Streaming Video Becoming New Normal, Especially for NFL Fans

The time people spent streaming video continues to climb — up 53% in the quarter (ended Sept. 30) as consumers embrace on-demand videos (63% of all streaming viewing is on demand) on their TVs, PCs and mobile devices, according to new data from Conviva.

“Streaming is quickly becoming the new normal,” Bill Demas, CEO of Conviva, said in a statement. “This is an industry undergoing massive growth, and what happens in the next 18 months will shape what, how and when we watch content in the future.”

Report data was primarily collected from Conviva’s proprietary sensor technology currently embedded in three billion streaming video applications, measuring in excess of a 100 billion streams per year and a trillion real-time transactions per day across more than 180 countries.

Conviva attributed the increase in streaming video consumption due in part to reduced video start failures (down 10%), 6% faster start times, 33% less buffering and the picture quality (bitrate) is 3% better.

PCs saw the most consistent quality improvements year over year with 17% fewer video start failures, 23% faster video start times and 26% less buffering. Mobile saw big improvements in reducing buffering — down 34% year over year — but video start times were only down 4% and video start failures were down only 2%.

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Meanwhile, improvements in overall video quality did not extend to streaming ads. According to the data, 39.6% of all streaming ad attempts failed in the quarter. In addition, ads were plagued by delays including long start times and buffering including instances where it took up to 16.1 seconds for an ad to start and viewers had to endure up to 45.9% of ad buffering.

As a result, roughly 9% to 20% of viewers drop off each time an ad is run. For sports, the largest impact is at the very first ad where 18% of viewers drop, but subsequent ads have less effect.

The fourth ad in a stream triggers the biggest drop as 20% of news viewers, 17% of drama/comedy viewers, and 16% of reality TV viewers stop watching. Overall, 54% of the audience stopped viewing after four ads.

NFL Streaming Skyrockets

NFL viewers continued their mass migration to streaming, with a 77% increase in streaming plays and a 50% increase in time spent streaming compared with Q3 2018. Much of the NFL’s streaming growth occurred on mobile devices, which grew 109% in plays year over year, and TV, which grew 66%. Notably, NFL streaming plays on PCs went down 11% in Q3.

While mobile NFL viewing is up, the minutes per play remains small (8 minutes), inferring that fans are streaming NFL on their phones to check in on their favorite teams versus to watch games in their entirety. Those fans streaming the NFL via TV or PC watched for an average of 24 and 22 minutes, respectively.

NFL fans are also embracing streaming videos on social media, but their appetite varies by team and platform.

Miami Dolphins fans watch more of their franchise’s videos than any other team on Facebook (168% above average) closely followed by Kansas City Chiefs fans (157% above average). New York Giants fans would rather watch videos posted by their franchise on YouTube (211% above average) and New England Patriots fans are loyal to watching team videos on Instagram (227% above average).

The connected TV category once again led all other devices in growth, up 58% in viewing hours year over year compared to PCs (up 36%) and mobile (up 33%).

While Roku maintained the top position by ending the quarter with solid 44% of market share, its growth rate for viewing time (73%) was slightly lower than Amazon Fire TV (78%). Amazon Fire TV closed the quarter with 20% of market share, followed by Apple TV with 9%.

Roku also improved its quality over the past year and now delivers the lowest rate of video start failures at 0.18%, down 52% from the previous-year 2018, and nearly three times as much improvement as Amazon Fire TV which dropped 17% to 0.37%.

Xbox again has the least buffering at a mere 0.15%, while Apple TV is the most improved with buffering down 40%. Once again Apple TV has the fastest video start time at 2.6 seconds and highest picture quality at 6.8 Mbps on average.

Year-over-year comparisons were normalized at the customer level for accurate representations of industry growth. The advertising data included in the report is based on an analysis of nearly 10 billion ad attempts in Q3. The social media data included in the report is based on an analysis of more than 100,000 social posts and 2.5 billion social video views across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

LGBTQ Coming-of-Age Drama ‘The Experience’ Due on VOD, EST and DVD Nov. 5 From Random

The LGBTQ coming-of-age drama The Experience will arrive on VOD, EST and DVD Nov. 5 from Random Media.

The film stars Allison Kove (Rotten), Ava Capri (Little Rituals) Shawn Christian (“Days of Our Lives”), Lou Ferrigno Jr. (“S.W.A.T”), Sabina Gadecki (“Entourage”), Brigitte Nielsen (Beverly Hills Cop II) and Gordon Thomson (“Dynasty”).

Set against the unique backdrop of a tough love wilderness program for the wayward children of the elite upper class, The Experience examines the life of Scarlet (Kove), a teenage girl whose ongoing behavior — partying, piercings and suicide attempts — has landed her at the Hills of Heaven wilderness camp, where she begrudgingly hauls a 40-pound backpack in the sweltering heat of an arid, hilly back country. When a mysterious girl named Dillion (Capri) arrives at camp, Scarlet begins to open up and maybe even fall in love. However, just when the girls are making a meaningful connection, they are forced to reconcile their reality in ways they cannot begin to fathom and question the very fabric of their own existence.

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The Experience is a powerful and offbeat coming-of-age story that has every emotion conjured for our teenage lead characters,” said writer-director Katerina Gorshkov in a statement. “We are particularly excited to have powerhouse Brigitte Nielson cast in the film, as her role is not her usual action-thriller villain.”

Report: Walmart Looking Into Sale of Vudu

As the industry prepares for the impending launch of SVOD services Disney+ and Apple TV+ next month, Walmart is looking into selling its 15-year old Vudu on-demand video service, according to sources.

According to a report from The Information, citing people familiar with the situation, the retailer has concluded that it would have to make a substantial investment in Vudu to compete. It might make more sense to partner with media companies to offer content to customers, and the retailer has decided the on-demand service isn’t part of its core business, according to the anonymous sources in the report.

Vudu, which began as a company making set-top boxes in 2004, evolved into a video delivery service and was sold to Walmart in 2010. It rents and sells digital movies and TV shows (EST).

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“Over the last nine years, we’ve built Vudu into an incredibly strong and growing business with an installed base of more than 100 million devices across America,” a Walmart spokesman wrote The Information. “We’re constantly having and [are] open to conversations with new and existing partners to explore opportunities for continued growth; however, we never share details of those discussions.”

Vudu is one of eight retail partners in the Movies Anywhere library collection service. The others are iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, FandangoNow, Xfinity and Verizon, which just joined the service about a month ago.

Chinese Thriller ‘Savage’ Coming to Blu-ray and Digital Dec. 3 From Well Go

The Chinese action-thriller Savage will debut on Blu-ray combo pack and digital Dec. 3 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

The heist thriller set on a remote mountain in northeastern China follows a dogged detective as he squares off against a trio of violent crooks.  Buried by treacherous conditions at the top of Mt. Baekdu, the policeman must brave the extreme conditions until he’s relieved from his post. When a group of thieves stumbles into the station in search of safe shelter, the night turns into a fight for survival as the two sides must put aside their differences to outlast the night.

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Winner of the “New Currents Award” for Best Film at the 2018 Busan International Film Festival, Savage stars Chang Chen (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Ni Ni (The Thousand Faces of Dunjia), Liao Fan (Let the Bullets Fly), Huang Jue (Long Day’s Journey Into Night), Liu Hua (The Monkey King), newcomer Zhang Yicong and Li Guangjie (Drug War). It is the directorial debut of  writer-director Cui Siwei (The Island).

Shudder Renews ‘Creepshow’

Shudder — AMC Networks’ SVOD service for horror, thriller and supernatural content — has renewed its horror anthology series “Creepshow” for a second season.

Executive produced by showrunner Greg Nicotero (​“The Walking Dead”), “Creepshow” is based on the iconic 1982 movie written by Stephen King and directed by George A. Romero and is Shudder’s first hour-long scripted series. More than 50% of Shudder members watched at least one episode of the series, and the show has also helped drive record growth, according to the streaming service.

“‘Creepshow’ has met every expectation we had for Shudder’s first original scripted series and then some, with record numbers across the board,” Shudder GM Craig Engler said in a statement. “Greg Nicotero and his team delivered an amazing show that’s unlike anything else on TV and we’re thrilled and delighted to bring it back for another season.”

“For me, ‘Creepshow’ has been a true labor of love,” Nicotero said in a statement. “To be able to pay tribute to George A. Romero’s visionary project and have the show so embraced by fans everywhere is humbling to this horror kid from Pittsburgh. I couldn’t be more pleased and look forward to continuing the series with more ghoulish delight.”

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“Working with Greg Nicotero and Shudder on ‘Creepshow’ has been a dream come true,” Stan Spry, executive producer for the series and CEO of the Cartel, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to carry on the ‘Creepshow’ legacy with season two.”

The season one finale airs Oct. 31, both on demand and on the Shudder TV live-stream at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Season one of ‘Creepshow’ stars David Arquette (“​Scream” franchise), Adrienne Barbeau (​The Fog), Tobin Bell (​Saw), Big Boi (​“​Scream: The TV Series”), Jeffrey Combs (​“​Star Trek,” Re-Animator), Kid Cudi (​Drunk Parents), Bruce Davison (​X-Men), Giancarlo Esposito (“Better Call Saul”), Dana Gould (​“​Stan Against Evil”), Tricia Helfer (“​Battlestar Galactica”) and DJ Qualls (“Supernatural”), and features adaptations of stories by Stephen King, Joe Hill, Joe R. Lansdale, Josh Malerman and others.

Nicotero’s Oscar, BAFTA and Emmy award-winning make-up Effects studio KNB EFX Group will again serve as creature creators.

Plans for the Shudder service start at $4.75 per month.

‘Lion King’ Rises Over Redbox Disc Rentals, ‘Stuber’ Remains On Demand No. 1

Disney’s The Lion King remake took over the No. 1 spot on the Redbox kiosk disc rental chart the week ended Oct. 27. The Redbox disc rental chart tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red kiosks.

The live-action-style version of the animated classic earned $543.2 million at the domestic box office.

Disney’s Toy Story 4, which was the top title the previous week, in its third week slipped back to No. 2, where it had debuted two weeks prior.

Stuber, from 20th Century Fox, slid to No. 3 on the disc rental chart but remained No. 1 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital transactions, including both electronic sellthrough and streaming rentals.

The No. 4 disc rental was Paramount’s Crawl, which was No. 3 on the On Demand chart.

Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Far From Home slid to No. 5 on the disc chart but rose to No. 2 on the digital chart.

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Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum stayed No. 8 on the rental chart and rose to No. 4 on the On Demand chart.

Warner’s Annabelle Comes Home slipped to No. 7 on the disc chart and No. 5 on the digital chart.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended Oct. 27:

  1. The Lion King — Disney
  2. Toy Story 4 — Disney
  3. Stuber — Fox
  4. Crawl — Paramount
  5. Spider-Man: Far From Home — Sony Pictures
  6. Aladdin (2019) — Disney
  7. Annabelle Comes Home — Warner
  8. John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum — Lionsgate
  9. Men In Black: International — Sony Pictures
  10. 3 From Hell — Lionsgate

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended Oct. 27:

  1. Stuber — Fox
  2. Spider-Man: Far From Home — Sony Pictures
  3. Crawl — Paramount
  4. John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum — Lionsgate
  5. Annabelle Comes Home — Warner
  6. Yesterday — Universal
  7. Men In Black: International — Sony Pictures
  8. The Secret Life of Pets 2 — Universal
  9. Ma — Universal
  10. The Hustle — MGM

DEG Europe Adds Google to Membership Base

The Digital Entertainment Group Europe (DEGE) Oct. 30 announced the addition of Google to its membership.

Supplying a vast catalog of movies and TV shows across its Google Play and YouTube platforms, Google joins the DEGE as the trade group works to support and enhance the home entertainment industry and drive consumer engagement with new and emerging technologies across an increasing number of international territories.

Against a backdrop of year-on-year growth in the digital film market, driven in part by collaborative activity spearheaded by the DEGE sister organization, the British Association for Screen Entertainment, Google joins incumbent members, including NBC Universal, Warner Brothers, 21st Century Fox, Paramount, Lionsgate, Dolby and Technicolor, among others.

Google becomes the first retail platform to take a seat on the DEGE board.

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Lisa Rousseau, head of TV and Film, EMEA, YouTube and Google Play, joins the board, having also hosted a DEGE panel on digital retail best practices at a Google/YouTube EMEA Movies event earlier in the year.

“We’ve found real value in engaging with the DEGE as it has effectively driven much of the cross-category conversation that needs to take place as the home entertainment market evolves and shapes itself around adapting consumer needs,” Rousseau said in a statement. “We look forward to working with colleagues on a global level to help shape the conversation going forward.”

Acting as a conduit for member organizations and partners to evidence market trends and best practice learnings, the DEGE also delivers a significant forum for debate and allows colleagues from across the industry to enjoy a vital through line to the Digital Entertainment Group and its members in the US. Google joins the DEGE as the digital transactional landscape is in sharp focus and following a 12 months that has seen real engagement from partners across France, Germany, the Nordic region, Italy and beyond.

Amy Jo Smith, president/CEO of the DEGE’s sister organization, The Digital Entertainment Group, lauded Google’s arrival.

“The local and global entertainment arena is in a bold state of evolution with direct-to consumer and subscription models presenting the industry with exciting opportunity,” Smith said in a statement. “The addition of a global giant like Google to the DEGE’s membership is an important moment in the positive management of that evolution and one that will encourage even more of the joined-up thinking that the DEGE has become known for across borders.”

WarnerMedia, Comcast’s Sky Extend Content Distribution Deal

HBO Max may be the future, but distribution across existing and competing platforms overseas is just as important.

WarnerMedia has extended a distribution agreement with Comcast-owned satellite TV operator Sky in Europe.

First established in 2010, the new agreement includes distribution through HBO of Warner Bros. movies, Cartoon Network and Boomerang episodic programming.

Content has included “Watchmen,” “Succession” and “Big Little Lies,” in addition to Sky originals such as “Patrick Melrose,” “Babylon Berlin” and “Gomorrah.”

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“Our partnership with HBO, and now Warner Media, has never been stronger as Sky continues to thrive as Europe’s leading direct-to-consumer media and entertainment business,” Gary Davey, CEO of Sky Studios, said in a statement. “Customers love our Sky original productions and together, Sky Studios and HBO Max will bring them more unique stories that you can’t find anywhere else.”

Sky and WarnerMedia also extended co-production deals with Sky Studios and HBO Max working together on original content.

Co-production Chernobyl garnered 10 Primetime Emmys, and latest co-production “Catherine the Great,” with Helen Mirren, received critical acclaim following its U.K. broadcast debut this month.

“We are thrilled to find new ways to deepen our longstanding relationship with Sky, and bring a fresh dimension to the great content we continue to bring to consumers,” said Jeffrey Schlesinger, president, Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution, in a statement.

‘Spider-Man’ Ups Sony Pictures Theatrical, Home Entertainment Q2 Revenue

Sony Pictures again pulled out its perennial ace card, Spider-Man, with predictable results.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Oct. 30 reported second-quarter (ended Sept. 30) revenue of $160 million, up $1 million from revenue of $159 million during the previous-year period. One of its biggest home video sellers was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which was released to retail March 19.

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Sony Pictures theatrical revenue topped $2.1 billion, a 31% increase from revenue of $1.6 billion driven largely by the webslinger.

Spider-Man: Far From Home led with $1.1 billion at the global box office since its July 2 debut, while Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood added $390 million. The Angry Birds Movie 2 contributed $125 million.

This compared with Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation ($516 million); The Equalizer 2 ($187 million); Slender Man ($52 million) and Searching with $65 million in the previous-year period.

Merchandising: Promotions for Halloween

Without much in the way of major new releases for Oct. 29, retailers promoted discounted pricing on a number of Halloween-themed titles.

For example, Target had Hocus Pocus DVDs and “Stranger Things” Blu-rays for $5 each, a Paw Patrol: Halloween Heroes DVD for $8, and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Blu-ray for $10.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a 1966 animated television special based on the comic strip “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schulz.

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Best Buy is taking preorders for the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook of Lionsgate’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark for $29.99, for release Nov. 5.

Best Buy’s ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ Steelbook