Where does CNN Max sit in the Warner Bros. pantheon alongside (HBO) Max and other platforms and associated brands? Daniel Trotta, Product Manager, Content Engagement & Monetization, Warner Bros Discovery, lays out the initial strategic vision in this exchange with Evan Shapiro, CEO, ESHAP, in this Streaming Media Connect 2023 clip.
Shapiro mentions that in its change from HBO Max to “Max,” the platform appears to be leaning into lower-priced ad tiers to draw more users and grow ARPU (Average Revenue Per User). He asks Trotta if the recent addition of CNN Max is a way to introduce “a kind of new different live version of that big global product to the service, a way of keeping your consumers at home before they want to leave the farm?”
Trotta says, “CNN Max will be gated behind the paywall, so you will have to be a Max subscriber to access it, but it lets us hit new day parts, essentially [with] HBO, you’re coming for prime time on Sunday, but are you coming back Monday morning [and] evening to watch [CNN] programming? It allows us to broaden out what we can be to users.” He says that earlier in the session, when Jennifer Vaux, VP, Content Acquisition & Programming, Roku Media, discussed launching Weird: The Al Yankovic Story on Roku, “I started thinking about how a subscription AVOD and SVOD play together when you’re creating content. And there’s an interesting conundrum where they want to do the same thing, but maybe slightly differently, because when Jen’s launching Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, Roku wants as many viewing hours as possible that can be monetized, and that’s how you get your ARPU on something like Max. It has to be an acquisition or retention driver, either getting people in the door or convincing them to stay another month. And then when you add the AVOD tier, you’re talking about how [to] monetize it. So, ultimately, does Netflix, Disney, and all these other premium SVOD services having an AVOD tier impact how they green light and renew content? [That’s] something I have my eye on big time.”
Shapiro says, “So you’re letting the data drive a lot of the decisions, or at least the consumer behavior, [getting] more involved at an earlier stage to understand how the programming decisions are made. Owning your own platform allows you to do that. You have access to your own first-party data.” He highlights a recent Nielsen announcement that they will cover Amazon‘s first-party data from their platform for livestream Thursday night football games. “And there was a major difference in measurement between Amazon’s reading and Nielsen’s reading last season,” he says. “That’s a good indication for things like the NBA or CNN on Max. You’ll be able to get a more accurate read of the audiences themselves.”
Learn more about a wide range of streaming industry topics at the next Streaming Media Connect in November 2023.
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