Pluto TV Adds 24 Channels in German-Speaking Countries

ViacomCBS’s ad-supported VOD platform, Pluto TV, has added 24 content channels for distribution in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Acquired last year for $340 million, Pluto TV with 75 channels represents ViacomCBS’s aggressively global drive for AVOD distribution competing against Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.

Channel additions include “Pop-Up” channels featuring iconic brands such as “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “iCarly,” “Blue’s Clues,” “Victorious,” “Bubble Guppies” and “Sam & Cat,” among others. In addition, MTV channels “Dating,” “The Hills” and “Totally Turtles” are now available in English language for German viewers.

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“Within the last four months alone, we have been able to increase our channel offering by a third of the entire portfolio,” Olivier Jollet, managing director of Europe, said in a statement. “This a major step in pushing Pluto TV to the next level.”

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ViacomCBS, Sky Ink Content Distribution Deal for Germany, Switzerland, Austria

ViacomCBS Networks International and Comcast-owned Sky have signed a distribution deal for select content offered in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Under terms of the deal, Sky’s satellite customers in the countries now have access to Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Nick Toons.

“With robust collaborations already in place in the UK and Italy, we truly value our partnership with Sky and are excited to be able to deliver premium kids’ content, both linear and on-demand, to more families in these regions,” Raffaele Annecchino, president, ViacomCBS Networks EMEA and Asia, said in a statement.

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Manuel Kindervater, VP Partner Channels/Strategy at Sky Germany, said the Nickelodeon brand, “perfectly expand” the Sky family portfolio.

“We are pleased that families will be able to enjoy the diverse programs of Nick Jr and Nick Toons with Sky and Sky Ticket from April; anytime linear or on-demand,” Kindervater said.

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Disney+ Ups Free SVOD Promotions in Germany and United Kingdom

With Disney set to launch its branded subscription streaming video service, Disney+, in Europe on March 24, the media giant has rolled out promotional offers with mobile carriers T-Mobile and O2 in Germany and the United Kingdom, respectively.

Unlike its 12-month free service offer to Verizon subscribers in the United States, Disney is offering six months of free service in Germany and the U.K. The service will launch with more than 500 movies, 350 TV series and a slate of 26 exclusive Disney+ Originals across its Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic brands.

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“We’re delighted to be working with Disney to bring these incredible shows and movies to our customers, demonstrating that there are more reasons than ever to join the U.K.’s No.1 network,” Mark Evans, CEO of O2, said in a statement.

Jan Koeppen, president of The Walt Disney Company EMEA, said the O2 and T-Mobile agreements represent a “new chapter” in the way Disney delivers its “timeless stories” to consumers.

“With the Disney announcement to enter the streaming business, it was clear to us that we had to make this attractive offer accessible to our customers,” said Dirk Wössner, board member for Deutsche Telekom’s German business.

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All MagentaMobil, MagentaZuhause and MagentaTV subs receive six months of Disney+ free, which normally costs €5.99 ($6.66) per month.

 

Netflix Top-10 Lists Underscore Streamer’s Vital Global Markets

During the end-of-year winter lull, Top 10 lists permeate the media landscape, including at Netflix.

The SVOD behemoth reportedly disclosed its most-viewed TV series and titles overall in five key markets outside the United States: the United Kingdom, India, Australia, France and Germany.

The U.K., Germany and France collectively had about 21 million subscribers at the end of 2018, according to Statista. India, with its massive population and large mobile user base, remains a new market for streamers, including Netflix. The Economic Times of India estimates Netflix’s sub count at 1 million to 2 million.

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The streaming video pioneer continues to lead the growth of SVOD services in Australia with more than 11.2 million Aussies having a subscription — up 25% from a year ago, according to Roy Morgan.

As expected, many of Netflix’s top programs in the United States also fared well globally — underscoring the streamer’s push toward producing local content for a worldwide audience.

Top performers include “Stranger Things,” “Black Mirror,” “The Witcher,” “The Umbrella Academy,” movies 6 Underground, The Irishman, The Highwaymen and Murder Mystery, and documentary  “Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,” among others.

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Notable exclusion from the U.K., the new installment of “The Crown.”

Netflix’s Top 10 most-popular releases, movies and TV series by country as reported by Deadline.com:

Top 10 Most Popular Releases of 2019 in U.K.:

“The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann”
6 Underground
Murder Mystery
“The Witcher”
The Irishman
“After Life”
“Stranger Things 3”
“Our Planet”
“Sex Education”
“Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes: Limited Series”

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“The Witcher”
“After Life”
“Stranger Things 3”
“Sex Education”
“The Umbrella Academy”
“You”
“Unbelievable”
“Top Boy”
“Black Mirror”
“Dirty John”

Top 10 Most Popular Releases in Australia:
Murder Mystery
6 Underground
“The Witcher”
Isn’t It Romantic
“Lunatics”
The Irishman
“Stranger Things 3”
Extremely, Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Triple Frontier
“Dead to Me”

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“The Witcher”
“Lunatics”
“Stranger Things 3”
“Dead to Me”
“The Umbrella Academy”
“Unbelievable”
“Dirty John”
“Sex Education”
“Rick and Morty: S4”
“You: S2”

Top Ten Most Popular Movies:
Murder Mystery
6 Underground
Isn’t It Romantic
The Irishman
Extremely, Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Triple Frontier
Aquaman
The Highwaymen
The Perfect Date
Falling Inn Love

Top 10 Most Popular Releases in India:
“Sacred Games: S2”
Kabir Singh
Article 15
“Bard of Blood”
Drive
Badla
House Arrest
6 Underground
“Delhi Crime”
Chopsticks

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“Sacred Games: S2”
“Bard of Blood”
“Delhi Crime”
“Sex Education”
“Leila”
“Stranger Things 2”
“Typewriter”
“Little Things: S3”
“The Witcher”
“The Spy”

Top 10 Most Popular Movies:
Kabir Singh
Article 15
Drive
Badla
House Arrest
6 Underground
Chopsticks
Baazaar
Luka Chuppi
Romeo Akbar Walter

Top 10 Most Popular Releases in France:
“Money Heist: S3”
“The Witcher”
6 Underground
“Sex Education”
“Umbrella Academy”
“Stranger Things 3”
“You: S2”
Triple Frontier
“Elite S2”
“Family Business”

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“Money Heist: S3”
“The Witcher”
“Sex Education”
“Umbrella Academy”
“Stranger Things 3”
“You: S2”
“Elite S2”
“Family Business”
“Raising Dion”
“13 Reasons Why: S3”

Top 10 Most Popular Movies:
6 Underground
Triple Frontier
Banlieusards (Street Flow)
The Irishman
Klaus
The Perfect Date
Isn’t It Romantic
Tall Girl
Murder Mystery
Falling Inn Love

Top 10 Most Popular Releases in Germany:
6 Underground
“Money Heist”
“The Witcher”
Murder Mystery
The Irishman
“Sex Education”
Triple Frontier
Isn’t It Romantic
Falling Inn Love
The Perfect Date

Top 10 Most Popular Movies:
6 Underground
Murder Mystery
The Irishman
Triple Frontier
Isn’t It Romantic
Falling Inn Love
The Perfect Date
Wie Jodie Uber Sich Hinauswuchs
The Knight Before Christmas
The Highwaymen

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“Money Heist”
“The Witcher”
“Sex Education”
“Stranger Things 3”
“You”
“The Umbrella Academy”
“13 Reasons Why”
“The I-Land”
“Elite”
“Black Mirror”

German Synagogue Shooter Live-Streamed Killings on Amazon’s Twitch Video Game Platform

Amazon-owned Twitch has confirmed that the suspected shooter near a synagogue in Halle, Germany, that left two people dead, live-streamed the event on the video game streaming platform.

A suspect has been arrested in what German police called an anti-Semitic attack that occurred on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

Twitch confirmed that the 35-minute video streamed on the platform had apparently been filmed with a head-mounted camera.

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“We are shocked and saddened by the tragedy that took place in Germany today, and our deepest condolences go out to all those affected,” a Twitch spokesperson told CNBC. “Twitch has a zero-tolerance policy against hateful conduct, and any act of violence is taken extremely seriously. We are working with urgency to remove this content and permanently suspend any accounts found to be posting or reposting content of this abhorrent act.”

 

Disney’s ESPN+ Streaming Service Soon Home to German Bundesliga Soccer

Disney-owned sports subscription streaming video service, ESPN+, will become in 2020 the U.S. home for the Bundesliga, Germany’s top professional soccer league.

Launched last year, ESPN+ costs $5 monthly, or $50 annually, featuring sports and related content not available on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, ESPN Classic and ESPN News.

“With a strong connection to the American soccer community, a growing audience in the U.S. and some of the most well-known clubs and players in the world, the addition of the Bundesliga further cements ESPN+ as a must-have for any soccer fan,” Russell Wolf, EVP and GM, ESPN+, said in a statement.

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The Bundesliga joins an extensive lineup of soccer on ESPN+ that features over 2,000 top football matches per year from around the world, including exclusive coverage in the US of Italy’s Serie A, the UEFA Nations League, England’s FA Cup and EFL, MLS, the Dutch Eredivisie and more.

Robert Klein, CEO of Bundesliga International, said the deal underscores that Germany continues to be an important source of talent for U.S. national soccer teams.

“With ESPN+, we’re excited to take fans on their journey in the lead up to their home World Cup in 2026,” Klein said.

The service is also streaming 22 matches of the West African Football Union (WAFU) Cup of Nations, which began Sept. 28  from the Stade Lat Dior in Thies, Senegal.

 

Netflix Spain Raises Prices

Netflix is continuing to roll out price hikes across Western Europe with Spain reportedly the latest country to see a €2 monthly increase to €12.99 ($14.80) from €10.99 ($12.52).

Netflix previously raised prices in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Netflix Spain also upped the fee for Ultra-HD on up to four devices to €15.99 ($18.22) from €13.99 ($15.94). The basic plan remains unchanged at €7.99 ($9.11) per month.

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Netflix in January raised by $2 its most-popular plan in the U.S. to $12.99 from $10.99. The basic $7.99 non-HD plan increased to $8.99, while the premium plan allowing four simultaneous 4K streams increase to $15.99 per month from $13.99.

Study: Online TV Is Second-Most-Popular TV Viewing Choice in U.K., Sweden and Germany

A new survey of TV viewers in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Germany found that online TV is now the second most popular viewing source behind pay-TV, with usage ranging from just under 40% in Germany to more than 50% in the U.K. and Sweden.

Nielsen company Gracenote and digital media analyst firm nScreenMedia conducted the survey, “TV Universe — U.K., Sweden, Germany: How People Watch Television Today,” in the first quarter of 2019, focusing on pay TV, free-to-air and online TV viewership in the three European countries that account for 31% of the European Union’s total population, according to Statista.

The online TV viewership growth in the three countries “is a remarkable rise as online TV is a relatively new offering,” according to the research firms. In fact, Netflix launched in the United Kingdom in just 2012. Whereas 12 years ago most homes relied on a single-source for TV, today nearly half of viewers in all three of the countries studied are multi-source television households, the researchers noted.

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“Consumer behavior relating to TV viewing is changing rapidly in Europe as it is around the world,” said Simon Adams, chief product officer, Gracenote, in a statement.

Pay TV is currently the most popular television source in the U.K. and Sweden with nearly two in three consumers in each market using it, the survey found, but in Germany the most popular source is free-to-air TV, which accounts for the vast majority of viewers at nearly eight in 10.

In all three European markets surveyed, consumers pointed to on-screen program guides and user interfaces as being critical tools for finding content to watch. Six in 10 viewers indicated visual imagery and TV artwork displayed in guides exert important influence on their viewing choices. Among the 18-to-24-year-old demographic, the number jumped up to around 90%. In addition, respondents indicated TV show and movie descriptions that shed light on content are also factors in their tune-in decision-making, with 70% of U.K. viewers, 65% of Swedes and 57% of Germans saying the program descriptions were at least somewhat important.

The study also found free-to-air TV is gaining traction on mobile with more free-to-air viewers using broadcaster apps to supplement viewing than pay TV viewers use their operator “TV Everywhere” apps. In fact, more than half of free-to-air users in each country use broadcaster apps.

The smart TV is the preferred device to watch video content on in all three countries, according to the study. A significant 70% of total viewing time is on the TV screen in the United Kingdom and Germany, while in Sweden, it is 60%. Samsung is the most popular TV brand in all three countries.

Other insights include:

  • 17% of the U.K. study group use all three TV sources available to them, higher than in Sweden and Germany;
  • While the on-screen guide is the dominant way Swedes and Brits find content to watch, newspaper TV guides and channel flipping are the main ways for Germans; and
  • 31% of Swedes consider online TV to be their primary TV source, the highest of the three countries studied.

 

“The new TV Universe study shows that online TV has become the second most popular source of TV entertainment in a remarkably short period of time,” said Colin Dixon, founder and chief analyst at nScreenMedia in a statement. “Also telling is the fact that, though most online viewing takes place on the television, consumers don’t have the discovery tools they need to efficiently find something to watch there. Features such as voice and cross-service search are thinly used in each country. There is also plenty of room for improvement with content recommendations as a quarter or less think they accurately reflect their interests.”

The consumer research study conducted from February to March 2019 surveyed 1,500 adult TV viewers in the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden. The data was weighted to represent the general population of each country. The full report is available for free download now at nScreenMedia.com.

German Home Entertainment Market Topped $10 Billion in 2018

The German home entertainment market – the fifth largest in the world – reached about €9 billion ($10.3 billion) in consumer spending in 2018, according to new data from Futuresource Consulting. The tally represented a 6% increase from 2017.

Principle drivers included subscription streaming led by Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. Indeed, Netflix upped its market penetration 50% in the country last year.There are now over 10 million German households subscribing to one or more service, which means that a quarter of German households are actively engaging with SVOD.

“The two services are mostly complementary and there is room for both to thrive,” analyst Tristen Veale said in a statement.

Moving forward, Futuresource expects multiple subscriptions per household to drive the market and, outside of Amazon and Netflix, there is a growing number of specialist services available directly, or via aggregators such as Amazon Channels.

The research firm expects major D2C launches such as Disney+ in the longer term, along with broadcaster-led initiatives in the near term, which it contends would help maintain strong subscription growth. This year, the German SVOD market will have doubled in 2 years and is forecast to exceed €1 billion ($1.15 billion) in 2020.

Five years ago, DVD and Blu-ray Disc accounted for 90% of consumer spending on home entertainment video in Germany (excluding theatrical and pay-TV). Fast forward to the end of 2018, and packaged media dipped below 50% of consumer spending – despite ongoing strength of Blu-ray.

“Some, but not all, of this deficit is being replaced by growth of digital purchasing or rental,” said Veale. “By 2021, we expect consumers to spend more on renting or purchasing digital movies and TV shows than they will on DVD’s and Blu-rays. However, transactional home video sellthrough and rental is a declining market segment overall; spending is expected to fall by an average of 9% per year between 2018 and 2022.”

Finally, consumer spending on pay-TV accounts for two thirds of the video entertainment market and is growing, even though many European markets are seeing stagnation or even declines, according to Futuresource.

“In Germany there is increased dynamism in the market, with an increased number of providers offering low cost, skinny bundle services as a viable alternative to the entrenched free-to-air/basic cable plans and premium subscriptions from Sky, which are currently available,” Veale said.

 

Mexico vs. Sweden World Cup Soccer Generates Telemundo’s Highest Non-Super Bowl Digital Audience

With the United States and Canada not playing in the ongoing 2018 soccer World Cup in Russia, Mexico represents North America’s biggest draw.

The El Tri didn’t disappoint (except for losing 3-0), with the June 27 streaming presentation Mexico vs. Sweden in group play generating a record 1 million concurrent live streams on digital devices across TelemundoDeportes.com, the Telemundo Deportes En Vivo app, and the NBC Sports app.

Despite the loss, Mexico (and Sweden) advances to the elimination round following defending champion Germany’s 2-0 loss to South Korea.

The digital tally was the most for any event in NBC Sports Digital history, excluding Super Bowls, and the only event other than the Super Bowl to hit the 1 million mark.

Fox Sports has exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to Russia 2018. Telemundo is owned by Comcast, which is attempting to acquire 20thCentury Fox Film.

In addition, the 1.02 million concurrent livestreams topped by 53% the prior non-Super Bowl mark – 665,000 for the Mexico-South Korea match on June 23.

On June 26, the World Cup reached 3.2 million unique digital users and generated 106 million minutes viewed. To date, the quadrennial tournament has reached 9.3 million total unique users and generated 89.1 million livestreams and 1.35 billion total minutes viewed, averaging 2.0 million livestreams per match.

Notably, Argentina’s last-minute win over Nigeria, which advanced the Lionel Messi-led squad to the second round, delivered an average of 2.85 million streaming viewers – ranking as Telemundo Deportes’ most-watched weekday match through June 26.

Telemundo delivered its best-ever June 26 daytime (7 a.m.-5 p.m. ET), averaging 1.58 million digital viewers for its World Cup coverage – topping the prior record set June 20 by 41% (1.12 million).