The State of VOD Monetization
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Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Since it is very much an alphabet soup when it comes to monetization, I'm just going to share a real quick slide here so that we can sort of set the terms, even though some of the terms might be debatable, as to who falls into what category. But as we go down the list--SVOD, subscription-based video on demand; AVOD, ad-based; FAST, free ad-supported TV, typically live linear TV; transactional video on demand, whether that's rental or purchase, a relatively new term. And there may have been a new term since last night that I haven't picked up on. PVOD, premium video on demand for first run, theatrical releases like Trolls world tour and Milan. And then there, of course, are hybrid and tribrid models. So with that setting the stage, uh, I want to first ask Sara, as the media reporter for Axios, what are some of the trends that you're seeing in the market right now, in terms of the models that are finding success, the models that aren't? And give us your overview of how things may have changed in the last six months or a year.
Sara Fischer: That's a really great question. I think one of the big changes that we'd seen is that alongside of people's subscription video on-demand subscriptions, things like Netflix and Amazon consumers are looking for our free alternative to those subscriptions. They obviously can't afford... We've seen magazines come out with some pretty strong studies to pay for more than maybe three or four of these subscription services a month. And so AVOD, the advertising video-on demand free services--which are sometimes also called FAST, free ad-supported services--are really rising. What do those look like? We've seen them be acquired by big telecom companies, if it's PlutoTV acquired by Viacom, CBS, or if it's any of these four-letter-word services, they all are getting acquired. And to that end, on the free side, when it comes to the overall consumption in television, free broadcast TV is rising too, and it's been rising. But amid the pandemic it's really taken off.
And so what that is, it's called "over the air." It's where you use your little TV bunny ears to get a signal. And we found that it's rising because people want to get free access to broadcast while they can pay for their Netflix subscriptions. The biggest manifestation of that was probably just last week when we saw Scripps acquired ION for $2.6 billion, which is a mostly over-the-air syndicated service. So that's my general overview of what we've seen, but the rise of "free" has been a big theme, not just throughout this pandemic, although it's been expedited throughout the pandemic, but really throughout the past year.
Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Absolutely. And I think the other thing that people are doing is definitely finding those FAST services that you mentioned that free ad supported live linear TV in a way that maybe wasn't true, even six months or a year ago.
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