‘Jack Ryan’ Season 3 Due on Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 26

Paramount Home Entertainment will release Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan: Season Three on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Sept. 26.

A 4K Ultra HD edition of the season will be available manufactured on demand.

The series stars John Krasinski as Jack Ryan, the CIA analyst from Tom Clancy’s novel series. In the eight episodes of season three, Jack must race against time across Europe to stop a rogue faction within the Russian government from restoring the Soviet Empire and starting World War III. The Amazon Prime Video original series also stars Wendall Price, Nina Hoss, Betty Gabriel and Michael Kelly.

The series is set to end with the six-episode fourth season that concludes on Prime July 14.

 

Prime Video Eyeing Ad-Supported Subscription Tier

Amazon’s Prime Video is reportedly considering an ad-supported subscription option for consumers, similar to moves incorporated last year by Netflix, Disney+ and other SVOD services. Prime Video, along with Disney+ and Netflix, are the largest SVOD platforms in the world in terms of total subscribers.

Prime Video, which is available for $8.99 as a separate service from the $14.99 Prime membership, continues to up its original content slate, including live sports (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Citadel,” “Bosch,” “NFL Thursday Night Football”). At the same time, SVOD subscriber growth is cooling and streaming services are looking to remain profitable as content costs continue to escalate.

Original content spending reached $7 billion in 2022, according to Amazon, which included a reported $715 million in production and license costs alone for the first season of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”. Amazon is also spending $1 billion a year for the exclusive rights to “TNF.”

While the launch of a possible ad-supported SVOD tier is in the early stages, the option remains a priority to Amazon, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited sources familiar with the situation.

Amazon also operates Freevee, the former IMDb TV platform offering free access to largely ad-supported catalog programing — with the exception of “Jury Duty,” the original comedy that continues to resonate with viewers and critics.

Indeed, Amazon saw overall ad revenue climb in the first quarter (ended March 31) to $9.5 billion, up 21% from $7.8 billion in the prior-year period.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Amazon’s Prime Video Tops Customer Satisfaction Ranking

Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service ranked first place among video streaming services in a new customer satisfaction study by the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

Prime Video posted a customer satisfaction score of 80 (out of 100), an 8% jump from last year, displacing Disney+ for the top spot. Disney+ fell 3% this year, placing it in the industry’s bottom three.

Peacock moved into second place following a 10% increase to 79.

Netflix (up 5%) tied for third place, alongside Hulu (up 4%), Paramount+ (up 1%) and ACSI newcomer YouTube Premium at a score of 78.

HBO Max, now relaunched as Max, scored 77 (up 5%), followed by Apple TV+ (up 10%) and Disney+, both at 76. ESPN+ sat near the bottom of the industry after slipping 1% to 72, but Crackle finished last despite improving 1% to 70.

Meanwhile, Hulu + Live TV debuted atop the live TV apps with an ACSI score of 80. Sling TV (up 6%) and YouTube TV (down 1%) both scored 76, while DirecTV Stream stumbled 5% to a score of 72.

The video streaming industry, which includes both streaming apps (77) and live TV apps (76), improved 4% to an ACSI score of 77. The smaller group of streaming and live TV apps overall dipped 4% to 75.

Meanwhile, the performance quality and offerings of streaming services all increased in customer satisfaction, including the number of and availability of TV shows and movies.

Prime Video Unveils Feature to Help Viewers Hear Dialogue

Prime Video April 18 introduced a new feature called Dialogue Boost, which allows customers to increase the volume of dialogue relative to background music and effects. 

While similar features are available on select devices (high-end theater systems, specialized audio equipment, or select smart TVs), Prime Video is the first global streaming service to offer this feature, according to the service.

It was initially built with the needs of customers who are hard of hearing in mind, but any viewer can utilize Dialogue Boost to suit their individual preferences, according to Prime Video. 

The feature is now available on select English language Amazon Originals worldwide including “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” “Harlem,” The Big Sick, “Being the Ricardos” and Beautiful Boy. 

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“At Prime Video, we are committed to building an inclusive, equitable, and enjoyable streaming experience for all our customers,” Raf Soltanovich, VP of technology at Prime Video and Amazon Studios, wrote in a blog post announcing the feature. “Our library of captioned and audio described content continues to grow, and by leveraging our technological capabilities to create industry-first innovations like Dialogue Boost, we are taking another step to create a more accessible streaming experience.”

Dialogue Boost analyzes the original audio in a movie or series and intelligently identifies points where dialogue may be hard to hear above background music and effects, according to the post. Then, speech patterns are isolated and audio is enhanced to make the dialogue clearer. This AI-based approach delivers a targeted enhancement to portions of spoken dialogue, instead of a general amplification at the center channel in a home theater system, according to the post. As a result, Dialogue Boost can be utilized anywhere the Prime Video experience is available.

NFL Owners Delay Decision on ‘Flexing’ Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football Schedule

NFL team owners have tabled until May any decision regarding flexing the lineup for Amazon Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football schedule.

Heading into the annual team owners meeting in Phoenix, a key issue involved the less-than-desirable game match-ups offered on the exclusive “Thursday Night Football” streams.

Amazon is paying the NFL $1 billion annually over the next 10 years for rights to Thursday Night Football, which has often featured, some would argue, throwaway games that last year included the Washington Commanders’ mind-numbing 12-7 win over the Chicago Bears, followed by the Indianapolis Colts’ 12-9 snoozer over the Denver Broncos. A previous game saw the New York Jets produce a lone field goal in regulation play.

Team owners discussed the possibility flexing games held later in the season from Sunday to Thursday, but they were unable to come to an agreement.

Asked about the impact that would have on ticket holders and fans planning trips with specific game days in mind, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, speaking at a press conference, said any changes to the schedule would be done with consideration to all fans.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Obviously, providing the best matchups for our fans is part of what we do,” Goodell said. “That’s a part of what I think our scheduling has always focused on. And flex has been a part of that. We are very judicious with it, and we are very careful with it. And we look at all of the impacts to that.”

The commissioner seemed to punt the issue when he said the league would average in the years it has flexed the schedule with any possible impact on season-ticket holders and in-stadium audience.

“So, before those decisions are made … we have millions of fans who also watch on television … [and] reaching them is a balance that you always strike, and making sure we do it right,” Goodell said.

Ampere: Live Sports Streaming Spending to Top $8.5 Billion in 2023

Live sports has become the new player among original content spending for subscription streaming video services around the world. Spending on sports rights globally will reach $8.5 billion this year, up 64% from $5.2 billion in spending in 2022, according to new data from Ampere Analysis.

The research suggests that live sports streaming rights spending will reach 21% of all sports distribution rights investment (broadcast, pay-TV, radio, streaming), compared WITH 13% the year before.

At the same time, that spending pales in comparison to movie and TV show content spending, led by Netflix, which is again spending $17 billion on content in 2023. In 2022, 28% of original content spending was from streaming platforms such as Disney+, Prime Video, Apple TV+, Paramount+, Peacock and Netflix. However, as streaming technology has improved, and as sports consumers expect to be able to stream their favorite sports, the streaming business model has finally taken off. At the same time, the challenging economic outlook for ad-supported traditional sports broadcasters is incentivizing rights owners — led by the NFL in the U.S. — to seek out streaming platforms in order to achieve media rights revenue growth.

Leading the way for streaming platforms’ growing investment in sports rights, particularly in Europe, is DAZN. The London-based SVOD accounted for more than half ($2.7 billion) of all subscription streaming video spend on sports rights in 2022.

Recent years have seen an acceleration in sports rights spend by general entertainment streaming services as providers look to differentiate content offerings. General entertainment services accounted for six of the top 10 SVOD by global spend on sports rights in 2022.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The exclusive NFL deal with Prime Video that kicked off in September 2022 was arguably the turning point for sports on general entertainment SVOD platforms. It represented  the largest single deal signed to-date by any sports streaming service, and has since been surpassed only by Google-owned YouTube’s $14 billion NFL deal for the coveted “Sunday Ticket” games package.

Jack Genovese, research manager at Ampere, said he believes the transition to streaming will take longer for sports than for other content genres. This is in part because of the nature of sports rights deals, which typically span multiple years. It is also due to the astronomical monetary value of sports rights, and the sensitivities characterizing the distribution and consumption of sport from legacy TV to streaming video.

“The need for high-quality, low latency feeds will continue to favor risk-averse behavior among broadcasters and rights owners alike,” Genovese said in a statement. “However, streaming will offer opportunities for sports to experiment with content, distribution and monetization, which will revolutionize the way in which sports rights are sold and bought in the future.”

Horowitz: Netflix Users Sharing Passwords Willing to Pay for Service

After years of indifference, Netflix in 2023 has begun cracking down on non-subscribers using third-party passwords to access the service. Still, the move may not lose Netflix viewers, as more than 70% of surveyed non-subscribers in a new study said they would be willing to pay for Netflix if their “free” access was terminated.

New data from Horowitz Research found that the higher the perceived market value for a SVOD service, the more likely users sharing passwords are willing to pay for legitimate access when confronted zero alternatives.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

New York-based Horowitz, which surveyed 1,600 adult respondents in 2022, found that 18% of respondents shared access to Netflix while 42% paid for the service. Another 15% shared access to Prime Video with 44% paying for the service themselves. Horowitz said data suggests 33% of Netflix users and 25% of Prime Video users access a third-party’s password — tallies similar to Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max and Paramount+.

Notably, 83% of Netflix users and 81% of Prime Video users rate their service as excellent, while 63% of Showtime Now users and 60% of Britbox users feel the same way about their respective platforms.

Adriana Waterston, chief revenue officer and insights and strategy lead for Horowitz, contends Netflix and Prime Video have long proven their value to their subscribers because of the former’s extensive library of original content, and Prime Video with its tie-in to other Prime member benefits.

“While Netflix’s crackdown on password sharing will likely lead to user loss, the majority of subscribers will stay with the service,” Waterson said in a statement. “Netflix will need to keep its perceived value high … [which] will certainly be a challenge moving forward as their programming costs continue to increase and as they add commercials.”

Prime Video Bowing Live Kickboxing Featuring Three World Championship Fights

Amazon  Prime Video Jan. 13 is set to live-stream kickboxing in North America headlined by reigning ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Champion Superbon Singha Mawynn and ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Champion, Chingiz Allazov taking place at Bangkok’s Impact Arena.

The six-fight card is part of distribution deal between Prime Video and ONE Championship as Amazon looks to up its live sports streaming beyond NFL “Thursday Night Football.”

Other bouts include second-ranked Superlek Kiatmoo9 against fifth-ranked Daniel Puertas for the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title, and ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Champion Mikey Musumeci defending his belt against Combat Sambo World Champion Gantumur Bayanduuren.

The card also features a mixed rules super-fight between former two-sport ONE World Champion Stamp Fairtex and kickboxer Anissa Meksen, the return of Muay Thai megastar Rodtang Jitmuangnon, among others.

Parks: Prime Video Tops Netflix in Paid U.S. Subscribers

Amazon Prime Video, the e-commerce leader’s longstanding streaming video platform, has overtaken Netflix as the No. 1 subscription-based VOD service in the U.S., according to new data from Parks Associates. It marks the first time Netflix has not topped the Dallas-based firm’s annual chart of top 10 SVOD services in the U.S. Additionally, Peacock entered the chart for the first time in 2022, while Showtime moved off the list.

The company reports that 83% of broadband households have at least one OTT service, with 23% adopting nine or more streaming subscriptions.

Parks didn’t disclose how many subs Prime Video has. Amazon reported 200 million global Prime members in 2021, which includes free access to Prime Video. The former U.K.-based Lovefilm Instant streaming service, which Amazon acquired outright in 2011, is also available on a standalone basis.

Prime Video, unlike Netflix, offers select live sports events, including exclusive access to the NFL’s weekly “Thursday Night Football” game. This year the streamer, whose parent acquired MGM Studios for $8.5 billion, launched original series “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” reportedly the most-expensive TV show ever created.

Netflix ended its most-recent fiscal period with more than 223 million subs worldwide, including more than 73 million across North America.

“Streaming services are introducing new content, services, and partnerships that are changing how consumers interact with video,” Jennifer Kent, VP of research, said in a statement. “Netflix’s ad-supported plan gives the company a way to win back subscribers who left over high subscription prices. It also gives Netflix a path to creating unique accounts for those who have been content to share passwords with friends and family in the past. It’s an exciting time to track these services, with lots of disruption and change.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Parks Associates: Top 10 US OTT Video Services

Netflix Still on Top in Terms of Original Content, with 37% of All Movies and Shows

Netflix remains the leader among streaming services in producing original content, according to a proprietary study from BB Media commissioned by Media Play News.

The study identified a total of 8,877 original titles in the United States across 41 streaming platforms, of which 4,950 are films and 3,927 are series. The majority of these original movies and shows are distributed through the SVOD model (8,028), followed by AVOD (812) and FAST (465).

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Among streaming services with the biggest offer of original productions, Netflix leads with 3,260 titles, or nearly 37% of the total original-content output. It is followed by HBO Max (1,747 titles); Yupp TV (633 titles), an OTT content provider for South Asian programming, including live television and films, with recording and storage features; IQIYI (458 titles), the big Chinese online video platform based in Beijing and Shanghai; and Amazon’s Prime Video (391 titles).

When analyzing streaming platforms with the most hours of original content, the ranking remains almost the same, except for Prime Video displacing IQIYI in fourth place, and Shudder at No. 5.

Comparing the number of original titles launched in 2020 and 2021, Netflix also leads.

This year, between January and October 2022, Netflix launched 995 original titles, HBO Max released 105, and Prime Video issued 96 titles.

The BB Media/Media Play News study found that HBO’s “House of the Dragon” and “Game of Thrones” are tied at No. 1 in terms of viewer preference. Prime Video’s “The Rings of Power” landed in second place and Disney+ came in third with “She-Hulk.” Netflix’s “Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” was No. 4.

BB Media is a data science company focused on media and entertainment. The company monitors more than 3,800 streaming services across 240 countries and regions, their prices, plans, bundles and commercial offers. BB Media has offices in Miami, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and São Paulo.