Peacock Bowing ‘Watch With’ Feature Enabling Streamers to Interact With Content Talent in Real Time

NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming platform is launching a new social media feature that enables viewers to interact with talent on select shows in real time, including during Q&A sessions.

Dubbed “Watch With,” the feature is set to launch Feb. 24 at 9 p.m. ET, a day after the season two premiere of “Bel-Air,” with stars  Jabari Banks and Olly Sholotan. Pending content utilizing the feature includes “Eurovision” with two-time Winter Olympian and NBC figure skating analyst Johnny Weir and “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip” with Candace Dillard Bassett and Marysol Patton.

The concept was first tested last year with the “Real Housewives of Miami” reality show featuring Larsa Pippen and Patton.

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“After exceeding our viewership forecasts, we’re highly encouraged by the first test of ‘Watch With’ as a way to super-serve fans with a live communal viewing experience,” John Jelley, SVP of product and UX for Peacock and direct-to-consumer at NBCUniversal, said in a statement.

The feature is set to join Peacock’s other interactive feature — “Choose Your Reality” — enabling viewers to delve deeper into select scenes of the third season of “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip.”

“We’re looking to continue experimenting with in-product innovations that enhance the streaming experience and break into the cultural zeitgeist,” Jelley said.

Hub: Average Home Uses 12.5 Sources of Entertainment, Spearheaded by SVOD

The average U.S. household now uses 12.5 sources of entertainment, driven by subscription streaming VOD, according to new data from Hub Entertainment Research. Citing an October survey of 3,000 adults with high-speed internet access, the report found that age plays a role on the number of entertainment sources.

Survey respondents between the ages of 18-34 used more than 15 sources of entertainment, which also include social media, video games, music, AVOD, pay-TV, online TV, podcasts, books, audiobooks and sports.

Younger respondents use more video services (6.6 sources) — driven by big-name SVOD services such as Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max — than older demos. After SVOD (3.7 sources), social media and gaming (6.0) combined dominate entertainment choices.

Among older respondents (35+), the average household includes 10.6 sources of entertainment, also driven by SVOD, but in a lower amount (2.7). In fact, older demos overall access fewer (5.3) video sources than younger demos. An even bigger drop includes social media and gaming (3.1), which is just 50% of younger demos.

Among all survey respondents, the number of “must-have” entertainment sources topped six, increasing to eight among the younger demo and 4.9 among the older.

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“The focus on the video “streaming wars” obscures the fact that social media entertainment, gaming, and streaming music occupy just as much share of mind as video (and among some consumer segments, more),” Hub wrote.

The research firm contends marketers and content aggregators have an opportunity to reduce churn among entertainment sources by bundling platforms across multiple genre categories. For example, Walmart recently added streaming access to Paramount+ on its Walmart+ membership platform. The company is looking to add Peacock and Disney+, among others.

Disney reportedly is considering a membership program for its parks, streaming and consumer products that would emulate the Amazon Prime membership platform.

“It’s the physical and digital aspects of your Disney lifestyle,” CEO Bob Chapek told The Wall Street Journal. “We’re trying to build a toolbox our creators at Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucas can use to tell stories in a more customized and personal way.”

Elon Musk Closes $44 Billion Twitter Acquisition, Fires Top Executives

Elon Musk, the world’s richest man and founder/owner of electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, has reportedly closed his controversial $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, one of the world’s largest social media platforms.

“The bird is freed,” Musk tweeted late Oct. 27.

Musk, who had an Oct. 28 deadline to close the deal (or face litigation) that would return Twitter to private ownership, reportedly fired the San Francisco-based company’s CEO Parag Agrawal; CFO Ned Segal; Vijaya Gadde, the platform’s main legal policy executive; and general counsel Sean Edgett.

Gadde is reportedly best known for pushing the executive decision to permanently ban former President Donald Trump from Twitter.

It wasn’t immediately clear who is formally running the company, but Musk has changed his moniker to “Chief Twit,” leaving little doubt who is in charge.

In a tweet to advertisers, Musk said he purchased the platform to provide “a common digital town square where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner without resorting to violence.”

Musk warned that Twitter cannot become a “free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said without consequences!”

The billionaire is expected to hold a company town hall today addressing Twitter’s 7,700 global workforce.

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Disney/Hulu Switch Course, Will Allow Political Issue Advertising

The Walt Disney Company has reversed a policy not allowing politically-themed advertising on Hulu or Hulu + Live TV. The move comes after Democrat political ads targeting Republicans on gun control and abortion were banned from the platforms.

“After a thorough review of ad policies across its linear networks and streaming platforms over the last few months, Disney is now aligning Hulu’s political advertising policies to be consistent with the company’s general entertainment and sports cable networks and ESPN+,” Disney said in a statement. “Hulu will now accept candidate and issue advertisements covering a wide spectrum of policy positions, but reserves the right to request edits or alternative creative, in alignment with industry standards.”

Hulu and Hulu + Live TV, which ended the most-recent fiscal quarter with 41.4 million and 4.1 million subscribers, respectively, had found itself in the the middle of a social media backlash with the hashtag #BoycottHulu gaining strength.

“Hulu’s censorship of the truth is outrageous and offensive,” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee posted on Twitter July 25. “Voters have the right to know the facts about MAGA Republicans’ extreme agenda on abortion — Hulu is doing a huge disservice to the American people.”

Regardless, Disney has already announced that it will not accept any political ads, marketing of alcohol products or streaming rivals on the pending Disney+ ad-supported plan.

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Deloitte Digital Media Survey: Paid Streaming Service Churn Rate High, Especially Among Younger Generations

Paid streaming services are facing challenges. Churn is high, especially among younger people, and younger generations, especially Gen Z, actually prefer playing video games to watching video and spend a lot of time watching user-generated content rather than TV shows and movies.

That’s according to Deloitte’s 16th annual digital media trends survey. The U.S. survey was fielded by an independent research firm in December 2021 and employed an online methodology among 2,000 U.S. consumers. All data was weighted back to the most recent census data to give a representative view of consumer sentiment and behaviors. The survey was also fielded in the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil and Japan in December 2021 and January 2022. All data from the global markets was weighted to be nationally representative.

The U.S. paid streaming service churn rate averaged 37%, with 33% of respondents both adding and canceling a service and 4% canceling a service in the past six months. The churn rate was even higher among Gen Z and Millennials, with more than half of those respondents either canceling or canceling and adding paid services in the past six months. The trend also held true globally, with average churn in the international territories surveyed at 30% and younger generations more likely to move in and out of services.

While access to original content (39%) and a broad range of content (38%) were the top two reasons U.S. consumers said they were subscribing to paid SVOD services, U.S. subscribers said they’re canceling paid SVOD services due to cost (41%), price increases (30%) and lack of new content (30%).

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While older generations said they prefer watching TV and movies at home, Gen Z respondents preferred video games as their favorite form of digital entertainment. About four in 10 (41%) U.S. consumers said they spend more time watching user-generated video content than they do TV shows and movies on video streaming services — a sentiment that increased to around 60% for Gen Zs and Millennials.

In the United States, 81% of social media users said they use social media services at least daily and 59% said they use these services several times a day, with younger generations (including Gen Z, Millennial, and Gen X) leading the pack on social media usage.

In the United States, 80% of both men and women said they play video games, and half of smartphone owners said they play on a smartphone daily. Gen Z and Millennials said they play video games an average of 11 and 13 hours per week, respectively. Gen X gamers followed closely behind with around 10 hours of game play every week.

“While streaming video on-demand business models look much the same as they did when they were created 15 years ago, social media and gaming companies have quickly evolved their offerings, leveraging technology, and capitalizing on behaviors,” Jana Arbanas, vice chair, Deloitte LLP and U.S. telecom, media and entertainment sector leader, said in a statement. “Social media is free and available anywhere, anytime, offering both passive and interactive experiences with endless streams of personalized content, without the cost of a subscription. And more people are interacting and socializing in game worlds that host millions of users, brands and franchises, and major non-gaming events. SVOD companies aren’t just competing with each other for audiences, they are also competing with different, more social and immersive forms of entertainment.” 

Hub: Social Media, Gaming, Online Videos Downsize TV Viewing Time

Social media activities, including online video and separately, video games, continue to eat away at the time consumers spend watching television. New data from Hub Research found that TV and movies account for 48% of all the time consumers say they spend with screen-based entertainment. That’s down 5% from a year ago, and down 11% from 2019.

The stats come from a December 2021 survey of 2,179 U.S. consumers aged 13-74, who watch at least one hour of TV per week and have broadband service. 

Notably, the older the survey respondent, the more time s/he spends in front of the TV. At just 35 years old, Hub saw a significant shift toward the consumption of TV and movies as the primary source of entertainment time. Among respondents over the age of 35, about 60% of their time was spent watching TV and movies.

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“When it comes to sources of screen-based entertainment, younger and older consumers could not be more different,” Peter Fondulas, Hub principal and co-author of the study, said in a statement.

The analyst wonders whether today’s young consumers will always prioritize non-traditional content — or whether they’ll start to resemble older consumers as they grow older.

“Our prediction is that their behaviors are so ingrained that non-traditional content will always be a significant part of their entertainment consumption,” Fondulas said.

Netflix Launches Social Media Channel Celebrating Pan-Asian Diaspora

Netflix has launched Golden, a new social media channel dedicated to celebrating the pan-Asian diaspora.

The new @NetflixGolden channels are on Instagram and Twitter and will celebrate Netflix’s pan-Asian talent both in front of and behind the camera.

The channels will also feature new episodes from the social series “Spill the Boba Tea,” a collaboration with Wong Fu Productions, where co-founder Philip Wang will chat with Netflix stars while crafting unique boba tea drinks based on the stars’ lives. The new episode featuring “Emily in Paris” star Ashley Park, debuts Jan. 27 on the @NetflixGolden Instagram channel.

Golden joins Netflix’s other audience-focused and genre channels including Strong Black Lead, Netflix Film, Con Todo, Geeked, Netflix Is a Joke and Most. The name Golden, was inspired by the phrase “Real gold will always shine” and that all Asian stories are golden, and if given the opportunity, they will shine, according to Lucie Zhang, manager of Netflix Golden.

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“As a first-generation Chinese-American growing up in the Midwest, I rarely saw individuals who looked like me in American media, but also felt disconnected from the stars I saw in the Chinese soap dramas my mom binged,” Zhang said in a blog post. “For me, being a part of the diaspora means existing in between cultures — and often feeling like you don’t belong fully in either. With Golden, we want to give the Asian diaspora community a way to feel more connected to each other’s cultures and their own by celebrating Asian talent, storytelling and artistry on Netflix.”


Kylie Jenner Becomes First Woman to Reach 300 Million Instagram Followers

Reality TV star and cosmetics executive Kylie Jenner has become the first woman to reach 300 million followers on Instagram. The 24-year-old “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” alum reached the mark this week, to trail only Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo with 388 million followers. Facebook-owned Instagram’s own account has the most followers with 460 million.

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Regardless, the “Queen of Instagram” long ago surpassed previous female social media polesitter Ariana Grande, who tracked more than 146 million followers in 2019.

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Jenner achieved the milestone despite laying low on the social media platform in recent months following last November’s Astroworld rap music festival tragedy in Houston, where 10 concertgoers were crushed to death in a stampede trying to see her boyfriend, Travis Scott, perform.

Rotten Tomatoes Partners With TikTok for Movie/TV Show Marketing

Online movie/TV show recommendation service Rotten Tomatoes Dec. 14 announced it is teaming up with social video platform TikTok to help content creators market movies and TV shows.

The Rotten Tomatoes TikTok Jump will enable creators to link to movie and TV trailers, Tomatometer and Audience ratings, reviews, information on where to watch, clips, and cast and crew info for entertainment fans.

Film and TV clips and soundbites have been popular on TikTok, with users often requesting more information on the content. The companies are working together with studios for the new holiday releases, Spider-Man: No Way Home, West Side Story, Sing 2 and The Matrix Resurrections.

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“Teaming up with TikTok is the next step in our journey and we’re thrilled to provide [their] community access to all that our site has to offer,” Sandro Corsaro, SVP and chief creative officer at Rotten Tomatoes, said in a statement.

Launched in 1998, Rotten Tomatoes has evolved over the years to harness social media and help moviegoers and consumers find movies, TV shows, and streaming content. Earlier this year, the brand launched its first-ever channel on Roku, Samsung TV Plus, Peacock and Xumo, featuring 24/7 linear programming with over a dozen originally produced shows and nearly 400 hours of premium long and short-form video content, in addition to its original video series “The Ketchup,” “Binge Battle,” and the “Rotten Tomatoes is Wrong” podcast.

“Through the new Rotten Tomatoes Jump feature, we’re excited to give our community access to a trusted source of entertainment reviews, recommendations, trailers and more,” said Harish Sarma, global head of content business development at TikTok.

Conviva: Social Media Presence Key to Streaming Growth

Streaming video and social media have long symbiotic relationship. How strong that partnership remains is spelled out in a new report from data measurement firm Conviva that suggests social media’s outsized influence on streaming video can’t be ignored.

Roughly 80% of social engagement for streaming platforms comes from Instagram, with TikTok close behind thanks to accounts such as Netflix growing by more than a million followers each month in 2021, according to Conviva, which examined social engagement for more than 87 global streaming platforms and 695 streaming TV shows from Jan. 1 to Oct. 21, 2021.

“A strong presence on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is critical for streaming publishers as it has been proven social is a key to content discovery,” Keith Zubchevich, CEO of Conviva, said in a statement. “And, it’s not just about posting volume. The publishers that creatively and regularly engage viewers in both their overall platform and individual show accounts on social will not only drive loyalty but also revenue.”

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Eight top streaming services — Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, Paramount+, Peacock, and CW Seed — captured more than 227 million followers across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube in 2021. Netflix unsurprisingly led the pack as a social powerhouse, with its main account capturing more than 75% of all engagements and 70% of the audience among the top eight streaming platforms.

Conviva’s report also dove into the individual social platforms, revealing the strengths and weaknesses of each for social promotion of streaming. Findings included:

  • Facebook had the largest audience for streaming publisher accounts, holding 47% of all followers across the top streaming services. Yet, the platform saw only 8% of overall engagements. Announcements, teasers and trailers made up 73% of the streaming platform content on Facebook.
  • Instagram delivered 81% of social engagements for top streaming services, despite having only 17% of the audience. Top content on Instagram featured new shows, netting a 64% share with legacy shows and nostalgic content coming in at 22%.
  • TikTok ranked third in audience for top streaming services, with more followers per account than more established platforms YouTube and Twitter. Show clips with funny captions, cast videos and content tailor made for TikTok were among the top performing content.
  • On YouTube, 58% of the most viewed content for top streaming platforms were show trailers, with teasers coming in second at 13%. Commercials commanded the most engagement of any content on YouTube with 5.6 million views per video on average.
  • Twitter is unmatched in terms of content with streaming platforms averaging over 1,000 posts per month. Announcement posts made up the highest percentage of Twitter content at 17% with trailers coming in second at 16%.