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Week In Review: The Flixes Say Whoa, The vMVPDs Continue To Grow

1. The Flixes Say Whoa

So after much speculation that a party Apple was throwing for Jennifer Aniston and other celebrities was actually going to be the launch of their mysterious new Flix, our friends at Variety threw cold water on that idea, with the scoop that Appleflix would not launch till this fall, summer at the earliest.

At the same time, Turner’s Kevin Reilly, who is in charge of Warnerflix’s content, let slip that Warner’s original programming wouldn’t be launching until 2020, maybe even 2021.

Why It Matters

Disney’s launch dates are an unknown too, and if the Flixcopalypse doesn’t happen until this fall, that only gives Netflix, Amazon and Hulu more time to shore up the gates and ensure that their subscribers are happy campers.

It also reminds everyone that making a TV show is no simple matter—scripts must be written, actors must be cast, locations must be found, rain days must be accounted for, and then the magic of editing needs to happen in a way that meets with everyone’s approval.

Many of those new Netflix “originals” are actually existing shows from other countries that have been dubbed into English (and/or subtitled) which is why they were able to get them up so quickly.

That and they started producing many of their shows a while ago.

Point being we won’t be seeing the massive changes that are expected to be brought about by the Flixcopalypse (an uptick in actual cord cutting, a significant increase in OTT ad inventory) until later this year.

What You Need To Do About It

Mostly just sit tight.

If you’re Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, you have more time to increase customer loyalty.

And if you’re NBCU and (possibly) CBS/Viacom, you’re not as far away from the rest of the pack as you might have thought.


2. The vMVPDs Continue To Grow

Rich Greenfield and the #GoodLuckBundleGang at BTIG released their latest numbers on vMVPD growth and it seems we’re getting closer to 8 million these days (7.7 million to be exact.)

Why It Matters

vMVPDs are the fulfillment of the promises made when TV Everywhere was launched and then quickly squashed (because lawyers) back in 2009 or so.

They allow users to access the same interface on just about any device they have. To stop watching a show and then pick it up again exactly where they left off, days later, on a different device. They have cloud-based DVRs so viewers can watch shows they’ve saved even when they’re away from home. They have much improved, occasionally beautiful interfaces, some of which (Hulu Live TV) can actually predict what you might want to watch.

For advertisers, they offer the opportunity for advanced and addressable advertising on a national basis, along with the fact that since viewers can’t use their remote control to easily scroll through channels, they’re far more likely to sit through the ads. (Worst case is they’ll be looking at their phones and absorbing the ads passively.)

So they have got a lot going for them.

Which is why they are mostly replacing MVPD subscriptions rather than luring cord nevers back into the fold.

According to BTIG’s stats, the combined MVPD/vMVPD universe was 89.1MM in 2014, and dropped to 87.3MM in 2018, a drop of 1.8MM or 2% over the past four years.

Hardly the “cord cutting tsunami” the Silicon Valley press would have you believe (or the bullshit 60% stat that some of them reported on a few weeks back.)

What You Need To Do About It

If you’re a network or local broadcaster, you need to sign up with as many vMVPDs as possible. Like the internet, it’s not a fad.

If you’re an MVPD, you should consider launching your own vMVPD. (We’re not sure why many of you, cough, Comcast, cough, haven’t done so already.)

And if you’re a reader, you should check them out. Most have free 7-day trials so you can do a test run first to see which one meets your particular needs.


PS: Be sure to check out the first two interviews from our upcoming special report on Ad-Supported OTT with Hulu and dataxu