NAB 2018 was a hotbed of discussion as the television industry adjusts to the connected world of video. New solutions and insights flowed freely, coming from the conference sessions to the show floor. We discuss the highlights of our conference stay.
Chapter 1: CBSN keynote (1:30)
Christy Tanner, Executive VP and GM of CBS News Digital, keynoted Will’s online video program at NAB this year. Ms. Tanner talked about how CBSN fills a hole in CBS’s portfolio, providing a 24×7 news channel. The online offering launched in 2014 and offered the company a new way to connect with audiences.
Ms. Tanner said the average age of the audience is 38, 20 years younger than average CBS broadcast news viewer. This younger audience prefers the focus to be on news and facts, and less on the talking head discussions common on CNN and Fox News. It represents a return to the roots of what cable news was in the early years. Ms. Tanner said CBSN worked in tight collaboration with the other news divisions within CBS.
The most used screen for CBSN viewing is the connected TV, delivering 50% of viewing. The desktop delivers 30% and mobile 20%.
Chapter 2: Tegna’s Daily Blast Live (6:30)
On my panel, What’s Television’s next Act?, Bob Sullivan from Tegna talked about what his broadcast TV channel group is doing online. The company created a new live show called Daily Blast Live, an informal magazine-style show that goes out live every day.
Chapter 3: Android TV (9:50)
Android TV was very much in evidence at the show. Google had a booth just inside the entrance of South Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Amino was showing their Android TV solution and produced a NAB Learning Lab event to discuss how Android TV can work for operators. Finish operator DNA had already deployed the Amino-Android TV solution, and Ville Partanen at DNA says the solution is already a hit with subscribers.
Other vendors also had pay TV operator solutions based on Android TV, including Nagra and Alitcast.
The increasing use of Android TV by operators reflects a trend toward open set-top boxes. Combining pay TV with online video reflects the reality for many pay TV customers.
Chapter 4: Multi-SVOD homes sees big growth (14:15)
Titus Bicknell, CDO and EVP of Operations at RLJ Entertainment revealed that his SVOD services, led by Acorn TV, now have 500,000 subscribers. He equated Acorn’s audience to the performance of a substantial cable television station. I think this shows that more people are subscribing to multiple SVOD. New data from Parks reinforces this conclusion.
A conversation with Barry Tishgart at BAMTECH and comments from other panels illustrates that online video services are becoming more sophisticated at improving the financial performance of their business. They are using data to help target customers likely to churn and customers that have churned to keep them as paying customers.
Chapter 5: Live streaming and VOD-in-a-Box (18:30)
Chris Carey at Verizon Digital Media Services says his company delivered 45,000 live events and 2.5 billion hours of streaming video in 2017. He is expecting that to increase to 60,000 live events in 2018.
Dan Finch, CEO of Simplestream, launched a product to allow anyone to launch their online video service, called VOD-in-a-Box. He said the product has become very popular with people that have already established a strong presence in the social media and now wants to translate that success into better content monetization.