Sling TV Launches Puppet ‘Slingy’ to Promote Service

OTT service Sling TV is introducing “Slingy,” a puppet star of its new digital ads.

The puppet is designed and created by Tim Clarke, one of the masterminds behind “The Muppets” puppet design, according to the service’s blog.

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“Slingy is on a mission to let everyone know that Slinging is easy and anyone can do it — even a puppet!” reads the blog. “Slingy is passionate about educating live TV lovers who want to cut the cord and is even willing to show up at people’s homes and offices to tell them about Sling. After a visit from Slingy, consumers can’t help but get excited about the choice, flexibility and control that Sling TV offers without the baggage that comes with cable.”

Last year, Sling TV launched a tongue-in-cheek TV campaign featuring celebrity couple Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally as “slingers.”

Research: U.S. Broadband-Only Households to Grow to 40.8 Million by 2023

Broadband-only U.S. households are set to grow from 23.3 million in 2018 to 40.8 million by 2023, according to estimates from Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

“The steep upward trend of due to ‘cord-cutting’ is not surprising given the abundance of online video services on the market, although this could be a circular argument, with more companies jumping on the streaming video bandwagon in response to the growing broadband-only market,” said Tony Lenoir, senior Kagan research analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence, in a statement.

Kagan expects the segment of broadband homes without a traditional multichannel subscription to account for nearly one-third of U.S. households in the next five years.

Kagan findings show that over-the-top (OTT) products, whether subscription video on demand, direct-to-consumer or virtual multichannel, are offered at competitive prices which is a major factor fueling cord-cutting. Other reasons for the strong projection of broadband-only growth include the ease of joining and cancelling online streaming services, Kagan found. They typically do not require contracts.

“The value proposition of streaming video services touches a chord with the average consumer,” Lenoir said in a statement. “The vast majority of streaming services offer free trial periods, effectively allowing consumers to shop around while bypassing hardware hassles associated with legacy video distribution. This coupled with the fact that streaming services are typically screen-agnostic and seamlessly portable, offer individual, customized consumption for customers.”

Additional findings include:

  • Kagan expects broadband-only homes, or households without a traditional multichannel video package, but a subscription to wireline broadband, to rise at an 11.9% compound annual growth rate from 2018 to 2023.
  • Broadband-only homes are set to account for 41.7% of wireline broadband households by 2023. Kagan expects cable and telco broadband to serve nearly 75% of U.S. households by that time.

Record Dow Jones Market Surge Results in Big Gains for Entertainment Tech

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Dec. 26 up a record 1,086 points following the Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) market meltdown, which saw the Dow lose more than 600 points.

Winners in the market turnaround included Roku (up nearly 12%), Apple (10.34%), Amazon (9.5%), Netflix (9%), Disney (5.5%) and Comcast (3.24%), among others.

Analyst Tom Forte of D.A. Davidson said entertainment technology remains a key market due to ongoing changes to entertainment consumption in the home, which he said includes pay-TV cord-cutting and Apple’s resilience in smart phones.

Forte said “getting Android users to switch to Apple [iOS]” resonates positively to the bottom line in a saturated mobile phone market.

“What people are missing is the higher selling points for iPhones protects [Apple] from lower unit sales,” he told CNBC.

Kevin Landis of Firsthand Capital Management said big cap stocks like Netflix have long been “anointed” by Wall Street, and thus any market surge would benefit the subscription streaming video pioneer.

“Netflix has a market cap well over $100 billion,” he said.

The analyst contends Roku’s market cap of less than $5 billion translates into lots of “headroom” for the company that helped Netflix launched the SVOD market in 2007 with a branded Netflix streaming media device.

“What they have in common is that they’re both great cord-cutting plays,” Landis said. “Cord-cutting is a very persistent [market] trend that you can count on.”

Roku ended the third quarter with 24 million active households, and 10 million Roku users who do not subscribe to the traditional linear TV bundle.

“The best way for an advertiser to reach these consumers is to buy ads on Roku,” Laura Martin, analyst with Needham, told Investor’s Business Daily. “As viewers cut the cord, advertisers must follow viewers to platforms where they spend time.”

Regardless, Roku has seen its share price plummet 60% in 2018 – due in part to the company’s inordinate dependence on Chinese manufacturing, among other issues.

Following the day’s market surge, Forte said Roku is a “very interesting” stock heading into 2019 – despite spillover issues such as a possible trade war between the U.S. and China and rising interest rates.

“You could definitely look at the beaten-down names in entertainment tech and look for a rebound next year,” Forte said.

 

Report: 80% of Pay-TV Subs Also Stream OTT Video

With the pay-TV ecosystem continuing to lose subscribers to over-the-top video, a new reports suggests upwards of 80% of consumers committed to broadcast TV also stream video.

The report from Telaria, which markets software to manage video advertising, and Adobe Advertising Cloud illustrates the experiences, behaviors, and television usage among a spectrum of TV consumer segments as cord cutting continues to trend upwards and TV advertising models shift to accommodate viewer distribution channels.

Based on an online survey with 750 respondents representing pay-TV subs, over-the-top streamers and VOD consumers,the findings suggest brands that advertise on TV should also invest in connected TV as streaming digital video grows in popularity – including among pay TV customers. Advertisers will be able to access long-form, broadcast-quality programming that is increasingly available through OTT sources.

Indeed, about 42% of pay-TV subs think cable is necessary to view live sports, news and events – a key factor in their decision to keep the distribution channel.

When faced with the question of how to access TV content if they no longer had cable, 21% of pay-TV subs respondents said they had no idea where to turn. Only 50% of pay-TV subs are satisfied with the price they pay for content relative to the service they get, compared to 77% satisfaction among OTT subs. Another 55% of pay-TV subs said they found cord-cutting options confusing.

“Streaming services are providing premium video content at attractive price points and [pay-TV subs] are taking notice,” Karen Ring, head of research at Telaria, said in a statement. “Once [connected TV] services address the consumer confusion around streaming options and better communicate the live content available on their platforms, consumers will have a higher comfort level streaming. As viewers continue to increase time spent with CTV and ad supply increases, marketers need to learn how to create an effective advertising strategy that spans all types of TV.”

 

 

eMarketer: Cord-Cutting Escalating

AT&T bought Time Warner to support its over-the-top video aspirations. Disney will launch a branded OTT service next year. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu dominate the domestic SVOD market.

The trend is clear: The number of cord-cutters — adults who have canceled pay-TV service and continue without it — will climb 32.8% this year to 33 million, according to new data from eMarketer. That’s higher than the 22% growth rate (27.1 million) projected in July 2017.

Overall, 186.7 million U.S. adults will watch pay-TV in 2018, down 3.8% from last year. That’s slightly higher than the 3.4% dip in 2017. Satellite providers will have the biggest decline, followed by telecom (i.e. AT&T).

“Most of the major traditional pay-TV providers now have some way to integrate with Netflix,” Christopher Bendtsen, senior forecasting analyst, said in a statement. “These partnerships are still in the early stages, so we don’t foresee them having a significant impact reducing churn this year.”

Another factor driving the acceleration of cord-cutting is the availability of compelling and affordable live TV packages that are delivered via the internet without the need for installation fees or hardware.

“With more pay-TV and OTT partnerships expected in the future, combined with other strategies, providers could eventually slow — but not stop — the losses,” said Bendtsen.

Meanwhile, the streaming platforms are growing at the expense of pay-TV. In fact, eMarketer has increased its future viewership estimates for YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Growth is being fueled by more original programming and demand for multiple services.

“The main factor fueling growth of on-demand streaming platforms is their original content,” added analyst Paul Verna said. “Consumers increasingly choose services on the strength of the programming they offer, and the platforms are stepping up with billions in spending on premium shows.”

 

 

Research: U.S. Pay-TV Affordability Has Dropped Since 2000

Consumers who complain about their cable bill may have good reason.

Multichannel video affordability in the United States has plummeted since the turn of the millennium, squeezing the penetration rate, particularly among the more economically vulnerable households, according to new data from Kagan, S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Since 2000, there has been a 74% increase in the inflation-adjusted pay-TV bill while incomes have stagnated, according to the research.

The estimated nominal average monthly multichannel revenue per subscriber across the cable, DBS and telco platforms rose at a 5.5% CAGR between 2000 and 2017. Kagan calculated U.S. multichannel purchasing power based on 2017 inflation-adjusted annual multichannel average revenue per user, or ARPU, and average income figures. The affordability calculation dropped from a 10 in 2000 to a 6 in 2017.

Multichannel offerings have evolved a great deal since 2000, including a greater number of networks and advanced services such as video on demand, DVR services and improved user interfaces, with the vast majority of the packages delivered to subscribers digitally and in HD, but consumers’ ability to pay the price for that improvement didn’t grow much.

“The eroding legacy multichannel affordability partly explains the popularity of over-the-top services such as Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Video,” according to Kagan.

Research: OTT Sub Households to Far Outstrip TV Sub Households in 2020

U.S. OTT subscriber households will far surpass TV subscriber households in 2020, according to new data from Convergence Research.

In five years at the current run-rate Netflix will have in the United States as many subscribers as all the the traditional TV access providers combined, according the Convergence’s Brahm Eiley. Amazon Prime at the current run rate will surpass the traditional U.S. TV access providers in terms of subscribers in three years.

However, the average revenue per unit (ARPU) for U.S. TV subscribers in 2020 will still be four times U.S. OTT subscriber households’ ARPU, down from 6 times in 2017.

Convergence has just released its annual 2018 Couch Potato Reports, “The Battle for the American Couch Potato: OTT, TV, Online” and “The Battle for the American Couch Potato: Bundling, TV, Internet, Telephone, Wireless.”

Convergence estimates that U.S. OTT access revenue (based on 55 OTT providers led by Netflix) grew 41% to $11.9 billion in 2017, forecasts $16.6 billion for 2018 and $27.6 billion for 2020.

The firm estimates 2017 U.S. cable, satellite and telco TV access (not including OTT) revenue grew 1% to $107.6 billion ($94.30 per month ARPU) in 2017, forecasts $107.4 billion ($97.90 per month ARPU) for 2018, and $106.9 billion for 2020.

In 2017, the United States saw a decline of 3.66 million TV subscribers and in 2016 a decline of 2.2 million. Convergence forecasts a decline of 3.72 million TV subs for 2018.

The firm reports that 2010 saw the start of the rise in cord cutter/never households, and as of the end of 2017 estimates 32.13 million U.S. households (or 26.1% of households) did not have a traditional TV subscription with a cable, satellite or telco TV access provider, up from 27.56 million (22.6% of households) at the end of 2016. Convergence forecasts 36.76 million (29.6% of households) will be cord cutter/never households by the end of 2018.

Meanwhile, 2017 saw U.S. residential broadband subs surpass U.S. TV subs, growing to 96.95 million. Convergence estimates 2.33 million U.S. residential broadband subs were added in 2017 (2.66 million in 2016) and revenue grew 7% to $56.8 million; the firm forecasts 2.57 million additions and 6% growth to $60.5 billion for 2018.

“The gloves are off,” commentary in the report reads. “The TV-movie Industry is being reconstructed from the inside and by the outside, as programmers now directly compete against their traditional TV access and independent OTT buyers that rival them in terms of content spend. Amazon, Apple, DAZN, Facebook, Google and Netflix all have the money muscle to finance their own productions or outbid on programming including major sporting franchises.”

Because the OTT services are acting more like studios and vying for top content, traditional content owners may fight back, the commentary reads.

“We expect especially for the U.S. market going forward fewer content deals between programmers and independent OTT providers: 2017 saw Disney choose not to renew with Netflix and embrace OTT, HBO not renew with Amazon in the U.S., Hulu (which is spending more on content on a per U.S. subscriber basis than Amazon or Netflix) continue to bolster its offerings, compete more directly against TV access providers, and A+E, AMC, Discovery, Scripps, and Viacom back supply Philo,” the firm commented. “The traditional TV ecosystem does not show decline ‘yet’ except for TV subscribers. TV access players continue to raise prices (ARPU is growing but we forecast TV access revenue decline going forward), and programmers have kept up increases in programming fees and advertising rates, but this architecture cannot last in the long run.”

Research: Increase in Digital Antenna Use Indicates Cord Cutting

The percentage of U.S. broadband households that use digital antennas in their home has steadily increased, reaching 20% near the end of 2017, up from 16% in early 2015, according to new consumer research by Parks Associates.

The increase coincides with a steady decline in pay-TV subscriptions and an increase in OTT video subscriptions, according to the report, “360 View: Access and Entertainment and Broadband Households.”

“Increasingly, consumers are cobbling together their own bundles of content sources. Digital antennas are experiencing a resurgence as consumers consider over-the-air TV and OTT video services as alternatives to pay TV,” said Brett Sappington, senior director of research, Parks Associates. “The percentage of ‘Never’ households (households that have never subscribed to pay-TV services) has held steady, and the percentage of households actually cutting the cord has increased between 2015 and 2017. Antennas are an affordable source for local channels to these households.”

Parks Associates noted that high cost and low price/value perception dominate the reasons for service cancellation and bundle shaving. More than 50% of the households that have switched, shaved or cut the cord cite the service is “not worth the cost,” according to Parks Associates.

“Pay-TV providers need to address this value perception gap and re-establish their role as the consumers’ source for interesting content,” Sappington said. “Opportunities are available. Only 46% of pay-TV subscribers are aware that they can access video-on-demand content from their operator, including free programming. Many indicate that they want to purchase online video services through their pay-TV provider and to access the service through their channel guide.”

The report also found:

  • 63% of subscribers who cannot currently restart programs from the beginning find that feature to be appealing;
  • 17% of consumers who cancel their pay-TV service would have stayed with their provider if there were no monthly fees for their set-top boxes;
  • Average fees for standalone broadband have increased nearly 25% since 2010; and
  • 20% of Wi-Fi households experience problems with coverage in their home.

Study: Cord Cutters Saving More Than $100 a Month by Dumping Cable

Cord cutters are saving an average of $115.33 a month by nixing cable, according to a survey from personal finance site LendEDU.

LendEDU surveyed 500 cord-cutters who canceled their traditional cable services within the last two years and 500 consumers that are still using a cable subscription for their homes.

Cord cutters are also saving an average of $51.38 a month by using online streaming subscriptions that are not theirs, the survey found. About a third of cord cutters (34%) use a service that isn’t theirs.

Cord cutters did spend a bit more on streaming services after cutting cable, an average of $35.33 a month versus $33.74 before.

Meanwhile, even cable subscribers spent an average of $30.87 a month on streaming services, and just over half (52%) of that group said they used their cable service more than streaming. Still, that means 48% of cable subscribers said they use streaming more — an ominous sign for the future of cable, according to LeadEDU

“As the years go by and cable is rendered useless, due to online streaming services becoming more robust, one would have to imagine these results will reverse,” the report stated.

Even the majority of cable subscribers (56% versus 44%) said they would consider cutting the cord, according to the survey.

“Chances are that if cable users are already thinking about cutting the cord in mass, it will happen eventually,” the report stated.

For more on the report visit: https://lendedu.com/blog/cord-cutters-saving-money/