Monday, July 20, 2015

Roku and OTT Strategy

In this article, Roku has some good news. "Roku may well be the most familiar streaming OTT device to consumers, thanks in large part to an aggressive retail strategy. But Roku is also now turning their attention to service provider partnerships to help place Roku devices in consumer homes."

A few RLECs already offer a Roku bundle, where the Roku device is the set top box rented for $4.95 to $5.95 per month for a device that sells for between $39 and $99. I have watched this device add a huge amount of apps in the last year - some for free content (e.g., Crackle, CNN) and many paid (e.g., Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, HBO). I think Sling TV can be played over Roku. (Sling TV has 3 outages since its launch this year. OUCH!)

Why would this bundle work? "we’ve got Netflix and Hulu and Pandora and CBS All Access, you’ve now got consumers managing multiple bills from multiple content partners,” said Roku vice president for pay TV, Andrew Ferrone. Single Bill!

"How fast will the U.S. market for over-the-top (OTT) video service grow, what’s driving growth and what will the market look like in three years? Forty-five leading providers of entertainment content and services weigh in on these topics in a market research report released today, July 14, by research firm MTM and sponsored by enterprise-grade subscription-billing specialist Vindicia and video and advertising analytics provider Ooyala." [telecomp] There is a Long Tail for everything. The key is that the Long Tail can be very profitable because it is niche!

HBO, CBS, Starz and now Showtime are all available without a cable subscription. 'Showtime is owned by CBS Corp.' - so CBS must be seeing success with OTT.

So how fast is cord-cutting accelerating? "Nearly one-third of domestic Netflix subscribers do not have traditional pay-TV service." Compare with "In a survey conducted back in June 2013, analysts at Cowen & Company found that almost 75% of domestic Netflix subscribers still had pay-TV." [source]

Comcast is looking at an OTT product launch. VZW is looking at OTT on cellular to attract more Millenials - and to make buck son ads.

Just to add to the fire: "Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter on Friday accusing big cable companies of using monopoly powers to muscle consumers into paying higher prices." [source]

If nothing else, get ready for the OTT storm that will be assaulting your networks more and more.

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