FilmRise Inks Content Deal for YouTube Talent

Studio and streaming network FilmRise and talent management company Night Media have entered into an agreement to bring a dozen digital native creators to digital streaming platforms and broadcast television.

FilmRise will package and produce broadcast and streaming content from Night Media creator videos.

The creators have garnered millions of subscribers and views on YouTube, according to a press release.

“The opportunity to leverage FilmRise’s vast global streaming network and Night Media’s most popular YouTube creator brands to streaming audiences is very exciting to us and we believe there will be huge cross-over success,” said Max Einhorn, SVP of acquisitions and co-productions at FilmRise, in a statement.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Night Media represents nearly two dozen digital native creators across genres including comedy, lifestyle, philanthropy, gaming, challenges and travel, among others. FilmRise will be offering to digital platforms packaged content from “Mr. Beast” (47 million subscribers per month), “Preston & Brianna” (20.1 million subscribers per month, collectively), “Dallmyd” (11.5 million subscribers per month), “Matt Stonie” (13.1 million subscribers per month), “Unspeakable (25 million subscribers per month), “Guga Foods” (3.75. million subscribers per month) and “Azzyland” (13.2 million subscribers per month), among others.

“FilmRise’s leading position in the content streaming universe home entertainment industry creates a perfect opportunity for our talent to gain more exposure on multiple platforms to further their ever-growing audience,” said Reed Duchscher, CEO of Night Media, in a statement.

FilmRise will debut packaged seasons of “Mr. Beast” and “Preston & Brianna” on streaming networks in the spring.

Pandemic Insight: SVOD, Movie Transactions, Churn Soar; AVOD Ads Decline

A silver lining in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has been a surge in home entertainment activity among consumers either on mandated lockdown or deprived of live and theatrical or venue options. Paid subscriptions are the dominant business model for streaming video services in the U.S., although competition from free ad-supported services is growing. Or is it?

The data is clear: SVOD services such as Netflix and Disney Plus have seen skyrocketing sub growth worldwide as consumer gravitate toward on-demand movies and TV shows. Upstart rival ad-supported VOD also experienced usage increases — and advertising declines.

Roy Morgan research in Australia found subscription TV services made large gains during 2020 with viewership soaring for the top five services compared to 2019. The strong increases across the board meant that more than 80% of Aussies (17.3 million), now watch SVOD in an average four weeks – up by more than 2.4 million viewers on a year ago.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Netflix remains the clear market leader in Australia and grew its viewership by 2.26 million (up 19%) from a year ago to 14.17 million viewers. Over two-thirds of all Australians aged 14+ (67.2%) now watch Netflix in an average four weeks,” read the report.

Media Partners Asia found that in Indonesia about 7 million people have subscriptions across the Top 10 services — up 3.6 million subs between Sept. 5th 2020 to Jan. 6th 2021. The research shows the top 4 Aussie platforms account for 83% of the total subscriber base with Disney+ Hotstar in the lead with 2.5 million new customers, followed by Viu (1.5 million), Vidio (1.1 million) and Netflix (850,000).

At the same time, ad-supported VOD saw a slight decline (5%) in annual ad impressions due to COVID-19 and the resulting fluidity in ad creatives and ad campaigns as the pandemic undermined content creation, according to new Canoe data.

“The lockdown measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 created a boost in viewership from March through May. Then, September through December viewing was impacted due to production shutdowns, delaying new fall-season entertainment content,” read the report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Deliotte found the pandemic has increased one-off content viewing among new SVOD viewers and slowed some churn among existing subs. The consulting giant found that among survey respondents who cut a streaming service since the start of the pandemic, 62% had signed up to watch a specific show and then cancelled once they were done. And they cancelled quickly: 43% cancelled the same day they decided they no longer wanted the service.

Overall, data from May to October 2020 suggests that SVOD providers may be getting better at demonstrating value to consumers. Those consumers who cancelled due to cost fell from 36% to 31%, and those who left after a free trial or discount ended also decreased from 35% to 28%. By October 2020, 25% of subscribers had cancelled a service and replaced it with another new service, up from 17% in May.

Notably, Deloitte found that 90% of respondents who paid to watch new movie releases at home said they would likely do so again — underscoring Hollywood’s move to offer new movies to consumers directly in the home sooner. Indeed, 23% of respondents said they would continue the platform if they could purchase new movie releases the same day they are released to theaters.

When Deloitte asked subscribers what would keep them from cancelling a paid streaming service, 27% said they would stay to see an exclusive new movie or series they were interested in, and 28% said they would stay if they could switch to a reduced cost, ad-supported tier of the service.

“In our January 2020 survey, only 20% of respondents who subscribed to a streaming video service had cut a service in the previous 12 months, but by October, 46% had cut at least one in just the previous six months,” read the report.

In May, Deloitte said 23% of respondents had added a streaming video service since the start of the pandemic, and 9% had added and cancelled services. By October, 34% had both added and cancelled streaming video services. The early part of 2020 saw greater acquisition, but the second half has been characterized by churn.

“While COVID-19 appears to have accelerated streaming video subscriptions, the dynamism we now see is likely the emerging characteristic of a more mature and competitive market,” Deloitte said.

 

Report: NBCUniversal’s Peacock Streaming Service to Top 52 Million Subs by 2024

NBCUniversal’s upstart hybrid subscription streaming video service, Peacock, is projected to surpass 52 million paid/free members by 2024 since its mid-July launch last year. The service disclosed it had 26 million subs in December.

The tally, according to new data from Wall Street firm Macquarie, suggests Comcast’s first branded SVOD/AVOD platform generated $296 million in revenue last year. Peacock features a free ad-supported access to 13,000 hours of content option; a $4.99 monthly option with limited ads; and a $9.99 monthly ad-free plan with 20,000 hours of content. Revenue is projected to reach $604 million in 2021, $1.96 billion by 2024.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Peacock, which is available on the Roku platform, is not currently offered to Amazon Fire TV’s 50 million members or on Samsung’s online TV platform due to ongoing carriage disagreements. Rival streaming platform Discovery+ just launched on both Roku and Amazon, while HBO Max finally secured access to the two streaming gateways after bowing last year without access.

Peacock last week announced the launch of “LIT Entertainment News” channel, a 24-hour celebrity news offering that will be exclusive for a month before being licensed to other platforms domestically and abroad.

 

CES: Streaming Execs Discuss Race to Please, Attract Customers

Executives from streaming services gathered at the virtual CES Jan. 12 to discuss how they aim to please consumers in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

“We are all in this battle to make sure our customers can find our content as easy as possible,” said Stefanie Meyers, SVP of distribution at Starz, who manages its digital business.

Sarah Lyons, SVP of product experience at WarnerMedia, said the company’s new HBO Max service uses a blend of curation and data to target programming to consumers.

“About two-thirds of the time consumers know what they are looking for,” she said. “In those instances, get out of their way. Make it as easy as possible.”

As far as content, Lyons said, “you see tremendous engagement when you offer up lots and lots of content.” But that content has to be a mix of originals and catalog, she said.

Meyers agreed, noting that theatrical blockbusters with huge marketing campaigns are a draw, but “if you have a deep library, that can help with retention as well.”

Consumers are in different mindsets when they approach a service, Lyons said. Sometimes they are ready to sit down for a two-hour movie, and sometimes they just want to watch for a quick 30 minutes. She noted a trend of families coming together to watch a story, either virtually or in their homes, as families did in the past gathering around the TV.

“What’s old is new,” she said.

Indeed, streaming is the new TV, noted Andrew McCollum, CEO of virtual MVPD Philo.

“20 years from now people aren’t going to consider streaming TV streaming; they’re just going to consider it TV,” he said.

Thus, the competition is heating up in the virtual MVPD marketplace that replicates traditional TV, with consumers confronted with streamers, such as YouTube TV, that are having to raise prices to cover the cost of content, especially sports and news.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“A lot of the services came to market with price points that were not sustainable,” he said, citing YouTube TV’s price jump from $25 to $65.

Philo took a different tack, eschewing such costly content that consumers may not need or want.

“It was never our intention to be the lowest cost service, but it was our intention to be the best value service,” he said.

Consumers can now get bundles of streaming services “for less than they were paying for cable,” he said.

Pluto TV, now owned by Viacom, relishes its market leading position in the ad-supported VOD or free streaming marketplace, as well as the content available from its parent, said Pluto TV SVP of programming Scott Reich. Pluto fills a niche in the Viacom streaming strategy, he said.

“It’s about creating a complementary ecosystem,” he said. “Pluto is the priority on the free service side of things. Paramount+ and Showtime are obviously the priority on the paid side.”

Follow us on Instagram

Content from Viacom is filling Pluto’s AVOD pipeline, delighting customers with classic shows.

“This year we added a lot of CBS content,” Reich said, allowing Pluto consumers to revisit “Three’s Company,” “Love Boat” and “Happy Days,” among other classics.

“What’s old is new again,” he said.

 Being a free service is an advantage in the crowded streaming market, he noted, “You just fire it up, and it works.”

Nielsen at CES: Kids Titles Rule Movies, ‘The Office’ Tops TV Shows in 2020 Minutes Watched

Eight of the top 10 movies were kids’ titles, and “The Office” was by far the top TV show in minutes watched in 2020, according to Nielsen data presented during the virtual CES.

Meanwhile, Netflix’s “Ozark” topped streaming originals in minutes viewed. In fact, Netflix originals took nine of the top 10 on the minutes-watched originals chart, with Disney+’s “The Mandalorian” coming in at No. 5.

Americans streamed the equivalent of more than 100,000 years of “The Office,” said Brian Fuhrer, SVP, product strategy and thought leadership, Nielsen — with one episode, season four’s “Dundar Mifflin Infinity,” the most streamed episode at almost 31 years.

While Netflix got the benefit of devoted “Office” fans in 2020, Peacock this year acquired the rights to the NBC show.

“We don’t think ‘The Office’ is used up,” said Fuhrer, who noted fans watch the show almost as a comfort.

Kids’ films dominate minutes of movies streamed for a simple reason.

“The kids’ movies have the tremendous advantage of repeat viewings,” he said, as children will watch a film over and over.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The top movie in terms of minutes watched was Frozen II, followed by, in order, Moana, Pets 2, Onward and Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch. Among non-kids’ titles, only Disney+’s streamed Broadway show Hamilton and Netflix’s Spenser Confidential cracked the top 10.

Among originals, following “Ozark,”  the top most watched programs in terms of minutes were three other Netflix shows, in order, “Lucifer,” “The Crown” and the infamous “Tiger King.” Coming in at No. 5 was Disney+’s “The Mandalorian.”

Fuhrer said the idea of stretching out episodes of a series to create “water cooler TV,” as Disney+ did with “The Mandalorian,” is a growing trend.

Follow us on Instagram

“I think we’re going to see more and more of that,” he said, adding “Amazon did it with ‘The Boys’ to great success.”

While everyone streamed more during the pandemic, one of the biggest changes is how it attracted older viewers, who adopted it and kept on streaming.

“As the older demographic started to stream, there was a lot of sampling,” especially of AVOD services as they were free, he noted.

As theaters closed, first-run movies hit streaming, a trend that is here to say, he said.

“One of the things I find most fascinating was the opportunity to deliver first run movies to consumers,” he said.

While cinemas aren’t going to go away, first-run streaming will become a “bigger and bigger piece of the television pie over time,” he said.

Another trend is an explosion in streaming outlets.

“Fragmentation is hitting streaming just like it hit traditional TV,” he noted.

For these services, “distribution is critical,” he said.

“If it’s not available on the device you have, it’s invisible,” he noted.

Value is another battleground in the streaming marketplace, with consumers evaluating the price versus the quality of content.

AVOD Finds Supporting Data Among Younger Demo

While the subscription VOD market continues to grow exponentially, spearheaded by streaming giants such as Netflix, HBO Max, Peacock, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+, new data from research firm Team Whistle finds that 75% of younger consumers are spending increasingly more time with lesser-known free connected TV options, or AVOD.  

The New York-based entertainment and sports media company tracked data on Gen Z and millennial OTT/streaming preferences for the connected TV platforms such as Xumo, FuboTV, Pluto TV, Roku, IMDb TV and more.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Biggest year-over-year gainers among 13- to 36-year-olds were Xumo (+25%), Stirr (+22%), Tubi (+19%) and Samsung TV Plus (+17%). More than 85% of survey respondents turned to streaming platforms to find content they couldn’t find on other platforms. And 81% usually watch content on streaming platforms in the background while doing other things.

Weekly Viewership of 13-39-year-olds:

Platform Nov. 2019 Nov. 2020 Pct. Point Change
Xumo 24.3% 48.9% 25%
FuboTV 28.6% 52.2% 24%
Stirr 23.7% 45.3% 22%
Tubi TV 34.8% 54.0% 19%
Samsung TV Plus 36.6% 54.0% 17%
Pluto TV 40.5% 54.3% 14%
Vudu 38.8% 50.7% 12%
Crackle 39.3% 50.4% 11%
The Roku Channel 57.6% 61.9% 4%

13-39-year-olds living in the U.S. Research conducted using Qualtrics in November 2020.

Average U.S. Streaming Household Now Subscribes to Four SVOD Services

The average U.S. streaming household now stacks an average of four different subscription video services, according to the latest analysis from Ampere Analysis.

In the five largest Western European territories, streaming homes have an average of two services, according to Ampere.

Overall, across Western Europe and the USA, almost 10% of SVOD homes already subscribe to five or more services.

“AVOD, studio-direct streaming launches, the strengthening of local and broadcaster-led streaming, and the turbo-boost that came out of the blue in the form of COVID-19 have brought the industry to a pivot point,” Guy Bisson, research director at Ampere Analysis, said in a statement. “That pivot point will lead to a shift in thinking that will change the way content creators, distributors and content aggregators, platforms and channels think about streaming in the wider TV market. In 2021, compounding is here to stay in every portion of the streaming value chain.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Charter Spectrum Gets Access to Peacock Streaming Service

NBCUniversal and Charter Communications Jan. 7 announced a multiyear distribution agreement for NBCUniversal’s portfolio of broadcast, entertainment, Hispanic, news and sports content in Charter’s Spectrum homes and businesses across 41 states.

As part of the carriage agreement, Charter will offer its pay-TV subscribers direct access to Peacock Premium, with the ad-supported $4.99 SVOD option available for an extended free trial to Spectrum’s broadband and pay-TV subscribers. Charter intends to distribute the Peacock app, which includes separate free AVOD and $9.99 ad-free Premium Plus options via its Spectrum Guide platform in the future.

The deal is significant since it helps NBCUniversal expand Peacock distribution channels, which include Amazon Fire TV and Roku. The SVOD/AVOD hybrid topped 26 million subs a month ago.

Spectrum will also continue to offer subscribers NBC, Telemundo, Bravo, CNBC, E!, MSNBC, The Olympic Channel, Oxygen, Syfy, USA Network, Universal Kids, Universo, The Golf Channel, CNBC World, New England Cable News (NECN), and NBC Sports Network, as well as five of NBC’s Regional Sports Networks: NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Northwest, NBC Sports Boston and NBC Sports Chicago.

Charter ended the most-recent fiscal period with 15.7 million pay-TV subs, and 26.8 million high-speed Internet subs — up 9% from 24.6 million a year ago.

“Charter is a valued partner with passionate NBCUniversal fans in millions of homes nationwide,” said Matt Bond, chairman of content distribution at NBCUniversal. “We look forward to delivering our industry-leading network content portfolio, as well as the strong collection of original and library content in our Peacock Premium offering, to Charter’s subscribers everywhere.”

Peacock is currently available on the Roku platform; Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K, and Apple TV HD; Google platforms and devices, including Android, Android TV devices, Chromecast, and Chromecast built-in devices; Microsoft’s Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One S and Xbox One X; Sony PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro; and VIZIO SmartCast TVs and LG Smart TVs.

AT&T Eyes AVOD on HBO Max to Widen ‘Available’ Customer Base

In addition to streaming Warner Bros. Pictures first-run movies, HBO Max’s major initiative in 2021 revolves around rolling out an ad-supported component to the platform’s SVOD legacy.

Speaking Jan. 5 on the virtual Citi Global TMT Conference, retiring CFO John Stephens (at the end of March) said AVOD enables WarnerMedia to expand its “available customer” footprint in the same way broadband and data plans have helped grow the cellular business.

“That’s what AVOD is going to help us do: expand the opportunity to serve customers in a different way,” he said.

As ad-supported VOD platforms proliferate in response to SVOD market domination by Netflix, Disney+, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, the distribution channel, which includes The Roku Channel, IMDb TV, Pluto TV, Shout! Factory TV and Tubi, has been dogged by a dearth of higher profile content.

NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service, which launched in July as the market’s first hybrid SVOD/AVOD business model, is looking to change that. The ad-supported VOD option is targeting original content, including live sports such as the U.K.’s Premier League soccer to entice viewers.

AT&T CEO John Stankey told an investor even last year that live sports is an appealing component to OTT video in Europe.

“You’ll probably see as we move through AVOD, maybe we do some additional live work that we have coming forward,” he said.

Stephens said he fully expects AVOD to impact Max SVOD sub growth both positively and negatively, while at the same time luring non-SVOD consumers to the pay model.

“I see [AVOD] as an opportunity to serve additional customers, and from a finance perspective, amortize the investment in content over a greater customer base,” he said.

Report: Online TV, Video Subscriptions to Reach 2 Billion Globally by 2025

New data from Juniper Research finds that there will be nearly 2 billion active subscriptions to on-demand video services by 2025, a 65% increase over the end of 2020.

The primary engine for this growth will be from traditional TV broadcasters increasingly turning to streaming video platforms to extend their linear reach and compete with online video behemoths such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.

The U.K.-based Juniper notes that traditional broadcasters are turning to hybrid services, a combination of subscription- and advertising-supported monetization, such as NBCUniversal’s Peacock and ViacomCBS’s pending Paramount+ (currently CBS All Access), which offer tiered services that generate subscription revenue but show advertising in lower-priced viewer options. Juniper anticipates that these services will account for $1.4 billion in advertising spend by 2025.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The report contends that as subscription services become increasingly prominent, particularly in the United States, different models will be needed to combat subscription fatigue among consumers. The report estimates that in 2020 there was an average of four SVOD subscriptions per domestic household, but with growth slowing significantly from 2021.

“Thanks to this high level of market saturation, streaming providers need to keep their offerings competitive to retain subscribers,” Nick Hunt, co-author of the report, said in a statement. “Hybrid monetization is one way that VOD providers can keep their offerings low-cost, and therefore less likely to be dropped.”

Juniper projects that more than 70% of streamed video sessions in the next five years will occur on smartphones, thanks to the emergence of social videos on platforms such as TikTok. However, these do not yield a high number of ad spots per video watched, meaning that smartphone advertising spend will only grow at an average rate of 2% each year over the forecast period.