HBO Max Orders Unscripted Kids Competition Shows

WarnerMedia’s pending subscription video service, HBO Max, has ordered eight episodes each of two unscripted kids competition series, “Karma” and “Craftopia.

Michelle Khare

“Karma”will be hosted by Michelle Khare, an extreme lifestyle enthusiast with almost 2 million followers on YouTube, and half-hour series “Craftopia,” hosted by Lauren Riihimakia.k.a. LaurDIYone of YouTube’s top creators with over 21 million followers across all her social platforms.

Both social media personalities are known for inspiring their followers to think creatively and follow their dreams, according to HBO.

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“We are giving kids an opportunity to show us their absolute best as they strive for excellence in both challenging and creative situations,” Jennifer O’Connell, EVP, original content, HBO Max, said in a statement.

“Karma” takes 16 contestants, ranging in age from 12 to 15, completely off the grid to solve puzzles and overcome physical challenges, with the laws of karma setting the rules.

Lauren Riihimaki

In “Craftopia,” contestants aged from nine to 15-years-old put their imaginations to work making creations from materials acquired at the studio “store.” Production will begin later this year.

“Kids are so incredibly inventive,” said Rhett Bachner and Brien Meagher, executive producers of ‘Craftopia.'” “They look at an empty cardboard box and a paper towel roll and see a pirate ship with a telescope.”

HBO Max launches in early 2020.

Report: More Teens Watch YouTube Than Netflix

More teenagers in the United States are watching YouTube videos than Netflix content, according to a new survey from Wall Street investment firm Piper Jaffray.

The survey of 9,500 respondents found that 37% stream YouTube content compared to 35% who opt for Netflix.

In the previous Piper survey, 37% of respondents streamed Netflix compared to 32% for YouTube.

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“Netflix lost the leading position, but we believe YouTube’s more varied content library is a significant driver,” analysts Michael Olson and Yung Kim wrote in a note. “Specifically, we note that, while YouTube does offer movies and other scripted content for a fee, the YouTube library includes music videos, video game streaming, DIY guides, social media influencer videos.”

That YouTube has supplanted Netflix as a preferred video service among teens shouldn’t be surprising considering the Google-owned platform has long been the No. 1 video platform globally.

Already three years ago, Google said 80% of users from 18 years old streamed YouTube, with mobile use topping broadcast and cable use combined.

“By 2025, half of viewers under the age of 32 will not subscribe to a pay-TV service,” Google wrote.

Notably, Amazon disclosed disclosed YouTube TV is now the 6th most popular Fire TV app followed by PlayStation Vue, Sling TV and AT&T TV Now.

And the No. 1 app? YouTube.

Interestingly, Piper Jaffray didn’t compare YouTube TV with Netflix. Google’s move into online TV has generated about 1 million paid subscribers, about half of Hulu with Live TV’s 2 million subs, according to Bloomberg.

Netflix ended the most-recent fiscal period with more than 60 million domestic subscribers and 151 million globally.

 

Congress Seeks Greater Copyright Protection for YouTube Videos

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers has sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai asking the tech giant to expand copyright infringement protections to a greater number of content creators.

The letter, spearheaded by Senators Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), co-chairs on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, addresses “YouTube Content ID,” Google’s copyright infringement software aimed at preventing illegal uploading of movies, music and other copyrighted content on YouTube.

Other signees of the Sept. 4 inquiry include Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) ranking member of the committee, as well as Democratic ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

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Launched in 2007, Content ID informs content holders when their copyright protected material is uploaded to YouTube. Content holders are then given the ability to block access to the video or recoup any ad revenue generated by the infringed content.

Specifically, the letter questions the parameters of Content ID and why it isn’t applied to smaller content holders.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), whose constituents include music artists in Nashville, said limiting the use of Content ID to larger players such as movie studios and record labels “hinders copyright holders with smaller catalogues from reaping the benefits of its actions.”

“Talented creators, including Nashville’s song-writing community, are disproportionately at risk of infringement,” Blackburn wrote in the letter.

While anyone can bow video content on YouTube, Google doesn’t begin to monetize content without a minimum number of users, or “subscribers” who click to join the channel.

The letter alleges that certain copyright holders have been denied access to Content ID and at a “significant disadvantage” to prevent the repeated uploading of content previously identified as infringing.

“They are left with the choice of spending hours each week seeking out and sending notices about the same copyrighted works, or allowing their intellectual property to be misappropriated,” read the letter.

Google, per its website, says Content ID is applied to content holders with “a substantial body of original material that is frequently uploaded.”

Congress contends copyright industries in the United States provide more than 5.7 million jobs and generate $1.3 trillion toward the country’s gross domestic product, accounting for 6.85% of the U.S. economy.

“Does Google plan to provide access to Content ID to a larger number of rights holders? If so, when? If not, what challenges prevent you from doing so?” read the letter.

The lawmakers asked Pichai to respond by Oct. 31, with a planned roundtable with Google representatives to address the issues to occur before the end of the year.

FTC Fines Google $170 Million for Profiting on YouTube Children’s Videos

Google and its subsidiary YouTube will pay a record $170 million to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General that YouTube illegally collected personal information from children without their parents’ consent.

The settlement requires Google and YouTube to pay $136 million to the FTC and $34 million to New York for allegedly violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule.

The $136 million penalty is by far the largest amount the FTC has ever obtained in a COPPA case since Congress enacted the law in 1998.

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In a complaint filed against the companies, the FTC and New York Attorney General alleged that YouTube violated the COPPA Rule by collecting personal information — in the form of persistent identifiers that are used to track users across the Internet — from viewers of child-directed video channels, without first notifying parents and getting their consent.

YouTube, according to the FTC, earned millions of dollars by using the identifiers, commonly known as cookies, to deliver targeted ads to viewers of these channels, according to the complaint.

The COPPA Rule requires that child-directed websites and online services provide notice of their information practices and obtain parental consent prior to collecting personal information from children under 13, including the use of persistent identifiers to track a user’s Internet browsing habits for targeted advertising.

In addition, third parties, such as advertising networks, are also subject to COPPA where they have actual knowledge they are collecting personal information directly from users of child-directed websites and online services.

“YouTube touted its popularity with children to prospective corporate clients,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a statement. “Yet when it came to complying with COPPA, the company refused to acknowledge that portions of its platform were clearly directed to kids. There’s no excuse for YouTube’s violations of the law.”

The YouTube platform allows Google account holders, including large commercial entities, to create “channels” to display their content.

According to the complaint, eligible channel owners can choose to monetize their channel by allowing YouTube to serve behaviorally targeted advertisements, which generates revenue for both the channel owners and YouTube.

In the complaint, the FTC and New York Attorney General alleged that while YouTube claimed to be a general-audience site, some of YouTube’s individual channels—such as those operated by toy companies—are child-directed and therefore must comply with COPPA.

The complaint notes that the defendants knew that the YouTube platform had numerous child-directed channels. YouTube marketed itself as a top destination for kids in presentations to the makers of popular children’s products and brands.

The FTC said Google and YouTube told Mattel, maker of Barbie and Monster High toys, that “YouTube is today’s leader in reaching children age 6-11 against top TV channels” and told Hasbro, which makes My Little Pony and Play-Doh, that YouTube is the “#1 website regularly visited by kids.”

Several channel owners told YouTube and Google that their channels’ content was directed to children, and in other instances YouTube’s own content rating system identified content as directed to children.

In addition, according to the complaint, YouTube manually reviewed children’s content from its YouTube platform to feature in its YouTube Kids app. Despite this knowledge of channels directed to children on the YouTube platform, YouTube served targeted advertisements on these channels.

According to the complaint, it even told one advertising company that it did not have users younger than 13 on its platform and therefore channels on its platform did not need to comply with COPPA.

In addition to the monetary penalty, the proposed settlement requires Google and YouTube to develop, implement, and maintain a system that permits channel owners to identify their child-directed content on the YouTube platform so that YouTube can ensure it is complying with COPPA.

In addition, the companies must notify channel owners that their child-directed content may be subject to the COPPA Rule’s obligations and provide annual training about complying with COPPA for employees who deal with YouTube channel owners.

The settlement also prohibits Google and YouTube from violating the COPPA Rule, and requires them to provide notice about their data collection practices and obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting personal information from children.

 

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.”

 

Pluto TV Joins Comcast’s X1 Platform

Viacom’s online ad-supported TV service Pluto TV June 13 announced it has launched on Comcast Cable’s Xfinity X1 platform.

Pluto TV, which is already available on Comcast’s Internet-only $5 monthly Xfinity Flex service, joins Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video reaching the cabler’s cloud-based X1 subscribers.

“The launch of Pluto TV on Xfinity X1 is a pivotal moment for Pluto TV, expanding our reach to a whole new audience in search of free streaming entertainment,” Tom Ryan, CEO and co-Founder of Pluto TV, said in a statement. “Pluto TV is the perfect complement to the X1 platform, delivering a rich lineup of original live channels and on-demand movies and TV shows to Comcast’s customers right where they enjoy the rest of their entertainment experience.”

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The AVOD service would appear to complicate Comcast’s planned launch of an NBC Universal branded SVOD/AVOD service to subscribers in 2020. The ad-free version would be available to non-subs and priced comparable to Hulu and Netflix, or $9 to $14 monthly.

Regardless, Pluto TV, with 150 content partners, features movies: Pluto TV Movies 1 & 2and DramaComedyFamilyIndiesRomanceDocumentariesThrillersCult FilmsHorror 24/7Action MoviesFlicks of FuryThe Asylum, and Black Cinema.

News with Today’s Top StoryNews 24/7Cheddar NewsTYT NetworkNewsmaxTVTop Stories by NewsySky NewsBloomberg TV and WeatherNation.

Sports with Pluto TV SportsFox SportsMLS,Impact WrestlingFightCombate WorldStadiumSurf ChannelSports NewsWorld Poker TourCombat GoLucha Libre AAA, and Big Sky Conference.

Comedy with Funny AFPluto TV SitcomsStand Up TVMST3K,RifftraxFail ArmyCats 24/7The OnionCracked and Pet Collective.

Gaming with The FeedHiveAnime All DayAnime All AgesMinecraftvIGNGeek & Sundry and Nerdist.

Entertainment through the Crime NetworkThe New DetectivesUnsolved MysteriesForensic FilesDog the Bounty HunterPluto TV ConspiracyPluto TV AnimalsCold Case FilesShout TVBuzzrClassicTV,ConTVWipeoutKids TV, After School CartoonsClassic ToonsAwesomeness TVNoseyWhat?! and RevryMTV Pluto TVParamount (PZG) Movie Channel, Comedy Central Pluto TVSpike Pluto TVPluto TV LogoBET Pluto TVNick Pluto TV and Nick Jr. Pluto TV – all featuring iconic, hit shows from Viacom’s deep library.

Lifestyle content with Pluto TV CarsPeople TVGordon Ramsay’s Hell’s KitchenComplex NetworksWahlburgersPluto TV HerPluto TV Her DramasPluto TV TravelPluto TV WeddingsFrontDoorAdventure TVFood TV and Faith TV.

Curiosty with Voyager DocumentariesScience TVPluto TV HistoryDocuTVPluto TV BiographyLaw & CrimePluto TV Military and NASA.

Video Streaming Widens Appeal Over Pay-TV Among Telecom Customers

Video streaming expanded its lead over subscription TV service in terms of customer satisfaction, rising to a score of 76 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s 100-point scale.

According to the ACSI Telecommunications Report 2018-2019, subscription TV service stagnated at 62, tied with internet service providers for last place among all industries tracked by the ACSI — subscription TV, ISPs, fixed-line telephone service, video-on-demand service and video streaming service.

Video streaming topped all industries tracked.

“Video streaming once again proves itself to be the best of the telecom industries in customer satisfaction,” said David VanAmburg, managing director at the ACSI. “Traditional telecom providers have tried to step up their game, but they’re not providing original content the way video streaming is, and in part they suffer guilt by association — if customers aren’t satisfied overall with Comcast, they’re probably going to ding Comcast’s on-demand service too.”

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Among video streaming services, Netflix secured first place at 79 after sharing the lead with Sony’s PlayStation Vue and Amazon Twitch the previous year. Netflix ranked at the top for original content among all streaming services, according to the ACSI. Sony’s PlayStation Vue landed in second place at 78, followed by the Microsoft Store at 77. Hulu stepped up to match Amazon Prime Video and Apple iTunes at 76. Five services clustered at 75: CBS All Access, Google Play, Amazon’s gaming platform Twitch, Walmart’s Vudu and Google’s YouTube. Dish Network’s Sling TV was the most improved, meeting HBO at 74. Starz matched the combined score of smaller platforms at 72, while Showtime followed close behind at 71. AT&T’s DirecTV Now fell to 69, ahead of only Sony Crackle, which remained unchanged at 68.

For the past six years, customer satisfaction with subscription TV has languished in the mid-to-low 60s, according to the study. AT&T’s U-verse TV held the lead for subscription TV at 69, followed by Verizon’s Fios at 68 and Dish Network at 67. AT&T’s satellite TV service DirecTV came in at 66, Altice’s Optimum tallied 61, and Charter’s Spectrum came in at 59 to tie with Cox Communications. Frontier Communications and Comcast’s Xfinity came in at 57. Mediacom followed closely at 56. Altice’s Suddenlink tumbles to the bottom of the category at 55.

Customer satisfaction with video-on-demand service slipped to an ACSI score of 67 as viewers continue to turn toward streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, according to the study. AT&T’s U-verse TV service held the lead a year ago, but this year shared the top spot with Verizon’s Fios at a score of 72. Satellite provider Dish Network dropped to 71 but remained just ahead of DirecTV, unchanged at 70. Frontier Communications debuted in the category with a score of 67, in line with the industry average. Three decliners met at 66: Cox Communications, Altice’s Optimum and Comcast’s Xfinity. Charter’s Spectrum remains unchanged at the bottom of the category with a 64.

Unchanged at a score of 62, ISPs remain at the bottom of the ACSI rankings. Most ISPs are still falling short of providing good service at an affordable price, according to the ACSI release. Verizon’s Fios was stable at the top of the category with an ACSI score of 70, but AT&T Internet closed in at 69. Altice’s Optimum fell to 63 but remained the leader among coaxial providers. Meanwhile, Comcast’s Xfinity inched closer to the industry average at 61. Cox Communications tallied 60, tying Altice’s Suddenlink. Charter’s Spectrum and CenturyLink came in at 59.

‘Blue Man Group’ Launching YouTube Video Documentary

Blue Man Group, the Broadway ensemble that morphed into a nationwide touring production now owned by Cirque du Soleil, is launching its first streaming video series.

The seven-episode documentary — available on YouTube and filmed at the Blue Man Group training studios in New York City — documents six aspiring cast members selected from more than 1,000 applicants, as they embark on an eight-week training course to join the permanent casts of Blue Man Group’s current resident shows and tours.

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“This series … represents the most intimate look into the development of the Blue Man character that we have ever offered to audiences,” Randall Jaynes, artistic director, Blue Man Group and Lead Blue Man Trainer, said in a statement. “We are not just giving a sneak peek into our process, but rather taking Blue Man Group’s theme of audience interaction to a whole new level and embarking on a journey with these trainees as they both succeed and struggle to bring the character to life.”

“What the actors don’t expect is a challenging journey of personal exploration into the most childlike and vulnerable versions of themselves,” Jaynes added.

Following the series finale, Blue Man Group will host a Live Facebook Q&A on June 27 with Jaynes and Blue Man Group casting director Tascha Van Auken, and release additional bonus content, including a highlight reel and ‘Where are They Now?’ segments with the trainees.

New Taylor Swift Single, ‘ME!’ Shatters YouTube, Vevo, Amazon Streaming Video Records

Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift’s newest single release, “ME!” from her yet unnamed seventh album, broke several female streaming video records over the weekend on YouTube, Amazon Music and Vevo.

The single features Brendon Urie of Picnic! At The Disco and Swift.

The 29-year-old performer’s music video generated 65.2 million views in 24 hours on YouTube through April 28 – breaking the 55 million mark set by Ariana Grande’s “Thank-You, Next” video released late last year.

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South Korean boy-band BTS holds the record with 74 million YouTube views for “Boy with Luv,” featuring Halsey, released on April 12.

Amazon tweeted “ME!” broke records for most first-day streams and on-demand voice requests with Alexa software than any other single debut on its music platform.

Vevo, which is operated by Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Abu Dhabi Media, said the video generated the most views in a single day since the music video platform launched 10 years ago.

Swift’s last album, “Reputation,” sold 4.5 million units worldwide across CD, LP, download, cassette and online streaming formats. The concert tour generated more than $345 million in ticket sales worldwide.

Netflix Rated the Fastest-Growing Brand in 2019

As if it needs more attention, Netflix has been tapped the fastest-growing brand of 2019, according to Brand Finance, a brand valuation consulting company based in New York and Paris.

Based in part on a company’s ability to remain relevant and make an impact on the culture (home entertainment) it’s participating in, Netflix saw its brand value increase 105% over the past year to $21.2 billion.

The report said the subscription streaming video pioneer is set to play the “lead role in home entertainment,” building a disruptive business model as a universally accessible narrowcaster and effectively challenging traditional broadcasting brands and distribution.

“Netflix delivers high-quality and varied programming to anyone with Internet access and a credit card,” Alex Haigh, valuation director at Brand Finance, said in a statement. “The platform has embarked on a disruptive approach to media services and now has incumbents in the market looking over their shoulder.”

While Netflix’s brand keeps growing exponentially, Amazon (including Prime Video) remains the most valuable domestic brand, growing nearly 25% to $187.9 billion valuation.

“This year, Amazon’s brand is worth approximately half of the combined value of the 42 retail brands in the ranking,” Haigh said. “The retail industry is another sector at a crossroads as tech giants and online sellers encroach upon the traditional business model with a completely new proposition.”

With the media industry feeling the effects of tech disruption, another rapidly growing digital media brand is YouTube(up 46% to $37.8 billion) this year jumping 10 spots to 13th nationally.

Like Netflix, YouTube is building a broad platform for video content, in an effort to leverage its brand from merely peer-to-peer video creation and sharing to also include a growing premium and professional video library.

Among traditional media brands, Disney entered the top 10 nationally on the back of its M&A acquisition of 20th Century Fox Film Corp. The brand jumped 40% in value to $45.7 billion.

Tech giants, Apple (2nd, $153.6 billion) and Google (3rd, $142.8 billion) remained entrenched in their positions from last year.

With a 47% increase in brand value to $119.6 billion, Microsoft moved into 4th after the company’s successful turn towards a cloud-centric business.

With all eyes turned to 5G, AT&T dropped down a spot to 5th, after a modest 6% brand value increase over past 12 months to $87 billion.

Aside from calculating brand value, Brand Finance also determined the relative strength of brands using a scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance.

Though Facebook held onto its 6thspot, its brand strength suffered the second worst decline among the top 100 brands, resulting in a rating downgrade from AAA+ to AAA- after a year of privacy issues that have landed the company in the hot seat.

Behind tech, the largest industry with a combined brand value of over $1 trillion, the retail sector comes in second with $340.5 billion. Eighth-ranked Walmart (up 10% to $67.9 billion) is the nation’s most valuable brick-and-mortar retail brand, as it continues to push the boundaries of its physical store and logistics network.

Home Depot (up 39% to $47.1 billion) jumped from 11th to 9th, while its rival Lowe’s saw its brand value go up 49% to $23.9 billion.