Report: Pandemic Fuels Social Media Entertainment

The coronavirus pandemic has proved to be boost for more than subscription and ad-supported VOD as millions of people stayed home for weeks or months entertained by social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

A new report from eMarketer found that in 2020 there were nearly 150 million more social network users worldwide than previously projected. Social media users topped 3.23 billion this year as nearly 81% of Internet users worldwide were classified as social network users.

China reportedly is home to the world’s largest population of social network users — about 889.5 million people and 97.3% of all Internet users. That’s up 7% compared with 2019. eMarketer had projected 4.8% growth in 2020, which it said translates to more than 58 million new social network users in China in 2020.

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Among social networking platforms, eMarketer said Facebook would continue to dominate globally through the end of 2024. It remains the only platform used by more than half (59%) of the world’s social networking population. The pandemic has helped to revitalize a relatively sluggish platform, which will post 8.7% growth in global user numbers in 2020. Facebook’s total user numbers will surpass 1.90 billion — about 100 million more than eMarketer projected. Interestingly, Facebook is losing users in Germany and Japan.

Facebook-owned Instagram saw the biggest percentage increase of any platform worldwide, increasing its user base by 22.9%. The total number of users exceeded 1 billion for the first time in 2020.

Snapchat saw its global user base increase by 16.1%, which eMarketer attributed to ongoing issues surrounding social video competitor TikTok — the latter now banned in India.

While a mainstay in the U.S. and for President Trump, Twitter is used much less than Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, according to eMarketer. The research firm pegs 8.4% growth for Twitter in 2020, contending growth is largely due to to the platform’s “starring role” as a source for up-to-the-minute, bite-sized news and opinions in a year that has been “highly volatile politically, socially and economically.”

Report: Netflix a Global Influencer on Twitter

Move over, President Trump. You’ve got company as a significant influencer on social media platform Twitter. That’s according to new intel from analytics company GlobalData, which found SVOD pioneer Netflix has dominated online chatter during the past 90 days of the coronavirus pandemic.

Twitter-related discussions to Netflix spiked more than 60% from March through May compared with the previous-year period due in large part to people being forced to stay at home due to COVID-19. The subscription streaming video behemoth has more than 8.2 million followers on Twitter.

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In April, Twitter chatter about Netflix skyrocketed when the company announced it had added an eye-popping 15.8 million new subscribers in the first quarter (ended March 31) due to home restrictions, and reported quarterly revenue of $5.77 billion against an estimated $5.76 billion. In fact, unlike many companies, the COVID-19 crisis has had a positive impact on the company’s stock price as it is up by almost 14% since the beginning of the year.

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“Due to COVID-19, people are streaming more content online as they spend more time at home, bringing companies like Netflix to a bright spot in the entertainment sector, with significant growth in new subscribers and higher viewing time,” Prashant Saxena, influencer expert at GlobalData, said in a statement.

In March, there was another spike in chatter when the streamer agreed with the European Union to slow down the speed of its streaming service for 30 days to reduce traffic across Europe by 25% and ensure that broadband networks perform adequately with millions of people confined to their homes.

“As the world starts easing lockdown restrictions and slowly reopening restaurants and other recreational destinations, it is expected that the viewership and membership numbers for Netflix will likely be impacted, including [driving up social media banter], Saxena said.

FandangoNow to Host ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Live Watch Party Today

FandangoNow, the transactional video on-demand service from Fandango, at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET is hosting a live watch party of Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog.

The watch party will feature a live Twitter commentary from the film’s stars, Ben Schwartz (Sonic) and Lee Majdoub (Agent Stone) along with the film’s director, Jeff Fowler, exclusively on Fandango’s Twitter page, with the hashtag #SonicWatchParty.

“Sonic the Hedgehog” debuted on FandangoNow on March 31 and already ranks as one of the top-selling family titles on the service, according to FandangoNow.

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Fans can submit questions for Schwartz and Fowler at #SonicWatchParty.

Sonic is currently available to purchase on FandangoNow  at $19.99 in HD and SD and in 4K ULTRA HD at $24.99 here.

Netflix Offering Free Content to Non-Subscribers

While it could be news that there are non-Netflix subscribers in the United States, the SVOD pioneer has begun targeting them with free content.

Netflix through March 9 is streaming teen romance To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before to anyone in the U.S. and select markets worldwide with Internet access regardless of subscriber status.

The service disclosed the teaser in a Feb. 11 post on its Twitter account in advance of the movie sequel, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, which began streaming Feb. 12. Netflix said more than 80 million households streamed the original movie in 2018.

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A third installment of the franchise, To All the Boys: Always and Forever, Lara Jean, is in post-production.

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Netflix Back Online Following Tech Issues

Netflix has apologized on social media for unexplained technical issues on Nov. 21 that caused outage issues for several hours to select subscribers around the world.

“We’re sorry some of our members were unable to use Netflix for a couple of hours today. The issue is now fixed. Apologies for the inconvenience,” Netflix tweeted.

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The glitches reportedly involved streaming on portable devices, a distribution channel Netflix is targeting, notably in emerging markets in India and Asia. The website DownDetector.com reported the outages were affecting subs around the world.

Netflix responded to individual users complaining on the social media platform.

“At the moment we are experiencing technical problems, we are busy rectifying this as quickly as possible,” Netflix tweeted to a Dutch sub. “[We] recommend trying Netflix again at a later date. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

Disney Ups ‘DisneyPlus’ Social Media Campaign

Less than a month before the launch of the Disney+ subscription streaming service and Disney is upping marketing of the $6.99 ($69.99 annual) platform on social media, including Twitter.

The media giant Oct. 14 launched a series of tweets showcasing “basically everything coming” to the branded streaming video service.

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Oh, and if you have 3 hours to spare … check out this special look at #DisneyPlus:”

The platform will feature classic Star Wars, Pixar and Marvel movies, in addition to original branded TV shows such as “The Mandelorian,” “Noelle,” “Lady and the Tramp,” “Hero Project,” “The World According to Jeff Goldberg,” “High School Musical: The Musical,” “Encore,” “Monsters at Work,” “Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2,” “WandaVision,” The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” Star Wars: The Clone wars,” Marvel Studios “What If…,” and “Loki,” and “Timmy: Failures Were made.”

In addition, the service will offer 30 seasons of “The Simpsons.”

Bloomberg’s ‘TicToc’ News Service Launching OTT Video Platform

Bloomberg’s TicToc news platform reportedly plans to launch an over-the-top video news service later this year.

Bowed in 2017, TicToc features news on a 24-hour cycle via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp, Amazon Echo, podcast and newsletter. The platform has posted 17,000 additional video news spots thus far in 2019 than it did during the same period last year.

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TicToc

Bloomberg is opting for OTT after internal data suggested consumers who stream at least 10 hours of video weekly don’t like how news is delivered online, according to Jean Ellen Cowgill, managing director, TicToc.

“The mission is to live across all platforms that make up someone’s daily news diet,” Cowgill told Digiday. “If you look at the projection for the OTT ad market, the writing on the wall is pretty clear. There’s a lot of competition because it’s the next big explosion, we want to be part of that.”

As expected, the bulk of TicToc’s user demo skews from 21 to 44-years-old, the prime OTT video viewer – and a draw for advertisers, according to Ben Sinden, consultant at Sinden Media.

“If TicToc can establish its identity and grow a wider audience on existing platforms, an OTT product could be the logical next step,” Sinden said. “Given Bloomberg’s data, tech, scale and heritage, it has as good a chance to cut through to a streaming news audience as anything before it.”

YouTube Expands MLB Partnership with Live-Game Streaming

YouTube April 30 disclosed it has expanded its relationship with Major League Baseball that includes the right to live-stream 13 games for free during the second-half of 2019 season in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

The deal mirrors last year’s deals between MLB, Amazon and Twitter that brought the national pastime to social media and beyond the league’s MLB.tv subscription streaming service.

Google-owned YouTube’s first-ever streaming deal with MLB follows previous deals that included Google Assistant serving as the presenting sponsor of the 2018 American and National League Championship Series.

That promotion marked Google’s first-ever presenting partnership around a U.S. professional sports league’s postseason event for its voice-activated technology.

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Previously, online TV subscription service YouTube TV served as the presenting sponsor of the 2017 and 2018 World Series.

YouTube TV also partnered with MLB on a season-long sponsorship — “First Pitch” – that showcased the YouTube TV brand during the first pitches of games on MLB Network and MLB.tv, and on MLB.com and MLB social channels.

In 2017, MLB’s engagement and content strategy on YouTube generated over 1 billion views.

“From live programming morphing into a YouTube TV spot, to prominent in-stadium placements, our innovative partnership [with MLB] allowed us to build awareness for YouTube TV,” Angela Courtin, global head of YouTube TV & originals marketing, said in a statement last year.

Twitter Testing ‘Subscription’ Feature

President Trump’s favorite communication platform, Twitter, is reportedly testing a “subscription” option that would enable users to link to threads without commenting or adding a post.

The subscription option is similar to what YouTube and Instagram employ enabling users to keep track of third-party video posts without actively engaging directly or paying for them.

Twitter told DigitalTrends the test is part of the social media platform’s attempt to attract more casual users and entice advertisers.

The social media platform, which recently released an experimental app, Twttr, designed to offer more chat-like features, said it wants to make the service “more conversational.”

Separately, at last week’s SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, Twitter disclosed a new camera for the app affording users easier sharing of videos and photos.

 

 

 

 

 

Twitter Ups Q4 Daily Users, Ad-Revenue

President Trump’s favorite communication vehicle — Twitter — Feb. 7 reported 27 million people in the United States used the social media platform on a daily basis in the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2018) — which was up 2 million users from the previous-year period.

Twitter, for the first time, revealed daily use of the platform, which included 10 million more users outside the U.S. to 99 million from 89 million in the previous-year period.

“We want to provide something valuable to people on Twitter every day, and we believe that monetizable [daily average use], and its related growth, are the best ways to measure our success,” founder/CEO Jack Dorsey wrote in the shareholder letter.

Average monthly use of the San Francisco-based service declined worldwide, including by 2 million in the U.S. to 66 million, and by 7 million to 255 million internationally.

Advertising revenue, which makes up the bulk of Twitter’s sales, increased 23% to $791 million from $644 million. Data licensing and other revenue increased 35% to $117 million from $87 million in the previous-year period.

Non-GAAP net income increased 73% to $244 million from $141 million during the previous-year period.

In the letter, Dorsey said abuse reports filed by users fell 16%, with the platform pledging to curb abuse of the platform by politically-motivated groups, individuals and others engaged in fraudulent or hateful activity.

“We will continue to prioritize the health of the public conversation on Twitter so people feel safe being a part of the conversation and are able to find credible information on our service,” he wrote.

In 2018, Twitter fielded 100 live-streaming video events and signed several video-on-demand agreements to complement user-generated and licensed live and on-demand video content already available on Twitter across a number of verticals including sports, news and politics, and entertainment.

Dorsey reiterated that video continues to be a “powerful, essential medium” on Twitter, enabling users and content owners to better “share experiences, engage in events, and converse with broader audiences.”