Reports: Average Brit Streamed Three TV Series During Virus Lockdown; Prefers AVOD over SVOD

During the coronavirus pandemic shutdown in the United Kingdom — the world’s No. 2 home entertainment market — the average consumer binge-viewed three episodic series. U.K. consumers also opted for ad-supported VOD over subscription streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and BritBox, according to new data from U.K. online entertainment retailer MusicMagpie.

Citing an internal survey, the retailer found that among 16- to 24-year olds, respondents watched four episodes at a time on average, and considered five episodes binging. That quantity dropped off considerably among the 55-and-older demo, which viewed just one episode and consider three back-to-back episodes as binging.

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Younger respondents (25 to 34 year olds) on average stream less than two hours watching daily, while 55-and-older stream about 30 minutes. The average respondent has watched three series since lockdown began; more than half of the U.K. (51%) have increased the amount of TV/films they stream; 52% revisited a favorite series.

The most popular series was “Sherlock” with 55% of respondents having seen it.

Rank Series % respondents streamed it
1 Sherlock 55%
2 Peaky Blinders 53%
3 Game of Thrones 51%
4 Line of Duty 51%
5 Killing Eve 48%
6 Breaking Bad 48%
7 The Walking Dead 47%
8 Stranger Things 44%
9 Chernobyl 42%
10 Homeland 40%
11 The Crown 39%
12 Suits 37%
13 Black Mirror 36%
14 Westworld 35%
15 Fleabag 35%
16 The Wire 33%
17 Ozark 28%
18 Top Boy 26%
19 Power 26%
20 Mind Hunter 25%

A separate report from SpotX, citing Statista research, found 64% of British viewers are more likely to choose an ad-supported streaming service over a paid subscription. This data underscores why ViacomCBS and Fox Corp. collectively spent nearly $800 million acquiring AVOD platforms Pluto TV and Tubi, respectively, for global expansion.

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Indeed, 69% of connected TV viewers say they watch ad-supported content and more than half (58%) say that they prefer to watch free ad-supported programming versus paying for an ad-free content.

“With 50% reach in CTV viewership representing 61.5 million households across Europe’s biggest markets, advertisers are increasingly recognizing [AVOD] power to efficiently and accurately reach target audiences at scale,” Léon Siotis, president of EMEA at SpotX, said in a statement.

AMC Entertainment’s Odeon Cinemas Re-Opening July 4 in U.K. Featuring Home Entertainment Releases

Odeon Cinemas, the British exhibitor owned by AMC Entertainment, is set to resume operations to the public July 4 after the government gave the green light for theaters. The chain, along with AMC’s 11,000 screens worldwide, has been largely shuttered due the coronavirus pandemic.

The scheduled re-opening comes as some health care officials in the U.K. worry a second wave of COVID-19 poses a “real risk” to consumers. Officials, including presidents of the Royal College of Physicians and the chair of the British Medical Association, stress politicians, civic leaders and businesses should work together to ensure the country is well-prepared when the wave hits later this year.

Unlike AMC Theatres, which is re-opening 450 screens on July 15 with mandatory masks, Odeon has not announced whether masks will be required for moviegoers.

“We’re currently awaiting detailed government guidelines for the cinema industry,” Odeon said in a statement. “We will be re-opening in line with these guidelines.”

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The chain said it would offer pre-packaged concessions, drinks, contactless ticketing, staggered showtimes, social distancing inside theaters, except among family members, enhanced cleaning protocols and an abundance of sanitizing options available to consumers and staff.

Movies to be screened include mostly current home entertainment releases: 1917, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Sonic the Hedgehog, Onward, Little Women, Bad Boys for Life, Dirty Dancing and The Greatest Showman, among others.

Most of the titles rank among the top 10 selling DVD, Blu-ray Disc and digital releases on the U.K.’s weekly Official Film Chart.

Disney Cancels Glitzy Euro Disney+ Launch Event Due to Coronavirus Concerns

Disney has canceled a high-profile media launch event for proprietary subscription streaming video platform Disney+ slated for March 5-6 in London due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The virus has reportedly infected more than 90,000 people and killed almost 3,000.

The move comes the same day Disney announced a distribution deal for its SVOD service with Comcast-owned Sky in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“Due to a number of media attendee cancellations and increasing concerns at the prospect of traveling internationally at this time, we have decided to cancel our Disney+ launch events scheduled to take place on Thursday and Friday,” Disney said in a media statement.

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Instead, Disney will focus marketing on social media, online media and press releases to hype its over-the-top video competitor to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. A planned demo of Disney+ to the press on March 6 will continue as scheduled.

Disney+ is slated to launch in Europe on March 24.

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Netflix Top-10 Lists Underscore Streamer’s Vital Global Markets

During the end-of-year winter lull, Top 10 lists permeate the media landscape, including at Netflix.

The SVOD behemoth reportedly disclosed its most-viewed TV series and titles overall in five key markets outside the United States: the United Kingdom, India, Australia, France and Germany.

The U.K., Germany and France collectively had about 21 million subscribers at the end of 2018, according to Statista. India, with its massive population and large mobile user base, remains a new market for streamers, including Netflix. The Economic Times of India estimates Netflix’s sub count at 1 million to 2 million.

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The streaming video pioneer continues to lead the growth of SVOD services in Australia with more than 11.2 million Aussies having a subscription — up 25% from a year ago, according to Roy Morgan.

As expected, many of Netflix’s top programs in the United States also fared well globally — underscoring the streamer’s push toward producing local content for a worldwide audience.

Top performers include “Stranger Things,” “Black Mirror,” “The Witcher,” “The Umbrella Academy,” movies 6 Underground, The Irishman, The Highwaymen and Murder Mystery, and documentary  “Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,” among others.

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Notable exclusion from the U.K., the new installment of “The Crown.”

Netflix’s Top 10 most-popular releases, movies and TV series by country as reported by Deadline.com:

Top 10 Most Popular Releases of 2019 in U.K.:

“The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann”
6 Underground
Murder Mystery
“The Witcher”
The Irishman
“After Life”
“Stranger Things 3”
“Our Planet”
“Sex Education”
“Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes: Limited Series”

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“The Witcher”
“After Life”
“Stranger Things 3”
“Sex Education”
“The Umbrella Academy”
“You”
“Unbelievable”
“Top Boy”
“Black Mirror”
“Dirty John”

Top 10 Most Popular Releases in Australia:
Murder Mystery
6 Underground
“The Witcher”
Isn’t It Romantic
“Lunatics”
The Irishman
“Stranger Things 3”
Extremely, Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Triple Frontier
“Dead to Me”

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“The Witcher”
“Lunatics”
“Stranger Things 3”
“Dead to Me”
“The Umbrella Academy”
“Unbelievable”
“Dirty John”
“Sex Education”
“Rick and Morty: S4”
“You: S2”

Top Ten Most Popular Movies:
Murder Mystery
6 Underground
Isn’t It Romantic
The Irishman
Extremely, Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Triple Frontier
Aquaman
The Highwaymen
The Perfect Date
Falling Inn Love

Top 10 Most Popular Releases in India:
“Sacred Games: S2”
Kabir Singh
Article 15
“Bard of Blood”
Drive
Badla
House Arrest
6 Underground
“Delhi Crime”
Chopsticks

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“Sacred Games: S2”
“Bard of Blood”
“Delhi Crime”
“Sex Education”
“Leila”
“Stranger Things 2”
“Typewriter”
“Little Things: S3”
“The Witcher”
“The Spy”

Top 10 Most Popular Movies:
Kabir Singh
Article 15
Drive
Badla
House Arrest
6 Underground
Chopsticks
Baazaar
Luka Chuppi
Romeo Akbar Walter

Top 10 Most Popular Releases in France:
“Money Heist: S3”
“The Witcher”
6 Underground
“Sex Education”
“Umbrella Academy”
“Stranger Things 3”
“You: S2”
Triple Frontier
“Elite S2”
“Family Business”

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“Money Heist: S3”
“The Witcher”
“Sex Education”
“Umbrella Academy”
“Stranger Things 3”
“You: S2”
“Elite S2”
“Family Business”
“Raising Dion”
“13 Reasons Why: S3”

Top 10 Most Popular Movies:
6 Underground
Triple Frontier
Banlieusards (Street Flow)
The Irishman
Klaus
The Perfect Date
Isn’t It Romantic
Tall Girl
Murder Mystery
Falling Inn Love

Top 10 Most Popular Releases in Germany:
6 Underground
“Money Heist”
“The Witcher”
Murder Mystery
The Irishman
“Sex Education”
Triple Frontier
Isn’t It Romantic
Falling Inn Love
The Perfect Date

Top 10 Most Popular Movies:
6 Underground
Murder Mystery
The Irishman
Triple Frontier
Isn’t It Romantic
Falling Inn Love
The Perfect Date
Wie Jodie Uber Sich Hinauswuchs
The Knight Before Christmas
The Highwaymen

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“Money Heist”
“The Witcher”
“Sex Education”
“Stranger Things 3”
“You”
“The Umbrella Academy”
“13 Reasons Why”
“The I-Land”
“Elite”
“Black Mirror”

Studio Wars: Comcast’s Sky Building New U.K. Production Facility

In the burgeoning over-the-top video streaming world, original content production has become a prerequisite to lure consumers. And the physical space to create movies and TV shows in the United Kingdom is now a new cottage industry.

Comcast-owned satellite TV operator Sky has announced plans to build a Hollywood-style studio on 32 acres north of London it claims would employ 2,000 people and help it better compete against Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.

Dubbed Sky Studios Elstree, the facility would emerge as the European production base for Sky Studios and NBC Universal — corporate parent to Universal Pictures.

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“This was an opportunity to build something brand new, state of the art and at scale,” Gary Davey, CEO of Sky Studios, said in a statement. “It is a big enough site to attract very high-end production in both TV and film from all over the world. We are going to fill this thing with projects of all kinds. It means a huge number of new jobs and new investment.”

Sky Studios has created several hits, including miniseries “Chernobyl” and “Patrick Melrose” for HBO, and the pending “The Third Day,” a six-part drama starring Jude Law co-produced by the WarnerMedia subsidiary.

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Sky has said it plans to double spending on original content, reaching £1 billion ($1.3 billion) annually over the next five years.

Netflix earlier this year inked a long-term lease with Shepperton Studios to better produce original content across the studios’ 14 sound stages.

Disney then upped the ante, announcing it would lease legendary Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, U.K. — production home to many James Bond movies.

“It’s wonderful to have Disney here at Pinewood. They’ve been making great films with us for many years and the fact they want to shoot so many more here is testimony not only to the quality of the teams and infrastructure at Pinewood, but also to the British film industry as a whole,” the studio said in a statement.

 

Report: Netflix a Fiscal Deal in Colombia; Less So in Iran

Netflix invented the loss-leader subscription streaming video-on-demand market, a business model that has essentially upended how Hollywood markets movies and TV shows to consumers.

But apparently that’s not enough of an incentive for some pundits.

An extensive report by London-based research firm Comparitech analyzed in which country Netflix  offered the best/least economic value to consumers.

In short, Netflix Colombia and Netflix India offer the best value to subscribers, while Netflix Iran  and Netflix Denmark offer the least value following analysis of 77 countries the Los Gatos, Calif.-based service offers service. The SVOD behemoth is available in 190 countries.

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Comparitech took the total number of movies and TV shows Netflix offers in country analyzed and then divided that number by the monthly subscription price — from basic to premium tier.

Notably, despite offering the most content in the United States, Netflix America did not rank among the Top 10 economically favorable (or unfavorable) markets for subscribers.

Indeed, the report found the United Kingdom fell out of the Top 10 when factoring in premium plans. The U.S. dropped to 18th from 13th when upgrading from basic to premium service.

Comparitech said the average cost of a title (worldwide) is $0.00202 for basic plan subscribers, $0.00134 for standard subs, and $0.00085 for premium.

Thus, the average Netflix sub globally pays 55% more per title for a basic plan than Colombians, and about 50% more per title for standard and premium plans than do subs in India.

Colombia also offers the least expensive Netflix monthly subscription at $4.90 per month for basic service. This is 60% less than the comparable basic plan in the United States; 50% cheaper than the premium plan.

On the flipside, basic subscribers ($9.99) in Iran pay an average of $0.00347 per title, based on a catalog of 2,301 titles, including 586 TV shows and 1,715 movies.

Basic subs ($14.84) in Denmark pay $0.00336 per title based on a catalog of 3,525 titles, including 1,063 TV shows and 2,462 movies.

Ampere: It’s Still a YouTube/Netflix Video World

Google-owned YouTube and Netflix remain the top sources for online video and subscription VOD, according to new data from Ampere Analysis.

The London-based research firm found that 63% of survey respondents streamed a video on YouTube in the past month, followed by 39% doing the same on Netflix and 27% on Facebook.

The survey is based on 41,000 online respondents across 20 markets conducted in the first quarter (ended March 31).

Ampere found YouTube ranked the No. 1 source for online video consumption in every region worldwide except the United Kingdom (BBC iPlayer) and China (iQiYi).

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Indeed, more than 60% of respondents in France and Japan watched YouTube, while less than 50% of respondents in the U.K. did so.

As expected, SVOD consumption is highest in the United States – birthplace to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

Notably, American tech platform – Facebook – continues to lose video views – down 5% to 23% of respondents since the third quarter of 2016. YouTube fell 4% to 66%, while Netflix increased 15% to 37% of respondents.

“YouTube’s global dominance in this space is evident in its monthly usage,” Minal Modha, consumer research lead at Ampere, said in a statement. “The differences in viewing between the U.S. and Europe in relation to catch-up and SVOD services is interesting because it shows that SVOD providers will have to work harder in Europe to grow their [market] share as they take on traditional TV channels’ catch-up services. This could be through their catalogue, price-points or communications strategy.”

 

Sony DADC Eyeing U.K. Manufacturing Facility Closure

Citing ongoing global shifts in consumer demand for packaged media, disc replication company Sony DADC is considering shuttering its manufacturing/distribution facility in Enfield.

A company spokesperson confirmed the move, saying the possible closure was in the “proposal stage” and that management was consulting with affected employees and how it could mitigate the impact of possible layoffs.

Sony DADC facility in Enfield, U.K.

“Sony DADC will continue to remain a strong and reliable end-to-end services provider and partner for the home entertainment industry and beyond by utilizing the combination of its existing operations network in Austria, Czech Republic and Spain, plus partnerships with other providers,” Craig Carter, director PMO and transition management, Sony DADC, said in an email.

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Sony DADC operates 17 manufacturing facilities worldwide, including two units in the United States: Terre Haute, Ind., and Bolingbrook, Ill.

The company in January at CES in Las Vegas, showcased continued business ventures into video games with a line of table-top micro arcade machines under license with Bandai Namco Entertainment Products.

Study: Online TV Is Second-Most-Popular TV Viewing Choice in U.K., Sweden and Germany

A new survey of TV viewers in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Germany found that online TV is now the second most popular viewing source behind pay-TV, with usage ranging from just under 40% in Germany to more than 50% in the U.K. and Sweden.

Nielsen company Gracenote and digital media analyst firm nScreenMedia conducted the survey, “TV Universe — U.K., Sweden, Germany: How People Watch Television Today,” in the first quarter of 2019, focusing on pay TV, free-to-air and online TV viewership in the three European countries that account for 31% of the European Union’s total population, according to Statista.

The online TV viewership growth in the three countries “is a remarkable rise as online TV is a relatively new offering,” according to the research firms. In fact, Netflix launched in the United Kingdom in just 2012. Whereas 12 years ago most homes relied on a single-source for TV, today nearly half of viewers in all three of the countries studied are multi-source television households, the researchers noted.

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“Consumer behavior relating to TV viewing is changing rapidly in Europe as it is around the world,” said Simon Adams, chief product officer, Gracenote, in a statement.

Pay TV is currently the most popular television source in the U.K. and Sweden with nearly two in three consumers in each market using it, the survey found, but in Germany the most popular source is free-to-air TV, which accounts for the vast majority of viewers at nearly eight in 10.

In all three European markets surveyed, consumers pointed to on-screen program guides and user interfaces as being critical tools for finding content to watch. Six in 10 viewers indicated visual imagery and TV artwork displayed in guides exert important influence on their viewing choices. Among the 18-to-24-year-old demographic, the number jumped up to around 90%. In addition, respondents indicated TV show and movie descriptions that shed light on content are also factors in their tune-in decision-making, with 70% of U.K. viewers, 65% of Swedes and 57% of Germans saying the program descriptions were at least somewhat important.

The study also found free-to-air TV is gaining traction on mobile with more free-to-air viewers using broadcaster apps to supplement viewing than pay TV viewers use their operator “TV Everywhere” apps. In fact, more than half of free-to-air users in each country use broadcaster apps.

The smart TV is the preferred device to watch video content on in all three countries, according to the study. A significant 70% of total viewing time is on the TV screen in the United Kingdom and Germany, while in Sweden, it is 60%. Samsung is the most popular TV brand in all three countries.

Other insights include:

  • 17% of the U.K. study group use all three TV sources available to them, higher than in Sweden and Germany;
  • While the on-screen guide is the dominant way Swedes and Brits find content to watch, newspaper TV guides and channel flipping are the main ways for Germans; and
  • 31% of Swedes consider online TV to be their primary TV source, the highest of the three countries studied.

 

“The new TV Universe study shows that online TV has become the second most popular source of TV entertainment in a remarkably short period of time,” said Colin Dixon, founder and chief analyst at nScreenMedia in a statement. “Also telling is the fact that, though most online viewing takes place on the television, consumers don’t have the discovery tools they need to efficiently find something to watch there. Features such as voice and cross-service search are thinly used in each country. There is also plenty of room for improvement with content recommendations as a quarter or less think they accurately reflect their interests.”

The consumer research study conducted from February to March 2019 surveyed 1,500 adult TV viewers in the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden. The data was weighted to represent the general population of each country. The full report is available for free download now at nScreenMedia.com.

‘BritBox’ Streaming Video Service Eyes Year-end U.K. Launch

BritBox, the British-themed subscription streaming video service operated by ITV and the BBC in the United States, is set to launch in the United Kingdom in the second half of the year.

ITV disclosed the release window in it financial results. The SVOD service aims to compete with Netflix, which has more than 10 million subscribers in the U.K.

BritBox, which is co-owned by AMC Networks, launched in the U.S. in 2017 priced at $6.99 monthly, taking on Acorn TV (which AMC also owns), Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. It ended 2018 with about 250,000 subscribers.

Last July, the service bowed its first original series: “The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco.”

“BritBox will be the home for the best of British creativity – celebrating the best of the past, the best of today and investing in new British originated content in the future,” Carolyn McCall, CEO of ITV, said earlier this year.

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