Report: Streamers Targeting Older Viewers

Subscription streaming VOD isn’t just for the younger demo. New data from Ampere Analysis found streaming services are actively targeting viewers aged 35 and over in their content commissioning strategies. These audiences have traditionally been linear TV’s core viewers, but now SVOD pioneers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu have turned their attention — and programming budgets — to older viewers, according to Ampere.

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London-based Ampere noted older viewers covet documentaries, dramas and crime thrillers, which are now among streamers’ top five commissioned genres. Netflix is the largest original content commissioner worldwide, with more than 100 titles ordered between January and March. This amounts to more than 30% of the number of titles ordered by Netflix in 2020. In March, Netflix ordered more doc titles than any other genre, with over half true crime.

“The fastest growth in uptake of VOD viewing is now in the 35–44-year-old age bracket,” Minal Modha, consumer research lead at Ampere Analysis, said in a statement. “Nearly twice as many in this age group are now high VOD viewers compared to two years ago.”

At the same time, Ampere noted consumers who don’t engage with VOD are 55% more likely to be older than 45. The report classified TV viewers based on the time they spend watching TV or online video on a typical day. “Medium” viewers watch for two to four hours a day, and “high” viewers more than four hours a day. About 50% of “medium” linear TV viewers are over 45 years old, with this group often watching locally produced TV series. “High” linear viewers are in the same age range with 57% aged over 45. They are driven by a love of sports and TV shows, with one third (35%) focusing on live sports.

To persuade these viewers to become subscribers, Ampere noted streaming platforms need a three-pronged approach, combining adjustments to genre focus, sport programming and availability of local language content.

  1. They must continue to invest in factual and crime and thriller content. Ampere’s data suggests that this shift is already underway among many of the more established VOD services.
  2. They should expand the array of sports-related content. Sports rights are going to be an important part of any conversion strategy. In the United States, live sports is already beginning to move to some of the newer studio-backed streaming services, but rights in international markets are often difficult to justify for global players. One approach these global streamers might take is to create ancillary sports content. Factual and reality documentary series around players, teams and events are cheaper than live rights, have a better shelf life and offer a draw to die-hard sports fans.
  3. To compete with the local players more effectively, especially in those markets with historically high engagement with linear, and strong local content industries — such as France, Germany and Japan — Ampere recommended more local language programming.

 

“The laser-like focus on matching commissioning strategies with the favorite genres of the older demographics in question is evident, but to more fully compete with linear TV players, local language content is going to be key, as will some sports content, be it live or ancillary,” Modha said in a statement.

Hulu + Live TV Adds Nine ViacomCBS Networks

Hulu + Live TV is adding nine ViacomCBS networks to its channel lineup, including Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr, VH1, CMT, MTV, TV Land and the Paramount Network.

Subscribers will also have on-demand access to TV series titles such as “Freaks & Geeks,” “Moesha” and “Sister Sister.”

Monthly subscription pricing for Hulu + Live TV will remain at $64.99 per month.

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Five ViacomCBS networks — BETher, MTV2, NickToons, TeenNick and MTV Classic — will join Hulu’s entertainment add-on.

Hulu + Live TV offers more than 65 live TV channels, plus the core Hulu on-demand service (normally $5.99 per month as a standalone offering).

Report: Disney’s ‘Soul’ Top-Streamed Movie in the Past Seven Months

New data from Samba TV finds the Dec. 25, 2020 debut of Disney/Pixar’s Soul remains the most-streamed movie in the past seven months — topping Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat and Amazon Prime Video’s Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm, among others.

Fallout from the pandemic has seen Hollywood alter traditional movie distribution to include direct-to-streaming launches for new titles. Disney and WarnerMedia have led the move, followed by Hulu, Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video.

Warner is releasing its entire 2021 theatrical slate on HBO Max concurrently with box office rollout.

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Direct-to-streaming movies continued to roll out, with major blockbusters hitting living room screens the same day as, or even before, their theatrical debuts across all major platforms. While Soul and WW84 continued to lead the pack from the fourth quarter of 2020 over both their three-day premiere window and for 30 days after, March held some huge debuts as well, with HBO Max’s Zack Snyder’s The Justice League and Godzilla vs. Kong seeing sizable three-day viewership tallies.

Through the end of the first quarter, Soul had generated more than 5.8 million household views, followed by WW84 with 4.3 million. Mortal Kombat started strong with 3.6 million households since its April 23 launch. Detective drama The Little Things has slightly more than 3 million households.

Pay-TV Viewership Decline Continues

Separately, according to Samba TV’s analysis, there was a 10% quarter-over-quarter decline in the daily average number of TV-viewing U.S. households consuming linear-TV, along with a 14% decline in total minutes viewed. Every month since November has progressively seen lower daily average U.S. household tune-ins than the previous month.

On top of that, linear-TV advertising impressions were down year-over-year across the U.S., U.K., and Germany showing that demonstrates that the industry has not quite returned to pre-pandemic levels and likely will continue to shift to digital as viewers increase time-shifting and streaming behaviors.

Interest in premium linear content is down: The average number of households that watched Showtime, HBO and Starz each day in the first quarter of 2021 was lower than it was in the fourth quarter of 2020. Starz saw the steepest drop-off at -21%, followed by HBO (-17%) and Showtime (-6%).

Linear-TV losses were widespread: 81% of U.S. TV networks saw quarter-over-quarter declines based on average daily household. Live sports continued its viewership slide as well. Q1 2021 was full of major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, but overall sports viewership continued to decline year-over-year, which started with the stoppage of major sports leagues in March.

‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’ Top Anticipated New Show in May

The Disney+ series “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” was the top anticipated new show on the TV Time chart for May.

The animated “Star Wars” franchise show, debuting May 4, follows members of a unique squad of clones who find their way in a changing galaxy in the aftermath of the Clone War. Coming in at No. 2 on the new show chart was “Jupiter’s Legacy.” Season two of the series about superhero families premieres May 7.

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Topping the anticipated returning shows chart for May was Netflix’s “Love, Death & Robots.” The animated anthology series from Tim Miller and David Fincher starts its second season May 14. No. 2 on the returning show chart was another Netflix show, the Norwegian mystery series “Ragnarok,” season two of which debuts May 27.

TV Time, owned by Whip Media, is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the company. TV Time’s “Anticipation Report” is based on data from those users.

Most Anticipated New Shows for May:

  1. “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” (Disney+) — May 4
  2. “Jupiter’s Legacy” (Netflix) — May 7
  3. “M.O.D.O.K.” (Hulu) — May 21
  4. “Doom at Your Service” (TVN) — May 10
  5. “The Underground Railroad” (Amazon Prime Video) — May 14

 

Most Anticipated Returning Shows for May:

  1. “Love, Death & Robots” (Netflix) — May 14
  2. “Ragnarok” (Netflix) — May 27
  3. “Dynasty” (2017) (CW) — May 7
  4. “Who Killed Sara?” (Netflix) — May 19
  5. “Castlevania” (Netflix) — May 13

Sony Pictures Streaming Deals: Pay-TV Window Shattered, and Disney Plays Second Fiddle to Netflix

NEWS ANALYSIS — While some of the headlines surrounding Sony Pictures’ movie streaming deal with Disney revolve around the future availability of the Spider-Man franchise on Disney+ and Hulu, buried in the details are two important facts: The agreement is secondary to the studio’s mega-pact with Netflix. It also turns the traditional pay-TV movie window on its ear.

For Sony Pictures — which unlike other major studios, does not have its own branded streaming video service — the Disney deal affords the studio incremental revenue opportunity on catalog and new-release movies.

The agreement — which, similar to the Netflix deal, covers new theatrical titles released from 2022 to 2026 — will only make the titles available on Disney+ and Hulu, in addition to Disney’s ABC, Disney Channels, Freeform, FX and National Geographic channels, after their availability on Netflix. How long that wait will be isn’t clear, with some reports suggesting at least a year delay.

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Netflix, however, gets access to upcoming Sony releases Morbius, starring Oscar winner Jared Leto, and Uncharted, featuring “Spider-Man” actor Tom Holland, about six to nine months after their 2022 theatrical and home entertainment debuts. Sony is also producing movies for Netflix.

“This … establishes a new source of first-run films for Netflix movie lovers,” said the streamer’s Scott Stubler.

Both agreements significantly alter the existing Pay 1 TV window currently operated by Starz, HBO, Epix, FX and Showtime, among others.

Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, says the Starz deal has been an eight-year window, but believes Netflix may have a much shorter exclusive — despite reportedly paying Sony $1 billion over the course of the agreement.

“Without seeing the terms, it’s clear that Netflix isn’t getting as good a deal as the headline/hype suggested earlier this month,” Pachter said. “People assumed Pay 1 window meant the same as HBO/Starz/Epix for eight years, and the Disney deal suggests it is a lot shorter than that.”

Parent Group Criticizes Hulu Content Controls; Hails Netflix, Disney+

The Parents Television and Media Council April 20 released a new study evaluating the most popular streaming services, finding that ad-supported services like Paramount+, Peacock and Hulu are the most cost-effective, but that Hulu rates the worst with parental controls, while Netflix has the best oversight.

The PTC looked at both the up-front and hidden costs a family would pay by “cutting the cord” and switching to a streaming-only platform consisting of the most popular streaming services currently on the market. For the report’s non-economic analysis, the PTC reviewed the parental controls available on those most popular services.

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Ranked on a relative scale, Netflix was found to have the best parental controls of the major streaming services; Hulu, the worst. The parental controls available on Peacock, Paramount+ and HBO Max are similar enough to be virtually undistinguishable. Disney scores slightly higher because of the “kid-proof exit” feature, which requires users to answer a security question to switch profiles. Apple TV+ scored well because it  provides parents with data about screen usage.

Although most streaming services are still not using content descriptors to indicate elevated levels of sexual content, adult dialogue, foul language or violence, the PTC found most have  adopted some variation of content controls based on age-rating.

Most often these involve creating one or more separate user profiles, choosing an age or rating threshold (most often using a combination of TV Parental Guidelines and Motion Picture Association ratings), and PIN-restricted access to content above that age or rating threshold.

“With streaming increasing in popularity, due in part to increased screen time because of COVID lockdowns, families need to know which services will be most cost-effective,” Tim Winter, president of PTC, said in a statement. “But they also need to know which services will best protect children from harmful content.”

The study found Paramount+, Peacock, and Hulu to be the most cost-effective streamers, but less so when it comes to parental controls or enough distinction between age-appropriate programming. In fact, PTC found Hulu to be the worst of the various platforms for parental controls, even failing to distinguish between content that would be suitable for a 7-year-old versus a 13-year-old.

“Given that Hulu is owned by Walt Disney, we were surprised and disappointed that it didn’t have better parental controls,” Winter said.

For parents who are working to protect their children from age-inappropriate content, the challenges in the over-the-top video era have never been greater, according to Melissa Henson, PTC program director.

“Launching Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, or any one of dozens of streaming apps gives a child instantaneous access to a virtually unlimited catalog of programming,” Henson said.

She said the PTC is encouraged that Netflix has made significant improvements to its parental controls, including allowing parents to block specific programs, since its last report on streaming TV. But Henson added that Netflix should continue to make more improvements, including giving users the ability to block entire categories of content.

“Disney+ remains the best alternative for families with young children looking to exclusively stream family-friendly content,” Henson said.

The PTC is calling on all streaming providers to develop and adopt industry best practices for robust parental controls; calling on the Congress to pass a legislative update to the Family Movie Act of 2005, so families can filter out explicit and age-inappropriate content; and calling on the FCC to revisit and renew the promises Congress made to families when it passed the Child Safe Viewing Act of 2008.

Meanwhile, from a cost perspective, the PTC found ad-supported streaming services like Paramount+, Peacock and Hulu to be the most cost-effective. Disney+ provides the best economic value for families with young children looking primarily or exclusively to stream family-friendly content.

Amazon Prime Video has many hidden costs, including additional “channels” and options to rent or buy that make its program inventory appear “deceptively” large, as many titles appear in a search that cannot be viewed without the addition of a channel.

Data: Despite Hype, Disney+ Still a Distant Third Among U.S. Streamers

With Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu essentially creating the subscription streaming video market, it’s not surprising that the three streaming services make up 65% of the U.S. SVOD market.

New data from JustWatch suggests Netflix remains the market leader over Prime Video by a 10% margin, and upstart Disney+ is in close contention with Disney-controlled subsidiary Hulu for third place.

Netflix, JustWatch data shows, is No. 1 at 31%, with Amazon Prime Video at 21% and Hulu and Disney+ tied at 13%. All figures are for the first quarter of 2021.

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In March, Disney+ overtook Hulu to become the third-largest streaming service in the US. Peacock and Disney+ were the only streaming services to gain domestic market share or remain the same through the first quarter, while all of the others decreased.

“We see Disney+ as a global predator for Netflix subscribers, reaching 100 million subs just 16 months after launch,” Laura Martin, analyst with Needham, wrote in a March 15 note. “It took Netflix 10 years to reach 100 million subs.”

Lionsgate Slavery Docuseries ‘The 1619 Project’ to Bow on Hulu

Lionsgate has tapped filmmaker Roger Ross Williams to produce and oversee a documentary series based on materials drawn from The New York Times Magazine and Nikole Hannah-Jones’ article “The 1619 Project,” slated to debut in the U.S. on Hulu as part of a distribution agreement between Lionsgate and Disney General Entertainment Content’s BIPOC Creator Initiative led by Tara Duncan.

The 1619 Project, the accuracy of which was subsequently disputed by a number of historians, claimed slavery was such a central aspect of U.S. history that it carries over into racism that endures today. It was launched in August 2019 on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the English colonies that would become the United States. It examines the legacy of slavery in America and argues it shaped nearly all aspects of society, from music and law to education and the arts, and the principles of our democracy itself.

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Williams will direct the first episode and produce the series with co-executive producer Geoff Martz in collaboration with Lionsgate Television, The New York Times and Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films. Williams is the first African-American director to win an Academy Award, for his short film Music by Prudence. Other projects include the Emmy Award-winning documentaries Life, Animated and The Apollo; God Loves Uganda; American Jail; and the Emmy-nominated, Webby Award-winning virtual reality experience Traveling While Black.

“Our most cherished ideals and achievements cannot be understood without acknowledging both systemic racism and the contributions of Black Americans,” Williams said. “And this isn’t just about the past — Black people are still fighting against both the legacy of this racism and its current incarnation.”

Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning journalist Shoshana Guy will serve as showrunner. Guy most recently was showrunner for Vice TV’s late-night series “Cari and Jemele: Won’t Stick to Sports.” She spent more than a decade as an anchor producer for Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams at NBC News. Her work at NBC focused on issues of race and justice, including coverage of the defunding of the Camden Police Department, which earned her a Peabody Award. Her work has also been recognized with two Emmy nominations for her coverage of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and her in-depth reporting on a year in the life of black high school students in Jackson, Miss.

Kathleen Lingo, editorial director for film and TV at The New York Times, will also executive produce for The Times.

Oprah Winfrey, Lionsgate and The New York Times announced the wide-ranging partnership to develop “The 1619 Project” into an expansive portfolio of feature films, television series and other content for a global audience in July 2020.

“It takes content as special as The 1619 Project to bring singular talents like Roger Ross Williams, Nikole Hannah-Jones and Oprah Winfrey together, and we’re delighted to partner with our friends at Disney and Hulu to share this compelling story with a global audience,” said Alice Dickens-Koblin, SVP and head of alternative programming at Lionsgate.

“[The story] has helped frame our understanding of U.S. history and contemporary society, elevating an under-reported, systemic story of vital importance,” added Kelly Campbell, president of Hulu. “We’re honored to be the exclusive streaming home to this transformative documentary series along with our partners at The New York Times, Lionsgate Television and Harpo Films.”

TV Time: Netflix Series ‘Shadow and Bone’ Top Anticipated New Show in April

The Netflix series “Shadow and Bone” was the top anticipated new show on the TV Time chart for April.

TV Time, owned by Whip Media, is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the company. TV Time’s “Anticipation Report” is based on data from those users.

In the teen fantasy series “Shadow and Bone,” debuting on Netflix April 23, dark forces conspire against orphan mapmaker Alina Starkov when she unleashes an extraordinary power that could change the fate of her war-torn world. It’s based on Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling Grishaverse novels.

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Topping the anticipated returning shows chart for April was “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Season four of the dystopian series debuts April 28 on Hulu. Based on the Margaret Atwood book, the latest season follows June (Elisabeth Moss) as she rebels against Gilead’s misogynistic authoritarians.

Most Anticipated New Shows for April:

  1. “Shadow and Bone” (Netflix) — April 23
  2. “The Nevers” (HBO) — April 11
  3. “Shaman King” (2021) (TV Tokyo) — April 1
  4. “To Your Eternity” (NNK) — April 12
  5. “Tokyo Revengers” (MBS) — April 11

 

Most Anticipated Returning Shows for April:

  1. “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu) — April 28
  2. “The Circle” (U.S.) (Netflix) — April 14
  3. “Manifest” (NBC) — April 1
  4. “Queen of the South” (USA Network) — April 7
  5. “Van Helsing” (Syfy) — April 16

Nielsen: Amazon’s ‘Coming 2 America’ Dominates Weekly Streaming

Amazon Prime Video’s pandemic decision to license Paramount Pictures’ Coming 2 America paid dividends, with the sequel co-starring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall topping all content streamed on living room televisions for the week of March 1-7, according to new data from Nielsen.

Paramount sold the movie rights after exhibitors were forced to shut down due to government mandates due to coronavirus infection concerns.

The movie tracked more than 1.4 billion minutes streamed, easily topping Netflix’s Bigfoot Family and Golden Globe winner I Care a Lot with 363 million minutes each respectively. It marked the first time a non-Netflix title has finished atop the weekly chart Nielsen launched last September.

Brian Fuhrer, SVP of product strategy, said 40% of the movie’s viewers originated in black homes, which he said helped place a motion picture ahead of original TV and licensed content.

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“It’s very rare for a movie to take the top slot,” Fuhrer said. “We have to go all the way back to [Netflix’s] Spenser Confidential, and more recently [Disney’s] Soul, which was supplanted by [Warner Bros. Pictures’] Wonder Woman 1984 for a movie to win the week.”

Notably, “WandaVision” (924 million) could not unseat Netflix’s “Ginny & Georgia” (1.16 billion) for top spot on the original series chart.

“‘WandaVision’ had a great run, in the top 10 every week, it just couldn’t take the top slot,” Fuhrer said. “I think this was the peak.”

Source: Nielsen SVOD Content Ratings (Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix), Nielsen National TV Panel, U.S. Viewing through Television.

 

Licensed Content

Rank

SVOD Provider

Program Name

Number of Episodes

Minutes Streamed
(Millions)

1 Netflix “Criminal Minds” 307 929
2 Netflix “Grey’s Anatomy” 366 858
3 Netflix “Good Girls” 34 579
4 Netflix “NCIS” 353 555
5 Netflix “Schitt’s Creek” 80 493
6 Netflix “Cocomelon” 6 475
7 Netflix “Heartland” 158 475
8 Netflix “iCarly” 60 431
9 Netflix “Supernatural” 328 400
10 Netflix “The Sinner” 24 334

Movies

Rank

SVOD Provider

Program Name

Number

Minutes Streamed
(Millions)

1 Amazon Coming 2 America 1 1,413
2 Netflix Bigfoot Family 1 363
3 Netflix I Care a Lot 1 363
4 Disney+ Raya and the Last Dragon 1 355
5 Netflix Moxie 1 257
6 Netflix Biggie: I Got A Story To Tell 1 203
7 Disney+ Moana 1 185
8 Netflix The Dark Knight 2 176
9 Netflix No Escape 1 141
10 Disney+ Frozen 1 134