Analyst: SVOD Growth Leading to Media Consolidation

The subscription streaming video market has just expanded with the inclusion of Disney+ and Apple TV+ into a market controlled by Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. And next year includes the addition of HBO Max and NBC Universal’s Peacock.

Heading into 2020, new projections from Strategy Analytics Television & Media Strategies suggests the SVOD market will consolidate with third-party traditional media companies eyeing a seat at the table through mergers and acquisitions.

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The London-based research firm says traditional domestic pay-TV operators will lose nearly 9% of their subscriber base in 2020 with third-party media companies eyeing mergers and acquisitions to remain relevant.

“As a result of the proliferation of broadband and connected devices consumers have more choices than ever in how, when, and where they connect with movies, TV, music, and games,” Michael Goodman, director, digital media strategies, said in a statement. “As consumer adoption of online alternatives grows the degree of disruption felt by traditional distribution models is accelerating.”

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Apple Makes Golden Globe History with ‘The Morning Show’ Nominations

Upstart Apple TV+ made history of sorts becoming the first SVOD service to receive Golden Globe nominations (“The Morning Show”) in its first year of service.

The service received a Best Television Series — Drama nomination in addition to dual nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Drama for stars and executive producers Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. The series also stars Steve Carell.

The awards will be presented at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 5, 2020.

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Apple TV+ ($4.99) launched Nov. 2, representing the tech giant’s foray into OTT distribution.

“The Morning Show” explores the cutthroat world of morning news and the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning. Told through the lens of two complicated women working to navigate the minefield of high-octane jobs, while facing crises in both their personal and professional lives.

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The nominations are also the first drama TV actress nominations for both Aniston and Witherspoon. Aniston is now only the fourth person in history to receive Golden Globe nominations for both TV Comedy and Drama, Lead Actress.

“Thank you to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for today’s historic nominations,” Zack Van Amburg, Apple’s head of worldwide video, said in a statement. “[T]oday’s nominations are a true testament to the powerful storytelling that went into ‘The Morning Show,’ as well as all of our Apple Originals.”

Despite reported struggles gaining consumer traction (in comparison with Disney+), Apple said “The Morning Show” is resonating with audiences globally.

“We cannot wait to continue exploring the world of ‘The Morning Show’ into season two,” said Jamie Erlicht, Apple’s head of worldwide video.

“The Morning Show” streams exclusively on Apple TV+ on the Apple TV app, with new episodes premiering worldwide every Friday. The season finale premieres on Dec. 20.

Study: New SVOD Players to Challenge Netflix, YouTube Viewing Domination

The reign of Netflix and YouTube as top online video destinations globally is under threat from a new group of over-the-top platforms such as Disney+ and Apple TV+.

With HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock launching next year, global OTT video viewership will be fragmented further, according to new data from eMarketer.

The venerable dotcom research firm said Netflix in 2018 topped YouTube as the most-watched video service, with average daily consumption reaching 23.2 minutes compared to 22.3 minutes for YouTube.

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eMarketer claims, beginning in 2020, Netflix’s daily video consumption will decline from a peak of 27% to 25.7% by 2021. YouTube’s daily digital video time will drop from 23.4% to 21.7%.

“Even though Americans are spending more time watching Netflix, people’s attention will become more divided as new streamers emerge,” analyst Ross Benes said in statement. “The video streaming landscape will get crowded, which will drive down the share of time that people devote to Netflix.”

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While increased competition may impact Netflix’s global ranking, usage among its subscribers is projected to increase, according to eMarketer. Average daily Netflix viewing time among adult users is projected to increase 2.2% to 56.6 minutes per day in 2020.

2019 was the first year digital video topped 25.4% of users’ total digital consumption, which includes time spent on apps and surfing the Web, but excludes social media.

“Video streaming is a mainstream, daily routine for most U.S. adults, occurring on all devices and increasingly when viewers are on the go,” added analyst Oscar Orozco said. “In fact, an April 2019 study from OpenX found that nearly one-third of users of subscription streaming platforms say screen size has no impact on what they watch or for how long. Because of this, video will continue to be the main driver of digital media consumption in the coming years.”

Netflix Series ‘The Witcher’ and ‘You’ Top TV Time Most Anticipated Shows Charts

Netflix dominated the list of top anticipated returning and new shows on TV Time’s December charts.

TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the company. TV Time’s “Anticipation Report” is based on data from those users.

Netflix’s “The Witcher,” debuting Dec. 20, took the top spot on the anticipated new shows chart. Based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s book series of the same name, the adventure follows the story of Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) who struggles to find his place in the world where people often prove to be more wicked than beasts. Coming in at No. 2 was Netflix’s “V Wars,” about a doctor pitted against his best friend when a fast-spreading disease starts to make people crave blood. It debuts Dec. 5. Showtime took the third spot with “The L Word: Generation Q,” a sequel series that relocates to the east side of Los Angeles and follows a new, diverse generation of LGBTQ+ friends as they experience love, sex and heartbreak. Rounding out the top five anticipated new shows were Hulu’s “Reprisal” (No. 4), about a femme fatale who leads a campaign against her brother and his gang of gearheads, and new streaming entrant Apple TV+’s “Truth Be Told” (No. 5), following a true-crime podcaster (Octavia Spencer) during an investigation of a convicted serial killer.

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Among returning shows, Netflix took two of the top five spots. The service’s “You” topped the chart. In season two of the drama, debuting Dec. 26, the stalker moves to Los Angeles and begins to obsess over a new love interest. Netflix’s “Lost in Space,” season two of which debuts Dec. 24, took the silver. “Vikings,” the History Channel’s first original scripted series, appeared at No. 3 among returning shows, while Amazon Prime’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” with season three debuting Dec. 6, was No. 4, and Hulu’s “Marvel’s Runaways,” with season three (its last) hitting screens Dec. 13, rounded out the chart at No. 5.

 

Most Anticipated New Shows for December:

  1. “The Witcher” (Netflix) — Dec. 20
  2. “V Wars” (Netflix) — Dec. 5
  3. “The L Word: Generation Q” (Showtime) — Dec. 8
  4. “Reprisal” (Hulu) — Dec. 6
  5. “Truth Be Told” (Apple TV+) — Dec. 6

 

Most Anticipated Returning Shows for December:

  1. “You” (Netflix) — Dec. 26
  2. “Lost in Space” (Netflix) — Dec. 24
  3. “Vikings” (History Channel) — Dec. 4
  4. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime) — Dec. 6
  5. “Marvel’s Runaways” (Hulu) — Dec. 13

Apple Halts ‘The Banker’ Movie Debut

Apple unexpectedly pulled a Nov. 21 screening of its first theatrical movie, The Banker, citing unspecified concerns surrounding the film.

The company subsequently postponed the film’s theatrical release as well, according to Variety, as filmmakers probe accusations of historical inaccuracy and sexual abuse by co-producer Bernard Garrett Jr., whose father is portrayed in the film by Anthony Mackie.

The film stars Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson as two black businessmen who train a working-class white man (Nicholas Hoult) to be the face of their growing real estate and banking operations while they pose as a janitor and a chauffeur. Their success ultimately draws the attention of the federal government, which threatens everything they have built. The movie also stars Nia Long.

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Pegged as a potential awards contender, The Banker was set to screen at the AFI confab in Los Angeles, with a Dec. 6 theatrical launch thereafter.

“We purchased The Banker earlier this year as we were moved by the film’s entertaining and educational story about social change and financial literacy,” Apple said in a media statement. “Last week some concerns surrounding the film were brought to our attention. We, along with the filmmakers, need some time to look into these matters and determine the best next steps.”

The film also was scheduled to bow on Apple’s upstart Apple TV+ subscription streaming service in January, a launch that is now also off the books. Apple is spending upwards of $6 billion on original content for its service targeting iPhone and Android users.

‘The Mandalorian’ Gives Disney+ Early Streaming Edge Over Apple TV+ Programming

The streaming wars have begun and early returns suggest Disney’s $6.99 branded subscription streaming service, Disney+, scored the first programming hits in comparison to Apple TV+ ($4.99).

“The Mandalorian,” the Disney+ exclusive “Star Wars”-themed original series, generated nearly 20 million “demand expressions” on its first day of release (Nov. 12), according to Parrot Analytics. That was nearly five times the first-day “demand” for the high-profile Apple TV+ series “The Morning News,” with 4.3 million “expressions” on Oct. 30.

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“Morning News” features Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell’s return to episodic TV. The series also stars Reese Witherspoon.

Parrot, which compiles its weekly proprietary “expressions” yardstick across social media posts, chatter and related metrics, disclosed the data to Business Insider.

The data does not necessarily reflect actual viewership numbers, including time spent streaming programming. Disney and Apple have not disclosed that information.

“Mandalorian” from producer Jon Favreau, bested Apple’s entire original programming slate, which includes “For All Mankind” (11.6 million expressions); “Dickinson” (8.4 million), and “See” (6.2 million).

It remains to be seen if “Mandalorian” bested Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” which has topped Parrot’s digital originals chart for 20 consecutive weeks.

Roku App Now Live on Apple Watch

Last month Roku announced the Apple TV app was available on the Roku platform. Now the Roku app is now available on the Apple Watch.

To access the new functionality, Apple users must update the Roku app to version 6.1.3 via their iPhone, and the app will appear on Apple Watch.

The app on Apple Watch features a remote feature to control the Roku device directly from Apple Watch through a circular crown on the watch.

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Apple users can switch channels on their TV with a tap of the watch screen. Channels are listed in order of most recently launched.

Simply tap the voice icon in the app and say commands like “Launch Hulu,” “search for comedies,” “switch to HDMI 1” for your Roku TV, and much more.

Use the Roku app for Apple Watch to signal your Roku remote and it will play an audible chime so you can find it in the couch cushions. Available on the Roku Ultra and select Roku TV models.

Report: Disney+ to Reach Less Than 50% of Netflix Sub Total by 2025

On the eve of the high-profile launch of the Disney+ streaming video platform, subscriber projections continue unabated.

New data from Digital TV Research suggests Disney+ will attract 101 million subs by 2025 — less than half of Netflix’s projected 228 million worldwide tally. The SVOD pioneer is expected to gain 70 million subs, including 6 million in the United States. Disney will grow subs significantly after launching service in Western Europe on March 31, 2020.

With Apple TV+ (with 27 million), Disney+ and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max (30 million) relying on promotions and partnerships to jumpstart subscriber retention in the U.S., subscriber gains abroad will be key, according to analyst Simon Murray.

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“Only 29% of Netflix’s subscribers will be in the U.S. by 2025,” Murray said in a statement. “The proportion will be as high as 80% for the younger HBO Max.”

Regardless, DTVR contends the five global services (including Amazon Prime Video and excluding domestic-based Hulu) will comprise 529 million subs by 2025.

“Competition is intense, with several platforms ‘reclaiming’ content from others and with price wars in place,” Murray said, adding the mature U.S. market remains the most important for all services.

 

Hastings: Netflix Sub Numbers Not as Important as Time Spent Streaming

It’s no secret Netflix subscriber growth is slowing as the SVOD pioneer reaches market saturation. The service is projected to reach 165 million subs worldwide at the end of the current fiscal quarter, ending Dec. 31.

That reality at a time when high-profile competitors such as Apple, Disney, WarnerMedia and NBC Universal enter the streaming video wars underscores why Netflix co-founder/CEO Reed Hastings is hoping Wall Street and others will shift their focus from sub growth to viewing hours.

Speaking Dec. 6 at The New York Times DealBook confab in New York, Hastings said time spent streaming content should become the new metric underscoring a service’s success.

“You’ll hear some subscriber numbers but you can just bundle things so that’s not going to be that relevant,” Hastings said. “So the real measurement will be time — how do consumers vote with their evenings? What mix of all the services do they end up watching?”

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Earlier this year Streaming Observer concluded Netflix subs worldwide spent 164.8 million combined hours a day watching content — and in the process used nearly 500 million GB of data on a daily basis.

Indeed, Hastings’ comment may ring true as nascent competitors such as Apple TV+, Disney+ and HBO Max offer free service to in-house and third-party platforms such as Verizon and AT&T. Apple is offering its service free for one year with any Apple hardware purchase.

Netflix itself has a promotional free year of service with select T-Mobile service plans.

Hastings contends most consumers will subscribe to multiple services, reiterating that he will personally subscribe to Disney+ (“They have great shows!” he said) upon its Nov. 12 launch.

At the end of the day, Hastings is betting consumers will lean toward established brands with proven track records in the SVOD space.

“When you think, ‘Do I turn on cable, do I turn on YouTube, do I turn on Netflix?’ we want you to choose Netflix,” he said.

Report: 70% of U.S. Respondents Say There’s Too Much Streaming Video

AppleTV+ and Disney+ are apparently entering a crowded SVOD market.

Likewise Inc. published new research that found more than half of Americans surveyed with a streaming service believe there are too many streaming services. Launched in 2018, Likewise is a recommendation software company catering to movies, TV shows, books and podcasts.

According to an Oct. 17 survey of 1,501 people, the average streaming household has three streaming services and 70% of those surveyed agreed that despite having access to so much content, they often struggle to figure out what to watch next.

Ian Morris, CEO of Likewise, said streaming services largely provide recommendations to their viewers, but only for shows on that particular service.

“The bottom line is that people need help figuring out what to watch and where to watch it. That’s the problem we’re solving for Likewise users and why we created the Likewise TV app,” Morris said in a statement.

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The survey found streamers spend more than 15 minutes trying to decide what to watch before diving into their next TV show or movie. In fact, nearly one in five spend more than 20 minutes reviewing their choices whenever they are looking for something new to watch.

Other key findings about streaming users from the survey include:

  • Half (49%) say they spend too much time trying to find new things to watch and that number increases sharply for people with more services: 39% for people with one streaming service, 49% for people with two to four, and 68% for those with five or more.
  • 44% find navigating multiple streaming services frustrating and confusing.
    59% say that they often get frustrated when they can’t find a specific show or movie.
  • 86% say that recommendations from friends and family are useful in deciding what to watch next.
  • Over a third (36%) of users with more than one streaming service plan to cancel at least one of their current streaming services within the next year. This increases to 59% for those that have 5 or more services.

 

“The explosion of content on the small screen is a double-edged sword for viewers,” Morris said. “We have more high-quality choices than ever before, but we’re wasting hours and hours looking for the next ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘Stranger Things.'”

Likewise found almost half (47%) of streaming users expect to subscribe to at least one new streaming service within the next year. About 41% would consider subscribing to Disney+, rising to 60% for those ages 25-34.

Only 25% would consider subscribing to Apple TV+, with most interest coming from 18-24 year olds, 35% of whom would consider subscribing.
A quarter (25%) would also consider subscribing to HBO Max, with most interest coming from 35-44 year olds, 32% of whom would consider subscribing. Only 8% would consider subscribing to Peacock by NBC Universal.