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.

Parks: Adoption of Standalone Broadband Service Increases 42% — Driven by Streaming Video

In an over-the-top video ecosystem, demand for high-speed Internet service, or broadband, continues to remain strong. New consumer research from Parks Associates finds the market for standalone Internet service (excluding pay-TV, telephone) rising from 34% in 2017 to 42% in 1Q 2020.

Parks found the average standalone broadband subscriber now pays $60 per month for service, which increased by 36% from 1Q 2012 to 3Q 2019, while payment for TV plus Internet services increased from $107 to only $127 over the same time period.

“Data speed is the primary driver of [average revenue per broadband user],” David Drury, research director, Parks Associates, said in a statement. “In other words, speed rather than the number of [value-added services] broadly determines ARPU levels, even though those with higher speeds also have a higher number of VAS.”


Coronavirus-related changes in the needs of broadband households indicated that many consumers are likely trying many VAS for the first time, particularly telehealth, video conference, and remote learning tools. The increase in consumer need for these services represents an enormous opportunity to grow these markets even after the crisis passes, according to Parks.

The research finds nearly one-half of U.S. broadband households receive at least one value-added service from their service provider, but these services are generally included at no additional cost. The most commonly adopted VAS are support, antivirus, streaming video, and Wi-Fi services. AT&T and Suddenlink by Altice subscribers have the highest number of VAS adopted overall, combining both free and paid services.

“Broadband growth has plateaued, so the next opportunity is in VAS,” Drury said. “Providers have generally used VAS as a marketing tool to attract and retain subscribers, so for them to make the transition to a revenue source, companies need a clear understanding of the gaps in consumer satisfaction and demand for strategic and successful VAS deployments.”

Peacock to Be Available on Vizio and LG Smart TVs at Launch in July

Peacock, NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, will be available on Vizio SmartCast TVs and LG smart TVs when it launches on July 15.

Consumers will be able to access Peacock through the LG smart TVs’ Home Launcher or the built-in application on the Vizio SmartCast home screen.

Peacock will offer a free tier featuring more than 7,500 hours of movies, shows, and live and on-demand programming across news, sports, reality and late night. Peacock Premium will also be available for $4.99 per month, featuring more than 15,000 hours of content. Viewers may also upgrade Peacock Premium to ad-free for an additional $5 per month.

“We want to provide fans of Peacock’s vast programming a choice of how and where they consume our content when we launch nationally next month, said Matt Bond, chairman, content distribution, NBCUniversal, in a statement. “Vizio and LG are great partners that will help provide these fans the viewing experience they’ve come to expect from us at NBCUniversal.”

“With increasing consumption on smart TVs, we are happy to make it easy for Peacock customers with Vizio and LG smart televisions to stream all our content,” Maggie McLean Suniewick, president of business development and partnerships for Peacock, said in a statement. “We offer Peacock as free to our distribution partners because we want people everyone to enjoy Peacock where and when they want it.”

Peacock original programming available at launch includes “Brave New World,” “The Capture,” “Intelligence” and “Lost Speedways”; sports documentary In Deep With Ryan Lochte; and the full-length film Psych 2: Lassie Come Home. Also available will be current season programming from NBC and Telemundo, access to hundreds of movies such as Jurassic Park, Do the Right Thing and Shrek; and shows including comedies “Parks and Recreation,” “30 Rock,” “Saturday Night Live,” “King of Queens,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Frasier,” “George Lopez,” “Psych,” “Monk” and “Cheers”dramas “Law & Order: SVU,” “Downton Abbey,” “Yellowstone,” “Friday Night Lights,” “House,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Parenthood,” “Heroes,” and kids programing including “Curious George,” “DreamWorks Where’s Waldo?” and “Cleopatra in Space.”

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Peacock customers will also enjoy daily programming highlights from “Today,” “NBC Nightly News,” “Meet the Press,” “Noticias Telemundo,” MSNBC, CNBC, NBC Sports, “E! News” and “Access Hollywood,” and dozens of streaming channels including clip-based channels such as Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers comedy sketches, sketches from the “SNL” vault, plus news channels from NBC News Now and Sky News, and genre channels such as True Crime, Reality Check-In and 80s Mix Tape.

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In April, Peacock’s early preview rolled out to Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex customers at no additional cost. Peacock will also be bundled and included at no additional cost for eligible Cox Contour customers for national launch in July.

Limelight: COVID-19 Driving Streaming Video Surge

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to change how they work, learn, access information, connect with one another and their entertainment options. Streaming is at the forefront of this new normal with consumers worldwide now engaging with online video for an average of four hours and three minutes every day, according to new data from Limelight Networks.

The company said that with people quarantining in their homes, online video is enabling new forms of interactive entertainment to pass the time. With traditional sports leagues on hold, nearly 31% of survey respondents have had their first e-sports experience during the pandemic. With live events cancelled, 44% of respondents attended their first virtual concert. Exercising is also going virtual as athletic facilities remain closed. In fact, 31% have participated in an online fitness class and another 24% plan to in the next six months.

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Limelight’s data is based on responses from 5,000 consumers ages 18 and older in France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Scandinavia, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States who watch one hour or more of online video each day.

Other findings include 89% of respondents now using video chat to feel more connected, up from 61% prior to COVID-19. Most people (70%) have used online video to stay informed by watching live stream speeches and press conferences during the pandemic — 44% live streamed on news sites and 26% live streamed on social media. Even Baby Boomers (63%) tune into live streamed news and information online.

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As the pandemic has forced consumers to work remotely, 79% of people agree that online video equips them to maintain daily activities. About 33% of respondents are working from home for the first time and say online video helps them stay connected to colleagues (24%) and work more efficiently (36%). More than half (58%) have or plan to use online video for professional development or to learn a new skill. Most people (83%) believe video-based learning will continue in the post-COVID world.

The pandemic has sparked a rapid increase in telehealth across the globe. More than one fifth (22%) of people have recently met with their doctor virtually. This trend is expected to last beyond the pandemic with another quarter (27%) of global respondents planning to hold telehealth appointments in the next six months. Telehealth usage is highest for India where 81% of respondents have met or plan to meet with their doctor virtually.

“The pandemic has pushed the bounds of online video,” Mike Milligan, senior director of product and solution marketing at Limelight Networks, said in a statement. “Many people turned to online video to connect with others and maintain daily activities during the pandemic, but it won’t stop once quarantine is over. Our report emphasizes that online video will remain an important part of our lives in the new normal.”

TiVo Bows Branded 4K Video Streaming Device

TiVo May 6 announced the retail availability of “TiVo Stream 4K,” a streaming media device that melds TV shows and movies from different platforms on one screen.

TiVo Stream 4K features live television from online TV pioneer Sling TV, in addition to direct access to 4K programming from Netflix and Prime Video (all requiring separate subscriptions and a 4K-compatible TV).

First unveiled at CES Las Vegas 2020, TiVo Stream 4K is now available at TiVo.com with an introductory price of $49.99 and a free 7-day trial of Sling TV for new subscribers.

‘TiVo 4K Stream’ device

“At a time when viewers are streaming more than ever across a sea of platforms, TiVo Stream 4K integrates content with recommendation and search features to make it easier to find,” TiVo CEO Dave Shull said in a statement. “[This] is symbolic of our company’s transformation from … DVR provider to a pioneer in the streaming market.”

TiVo Stream 4K features include integration with major streaming video services on the Google Play Store, eliminating the need to toggle between multiple apps to access TV shows, and with TiVo’s intuitive search options and intelligent recommendations, users can find titles and discover new shows within one interface.

TiVo Stream 4K users also have access to thousands of hours of free movies and TV shows as well as 49 free streaming channels across news, sports, kids, food, music and comedy.

The device includes Dolby Atmos sound and Dolby Vision HDR and plugs into existing HDMI ports on TVs and combined with a streamlined version of TiVo’s “peanut” remote control enabling conversational search.

“TiVo has taken search to the next level, making it more convenient for customers to take advantage of the value Sling TV offers,” said Warren Schlichting, group president, Sling.

Conviva: Global Streaming Video Up 20% During Pandemic

At a time when society has never been more digitally connected, countries around the globe are imploring their people to be socially distant. But in the age of connectedness, with options for news, entertainment, and friendships at the press of a button, the sacrifices are not nearly as harsh, according to new data from Conviva.

The coronavirus has had immediate impacts on consumption patterns and engagement across streaming and social media, with marked differences in the past month alone.

Conviva analyzed global streaming data from a 21-day period between March 3 and March 23, comparing the seven days ending March 23 with two weeks prior.

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Streaming skyrocketed on a global scale, increasing more than 20% compared to the previous two-week period, with North America streaming up nearly 27% in the same time period.

Primetime TV consumption shifted earlier as viewers watched throughout the day, rather than just during the evening hours. Daytime viewing jumped nearly 40% as compared to two weeks prior.

For better or worse, Facebook remains a leading platform for local news video registering the largest increase in viewing over the past 30 days, with an increase of 118% in average views per video and total video views up 247%.

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Twitter led social media engagement with 150%increase in average engagements per video for global news accounts and 196% increase in average engagements per video for local news accounts in the United States.]

“Television has long been a way to connect — a plugged-in friend when one might otherwise feel disconnected,” read the report. “In these dire times, we’ve seen many turning to their old friend in new ways. Staying home means tuning in — to get informed, pass the time, and stay connected.”

Conviva said the pandemic has offered a worldwide “reset” on the way people relate to each other.

“People will perhaps see their face-to-face relationships in a new light, but our ability to remain connected via social media is likely valued now more than ever,” the report said. “In the best of times, streaming and social media add value to our daily lives. In this moment, the choice of information or distraction is a welcome one. But either is the correct choice for those of us following the moral imperative to stay home.”

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.

 

Kanopy Streaming Service Gets ‘Sesame Street’ Episodes

Kanopy, the library-based video streaming platform for films and documentaries, Nov. 5 announced a two-year deal with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind “Sesame Street,” to feature 24 episodes from the Emmy and Grammy Award-winning program on Kanopy Kids.

Accessible through partnered public and academic libraries, Kanopy Kids hosts a curated catalog parents can trust through embedded, age-based Common Sense Media ratings, according to the service.

The “Sesame Street” episodes join a host of educational videos for children of all ages on the platform, accessible through partnered public and academic libraries nationwide.

“For the last 50 years, ‘Sesame Street’ has influenced generations around the world by leading educational growth and social change,” Kanopy CEO Kevin Sayar said in a statement. “We are elated to work with Sesame Workshop and reach new audiences with the timeless series, while reinforcing Kanopy Kids’ mission to encourage social and emotional development, promote respect for community diversity and inspire creativity.”

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Through characters such as Elmo, Big Bird and Cookie Monster, “Sesame Street” has cultivated a multi-generational following that has transformed the television industry and pop culture since its public television debut in 1969. It is the longest-running children’s series in American television history.

A major brand addition for Kanopy Kids, this agreement builds on the streaming service’s promise to provide best-in-class entertainment with true educational value, according to the service.

“As viewing habits change, free-to-the-user services like this one make it easier than ever for all families to access quality children’s content they can trust, which is essential to Sesame Workshop’s mission,” added Scott Chambers, Sesame Workshop’s SVP and GM, educational media and licensing, North America.

Kanopy Kids will showcase the following “Sesame Street” episodes starting Nov. 5:

Season 39
“Sock Chaos At the Laundromat” (Episode 4,163)
“Max the Magician “(Episode 4,166)
“Annual Triangle Toss” (Episode 4,167)
“Elmo and Zoe’s Hat Contest” (Episode 4,168)
“Big Bird and Snuffy Talent Show’ (Episode 4,171)
“Number 6 Games” (Episode 4,172)
“Big Bird’s Nest Sale” (Episode 4,174)
“Abby’s First Sleepover” (Episode 4,177)
“Three Cheers for Us” (Episode 4,178)
“Mineitis On Sesame Street” (Episode 4,181)
“Maria the Cowgirl” (Episode 4,183)
“The Help-O-Bots” (Episode 4,185)

Season 40
“Frankly, It’s Becoming a Habitat” (Episode 4,187)
“Wild Nature Survivor Guy” (Episode 4,190)
“Bears Try to Hibernate” (Episode 4,193)
“Stinky’s Annual Birthday Flower” (Episode 4,194)
“Elmo Finds a Baby Bird” (Episode 4,195)
“The Cookie Tree” (Episode 4,197)
“Squirmadera Car Race” (Episode 4,203)
“Jack’s Big Jump” (Episode 4,204)
“The Planet G”(Episode 4,207)
“The Counting Booth” (Episode 4,208)
“Abby’s Tricycle” (Episode 4,210)
“Jack Grows His Own Beanstalk” (Episode 4,211)

Streaming Video Becoming New Normal, Especially for NFL Fans

The time people spent streaming video continues to climb — up 53% in the quarter (ended Sept. 30) as consumers embrace on-demand videos (63% of all streaming viewing is on demand) on their TVs, PCs and mobile devices, according to new data from Conviva.

“Streaming is quickly becoming the new normal,” Bill Demas, CEO of Conviva, said in a statement. “This is an industry undergoing massive growth, and what happens in the next 18 months will shape what, how and when we watch content in the future.”

Report data was primarily collected from Conviva’s proprietary sensor technology currently embedded in three billion streaming video applications, measuring in excess of a 100 billion streams per year and a trillion real-time transactions per day across more than 180 countries.

Conviva attributed the increase in streaming video consumption due in part to reduced video start failures (down 10%), 6% faster start times, 33% less buffering and the picture quality (bitrate) is 3% better.

PCs saw the most consistent quality improvements year over year with 17% fewer video start failures, 23% faster video start times and 26% less buffering. Mobile saw big improvements in reducing buffering — down 34% year over year — but video start times were only down 4% and video start failures were down only 2%.

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Meanwhile, improvements in overall video quality did not extend to streaming ads. According to the data, 39.6% of all streaming ad attempts failed in the quarter. In addition, ads were plagued by delays including long start times and buffering including instances where it took up to 16.1 seconds for an ad to start and viewers had to endure up to 45.9% of ad buffering.

As a result, roughly 9% to 20% of viewers drop off each time an ad is run. For sports, the largest impact is at the very first ad where 18% of viewers drop, but subsequent ads have less effect.

The fourth ad in a stream triggers the biggest drop as 20% of news viewers, 17% of drama/comedy viewers, and 16% of reality TV viewers stop watching. Overall, 54% of the audience stopped viewing after four ads.

NFL Streaming Skyrockets

NFL viewers continued their mass migration to streaming, with a 77% increase in streaming plays and a 50% increase in time spent streaming compared with Q3 2018. Much of the NFL’s streaming growth occurred on mobile devices, which grew 109% in plays year over year, and TV, which grew 66%. Notably, NFL streaming plays on PCs went down 11% in Q3.

While mobile NFL viewing is up, the minutes per play remains small (8 minutes), inferring that fans are streaming NFL on their phones to check in on their favorite teams versus to watch games in their entirety. Those fans streaming the NFL via TV or PC watched for an average of 24 and 22 minutes, respectively.

NFL fans are also embracing streaming videos on social media, but their appetite varies by team and platform.

Miami Dolphins fans watch more of their franchise’s videos than any other team on Facebook (168% above average) closely followed by Kansas City Chiefs fans (157% above average). New York Giants fans would rather watch videos posted by their franchise on YouTube (211% above average) and New England Patriots fans are loyal to watching team videos on Instagram (227% above average).

The connected TV category once again led all other devices in growth, up 58% in viewing hours year over year compared to PCs (up 36%) and mobile (up 33%).

While Roku maintained the top position by ending the quarter with solid 44% of market share, its growth rate for viewing time (73%) was slightly lower than Amazon Fire TV (78%). Amazon Fire TV closed the quarter with 20% of market share, followed by Apple TV with 9%.

Roku also improved its quality over the past year and now delivers the lowest rate of video start failures at 0.18%, down 52% from the previous-year 2018, and nearly three times as much improvement as Amazon Fire TV which dropped 17% to 0.37%.

Xbox again has the least buffering at a mere 0.15%, while Apple TV is the most improved with buffering down 40%. Once again Apple TV has the fastest video start time at 2.6 seconds and highest picture quality at 6.8 Mbps on average.

Year-over-year comparisons were normalized at the customer level for accurate representations of industry growth. The advertising data included in the report is based on an analysis of nearly 10 billion ad attempts in Q3. The social media data included in the report is based on an analysis of more than 100,000 social posts and 2.5 billion social video views across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

Nielsen: 56% of U.S. TV Consumers Stream Video

It’s official: The majority of American TV consumers also stream video.

New data from Nielsen found that 56% of domestic consumers stream video compared to 48% in 2018 and 40% in 2017.

The average consumer watches more than two hours of streamed content daily, which is up from slightly less than two hours last year.

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At the same time, linear TV consumption remains most popular among 82% of streamers — with almost 90% still watching pay-TV networks.

Nielsen found that 65% of U.S. households can now stream video compared to 59% in 2018 and 51% in 2017.

Among U.S. cities, Austin, Texas has the highest percentage (70%) of streaming users, while Pittsburgh, Pa., has the lowest at 45%. Cleveland residents spent the most time streaming video at two hours and 29 minutes per day.