Amazon, Lionsgate Ink Latin America Distribution Deal

Amazon and Lionsgate Feb. 27 announced an exclusive multiyear agreement under which Lionsgate will make available select movies to Prime Video members in Mexico, Brazil and the rest of Latin America. The agreement includes Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment movies to stream on Prime Video following their local theatrical release in the region.

Under the pact, Prime Video becomes the exclusive long-term streaming home in Latin America for Lionsgate movies and branded properties, beginning with John Wick: Chapter 2Saban’s Power Rangers; The Shack; and Jigsaw, the latest installment of Saw horror franchise.

Prime Video will add new Lionsgate releases, including breakout Wonder, starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, along with future releases such as action comedy, The Spy Who Dumped Me, starring Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon; noir thriller, A Simple Favor, featuring Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick; action adventure Robin Hood, featuring Jamie Foxx and Taron Egerton; and young adult thriller, Chaos Walking, starring Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland.

“Amazon is committed to delivering great movies to our Prime Video members across Latin America,” Jason Ropell, VP, worldwide movies, Prime Video, said in a statement.

All titles will be available in HD, and can also be temporarily downloaded and watched offline on compatible mobile devices.

“The complementary strengths of Amazon and Lionsgate, including the innovation of the Prime Video service and the premium quality of Lionsgate content, set this deal apart,” said Peter Iacono, president of international television and digital distribution, at Lionsgate.

 

Global Streaming Video Households Top 250 Million

Households worldwide paying for streaming video services exceeds 250 million, according to new data from Strategy Analytics. The firm predicts the number of homes paying for SVOD services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video will reach about 300 million by the end of 2018 and more than 450 million by 2022.

Strategy Analytics says average monthly household spending on SVOD increased 5% in 2017 to $9.46, with total number of subs reached 345 million by the end of 2017

Households paying for streaming video used on average 1.39 services, with the United States having the highest penetration of SVOD, including 59% of households using at least one service at the end of 2017.

“Streaming video is rapidly becoming a normal part of people’s entertainment options,” Michael Goodman, director, TV & media strategies, said in a statement. “Usage is already at around half of households in the most mature markets and is likely to reach those levels in many other countries in the near future.”

The London-based data incorporated Netflix, Prime Video, Hotstar, IVI.ru, Hulu, Viu and iFlix. It did not include online TV services such as Sky’s NowTV and DirecTV Now.

“Clearly market leaders like Netflix and Amazon will benefit from this trend, but there are also major opportunities for media companies that currently focus on more traditional pay TV and content development business models,” Goodman said.

Survey: Consumers Prefer Downloading Video to Streaming

Subscription streaming video is a global phenomenon, spearheaded by Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

But a new survey suggests many consumers are frustrated by their streaming experience and would prefer downloading content, according to a survey conducted by Penthera, which markets download-to-go (D2Go) functionality.

Downloading content on portable devices enables users to view later without an Internet connection. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu allow subscribers to download select original content.

The survey – based on 804 respondents in January – found that 92% of consumers have been frustrated trying to stream video, with issues related to buffering (65%), slow loading (40%), and placement of advertising (50%).

When issues arise, 53% of respondents said they give up on that streaming session; 26% said they stop using the unsatisfactory service; 11% will cancel their subscriptions.

“Consumers expect content anywhere, on any device, but delivery on that promise is still at the mercy Wi-Fi connectivity,” Dan Taitz, president and COO, Penthera, said in a statement. “Our survey shows that fewer than 9% of respondents said they are ‘never frustrated’ when streaming.”

Penthera found 39% of survey respondents said they would be more likely to subscribe to a service offering D2Go functionality; 34% said they would be more likely to watch programming from a service offering the feature; 18% said they would be less likely to cancel a service with D2Go.

Nearly half of those surveyed said they used download-to-go technology; 21% said the use D2Go to avoid depleting their mobile data plans; 17% don’t want to pay for Internet access at their destination on an airline or at a hotel; and 53% said they’d be willing to pay up to $5 per month to have download as a feature from their favorite streaming service.

“The survey data shows [respondents] see download-to-go functionality as an important tool in assuring the availability of their favorite videos, even if only used occasionally,” said Colin Dixon, analyst with nScreen Media.

 

Amazon Bows Oscar Binge Week

Amazon Prime Video is making movies nominated for the 2018 Academy Awards available for pre-order, rent or purchase prior to the March 4 telecast.

Titles available to rent or buy include Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Get Out.

 Call Me By Your Name and The Shape of Water are available for pre-order; and Get Out is available for purchase or streaming on HBO Now, which is available through Amazon Channels.

 Amazon Studios original movie, The Big Sick, nominated for Best Original Screenplay, is available to stream with a Prime membership.

From March 1-2, Prime Video is making select movies previously nominated for Best Picture available to Prime members to rent for $1.99 each.

Titles include Moonlight, Spotlight, Birdman, 12 Years a Slave, Argo, The Artist, The King’s Speech, The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire, The Departed, Crash, Million Dollar Baby, Chicago, A Beautiful Mind, Gladiator, American Beauty, The Lord of the Rings, Shakespeare in Love and Titanic.

Last year, more than one third of all streams of Oscar-nominated movies took place between the nominations and the awards.

Amazon said serious bingers streamed all five movies on the day prior to the Academy Awards, with one viewer finishing four minutes before Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue.

And within minutes when Moonlight – not La La Land – won Best Picture, streams of the film rose eight times from the previous week.

 

Amazon Reports 31% Hike in Net Sales for 2017

Amazon.com Inc. Feb. 1 announced a 31% spike in net sales for 2017, to $177.9 billion, compared with $136.0 billion in 2016. Excluding a $210 million favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the year, net sales increased 31% compared with 2016.

Operating income decreased 2% to $4.1 billion, Amazon said, compared with operating income of $4.2 billion in 2016. Net income was $3.0 billion, or $6.15 per diluted share, compared with net income of $2.4 billion, or $4.90 per diluted share, in 2016.

In the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2017, net sales rose 38% to $60.5 billion, compared with $43.7 billion in fourth quarter 2016. Excluding  a $1.1 billion favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales increased 36% compared with sales in the fourth quarter of 016.

Operating income in the fourth quarter of 2017 increased 69% to $2.1 billion, compared with operating income of $1.3 billion in 2016. Net income was $1.9 billion in the fourth quarter, or $3.75 per diluted share, compared with net income of $749 million, or $1.54 per diluted share, in Q4 2016.

Amazon says that in 2017, more than 5 billion items shipped with Prime worldwide. More new paid members joined Prime in 2017 than any previous year – both worldwide and in the United States, the company said.

Fire TV Stick and Echo Dot were the best-selling products in 2017 across all of Amazon. Customers purchased tens of millions of Echo devices last year.

In other home entertainment-related news announced by Amazon, the company said that the Prime Video app is now available on Apple TV in over 100 countries.

NFL Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video saw a total of 18.4 million views in 11 games. Prime members in more than 200 countries and territories streamed games on living room devices, including smart TVs and Fire TVs, as well as the Prime Video mobile app and the web.

CBS All Access is now available through Amazon Channels, the over-the-top streaming subscription program for Prime members. CBS is the first Amazon Channels partner to offer a linear feed of a subscriber’s local broadcast station in addition to video on-demand.

Amazon Prime Video continues to launch local original series, including “Breathe” in India, as well as “Pastewka” and “Glory is Gone” in Germany.

Amazon also pointed out that the Amazon Studios’ original movie The Big Sick, written by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

For the first quarter, the company said in a news release, net sales are expected to be between $47.75 billion and $50.75 billion, or to grow between 34% and 42% compared with first quarter 2017. This guidance anticipates a favorable impact of approximately $1.2 billion or 330 basis points from foreign exchange rates. Operating income is expected to be between $300 million and $1.0 billion, compared with $1.0 billion in first quarter 2017.

Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Ramping Up Original Content Spend

Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video are switching from content licensing to content creation in a major way. By 2022, the investment in original movies and TV shows will triple to $10 billion annually, according to new data from The Diffusion Group.

“The Big-3 SVOD players own 60% of TV streaming time,” Brad Schlachter, senior advisor at TDG, said in a statement. “They are looking to maintain if not grow this share by creating compelling originals that serve both to attract new users and retain existing subscribers even as subscription rates increase.”

Indeed, among Netflix subscribers, 21% rate originals as “absolutely critical” in their decision to keep using Netflix, while 41% rank them “very important.”

“The data is unequivocal,” said Schlachter.

Netflix, Prime Video and Hulu – through sophisticated user data – have a much better understanding of the limits of licensed content versus the benefits of original fare.

TDG contends that as studios like Disney pull their most compelling content from SVOD platforms, the necessity of a strong slate of originals becomes all the more obvious.

But the Big-3 are not the only players eyeing a larger slice of the originals on-demand streaming market. In fact, companies such as Facebook and Apple are investing in original TV-quality programming to distribute directly to consumers.

“Of course, not all originals find an audience or generate a huge buzz,” said Schlachter. “But when they do, it can change the fortunes of a company. Just look at what ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ did for Hulu, or what ‘House of Cards’ did for Netflix.”

TiVo: Average Global Viewer Watches 4.4 Hours of Video Daily

Fueled by more than $130 billion investment in programing globally, the average person watches more than four hours of video on a daily basis, according to new data from TiVo.

The United States tops all countries with 5.1 hours spent per day on average consuming video. Other documented regions included the Brazil (4.7 hours), United Kingdom (4.2), Columbia (4.1), Mexico (4.1), France (3.7), and Germany (3.3).

TiVo said the average person spends 28 minutes daily searching for video content, based on online survey of 8,500 pay-TV and over-the-top video respondents.

“Viewers, content owners, new streaming services and devices have created a feedback loop where both supply and demand have grown exponentially,” wrote Jocelin Lee, senior manager, strategic research & market insights, and co-author of the report.

While 87% of U.S. respondents said they subscribe to pay-TV, 64% also pay for streaming video, including 44% using a streaming media device.

Not surprisingly, Netflix dominates among SVOD services with 82% penetration in the U.S., followed by Amazon Prime Video at 47% and Hulu at 32%.

Netflix’s highest regional penetrations include Mexico and Brazil at 91%, respectively. By comparison, Netflix has 65% penetration in France.

Among streaming devices, Roku (29%) enjoys a slight lead over Google Chromecast (21%), followed by Apple TV at 18% market penetration. Google Chromecast enjoys superiority in Columbia, Brazil, Mexico and France – all countries Roku is not sold.

Amazon Fire TV Stick ranks No. 1 in the U.K. and Germany – two strong Amazon ecommerce markets.

TiVo Says 20% of Daily Life Spent Consuming Video

Television tech company TiVo Jan. 9 revealed that the average global consumer spends almost five hours daily consuming and searching video entertainment – about 20% of daily life.

The results are from a survey of 8,500 pay-TV and over-the-top video subscribers across the U.S., Europe and Latin America.

“Consumers today are acting as their own aggregator, piecing together what they need from a variety of video service and device combinations to suit their individual needs,” Paul Stathacopoulos, VP of strategy, said in a statement.

Indeed, while 90% of households still subscribe to pay-TV – including 50% who have been with their operator at least four years – more than 60% also subscribe to a SVOD service such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

The United States ranks No. 1 in average daily viewing hours with 5.1, followed by the Brazil (4.7 hours), United Kingdom (4.2), Columbia (4.1), Mexico (4.1), France (3.7) and Germany (3.3).

Among SVOD services, not surprisingly Netflix dominates – except in Germany where Prime Video controls 69% of the market followed by Netflix and Maxdome at 42% and 12%, respectively.

Notably, despite marketing push toward mobile viewers, the vast majority(77%) of video consumers do so on a traditional television, followed by desktop computers (from 12%), smart phones and tablets (6%).

Roku continues to lead the U.S. streaming media device market (29%), followed by Google Chromecast (21%) and Apple TV (18%). However, Google, Apple and Amazon Fire TV Stick control the global market.

“Success in this new environment will not be about a single content source monopolizing the living room, instead it will be about adapting the business model to deliver value, integrated services and personalization to meet the evolving consumer needs,” said Stathacopoulos.

 

 

 

CBS All Access Seeks Wider Audience via Amazon Channels

Subscription streaming video service CBS All Access is joining Amazon Channels, the ecommerce behemoth’s third-party over-the-top video platform for Prime members.

All Access joins HBO Now, Starz, Cinemax, Showtime, Sports Illustrated TV, Acorn TV and Dove Channel, among others, which pay Amazon to market and bill Prime members for access to their services.

The platform is eyed as a unified front for upstart SVOD services competing against Netflix, Hulu and related online TV services.

With more than two million subscribers, All Access last year announced plans to roll out internationally, beginning in Canada. Joining Amazon Channels could help expedite sub growth.

“As the first Amazon Channels partner to offer a linear feed of a subscriber’s local broadcast stations in addition to video on demand,” Rob Gelick, SVP and GM of digital platforms at CBS Interactive Entertainment, said in a statement.

All Access is the exclusive home to original content such as “Star Trek: Discovery, “No Activity” and “The Good Fight,” among other series. The platform also streams NFL football.

“CBS has produced some of the most popular shows in television history – they have a fantastic selection of hit series,” said Greg Hart, VP, Amazon Video.

 

 

Apple Buying Netflix Seems Like a No-Brainer

NEWS ANALYSIS — Apple acquiring Netflix might seem like M&A fantasy, until you think about it. Apple has more than $200 billion in cash, little debt and is poised to increase its fiscal largess following implementation of President Trump’s corporate tax cuts.

The days of late Steve Jobs’ treatment of video at Apple as a “nice little hobby,” are long gone. The tech giant has pledged to up original program spending from $1 billion to $4.2 billion through 2022.

Last year, Apple contracted Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon to star and co-produce a drama based on morning television – Apple’s first scripted episodic series.

But to what end?

While Apple TV remains a conduit for selling and renting movies and TV shows from iTunes, the market increasing revolves around subscription streaming.

With Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu cornering the SVOD market, and Disney readying a proprietary branded service in 2019, Apple would seem foolish to reinvent the wheel creating its own SVOD.

Citi analysts Jim Suva and Asiya Merchant contend there is a 40% chance Apple CEO Tim Cook pulls the trigger acquiring Netflix.

“The firm has too much cash – nearly $250 billion – growing at $50 billion a year. This is a good problem to have,” Suva and Merchant said in a recent note reported by BusinessInsider.com.

Indeed, much of Apple’s cash sits overseas — largely for tax reasons. That goes away following the tax overhaul, which would impose a one-time 10% tax on foreign cash reserves, leaving Apple with about $220 billion in cash.

Suva and Merchant believe it would take about $73 billion to acquire Netflix – leaving Apple with plenty of funds for related content costs.

More importantly, Apple would acquire a global brand with more than 100 million subscribers, ongoing sub growth and coveted appeal among consumers across all demos.

An online poll from LendEDU found that 79% of millennials favored original content on Netflix compared to other SVOD services.

A 2017 report from IBM Cloud Video found that 90% of domestic respondents subscribe to Netflix, compared to 46% for Prime Video and 27% for Hulu.