mardi 2 mai 2017

YouTube's Ongoing Metamorphosis

Since its acquisition by Google (2006, $1.65 billion), YouTube video streaming has been undergoing a metamorphosis, adding fee (YouTube Red) to free, going from publishing user generated content (UGC) to distributing professional video content produced by studios (subscription). This is just the first stage; this metamorphosis is still incomplete, there are more transitions to come. The business model is not yet clear; we do not see precisely where it is heading. What about advertising? What kind of retransmission fee will YouTube TV pay to networks? and, one day, probably, to stations?

With YouTube TV, YouTube has become a virtual MVPD, following partially the unbeatable business model developed over the last 70 years by national broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox).
YouTube TV was launched first in the major American DMAs: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco/Bay Area, Chicago and Philadelphia. The traditional networks have their O & O stations in these DMAs. For a $35 monthly subscription, YouTube TV offers a package including more than 30 channels plus the four major national networks. This is only the beginning: more channels are to come, more DMAs too. In June, YouTube announced that YouTube Live will expand to 10 more DMAs: Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington, D.C., Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne (Florida), and Charlotte (N.C.). New subscribers can sign up for 30 days for free.
In many ways, YouTube TV is not very different from a cable TV subscription, just cheaper. A "cable alternative" ?
What is its currrent lineup (July 20, 2017)? More than 30 networks, among which:
AMC, BBC World News, BBC America, CNBC, CW, Disney Channel, Disney Jr., E!, FX, Fox News, Fox Business, Fox Sports, FXX, FreeForm, IFC, MSNBC, NatGeo, NBC Sports, NBC Universo, WE tv, Sprout, Sundance Channel, Olympic Channel, Syfy, Telemundo,, USA...

  • Easy to use, available on mobile devices.
  • One can watch live TV network anywhere, anytime. The service is available for any device using a web browser (smartphones, tablets, etc.).
  • The subscription includes a cloud DVR with personalized recommendations and unlimited storage ("never run out of storage space").
  • Family-friendly: six accounts are included.
  • The app lets us imagine how the next TV ergonomic will look (menus, library, search, scheduling, etc.).
  • Nielsen has included YouTube TV viewership in the standard TV rating (July 2017), C3 and C7.
  • For the time being, YouTube TV has a contract with the networks only in cities where they own and manage a TV station (O & O). Consequently, YouTube TV will carry national programming but not local live: notably, no local news, yet. Nevertheless, mid-August, YouTube TV is available in 50% of US homes.
  • Most of the commercials are unskippable, even using DVR. There seems to be an agreement between the networks and YouTube TV...
The competition within virtual MPVDs is already formidable with SlingTV, DirecTV Now, fuboTV, Hulu Live TV, PlayStation Vue Now. BitTorrent Live seems to be shutting down. Not to mention all the OTT services... See chart in the post about Hulu Live TV.

Is YouTube losing money? Certain analysts figured it is paying about $35.72 for the content per subscription, losing 72 cents per subscriber (August 2017).

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