Netflix No. 2 TV Group in Europe in Revenue

The Netflix star just gets brighter. New data from Ampere Analysis reveals that the SVOD behemoth became the second largest TV group in Europe by revenue in 2020. Comcast, through its acquisition of satellite TV operator Sky, is the Euro leader with 12% market share compared to Netflix’s 6.1%.

“Since launching in 2012, Netflix has grown rapidly in Europe,” analyst Tony Maroulis said in a statement.

Indeed, by 2016, Netflix had launched its services across much of Europe and surpassed $1 billion in revenue. By 2017, it had the largest customer tally of any subscription TV business in Europe. And by 2020, Netflix had overtaken German public broadcaster ARD.

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It would seem that there is no limit to Netflix’s meteoric rise as the streamer continues outsized foreign growth, and helps itself to a greater portion of the audio-visual revenue.

“While Netflix has enjoyed success across the continent, local broadcasters are facing increased pressure,” said Maroulis. “The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the TV advertising market into decline, compounding and accelerating the woes of traditional and established brands. And while Netflix’s pockets are getting deeper, local entities are struggling to compete.”

Ampere contends that over the next few years, Netflix alone is set to be better funded than many leading commercial broadcasters, and its scale means that it is able to produce quantities of high-quality content that most of its local competitors cannot match.

“This global vs. local imbalance will further accelerate the online viewing shift, which is now beginning to shift to older demographics as well as young,” Maroulis said.

The Indian Connection: U.S. Streamers ‘Full Go’ Targeting Second Most-Populous Country

With China effectively shutting the door to U.S. streaming services looking to launch operations in the erstwhile communist country, companies such as Netflix, Amazon and Disney are aggressively targeting India to jumpstart subscriber growth.

With 1.4 billion people, including 1.1 billion on portable media devices such as smartphones, India is fertile ground for SVOD platforms looking for growth to justify multi-billion dollar infrastructure/content investments and the future of their movie/TV program distribution.

In 2020, there were about 60 platforms operating in India, with YouTube, Disney+Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Facebook representing 85% market share, according to Media Partners Asia. The country’s OTT video market is projected to grow 26% annually, reaching $4.5 billion in revenue by 2025.

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“Subscription based online video services benefited significantly in 2020 as the country went into the lockdown,” MPA executive Mihir Shah said in a statement.

Assisting sub growth is a massive market of affordable smartphones, inexpensive data plans and limited government regulation on foreign content streaming within its borders. The latter could be changing as the government’s ministry of information and broadcasting recently granted itself for the first time jurisdiction over streaming video content.

The Indian SVOD market will remain competitive as Disney+Hotstar continues to scale its business, while Netflix and Prime Video deepen partnerships with mobile and fixed broadband operators, according to Shah.

“Local premium content and sports rights will help broadcaster-backed platforms gain share,” Shah said. “Increased reach and engagement with rural millennials will improve monetization for short-form video platforms.

Indeed, Disney, through its acquisition of 20th Century Fox, inherited Hotstar, the Indian video service streaming movies and shows in 8 Indian languages. The upside to Disney+ has been immediate. The service topped 88 million subscribers last month, with 30% of that growth originating in India via the rebranded Hotstar service.

Netflix’s first original Indian drama, “Sacred Games.”

In 2018, Netflix co-founder/co-CEO Reed Hastings said the SVOD pioneer was shooting for 100 million Indian subs — driven in part by a mobile-only plan priced at 199 rupees ($2.72) per month. Disney+Hotstar has a similarly priced plan. Netflix reportedly spent about $400 million on Indian content in 2019 and 2020 — enjoying global success with original dramas “Sacred Games,” and “Delhi Crime,” among others.

“In the U.S., people pay $50 for mobile phone access,” Hastings told a leadership summit in New Dehli in 2019. “Pricing is very low here, and the market is very large. That’s why our 199 rupees a month pricing is very competitive.”

Amazon Jan. 13 launched a new $1.20 monthly mobile-only video streaming plan — the cheapest among U.S. services operating in India. The service is through a partnership with wireless carrier Bharti Airtel, offering prepaid subs video streaming for 89 rupees ($1.20) a month after a 30-day free trial. The offer also includes 6 gigabytes of data. Airtel has about 300 million subscribers.

Amazon reportedly is eyeing securing Indian Premier League cricket in the future, with Disney+Hotstar’s carriage rights ending in 2023.

“India is one of our fastest growing territories in the world with very high engagement rates,” Jay Marine, VP of Prime Video Worldwide, said in a statement. “Buoyed by this response, we want to double-down by offering our entertainment content to an even larger base of Indian customers.”

Amazon Bows $1.20 Mobile Video Streaming Plan in India

With 1.33 billion people, India is the second-largest country in the world by population after China. Amazon Jan. 13 launched a new $1.20 monthly mobile-only video streaming plan targeting the country’s 1.1 billion cellphone users.

The service is through a partnership with wireless carrier Bharti Airtel, offering prepaid subs video streaming for 89 rupees ($1.20) a month after a 30-day free trial. The offer also includes 6 gigabytes of data. Airtel has about 300 million subscribers.

“We want to democratize the access to content and through this unique offering reach hundreds of millions of users,” Gaurav Gandhi, director and India head for Amazon Prime Video, told Bloomberg.

Gandhi said that about 85% of Internet access in India is done through mobile devices with 90% of all mobile subs using prepaid plans. Netflix India currently offers a mobile-only plan for 199 rupees ($2.72) while Disney+Hotstar offers basic service for 99 rupees ($1.35).

India’s streaming video market is projected to reach $4.5 billion through 2025, according to research firm Media Asia Partners, which added that local original streaming content approached $700 million in 2020.

Amazon, which reportedly is looking to bid for Italian Serie A professional soccer, is also eyeing Indian Premier League cricket, which Disney Hotstar holds the carriage rights to through 2023.

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Amazon Prime Video Eyeing Italian Serie A Soccer Rights

In a major move, Amazon Prime Video reportedly is set to bid on exclusive TV rights to Italy’s Serie A professional soccer league. The deal for three years could cost the SVOD platform upwards of $1.4 billion, and would put into competition against Comcast’s Sky, which is the current rights holder, according to Bloomberg, which cited sources familiar with the situation.

The league has set a Jan. 26 deadline for carriage rights.

Amazon, unlike other SVOD services, has not shied away from live sports, with Prime Video currently streaming NFL Thursday Night Football in the U.S., in addition to the English Premier League and select rugby matches overseas. This deal would be different as Amazon would have exclusive broadcast and streaming rights.

When Disney acquired 20th Century Fox’s assets, it included India’s Hotstar, which has streaming rights to cricket — a national sport in the world’s second-most-populous country. Disney has now rebranded SVOD to Disney+Hotstar, and in the process “acquired” 30% of Disney Plus’ 88.6 million subscriber base.

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GameStop Reports Winter Holiday Sales Boost Despite Pandemic, New Gaming Console Shortages

GameStop reported that worldwide sales results for the nine-week holiday period ended Jan. 2 reflected a 4.8% increase in comparable store sales and a 309% increase in e-commerce sales. Total sales declined 3.1% driven by an 11% decrease in the company’s store base due to a planned “de-densification” strategy, temporary store closures around the world due to pandemic-related government mandates and lower store traffic, particularly later in December, due to the significant impacts of COVID-19.

Total comparable store sales increased 4.8% compared with last year and reflected a 29.6% sequential improvement from the third quarter of fiscal 2020.  The positive results were adversely impacted in the high single-digit to low double-digit percentage point range, as a result of a significant reduction in consumer traffic related to the increase in COVID-19 cases.

Net sales were $1.77 billion, a 3.1% decrease compared to 2019, as strong console demand for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and Series S systems was offset by store closures mandated by local governments due to COVID-19, and industry-wide limited supply of new gaming consoles, and supply chain constraints broadly.

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E-commerce sales, which are included in comparable store sales, rose 309% and represented approximately 34% of total company sales, with total worldwide online sales year to date reaching over $1.35 billion, far exceeding management’s $1 billion growth objective.

Regional sales in Australia and New Zealand, where the GameStop’s operations were materially less impacted by the effects of the pandemic, total comparable sales for the nine-week period increased approximately 31%, outperforming the other operating regions.

“Demand for the new generation of consoles remains very strong, and as a result, we anticipate the consumer’s excitement for the new console technology will benefit us going forward well through 2021,” CEO George Sherman said in a statement.

GameStop’s current fourth quarter ends Jan. 30.

Netflix Releases First Inclusion Report: Women in 50% of Leadership Roles

As Media Play News‘ annual “Women in Home Entertainment” issue will tell you, Netflix has long been a promoter of female executives in the workplace.

The SVOD pioneer Jan. 13 released its first-ever inclusion report indicating women make up half of its workforce (47.1%), including at the leadership level: directors and above (47.8%), vice presidents (43.7%) and senior leadership (47.6%).

Nearly half of the U.S. workforce (46.4%) and leadership (42%, director level and above) are made up of people from one or more underrepresented racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, including Black, Latinx or Hispanic, Indigenous, Middle Eastern, Asian and Pacific Islander backgrounds.

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The number of Black employees in the U.S. doubled in the last three years to 8% of our workforce and 9% of our leadership (director level and above).

The data is based as of October 2020 on about 8,000 full-time streaming employees. Netflix has been releasing quarterly diversity information and statistics on its job site since 2013.

But when the SVOD behemoth in 2017 first looked in the mirror regarding diversity, it wasn’t a pretty picture, according to Vernā Myers, who was hired VP of Inclusion Strategy to right the ship.

“We weren’t as great as we thought we were, or aspired to be,” Myers wrote in the report. “And over these last two years, our inclusion team has been building a foundation, sowing the seeds for inclusion to take root within the company.”

Myers said the Netflix still has work to do recruiting Hispanic or Latinx and other underrepresented folks into all areas of the company, particularly leadership. In addition, Myers said Netflix is working on improving inclusion within the company’s foreign offices.

“We’ve started by adding Cassi Mecchi to the inclusion team to lead this work for our Europe, Middle East and Africa teams,” Myers said. “We will add team members in the Asia Pacific and Latin America regions in 2021.”

Pandemic Leads to Significant Increase in Streaming Video Usage at Public Libraries, Study Shows

As more people stayed at home during 2020 due to the pandemic, they were streaming a lot more videos for reasons beyond just entertainment. This trend is expected to continue over the next three years, prompting many public libraries to transition their budgets from DVDs to streaming and prepare for changes and challenges, according to new data from Kanopy.

“Kanopy is extremely grateful to the hundreds of librarians who took the time and effort to participate in our survey,” Kanopy CEO Kevin Sayar said in a statement. “Their invaluable input will help inform our product development and allow us to better serve the public library community and the patrons they serve.”

Key findings include the following:

  • More than 47% of participants say streaming video budgets will increase in 2021 and over 71% expect an increase over the next three years.
  • Comparatively, just over 9% of participants say their DVD budgets will increase in 2021 and approximately 15% expect an increase in the next three years.

 

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  • 54.5% of public libraries currently offer more than one streaming video service, and many indicated training patrons to use multiple platforms is a challenge.
  • 58.2% say that in addition to entertainment, patrons use streaming videos for other purposes such as personal enrichment and class assignments.
  • Pay-per-view and subscription were nearly tied as the most preferred models for streaming video acquisition, at 23.6% and 23.4% respectively.
  • 49.6% of librarians believe it is their responsibility to support the curricula of K-12 schools with streaming films, and 32.0% say they are collaborating with schools or plan to in the near future. Comparatively, 31.0% say it is their responsibility to support local community colleges and 9.8% say they are collaborating with them or plan to in the near future.
  • 88.4% say collection diversity in their video selection is “important” to “very important” yet just 33% say they are meeting patron needs for such content.

 

“During the pandemic we experienced a sharp spike in streaming video usage, and this increase has continued even though we reopened for in-person service over the summer,” said Kay Cahill, director of collections and technology at Vancouver Public Library. “We saw a strong appetite for educational streaming video content in 2020 and a significant increase in recreational and educational use.”

“Our FY20 streaming budget saw a significant increase due to closure from the pandemic,” added Marco Daniels, a library associate with Oak Bluffs Public Library in Oak Bluffs, Mass. “We expect to continue this trend in FY21, but it is important to note the increase in our streaming budget comes from the decrease in our DVD budget.”

Report: Online Shopping, Curbside Pickup Boomed in 2020

Merchants that offered the “buy online, pick up in store” delivery channel pre-pandemic experienced 70% increase in volume in 2020 compared to 2019, according to new data from ACI Worldwide.

The data revealed a 24% increase in ecommerce transactions globally in December 2020 compared to December 2019. In particular, online transactions in the retail sector increased 31% and the gaming sector increased 90%, comparing December 2020 with December 2019.

While many merchants initially implemented the buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) delivery channel during the pandemic, those that already had this option available pre-COVID-19 experienced an increase of 70% by volume and 58% by value in 2020. However, BOPIS fraud has also seen a significant increase, with a 7% fraud attempt rate compared to 4.6% with other delivery channels.

“In 2020, we saw the pandemic drive the highest number of merchants implementing the BOPIS delivery channel for the first time in one year,” Debbie Guerra, EVP of ACI Worldwide, said in a statement. “We expect this channel to increase as more consumers get used to the convenience of shopping at home and the speed of in-store pickup. However, this is also a channel to watch closely for fraud, as these same benefits appeal to fraudsters.”

ACI’s data also showed that non-fraud chargebacks increased 26% in December 2020 compared to December 2019, driven by shipment delays over the holiday period. Non-fraud chargebacks include product received was not what the customer ordered, not delivered on time, damaged upon delivery, poor customer service, etc.

“Non-fraud chargebacks continue to rise since the low that was experienced in April 2020,” Guerra said.

She added that “porch pirates” were active in 2020, which impacted the increase in non-fraud chargebacks as fraudsters follow delivery trucks. In addition, shipment delays consumers experienced over the holiday period as well as a backlog of returns processing and product back orders have also contributed to the increase in non-fraud chargebacks.

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Online purchasing trends December 2020: Travel and ticketing continued to see a significant dip in December due to the pandemic, declining 27% and 76%, respectively. Transactions in the gaming sector increased 90%.

In Q4 2020, global eCommerce transactions increased 22% compared to Q4 2019. Through January to December 2020, global e-commerce transactions increased by 19% compared to 2019. The U.K. saw an increase in transactions of 28% and the U.S. of 14% from January through December 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

The gaming sector increased 84% January to December 2020 compared with 2019. The retail sector increased 48% January to December 2020 compared with 2019.

Fraudulent attempt purchase value decreased by $10 in 2020 compared with 2019; this was the impact of airline, sporting event and concert ticket purchase declines, which have a high average ticket price. Average value of genuine purchases decreased by $18​.

Fraud attempt rates by value increased slightly by 0.2% to 3.4%, similar to prior holiday seasons, as a result of increased genuine consumer spending outpacing fraud.

 

Report: 27% of U.S. Households Plan to Cut Cable TV in 2021

American households are cutting the cord on their cable TV subscriptions more rapidly than previously reported, according to a new survey of more than 2,100 U.S. consumers by The Trade Desk. The data shows 27% of U.S. cable TV subscribers are planning to cut their subscriptions by the end of 2021. That percentage is nearly double the 15% of cable subscribers who reported cutting the cord in 2020, and significantly higher than the approximate 3% annual decline cited separately eMarketer prior to 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated consumer behaviors and trends that are defining a new era of TV consumption. With more U.S. consumers working at home, many under increased budget pressure, and with the broader availability of streaming services, streaming consumption now accounts for 68% of TV viewing versus 28% for traditional TV viewing.

Even live sports can’t keep viewers tethered to traditional TV as more U.S. households turn from cable to streaming platforms to watch their favorite teams. After a pause in live sports caused by the pandemic, almost 39% of sports viewers are now watching live sports events via connected TV such as ad-supported streaming and social media platforms, according to the survey. Only 30% of U.S. consumers cite live sports as a reason for maintaining a cable TV subscription — significantly down from the 60% that cited live programming, including sports, just nine months previously.

“COVID has accelerated cord-cutting trends that were already underway, to a point where less than 50% of U.S. households today have a cable subscription,” Tim Sims, chief revenue officer of The Trade Desk, said in a statement.

Sims said the decline is not because consumers have fallen out of love with TV, but that there are now more convenient ways of consuming it. That even applies to traditional cable mainstays, such as live sports.

“As more broadcasters launch and expand their streaming services, these gaps are only going to widen,” he said.

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As Americans shift to connected TV, there’s a limit to their tolerance for subscription services. Fifty-one percent of U.S. consumers are unwilling to spend more than $20 in total per month on streaming subscriptions, according to the survey. Furthermore, TV viewers are more than five times more likely to prefer free or low-cost streaming TV with ads, over streaming services with higher monthly subscription fees with no ads (72% versus 14%).

Advertisers Follow the Audiences; Rethinking Upfronts and CTV Skills Development

As traditional TV consumption declines and CTV viewership continues to rise, marketers are embracing the CTV opportunity. A separate survey of 150 advertisers conducted with Advertiser Perceptions found that, among marketers who had revised their TV plans as a result of the pandemic, CTV ranks as the #1 channel choice as marketers reallocate campaign budgets. Furthermore, marketers state that CTV now represents 18% of their advertising spend moving forward, a significant acceleration from a standing start in recent years.

But this shift means that marketers must rethink their longstanding ad-buying habits, as well as the necessary skills investments in their teams, to capture shifting audiences. For example, the majority (59%) of linear TV buyers said they are making fewer upfront commitments in 2021, with ad dollars moving from traditional TV programming to CTV.

In addition, marketers are rethinking how they can better equip themselves with the skills and capabilities to develop the right teams to keep pace with the accelerated shift to CTV. According to the advertiser research, ad buyers will focus on CTV marketing skills in 2021, as 37% said they intend to hire new talent fluent in CTV. And more than half (55%) said they plan to take steps to ensure their current TV ad buying teams can navigate both linear and CTV channels.

Every aspect of the decision-making process of TV advertising, including measurement, frequency and creative, will have to evolve as more consumers shift to CTV. And marketers are recognizing just how critically important CTV is to their advertising strategies if they want to win the hearts and minds of consumers. According to the survey, the top focus areas for CTV ad buyers are:

  • The shift from a content-first to an audience-first approach — prime-time is now anytime, as marketers are no longer tied to a schedule.
  • More focus on integrated, cross-channel strategies — to improve the viewer experience, manage frequency and better target specific audiences.
  • Focus on non-traditional ad formats — especially shorter ads.

 

“The TV ad business is at a tipping point. Advertisers can reach more households via CTV than via traditional linear TV for the first time. That trend is not reversing,” said Sims.

‘The New Mutants’ Rises to No. 1 on U.K. Official Film Chart

Disney/20th Century Studios’ The New Mutants rose to the top spot on the U.K.’s Official Film Chart through Jan. 13 following the film’s release on DVD and Blu-ray in the world’s No. 2 home entertainment market.

Counting Anya Taylor-Joy, of the acclaimed Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit,” “Game Of Thrones'” Maisie Williams, and “Stranger Things”’ Charlie Heaton among its cast, the superhero horror’s success this week means previous week’s chart topper Tenet (Warner) is pushed to second place despite a strong retail sales.

Brand new at No. 3 is the long-awaited sequel Bill & Ted Face the Music. Starring Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves as the eponymous characters, the pair reunite for new antics in the present day —and beyond. The now-middle aged dads of teenage girls are on their biggest adventure yet, still trying to crank out a hit song and save the world.

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Roald Dahl’s The Witches (Warner) dropped to No. 4, while Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Warner) returned to the Top 10 after climbing nine places to No. 5. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Spider-Man: Far From Home (No. 6), Bad Boys for Life (No. 7) and Little Women (No. 8) all fell one place.

Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony Pictures) remained on the chart at No. 9, and finally, The Greatest Showman (20th Century) zoomed back up 25 places to No. 10.

The Official Film Chart Top 10 – Jan. 13, 2021

Rank Previous
Week
Title Studio
1 2 The New Mutants 20th Century Studios
2 1 Tenet Warner
3 New Bill & Ted Face the Music Jelly Fish Bloom
4 3 Roald Dahl’s The Witches Warner
5 14 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Warner
6 5 Spider-Man: Far From Home Sony Pictures
7 6 Bad Boys for Life Sony Pictures
8 7 Little Women (2019) Sony Pictures
9 9 Jumanji: The Next Level Sony Pictures
10 35 The Greatest Showman 20th Century

© Official Charts Company 2021