VIDEO INSIDER: NFL Launches Its Own Streaming Video Service - Time Warner Loses 217K Subscribers, Defends Against Hostile Takeover

Welcome to our new Video Insider newsletter, a morning email with the top news and analysis on the digital video industry, produced by BI Intelligence.

NFL LAUNCHES ITS OWN STREAMING VIDEO SERVICE: Just in time for Super Bowl weekend, the National Football League has announced plans to launch NFL Now, a free streaming video service. NFL Now will provide fans with a personalised stream of game highlights and original content based on their favourite teams and players. There will also be a paid version, NFL Now Plus, which will include additional premium content in exchange for an unannounced fee. The service will be available across a number of platforms, including PC, streaming devices, and game consoles, such as Xbox One. The league also plans to release NFL Now apps for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Verizon customers can access the service through the carrier’s NFL mobile app. (CNET)

TIME WARNER LOSES 217K SUBSCRIBERS, DEFENDS AGAINST HOSTILE TAKEOVER: Time Warner Cable reported mixed results during its fourth quarter earnings call. The cable company lost 217,000 residential video subscribers, but beat quarterly profit estimates. The mixed earnings results come at the same time the company finds itself locked in a battle to defend against a hostile takeover from rival Charter Communications. CEO Rob Marcus said, “I am honored and thrilled to lead this great company, and I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about our future … We’re geared up to manage this company for the long haul.” Marcus may have some ground for optimism. The company could fare like biotech company Illumina and wireless carrier Leap Wireless, two companies that overcame similar unsolicited acquisition bids. (Bloomberg, NYT DealBook)

COMCAST IS READYING A NETWORK DVR IN BOSTON: Comcast is finishing up preparations to launch a network-based DVR in Boston. The service allows customers with Comcast’s X1 set-top box to store and retrieve television shows from the cloud. This means potentially increased storage capacity for shows and an ability to retrieve recorded TV from other devices. Alongside TV, the service will also be accessible through a number of devices, including smartphones and tablets. Comcast plans to expand the service to other cities in the near future. “It’s something we will deploy market by market this year. It’s going to start initially in the Boston area, and it’s going to be very soon,” said Comcast Senior Vice President Matt Strauss during an interview with FierceCable. The company is also experimenting with an “instant on demand” feature, which will allow viewers to restart live broadcasts. (FierceCable)

WELCOME, VIDEO INSIDERS:The Video Insider newsletter covers the day’s most important topics in digital video, as well as news exclusives of interest to industry insiders. We look forward to the newsletter becoming an important part of your morning routine.

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DEMAND OUTPACES SUPPLY FOR ONLINE VIDEO ADS AT THE NEW YORK TIMES: The New York Times can’t keep up with the demand for online video ad spots, according to Capital New York. In short, the paper simply does not have enough video streams to meet the demand of advertisers. The Times is now turning away companies that are interested in buying spots from its dwindling video ad inventory, and has only partially fulfilled on deals with both Acura and Microsoft, worth $US1 million and $US500,000, respectively. “We need to make more content because there’s additional demand for it,” said New York Times general manager Rebecca Howard. The paper is still optimistic that it can scale its content to meet the demand. “The appetites of advertisers to do video are so great, we think our chance to grow our share of the video market is great,” said Times CEO Mark Thompson. (Capital New York)

VOD HAS MORE USERS, BUT VIEWERS FAVOUR STREAMING: More than half of households with pay tv, including cable and satellite, said that they use video-on-demand (VOD) from their TV service provider, compared to 41% of the same group that said that they use a streaming video service, such as Netflix or Hulu, according to a study by GfK. In terms of customer satisfaction, 43% of users who have both services rated streaming “better” than VOD, versus only 27% who preferred VOD, and 29% who viewed the services as equal. “Pay-TV providers are getting sampling for their VOD services — but they need to gain repeat users to start winning the perception battle,” said GfK senior vice president David Tice. (GfK)

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