Warner Bros. Discovery: 2022 Tour de France Bike Race Set Streaming, Broadcast Records Across 50 European Markets

Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Aug. 1 reported record-breaking streaming and broadcast audience engagement across 50 markets in Europe for its comprehensive coverage of the Tour de France bicycle race, which ended July 24. The 24-day event was won by first-time winner Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark.

The Tour de France was available on the Discovery+ streaming platform in Denmark, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the U.K. and Ireland. The U.S. SVOD grew its Tour de France streaming audience by five times compared to 2021, and saw a near 32% increase across all of its digital platforms, including the Eurosport app.

WBD also reported that the Tour finished with the best overall pan-Europe television performance in five years with record audience tune-in in key markets including France, Spain and Norway. TV viewership across Europe on Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2 rose 23% from 2021.

WBD’s Eurosport.com saw a 50% jump in audience starts compared with 2021. Total video minutes watched grew by 40%.

In broadcast, Warner Bros. Discovery said the race, which featured an epic duel for the Yellow Jersey between Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar, Slovenia’s winner of the last two editions of the Tour, racked up more than 400 million hours viewed in aggregate across Eurosport’s television footprint.

The Tour de France was broadcast and streamed in the U.S. by NBC Sports and Peacock.

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NAB Show Launches April 23 With Attendees From 154 Countries

The NAB Show, the annual conference for broadcast, entertainment and technology professionals, will host attendees from 154 countries April 23–27 in Las Vegas, according to organizers.

Speakers at the show include Nick Cannon, Ashleigh Banfield, Lester Holt, Byron Allen and comedian Jim Gaffigan.

Attendees from outside the United States make up nearly one-quarter of all pre-registered 2022 NAB Show attendees, which closely mirrors the 2019 NAB Show percentage, according to organizers.

“At a time when content can travel around the world in a blink of an eye, there is nothing like NAB Show to help the content community discover the tools, trainings and insights that will unleash the next global phenomenon,” said Chris Brown, NAB EVP and managing director of global connections and events, in a statement. “We are excited to welcome back our friends and partners from all across the globe as our industry gets back to doing business in person.”

The NAB Show participates in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Trade Event Partnership Program, which recruits international trade delegations to select U.S. trade shows and connects international buyers with U.S. suppliers.

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Delegations attending the show hail from Brazil, Columbia, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Turkey, Vietnam and more.

The NAB Show’s exhibit floor, located in the North Hall, Central Hall and the newly constructed West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, will host 358 exhibitors from 38 countries outside of the United States, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Belgium and France. The exhibition will also host the following pavilions:

  • Bavarian Pavilion — Central Hall
  • Brazilian Pavilion — North Hall
  • French Pavilion — West Hall
  • Great Britain & Northern Ireland Pavilion — North Hall
  • Global Trade Show Row — West Hall

 

Additionally, several international organizations, including the Brazilian Society of Television Engineering (SET), will host meetings for their members at the NAB Show. Demonstrations of global technologies currently deployed outside of the United States will also be conducted by broadcasters and other media and entertainment companies throughout the confab.  

The NAB Show is put on by the National Association of Broadcasters, an advocacy association for America’s broadcasters. The NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs.

Nielsen: Television Viewing Up 8% in January as Streaming Surges to Record Highs

The first week of January handily shattered previous streaming records with 197.6 billion viewing minutes, with Christmas week 2021 taking second place of the highest level of streaming recorded (with 183 billion viewing minutes). This 12% uptick in monthly volume was the highest of any category and resulted in a 1.1% increase in streaming share to set another record at 28.9% of television usage. For the month of January, streaming averaged 180 billion minutes per week — the highest average weekly figure of any month since Nielsen introduced streaming measurement.

Broadcast consumption was up 9% versus December, a trend driven by arguably the most compelling NFL playoffs ever — and increased engagement with refreshed broadcast dramas, up 22% compared with the previous month. The cable category, despite being up 3% in usage, lost 1.7 share points to finish at 35.6% of television viewing, primarily driven by the seasonal shift away from holiday movies.

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Notably, the NFL NFC and AFC Championship Games alone generated more than 18.6 billion viewing minutes. That topped the highest-streamed episodic program in 2021: Netflix’s “Lucifer,” which generated 18.2 billion minutes across the entire year.

Regardless, Netflix streaming consumption in January nearly equaled the combined minutes streamed on rival platforms Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+. That said, Prime Video and Disney+ streaming minutes increased 20% in volume, while Netflix increased 11%.

The largest market segment (9.4%), “Other Streaming,” which includes HBO Max, Paramount+, Discovery+ and Peacock, among others, saw its market share increase half of 1%.

“That suggests these other streaming services are gaining traction among consumers,” Brian Fuhrer, SVP of product strategy, said on the podcast.

Nielsen: Streaming Video Still Lags Behind Pay-TV, Broadcast Use

It may be an over-the-top video ecosystem, but combined legacy pay-TV and broadcast use continues to dominate U.S. households, according to new data from Nielsen.

Driven largely by live sports (up 7%), including college football bowl games, the cable television market share in December 2021 held steady at 37.2%, while broadcast tracked at 26.1% among households with at least two people. That compared with 27.7% for streaming video households, led by Netflix with 6.4% market share — just ahead of YouTube at 5.8%.

Notably, the “other streaming” category topped all streamers with 8.9% market share, driven by video games and packaged media, including DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

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Like in November, Brian Fuhrer, SVP of product strategy at Nielsen, attributed the strong linear TV use to the winter holidays and increased numbers of consumers, including children, with excess free time on their hands.

That trend, however, changed during the Christmas week, when U.S. consumers’ streaming usage reached 183 billion minutes, up almost 3% from 178 billion minutes streamed over the Thanksgiving week. Indeed, streaming topped 33% market share during Christmas week.

Tokyo Olympics a Streaming, Broadcast Hit in Canada

The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics may have been a relative ratings letdown in the United States compared to past Games, but north of the border, consumer interest remained high.

Spurred by the Canadian women’s soccer team’s penalty-kick gold medal win over Sweden, the 32nd Olympiad proved a ratings winner on broadcast, radio and streaming, according to official carrier CBC, Canada’s largest national public broadcaster.

A peak TV audience of 4.4 million watched live the women’s soccer team’s historic win, with an additional 725,000 live video views on digital platforms, making this Canada’s most-watched moment of Tokyo 2020. Canadians streamed 37 million video views on CBC digital platforms during Tokyo 2020, up 62% from the 2018 PyeongChang Games.

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Overall, 28 million television viewers — 74% of all Canadians — tuned in for coverage, with CBC ranking as the most-watched network in Canada for 17 consecutive days, delivering a 21.4% audience share. Canada finished 11th in the medals count with 24, including seven gold.

“Whether watching online, through apps, social media or on television, millions of viewers across the country tuned in and engaged with CBC’s coverage each day, demonstrating the continued relevance of the Olympic Games,” Chris Wilson, executive director of sports and Olympics for CBC, said in a statement.

Research Shows Broadcast Networks Still Highly Desired by Consumers

Despite declines in viewing, broadcast networks top the list for most desired channel groups, according to research from The Diffusion Group.

Diffusion’s national study, Video Viewing Behavior in the Age of Quantum Video, examines preferred network groups by demographics and video behavior. The firm surveyed 2,030 connected consumers as to the five network families they’d prefer to have included in a five-group skinny TV plan. (Respondents were able to see which channels were included in each network group before selecting.) The big four broadcast network groups occupied four of the top five spots, led by NBC Universal (selected by 48%), followed by Fox (41%), Disney/ABC (41%) and CBS (38%).

“Live big-four broadcast viewing is diminishing, as with virtually every major network. This should not imply, however, that their death as brands or as major forces in consumer video is inevitable,” said Michael Greeson, Diffusion’s director of research, in a statement. “The value of their content is immense — top of mind for many viewers.”

The rankings offer important insight into the viability of direct-to-consumer services, according to Diffusion. For example, the fact that the ESPN family failed to rank in the top 10 suggests Disney’s decision to make ESPN Plus a premium add-on to its linear ESPN channel may have been a wise move, the research group noted.

“Many expected ESPN Plus to be the online equivalent of ESPN, but Disney decided that the risk of cannibalizing high-value linear pay-TV subscriptions would create substantial channel conflict and hasten the declines in pay-TV subscriptions,” Greeson stated. “This risk is inherent in the DTC model and must be addressed group by group, even channel by channel.”

For example, though ESPN Plus may be best positioned as a value-add to its live linear pay-TV service, Disney’s family-focused direct-to-consumer service appears destined to follow in the footsteps of CBS All Access – that is, serve as a full-on replacement to its linear channel, with a growing number of high-value titles reserved for the new service, according to Diffusion.

The standings also offer important insight into the viability of a new virtual MVPD entrant, Philo, which is populated by the channels A&E, AMC, Discovery and Viacom, the research firm noted.

“While this may at first glance seem too specialized to gain mass appeal separate from a broadcast bundle, the combination of networks may prove attractive,” according to a Diffusion release. “Keep in mind that A&E was selected as top-five by 37% of connected consumers, AMC by 28%, Viacom by 24% and Scripps by 21%.”

Shout! Factory and ITV in Classic Content Deal

Shout! Factory and ITV Studios Global Entertainment have inked a distribution deal to bring a library of classic films and series, including Sophie’s Choice, On Golden Pond and the 1967 TV series “The Prisoner,” to entertainment platforms in the United States and Canada.

This multi-year deal provides Shout! with broadcast, video on-demand, streaming, digital and home entertainment rights to more than 135 titles. Among the properties in the deal are The Big Sleep (Robert Mitchum, James Stewart, Sarah Miles), Raise the Titanic (Jason Robards), The Boys From Brazil  (Gregory Peck, Laurence Olivier), The Last Unicorn  (Jeff Bridges, Alan Arkin, Mia Farrow), The Eagle Has Landed (Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall), Capricorn One (Elliott Gould, James Brolin), The Cassandra Crossing (Sophia Lauren, Richard Harris, Martin Sheen), “Hammer House of Horror,” and Gerry Anderson TV shows (“Fireball XL-5,” “Stingray,” “Thunderbirds,” “Captain Scarlet” and “Supercar”).

“We’re incredibly excited to bring these memorable films and TV shows out through Shout’s distribution channels,” said Shout! Factory’s founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos in a joint statement. “There’s a lot of opportunity to distribute this content through digital and cable channels, transactional outlets, and on disc. We love getting into all the nooks and crannies.”

“Our extensive portfolio is rich in classic titles and we are delighted that this deal with Shout! will open up some of our most timeless shows and films to brand new audiences,” said Rob Kaplan, VP, U.S. sales, at ITV Studios Global Entertainment, in a statement.

The two companies are working closely to remaster a number of titles, some of which have never been available on digital, Blu-ray and DVD, according to the Shout! press release. Shout! is also developing bonus content for special editions.

Report: TV Production Mergers on the Rise

With ownership of TV programming rights a vital asset in the burgeoning demand for episodic programing across broadcast, pay-TV and subscription streaming, production company mergers have grown nearly 20% compound annual growth rate in the past five years – from 42 deals in 2013 to 102 deals in 2017, according to new data from IHS Markit.

Citing ongoing advertising pressure and audiences migrating to on-demand platforms, IHS says broadcasters are exploring new revenue sources from content production and distribution. With increased competition between traditional linear channels and online players, creating TV content is a stronger option than licensing from third parties.

The United Kingdom ranked the most active market in terms of number of mergers and acquisitions. However, in terms of deal value, the United States and China led.

“Both large and small companies are trying to find ways to internationalize, which is why Chinese companies have been gobbling up production studios in the United States, and the major Hollywood studios have been building local production networks in key foreign markets,” Tim Westcott, director of research and analysis for programing, said in a statement.

Increased investment in content by Netflix, Amazon and other content buyers has spearheaded M&A activity among content creators. Indeed, deals for scripted producers have grown nearly 30% — from 15 deals in 2013 to 54 in 2017. In comparison, acquisitions of unscripted producers have grown 8%, due to the shift of M&A activity to scripted producers.

The top mergers and acquisitions were led by ITV Studios and Fremantle Media, both of which have invested in a large number of start-up content-production companies. Of the 77 start-up companies launched between 2013 and 2017, 32 were drama specialists. Nearly half of these 32 drama specialists were launched in 2017, reflecting a significant surge in scripted drama investment.

Liberty Global invested in global producers All3Media, ITV and Lionsgate, while Vivendi took an interest in Banijay Group and 21st Century Fox acquired a 50% stake in Endemol Shine.

“These deals … highlight the strategic importance of owning content producers, for all those wanting to attract and retain viewers, subscribers and the revenue they deliver,” said senior research analyst Aled Evans. “The global producer networks offer these start-ups co-production finance mechanisms, worldwide contacts and funding. In return, the investor company gains rights for programming to sell internationally.”