Ampere: It’s Still a YouTube/Netflix Video World

Google-owned YouTube and Netflix remain the top sources for online video and subscription VOD, according to new data from Ampere Analysis.

The London-based research firm found that 63% of survey respondents streamed a video on YouTube in the past month, followed by 39% doing the same on Netflix and 27% on Facebook.

The survey is based on 41,000 online respondents across 20 markets conducted in the first quarter (ended March 31).

Ampere found YouTube ranked the No. 1 source for online video consumption in every region worldwide except the United Kingdom (BBC iPlayer) and China (iQiYi).

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Indeed, more than 60% of respondents in France and Japan watched YouTube, while less than 50% of respondents in the U.K. did so.

As expected, SVOD consumption is highest in the United States – birthplace to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

Notably, American tech platform – Facebook – continues to lose video views – down 5% to 23% of respondents since the third quarter of 2016. YouTube fell 4% to 66%, while Netflix increased 15% to 37% of respondents.

“YouTube’s global dominance in this space is evident in its monthly usage,” Minal Modha, consumer research lead at Ampere, said in a statement. “The differences in viewing between the U.S. and Europe in relation to catch-up and SVOD services is interesting because it shows that SVOD providers will have to work harder in Europe to grow their [market] share as they take on traditional TV channels’ catch-up services. This could be through their catalogue, price-points or communications strategy.”

 

iQIYI Bows China’s First Interactive TV Program

Taking a page from Netflix’s playbook, iQIYI, China’s online entertainment platform, June 21 said it officially launched the erstwhile Communist country’s first domestic interactive film and television program, “His Smile.”

The program, which gives viewers 21 preset storyline options and 17 possible endings, comes a month after iQIYI announced the launch of the world’s first interactive video guideline.

Netflix, which is not available in China as a standalone service, last December became the first SVOD service offering interactive TV when it let subscribers choose an ending for original movie, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“His Smile,” produced by iQIYI and Linghe Media, tells the story of the interaction between a newcomer in the workplace, who is an assistant talent manager at a media company, and members of upcoming boyband hoping to make their big break.

Through interactive TV, iQIYI enables viewers to enter the story as the character of the talent manager, making choices according to personal preferences, expanding the storyline related to it, and transforming the “viewer” to the “player”.

“With the accelerating growth of 5G technology, the traditional film and television content structure will continue to adapt based on the new technological environment,” Liu Wenfeng, chief technology officer at iQIYI, said in a statement. “The launch of “His Smile” also marks the introduction of a standard to interactive film and television works and that is bound to change the landscape of China’s film and television industry.”

Prior to the TV show, iQIYI applied interactive functions to variety shows and trailers, such as the first domestic interactive variety show trailer for “The Big Band,” available through the iQIYI app.

“[Interactive TV]  could actually ultimately give birth to the next mass medium with huge appeal, which could mean it could be very profitable,” Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, told the Los Angeles Times.

IHS: China’s TCL Brand Tops North American TV Market

With just about everything made in China, it’s little surprise a Chinese television manufacturer has unseated South Korea’s Samsung for top unit sales in North America.

With China and the United States embroiled in a trade dispute, the rush to import Chinese TVs ahead of proposed tariffs is at a fevered pitch.

China’s TCL unit shipments climbed to 26.2% in the first quarter (ended March 31), up from 16% during the previous-year period, according to new data from IHS Markit.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Perennial market leader Samsung saw shipments drop to 21.8% from 28%. No. 3 Vizio shipments nearly reached 14%, according to the data first reported by Advanced-Television.

TCL, which markets TVs featuring the Roku operating system, helped drive North American unit shipments up 30% to a record 9.3 million units.

Samsung still dominates the market in revenue (36.9%) due to its larger screens across its product line and higher price points.

“As uncertainty mounts around a possible tariff-driven rise in costs, these brands have been bolstering shipments to protect against any potential disruption,” Paul Gagnon, research executive director at IHS Markit, said in a statement. “Given that margins for TVs are relatively low compared to other consumer-electronics categories, any tariff increase would have a major impact on sales.”

 

Report: Global SVOD Subs to Increase 86% Through 2024

The global number of SVOD subscriptions will increase 86%, or 439 million subs from 2018 to 2024 to 947 million. SVOD sub growth will climb by 119 million members in 2019, according to new data from Digital TV Research.

As the gross subscription total races towards 1 billion, the net sub count will rise by 175 million through 2024 to reach 531 million. This means that the average SVOD sub will pay for 1.78 subscriptions by 2024 – up from 1.43 in 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fifteen countries — led by United States and China — will have more than 10 million SVOD subscribers each by 2024 – collectively providing 86% of the global total.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

By 2024, Netflix will contribute 203 million subs (21% of the global total), Amazon Prime Video 125 million (13%), China 289 million (31%), Disney+ 75 million and 255 million other SVOD subs. Netflix and Prime Video do not operate independently in China.

“China overtook the U.S. in 2018 to become the gross SVOD subscription leader,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement. “These two countries will continue to dominate the world stage. China and the U.S. will together account for 59% of the global total by 2024. However, this proportion is down from 63% in 2018; indicating that other countries are growing faster.”

Report: China Has 60% of Top Global SVOD Services by Subscribers

Government restrictions in China have stymied attempts by Netflix and Amazon to launch subscription streaming video service in the erstwhile Communist country with nearly 1.4 billion people.

As a result, new data from Ampere Analytics found that three domestic Chinese SVOD platforms iQIYI (backed by Baidu), Youku-Tudou (backed by Alibaba), and Tencent Video (backed by Tencent) now represent three of the top-five SVOD services globally by subscribers.

Historically, Chinese SVOD services were different to Netflix by focusing on ad-revenue. In recent years there has been a shift toward ad-free SVOD. By the end of 2018, the three leading Chinese streamers generated $8 billion of revenue — compared to Netflix’ $18 billion.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

By investing heavily in content, the three SVOD services have optimized their revenue composition. Between 2011-2018, iQIYI’s content costs grew by 140%, according to Ampere.

Subscription income was just 4% of total revenue back in 2011; by 2018, it had ballooned to more than 50% of its total revenue. Paid subscribers have privileged access to more exclusive content than the free-tier subscribers.

Investments in content have enabled the Chinese SVOD services to build large content catalogs. Youku-Tudou leads with 13,000 titles, followed by iQIYI at 10,000, and Tencent Video at 7000.

Catalog size is the main point of differentiation as the platforms offer a similar wide-range of content across TV series, movies and reality shows aimed at a mass-market audience.

Service stacking is common, as a result of the original and exclusive content on offer. iQIYI offers 250 original and 1000 exclusive titles, while Tencent Video has 330 original and 1400 exclusive titles.

Ampere says 44% of Chinese Internet users subscribe to two or three services, and 16% to all three. So, while the demographic targeting by the three giants may be consistent, the differentiation happens at the point of delivery through the content offered.

The report expects the continued growth of Chinese SVOD by the big three players as they continue to be buoyed by significant financial backing.

This has enabled iQIYI, Youku-Tudou and Tencent Video to expand rapidly, in addition to exclude smaller local players from entering the marketplace. The domination is further secured by the strict regulatory environment in China, which prevents international players such as Google operating there.

We expect the big three SVOD players in China to continue growing and reach 340 million subscriptions and $12.6 billion in total revenue by the end of 2024,”  analyst Orina Zhao said in a statement. “Investing heavily in content will continue as the main strategy to drive subscriptions and increase user retention.”

Cinedigm Touts Cloud-Based Tech for Pending Chinese AVOD Channel

Cinedigm April 11 gave a shout out to a cloud-based technology company it is in the process of acquiring.

The home entertainment distributor recently entered into an agreement to acquire Future Today for $45 million in cash, and $15 million in common stock. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

Cinedigm said it would use Future Today’s cloud-based technology and ad-based monetization platform for the June launch of its Chinese-themed ad-supported VOD channel Bambu.

Future Today owns and operates more than 700 content channels with more than 60 million app installs, and managing 200,000-plus film, television and digital content assets Cinedigm claims receive 85 million video views per month.

Using their advertising technology and sales capabilities, Cinedigm says Future Today will play a crucial role in the monetization of Bambu, which includes television, set-top boxes, mobile apps and online services.

With a primary focus on millennial and Gen Z viewers, Bambu offers curated programming spanning far beyond stereotypical martial arts dramas, instead putting the spotlight on actioners, serials, romantic comedies, sci-fi, horror and fantasy, as well as music, reality series and educational programming ranging from instructional Chinese language courses to culinary shows.

Movies include Jackie Chan in the 2017 fantasy Namiya, Ziyi Zhang in the 2013 spy farce My Lucky Star, sci-fi mystery Battle of Memories, supernatural rom-com Beautiful Accident, road trip comedy Breakup Buddies, the noir-inspired crime drama Cock and Bull, cat-and-mouse thriller The Devotion of Suspect Xand father-and-son drama Lost and Love, among others.

TV shows include “Journey to the West,” the most-watched television show in Chinese history; current hit “Diamond Lover,” and the acclaimed documentary series “A Bite of China,” among others.

“[Future Today’s] long-established and highly successful advertising and sales strategies are a truly invaluable resource that will play a vital role in further expanding [Bambu’s],” Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Digital Networks, said in a statement.

iQIYI Embedding OTT Video into Chinese-Built Ford Vehicles

With President Trump’s trade war with China making it economically unviable for Ford to export American-made vehicles to the world’s most populous country, the Detroit icon has ramped up auto production within the People’s Republic.

As a result, Chinese online video company iQiYi April 3 announced that its streaming video platform will now be offered as part of Ford’s new in-vehicle infotainment system – dubbed SYNC+, and jointly developed by Ford China and Baidu.

iQIYI Provides In-Vehicle Entertainment Solution for Ford’s New SYNC+ Infotainment System, Powered by Baidu

Starting later this year, SYNC+ will be rolled out in a range of new Chinese-built Ford and Lincoln models in China.

Synchronized with the FordPass app and featuring a range of functions, including voice assist, customized recommendations, in-vehicle online video streaming, smart navigation and vehicle-to-smart home connectivity, SYNC+ is designed to provide Chinese car consumer with an upgraded in-vehicle entertainment experience.

Subscribe HERE for FREE Daily Newsletter!

Users will be able to access all copyrighted content from iQiYi’s content database. In addition, by logging into their iQIYI accounts using the car’s interface, users can access their viewing history and receive user-customized content recommendations.

“Intelligent vehicles are becoming a major part of our new way of life, as we embrace trends like connectivity, autonomy, electrification and the sharing economy,” Duan Youqiao, SVP at iQiYi, said in a statement.

Youqiao said the partnership with Ford represents iQiYi’s aim to strengthen “cooperation” with automotive industry players to better optimize in-vehicle entertainment solutions.

Indeed, the company has inked partnerships with numerous national and international companies (i.e. Google) to expand digital entertainment distribution.

“iQiYi is currently one of the largest online video sites in the world, with nearly 6 billion hours spent on its service through mobile devices each month and over 560 million monthly active users on mobile devices,” Brian Baker, senior director at Google, said in a statement last November.

 

 

Netflix Snags Chinese Blockbuster ‘The Wandering Earth’

Netflix has secured the streaming rights to the Mandarin sci-fi thriller The Wandering Earth.

The film has generated more than $600 million at the Chinese box office in just a few weeks, making it the top worldwide box office earner in 2019 without a wide global release.

Wandering Earth tells the story of a future in which the sun is about to expand into a red giant and devour the Earth, prompting mankind to make an attempt to save planet by rocketing it to another star. The movie is based on the novella of the same title by Liu Cixin, the first Asian novelist to win the Hugo Award for science fiction.

Subscribe HERE to our FREE daily newsletter!

The film was directed and written by Frant Gwo, and features Qu Chuxiao, Li Guangjie, Ng Man-tat and Zhao Jinmai, with special appearance by Wu Jing.

Post-production and special effects on the film spanned two years, undergoing more than 3,000 conceptual designs, and featuring more than 10,000 specifically-built props, while employing more than 2,000 special effects shots and a substantial amount of computer graphics shots.

“Netflix is committed to providing entertainment lovers with access to a wide variety of global content,” Jerry Zhang, manager of content acquisition at Netflix, said in a statement. “With its high-quality production and story-telling, we believe that The Wandering Earth will be loved by sci-fi fans around the world.”

Cinedigm Inks Content License Deal with China Lion

Cinedigm Jan. 23 announced it has entered into a non-exclusive content licensing agreement with China Lion to release more than 40 Chinese-language movies on the home entertainment distributor’s pending streaming channel, Bambu.

“This deal delivers dozens of very strong and well-known films, and perfectly complements the [China International TVCorporation]deal we recently announced, which was more TV episodic content,” Bill Sondheim, president of Cinedigm Entertainment Group and worldwide distribution, said in a statement. “We are particularly pleased that the titles are all subtitled, allowing for the best representation of the original film versions and adds to the authentic high-profile content foundation for Bambu.”

Bambu’s primary focus is Gen Z demo (ages 16-24), and Millennial viewers (ages 25-35). Together, those viewers represent more than 27% of the U.S. population.

“When we started China Lion back in 2010, Cinedigm was our first strategic home entertainment partner,” said China Lion CEO Yanming Jiang.

The titles expected on the launch of Bambu include:

 THE ARK OF MR CHOW

  • BATTLE OF MEMORIES
  • BEAUTIFUL ACCIDENT
  • BREAKUP BUDDIES
  • BUDDIES IN INDIA
  • BULLET VANISHES
  • COCK AND BULL (2016)
  • DETECTIVE CHINATOWN
  • THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X
  • DOUBLE TROUBLE
  • THE EX-FILE 3: THE RETURN OF THE EXES
  • EXPLOSION (2017)
  • FALL IN LOVE LIKE A STAR
  • FLEET OF TIME (aka BACK IN TIME)
  • A FOOL
  • FOR A FEW BULLETS
  • FOREVER YOUNG (2015)
  • THE GOLDEN ERA
  • GO AWAY MR TUMOR
  • GOODBYE MR LOSER
  • I BELONGED TO YOU
  • A JOURNEY THROUGH TIME WITH ANTHONY
  • THE LAST WOMEN STANDING
  • LET’S GET MARRIED
  • LOBSTER COP
  • LOST AND LOVE
  • MR DONKEY
  • MR SIX
  • MY LUCKY STAR
  • NAMIYA
  • THE NEW YEAR’S EVE OF OLD LEE
  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK (2016)
  • ONLY YOU (2015)
  • OOLONG COURTYARD: KUNG FU SCHOOL
  • OUR TIME WILL COME
  • SO I MARRIED AN ANTI-FAN
  • SO YOUNG
  • SO YOUNG 2: NEVER GONE
  • SWEET SIXTEEN (2016)
  • TILL THE END OF THE WORLD
  • THE VIRAL FACTOR
  • THE WASTED TIME
  • THE WITNESS (2015)
  • WOMEN WHO FLIRT

The deal follows Cinedigm’s recently-announced partnership with China International TVCorporationto bring more than 500 hours of Chinese content to the U.S. through Bambu, including “Nirvana in Fire,” TV ratings hit in China in 2015; documentary A Bite of China; “Journey to the West,” the most-watched show in Chinese television history, and current series, “The Advisors Alliance” and “Diamond Lover.”

A partnership with Youku to distribute 30 original Chinese feature filmsin North America on all platforms including Bambu, digital, DVD and Blu-ray Disc, and across all OTT platforms, with a primary focus on major streaming platforms and niche outlets.

A content licensing agreement with Starrise Media Holdings Limited to release several Starrise productions on Bambu. The titles have not yet been announced.

TCL, Roku Partnering for Branded 8K Televisions

Roku and TCL Corp. Jan. 7 announced that they plan to release branded 8K TCL Roku TVs in late 2019. TCL will incorporate its latest Gen 11 LCD panel factory with Roku’s 8K hardware reference design. Additionally, Roku is expanding its 4K and HDR hardware reference design to include far-field microphones for voice search and control.

The 8K units pledge to deliver more than 33 million pixels compared to 8.3 million in today’s UHD 4K TVs. More pixels mean more clarity and detail, especially in the largest TV screen sizes. As more consumers adopt 65”, 75” and even larger screens for their homes, TCL and Roku believe consumers will choose the greater screen resolution of 8K for those displays, as evidenced by the prior trend in 4K TV purchases.

China-based TCL was one of the first TV manufacturers to incorporate Roku and produce a line of branded TVs. It claims to be the No. 2 smart TV in the U.S.

“We are thrilled to continue to break boundaries as we plan to build televisions that push the limits of picture quality and offer TV models with built-in voice control,” Chris Larson, SVP, TCL, said in a statement.

Since launching in 2014, the Roku TV licensing program has grown to be the No. 1 licensed TV OS in the U.S. The program provides OEMs with hardware reference designs and the Roku OS to build smart TVs. Roku manages the software updates, including delivering new features, regular channel updates and more. During the first nine months of 2018, more than one in four smart TVs sold in the U.S. were Roku TVs.

“In designing and delivering 8K TCL Roku TVs we will reach new heights by offering beautiful picture quality combined with America’s No. 1 TV streaming platform,” said Chas Smith, GM, Roku TV & Players.