By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
Mary Ellen Coe, chief business officer for YouTube, recently sat down with Dade Hayes of Deadline to discuss the company’s first year of carrying the NFL Sunday Ticket. While Coe often engaged in corporate-speak to deflect pointed questions about the Ticket’s progress, the interview still provided some interesting nuggets regarding what’s planned for the remainder of the season. (The NFL’s 18-week season is now in week 4.) For instance:
* Coe said Sunday Ticket subscriptions have “exceeded expectations,” but the YouTube executive did not reveal any current subscriber numbers or what those ‘expectations’ were prior to the season. “In terms of subscriber momentum, it’s exceeding our expectations,” she said. “So, we feel great about the subscriber trajectory. And then we had a lot of partnerships with third-party partners like Verizon, Comcast and FanDuel. So, we’re actually feeling really bullish about how it’s trending, but we’re not out of the sign-up window.”
* Coe said discounted Ticket plans are possible later in the season. DIRECTV, which had the Ticket as an exclusive for its first 28 seasons, would typically reduce the price at various points during the year, such as the midway point. “That’s something that’s in the mix. Ultimately, we want to make sure that pricing is relative to what the user-value proposition is.”
* Coe confirmed our report that allowing subscribers to choose which games are in the four-screen Multiview is still a technical challenge. (YouTube now chooses which games are in each four-screen Multiview. Many fans have asked for the option to do the choosing.) “That is a very hard thing to do technically. Put it this way, the feedback is, we hear you loud and clear. We have a seven-year relationship and will be looking to innovate in the future,” she said.
* Coe denied the league or the networks decide which games are in the Multiview. She said Google uses internal data based on viewing habits to make the picks.
* Coe reiterated the company’s position that it’s cheaper to get the Sunday Ticket via YouTube than it was on DIRECTV. (See our article here.) “The media covered the pricing on Sunday Ticket, and nobody reported on the all-in cost of a two-year contract, a dish and Sunday Ticket on top of that. You know, I think the saving to the user is 45 percent reduction in price, signing up with YouTube TV,” she said.
You can read more of Deadline’s interview with Coe here.
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— Phillip Swann