Comedy Dynamics Stand-Up Channel Now Streaming on Samsung TV Plus

Cinedigm Jan. 7 announced that the fully-curated linear version of the ad-supported video-on-demand Comedy Dynamics service is now available on Samsung TV Plus. The linear channel offers 24/7 stand-up comedy specials carefully curated by Comedy Dynamics’ staff.

Samsung TV Plus is Samsung’s free ad-supported video service. Pre-installed on all 2016-2019 Samsung Smart TVs, users can watch TV for free with just an Internet connection.

Founded in 2008, Comedy Dynamics is an independent producer of stand-up comedy content. With this new linear network, Samsung TV Plus users have access to Comedy Dynamic’s specials, both classic and modern, starring some of stand-up’s biggest performers. Cinedigm is the distributor of the channel.

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Performers include Jim Gaffigan, Whitney Cummings, Kevin Hart, Tom Segura, Iliza Shlesinger, Tiffany Haddish, Jeff Dunham, Maria Bamford, Bob Saget, Tim Allen, Nick DiPaolo, Eddie Griffin, Bill Hicks, and more.

“Comedy Dynamics gives viewers the best seat in the house every night, delivering an unprecedented library of classic and modern specials from comedy’s biggest names and brightest stars,” Tony Huidor, GM of Cinedigm Digital Networks, said in a statement.

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Comedy Dynamics is behind the reboot of “Mad About You” featuring Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt, and has produced Netflix’s “Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History,” Netflix’s “The Toys That Made Us,” “The Movies That Made Us,” “Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape,” The CW’s “Discontinued,” Animal Planet’s “Animal Nation with Anthony Anderson,” the scripted comedy on Hulu “There’s… Johnny!,” History’s “Join Or Die with Craig Ferguson,” MTV2’s “Wild ’N On Tour,” Hulu’s “Coming To The Stage,” and unannounced projects for Disney+, BET+ and more.

Comedy Dynamics began releasing original films in theaters and released the acclaimed independent film Slut in a Good Way in Spring of 2019. In 2017, the Comedy Dynamics Network (CDN) launched and currently distributes specials, television shows and films to all major transactional platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Google, PlayStation, Xbox and most major telco & satellite providers, including AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Dish, and Verizon.

Comedy Dynamics’ 17 releases have been Grammy-nominated (with three wins), including all five in the Comedy Album category for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards in 2019.

New Survey Suggests Fee, Ad Limits Among U.S. OTT Video Consumers

A majority of survey respondents (59%) are not willing to pay more than $20 a month for over-the-top video services, according to new data from more than 2,600 U.S. consumers by The Trade Desk. Another 75% of consumers will not pay more than $30 a month.

The online survey was conducted by YouGov from Nov. 19-21, 2019, with a total sample size of 2,613 adults in the U.S.

As more TV content providers launch streaming services in 2020, the results highlight the subscription fatigue threshold for TV streaming services, where on-demand movies, TV shows and live events can be accessed by connected devices such as smart TVs and mobile devices.

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“With consumers experiencing subscription fatigue and unwilling to subscribe to more than one or two premium services, broadcasters have to figure out how to continue to fund this new golden age of TV,” Brian Stempeck, chief strategy officer of The Trade Desk, said in a statement.

More than half of U.S. households (53%) subscribe to Netflix, followed by Amazon Prime Video (43%) and Disney-owned Hulu (29%).

In addition, with some media companies pushing ad-supported VOD, the survey found the leading cause of frustration with ads is having to watch the same commercial repeatedly (cited by 46% of respondents).

More than half (53%) of U.S. consumers would be open to watching ads (every other episode of their favorite show) if it meant lowering the cost of subscription streaming services.

More than two-thirds (68%) of U.S. consumers (with no preference to tailored TV ads) would be willing to watch ads relevant to their interests if it meant watching fewer ads overall.

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More than half (51%) of respondents who watch new episodes of their streaming TV show on an app, after it premieres, watch on a smart TV.

As more U.S. consumers watch TV content via streaming services, content providers are under pressure to produce new premium content that drives membership and viewership. This research suggests, however, that there are hard limits to consumer appetite for subscription-based services.

The survey indicates a willingness from consumers for streaming services supported by ads, particularly if the format and pacing of commercial breaks differ from traditional TV content.

More than half (53%) of respondents are willing to watch ads every other episode to lower their monthly costs on a device that doesn’t show any ads. Forty percent of consumers would prefer ads tailored to their interests and preferences, but, among those who said they wouldn’t, that number increases to more than two-thirds (68%) if it meant they would see fewer ads.

Despite the mobile nature of streaming apps, consumers have shown they still prefer to view content on the largest screen in their home – the television. More than half (51%) of those consumers who watch new episodes of their favorite shows on an app after it premieres watch a TV show on their connected televisions, rather than a mobile device or on their personal computer.

“This [research] indicates that ads will fund the future of streaming TV, and that broadcasters and advertisers have an opportunity to improve the advertising experience in a way that simply is not possible with traditional, linear TV,” Stempeck said.

 

Average U.S. Home Streaming Bundle Sweet Spot: $20-$21

With the field of subscription streaming video services growing, new data shows the average U.S. household would spend $20 to $21 monthly for combined platforms — slightly more than 20% of the average pay-TV bundle ($96.18).

Soda.com, in a survey of 1,000 consumers who stream video in the home conducted Nov. 7-9, 2019, found the majority (32%) of respondents would pay $20 or more monthly for combined streaming services, while 30% would prefer not to bundle services and 14% would not pay more than $10 for a bundle.

Notably, 44% of respondents said they use two or more streaming services per week.

With SVOD services ranging from $4.99 for Apple TV+ to $15 for HBO Max, which launches in May, consumers are faced with the challenge of mixing and matching services or prioritizing services based on the user’s favorite content.

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Netflix is projecting 61.2 million domestic subscribers at the end 2019, with actual figures to be released later this month. That’s more than 80% of the combined tally predicted for Hulu (28.5 million), Apple TV+ (10 million), Disney+ (15 million), CBS All Access (8 million), HBO Now (8 million) and ESPN+ (3.5 million), according to CNBC.

In August 2019, there were about 86.5 million traditional pay-TV households — a number that is projected to drop to 73 million by 2023, according to Statista. Most pay-TV subs continue their subscriptions based on habit, premium channels and sports.

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The survey contends Netflix remains the best overall streaming service followed by YouTube TV. Sports fans favored sports-themed fubo TV or ESPN+, whiles families sought Amazon Prime Video (Prime membership and free shipping) and Disney+.

Movie fans chose HBO Now (soon HBO Max) and Hulu, while budget-minded respondents opted for Sling TV and Hoopla.

 

CuriosityStream Tops 10.5 Million Paying Subscribers

Who says science, history and volcanoes can’t sell?

CuriosityStream, the subscription streaming video service launched in 2015  by the founder of Discovery Channel, has topped 10.5 million paying subscribers, according to company officials.

That beats HBO Now, CBS All Access, Showtime, Apple TV+, among other higher-profile SVOD services.

CuriosityStream’s SVOD platform offers more than 2,800 premium factual and non-fiction titles that cover the full breadth and depth of the genre from science and space to history and wildlife to food and lifestyle.

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In addition to its new “bundled” carriage plan for U.S. and international distributors, CuriosityStream continues to sell direct to consumers with monthly price plans ranging from $2.99 (HD streaming) to $9.99 (4K streaming) and a low-cost annual HD subscription plan of $19.99.

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“As we have traveled the world to meet with cable, satellite, and mobile distributors, it became crystal clear to us that video providers are searching for impactful ways to serve the enormous appetite of their customers for universally-appealing factual content,” CEO Clint Stinchcomb said in a statement.

Stinchcomb said the service’s early success in growing paying subscribers through distributors is attributable to the flexibility it offers affiliates through a ‘partnership fee’ that allows them to use proprietary content to support revenue and sub growth strategies.

The company also announced it has partnered with Millicom for upcoming launches in nine Latin American countries.

Lego Launching Streaming Video App

Lego Dec. 9 is bowing The Lego Channel, a free COPPA-compliant content app for children available across all major over-the-top video streaming platforms, including Roku, Fire TV and Apple TV.

The new channel will feature more than 1,000 videos with content ranging in genres and animation styles. The channel will feature series based on various Lego properties, including content from Lego Ninjago, Lego Friends, Lego City, and specials from franchises such as Lego Jurassic World, and Lego Marvel, among others.

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“The Lego Group’s mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow,” Jay Shah, director, global content for the Lego Group, said in a statement. “With the launch of The Lego Channel, we can reach even more kids who will connect through some really fun and engaging content to inspire creativity, imagination and learning.”

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Content includes Lego Designer Set Reviews, which draw fans into the world of Lego designers and builders to get tips on how to build, in addition to YouTube show Rebrickulous, featuring the brand’s legacy Lego bricks.

“The Lego brand is known by practically every parent and child in the U.S. and Canada and they have created an incredible and memorable programming franchise amassing fans everywhere over the last 80 plus years,” said Vikrant Mathur, co-founder of Future Today, which helped with the Lego app launch.

Comcast Pumping $2 Billion into Peacock Streaming Service

Comcast’s NBC Universal business unit next year launches Peacock, a branded subscription and ad-supported streaming video platform.

Peacock will be available for free (with ads) to Xfinity subscribers and for a fee to non-pay-TV subs.

Speaking Dec. 9 at the UBS Global TMT Conference in New York City, Mike Cavanagh, CFO of Comcast Corp., disclosed that the media company plans to spend upwards of $2 billion on original content and marketing over the first two years for the streaming service.

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Cavanagh said spending on Peacock would peak at 1% of Comcast revenue with the goal of breaking even within five years.

“We think we have a special opportunity [with Peacock],” Cavanagh said. “Clearly, advertising are going to be looking in this world for opportunities to reach new audiences.”

He said Comcast is replicating “the same mindset” it applied to launching Xfinity Mobile, the telecommunications business Cavanagh said it projected to break even by 2021.

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Comcast is holding an investor day event for Peacock on Jan. 16, 2020.

 

Disney+ Generates 15 Million Subs in First Five Days

Disney’s high-profile subscription streaming service generated 15 million subscribers in the first five days following its Nov. 12 launch, according to new data from IMA Research.

By comparison, Apple’s branded streaming service has generated 1.1 million subs since its Nov. 2 debut.

Citing respondents from a survey of 1,097 people between Nov. 14 and 17, IMA found awareness of Disney+ extremely strong (63%) compared with 34% for Apple TV+.

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Of those aware of the streaming service, 28% reported already subscribing or intending to do so, while 40% said they would utilize a free promotion, including Verizon’s free 12 months of Disney+ service to mobile subscribers.

Nearly half (47%) of respondents thought the $6.99/month to be fair; while 25% found it too expensive. The Disney/Pixar catalog is its most attractive feature to respondents, while 24% of respondents say they would cancel an existing streaming or pay-TV service in favor of Disney+.

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Women (68%) were more aware than men (61%). Age played a factor regarding awareness of Disney+, with 70% awareness among 18- to 24-year-olds; 55% awareness among 55-64. Awareness among the oldest respondents (65+) increased to 62%.

Interestingly, almost half (49%) of respondents were not planning to subscribe to Disney+, with 23% not sure. Meanwhile, only 10% of respondents said they intended to subscribe to Apple TV+.

IMA said respondent intent to subscribe to Disney+ translated to about 23 million households. Among those with intent, 69 percent said they had already subscribed, making the early adopters total over 15 million households.

“Our estimate is in line with the 15.5 million sign-ups through the first 13 days of launch reported by Apptopia1, which included some foreign subscribers as well. (Disney reported over 10 million sign-ups by the day after launch2.).

IMA found 40% of respondents seeking to stream Disney+ (or already streaming) would do so through a free promotion; 35% would pay $6.99 monthly; 13% would pay $12.99 for a monthly bundle of Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+; and 12% would pay a reduced annual fee of $69.99 (which was reduced even further as a Cyber Monday promotion).

“If the current and future subscribers break down in this fashion, and we apply it to the 23 million households with intent, they would generate $1.3 billion annually,” Jeff Hoyt with IMA Research wrote.

Hoyt said breaking down intent with actual subscription results in about 15+ million households having already subscribed to Disney+, which equates to $900 million annually.

For Apple TV+, Hoyt contends that if all 1.1 million households are paying $4.99 per month, the projected annual revenue reaches $66 million.

Main attractions to Disney+: 46% selected Disney/Pixar Catalog; 38% selected Marvel/Star Wars/National Geographic Catalog; 26% selected new original content; 25% selected $6.99/month pricing; and 21 percent selected promotions to try the service free.

On the $6.99 price point, IMA found 47% think the price is fair, 17% found it “good” and 11% found it a “great” deal. Another 25% found the price too expensive.

“It is too early to predict whether Disney+ will steal significant market share from existing competitors (i.e Netflix), but 24% of those subscribing or intending to subscribe indicated they would cancel an existing streaming/pay service in exchange for Disney+,” Hoyt wrote.

The analyst contends the best predictor of subscriber intent is a subscription to Hulu, which is owned by Disney and offered in a money-savings bundle with Disney+ and ESPN+.

According to Apptopia1, both Hulu and ESPN have seen downloads increase since the launch of Disney+, with Hulu seeing the biggest boost.

“Even if Disney does steal market share away from its competition, Disney+ appears to be doing a good job so far of not cannibalizing itself,” Hoyt wrote.

Pluto TV: CBS, Viacom Merger Puts AVOD ‘Light Years’ Ahead of Schedule

The re-merger of Viacom and former subsidiary CBS Corp. should help accelerate worldwide distribution of Pluto TV, according to the ad-supported video unit. Viacom acquired Pluto earlier this year for $340 million.

“Today, we are excited to celebrate the union of two major media powerhouses — Viacom and CBS. As a part of the newly established @ViacomCBS media empire, Pluto TV has now jumped light years ahead, accelerating our mission to entertain the planet.” Pluto TV (@PlutoTV) tweeted Dec. 5.

The union presents the combined companies with three branded over-the-top video services in CBS All Access, Showtime OTT and Pluto — the latter ad-supported.

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When CBS launched All Access ($5.99) and Showtime OTT ($10.99), it projected 16 million standalone subscribers by 2022. That tally was reached through the third quarter of the current fiscal year, ended Sept. 30.

Pluto TV in July claimed more than 18 million monthly viewers across more than 28 content channels.

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“As the video marketplace continues to segment, we see an opportunity to support the ecosystem in creating products at a broad range of price points, including free,” Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said in the statement earlier this year.

Last month, Pluto began incorporating new channels from CBS Interactive, including ET Live and CBSN.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing more of our ad-supported streaming channels to the platform with today’s launch of our entertainment news channel, ET Live, and CBSN’s local news channels for New York and Los Angeles,” said Sarah Jeon, EVP of business development at CBS Interactive.

Pluto is also launching curated video channels for third-party clients and events. In September at the Advertising Week confab in New York, Pluto delivered a custom channel that targeted the event’s 100,000 attendees.

The Advertising Week pop-up channel showcased Pluto TV’s ability to create custom channels, a feature that’s appealing to advertisers and publishers seeking to reach fragmented and niche audiences.

The channel underscored the versatility of streaming TV, which Pluto CEO Tom Ryan claims can be programmed for optimal utility without the restrictions of traditional linear networks.

“In many ways, [Pluto] drew inspiration from the things cable TV had done right in terms of creating these interest-based channels that take the work out of entertainment for customers,” Ryan told a separate media confab.

 

Parks: CBS Makes Gain Among Top OTT Video Services

Parks Associates Dec. 5 said SVOD platform CBS All Access moved from eighth place to fifth in its annual Top 10 list of over-the-top video services.

This list is based on estimated number of subscribers through October 2019 and was compiled prior to the launch of Disney+ and Apple TV+, and includes paid subscriptions.

Major League Baseball’s MLB.TV dropped from sixth to eight place, despite having gained subscribers since 2018. Sling TV remained consistent with more than 2.5 million subscribers and No. 1 rating among online TV services, which includes Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, and AT&T Now (previously DirecTV Now).

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Top 10 US Subscription OTT Video Services
1 Netflix
2 Amazon Prime Video
3 Hulu (SVOD)
4 HBO Now
5 CBS All Access
6 STARZ
7 Showtime
8 MLB.TV
9 ESPN+
10 Sling TV

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“Competition in live streaming services is intensifying as several big brand names are competing for a small but growing slice of the OTT subscription base,” Brett Sappington, senior research director and principal analyst, said in a statement. “Consumers continue to sign up for multiple OTT video services. If this trend holds, many services can continue to grow as the market grows. However, a slowdown will suggest that consumers are finally drawing the line on the amount they will spend each month.”

Until then, Disney+ continues to generate headlines, acquiring 10 million subscribers upon initial launch, which would rank it fourth on the list, ahead of HBO Now.

“Their entry, along with Apple TV+ and other direct-to-consumer services upcoming in 2020, has been a major disruptor to the OTT space and will require all players from top to bottom to ensure they are delivering unique value to their subscribers in order to retain their base,” Sappington said.

Parks contends 71% of U.S. broadband households have at least one OTT entertainment product, such as a smart TV or streaming media player.
Nearly three-quarters of domestic broadband households now subscribe to an online video service. About 49% of recent OTT subs signed up through the service’s website; 33% through the service’s app; and 11% through a cable or satellite TV provider.

Study: New SVOD Players to Challenge Netflix, YouTube Viewing Domination

The reign of Netflix and YouTube as top online video destinations globally is under threat from a new group of over-the-top platforms such as Disney+ and Apple TV+.

With HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock launching next year, global OTT video viewership will be fragmented further, according to new data from eMarketer.

The venerable dotcom research firm said Netflix in 2018 topped YouTube as the most-watched video service, with average daily consumption reaching 23.2 minutes compared to 22.3 minutes for YouTube.

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eMarketer claims, beginning in 2020, Netflix’s daily video consumption will decline from a peak of 27% to 25.7% by 2021. YouTube’s daily digital video time will drop from 23.4% to 21.7%.

“Even though Americans are spending more time watching Netflix, people’s attention will become more divided as new streamers emerge,” analyst Ross Benes said in statement. “The video streaming landscape will get crowded, which will drive down the share of time that people devote to Netflix.”

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While increased competition may impact Netflix’s global ranking, usage among its subscribers is projected to increase, according to eMarketer. Average daily Netflix viewing time among adult users is projected to increase 2.2% to 56.6 minutes per day in 2020.

2019 was the first year digital video topped 25.4% of users’ total digital consumption, which includes time spent on apps and surfing the Web, but excludes social media.

“Video streaming is a mainstream, daily routine for most U.S. adults, occurring on all devices and increasingly when viewers are on the go,” added analyst Oscar Orozco said. “In fact, an April 2019 study from OpenX found that nearly one-third of users of subscription streaming platforms say screen size has no impact on what they watch or for how long. Because of this, video will continue to be the main driver of digital media consumption in the coming years.”