Study: Average U.S. SVOD Household Has Access to Almost 100,000 Hours of Content

The average U.S. SVOD household has access to almost 100,000 hours of content, delivered via 3.8 different services, according to research from Ampere Analysis.

It would take 11 years to watch it all back-to-back, and nearly 70 years if the average viewer watched an average of four hours per day, according to Ampere. The main factors driving this increase in content availability are consumer uptake of Amazon Prime’s booming portfolio and the addition of new services such as Disney+ to the household mix, according to the study.

SVOD engagement is even more prominent in households with young kids. Those households have access to nearly five different SVOD services, more than any other demographic. This is up significantly from 3.5 in the same period last year, largely due to the launch of Disney+, and the high uptake of the family-friendly service in the group, according to Ampere. The content available to this demographic group via the VOD services in their household now stands at an average of 102,000 hours.

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Even adults who live alone have an average of 3.1 services, with the average one-person SVOD household having 85,500 hours — almost 10 years — of content at their fingertips.

Almost one third of U.S. SVOD households subscribed to Disney+ in Q1 2020. The service comes with a 4,200-hour catalog and thus adds an average of 1,400 hours of content to the typical SVOD household’s portfolio, Ampere noted.

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Amazon has more than doubled its content catalog in the United States since Q3 2017 according to Ampere Analytics data. The 60% of SVOD households who have both Netflix and Amazon accounts can access more than 100,000 hours of TV shows and movies.

“Consumers already have a vast amount of content at their disposal, and a U.S. household who subscribes to both Netflix and Amazon currently has access to more than 100,000 hours of content from those two services alone,” Ampere senior analyst Toby Holleran said in a statement. “As the market fragments further with additional direct-to-consumer services and households hit a spending ceiling, consumers will become more selective about their SVOD choices. The more expensive services, alongside those without a clear brand and proposition, will find the going gets tougher.”

Apple TV+ Inks Exclusive Deal With The Maurice Sendak Foundation

In a move that will add more childrens stories and characters exclusively to Apple TV+, Apple announced a first-of-its-kind, multiyear deal with The Maurice Sendak Foundation. Through the deal, Apple will reimagine new children’s series and specials based on the books and illustrations by Maurice Sendak, which will premiere globally on $4.99 Apple TV+.

Sendak came to worldwide fame in 1963 with the release of his book Where the Wild Things Are, which has sold more than 20 million copies to date, and this marks the first time that the late author’s foundation has entered into an overall agreement with a streaming service.

Apple will work with writer, director and longtime Sendak collaborator Arthur Yorinks through his Night Kitchen Studios to develop each project inspired by Maurice Sendak’s stories and pictures.

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The Maurice Sendak Foundation not only supports the legacy of its namesake author, but also helps nurture emerging as well-established artists in the field of children’s literature and theater design.

In addition to this agreement, Apple has signed deals for new, original series with well-known franchises in kids and family programming, including Sesame Workshop, Peanuts and, most recently, The Jim Henson Company for “Fraggle Rock.”

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Apple’s lineup of original series for kids and families includes Emmy-nominated, Common Sense and Parents Choice Award-winning “Helpsters”; the DGA and Emmy-nominated “Ghostwriter,” from Sesame Workshop; the Emmy and Annie Award-nominated “Snoopy in Space,” from Peanuts; and the Emmy-nominated “Peanuts in Space: Secrets of Apollo 10.”

Parks: OTT Service Churn Rate Jumped to 41% During Q1

While consumers have jumped into streaming, they have been more fickle about committing to OTT services during the pandemic.

The churn rate for OTT services increased from 35% in Q1 2019 to 41% in Q1 2020, according to research from Parks Associates.

During the COVID-19 crisis, more than two in five U.S. broadband households have trialed an OTT service, and 8% of households have trialed four or more services, according to the report.

“We are seeing a record number of consumers experiment with new OTT services as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and the shifts in strategy in the industry,” said Steve Nason, research director, Parks Associates, in a statement. “OTT services are offering extended free trials to build up engagement, and 8% of U.S. broadband households report they have subscribed to at least one new OTT service since the COVID-19 crisis began.”

Among these new subscribers, 49% subscribed to Disney+ and 27% subscribed to Apple TV+, according to Parks.

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A key question going forward is whether subscribers will keep these services as fewer households shelter-in-place, according to Parks. A significant challenge, especially for services relying on original programming, is delivering new content since production on many series has halted, according to the report.

“The industry is working on new hybrid content strategies as a result of production halts,” Nason said in a statement. “Major players like AT&T for Warner Brothers and Comcast for Universal Studios are greatly concerned about the delays in content production on the launches of new services, like HBO Max and Peacock. Free trials will bring in new subscribers at the launch, and roughly seven in ten have subscribed to at least one OTT service they have trialed. OTT services need to be creative in building an engaging service, but during this time of heavy video consumption, OTT services have the opportunity like never before to win over new video consumers and retain them as long-term subscribers.”

Report: Netflix, Hulu Use Declined as COVID-19 Quarantine Measures Relaxed

The re-opening of the economy from the coronavirus pandemic shutdown could be having an adverse effect on subscription streaming service such as Netflix and Hulu.

New data from Strategy Analytics finds the surge in users of SVOD services during the stay-at-home period was not always sustained once people were allowed to move around more freely.

The report, citing a nationwide survey of more than 4,000 U.S. adults in March, April and May found that 42% of respondents used Netflix in May, compared to 50% in April and 47% in March. User numbers of other services, including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+, followed a similar “pandemic peak” pattern.

The results suggest that significant numbers of users were binging on services in March and April but as restrictions were loosened in May the number of users declined as they were able to pursue more normal activities once again. This did not apply to all services, however: the number of users of both Apple TV+ and CBS All Access rose in both April and May.

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Surveys in the U.S. were fielded online March 21-22 (sample 1,444),  April 21-22 (1,220) and May 22-24 (1,270) and used a nationally representative sample of adults aged 18+.

“Ironically Netflix may have suffered through being the most popular SVOD service, since it appears to have attracted many new but ultimately temporary users during the pandemic,” Michael Goodman, director, TV and media strategies and the report’s author, said in a statement.

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Goodman said Netflix Q2 fiscal results next month would be “watched with interest” to see whether the streaming behemoth’s strong Q1 performance is sustained into Q2.

“We still believe that Netflix numbers will exceed expectations overall during 2020, but now that the pandemic impact is waning, the company will face more traditional challenges associated with customer retention, win-back and targeting the right content to appropriate interests and demographics,” Goodman said.

David Mercer, VP, media and intelligent home, said it’s not surprising that there was a spike in demand for video services as many people were stuck at home for several weeks. SVOD services, he said, have benefited to varying degrees, and must all now focus on retaining customers who joined recently as well as ensuring that their content development strategies are on track.

“This will prove challenging for many players, given the continuing crisis in video production as a result of COVID-19 restrictions,” Mercer said.

Apple TV+ Picks Up Script for Julianne Moore Film ‘Sharper’

Apple has picked up the spec feature screenplay Sharper, starring and produced by Academy Award winner Julianne Moore, for its subscription streaming service Apple TV+.

Sharper follows a con artist, played by Moore, set in the world of Manhattan’s billionaire echelon.

Moore will produce Sharper with Bart Freundlich, Brian Gatewood, Alessandro Tanaka and Erik Feig of Picturestart. Gatewood and Tanaka will write the script. A24 will serve as the studio, with Picturestart attached as the production company.

Sharper marks Moore’s second project with Apple, following the upcoming limited series “Lisey’s Story,” a thriller from writer Stephen King and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television, in which Moore will star and executive produce, to premiere exclusively on Apple TV+.

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In addition to Sharper, Apple and A24’s feature film partnership includes On the Rocks from Sofia Coppola, starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones, and The Sky Is Everywhere. Apple will also soon premiere Greyhound, starring Tom Hanks, on July 10; and the Sundance 2020 Grand Jury Prize-winning documentary Boys State with A24 as the distribution partner on the film.

Tom Hanks WW2 Flick ‘Greyhound’ Streams July 10 on Apple TV+

The Tom Hanks World War II movie Greyhound will premiere July 10 exclusively on Apple TV+, the tech giant’s subscription streaming service. The Sony Pictures release had been slated to hit theaters on Father’s Day — a strategy scuttled by theater closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Apple last month acquired distribution rights to the movie about a first-time Navy captain tasked with guiding 37 Allied ships across the Atlantic while targeted by German U-boats. Hanks wrote the script based on the novel The Good Shepherd by C.S. Forester. Apple is reportedly investing heavily in original and third-party catalog content to buttress a SVOD platform criticized for lack thereof compared to competitors Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.

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Hanks is also working with Apple on the wartime series “Masters of Air.” Apple TV+ launched last Nov. 1 for $4.99 monthly. The service is included free (for one year) with any Apple hardware purchase. Ampere Analysis claims Apple TV+ has 33 million subscribers, which includes free members.

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Parks: Disney+, Apple TV+ See Success in First Six Months of Business

New data from Parks Associates suggests Apple’s foray into the subscription streaming market is stronger than speculated.

Since Apple TV+ launched last November, around the same time as Disney+, it has taken a backseat to the much-ballyhooed SVOD service from the Walt Disney Co.

And, indeed, Disney+ has an enviable 25% adoption rate among U.S. broadband households after just six months in the market, Parks Associates says.

And yet Apple TV+ has reached nearly 10% adoption, according to Parks — not a bad showing, considering how much more hype the Disney platform has received.

Disney+ and Apple TV+ are fourth and fifth, respectively, among SVOD services adopted by consumers.

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Parks’ data was generated from an online survey of more than 10,000 consumers fielded between March 8 and April 3 to heads of broadband households, after the COVID-19 crisis had begun in the United States.

Additional data from the market snapshot:

  • Nearly three in 10 broadband households report their use of online video services has increased because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • 81% of Disney+ subscribers subscribe to Netflix, as do 72% of Apple TV+ subscribers. Nearly one-half of Disney+ subscribers canceled another OTT service over the last 12 months, as did roughly two-thirds of Apple TV+ subscribers.

“Disney took a broad-based content approach to its Disney+ service, including its Pixar, Stars Wars, Marvel, Nat Geo and 20th Century Fox properties to make it broadly appealing, far beyond its traditional audience of families with young children,” research director Steve Nason said in a statement. “Very few Disney+ subscribers subscribe only to this service, so households are not picking up Disney in place of another service but adding to their home’s other OTT services. We will see, as household budgets tighten up, if Disney+ has done enough to become an ‘essential service’ for its subscribers.”

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The Dallas-based research group said Disney+ also benefited from promotions such as the introduction of the $9.99 Disney+/Hulu/ESPN+ bundle and its partnership with Verizon where unlimited mobile subscribers and new internet subscribers get a free year of the service.

“Apple TV+ promoted a small stable of original programming and is now looking to supplement that with more third-party content,” Nason said. “Apple TV+’s growth is due largely to a free year of service for those who recently purchased an Apple device, which brings the firm’s brand loyalists into the service. Apple TV+ does have a higher percentage of exclusive non-Netflix subscribers, plus a higher number of households that recently cancelled another OTT service, so it appears Apple does have a core group of dedicated subscribers. Apple’s challenge is to expand beyond that group.”

Apple TV+ to Bow ‘Hedy Lamarr’ Starring Gal Gadot

“Hedy Lamarr,” an eight-episode limited series starring and executive produced by Gal Gadot (“Wonder Woman” franchise), will premiere globally on Apple TV+.

The series is written and executive produced by Golden Globe Award winner Sarah Treem (“The Affair,” “House of Cards,” “In Treatment”).

Hailed as “the most beautiful woman in the world,” Hedy Lamarr was first exalted and iconized, then destroyed and eventually forgotten by American audiences, all the while keeping her brilliant mind active through a series of inventions, one of which became the basis for the spread spectrum technology used today. The series will follow the life story of the Hollywood glamour girl, spanning 30 years from Hedy’s escape from prewar Vienna, to her meteoric rise in the Golden Age of Hollywood, to her fall and eventual disgrace at the dawn of the Cold War.

The notion for the historical drama originated from Gadot and producing partner Jaron Varsano (“My Dearest Fidel”), who then partnered with Emmy and BAFTA Award winner Warren Littlefield (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) and Treem, the latter of whom created the series, according to an Apple release.

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In addition to Gadot and Treem, “Hedy Lamarr” will be executive produced by Littlefield and Katie Robbins (“The Affair”). Gadot and Varsano will produce through their production company, Pilot Wave. Adam Haggiag (Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story) and Alexandra Dean (Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story) will serve as co-producers, with Hedy Lamarr’s children Anthony Loder and Denise Deluca consulting on the series.

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Apple TV+ is available on the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac, select Samsung and LG smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices, as well as at tv.apple.com, for $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial. The Apple TV app will be available on Sony and VIZIO smart TVs later this year, according to the release.

Apple Secures Rights to Next Martin Scorsese Movie

Apple reportedly has taken another major step in Hollywood, securing distribution rights to Martin Scorsese’s next major movie, Killers of the Flower Moon. The former Paramount Pictures title stars Oscar winners Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, among others.

The Wall Street Journal, citing sources, reported Flower Moon — about Native American killings in Oklahoma — will be branded an Apple Original Film, with Paramount distributing the $200 million production theatrically and Apple streaming it on its SVOD platform Apple TV+.

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The acquisition follows Apple acquiring the rights to Tom Hanks’ World War II naval drama Greyhound from Sony Pictures.

Scorsese’s last movie, The Irishman, was acquired by Netflix, which marketed the movie staring De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino heavily for industry awards. Despite myriad nominations, Irishman didn’t win a single major award — which some observers contend had much to do with Netflix’s concurrent streaming/theatrical distribution strategy. Major exhibitors have refused to screen Netflix movies in protest.

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Netflix, Apple, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video, among others, won’t have to worry about the Academy Awards requirement that a movie be screened theatrically in Los Angeles County for a qualifying run of at least seven consecutive days, during which period screenings must occur at least three times daily.

With Hollywood and movie theaters in shutdown since March due to the coronavirus, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors last month ruled that for the 93rd Academy Awards taking place Feb. 21, 2021, movies that had a previously planned theatrical release but are initially made available on a commercial streaming or VOD service may qualify in the Best Picture award.

Expect Flower Moon, Greyhound and other streaming feature films to be in the mix for Oscar consideration as the year progresses.

Amazon Prime Video remains the first and only SVOD platform to win an Oscar for an original movie, Manchester by the Sea, taking home best original screenplay (Kenneth Lonergan, who also directed) and best actor (Casey Affleck) honors in 2017. Amazon also picked best foreign-language film distributing Iran’s The Salesman.

Apple TV+ Gets Tom Hanks WW2 Movie ‘Greyhound’

Apple TV+ has reportedly secured streaming rights to Tom Hanks’ new World War II naval movie, Greyhound, originally slated to hit theaters on May 8 and then delayed to June 19 from Sony Pictures.

With the exhibition industry shuttered due to the coronavirus, Sony shopped the $50 million budget movie to alternative channels, with Apple reportedly winning the bidding war. The media/tech giant is eager to upgrade a content portfolio that features about 30 original series and scant catalog fare. Apple hasn’t announced a release date for the movie.

Sony retains theatrical distribution rights for Greyhound in China, according to CNBC.

Hanks stars as a U.S. Navy commander assigned to his first war-time mission defending a merchant ship convoy under attack by German submarines in the Atlantic.

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It marks the first Hanks movie to debut in the over-the-top video distribution channel. The Oscar winner, who wrote the screenplay, co-stars with Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan and Elisabeth Shue, among others.

Hanks is no stranger to war movies, including 1998 Oscar winner Saving Private Ryan, and 2001 HBO series “Band of Brothers,” which Hanks helped produce, direct and write.