There have been rumours for some time and Amazon actually spread some first episodes of shows for free, to get users to upgrade to the Instant Video subscription, which is bundled with Amazon Prime.
The bigger game seems to be that video ads are the most coveted ads nowadays and Amazon is looking for more ways to sell video ads.
Go to Techcrunch for more.
If you have the time, read this entertaining article from “Vulture.com”, which takes a look back in television’s history to help understand the changes the industry is going through, especially with the announcements of CBS and HBO declaring that they would soon offer a direct to customer on demand streaming service.
This is a step towards unbundling the pricey cable TV packages that american customers have been complaining about, moving towards an à la carte model, which could save viewers plenty, as the article lays out: “For under $25 a month, a combo of the Eye’s new service and Hulu Plus, along with Netflix, will get you access to most next-day episodes of network and many cable shows, plus a host of past seasons (and some buzzy originals) via Netflix. Adding Amazon for $99 a year (or $8.25 per month) keeps your TV bill under $35 and gives you access to past seasons of almost every big TV show (plus some original content and free shipping). And assuming the new stand-alone HBO Go is priced, as expected, at about $15 per month, you should be able to cut the cable cord and not miss much beyond sports and news for just under $50 — well below half the $123 average cable bill at least one analyst is forecasting for next year and the $65 or so most people now pay for just expanded basic cable (sans HBO).”
However, unbundling could lead to confusion among customers, who would have to subscribe to many different content sources and as many different apps, which could easily lead to a bill as high as the current cable bill. “Unbundling does not appear to be the answer. The consumer does not want to choose from relatively highly priced, small content packages. Rather, people want the ability to choose from more content and not have to make choices about what to pay for and what they don’t want. That decision will be confusing, paralyzing, and ultimately lead to more dissatisfaction.”
Take the time to read this article!
The appeal of OTT streaming and web video is driving “old” TV players like HBO and CBS in new directions. Both recently announced they would take their content to the customer directly. The endgame of this movement is the total unbundling of cable TV packages in favor of à la carte programming.
Jon Sichel, managing director at Scripps Network, insists that the traditional model is safe for the foreseeable future: “he argued that an à la carte model doesn’t work economically and isn’t necessarily what consumers want. “Being able to rely on providers who can help me and my family choose what we want to see is so important. That will change but it won’t be just about everyone providing their own content and going direct to the consumer,” he said. “When I go to YouTube and try to find content I’m interested in I’m lost. The business of producing content is not that simple. If you move to an OTT world you have to create individual shows that you know will be a hit. If I could do that every time, I wouldn’t be here – I’d be retired. You really need an ecosystem that allows you to try out new things that are often a hit or a miss.” He welcomes TV everywhere and on-demand delivery of content, but only as an add-on to traditional TV.
Jean-Thierry Augustin, CEO of Eurosport, is embracing the digital world more strongly: “He says Eurosport is seeking to garner rights and to create branding that will appeal to the “YouTube generation.”” He sees digital delivery as a business in its own right, rather than just complementing the linear TV channels.
Swiss music channel Joiz is going even further, by putting their focus on second screen and user interaction, even offering interactive advertising.
Read more about the old and new worlds of video content here.
Analyst Todd Juenger concludes that falling ratings are a consequence of SVoD “because it offers programming on demand, without advertising and offers a pleasing interface and helpful recommendations.”
As a consequence, media companies can refuse to license attractive content to their SVoD competition. But on the other hand they might be pressed to license even more content to OTT streaming services to egalize losses in advertizing revenues which are a consequence of the viewers turning away from linear TV and towards SVoD.
Read more here.
Youtube earned about $3,5bn in 2013, which was a third lower than what was predicted by many analysts. As a remedy Google is re-upping its efforts to lure studios and independent producers to their platform, by funding more premium short-form content. The endgame here is obviously to turn Youtube into a high quality programming network, which means more views and more ad sales (and higher CPM per ad).
Reuters has more on the ongoing efforts and strategic outlook.