Netflix Vows to Stay Ad-Free

Netflix July 17 put to rest speculation it plans to incorporate advertising into programming similar to what Hulu does.

With the SVOD pioneer spending billions annually on content, Wall Street analysts have suggested Netflix would roll out an ad-supported viewer option to generate incremental revenue to help pay for it.

CEO Reed Hastings put a halt to the scuttlebutt.

“We, like HBO, are advertising free,” Hastings wrote in the shareholder letter. “That remains a deep part of our brand proposition; when you read speculation that we are moving into selling advertising, be confident that this is false. We believe we will have a more valuable business in the long term by staying out of competing for ad revenue and instead entirely focusing on competing for viewer satisfaction.”

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‘Stranger Things’ Remains Most Popular TV Show on Parrot Analytics’ Demand Charts

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” remained No. 1 on not only Parrot Analytics’ digital originals rankings the week ended July 13, but also the data firm’s overall list of TV series from any platform, including broadcast and cable, for the third straight week.

A “digital original” is a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu.

In the week following its July 4 third-season premiere, demand for “Stranger Things” more than doubled to 336 million average daily Demand Expressions, the proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. That was up 112% in expressions compared with the previous week.

Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” held onto the No. 2 spot on the digital originals chart, though its demand expressions dropped 4% to 35.9 million.

DC Universe’s “Titans” moved up a spot to No. 3 with 33.6 million expressions, up 1.75%, fueled a bit by online news of details for the upcoming second season. The first season arrives on Blu-ray July 16.

Netflix’s “Lucifer” moved up to the No. 4 spot. The series, based on a character from the DC Comics comic-book series “The Sandman,” dropped 8% in expressions to 29.1 million.

Rounding out the top five on the digital originals chart was Netflix’s German-language series “Dark,” with 28.4 million expressions, up 11.5% from the previous week, when it was No. 7.

The biggest rise in the digital original chart for the week was Amazon Prime Video’s “Good Omens,” which jumped from No. 17 to No. 7 with 25.8 million expressions, up 42.4% from the previous week.

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The Demand Expressions metric draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Disney Shuttering FX+ Streaming Service

To make room for its pending Disney+ subscription streaming video service and global expansion of Hulu, Disney — as expected — has begun informing subscribers that 20th Century Fox’s FX+ streaming service will shut down Aug. 21.

Launched in 2017 as a $6 monthly add-on to pay-TV subscribers, Disney says FX+ viewers can still access catalog programing and catch-up shows on the FXNow app or at FXNetworks.com.

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With Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of 20th Century Fox, merger synergies are affecting more than Fox personnel. And Disney clearly is putting its resources behind Disney+ and Hulu, which it now owns outright.

That much was clear during Fox’s upfront presser in May.

“I think the possibilities of a platform like Hulu are much more exciting to us in the long run than trying to scale up a stand-alone version,” John Landgraf, CEO of FX, told the media. “It really expands the dimensions and what we can do.”

Ampere: U.S. Subscription Streaming Video Growth Resumes

Netflix subscriber growth in the United States may be slowing, but the domestic market for subscription streaming video is poised for expansion, according to new data from Ampere Analysis.

The London-based research group said growth in SVOD subscriptions in the U.S. resumed after peaking from Q3 2016 and Q1 2018.

Much of that renewed growth has come from Hulu topping 25 million subscribers earlier this year, in addition to pending service launches from Disney, Apple, WarnerMedia and NBC Universal.

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Although the proportion of Internet users in Europe who have a SVOD subscription is lower than in the U.S., there continues to be healthy sub growth across the Atlantic.

“The growth in SVOD subscribers in both regions will come as welcome news, particularly to those looking to enter the market this year such as Disney and Apple as it shows there is still room for growth and the opportunity to take a share of the revenue,” Minal Modha, consumer research lead at Ampere, said in a statement.

Indeed, about 80% of Internet users in Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have at least one SVOD subscription. Japan and France are the only countries where fewer than 50% have a subscription.

Subscriptions are being driven by younger demographics, with those under 35 over-indexing in each market except Saudi Arabia where it is driven by those aged 45 years and over.

All but two markets analyzed enjoyed subscriber growth between Q3 2018 and Q1 2019, with Saudi Arabia (+8.1%), Australia (+6.8%) and Denmark (+6.3%) spearheading expansion.

The Netherlands and Japan are the only markets where subscriber growth has stagnated since Q3 2018.

Research: Amazon Prime, Hulu Users More Likely Than Netflix Users to Discuss Technical Problems, Dissatisfaction

Users of Amazon Prime Video and Hulu are much more likely to discuss technical problems and dissatisfaction with content than Netflix subscribers, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics.

The report “Voice of the Customer: What Are Netflix Subscribers Saying Compared to Competitors?” found that Netflix users were much more likely to spend time discussing characters and storylines in great detail, suggesting high levels of engagement with Netflix shows. By contrast, discussions involving Hulu users focused on resolving problems with the service, while Amazon users focused on negative comments to do with pricing and lack of content choice.

“The report concludes that Hulu and Amazon must address these deficiencies if they are to make inroads into Netflix’s leadership position,” according to the Strategy Analytics press release. “The findings should also serve as a warning to Disney and WarnerMedia as they prepare to launch new streaming services.”

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The research, which is based on “advanced language analytics techniques,” according to the firm, showed that, compared to Hulu and Amazon, Netflix users were much more likely to discuss binge-viewing; characters, scenes and storylines in great detail; evaluating shows, both positively and negatively; what people in general think of shows; and worrying about seeing spoilers before watching shows.

“Netflix’s advantages are numerous, but lie primarily in the fact that its users are much more engaged with the content than those using Amazon Prime Video or Hulu,” said Michael Goodman, director, TV & media strategies, at Strategy Analytics, in a statement. “Neither Amazon nor Hulu have managed to get much beyond technical or pricing issues in order to build that all-important content-viewer relationship which ensures higher retention levels and sustained subscription revenues.”

The research was carried out by Relative Insight in partnership with Strategy Analytics. Relative Insight is a U.K.-based language understanding technology company.

IHS: Online Video, Social Media Usurping Traditional TV Consumption

With the rise in over-the-top video platforms coupled with ongoing social media obsession, new data from IHS Markit suggests traditional linear television consumption across all distribution channels in the United States and Europe is declining.

Total daily video consumption per person per country topped 273 minutes in 2018 — down about 4% from more than 284 minutes per person/country in 2013.

In the study first reported by Advanced-Television.com, London-based IHS contends the trend underscores consumers’ ongoing migration toward OTT video and away from traditional linear TV.

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“During previous years, non-linear television viewing was largely additive to traditional linear TV viewing, driving up the total number of minutes watched,” analyst Rob Moyser said in a statement. “However, non-linear now has become an alternative for linear TV for many consumers. As a result, total cross-platform viewing time is returning to levels seen prior to the rise of on-demand viewing.”​

Indeed, daily online video consumption of content longer than 15 minutes increased by six minutes in 2018 — driven largely by Netflix.

Social media consumption of video increased by eight minutes per day/person, and when combined with online video, totaled 303 minutes per person/day. That compared to 299 minutes in 2017.

“Mobile devices have become a key area of growth in terms of video consumption, particularly out of the home, as data plans become more affordable and screen sizes increase,” added analyst Fateha Begum. “Connected living room devices, however, present new opportunities for social platforms to reach wider audiences particularly as consumer appetite for short-form viewing improves.”

‘Stranger Things’ Tops All TV Shows on Parrot Analytics’ Demand Charts

With days to go before the July 4 premiere of its third season, Netflix’s “Stranger Things” not only topped Parrot Analytics’ digital originals rankings the week ended June 29, but also the data firm’s overall list of TV series from any platform, including broadcast and cable.

A “digital original” is a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu.

“Stranger Things” grabbed 94 million average daily Demand Expressions, the proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. That was up 11.9% in expressions compared with the previous week, when it returned to the top spot following the release of its final season-three trailer.

It also passed “Game of Thrones” to take over the top spot among all TV shows. The HBO fantasy series had been the top overall series all year, but has been declining since its final episode aired in mid-May. It was the No. 2 overall show for the week with 91.6 million expressions.

Netflix’s “Black Mirror” remained in the No. 2 spot on the digital originals chart with 38 million expressions, down 23% from a week earlier.

Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” jumped up a spot to No. 3, though its demand expressions dropped 8% to 37.9 million.

Netflix’s “When They See Us,” the controversial miniseries about the Central Park Five that was created, co-written, and directed by Ava DuVernay, slipped to No. 4, its Demand Expressions dropping 16.6% to 34.9 million.

Rounding out the top five on the digital originals chart was Netflix’s “Lucifer,” maintaining the No. 5 spot from the previous week. The series, based on a character from the DC Comics comic-book series “The Sandman,” dropped 13.9% in expressions to 34.2 million.

Netflix’s German-language series “Dark” moved  into the top 10 at No. 10, with 24.4 million expressions following the June 21 premiere of its second season. That’s a 64.7% increase over the previous week, when it was No. 23.

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The Demand Expressions metric draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

‘Stranger Things’ Returns to Top of Parrot Analytics Digital Originals Chart, Pushing Past ‘Black Mirror’

Less than two weeks from the premiere of its third season, Netflix’s “Stranger Things” returned to the No. 1 spot on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals rankings the week ended June 22.

The show’s latest surge is undoubtedly due to the June 20 release of the season’s final trailer, which drew more than 9 million views on Netflix’s YouTube channel alone.

“Stranger Things” registered 84 million average daily Demand Expressions, the proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. According to Parrot, “Stranger Things” grew 33.6% in expressions compared with the previous week, when it ranked second with 62.9 million.

Netflix’s “Black Mirror,” which was No. 1 the previous week after the premiere of its fifth season, saw a 25.5% drop in expressions to 66.4 million, slipping to No. 2.

Netflix’s “When They See Us,” the controversial miniseries about the Central Park Five that was created, co-written, and directed by Ava DuVernay, stayed at No. 3, though its Demand Expressions dropped 18.7% to 41.8 million.

Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” jumped up a spot to No. 4, though its demand expressions dropped 1% to 41.6 million.

Rounding out the top five on the digital originals chart was Netflix’s “Lucifer,” down a spot from No. 4 the previous week. The series, based on a character from the DC Comics comic-book series “The Sandman,” dropped 8.4% in expressions to 43.3 million.

Marvel’s “Jessica Jones” jumped back onto the top 10 chart at No. 7, from No. 19 the previous week, with a 92.9% increase in expressions to 30.2 million. The third and final season of the show debuted on June 14 on Netflix, representing the end of Marvel’s contribution to the streaming service.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The Demand Expressions metric draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

A “digital original” is a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

‘Black Mirror’ Tops Parrot Analytics Digital Originals Chart

“Black Mirror,” the Netflix anthology series that some critics have likened to a modern-day “Twilight Zone,” shot up to No. 1 from No. 4 on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals chart the week ended June 15.

The series, which often revolves around the unanticipated consequences of new technologies, generated more than 66.4 million average daily Demand Expressions during the week, Parrot says, a nearly 60% spike from the prior week.

The gain came after the June 5 debut of Season 5.

“Black Mirror” ended a three-week run at No. 1 for “Stranger Things,” which slipped to No. 2 with 62.9 million average daily Demand Expressions, a nearly 12% increase from the prior week. The series will likely reclaim the top spot in the coming weeks, as Season 3 is set to debut on July 4.

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Demand Expressions is a proprietary Parrot Analytics metric that draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

A “digital original” is a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu.

“Black Mirror,” which premiered in December 2011, and ran for two seasons, on British television, was acquired by Netflix in September 2015. Two six-episode seasons debuted in October 2016 and December 2017, respectively. A standalone interactive film, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, was released last December.

Demand for third-ranked “When They See Us,” the controversial miniseries about the Central Park Five that was created, co-written, and directed by Ava DuVernay for Netflix, remained relatively flat, with 51.4 million average daily Demand Expressions compared to 52.5 million the prior week.

The four-episode drama series is based on the notorious 1989 Central Park jogger case, in which five juveniles – four black and one Latino – were sent to prison for allegedly raping a white woman jogger. They were exonerated after the real rapist confessed, but by then had already served their time.

“Lucifer,” based on a character from the DC Comics comic-book series “The Sandman,” slipped to No. 4 from No. 3 the prior week, with a 10% drop in demand.

Rounding out the top five on the digital originals chart was Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the same ranking as in the previous week.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Hulu CEO Eyes Ad Growth, Clarity Under Disney Ownership

With Disney agreeing to acquire Comcast’s 33% stake in Hulu, the subscription streaming video service with 28 million subscribers is now under the direction of one company instead of four (Disney, Fox, Comcast, WarnerMedia).

In an interview with CNBC, Hulu CEO Randy Freer said consolidation among the platform’s corporate owners offers increased clarity on the service’s objectives, strategic planning and voice going forward.

Randy Freer

“We’re super excited about the opportunity,” Freer said.

The executive added that Disney’s plan to incorporate Hulu, ESPN+ and Disney+ into a possible SVOD bundle sold to consumers and distributors offers additional opportunities.

“I think it’s another way for Hulu to extend and grow its already fast-growing subscriber base,” Freer said.

With Hulu the only major SVOD service streaming advertising on its basic subscription plan, Freer said marketers are looking for consumer access in over-the-top video ecosystem dominated by ad-free players Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

“I think the opportunity at Hulu … with huge audiences … long engagement times, a young audience, 20-to- 25 years younger than network television … is a huge for brands to come in and talk to the consumers that they’re looking to reach the most,” he said.

At the same time, Freer cautioned that marketing Hulu as a service with half the ads of broadcast TV is not “okay anymore.”

“We have to find new ways to integrate brands into the ad,” he said.

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Indeed, Hulu has launched a number of new ad formats, including “pause ads,” which displays a static ad when a viewer pauses programming; and “Friends with Benefits” featuring “Easter eggs” hidden on the site that offer special deals from brand partners when clicked.

“There [are] all kinds of ways to make the customer experience on Hulu better than any of our competitors,” Freer said. “And we can’t forget that the most important thing to consumers is choice. What’s more important is giving them the option of an ad service and the option of an ad-free service so they can determine what’s the best experience to view things.”