13 Feb 2017

#StreamingBuzz Feb 13 - Romance for NYT and Spotify, Snapchat and A+E, and more

Kicking off this week's #StreamingBuzz with romance, given it's Valentine's Day week, and the relationships being cultivated in the digital and streaming entertainment space, which look to be businesses matches made in heaven.

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The New York Times and Spotify Join Forces to Entice Young Subscribers

The New York Times experienced record subscription growth last quarter, signing up 276,000 digital subscribers as a result of what some have called, the “Trump Bump.” That said, the publication has made another move to keep and grow their subscriber base through a joint deal with Spotify. The Times is offering a free annual ad-free subscription to the music streaming service, a $120.00 value, when NEW subscribers buy a one-year All Access digital subscription to the newspaper for $5.00 a week. The program includes two complimentary All Access subscriptions that do not include Spotify, but allows subscribers to give them to anyone they like. See what they did there? Get 'em hooked, get their reading and engagement data = a bonus for the Times, although it's not clear if data sharing with Spotify was part of the deal.

This is a smart move for both companies, given the Times and Spotify both need to stay aggressive in their respective and highly competitive markets. But it’s a marriage that makes prefect sense to Meredith Kopit Levien, the Times’ chief revenue officer. “If you think about the places where people spend their time in media, they spend a lot on music and a lot on news,” she told Bloomberg. “So it made for a very positive association.”

The Times has also shown to be drawing in a larger share of the U.S. millennial audience versus Vice Media and BuzzFeed, with 48 million unique visitors, according to ComScore. “We’re beginning to focus much more seriously on how many young people we have engaging with us and how we deepen those relationships,” Levien said.

Amazon's somewhat similar offering isn't as cut and dry. Prime members get Prime Music, Prime Videos, and Twitch Prime for free, a discount on Amazon Music Unlimited ($7.99/month versus $9.99/month for non-Prime members), and six months of free access to Washington Post.

It will be interesting to see what other potential content partnerships may come about to increase their user, subscriber, and viewer numbers. Speaking of which...

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A+E Joins the Growing List of Major TV Media Companies to Create Originals for Snapchat's Discover Platform

“Snapchat is a powerful brand, one which knows how to reach new audiences by pushing the limits and expanding the boundaries of creativity," said Paul Greenberg, executive vice president and general manager of FYI Network and executive vice president of 45th and Dean, A+E’s in-house studio, in a statement.

AdWeek reports 45th and Dean will develop shows for Snapchat’s Discover platform, the first being a weekly reality series, "Second Chance," with an eight-week run. The series will be unique to Snapchat Discover and made available to users in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia. "Second Chance" will feature business executives exploring how their relationships went wrong. Kind of ironic, don't you think?

Snap Inc. has struck a number of other TV deals for their "mobile-first audience," including Turner Broadcasting, Disney-ABC Television Group, BBC Worldwide, Viacom, and NBCUniversal, while hiring more talent to "drive the expansion of Snapchat’s Discover platform through partnerships with studios, networks, and production companies."


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How the New FCC Will Impact Live Streaming for Consumers and Content Creators

In addition to the endless lists of chaotic and unreal moves made by the new administration in the past few weeks, the Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is already siding with corporations at the expense of the public, content creators, and media platforms.

The new FCC chairman and former lawyer for Verizon, Ajit Pai, took the lead in rolling back consumer protection regulations and the net neutrality progress made during the Obama administration by his predecessor, Tom Wheeler, including closing out the inquiry in zero-rating offerings by AT&T and Verizon that violated the FCC’s Open Internet order. Comcast had also received an inquiry request by the FCC for its Stream TV content that was exempt from applying to a customer’s service data caps. That too is in the circular file.

Never heard of zero rating? Here is Senator Al Franken's Facebook response to Pai’s move:

“On the surface, 'zero-rating' plans sound great for consumers. They allow you to access certain content without counting against your data plan. But here’s the catch: some zero-rating plans actually dodge net neutrality—the principle that the internet should operate as an open and level playing field for American consumers and businesses—and give priority to large corporations with deep pockets. As a result, some zero-rating plans stifle competition and innovation, disadvantage small businesses, and inhibit free speech on the internet.” CONTINUE READING

 

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Machine Learning and Music Streaming Align on Alexa

Having been one of the lucky ones to win an Echo at the Capital One House activation at SXSW last year, I’ve called on Alexa to start my morning every day since. “Alexa, play BBC Radio 6 Music,” and she complies, pulling up the British station on TuneIn. Amazon’s Alexa made a lot of waves (no pun intended) at this year’s CES as the voice assistant expanded its support offerings, from cars and refrigerators, to Lenovo’s similar device to the Echo.

Amazon Music Unlimited and Alexa became the hot topic of conversation between Billboard, Jeff Bezos, and the vice president for Amazon Music, Steve Boom. Coming in at number 12 on Billboard's 2017 Power 100 list, the two execs discussed how Amazon Music Unlimited has some differentiating, cloud-based, machine learning architecture planned for its service that, when combined with the Echo, enables a user to create unique playlists, “Alexa, shuffle British Grime from last year,” or by your mood, “Alexa, play sad shoegazer rock from the ‘90s,” all through voice activation versus manually searching for and setting up a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music. CONTINUE READING

 

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Twitter Continues to Double-Down on Live Streaming and Video Advertising

Twitter reported yet another disappointing earnings report with a double whammy of lower than expected user numbers and continuing to lose the digital advertising game with the two behemoths gobbling up the majority of the ad revenue marketshare, Facebook and Google.  

Twitter’s chief operating officer, Anthony Noto, stated that “Video advertising was the company’s most valuable ad product for the quarter and that it would be a focus for the future,” according to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, live streaming programming continues to rollout, from daily news shows like Cheddar and Bloomberg, sports programs like the PGA Tour and the NHL, along with the highly active second screen behaviors during awards show. Twitter partnered with Billboard on a pre-show during last night’s Grammy’s, with studio hosts talking fashion and music, along with red carpet interviews as the stars bounced from one media microphone to another.

Steve Ballmer, the former Microsoft CEO and major Twitter shareholder, told CNBC that he still believes in the company's potential but that Jack Dorsey, the CEO of both Twitter and Square, is spreading himself too thin. “Running two companies is not the best idea," Ballmer said, and for Twitter to make the kind of strides it needs to compete and stay alive, “I think now's the time to focus down.”

Dorsey, on the other hand, told the Times, “It may have felt like we weren’t changing much this past year, but those hundreds of little changes added up to more predictable and sustained growth we will now use as a foundation to be more inventive and take bigger risks. And that’s exactly what we’re now going to do.”

 

Deep-Dive Live Streaming Workshop for Promoters at SXSW 2017

MAR 15, 2017 | 2:30PM – 4:00PM | Austin Convention Center

If you are attending SXSW this year, I invite you to attend the "Deep-Dive Live Streaming Workshop for Promoters," which will get into the nuts and bolts of live streaming entertainment, the business case for promoters and brands, its impact on advertising and branded content, cost and logistics, and what the future holds for live streaming VR.

This SXSW session requires you to RSVP and seating is limited, so click here to register.

And there's more...my live streaming research report is in the works and will be released in conjunction with the SXSW workshop. But you need not attend to get your hands on a copy. Just click below to opt in.

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