VideoNotes #2 (10/31)
Happy Halloween! This week: Video product closings, Comcast, Amazon, Alphabet earnings, AT&T+Time Warner, skinny bundles video+commerce at Twitch, and more below!
- The category is “once Hyped Video Services that begin with letter ‘V’ Closing”: Twitter is shutting down looping short video service Vine(Engadget): The shuttering was announced during earnings, along with a layoff of 9% of Twitter staff (350 people). Vessel was acquired by Verizon and will close as of 10/31. (Venturebeat). Vessel had raised $132 MM.
- Facebook on FB Live Camera Filters at the WSJDLive Conference (Wall Street Journal): Facebook is planning camera filters to make live videos look like paintings. CPO Chris Cox says that by 2021, “video will be 70% of all mobile traffic to sites like Facebook”.
- Comcast reported strong earnings (Wall Street Journal): Comcast added +32,000 net video customers in Q3 vs. a loss of -48,000 in the previous quarter. Comcast also added to its high speed internet customer base. NBCU earnings were strong, driven by the Rio Olympics, and no further light was shed on the reason for NFL ratings declines.
- AT&T says DirectTV Now — a planned bulked up skinny bundle — will cost just $35/month for 100+ channels (Wired): This price would undercut cable and compete with virtual MVPD packages like Sling and Playstation Vue, but at a much cheaper price point for a larger channel bundle. AT&T CEO Randall Stevenson believes he can eventually compete with the wired MVPD’s through 5G wireless. The feasibility and timeline for 5G is not clear.
- Amazon reported earnings that were short on profits (Seattle Times): Revenue is in growth mode and spending is in investment mode putting earnings on mute. Spending includes more warehouses, and more original video productions. AWS continues to drive profits.
- Amazon’s Twitch continues to experiment beyond gaming — this time with a new cooking show (Variety): Twitch is adding a 2 hour/ 5 day/week live cooking show called “ChefShock”. The show is hosted by “Food Network Star “ winner Justin Warner and debuts on 10/31. This effort enables Twitch (owned by Amazon) to sell ingredients. Ingredients are available now for the first week of shows and are fulfilled online through a partnership with competitor Instacart (link to www.twitch.tv/chefstock). Interestingly, Instacart (Wikipedia) competes with Amazon Fresh. Business Insider reports that Amazon is planning to open physical grocery stores across the US.
- Speaking of live game streaming, Microsoft Windows 10 includes a game streaming capability from XBox (Engadget): Microsoft was a bidder for Twitch back in 2014, but lost out to Amazon (after first choice Google dropped its bid). This summer MSFT purchased nascent Twitch competitor Beam. (Techcrunch).
- Google parent Alphabet reported strong earnings with YouTube cited among other strengths (CNBC). This AP article (via the LA Times) quotes and RBC Analyst who estimates YouTube’s annual revenue at $10 Billion.
In the upcoming week look for:
- Time Warner and Facebook report earnings on Wednesday 10/2
- CBS earnings report on Thursday 10/3
- Yet more opinions on AT&T + Time Warner
PULLING BACK THE LENS
- Videonuze debates the AT&T / Time Warner deal and breaks down the news that AT&T will offer a 100+ channel skinny bundle for just $35.(VideoNuze.com). Brief and lively conversation covers the overall logic of the deal and the skinny bundle which appears both unprofitable and internally undermining.
- From Activate: Think Again: Tech & Media Outlook 2017: 117 slides full of insight and data presented by Activate founder Michael Wolf at the Wall Street Journal’s Digital Conference.
- Barron’s Weekly: Cover story “What’s Next for Media Stocks”(SlideShare) offers some commentary on a handful of media and telecom stocks. It points out that their stock prices (At $88 Time Warner sits $18 below AT&T’s $106 bid) indicate that investors are handicapping the AT&T — Time Warner deal at a 30%-40% chance of completion.
WORTH REPEATING (From Videonotes.TV #1)
- Recode Podcast “Buzzfeed’s video boss Ze Frank on going viral at scale” (Recode/Peter Kafka). Ze Frank heads up the entertainment side of Buzzfeed. The conversation covers Tasty and other Buzzfeed video brands and overall Buzzfeed strategy. Ze Frank is a pioneer of digital entertainment and social connection (and hilariously funny) — check out his 2004 Ted Talk (Ted.com).