Report: India Considering Censorship of Netflix, Amazon, Disney Streaming Video Content

With India and its second-largest population in the world, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney have aggressively sought an over-the-top video presence in the nascent market.

The influx of foreign SVOD services has reportedly prompted some government officials to ask for increased monitoring of content on the platforms — above existing regulations.

Reuters reports that public complaints about alleged obscenity or religious slights included in foreign streamed programming has some Indian lawmakers considering content censorship.

“The self-regulation isn’t the same for all, which is raising a concern … the directions are clear, we have to see how to address the problems,” an unidentified government official told the news agency.

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Indeed, Netflix and Disney-owned Hotstar agreed to sign a self-regulation of content code, while Amazon did not.

Netflix’s popular original series “Sacred Games,” about an Indian cop rooting out corruption and violence, has reportedly faced unsuccessful legal challenges regarding alleged offensive scenes and negative comments about Hindus and a former Prime Minister.

Other complaints have revolved around the lack of mandatory anti-smoking messages on Bollywood content streaming Netlfix and Prime Video.

“With [censorship] regulation, all of the [global] content will need to be sanitized for India – a huge, expensive and time-consuming exercise,” global tech analyst Prasanto Roy told Reuters.

“Sacred Games,” now in its second season, has been an international hit for Netflix, including translation in 20 languages.

“We’ve been producing shows that are incredibly relevant in their home territories, and the nice windfall is that they get viewed all over the world,” Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos said March. “It’s really accelerating the brand perception of Netflix as … someone who’s producing content that you care about in every part of the world.”

 

‘Stranger Things’ Spends 16th Week Atop Parrot Analytics’ TV Demand Charts

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” remained No. 1 on not only Parrot Analytics’ digital originals rankings the week ended Oct. 12, but also the data firm’s overall list of TV series from any platform, including broadcast and cable, for the 16th straight week.

A “digital original” is a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu.

For the week, “Stranger Things” registered 93.4 million average daily Demand Expressions, the proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. That was down 20% in expressions compared with the previous week.

The show has done a number of things to stay in the spotlight since the July premiere of its third season, from extensive merchandising to Netflix signing its creators and some of its stars to new development deals.  Oct. 12 cast member David Harbour even hosted “Saturday Night Live,” which placed third on Parrot’s demand expressions rankings for all TV shows.

DC Universe’s “Titans” held onto the No. 2 spot on the digital originals chart, with expressions up 0.72% to 52.2 million. The show is in the midst of its second season.

Jumping up to No. 3 on the digital originals chart was Netflix’s “Big Mouth,” up from No. 26 the previous week. It doubled expressions to 16.8 million to 33.6 million after the Oct. 4 release of its third season.

Netflix’s “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” dropped a spot to No. 4, with expressions down 5% to 32 million.

Amazon Prime Video’s “The Boys” slipped to No. 5, though expressions rose 0.5% to 30.7 million.

CBS All Access’ “Star Trek: Discovery” returned to the top 10, hitting No. 9 from No. 17 the previous week. Its demand expressions were up 17.3% to 23 million after a trailer for its third season debuted at New York Comic Con.

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The Demand Expressions metric draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

IHS: Apple TV+ Growth Hindered by iOS Mandate

When Apple bows its branded $4.99 monthly Apple TV+ subscription streaming video service on Nov. 1, it will be the cheapest SVOD platform on the market.

But being priced 50% below Netflix apparently isn’t good enough for IHS Markit, which suggests the service’s growth will be hampered by its exclusivity to Apple’s iOS platform.

Apple TV+ will be limited to the new iPhone, Mac, iPad and Apple TV streaming media device. The company is offering a free year of Apple TV+ with the purchase of any of the aforementioned devices.

Indeed, Apple is projected to sell about 70 million new iPhones through the winter holidays, in addition to Macs, iPads and Apple TVs.

Yet the data underscores the reality that Apple TV+ will have the potential to reach just 57% of the addressable market ion the United States, according to IHS Markit.

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By comparison, Netflix reaches 95% of the U.S. market — a percentage the pending Disney+ platform is expected to emulate.

“With its limited device distribution, Apple TV+ will be accessible to just over half the online population in the US, thus hindering subscriber growth,” analyst Fateha Begum said in a note. “Although Apple is the largest smartphone brand in the U.S. market and plans to offer free access with hardware purchases, the company would need to widen its device distribution to compete with OTT players that are now available nearly universally.”

Begum argues Apple should move beyond its iOS borders and make Apple TV+ available to Android devices. Indeed, the SVOD service is expected to be made available on Roku and Fire TV, in addition to Sony, LG and Vizio smart TVs.

“By opening up to other platforms, Apple TV+ will see its addressable base increase by 24% to 87 million U.S. households,” Begum said. “This will improve Apple’s position, but the company will still be at a disadvantage compared to competitors who can address the entire U.S. market of 124 million online households.”

 

Grandi Notizie: Netflix Expands Italian Presence

Italy in 2020 will begin imposing a 3% tax on digital services generating at least €5.5 million ($6 million) in annual revenue.

While the political move targets American streaming giants such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and the pending Disney+ platform, Netflix is hardly scaling back its Italian operations.

The SVOD pioneer, which reportedly has 1.5 million subscribers in Italy, has inked a deal with Comcast-owned satellite TV operator Sky Italia offering subscribers direct access to the service.

Netflix will be available to Entertainment Plus and Sky Q Platinum subscribers.

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Netflix began its partnership with Sky in 2018 in the United Kingdom, followed by Sky Deutschland.

“We [want to] make it easier for Sky customers and Italian families to access the complete Netflix experience,” Filippo Zuffada, EMEA partner marketing director at Netflix, said in a statement.

Indeed, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was Italy this week to announce the opening of an office in the country as well as plans to invest €200 million ($220 million) in original Italian content production.

Establishing an office in Italy would also mitigate efforts by lawmakers seeking taxes from foreign online companies (notably Netflix) doing business within the country’s borders without a physical presence.

Netflix’s investment follows a previously-announced pact with Italian broadcaster Mediaset for the co-production of original Italian movies.

 

‘Stranger Things’ Spends 15th Week Atop Parrot Analytics’ TV Demand Charts

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” remained No. 1 on not only Parrot Analytics’ digital originals rankings the week ended Oct. 5, but also the data firm’s overall list of TV series from any platform, including broadcast and cable, for the 15th straight week.

A “digital original” is a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu.

For the week, “Stranger Things” registered 116.8 million average daily Demand Expressions, the proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. That was up 30.8% in expressions compared with the previous week. During the week, Netflix announced a fourth season of the series and released a trailer.

DC Universe’s “Titans” held onto the No. 2 spot on the digital originals chart, with expressions up 2.2% to 51.8 million. The show is in the midst of its second season.

Netflix’s “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” remained No. 3, with expressions down 10.9% to 33.7 million.

Amazon Prime Video’s “The Boys” rose up to No. 4, though expressions dropped 8.2% to 30.5 million.

The Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” dropped a spot to No. 5, with expressions down 15.11% to 30 million.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The Demand Expressions metric draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Amazon Prime Video Expands India Reach Through Dish TV

After China, India, with the second largest population in the world, has long been a coveted market by over-the-top video distributors Netflix, Amazon and Disney, among others.

Now Prime Video has partnered with Dish TV India offering the latter’s more than 17 million subscribers direct access to the streaming service’s app.

The agreement affords Indian subs streaming access to Hollywood, Bollywood and regional movies, TV shows, stand-up comedies, kids programs, including Indian and Amazon Originals.

“We, at Dish TV, always work on offering innovative entertainment solutions and superlative experience to customers and the association with Amazon Prime Video is a step in the same direction,” Anil Dua, executive director & group CEO, said in a statement. “We are delighted to have Amazon Prime Video on board with us to offer its premium content on both our Dish TV and d2h platforms with our hybrid set-top boxes that are going to be launched soon.”

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Amazon launched e-commerce operations in India in 2013 — only recently adding Prime Video and Amazon Prime Now grocery delivery service.

“With this launch, we will further extend the reach and access of Amazon Prime Video in India, giving more customers the experience of watching our wide selection of critically acclaimed and popular Amazon Originals, blockbuster movies across languages and Indian as well as international shows, on their television sets,” added Gaurav Gandhi, director and country GM, Amazon Prime Video India.

Disney, which acquired Indian streaming platform Hotstar through its 20th Century Fox merger, has almost more streaming subs in country than the United States population.

Indeed, the pending Disney+ platform will be offered through Hotstar.

“Hunger for content and ability to pay are unlocking growth for consumer payments in video,” Uday Shankar, chairman at Star and Disney India and president, The Walt Disney Co., Asia Pacific, said in a statement.

 

BBC Revamping iPlayer Streaming Video App to Better Compete Against U.S. Services

The BBC’s iPlayer streaming media app is as old as Netflix, launching in 2007 to help viewers in the United Kingdom catch-up with broadcast TV series and movies.

Now the BBC is set to launch a reboot of the service after its U.K. market penetration dipped to 15% from 40% in 2014 — the former largely due to the proliferation of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

With Disney and Apple bowing branded streaming services next month, the BBC plans to enable the new iPlayer to watch programming upwards of 12 months old instead of the current government-mandated 30-day limit, in addition to original and current shows.

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BBC chairman/CEO Tony Hall, in a prepared statement released to the media and reportedly slated to be delivered Oct. 6, said the new iPlayer would be a unique benefit to consumers.

“iPlayer is a great service,” Hall said. “But it can and will be even better. It will be a new front door for British creativity. There are exciting times ahead.”

Interestingly, the revamped iPlayer comes as the BBC and ITV launch BritBox in the U.K. — two years after the British-themed subscription streaming video service bowed in 2017 the United States.

“iPlayer will become the heart of everything we do; the gateway to all our programs – a ‘total TV’ experience, which will bring everything you want from BBC television into one place for the first time,” Charlotte Moore, director of content at BBC, said.

 

Reports: Amazon Prime App Unavailable on Apple TV and iOS App Store

The Amazon Prime Video app disappeared Friday, Oct. 4, from Apple’s app store and Apple TV, according to news and social media reports.

“The developer has removed this app from the App Store,” is the notice that many mobile users received, according to reports. “Item not available” was another message when trying to download the app.

The app was also missing from Apple TV, according to reports.

It was a temporary glitch, according to Amazon.

“Earlier today, there was a technical glitch that impacted the Prime Video app on iOS and tvOS devices. The issue has been resolved, and the Prime Video app is now once again available in the App Store,” read an Amazon statement.

The glitch comes as Apple plans to launch its own streaming service, Apple TV+, Nov. 1 at $4.99.

Disney, too, is entering the market with Disney+ Nov. 12, and its CEO Bob Iger resigned from Apple’s board Sept. 10, the day the tech giant announced details about the pricing and release of its streaming service.

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In another streaming dustup, Disney is reportedly banning Netflix ads from all of its entertainment TV networks, including ABC, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Report: 90% of Brits Stop at One or Two Streaming Video Services

New subscription streaming video services coming from Disney, Apple and WarnerMedia, in addition to Disney’s Hulu, all eye the United Kingdom as market growth opportunities.

But will consumers there even care?

New research from online ad exchange OpenX and The Harris Poll, found that nearly 90% of U.K. consumers limit their SVOD services to one or two, with just 12% having three or more.

Indeed, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Now TV, ITV Player, and BritBox, among others, currently dominate the U.K. market. 

The report was commissioned to underscore the effectiveness of advertising in an evolving media landscape and changing consumer viewing habits.

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Regardless, television consumption continues to proliferate. The report found that consumers stream nearly seven hours of video per week. Millennials stream upwards of 10 hours weekly.

Older baby boomers, on the other hand, consume 16 hours of live TV weekly, while millennials stream 77% more than watch traditional TV.

“Whether they are watching TV, using a mobile device or browsing the web on a desktop computer, the way consumers are engaging with media is changing rapidly,” Gavin Stirrat, VP of partner services, EMEA at OpenX, said in a statement.

Analyst: Amazon Upping Prime Video Content Down Under

With Disney’s pending subscription streaming video service targeting Australia as a major market, Amazon has upped its Prime Video content availability in the region.

While Netflix remains the dominant over-the-top video player in Australia, new data from Ampere Analysis suggests Prime Video has been more aggressive with new content offerings in a SVOD market that will reach 65%  household penetration by the end of the year.

Prime Video increased its content hours by 84% from June 2018 through June 2019, compared to just 18% for Netflix.

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Ampere contends Netflix has produced fewer original productions (17) in Australia compared to other regions such as Mexico (36) and France (30).

“The Australian SVOD market is characterized by transition and opportunity, so it’s not surprising that Amazon has been concentrating efforts here,” Guy Bisson, director at Ampere Analysis, wrote in a note. “The new service from Disney will meet the demand for Children & Family and Action & Adventure content in particular, and by developing a family of streaming services, it will be a ‘super aggregator’”.

The London-based research firm says Aussie SVOD homes prefer indie/arthouse, horror, arts & culture, kids, romance and action compared to documentaries.

The latter among Amazon’s biggest content growth categories, in addition to action/adventure, crime/thrillers and reality.

Netflix continues to focus on romance, crime/thriller, comedy and drama, while local SVOD rival Stan targets kids and family.

“We believe [these trends] will continue, anticipating that the gap we’ve identified in the market for a premium streaming aggregator will be filled by partnerships, original productions and acquisitions,” Bisson wrote. “This is a great time to be a [streamer]in Australia.”