that person’s time, their privacy, and the bargain implicit in the context of the interaction.
 
If AT&T do decide to sell Xandr there is some good technology available but what happens to Warner Media?
 
Plus
 
Twitch - Watch Parties are now available to creators around the world
 
A16Z on Video first ecommerce
 
Reed Hastings on New Book, Netflix’s Future — and Why He Fired His Last CFO
 
Key Challenges with Quasi Experiments at Netflix | by Netflix Technology Blog | Aug, 2020
 
Samsung Leads the 1.1 Billion Streaming Devices in Households Globally
 
Unilever, Target, NBC Bet Peacock Users Call Out for Voice-Activated Commercials
 
A new way to measure sports
 
'New York Times' Stops Printing TV Listings
 
The polarizing, promising future of vertical movies - and watch the Apple commissioned Stunt Double
 
Inside the Nigerian Filmmaking Collective Endorsed by JJ Abrams and Franklin Leonard
 
A Market Overview from agency Havas Media - first shared in our Guild group
 
UK TV viewing growth is being driven by older audiences. Under 35s saw a decline of -8% across June – July, compared to +11% growth amongst 35+.
 
Covid effect on TV and film production - what happens next?
 
Strong revenue growth continues in China's cinema market
 
Streaming giants present Bollywood with a new script in Covid era -The FT on Netflix, Amazon and Disney going global.

Apple hires Hollywood dealmaker to boost TV Plus video service

And from our partners at Samsung Ads, Alex Hole, the European vice-president at Samsung Ads, reflects on the rise of at-home cinema experiences as Disney fast-tracks Mulan to TV;
He writes that, with the cinemas closed due to COVID-19, it has become clear that the only way to reach cinema audiences for the foreseeable future is to deliver the releases via over the top (OTT) services, direct into viewers’ own homes, on-demand.
He reflects on first-party data from Samsung Smart TVs showing that, in June, the time spent watching films on linear TV increased by 18% v January to 7 hours a week and time spent streaming increased by 36% to 16 hours 48 minutes a week in the first half of 2020
As connected TV becomes accessible to more audiences, content producers, platforms and advertisers all have an opportunity to build on new trends of entertainment consumption. 
Alex argues that the new cinematic streaming trend is opening up the landscape for new, innovative ways of building customer relationships and creating commercial partnerships that make the most of the incredible in-home entertainment technologies available on the market – whilst still supporting cinemas.
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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