TiVo, TCL Expand Intellectual Property Relationship

TiVo Jan. 21 announced a multiyear extension and expansion of its IP agreement with TCL, a consumer electronics brand and technology company.

TiVo, which helped invent the digital video recorder (DVR), has over the years invested in research and development to create software licensed to the media and entertainment industry. TiVo’s innovations make it easier for viewers to find, watch, and store content across a multitude of platforms.

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“We believe this agreement further demonstrates the continued relevance of our IP portfolio in the consumer electronics space,” Samir Armaly, president, IP licensing of TiVo corporate parent Xperi, said in a statement. “The licenses provided under our expanded agreement will enable TCL to continue delivering the very best experience for its customers, even as the television industry undergoes rapid transformation and change.”

TiVo over the years has been embroiled in litigation with Comcast, Microsoft and Verizon, among others, as the market for digital entertainment distribution rapidly evolves and changes.

Jonathan King, VP corporate & legal affairs with TCL, said the agreement with TiVo underscores the company’s commitment to recognizing patents.

“This expanded agreement further demonstrates TCL’s commitment and respect for intellectual property as we continue introducing industry-leading features and capabilities for our loyal users,” King said.

 

 

Pandemic Leads to Significant Increase in Streaming Video Usage at Public Libraries, Study Shows

As more people stayed at home during 2020 due to the pandemic, they were streaming a lot more videos for reasons beyond just entertainment. This trend is expected to continue over the next three years, prompting many public libraries to transition their budgets from DVDs to streaming and prepare for changes and challenges, according to new data from Kanopy.

“Kanopy is extremely grateful to the hundreds of librarians who took the time and effort to participate in our survey,” Kanopy CEO Kevin Sayar said in a statement. “Their invaluable input will help inform our product development and allow us to better serve the public library community and the patrons they serve.”

Key findings include the following:

  • More than 47% of participants say streaming video budgets will increase in 2021 and over 71% expect an increase over the next three years.
  • Comparatively, just over 9% of participants say their DVD budgets will increase in 2021 and approximately 15% expect an increase in the next three years.

 

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  • 54.5% of public libraries currently offer more than one streaming video service, and many indicated training patrons to use multiple platforms is a challenge.
  • 58.2% say that in addition to entertainment, patrons use streaming videos for other purposes such as personal enrichment and class assignments.
  • Pay-per-view and subscription were nearly tied as the most preferred models for streaming video acquisition, at 23.6% and 23.4% respectively.
  • 49.6% of librarians believe it is their responsibility to support the curricula of K-12 schools with streaming films, and 32.0% say they are collaborating with schools or plan to in the near future. Comparatively, 31.0% say it is their responsibility to support local community colleges and 9.8% say they are collaborating with them or plan to in the near future.
  • 88.4% say collection diversity in their video selection is “important” to “very important” yet just 33% say they are meeting patron needs for such content.

 

“During the pandemic we experienced a sharp spike in streaming video usage, and this increase has continued even though we reopened for in-person service over the summer,” said Kay Cahill, director of collections and technology at Vancouver Public Library. “We saw a strong appetite for educational streaming video content in 2020 and a significant increase in recreational and educational use.”

“Our FY20 streaming budget saw a significant increase due to closure from the pandemic,” added Marco Daniels, a library associate with Oak Bluffs Public Library in Oak Bluffs, Mass. “We expect to continue this trend in FY21, but it is important to note the increase in our streaming budget comes from the decrease in our DVD budget.”

Parks: Tech Use Among Seniors 65+ Skyrockets During Pandemic

The pandemic has widened the market for consumer electronics beyond millennials to include aging baby boomers, according to new data from Parks Associates. The Dallas-based research firm finds that during the coronavirus pandemic, 55% of seniors have an online video service subscription like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, while 29% of U.S. seniors ages 65 and older have used video conferencing services, 27% have used telehealth/remote consultation services, and 22% have used a grocery store delivery or pick-up service.

“The shift toward tech service solutions is very pronounced among seniors as a result of COVID-19,” senior analyst Kristen Hanich said in a statement.

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Hanich cited the use of telehealth services more than quadrupling among seniors compared to 2019. These changes pervade all aspects of life, including increasing adoption of video conferencing, over-the-top video and home delivery services.

“Companies deploying connected solutions need a comprehensive strategy that crosses multiple industries, including healthcare, automation, and security, to ensure they maximize the value proposition for their solution,” Hanich said.

Report: Online TV, Video Subscriptions to Reach 2 Billion Globally by 2025

New data from Juniper Research finds that there will be nearly 2 billion active subscriptions to on-demand video services by 2025, a 65% increase over the end of 2020.

The primary engine for this growth will be from traditional TV broadcasters increasingly turning to streaming video platforms to extend their linear reach and compete with online video behemoths such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.

The U.K.-based Juniper notes that traditional broadcasters are turning to hybrid services, a combination of subscription- and advertising-supported monetization, such as NBCUniversal’s Peacock and ViacomCBS’s pending Paramount+ (currently CBS All Access), which offer tiered services that generate subscription revenue but show advertising in lower-priced viewer options. Juniper anticipates that these services will account for $1.4 billion in advertising spend by 2025.

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The report contends that as subscription services become increasingly prominent, particularly in the United States, different models will be needed to combat subscription fatigue among consumers. The report estimates that in 2020 there was an average of four SVOD subscriptions per domestic household, but with growth slowing significantly from 2021.

“Thanks to this high level of market saturation, streaming providers need to keep their offerings competitive to retain subscribers,” Nick Hunt, co-author of the report, said in a statement. “Hybrid monetization is one way that VOD providers can keep their offerings low-cost, and therefore less likely to be dropped.”

Juniper projects that more than 70% of streamed video sessions in the next five years will occur on smartphones, thanks to the emergence of social videos on platforms such as TikTok. However, these do not yield a high number of ad spots per video watched, meaning that smartphone advertising spend will only grow at an average rate of 2% each year over the forecast period.

Roku Looking to Acquire Quibi Content

Quibi, the short-lived subscription streaming video platform shuttered after six months last year, is reportedly in discussions with Roku to sell its catalog of original short-form video.

Launched by DreamWorks Animation founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and eBay founder Meg Whitman last April with a $1.75 billion war chest, Quibi targeted millennials seeking original content less than 10 minutes in length on their portable devices, and featuring stars such as Anna Kendrick, Liam Hemsworth and Sophie Turner, among others. The service in October announced it was shutting down after attracting fewer than 1 million subs.

Roku would use programs such as “Most Dangerous Game,” “Dummy,” “Murder House Flip,” “Eye Candy” and “Chrissy’s Court” — the latter two staring Chrissy Teigen, the former Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model — as viewer lures to the Roku Channel, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the potential deal.

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Content and money is king to Roku, which remains a major consumer gateway to both subscription and ad-supported third-party video platforms. Roku has sought acquiring rights to content a component of distribution agreements with recent SVOD services such as WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock. WarnerMedia refused to comply, which contributed to the protracted delay in Max being available on the Roku platform, according to The Journal.

NBCUniversal reportedly licensed Roku some library programming, including “Magnum P.I.” and “Xena: Warrior Princess,” as well as 45 movies.

The Roku Channel ended the most-recent fiscal period with an estimated 54 million people. The company added 2.9 million incremental active accounts in the quarter to reach 46 million. Streaming hours increased by 200 million hours over last quarter to 14.8 billion.

Oscar Winner ‘Parasite,’ Netflix’s ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Top-Streamed Movie, Series in 2020

Netflix’s ongoing chess-focused chart-topper “The Queen’s Gambit” and South Korea’s Oscar-winning drama Parasite ranked among the most-streamed episodic program and feature-length movie in 2020, according to new data from JustWatch. The analytics company is an international streaming guide that helps more than 20 million users per month across 46 countries find content on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max and Peacock, among other streaming platforms.

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A not unexpected movie in the Top 10 was Contagion, director Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 take on a global pandemic that ranked No. 4. The older movie became popular because of the coronavirus and was one of the most popular movies on JustWatch during March and April across several countries.

 

Parks: 70% of OTT Video Trials End Up As a Subscription

Despite recent cutbacks, most subscription streaming video platforms allow new consumers a free trial period from seven to 14 days. New data from Parks Associates finds that about 40% of U.S. broadband homes trialed at least one OTT service during the COVID-19 crisis and nearly 70% of these households ended up subscribing.

“The use of free trials, promotional offers and bundled packages has accelerated through the first part of 2020, during the initial stage of the COVID crisis,” research director Steve Nason said in a statement.

Parks found that domestic broadband households spent an average of $16 per month on OTT video service subscriptions in Q1 2020, based on consumer-reported spending. The overall OTT churn rate hovers around 40%.

“The conversion of those trials to paid subscriptions has also increased, but to keep those subscribers long term, providers need to deliver a continually evolving and personalized experience,” Nason said.

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The analyst said the data gained from trial user habits and actions offer OTT video service providers an opportunity to engage potential subscribers through every phase of their exploration of the service.

“Companies that effectively integrate smart data are leading the battle to engage the ever-elusive digital media and entertainment consumer,” Nason said. “The overall OTT churn rate has dipped some, but if the economic impacts from COVID-19 pandemic linger, households will continue to scrutinize their spending in entertainment services and determine which ones to keep and which ones to cancel. Smart data usage can give an advantage to a provider in keeping their service at the top of a household’s entertainment equation.”

Parks: 20% of U.S. Broadband Homes Use Ad-Supported OTT Video Services

Who says people don’t like ads with their video? The growth of ad-supported VOD and ad-based SVOD continues among consumers. New data from Parks Associates finds 20% of U.S. broadband households currently use an over-the-top video service with ads, and 15% use a “freemium” service, placing these offerings in a strong second place, among streaming video business models.

“There is no clear market leader in the ad-supported and freemium OTT space, with Pluto TV, The Roku Channel, Tubi TV, Peacock and Crackle all scoring relatively similar adoption rates,” Steve Nason with Parks Associates said in a statement. “The newest offering, NBCUniversal’s Peacock, does have the reach, content and profile to disrupt this area, which could further boost usage of ad-based and freemium OTT among U.S. households.”

Parks finds domestic broadband households in Q1 2020 reported spending an average of $16 per month on OTT video service subscriptions, behind $89 per month on pay-TV services. Consumer spending has been shifting toward OTT services and subscriptions as more households cut or trim their pay-TV services.

“A prolonged economic contraction could drive households to reduce pay-TV spending more, while also scrutinizing their OTT service stacks,” Nason said. “Ad-based services will establish a large role within the today’s OTT service space as consumers look for affordable entertainment options.”

Parks: 25% of Broadband Homes Prefer Streaming to Theatrical New-Release Movies

With Hollywood studios increasingly opting to release new movies directly to consumers instead of the theater, new data from Parks Associates finds 25% of U.S. broadband households now prefer an over-the-top video subscription service to watch new movies, while 24% still prefer movie theaters to experience first-run movie titles.

The findings come as Parks hosts an online panel, “Future of Video,” discussing the value of content and technology innovations such as premium, transactional, and subscription-based VOD platforms delivering new-release movies directly to consumers rather than in the 90-day theatrical window.

Universal Pictures earlier this year, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, moved animated sequel Trolls World Tour from its theatrical slate to PVOD. The decision saw the movie generate $100 million in PVOD revenue, jumpstarting Hollywood’s renaissance with premium priced movies streaming into consumer homes.

“COVID-19 has upended the traditional content-windowing process, and consumer research shows this paradigm shift is impacting consumer attitudes,” research director Steve Nason said in a statement.

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Nason said streaming access in the home scores higher than movie theaters when consumers report their preferences for first-run movies. The analyst contends the shift might be temporary as nearly 30% of survey respondents had no preference for how to watch a new movie.

“[This] gives theaters a glimmer of hope they can eventually gain back some audience for first-run titles,” he said.

Parks: 47% of U.S. Broadband Homes Subscribe to Amazon Prime Video

New data from Parks Associates finds 47% of U.S. broadband households subscribe to Amazon Prime Video, second only to Netflix among subscription-based OTT video services in the U.S.

“The surge in online shopping during the COVID-19 crisis has greatly benefited Amazon Prime Video, which utilizes Amazon Prime as its main access point,” Steve Nason, research director at Parks, said in a statement. “Prime Video leads with its stable of originals plus a massive library of licensed titles, while others such as Disney+ and HBO Max have taken a broad-based aggregator approach by integrating content from its different properties into one unified offering.

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Regardless, Max adoption among HBO pay-TV and non-subscribers continues to improve slowly. AT&T CEO John Stankey told an investor group Max adoption has reached 12.6 million, or 33% of existing HBO pay-TV subs.

“The slow migration of HBO subscribers to HBO Max underscores the importance of distribution strategies in addition to vast content libraries, which WarnerMedia hopes to remedy through its deal with Amazon,” Nason said.