Survey: 22% of U.S. Adults Share TV/Movie Streaming Service Expenses With Parents

New data shows a little over one-fifth (22%) of U.S. adults over 18 still share TV/movie streaming service expenses with their parents.

A third (34%) share their parents’ cell phone plan, with more than half (53%) of younger adults ages 18-44 doing so, according to a WhistleOut survey of more than 1,000 adults over 18.

These adults aren’t all free-loaders. In fact, data shows the majority of them (72%) are helping to pay at least in part for the monthly phone bill, and are financially independent of their parents for a majority of their expenses (73%).

Overall, around 54% of adults over 18 in the survey still share common tech expenses with their parents, including phone plans (30%), home internet/WiFi (28%), cable TV (18%), streaming devices (17%), smart home devices (11%) and gaming subscriptions (10%).

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About a third (30%) of Americans think it’s reasonable for adults to stay on their parents’ phone plan as long as their parents will let them, while 22% say it’s only reasonable as long as adults still live with their parents. Still, 21% say adults should get their own cell phone plans as soon as they become adults.

Future Today: Streaming Video a Family Affair

The proliferation of streaming video services and devices linking the internet to the television is bringing the American family back together on the couch, according to new data from Future Today.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based research firm contends that 94% of parents have upped their time streaming video together with family members in 2021. That data also underscores a prime marketing opportunity for advertisers, according to Vikrant Mathur, co-founder of Future Today.

“There is a misperception that the explosion in screens has created siloed TV viewing, with families watching from different devices and rooms,” Mathur said in a statement. “In reality, parents with younger children, in particular, are co-viewing more than ever. Co-viewing experiences help these families connect, while also allowing parents to more closely monitor media consumption for their children.”

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The analyst cited data that suggests ad-supported VOD viewership and connected televisions (CTV) are projected to represent 60% of all over-the-top video consumption by the end of the year.

“With co-viewing of streaming content more prominent, CTV and OTT can dramatically enhance campaign value for marketers, helping them reach the entire home on the largest screen,” Mathur said.

DEG’s EnTech Fest Features New Tech — and the Traditional Industry Reception — in L.A.

The DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group’s new event EnTech Fest 2022, held May 3-4 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, combined the old and the new.

The event replaced, and expanded upon, the annual DEG reception at CES, which was not held this year for the first time in the group’s 25-year history. It also showcased new content distribution and display technology and an in-car entertainment gallery.

The DEG reception took place the evening of May 3 and was attended by a crowd of industry members eager to greet each other in person after pandemic restrictions.

The following day, May 4, EnTech featured an exhibitor space with new tech from piracy protection to data analytics to 3D imaging and translation solutions.

Among the exhibitors:

  • Intel showcased its groundbreaking 8K broadcast technology used for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
  • Blu Digital Group showcased its cloud-based solutions for digital workflows as well as end-to-end services such as mastering, localization, quality control, packaging and delivery.
  • Ctrolmovie highlighted its choose-your-own-adventure interactive content technology. The company has a deal with Paramount for up to 10 films, according to a representative.
  • DeepMedia showcased its dubbing technology that is AI-powered and can make speakers sound like themselves despite being dubbed in different languages.
  • Looper Insights touted its service that helps content owners track how effectively their IP is getting to the consumer.
  • Premiere Digital showcased its capability in providing media services, distribution and SaaS tools to simplify supply chain and technical operations.
  • Whip Media showcased its suite of solutions that connect and scale data, processes and teams across licensing, content planning and financial operations. The company also highlighted CMV Insights, a content intelligence solution powered by a large panel of TV and film enthusiasts. CMV Insights continuously captures viewing intent, engagement and affinity data for content.
  • Synamedia touted its security offerings, as well as data analysis solutions.
  • EnTech Fest also featured an in-car demonstration area in which, among other exhibitors, Dolby demonstrated the extension of Dolby Atmos immersive audio to the car.

Streaming Facing Headwinds, Say Speakers at DEG’s EnTech Fest

The boom in streaming is hitting some headwinds, according to speakers at a May 4 research presentation during DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group’s EnTech Fest 2022 at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles.

“SVOD was really the winner of the pandemic period,” said the NPD’s Elizabeth Lafontaine. In-home entertainment “drove the entertainment industry over the past few years,” she noted.

“As we’ve gotten into 2022 many of these industries have started to soften, as experiences come back online,” she said.

Consumers are getting out and going to theme parks, traveling, seeing live shows, etc. — spending more on experiential entertainment. Experiential spending has returned to about 95% of what it was during the pre-pandemic period, she said.

“Experiential offerings are typically much more expensive, so it is going to eat into some of the other entertainment demand,” she noted.

As they get out, consumers are not engaging as much with SVOD, but “we’re still seeing engagement levels higher than the pre-pandemic period,” she said.

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Consumers reported spending on about four SVOD services (3.9 on average) in October 2021, which is down about one service from that time in 2020 (5.2). “But we’re still above that pre-pandemic period,” she said.

For streaming companies, the question is how to be one of those four services consumers choose.

In the past year, services increasingly turned to original programming, especially with licensed content being clawed back by studios’ direct-to-consumer services. In 2021, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu saw lower inventory throughout the year as this licensed content was pulled. But in response Netflix, for instance, by the end of 2021 grew original movie offerings by 22% and original series by 24%.

“Netflix has committed to spending about $17 billion annually on original content,” she said.

Also, with increased competition in the space for consumers’ time and money, “bundling and ad-supported is giving subscribers who may not have subscribed before a new point of entry to these services,” she said.

Another way consumers are economizing on subscriptions is through churn, noted Deloitte’s Kevin Downs. A recent Deloitte survey found the U.S. paid streaming service churn rate averaged 37%. “It’s high,” he said.

The churn rate was even higher among Gen Z and Millennials, with more than half of those respondents either canceling or canceling and adding paid services in the past six months. While access to original content (39%) and a broad range of content (38%) were the top two reasons U.S. consumers said they were subscribing to paid SVOD services, U.S. subscribers said they’re canceling paid SVOD services due to cost (41%), price increases (30%) and lack of new content (30%).

A majority (60%) of consumers would prefer to have reduced cost, ad-supported options, Downs noted.

Significant majorities of consumers also said they were frustrated with finding content and having to subscribe to so many services to find it.

In addition to cost and content concerns, services also have to compete with time spent on video games — a pursuit younger generations in particular may find more appealing than watching TV or movie content, he said.

Whip Media’s Vince Muscarella and Kortney Kesses noted that, aware of the appeal of games, streaming services are targeting gaming fans by creating content from game franchise IP.

They pointed out that “The Last of Us,” a series based on the game scheduled for HBO Max sometime in 2023, is already gaining some traction among fans, reaching 16,000 interested followers on their tracking service well ahead of other big titles this far ahead of release.

“It’s probably going to be HBO Max’s biggest release to date,” said Muscarella, who admitted he is one of those eager fans.

“Other companies are going to start paying attention to video game IP for content,” he said.

Home Video Veteran Len Levy Dies at 97

Len Levy, a veteran of the home video industry since the early days of VHS, died March 14, 2022 of a heart attack. He was 97. Levy is survived by a cousin, Dave Fogel of Chicago.

Levy  was born on Jan. 10, 1925, to Jean and Sol Levy in Rochester, New York. His maternal grandfather, Samuel Hoffman, owned a record store, where he learned about music, composers, and performers. Levy graduated from Ohio State University, though his education was interrupted by 18
months’ service in the South Pacific.

After college, while working in his grandfather’s store, Levy began booking talent for a nearby supper club. That led to his meeting various New York City agents and managers. He soon joined the local distributorship of Coral Records, a subsidiary of Decca Records, as sales manager. In January 1955 he became office manager with Coral in New York. He then became national sales manager for Top Rank Records.

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In 1961, Levy joined Epic Records, a subsidiary of Columbia Records, as sales
manager. He signed singer Bobby Vinton, whose first Epic single was the multimillion seller “Roses Are Red.” Through his connections in Britain at EMI, Levy signed Lulu, Cliff Richards, Donovan, The Yardbirds, and
the Dave Clark Five to Epic. He opened an office for Epic in Nashville and discovered and guided the careers of Tammy Wynette and Charlie Rich, among others, and was voted into Who’s Who in County Music. He ultimately rose to SVP and GM at Epic.

Levy later served as president of Chess Records of Chicago before being approached in 1976 by The Wherehouse to head up the national record store chain’s new Video Division. In the early 1980s, Levy became marketing manager of Family Home Entertainment, where he acquired home
video rights to the Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Inspector Gadget, and other familiar family brands, building FHE into the second-biggest children’s video company, behind the Walt Disney Co.

Levy created several well-regarded labels under the FHE leadership, including International Video Entertainment (IVE) and Thriller Video. The latter featured Elvira hosting films from the Hammer House of Horror. IVE’s releases included On Golden Pond, Hoosiers, 1984, Bolero, Angel Heart, First Blood and Supergirl.

In 1987, Levy headed a new division of Fries Entertainment: Fries Home Video. He acquired new episodes of the “Care Bears,” “Shari Lewis & Lambchop,” and an eclectic collection of programming including Follies In Concert, the indie film hit Wish You Were Here, Troop Beverly Hills and Flowers in the Attic.

In 1998, Levy formed Pro-Active Entertainment Group in Rancho Mirage, Calif., providing sales and marketing advice to independent producers. The firm closed in 2007.

He married Florence (“Flo”) on May 24, 1960. Flo died of lung cancer on Feb. 17, 2016, in Rancho Mirage.

Len and Flo Levy (photo courtesy BJ Markel).

IMDb Bows ‘What to Watch’ Streaming App

Amazon-owned IMDb May 5 announced the launch of a free IMDb What to Watch app for the ecommerce behemoth’s Fire TV streaming device.

The app offers a series of interactive games to help families, friends, or those playing individually discover and decide what to stream. Available to Fire TV devices in the U.S., users receive customized movie and TV series recommendations across multiple streaming services tailored to their current moods and interests.

“Hundreds of millions of customers rely on IMDb when deciding what and where to watch,” Nikki Santoro, IMDb chief operating officer, said in a statement. “The app makes it easy, fun, and fast for customers to discover trending titles and hidden gems, find the perfect movie or TV series to fit any mood, and get the most out of their streaming services on Fire TV.”

Using proprietary and authoritative IMDb data, the app suggests a selection of movie and/or series picks with key details for each title, including genre, trailer, and plot summary. For those looking for input from other entertainment fans, recommended titles also display IMDb user ratings for movies and TV shows, which help customers make informed viewing decisions.

By enabling the “Your Services” feature, users can customize the app settings to prioritize titles available from their preferred streaming services. Every pick also displays the runtime, so viewers can plan their couch time accordingly. Once a viewing decision has been made, customers will be shown where they can stream the title.

The following games are available to play now on the app via the Fire TV Alexa voice remote:

  • Quick Draw: For players who enjoy the element of chance, virtual “playing cards” shuffle through movie and series options, revealing a trio of picks in seconds. Players can click “deal cards” for a fresh set of picks.
  • Watch Challenge: Players are invited to watch, rate, and collect digital stamps as they view curated IMDb lists of titles, including the IMDb Top 250 movies list, award-winning titles, and popular franchises. Themed lists will be updated frequently.
  • This or That: Players will answer a series of simple “This or That?” questions to find the perfect movie or TV series to suit their mood, whether they are seeking an epic romance, a G-rated family title, a supernatural horror film, or a slapstick comedy. Players can refresh choices, including desired viewing time, before their picks are revealed.

 

IMDb will continue to launch new games on the app, including “Build-a-Cast” and “Time Machine.”

The app is available now to download for free from the Fire TV Appstore. Users who sign into their IMDb accounts on the app will receive updates on new features and games, can sync their personal ratings across IMDb and the app.

AMC Networks Streaming Services Added 500,000 Subs in Q1

AMC Networks, whose streaming services include British-themed Acorn TV, AMC+, horror-based Shudder, Sundance Now, ALLBLK, and anime focused HIDIVE, said its direct-to-consumer platforms added a combined 500,000 subscribers in the first quarter ended March 31.

The platforms ended the quarter with 9.5 million subs. AMC says the D2C unit remains on track to achieve long-term subscriber goal of 20 million to 25 million streaming subs by 2025.

Acorn TV and ALLBLK (formerly Urban Movie Channel) were acquired through AMC’s 2018 acquisition of home entertainment distributor RLJ Entertainment.

In the quarter, AMC launched several free ad-supported streaming TV channels, including AMC en Español, ALLBLK Gems, HIDIVE x ANIME, Shorts, Cortos, and OVERTIME.

“We continue to advance our differentiated strategy of offering streaming services that appeal to audiences with distinct affinities and passions, which is leading to strong consumer loyalty and low churn,” Interim CEO Matt Blank said in a statement.

In the quarter, AMC greenlit AMC+ and AMC original series “The Walking Dead Universe’s Isle of the Dead,” starring Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan’ “Straight Man,” starring Bob Odenkirk’ “The Driver,” starring Giancarlo Esposito, and “Orphan Black: Echoes.”

The company reinvented IFC Films’ Pay-1 window to offer exclusive movies on AMC+, every Friday, beginning May 6. It also launched the AMC+ streaming bundle in India on Apple TV Channels. The bundle includes The Walking Dead Experience, Shudder, Sundance Now and IFC Films Unlimited.

Separately, AMC’s “international and other” business segment, which includes RLJ Entertainment, saw revenue decline 9% to $110 million from $120.8 million in the previous-year period.

‘Yellowjackets’ Season 1 Due on DVD July 19

Showtime, CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment will release Yellowjackets: Season One on DVD July 19.

“Yellowjackets” tells the story of a team of talented high school girls soccer players who survive a plane crash deep in the remote northern wilderness, chronicling their descent from teammates to savage clans while also tracking their lives 25 years later.

The cast includes Melanie Lynskey, Tawny Cypress, Christina Ricci, Juliette Lewis, Warren Kole, Ella Purnell, Samantha Hanratty, Sophie Thatcher, Sophie Nélisse, Steven Krueger and Jasmin Savoy Brown.

The four-disc set includes all 10 episodes plus two exclusive behind-the-scenes featurettes: “Yellowjackets: The Female Lens,” with interviews from the cast and creators; and “Yellowjackets: Favorite Moments,” in with the cast and crew reflect on impactful scenes throughout the season.

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Shareholder Sues Netflix Over Sub Loss, Stock Valuation Freefall

A San Antonio, Texas-based investor has filed a lawsuit against Netflix, claiming the SVOD behemoth mislead investors about the extent of its subscriber woes. The streamer last month disclosed it lost 200,000 subscribers worldwide in the first quarter, ended March 31. Netflix is also projecting a loss of 2 million subs in the current second quarter, ending June 30, due largely to the shutdown of operations in Russia.

Netflix had projected a Q1 subscriber gain of 2.5 million.

The suit (Pirani v. Netflix, No. 22-cv-02672), filed in U.S. District Court, San Francisco, alleges co-CEOs Reed Hastings, Ted Sarandos, and CFO Spencer Neumann, didn’t disclose to investors the extent of the service’s subscriber churn.

Fallout from the subscriber loss has been swift, with Netflix losing more than $50 billion in market valuation. The suit seeks unspecified damages for Netflix shareholders of record from Oct. 19, 2021, to April 19, 2022.

Netflix, which doesn’t comment on pending litigation, was not available for immediate comment.

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‘The Batman,’ ‘Moon Knight’ Again Top Weekly Whip Media Streaming Charts

HBO Max’s The Batman again led the Whip Media chart of top streaming movies while Disney+’s “Moon Knight” again led the chart of top streaming originals among U.S. consumers the week ended May 1.

The Batman, in its second week atop the streaming movies chart, is a DC Comics-based superhero film starring Robert Pattinson as the caped crusader. In the film, more than a year of stalking the streets, striking fear into the hearts of criminals, Batman travels deep into the shadows of Gotham City. 

“Moon Knight,” which started streaming in weekly episodes March 30, is based on the Marvel Comics. The series stars Oscar Isaac as a mild-mannered gift shop employee who finds he’s been given the powers of an Egyptian moon god.

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TV Time, a Whip Media company, is a free TV and movie viewership tracking app with 21 million global users. The streaming originals chart rankings are determined by streaming original TV series with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app. The movie rankings are determined streaming movies with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app.

Landing at No. 2 on the streaming originals chart was “Ozark.” Part two of season four started streaming on Netflix April 29. The crime drama follows the exploits of a money laundering couple.

Remaining at No. 3 on the streaming originals chart was “The Flight Attendant,” season two of which started streaming in weekly segments on HBO Max April 21. The series follows an alcoholic flight attendant (Kaley Cuoco) who gets involved in international espionage.

Landing at No. 2 on the streaming movies chart was 365 Days: This Day, which started streaming on Netflix April 27. The erotic thriller sequel to 365 Days (which landed at No. 10 on the chart) follows the continuing story of a mafia lord who kidnaps a woman to make her fall in love with him.

Coming in at No. 3 on the streaming movies chart was Crush, which debuted on Hulu April 29. It’s a coming-of-age story about a teen girl who joins the high school track team to get closer to her crush.

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Top Streaming Originals Among U.S. Consumers for the Week Ended May 1:

  1. “Moon Knight” — Disney+
  2. “Ozark” — Netflix
  3. “The Flight Attendant” — HBO Max
  4. “Russian Doll” — Netflix
  5. “Grace and Frankie” — Netflix
  6. “Selling Sunset” — Netflix
  7. “Halo” — Paramount+
  8. “Heartstopper” — Netflix
  9. “Star Trek: Picard” — Paramount+
  10. “Outer Range” — Prime Video

 

Top Streaming Movies Among U.S. Consumers April 29-May 1:

  1. The Batman — HBO Max
  2. 365 Days: This Day — Netflix
  3. Crush — Hulu
  4. The Adam Project — Netflix
  5. Turning Red — Disney+
  6. Death on the Nile — HBO Max/Hulu
  7. Bubble — Netflix
  8. X-Men: Days of Future Past — Disney+
  9. Encanto — Disney+
  10. 365 Days — Netflix