World Cup Soccer Helps Double Q2 Global Streaming Video Consumption

Spurred by the FIFA Russia World Cup 2018 quadrennial soccer competition, global streaming video consumption in the second quarter (ended June 30) topped 5.5 billion hours, up 115% from 2.5 billion hours in the previous-year period, according to new data from Conviva.

The media-measurement firm said a record-breaking 7.9 million people streamed the France vs. Argentina World Cup match on June 30. The quarter saw 17.2 billion total streaming video plays across 973 million apps with as many as 7.9 million concurrent streams.

North America continues to lead in OTT video consumption with 69.2% market share, followed by Europe (15%), Asia (14.2%) and the rest of the world (ROW) at 1.2%.

Streaming hours increased 139% in North America; 90% in ROW; 32% in Europe and 22% in Asia.

Conviva also measured which devices are used to stream and found that in Q2 there continued to be a shift away from PCs (24% of plays) towards mobile devices (49% of plays), especially for short-form content. On the other hand, long-form content consumption shifted toward larger screens via connected TV platforms such as Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast, which accounted for 51% of total viewing hours.

Among connected TV platforms, Roku continued to lead with 22% of all viewing hours and 8% of all plays. Meanwhile, Xbox, Google’s Chromecast, and Amazon’s Fire TV all showed tremendous gains, experiencing more than two times video consumption compared to the same period a year ago.

“The demand for streaming TV globally is growing at a stunning rate,” Bill Demas, CEO of Conviva, said in a statement. “Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV are leading the connected TV charge with growth and share of engagement.”

Apple Ups Q3 ‘Services’ Revenue 31%

Apple may be known for the iPhone, iPad Apple Watch, but its digital content business, which includes sales of digital movies and TV shows on iTunes and Apple TV, remains an emerging giant.

The tech company July 31 reported third-quarter (ended June 30) services revenue of more than $9.5 billion, which was up 31% from services revenue of $7.2 billion during the previous-year period.

The segment, which also includes AppleCare, Apple Pay, licensing and other services, benefited from a one-time favorable $236 million resolution of various litigation. The unit is headed by Eddy Cue, SVP, Internet software and services.

Overall, Apple generated net income of $11.5 billion on revenue of $53.2 billion, compared to income of $8.7 billion and revenue of $45.4 billion last year.

The company sold more than 41.3 million iPhones, 11.5 million iPads and 3.7 million Macs in the quarter – the latter down 13% from the previous-year period.

Parks: Streaming Media Players Used More Frequently Than Smart TV

Streaming media players such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Google Chromecast are the most frequently used Internet-connected entertainment devices, with 41% of owners using their devices daily or almost daily, according to new data from Parks Associates.

The research firm said 34% of smart TV or smart PVR/DVR (i.e. TiVo) owners use these devices daily – slightly more than video game consoles. About 15% use Internet-connected Blu-ray Disc players.

The firm’s study shows that among consumers who say their streaming media player is their preferred device for accessing online content, they report spending 10.4 hours per week watching online video content on this device – compared to 9.8 hours among smart TV owners.

“The smart TV is the most commonly used Internet-connected entertainment device, and it is the device most commonly associated with pay-TV services, but when looking specifically at device owners, consumers are spending more time online with their streaming media players,” research analyst Kristen Hanich said in a statement.

While almost half of U.S. broadband households own a gaming console, only 37% of households actually connect that device to the Internet. About 44% of U.S. broadband households connect a smart TV to the internet, while 53% of households own this product. Over 34% of streaming media player owners now own an Amazon Fire TV, up from 28% in Q1 2017.

“Sixty percent of households that have at least one Internet-connected entertainment device own multiple devices – their viewing habits often vary by device as well as by room, with some devices and rooms over-indexing in terms of content type watched,” said Hanich.

Parks will discuss the online video and OTT markets at the upcoming conference Future of Video: OTT, Pay TV, and Digital Media Dec. 10-12 at the Marina del Rey Marriott in Los Angeles.

 

 

 

Online TV Service Philo Bows on Apple, Amazon Devices

Upstart online TV service Philo July 10 announced it is now available on Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV, giving subs access to 40 pay-TV channels for $16 per month.

The San Francisco-based service also announced that it has raised more than $40 million from existing investors with AMC Networks, Discovery and Viacom leading the company’s Series C round of funding.

Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV add to the list of platforms Philo is available on, including Roku devices, desktop and Web browsers, iPhones, and Android devices via Chrome (native app coming soon), as well as more than 35 participating TVE apps.

“The expansion onto Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV is a natural extension for us and allows many new people to discover and enjoy Philo, as well as expanding the viewing options for our existing subscribers,” CEO Andrew McCollum said in a statement.

With this new round of funding, McCollum said the service would invest in product features/enhancements and expand marketing efforts. The company is also developing additional innovations, including a socially-driven TV experience.

Currently, Philo subs can watch on up to three different devices at the same time; an unlimited 30-day DVR, an on-demand library, pause any live channel, start programs from the beginning, and watch programs that have aired in the past three days; and a streamlined interface, intelligent search, and the ability to send shows to connected friends.

 

 

Apple Previews New Operating System for Apple TV 4K, Announces Deal With Charter

Apple June 4 previewed the tvOS 12 operating system for Apple TV 4K with support for Dolby Atmos audio, new features to easily access shows and movies, and aerial screensavers shot from space. The company also announced that Charter Communications, the second-largest cable operator in the United States, will begin offering Apple TV 4K to its customers.

Apple TV 4K debuted last fall. The service offers customers the largest collection of 4K HDR movies, according to Apple, including free 4K HDR upgrades to previously purchased movies in customers’ iTunes libraries.

“This fall, iTunes will be home to the largest collection of Dolby Atmos-supported movies anywhere, and these titles will also include Dolby Atmos audio for free,” according to an Apple press release. “With tvOS 12, Apple TV 4K will be the only streaming player both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos certified, delivering the highest quality cinematic experience of stunning 4K HDR visuals and immersive sound that flows all around in three-dimensional space.”

Also, later this year, Charter customers in nearly 50 million households will have access to live channels and tens of thousands of on-demand programs via an all-new Spectrum TV app on their Apple TV 4K, iPhone and iPad, integrated with Siri and the Apple TV App, Apple reported. In addition, as part of this collaboration, Charter will be offering iPhones and iPads to customers as they grow their mobile presence. Charter joins AT&T’s DirecTV Now in the United States, CANAL+ in France and Salt in Switzerland, which have begun offering customers Apple TV 4K with their services.

The Apple TV App on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV allows customers to find and watch TV shows and movies from more than 100 participating video apps in 10 countries, according to Apple. Single sign-on for Apple TV and iOS has allowed users to sign in once to get access to all the video apps available through their cable subscription. With tvOS 12, Apple further simplifies the authentication process with “zero sign-on.” Apple TV detects the user’s broadband network and automatically signs them in to all the supported apps they receive through their subscription — no typing required, according to Apple. Zero sign-on begins with Charter later this year and will expand to other providers over time.

In collaboration with the International Space Station National Lab and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Apple unveiled new aerials shot from space by NASA astronauts, “so Apple TV customers can enjoy even more stunning scenes filmed in 4K HDR,” according to Apple. Aerial screensavers will also be more interactive, allowing viewers to see the location information and swipe between dozens of aerials, the company noted.

Additional tvOS 12 features for Apple TV 4K and Apple TV 4th generation make it easier for customers to access shows and movies, according to Apple:

— With iOS 12, users can securely AutoFill passwords from iPhone and iPad to Apple TV to easily sign in to Apple TV apps.

— The Apple TV Remote will be automatically added to Control Center on iPhone or iPad for Apple TV users, giving users quick access to Apple TV controls.

— Home control systems such as Control4, Crestron and Savant can be used to control Apple TV, including using Siri for voice search and control.

“The arrival of Dolby Atmos on Apple TV, ‘zero sign-on,’ a deal with Charter Spectrum, a new TV OS and, perhaps more tangentially, Siri support for third-party apps, all point towards an evolutionary product, rather than a revolutionary one, which we have become accustomed to from Apple over the years,” read a Futuresource Consulting blog in response to the announcements.

Futuresource estimates that there were approximately 21 million Apple TVs in use worldwide at the end of 2017, approaching half of these in the United States.

“Apple TV continues to add features, build partnerships and is clearly striving to offer the best quality digital streamer experience there is — albeit at a higher price than its competitors,” read the Futuresource blog. “Service partnerships will therefore be key to driving the attractiveness of the product and a channels approach, akin or better than Amazon Channels and Roku’s equivalent, will also be hugely important if Apple still wants to become the main entertainment hub in the home — something which Amazon arguably has gained a lead in.”

The new tvOS will be available this fall as a free software update for Apple TV 4K and Apple TV 4th generation. For more information, visit apple.com/apple-tv-4K.

Parks: Streaming Media Device Use Tops Smart TV

More homes with high-speed Internet service own a smart TV than a streaming media device, yet usage of Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV is higher, according to new data from Parks Associates.

The research firm found that nearly 40% of broadband-enabled homes own a streaming media device, up from about 6% in 2010.

More than 70% of streaming media player (SMP) owners use their devices at least once per week, compared to 59% of smart TV owners. About 44% of SMP owners use their device daily as compared to 37% of smart TV owners. Almost 50% of smart TV owners also own a streaming media player.

Separately, flat-panel purchases including 4K/Ultra HD technology rose from 14% to 30% among U.S. broadband households.

“Smart TVs earned the highest [score] among consumers out of all the CE products tested, but streaming media players still have higher usage rates, indicating these devices have firmly established their role in their ability to connect users with content quickly and easily,” analyst Kristen Hanich said in a statement.

Amazon’s share of streaming media players owned in U.S. broadband households has increased by 4% since last year, taking some of Google’s share of the installed base. Roku’s share has held steady at 37% for the past year.

“Roku leads in multiple usability categories, while the Apple TV leads in terms of gaming and the ability to purchase content,” said Hanich. “Amazon’s Fire TV has moved up to second place in the ease-of-setup category and is close to the Apple TV’s score in several more, including ease of finding something to watch and ease of purchasing content, which could account in part for its growing market share.”

 

 

Report: Apple Planning to Streamline Access to Video Streaming Services on Its TV App

Apple is looking to streamline access to video streaming services on its TV app, according to a report from Bloomberg.

The tech giant has a plan in the works to sell subscriptions to video services directly via its TV app, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Currently, users must subscribe to video services through individual apps on the App Store. The TV app also sends users outside its app to watch shows, which also could change, according to the report.

Apple plans to introduce the subscription purchase feature in the next year, according to the report.

 

The move would be a step toward making the TV app more similar to Amazon’s Channels program.

Disney, Marvel 4K UHD Movies (Quietly) Accessible on Apple TV

NEWS ANALYSIS – When Apple last year announced it would start selling access to 4K movies (at the same price as HD) on Apple TV through iTunes, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment was not among participating studios.

To most observers, the omission was classic Disney, doing its own thing with the arrival of each new digital format and distribution channel. Disney didn’t release its first 4K UHD Blu-ray title until last August with the retail bow of Marvel Studios Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Other titles now include Ice Age: Collision CourseCoco, Cars 3, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Black Panther, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Thor: Ragnarok and Iron Man Trilogie.

Disney CEO Bob Iger may sit on Apple’s board, and iTunes was the first digital platform (in 2008) to sell Disney/ABC television shows and movies. Yet, Disney 4K UHD movies on Apple TV/iTunes would have to wait.

“Disney’s absence is particularly notable given a longstanding close relationship between the two companies,” reported The Wall Street Journal.

But that could be – slowly – changing.

With Disney relinquishing (some) control in the rebranding of the Movies Anywhere digital platform, retail member Vudu.com (where you actually purchase/rent titles) has now incorporated (per forum.vudu.com) the Apple TV 4K app enabling users a way to watch titles in 4K UHD with HDR.

To be sure, the Vudu app does not afford Apple TV users direct access to buy/rent Disney titles, it does however open the door. If a Vudu subscriber acquires a Disney 4K UHD title from the website, it automatically is stored in the member’s collection. That collection can now be accessed on Apple TV.

All that’s missing are more Disney 4K UHD movies with HDR. The studio in February announced Star Wars: The Last Jedi would be its first 4K UHD Blu-ray with Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos.

Roku Ups Q4 Profit, Stock Tumbles Afterhours

Roku Feb. 21 reported fourth-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2017) profit of more than $9.4 million, up 181% from income of more than $3.3 million during the previous-year period. Revenue increased 28% to $$188.2 million from $147.3 million last year.

Roku subscriber accounts reached 19.3 million, up 44% from 13.4 million last year. Streaming hours increased 55% to 4.3 billion hours from 2.8 billion.

Despite the fantastic quarter, investors responded negatively, dumping shares afterhours more than 21% to $40.23. Roku went public last September with an opening share price of $15.78. and closing at $23.50 per share.

At issue for investors is a first-quarter net loss guidance from $15 million to $21 million on revenue from $120 million to $130 million. Wall Street is projecting $131.7 million in revenue.

More importantly, streaming media device revenue declined about 7% to $102.8 million from $110 million. The drop has seen Roku roll out lower-priced units in an effort to better compete against rival devices from Google Chromecast and Apple TV, among others.

“The tectonic shifts we are seeing in the media and entertainment industries continue to strengthen our streaming opportunity,” founder/CEO Anthony Wood said in a statement. “The fourth quarter was a fantastic quarter, reinforcing our position in smart TVs, streaming players, OTT advertising and content distribution.”