What will be the big trends in digital video for the rest of the year? Here are our top four forecasts for the year.
Forecast 1: Wireless operators focus on triple-play services (1:50)
Wireless operators are already doing a lot with video. Expect that to increase in 2018. Cable has been able to reduce churn dramatically by signing people up to triple-play bundles. Wireless operators are now doing the same. Specifically, T-Mobile will launch a triple play leveraging the Layer3 service it purchased at the end of last year.
Forecast 2: YouTube TV to gain serious traction (5:50)
YouTube TV has invested a lot of money and energy to launch in most markets. The $35 bundle includes the top 4 broadcasters, which is a rarity among vMVPDs. They’ve also been spending a lot on promotion, including during the world series. Will thinks this will propel the service to new heights in 2018.
I agree that YouTube TV will do well in 2018. However, I see DirecTV Now and Sling TV remaining the category leaders. I also think there is a risk some vMVPDs may fail in 2018. PS Vue seems vulnerable. It doesn’t seem to have gained much traction, and with content costs so high Sony could decide simply to fold the service.
Forecast 3: Cord-cutting accelerates (9:00)
With pay TV operators looking to hit 1 million in 2017, the pressure is on. vMVPDs are beginning to get traction and offer a cheaper way for people to get things like premium sports without having to pay the $80+ per month for cable. As consumers increasingly move viewing time to online sources, vMVPDs will look increasingly attractive. This situation will lead to many more people cutting the cord in 2018 than in 2017.
Forecast 4: The continued ascendance of Amazon in video (11:50)
Will remains bullish on Amazon’s push into video. Fire TV devices are among the top two devices sold in the Amazon store during the holidays. The Channels program seems to be working for Prime subscribers. Data is a strength of the company, and it may leverage the consumer data into the video advertising space.
Miscellaneous: Other things to watch (14:30)
Facebook and Apple are investing in content. That could bear fruit in 2018. Zero-data-rated video services will become very common in 2018. Operators will launch broadband and Internet video services and not count their usage against data caps of their customers. Multiscreen ad campaigns will become more common in 2018. Artificial Intelligence will begin to impact the business of online video in a meaningful way this year. However, it may be invisible to service users, as it will mainly be used to optimize the video workflow.
Finally, both Will and I think the government will fail to prove that the AT&T-Time Warner merger will do real harm to consumers. The deal will go ahead sometime this year.