BB Media: Regions Differ in Preference for Small or Large Screens for Online Video

Regions differ in residents’ preference for small (mobile phone) or large (smart TV) screens, according to a study from BB Media external media analyst Victoria Bestard.

Victoria Bestard

In the United States and Canada (UCAN), 71% prefer smart TVs, while 49% use smartphones. Something similar happens in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), where smart TVs are the most popular choice in 60% of households, with 46% using smartphones.

This trend reverses in Asia and the Pacific (APAC), where smartphones are the most used devices for viewing online content. In fact, 79% of households prefer smartphones, surpassing its direct competitor, the smart TV, by a margin of 25%.

In APAC, there are three countries where smartphones are the most used devices: India, chosen by 88% of households, Indonesia, and China, with 86% and 78%, respectively.

Similarly, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Turkey share this trend, as over 60% of households use smartphones.

“It’s no coincidence that some platforms have implemented mobile plans to offer users the opportunity to reduce costs,” Bestard notes. “In fact, in the Africa region, there are 90 plans, and in Asia, there are 28.”

Netflix is one of the platforms that adopted this type of plan. In South Africa, the mobile plan costs $5.70 (U.S.) 65% less than the standard plan. In Indonesia, the difference is $6.11 (U.S.) or 62% less than the standard plan. In India, the “Mobile” plan is priced at $1.97 (U.S.) or 70% less than the standard plan.

Other streaming services have also expanded their offerings and integrated mobile plans in the mentioned countries, such as Showmax, Zee5, Vidio, and Sony Liv, among others. In India, Amazon Prime Video introduced an annual plan for $7.30 (U.S.), which amounts to 61 cents per month. In Saudi Arabia, Starzplay charges $3.99 (U.S.) for this type of plan.

An interesting analysis arises when crossing smartphone preference and the proliferation of plans designed for single users with the socioeconomic characteristics of countries where this form of consumption predominates, Bestard found. For 2023, one common factor is the very low monthly minimum wages in dollars. In South Africa, it reaches USD $248 (U.S.), while in Indonesia, it’s $184 (U.S.). On the other hand, in India, it doesn’t exceed $60 (U.S.) per month. Additionally, these are countries with a high level of social inequality.

Following this line of reasoning, Latin America could be fertile ground for the expansion of mobile plans and the use of OTTs through smartphones, noted Bestard. Economically speaking, it presents similar characteristics: minimum wages range from $8 (U.S.) per month in Venezuela to $540 (U.S.) in the case of Uruguay.

HBO MAX saw this opportunity and introduced its mobile plan in Uruguay, Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina in June 2021, which was later expanded to the rest of the Latin American countries, she noted. However, it was gradually phased out and became inactive in January 2023.

This change can be explained by the fact that, regionally, smartphone usage for viewing content (50%) isn’t far from Smart TV usage (47%), Bestard surmises, noting the difference between Latin American, Asian, and African countries might be based on cultural habits. BB Media’s data reveals that in LATAM, 48% of online content consumers engage in the activity alone, while the remaining 52% do so with their partners, friends, or family. In some countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru, this ratio is closer to 40% of individuals viewing content alone and 60% watching content with someone else.

“With that perspective, it’s understandable that mobile plans might not be as popular in places where the activity is considered a shared moment,” Bestard noted.

“It seems that individualism prevails in Asian and African cultures when it comes to consuming entertainment,” she added.

Netflix Introduces Mobile Shortcut Interface ‘My Netflix’

Netflix is introducing My Netflix, featuring shortcuts to help consumers choose what to watch on their mobile phones.

“In this new dedicated space on iOS and Android globally, you can see your downloads (e.g. ‘Quarterback’ episodes for that long flight), TV series and movies you gave a thumbs up to, shows and films you’ve saved to My List (e.g. Heart of Stone, anyone?), trailers you’ve watched, reminders you’ve set, whatever you’re in the middle of watching, what you’ve recently watched, and more,” read a blog from product manager Edith Chao.

My Netflix is available now on iOS, and is rolling out on Android in early August.

On their phones, consumers can go directly to My Netflix, where they can choose something they’ve saved or downloaded to watch. Consumers can still visit their Home tab and other sections of the app to discover the full catalog of series and films.

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“Keep in mind that the more you interact with and tell Netflix what you like, such as saving more action-thrillers like Extraction 2 to My List or giving a thumbs up to every season of ‘Bridgerton,’ the more you’ll see on the My Netflix tab,” Chao wrote.

Samsung Launching Live News Streaming App for Mobile Devices

Samsung is launching a branded news app aimed at giving Galaxy consumers portable access to myriad third-party news organizations.

Launching in beta, Samsung News will be rolled out in the United States to Galaxy device users as an update to Samsung Free. Users who already have the “Free” app on their device will see the icon change to Samsung News starting April 18, when their apps are updated. All other users will be able to access the app by downloading it directly from the Samsung Galaxy Store. At first the feature will be available on select phones, and in the coming weeks, it will roll out to all addressable devices.

The app will initially provide access to news content from a range of partners, including Bloomberg Media, CNN, Fortune, Fox News, Glamour, GQ, HuffPost, Money, Newsweek, The New York Post, Parade, Politico, Refinery29, Salon, Slate, Sports Illustrated, The Daily Beast, TheStreet, USA Today and Vice. Additional news sources will be added to the app over time through Samsung’s syndication partner, upday.

“We created [the app] to deliver breaking and premium news to Galaxy users in an easy to access format. Our goal is to support users by letting them curate their ideal news experience,” Avner Ronen, VP of product development at Samsung Electronics, said in a statement.

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Samsung News offers users three ways to find news within the app:

  • Daily Briefings: Delivered twice a day (Morning Briefing and Evening Briefing), on the briefings Samsung is working with a team of experienced news editors to bring users the top headlines of the day in one place.
  • News Feeds: Users can view a feed of news from Samsung’s partners, categorized and organized for easy access, and in the “Following” tab users can update their preferences to customize the news they see.
  • Podcasts: Users can listen to news and entertainment podcasts directly within the Samsung News app.

 

“Syndication and strategic partnerships are how we ensure our content reaches far beyond the HuffPost footprint,” said editor-in-chief Danielle Belton.

Caroline Harris, VP of partnerships at Gannett (parent of USA Today), said reaching users on their mobile devices is key.

“Expanding our reach with breaking news and impactful journalism across Samsung’s network further advances our mission to reach millions of readers where they are — on their mobile phones,” Harris said in a statement.

Vizio Unveils Updates to TV User Interface and Mobile App

Vizio has announced a suite of updates to its TV user interface and mobile app to help customers easily navigate streaming choices.

The new Vizio AutoUpdate and redesigned Vizio Mobile app allow TV owners faster access to to favorite apps, movies and free streaming options.

Vizio’s first announced AutoUpdate of 2023 provides shortcuts for select Vizio TV owners with a new Quick Menu, WatchFree+ Mini Guide and Recent Apps row.

The redesigned Vizio Mobile app for iOS and Android extends the features to smartphones, with quick access to voice controls, simple content discovery features, one-button access to WatchFree+, and streamlined subscription-management tools through Vizio Account.

“At Vizio, the customer experience has been and always will remain the primary focus of everything we do,” Kaitlyn Collins, VP of product marketing for Vizio, said in a statement. “We are dedicated to providing exceptional value with our products, even beyond the original purchase. By delivering new features and capabilities to Vizio users with our free AutoUpdates, we amplify the value of our TV lineup.”

Quick Menu allows Vizio customers to adjust picture settings, pair Bluetooth headphones for private listening on compatible models, activate or disable closed captioning subtitles, and access the full menu of in-depth settings.

Viewers can press left on the remote while watching Vizio WatchFree+ — which now features more than 260 channels and more than 6,000 movies and shows for free — to bring up the new WatchFree+ Mini Guide on the left hand side. The Mini Guide lets viewers scroll through programming on other WatchFree+ channels without interrupting the viewing experience.  

There’s a new addition to the “Apps and Inputs” row on the Vizio Smart TV home screen, allowing users to get to their favorite apps faster. Selecting the “Recent Apps” icon brings up a list of the most recently used apps, letting viewers continue yesterday’s binge session with no delay. 

The newly redesigned Vizio Mobile app makes it easier to control the Vizio entertainment experience, subscribe to streaming services, take advantage of special offers, browse favorite apps, and discover movies and shows.

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Vizio Mobile key features and updates include:

  • Voice Control: The push-to-talk feature, now available on the app remote screen, allows for navigation of the catalog of supported apps and free channels using simple voice commands. Viewers can launch favorite apps, movies, and TV shows with Vizio Voice.
  • Discovery: Vizio Mobile provides one-click access to entertainment discovery features such as promoted premieres, streaming apps, free content, and seasonal programs directly on the mobile remote.
  • Fast Access to WatchFree+: The feature allows one-button access to 260-plus free channels and 6,000-plus on-demand shows and movies.
  • Launch Apps: Viewers can open apps on their device to display on the TV screen and create personalized app lists to launch favorites.
  • Device Control: Viewers can power their Vizio devices on and off, adjust volume, change inputs, turn on closed captions, set a sleep timer, and control their home entertainment experience from their mobile device.
  • Browse Movies and TV Shows: Viewers can access Vizio’s catalog of entertainment across multiple streaming services and free channels.
  • Manage Subscriptions: Viewers can use Vizio Account to subscribe, manage, and pay for subscription services and take advantage of special offers. This month’s featured offer comes from Starz. For a limited time, Vizio users can subscribe to the Starz streaming service for only $5 a month for three months using Vizio Account.

 

“The redesign of our highly rated Vizio Mobile app is a direct reflection of our commitment to deliver the best user experience for millions of users who start their entertainment journey with Vizio on their smartphones,” Steve Yum, VP of product management at Vizio, said in a statement. “Vizio Mobile has everything you need to control your Vizio TV, plus additional features that extend the value of Vizio products across the board.”

Vizio Mobile is available for download free on Google Play and in the App Store.

Cricket Wireless Offering Ad-Supported HBO Max Service Free to Customers

Starting August 20, Cricket Wireless will offer the ad-supported tier of HBO Max ($9.99 per month value) for free to new and existing customers on its $60 per month unlimited plan.

That wireless plan comes with 15GB of mobile hotspot and access to Cricket’s 5G network on eligible devices.

“We are always looking for ways to bring our customers the best value possible. We know they are hungry for content and HBO Max offers the most cutting-edge and high-quality entertainment available,” Tony Mokry, VP and chief marketing officer of Cricket Wireless, said in a statement. “From cult classics to new HBO Max Originals, we know our customers will be smiling ear to ear when they dive in. We’re so excited to be able to bring this incredible service and library of content to our beloved customers.”

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“Since launching HBO Max last year, we’ve continually expanded customers’ access to the product, and partnering with Cricket, our first prepaid wireless distributor of the streaming platform, is a great opportunity to offer millions of customers instant access to HBO Max at no cost to them,” Jennifer Mirgorod, head of partner management and partner marketing for WarnerMedia, said in a statement.

“The ad supported tier of HBO Max is a best-in-class, consumer-first media experience featuring the most premium content alongside an industry-leading limited advertising environment,” JP Colaco, president of WarnerMedia ad sales, said in a statement. “As we continue to see strong growth to this offering, we are pleased to further expand our footprint and welcome the Cricket Wireless customers.”

In addition to viewing shows from their phones, customers can access the streaming service by downloading the HBO Max app on a supported device.

Existing HBO Max customers who are on Cricket’s $60 unlimited plan can download the app and use their Cricket Wireless credentials to start this benefit. New and other existing customers can get or upgrade to the $60 per month plan and get access to the ad-supported tier of HBO Max.

Netflix Expands Mobile Phone-Only Access With EE Partnership

Netflix has partnered with British telecom EE (formerly Everything Everywhere) to offer select wireless subscribers free access to the subscription streaming behemoth’s platform. Under the deal, EE Smart handset and SIM subs will have access to Netflix’s Basic plan worth £5.99 ($8.31) per month, which they can watch on their smartphone as well as their Smart TV.

EE, a division of BT Group, is the largest mobile network operator and Internet service provider in the U.K., with more than 28 million subs.

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EE Smart customers can pay £4 ($5.55) more a month to upgrade to the Netflix Standard plan, offering streaming and downloading to two devices simultaneously in HD, or they can choose to pay £8 ($11.10) a month and upgrade to Netflix Premium plan with access to UHD content and the ability to stream and download to four devices simultaneously — all on their mobile bill.

Customers who already have a Netflix account can keep it and any payments they are making to Netflix will stop. If a customer chooses to upgrade to Netflix’s standard or premium plans, the surcharges will be added to their EE bill.

EE continues to see an increase in mobile network data traffic as a result of customers accessing video on the move. The equivalent of an additional 1.3 million hours of HD video streaming took place on the network in July compared to May as pandemic restrictions in the U.K. started to ease.

According to a survey, 20% of smartphone users across the U.K. said they plan to access more video content on their mobile device with lockdown lifted.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to offer our customers the best experience when using our network, and as part of this we look to partner with the most innovative companies in the world,” Sharon Meadows, director of propositions, said in a statement.

T-Mobile Launches TVision Live Streaming Service

T-Mobile is targeting cord-cutters with TVision, a new live streaming service starting at $10 a month and launching Nov. 1.

“With TVision, you can cut the cord, cut the cost and cut the crap,” said Dow Draper, T-Mobile EVP of emerging products, who announced the move in a webcast.

TVision Live includes live news, sports, 100 hours of cloud DVR and more than 10,000 programs on-demand starting at $40 a month. It includes ABC, Fox, NBC, Turner, ESPN and more.

TVision Live TV+ includes all of the above, plus 10-plus more channels, including the NFL Network, ESPNU, SEC Network and The Golf Channel, at $50 a month.

TVision Live Zone, for sports fans at $60 a month, includes all of the above, plus 10 additional channels, including NFL Red Zone.

TVision Vibe, at $10 a month, includes live and on-demand programming from AMC, BET, Discovery, Food Network, Hallmark, HGTV, MTV, TLC and more (30-plus channels).

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TVision Channels features a-la-carte streaming services with one bill, one login and one place to manage it in the T-Mobile app or online, starting with Starz, Showtime and Epix.

For full channel lineups, visit T-Mobile.com/TVision.

Starting Nov. 1, customers who sign up for TVision Live TV+ or Live Zone packages by Dec. 31 will get Apple TV+ for free for a year, plus the option to add Apple TV 4K for $99.

TVision streaming services and the TVision Hub will be available nationwide for T-Mobile postpaid customers. Later in November, TVision services will be available to legacy Sprint customers and next year to prepaid customers.

The streaming services are available via Android and Apple mobile devices via the T-Mobile TVision app; on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV or Google TV using the TVision app; and the TVision Hub — an HDMI streaming device and remote for $50.

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NPD Survey: Two Out of Three Consumers Interested in Buying 5G Smart Phone

Two out of three consumers are interested in purchasing a 5G smart phone, according to a report from the NPD Group.

Based on the report findings, iOS users showed higher levels of interest (40% extremely or very interested) than Android users (33% extremely or very interested).

While 5G technology has not yet been widely adopted, the majority of U.S. consumers were aware of 5G and the promise of super-fast data transmissions that enable superior multimedia streaming and enhanced gaming experiences on mobile devices, according to the survey. The latest Mobile Connectivity Report from NPD’s Connected Intelligence found nine out of 10 consumers were aware of 5G networks; however, only 18% had heard of and understand the difference between the 5G network band types such as mid-band or high-band (Millimeter Wave) currently available in the United States.

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Generally, Android users had a higher level of awareness of the varieties of 5G networks currently available, according to NPD. In fact, 45% of Android users compared to 40% of iOS users were aware that there are different 5G network options.

“5G-enabled Android devices have been available to consumers, which may explain their increased awareness of 5G flavors, while iOS users have not yet had the opportunity to upgrade to 5G. Given the stronger interest from iOS users, a 5G-enabled iPhone could help drive adoption” said Brad Akyuz, executive director, industry analyst, NPD Connected Intelligence. “On the other hand, the current premature state of 5G networks in terms of speed and coverage will continue to be a barrier in the mass adoption of 5G smartphones. 5G smartphone volumes are poised to increase as networks improve and 5G smartphone prices gradually decrease.”

Global Mobile Consumers Spent 25% More Time Streaming in Q2 2020 Than Q4 2019

Global mobile consumers spent 25% more time streaming shows and movies in Q2 2020 than in Q4 2019, according to the latest report  from mobile data and analytics company App Annie.

Consumers spent 1.6 trillion hours on their mobile devices in the first half of 2020.

Other findings include:

  • Consumer spend on mobile rose to $50 billion in the first half of 2020, marking the biggest first half yet for iOS and Google Play.
  • Downloads of mobile apps and games topped $64 billion in the first half of 2020 across iOS and Google Play worldwide.
  • The average user spent 27% of daily waking hours, or 4.3 hours, on their mobile device in April 2020 — up 20% from 2019.
  • Social apps blurred the lines with streaming providers with the percentage of Netflix’s iPhone users also using TikTok growing from 15% to 45% in Q2 2020 compared to the same quarter in the previous year.
  • Mobile commerce surpassed 2019 holiday shopping levels.
  • Mobile ad placements grew 70% during the pandemic driven by interstitial ads.

 

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“COVID-19 propelled mobile usage forward — achieving growth that would have otherwise taken two to three years,” said Lexi Sydow, senior market insights manager for App Annie, in a statement. “As we head into the holiday season and 2021, businesses who prioritize mobile will outpace competitors, as mobile represents a significant driver of revenue growth for businesses.”

T-Mobile Offering Customers Free Quibi Subscription

T-Mobile is offering customers a free subscription to short-content streaming service Quibi via the promotion “Quibi on Us” when the service launches April 6.

Quibi, led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, delivers content designed specifically for smartphones. All Quibi videos are 10 minutes or less and feature such stars as Jennifer Lopez, Chrissy Teigen, Liam Hemsworth and Reese Witherspoon.

Via the exclusive deal with Quibi, T-Mobile customers with two or more voice lines at standard rates on Magenta and ONE plans with taxes and fees included — along with discounted First Responder, Military and Magenta Plus 55 plans — or small business customers with up to 12 lines, can get Quibi (regularly $4.99) added to their plan at no extra cost. Customers can sign up between now and July 7 to get “Quibi on Us” by going to mytmobile.com or the T-Mobile app for iOS or Android beginning April 6. Until April 3, T-Mobile customers can sign up in the T-Mobile Tuesdays app or online for access to three bonus episodes of Jennifer Lopez’ “Thanks a Million” April 6.

After a full year of “Quibi on Us” and “Netflix on Us,” a promotion that offers SVOD service Netflix at no cost, Un-carrier customers can choose to continue with one or the other.

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“T-Mobile customers have always been ahead of the curve — streaming more data, watching more mobile video — so when we first heard about Quibi, we knew our customers would love it,” said Mike Sievert, president and CEO of T-Mobile, in a statement. “And, with more of us staying home right now, Quibi’s never been more needed. It comes on the scene with a totally different experience, made for mobile, quick to watch and as entertaining as anything you’ve ever seen.”

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“Quibi and T-Mobile are a perfect match — we’re both changing our industries by giving our customers what they want in truly unique and innovative ways,” said Meg Whitman, CEO of Quibi, in a statement. “And, since Quibi is built for an optimal mobile experience, we chose T-Mobile as our exclusive wireless launch partner. With the only nationwide 5G network, T-Mobile was the obvious choice for our customers.”

More than 85% of mobile video streamed on T-Mobile’s network is short-form content, according to the company.