Roku Buys Dataxu for $150M, Apple’s TV app is now on Amazon Fire TV devices and other top news
Few key things that happened around the Ad Tech & Media Tech world this week.
Roku Buys Dataxu for $150M
Roku, Inc. (NASDAQ: ROKU) today announced that it has entered into an agreement to purchase Boston-based dataxu, a demand-side platform (DSP) that enables marketers to plan and buy video ad campaigns. dataxu provides marketers with an automated bidding and self-serve software solution to manage ad campaigns programmatically across digital platforms. dataxu utilizes advanced TV and OTT media planning tools, a proprietary device graph, and data science to help marketers optimize for business outcomes across TV, OTT, desktop and mobile. As the No. 1 U.S. TV streaming platform by hours streamed, Roku streams more ad-supported hours than any other OTT platform, according to a June 2019 comScore analysis. With more than 30.5 million active accounts as of June 30, 2019, a direct consumer relationship, proprietary data and inventory, and advertising technology built directly into its operating system, Roku is already a top OTT ad solutions provider to Ad Age Top 200 marketers. The acquisition of dataxu’s platform will complement Roku’s industry-leading OTT advertising platform and enable Roku to provide marketers a single, data-driven software solution to plan, buy, and optimize their ad spend across TV and OTT providers. dataxu brings an experienced team – including strong talent in software engineering, data science and analytics – to work with new and existing marketers on Roku’s proven advertising platform.
Apple’s TV app is now on Amazon Fire TV devices
Amazon on Thursday announced that the Apple TV app is now available on the Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick 4K in the United States and several other countries around the world. The launch comes just over a week after Roku added the app to its streaming players. The move to offering its service on other platforms, from Samsung smart TVs to Roku and now the Fire TV stick, shows that Apple wants its new streaming service, Apple TV+, to be in front of many people as possible. It’s a departure from Apple’s “walled garden” strategy, where it only offers its services on Apple hardware. Apple’s TV app lets users access their movies and TV shows that they’ve purchased through iTunes and offers its own interface for browsing through new content. Beginning Nov. 1, it will also serve as a hub for Apple’s new Apple TV+ service, which costs $4.99/month and will serve up original content. Customers who buy a new iPhone, Mac, iPad or Apple TV will get Apple TV+ for a year. If you don’t own an Apple TV, this is a convenient way to see all the content you’ve ever bought from iTunes on your iPhone or iPad on the big screen in your home. Amazon said the app will start to roll out “soon” to its other Fire TV products, including the new Nebula sound bar, Fire TV Edition smart TVs, the third generation Fire TV and the Fire TV Cube.
Netflix Plans To Borrow $2 Billion For New Content
As competition from rivals like Disney and Apple heats up, Netflix announced that for the second time this year, it plans to borrow several billion dollars in a bid to fund new content that will solidify its market share.
The streaming giant said on Monday that it will offer $2 billion worth of bonds between euros and dollars, with the notes expected to price on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg. The move comes at a time when Netflix needs extra funding for a content budget that analysts project will hit $15 billion in 2019—up from $12 billion the previous year. Netflix will continue to spend billions on new content as it faces rising threats from rivals like Apple, Disney, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia—who are all rolling out their own streaming platforms. With the streaming wars ramp up, Netflix now expects to burn through $3.5 billion in cash this year, although CEO Reed Hastings said in a letter to shareholders last week that the company is moving “slowly toward” toward positive free cash flow. The streamer routinely raises debt—eight times in the last five years raising over $1 billion—to help grow its business, with the last time being $2 billion raised in April. Since 2009, Netflix has built up a nearly $13.5 billion debt, according to Bloomberg data.
AT&T TV Now streaming service gets yet another price hike
AT&T’s streaming service is again raising prices. AT&T’s TV Now, the service previously known as DirecTV Now, is bumping up its prices yet again — by as much as 30%, Bloomberg reported and AT&T confirmed. Subscribers who were on the $50 Plus tier will now have to pay $65, while those on the $70 Max tier will pay $80 per month. The prices will go into effect for both new and existing customers — meaning, no one is getting grandfathered into their current pricing this time around. The company had previously revamped its plans earlier this year, where it introduced the new Plus and Max tiers, and had raised rates. However, at that time, existing subscribers were able to stay on their current plans. The company’s goal with the continual price hikes is to make its service more profitable even as its subscribers continue to defect. The streaming service ended 2018 with fewer customers (1.6 million) than it had in Q2 2018 (1.8 million). It has now dropped even further to 1.3 million, as of Q2 2019 — a net loss of 168,000 subscribers. Meanwhile, AT&T’s pay TV subscribers are also bailing at rapid rates. In Q2 2019, AT&T reported a net loss of 778,000 premium TV subscribers, for example. AT&T had originally lured in customers for its over-the-top streaming service with promotional discounts that weren’t sustainable. And, according to a new lawsuit, it allegedly faked some of its user growth, as well.
F1 to trial Twitch streaming with Mexican Grand Prix
Available in Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, every session of this weekend’s Grand Prix will be available for live and for free on the Amazon-owned streamer. The deal struck between Amazon and F1 is only limited to one race, and it will see a variety of gaming elements integrated into the broadcast. As opposed to the regular broadcast team, the sessions will be co-streamed by groups of in-market personalities, such as German gaming personality PietSmiet who will provide German commentary in Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Other gaming elements being integrated into the stream include a data extension that will allow users to predict drivers’ performance across the race’s ten-minute segments with the predictions forming something of a leaderboard. Frank Arthofer, director of digital and licensing at Formula 1, said: “Twitch has incredible reach, a unique creative spin on sports media coverage and an engaged digital audience; they are a perfect partner for us to be working with on this project.” Farhan Ahmed, strategic partnerships manager at Twitch, said: “Millions of people tune in to Twitch every day to watch live content and form communities around their shared interests. We’re thrilled to partner with Formula One to bring exciting motor racing content to our community in a way that’s unique, shared, and interactive.” The announcement is the latest move from Twitch to move away from its core identity as the de facto gaming streaming platform and follows the introduction of ‘Watch Parties’ – a feature that allows personalities on the platform to stream select content from Amazon Prime Video.