The big 4 broadcasters are each moving their free-to-air TV online. One thing is clear: their best content won’t be available for free when it gets there.
Chapter 1: Fox Now adds prime-time (1:15)
Fox is focusing on prime-time rather than the full broadcast schedule. It will stream its shows directly through its authenticated Fox Now app and allow affiliates to show their brands and sell local ads for the online breaks.
I wondered if it was such a good idea for affiliates to do this. Sure, they make a little extra revenue from the online ad sales. However, the Fox Now solution provides no uplift at all for news and local content.
Chapter 2: ABC relaunches “free” online player (5:40)
ABC relaunched its streaming service this week. A user can watch a mix of library shows and web originals for free through the app. She can also watch some affiliate local channels and more recent programming through the app if she logins with her pay TV subscription.
Chapter 3: NBC expects big Olympic ad revenue courtesy of OTT (9:45)
NBC expects to make record advertising revenue from the Rio Olympics. This it attributes to the fact that more events will occur live during prime time (Rio is just one hour ahead of New York.) However, the fact that NBC will live stream all the events means viewers will, for the first time in the US, be able to watch their favorite event as it happens. I thought this could lead to fragmented viewing. Everyone can watch their own favorite sport in the evening.
The live event streams are not open to everyone. You will need a pay TV subscription to watch through the NBC Sports app and NBC Sports website. No surprise there, as NBC is owned by Comcast. What’s more Comcast is deeply integrating online and broadcast Olympic coverage in a new experience only available through its X1 cable TV service.
Chapter 4: CBS may license linear channel to YouTube (15:10)
CBS has been very careful with its licensing of the broadcast channel online. To date, it can only be found in the company’s All Access SVOD service. However, news surfaced this week that YouTube was close to finalizing a deal with Disney’s ESPN and ABC and with CBS for their linear channels. YouTube is trying to put together a skinny bundle.
I speculated that CBS might be watering down the content in its broadcast channel. They could be focusing the best content on CBS All Access. Will said Marc Debevoise, CBS Interactive President, stated that the broadcast channel is still the flagship product.
CBS All Access and CBSN both include a “linear” feed. In All Access you can watch many local CBS affiliate channels. CBSN plays one video after another in a pseudo-linear fashion. Will interviewed Marc Debevoise at his recent ad summit. He shared Mr. Debevoise commented that the linear feeds in both CBSN and All Access get a surprisingly high amount of usage. This despite the supposed transition to an all-on-demand world.