Conviva: Streaming Video Use Slowed in Q2

Demand for streaming video may be booming, but advertisers didn’t bite in the second quarter, with ad attempts in the quarter ended June 30 down 28% globally and 22% in the U.S. as compared to Q1 2020, according to new data from Conviva.

With streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and CBS All Access reporting strong subscriber growth during the coronavirus pandemic due to increased numbers of consumers spending time in the home, streaming actually slowed in May and June as compared to its height in April when shelter-in-place orders drove streaming viewing up 81% year over year.

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While advertising demand dropped in Q2, due in part to a lack of sports, streaming ads saw significant improvements in overall quality. Viewers spent 38% less time waiting for an ad to start in Q2 as compared to Q1 and as a result, pre-ad viewer-initiated exits dropped 22%. Ad picture quality also improved, with bitrate up 53%.

Despite quality improvements, nearly 45% of ads represented missed opportunities. The most common advertising issue continues to be the lack of demand as publishers try to fill ad slots, but no relevant ad is available.

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“Shelter-in-place mandates skyrocketed streaming viewership in April, led by Europe which saw a 174% increase year over year,” CEO Bill Demas said in a statement. “Unfortunately advertising moved in the opposite direction with global demand significantly reduced due to COVID-19.”

Demas expects advertising to bounce back in the coming quarters as the industry and viewers acclimate to a ‘new normal,’ including streaming being part of the everyday routine.

Indeed, the report suggests significant increases in viewing as people tuned in natively within their smart TVs. Global share of smart TV viewing more than doubled as viewing time increased 239% year over year. Connected TV devices (Roku, Amazon Fire TV, etc.) saw a 61% increase and game consoles, a 55% increase in time spent streaming compared to the previous time period.

Smart TVs: Samsung commanded half of all viewing time via smart TV, followed by LG TVs with 23%, Vizio TVs with 11%, Android TVs with 8% and Amazon Fire TVs with 7%.

Connected TV Devices: Roku remained the leader among connected TV devices, capturing half of the total viewing time for the category. Amazon Fire TV captured 29%, Apple TV 8.7%, Chromecast 7.3%, Android TV 3.6% and Humax 1.3%.

Gaming Consoles: Sony PlayStation bested Microsoft Xbox in streaming viewership at slightly over 50% of viewing time versus Xbox’s 47%.

Connected TV devices had the largest share of viewing time in both North America (56%) and Europe (32%). In South America smart TVs (40%) has the largest share of viewing time, while in Asia (49%) and Africa (43%) desktops remain the primary streaming device.

YouTube is primarily watched on mobile devices which captured 59% share of time spent in Q2 2020. However, the trend towards TVs also impacted YouTube as viewing on connected TVs and consoles accounted for a 25% share of YouTube viewing in Q2 2020, a 69% increase from 16% share the prior Q2.

CBS All Access and Showtime OTT Top 16.2 Million Combined Subs

ViacomCBS — which is planning to rebrand CBS All Access into a “super service” on par with HBO Max, Peacock and Disney+ — Aug. 6 reported its SVOD services CBS All Access and Showtime OTT reached 16.2 million combined subscribers through the second quarter ended June 30.

That’s up 74% from 9.3 million subs during the previous-year period.

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The company announced All Access continued to break undisclosed records, with paid subs, streams and minutes watched reaching all-time highs in the quarter — driven by original programming, Paramount movies and children’s content from Nickelodeon. Showtime OTT also delivered its “best quarter ever” in subscriber sign-ups, streams and minutes watched, the company announced, driven by original programming, including “Homeland,” “Billions” and “The Chi.”

Separately, ViacomCBS-owned AVOD platform Pluto TV grew its domestic monthly active users 61% to 26.5 million, from 16.5 million during the previous-year period. In April, Pluto TV entered 17 Latin American markets, and in addition to its presence in Europe, this expansion brought Pluto TV’s total international monthly users to 6.5 million — or 33 million worldwide. Pluto TV increased its platform distribution through deals with Verizon, TiVo and LG.

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ViacomCBS said domestic streaming and digital video revenue in the quarter rose to $489 million, up 25% year-over-year, driven by 52% growth in streaming subscription revenue.

“Our results underscored … rapid acceleration of our streaming business, where we achieved record users and revenue in free and pay while building toward the relaunch of our diversified super service,” CEO Bob Bakish said in a statement.

Indeed, last month ViacomCBS unveiled the first major step in transforming All Access in early 2021. The company added more than 3,500 episodes from the ViacomCBS portfolio, spanning series from BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Smithsonian and more. The All Access library now has more than 20,000 episodes and movies. The platform will be home to a slate of new original and exclusive movies and series, including “Big Brother Live Feeds,” “The Stand,”  animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” feature film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, and “Kamp Koral,” a new original kids’ series premiering in 2021 and the first spinoff derived from “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

The new All Access will also feature live programming, including news, tentpole events, sports, local CBS stations nationwide and CBSN, CBS News, The Super Bowl, The Grammy Awards, The Academy of Country Music Awards and The Tony Awards. It will also feature major sporting events from golf to football to basketball and UEFA club soccer competitions as the exclusive streaming home to the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League in the United States.

Roku Saw Record Q2 Digital Movie, TV VOD Transactions; CFO Steven Louden to Continue

With more and more households streaming video, over-the-top device/platform pioneer Roku is reaping the benefit, helping consumers adopt Internet-delivered content, including movies and TV shows.

San Jose, Calif.-based Roku Aug. 5 announced it was the No. 1 connected device based on hours streamed for Disney+ in the week following the movie release of Hamilton, according to Comscore. Digital movie and TV rentals/purchases hit an all-time high in the second quarter, ended June 30, as direct-to-home feature movies Scoob! and Trolls World Tour helped more than double year-over-year subscriptions through “Roku Pay,” the company’s integrated billing platform.

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Longtime CFO Steve Louden, who earlier announced he was leaving to relocate in Seattle, Wash., is staying in his position and will telecommute.

Steve Louden

“Steve has proved that he is more than capable of performing the CFO role while residing in Seattle,” Woods wrote. “Hence, we are delighted that Steve will be staying on as Roku’s CFO and we have ended the search for his successor.”

Meanwhile, active account growth accelerated 41% year-over-year, with accounts topping 43 million, driven by sales of both players and Roku TV models. Player unit sales increased 28% led by growth in the U.S. and in certain international markets. Notably, existing Roku users added almost three million new Roku streaming devices to their accounts during the quarter. Roku TV sales accounted for one in three smart TVs sold in the U.S.

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The Roku Channel more than doubled its reach in the U.S., with the ad-supported VOD service watched by households with an estimated 43 million residents.

“We believe the pandemic has accelerated the long-term trend toward all TV being streamed,” founder/CEO Anthony Wood and CFO Steve Louden wrote in the shareholder letter.

Roku tripled its net loss to $42.2 million, from $10.4 million during the previous-year period — due in part to 36% increase in R&D costs; 75% uptick in sales and marketing; and 56% spike in general and administrative costs. Revenue increased 42% to $356.1 million, from $250.1 million a year ago.

The executives declined to give guidance on the current fourth quarter due to the increasing prevalence of COVID-19 infections around the world and the potential for disruptions and changes to historical consumer behavior and spending patterns during the back-to-school and holiday seasons.

“Q4 is the seasonally largest quarter for Roku and there is a wide range of potential outcomes given increased consumer interest in streaming on one hand, and the possibility of retailer, supply chain and advertising constraints at critical times on the other,” Wood and Louden wrote.

 

Cinedigm Expands Linear/VOD Streaming Channels on Sony PlayStation, Android TV, Mobile Devices

Cinedigm Aug. 3 announced it has partnered with Littlstar to distribute its portfolio of linear and video-on-demand channels. Littlstar is a provider of film and television content to the gaming ecosystem, including Sony PlayStation, Android TV and related mobile devices.

Littlstar currently works with Discovery, Viacom, Showtime and Universal and is financially backed by A&E, Sony, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, WWE and Warner Bros., among others.

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“Cinedigm is on the pulse of what next generation viewers want, and we’re looking forward to innovating together with them to bring cutting edge content to new audiences,” Littlestar CEO Tony Mugavero said in a statement.

Littlstar will launch a selection of the Cinedigm streaming channels, including: The Bob Ross Channel, Comedy Dynamics, Chinese entertainment themed Bambu, Docurama, CONtv, Dove Channel, CONtv Anime, Whistle TV, horror-based Bloody Disgusting, So… Drama, featuring British and Australian dramas & mysteries, and So… Real, offering British non-fiction and reality TV series.

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“Our goal is to partner with companies that can help us reach new, highly engaged audiences,” said Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Networks. “Littlstar helps us reach the hundreds of millions of global viewers that use their gaming consoles to stream entertainment, on top of widespread footprint on mobile and connected televisions. Cinedigm will now reach more than three quarters of a billion devices globally.”

Report: Linear TV Remained Dominant Form of TV Viewership in 2019

Despite declines in viewership, linear television remains the dominant form of TV viewing for consumers across the United States and other major economies, according to data from Omdia.

Linear TV accounted for 63% of television viewing in the U.S. in 2019, compared with 16% for long-form viewing and 12% for DVR time-shifted content. Linear TVs’ share of viewing declined from 67% in 2018. Similar trends occurred in most of the other countries tracked by Omdia. The report covered TV viewership trends in the United States, Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.

Average linear TV viewing time declined in all but one market, with decreases ranging from four minutes in Italy to 19 minutes in the U.S. The Netherlands was the only market to not see a decline in linear viewing, remaining unchanged from last year.

“Although traditional linear television viewing is undergoing a broad-based decline, this form of entertainment remains central to most people’s viewing habits,” analyst Rob Moyser said in a statement. “As a result, linear still accounts for the majority of viewing in all countries tracked. In some countries, linear still strongly dominates viewing, totaling 90% in Italy, for example.”

On the non-linear front, online long-form video is the main platform driving growth in 2019. Online long-form was a key area of growth across all markets, driven largely by online subscription video services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Growth of online long-form video content in 2019 ranged from 55% in Australia to 10% in the Netherlands.

Growth in over-the-top subscribers, D2C launches, and a rise in connected TV and pay-TV partnerships are fueling the increase in online, long-term video viewing.

However, the fastest-growing segment of the non-linear view market is social media. Social media viewing across the countries tracked increased by 10 minutes in 2019, a growth rate that surpassed all other forms of non-linear television video. The U.S. led social media viewing, with 49.3 minutes in 2019. The advance of social media was partly propelled by the massive growth of Chinese video-sharing service TikTok.

“TikTok’s success was one of the breakout stories of 2019, with the social media app growing at historic rates,” Moyser said. “This rate of increase was so huge it quickly became the most popular social media platform for video viewing in Germany and the second most popular app in three other northern European countries: The United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands.”

Time spent viewing video content on social media platforms increased by 10 minutes in 2019 to an average of 41 minutes per-person per-day across the eight markets analyzed. In comparison, all other forms of non-linear viewing increased by a cumulative of seven minutes over the year.

Other developments noted by the report include:

  • Average total daily viewing time for the markets analyzed rose to 306 minutes per-person, per-day in 2019, an increase of four minutes year-on-year.
  • TV viewing saw a massive rise in consumption in March and April 2020 following the implementation of lockdown measures across the countries covered. Italy had the highest total for viewing time in Europe in March at five hours and 46 minutes.
  • Italians spent 346 minutes a day in front of the TV screen in March 2020, an increase of 34.1 percent on the same period last year, the highest total for viewing time in Europe.

Cinedigm Reports 34% Q1 Digital Revenue Increase

Cinedigm July 13 announced its strongest fiscal first-quarter (ended June 30) performance in more than five years. Citing the current stay-at-home environment among consumers, streaming video viewership increased across all platforms, including transactional VOD. Digital revenue increased 34% from the previous-year period.

“We have been laser focused on aggregating and distributing thousands of titles to the key streaming platforms like Netflix, Apple and Amazon given the huge demand for independent premium content we are seeing from both existing and newly launched platforms,” said Yolanda Macias, EVP of Cinedigm Entertainment Group.

Macias said that with existing and new streaming platforms requiring a steady supply of digital content to keep pace competitively, Amazon, Apple, Vudu, Google, InDemand EST, Hoopla, Microsoft, Sony and Fandango Now all generated their strongest performance levels in history with Cinedigm — achieving over 60% year-over-year quarterly growth.

Los Angeles-based Cinedigm said next-day such as Hallmark’s “When Calls the Heart,” and ITV’s “Good Witch” series achieved strong consumer sales. Cinedigm orchestrated several consumer promotional programs to accelerate sales of digital catalog — including “Spring Sales,” “Mother’s Day,” “AnimeMay” and “June Weddings.”

Cinedigm closed eight new AVOD deals, including Redbox TV, Google and Fuse. Five more expansion deals are in process.

For children out of school and parents left to homeschool, Cinedigm has rolled out strategic promotions, including digital download activity books, digital bookmarks, and coloring books that coincide with educational content to increase content consumption and engage the platform’s audience.

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Cinedigm achieved 70% and 115% growth in Q1 from the previous-year period with content distribution partnership with Hoopla and Overdrive, respectively. In addition, the company executed a new business deal with Kanopy, a college library digital platform.

Cinedigm distributes film and TV content to more than 70 digital platforms in 180+ territories. Branded content includes co-productions in the action, western and military genres along with family (Hallmark, ZDF), anime (Konami Cross Media) and sports championship programs (NFL, NHL).

“We expect to continue these strong results going forward as our relationships with content producers and streaming content distribution platforms continue to get stronger and expand,” Macias said.

Parks: 90% of Households With Children at Home Subscribe to at Least One OTT Service

Have children living in the home? There’s a good chance you subscribe to an over-the-top video streaming service. New consumer research from Parks Associates finds households with children, particularly those ages 6 to 11, are the leading demographic groups for technology product and entertainment service purchasing. The survey finds 90% of households with children at home subscribe to at least one OTT service.

“New content offerings for OTT services that highlight children’s content or educational content will help keep this group engaged, especially as we continue to see some states encouraging or mandating consumers to stay at home [due to the coronavirus],” Jennifer Kent, senior director of Parks, said in a statement.

Parks found that 38% of participants in a survey of U.S. broadband households with children plan to buy a smart video doorbell over the next 12 months, compared with 14% of households without children.

Kent said about 30% of broadband households have children in the home translates to 32 million households. She said these households are young enough to be receptive to smart-home technology but old enough to have the income and educational levels associated with smart-home adoption.

“They self-identify as ‘innovators’ (i.e., they like to purchase a new product early in its lifecycle) at more than twice the rate of broadband households,” Kent said. “Combining this strong technology affinity with the need to buy products for their children creates a powerful tech-buying segment.”

With COVID-19 infections continuing to wreak havoc on the economy and society, so too could the pandemic undermine consumer electronics consumption going forward.

Parks found that 50% of respondents worry about their financial stability, and 61% are more cost-conscious because of the coronavirus.

“It is important for the device makers and service providers to emphasize the essential value in their solution, such as safety and security, although entertainment is also critically important for households with children,” Kent said.

Comscore: Five OTT Services Command 80% of Streaming Hours in U.S.

Comscore on July 6 released new data that found five streaming video services (Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, Netfli and YouTube) collectively represent more than 80% of all OTT streaming hours in the United States.

Since the report is co-partnered with YouTube, much attention is given to the Google-owned social media platform, including increased (by 13%) household penetration in 2020, and 34% uptick since March 2019.

“We uncovered recent, rapid changes in the industry due to the growth of OTT services, content and devices, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on consumer behavior,” Comscore’s Alison Robart and Kim Gardner wrote in a post.

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They wrote that since January, while all streaming services have increased their reach, most of the growth came from services that reached ad-supported households. Overall, ad-supported video-on-demand services have extended their reach at a faster pace than non-ad-supported services (+9% growth in reach vs. +5%, respectively, between January and April).

“This is good news for advertisers, as it means their content is getting in front of more viewers,” Robart and Gardner wrote.

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While traditional devices such as desktops/laptops, phones and tablets have the largest reach across U.S. wireless households, Internet-connected TVs reached more than 70% of domestic households.

In addition to the growing reach of connected TVs, the amount of time spent watching content has increased as well. Time spent on YouTube increased 22% for total hours streamed (March 2019 vs. March 2020).

Notably, with audiences home more than ever, ComScore found that more than 60% of signed-in viewers of YouTube on TV watched a videos featuring titles that contain “Home Workout” (+340%), “Cooking/Recipes” (+45%), and “Meditation Videos” (+45%) and “Self-Care” (up +100%).

 

Parks: Consumers Spend Seven Hours Weekly Streaming Online Video

It’s an over-the-top video world. Parks Associates July 1 said new data showed the number of hours per week consumers spend watching online video has almost doubled from 3.6 hours per week in 2017 to nearly seven hours per week in 2020. Dallas-based Parks said at the same time traditional pay-TV service has declined from an adoption rate of 75% to 62% in U.S. broadband households between Q1 2017 and Q1 2020, which led a subsequent decline in set-top box adoption.

“Consumer surveys find that 74% of U.S. broadband households subscribe to at least one streaming service, and almost half of domestic broadband households subscribe to two or more services,” contributing analyst Dr. Kenneth Wacks said in a statement.

Wacks said the top three domestic OTT subscription services remain Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. Newcomers Disney+ and Apple TV+ have grown quickly to round out the top five. Additional services of note include CBS All Access, Crackle, Fubo TV, BHO Not, Philo, Pluto TV, and Sling TV.

Parks said the OTT services allow households to access premium video content without a set-top box, forcing a change in the relationship between set-top box makers and cable/satellite operators. Content developers and networks are now streaming content directly to consumers or distributing through OTT service providers. In some cases, multiple-system operators (MSOs) are launching their own streaming devices or creating offerings similar to vMVPDs (virtual multichannel video programming distributors) with the goal of recapturing pay-TV cord-cutters or cord-nevers.

Parks contends the pay-TV set-top can remain viable if able to aggregate the variety of different streaming services coming into the households and present them in a personalized and attractive UI with voice and smart home controls for an improved consumer experience.

“The set-top box does have a role in this market, but it will have to adapt,” Wacks said.

TiVo: 30% of Americans Using Smart TVs to Stream Video

In an over-the-top video ecosystem, new data from the latest TiVo Video Trends Report finds that more than 30% of Americans surveyed access streaming video through Internet-connected televisions. That compares with 16.3%, 15.4% and 14.3% for the next three most-popular streaming media devices, including mobile devices, Amazon Fire TV and Roku, respectively.

The data, which is based on a first-quarter (ended March 31) survey of 4,367 adults in the U.S. and Canada, would appear to slightly undermine Roku’s actual market share considering the streaming media pioneer’s OS software powers most Chinese-made Smart TVs not branded Samsung.

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TiVo said Samsung’s Wizen operating system is found in more than 50% of Smart TVs, followed by Google-owned Android TV (14.1%), Roku (13%) and LG’s WebOS (2%). Mobile devices are primarily powered by Apple iOS and Google Android.

Notably, Peacock, NBCUniversal’s pending streaming service, will be available on Vizio SmartCast TVs and LG Smart TVs when it launches July 15. Meanwhile, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max launched May 27 without distribution on Roku and Fire TV, underscoring the platform’s sluggish launch.

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According to data from Sensor Tower, 87,000 people used the Apple App Store and Google Play to download the HBO Max app on its first day. That was dwarfed by rivals Quibi and Disney+, which generated 380,000 and 4 million mobile downloads, respectively, on their first days of operation.