Over the last few quarters, we’ve seen a growing number of streaming content services come to market to challenge the success had by Netflix and to a lesser extent Amazon’s Prime Video. And the new entrants are from over given the pending launch of Disney’s Disney Play, AT&T/Time Warner’s DC Universe, Walmart’s Vudu and of course the highly anticipated one from Apple. Core essentials include a wide array of original programming and a global reach, which is a twin focus at Netflix and increasingly Amazon.
It comes as little surprise then that Facebook is now expanding the reach of its Watch streaming video service to “everywhere” offering a global reach to its content partners and of course it advertising ones as well. The question is given the growing privacy concerns, will Watch help Facebook reinvigorate its stickiness in the US and other markets but drive average revenue per user outside of the US as well?
As we get the answer to that question, we continue to see a global content arms race that runs the risk of diluting the content offering as the streaming video service markets become increasingly crowded. If we’re right, it could be a repeat of cable TV channels, just not on your TV.
Facebook has announced the international rollout of Facebook Watch, its video destination for episodic content, which first launched in the U.S. a year ago this month. The social media giant said Wednesday that the VOD service would be “available everywhere” from Thursday, giving publishers and content creators a worldwide market for their videos.
“With the global launch of Watch, we are supporting publishers and creators globally in two critical areas: helping them to make money from their videos on Facebook and better understand how their content is performing,” the company said in a statement.
Watch launched in the U.S. in August 2017 with the goal of offering users a place on Facebook to discover shows and video creators and to start conversations with friends, other fans and even the creators themselves. The company said that, since the launch, it had made the experience more social, including making it easier to see which videos friends have liked or shared, and creating shows with audience participation at their core. In June, Facebook said it would launch a slate of new shows boasting interactive features such as polls and quizzes to fulfill the platform’s goal of fostering a sense of community between creators and users.
Taking Watch global would also create new opportunities for content creators as the service expanded its video Ad Breaks program to enable more partners to monetize their videos, the company said. The Ad Breaks service officially launches Thursday in the U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to the U.S. It will launch in another 21 countries in September, including France, Germany, Spain, Argentina, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Thailand. Facebook said the service would support both English-language content and content in various local languages. Further countries and language will be added in the coming months.
The company said it had lowered the threshold for publishers and creators to be eligible to make money from their videos. Those creating three-minute videos that have 10,000 followers, generate more than 30,000 one-minute views within a two-month period, or meet Facebook’s monetization eligibility standards would qualify.
So far this earnings season we’ve heard positive comments for the outlook for 5G network spending, particularly in the US. That’s the forward view, but the for actual spending in 2Q 2018 was a little different as Digital Infrastructure companies that sell 5G components to mobile carriers didn’t deliver robust growth. As we’ve seen before, network construction is a bit of a slippery thing, but as we get closer to the publicized launch date, activity picks up big time. With a 5G network race in the offing inside the US, we see the 5G agreement between Nokia and T-Mobile US kicking off what is likely to be a series of similar announcements in the coming weeks and months. Odds are AT&T and Verizon will not want to be viewed as lagging behind T-Mobile. Good for 5G infrastructure-related companies and those who serve them as well as the ones that build the actual network.
T-Mobile US (TMUS.O) named Nokia (NOKIA.HE) to supply it with $3.5 billion in next-generation 5G network gear, the firms said on Monday, marking the world’s largest 5G deal so far and concrete evidence of a new wireless upgrade cycle taking root.
No.3 U.S. mobile carrier T-Mobile – which in April agreed to a merger with Sprint (S.N) to create a more formidable rival to U.S. telecom giants Verizon (VZ.N) and AT&T (T.N) – said the multiyear supply deal with Nokia will deliver the first nationwide 5G services.
5G networks promise to deliver faster speeds for mobile phone users and make networks more responsive and reliable for the eventual development of new industrial automation, medical monitoring, driverless car and other business uses.
We’re also looking for confirming data points for our investment themes, especially those that are poised to disrupt existing business models. In the case of 5G mobile technology, one of the meaningful questions is when we will see commercial deployments of both 5G networks and 5G devices. After all, a 5G network is pretty hard for AT&T or Verizon to monetize unless it has a service offering and that hinges on having 5G devices to deploy on its 5G network.
Today’s news that Qualcomm is shipping 5G antennas to its customers for testing and stands ready for “large-scale commercialization” likely means 5G devices are just quarters away instead of years away. As we move through 2Q 2018 earnings season, we’ll look for more timing signals for the launch of commercial 5G networks and devices.
Qualcomm today unveiled what it says is the world’s “first fully-integrated 5G NR mmWave and sub-6 GHz RF modules for smartphones and other mobile devices.” These are the QTM052 mmWave antenna module family and the QPM56xx sub-6 GHz radio frequency (RF) module, and they’ll pair with the company’s previously announced Snapdragon X50 5G modem — making next-gen phone networks a reality very soon.
If you recall, a bunch of major smartphone makers, including Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC and Xiaomi already said they’ll be working with Qualcomm, and most of them commited to delivering X50-powered phones by the first half of 2019. Those devices will likely use the new antenna and RF modules announced today. Qualcomm told Engadget it has already shipped samples out to its device partners, and will be working with them to figure out the best placement to minimize signal interference due to hand blocking.
According to the company’s statement, “a working mobile mmWave solution … was previously thought unattainable.” Now, however, Qualcomm said it is “ready for large scale commercialization,” which means we are that much closer to seeing 5G devices in the real world soon.