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Week In Review: Disney Goes Very, Very Big, Measurement Goes To Impressions

1. Disney Goes Very, Very Big

In a four hour investor call, Disney laid out its plans to produce a massive amount of new programming for Disney+, most of which will be based on popular existing franchises like Star Wars.

Why It Matters

Disney said it will still roll out most of its movies in theaters first. 

That’s really the only thing most of Hollywood cared about, given that Warner is moving all its 2021 movies to a streaming/theater same day release schedule.

If Disney had followed suit, there’s a good chance that large sections of Century City and Burbank would have spontaneously combusted. And given the wildfire situation in California…

What Disney will do is roll out its more popular movies to theaters first, reserving a second tier for same day streaming/theatrical and a third tier for streaming only.

Meaning the movie business will not completely implode over the next several months.

The massive amount of new programming was further proof that Disney is serious about Disney+ and as many have noted, they put so much in the pipeline it feels like the past year has just been a chance for Disney to test out its beta version.

The other key thing here—and this has been getting buried, so listen up— is that Disney has defined itself in a way that few of the other Flixes have. The type of programming and the audience it’s geared at is now even more clear in a way that no other Flix, save perhaps Discovery, has managed to get across. 

This is going to be critical in expanding Disney+’s reach and separating it from all of the other Flixes, most of whom, for now, seem to be relatively indistinguishable from each other. They all have some great library shows along with a passel of HBO-like originals. So which one(s) you decide to subscribe to that month will likely depend on what you and your nearest and dearest are planning to binge on. 

That puts Disney and it’s clear vision of itself way ahead of the pack.

One last thing–they revamped their bundle slightly–in addition to the $13 bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ you can now get a version of that bundle featuring ad-free Hulu for $19, a $6 savings on what you’d pay a la carte. 

They’ve even included a bundle featuring Hulu LiveTV, which may be enough for many people they don’t need another streaming service.

The Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu Live TV plan with ads is $62/month and the same plan without ads is $68, though both will increase by $10 on December 18th.

What You Need To Do About It

If you’re the movie industry, theater owners in particular, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Sort of. The fact remains that with DIsney and others bringing movies into their streaming ecosystems after their theatrical release, the millions that used to be made on various syndication and international distribution deals are no longer available because the Flixes are all international now too, which will be a major hit to the pocketbook for directors, actors, producers and the like.

If you’re a Star Wars fan, rejoice. The upcoming programming Disney announced is your wildest dreams come true.

If you’re a Kardashian, rejoice too. Disney’s confirmed your continued relevance.

And if you’re one of the other Flixes, you need to start thinking about what you stand for, what your market position is and how you want audiences to think about you when they’re trying to decide which services to subscribe to.

2. Measurement Goes To Impressions

Both iSpot and Nielsen announced their respective versions of an impressions-based, cross-platform measurement system last week, the key difference being that Nielsen’s systems won’t be rolled out until Q4 2022, while iSpot’s are available right now.

Why It Matters

TV is moving to streaming and thus to impression-based measurement and there’s no going back. But as that happens, there’s a palpable fear that ad dollars might not follow eyeballs because brands are held back by the lack of adequate measurement for streaming and their inability to understand whether they’re reaching the same or different audiences on streaming that they are on linear.

Both measurement platforms aim to solve this by providing a standardized rating system that allows brands to compare linear and streaming ratings in a way that lets them calculate incremental reach, i.e., the number of viewers they’re reaching on streaming that they were not connecting with on linear and vice versa. This is incredibly valuable in that it allows brands to better allocate their spending and understand where they have gaps.

iSpot’s program, called iSpot Unified Measurement, also provides attribution metrics (iSpot is well known for their multitouch attribution capabilities) which allows brands to understand how well various networks and platforms are working for them so they can adjust their ad spend.

Which they can do because Unified Management will deliver results in something close to real time–brands will have results current through midnight the day prior.

The final piece is that iSpot will have person-based measurement through a partnership with TVision, which provides panel-like data to determine who in the household is actually watching what show, to better help brands with their targeting efforts. 

So all in all, a very thorough set of measurement metrics designed to help brands feel good about the transition to streaming. Which is definitely something they need some help with, as many still cling to misperceptions like “only millennials watch streaming” and the like.

But, as noted here many times previously, with nine Flixes up and running, plus all the FASTs and niche providers, streaming will soon have more and better programming at a lower cost than linear and so it will be only a matter of time before the number of streaming-only households exceeds those that still have some form of linear.

What You Need To Do About It

If you’re a brand or an agency, you should definitely look into both platforms as that is how TV is going to be measured–on impressions, not GRPs, and across streaming and linear.

If you’re Nielsen, you might want to think about buying iSpot–they seem to have the system you’re planning to build in place already and if there are no legal impediments, it could save a lot of dev time.

If you’re a consumer, be happy–while this does not directly affect you, it should mean you’ll be seeing more relevant ads and much less repetition as frequency becomes easier to regulate.