Starz Launches on YouTube TV

Lionsgate-owned Starz and YouTube today announced the launch of Starz and Starz Encore premium pay TV channels and services on YouTube TV.

The networks’ 14 Starz and Starz Encore channels are now available via YouTube TV for $9 per month along with access to the network’s full Starz and Starz Encore VOD catalogs featuring Hollywood movies, as well as both current and past seasons of Starz Original series, including the upcoming season five of “Power,” “Vida,” “Counterpart,” “Outlander” and “American Gods.”

“The addition of Starz on YouTube TV offers consumers another exciting new way to subscribe to our channels and access the breadth of top quality original programming and content with the freedom to watch it anywhere, anytime,” said Jeffrey Hirsch, chief operating officer at Starz, in a statement. “With breakthrough Starz original series, first-run hit movies including Rough Night and Spider-Man: Homecoming, as well as exclusive documentaries, Starz is a great value for consumers who subscribe to this platform.”

“We are excited to expand the YouTube TV offering with Starz just in time for the premiere of Season 5 of ‘Power,'” said Heather Moosnick, director of content partnerships, YouTube TV. “We know YouTube TV users will love exploring Starz’s incredible originals, movies and rich library in addition to our current ‘Best of TV’ base package, all in one seamless experience.”

YouTube TV offers cable-free live TV from more than 60 networks, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, TNT, TBS, CNN, ESPN, AMC and FX, and local sports networks from NBC Sports, FOX Sports, and NESN in select markets. A YouTube TV membership is $40 a month.

Just-Renewed ’13 Reasons’ Still Top Digital Original, Parrot Analytics Says

The top five digital originals for the week ended June 2 are the same as in the prior week, according to Parrot Analytics Demand Expressions data.

Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” remains at No. 1, with a 15% increase in demand from the prior week.

The teen drama series, based on a teenage girl’s suicide, has just been renewed for a third season, Netflix announced June 6.

The second-most-popular digital original for the week ended June 2 is YouTube’s “Cobra Kai,” which also posted a 15% increase in demand from the prior week.

They are followed by Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” at No. 3 and two more Netflix shows, “Arrested Development” at No. 4 and “Orange is the New Black” at No. 5.

Season 3 of the DreamWorks’ children’s series “Trollhunters” premiered May 25, leading to an 87% spike in demand from the prior week – enough to propel the fantasy animation show to No. 6 on the weekly digital originals chart, up from No. 30 the prior week.

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” rose up a notch to No. 9 from No. 10 the previous week, after a nearly 11% increase in demand.

“Star Trek: Discovery,” from CBS All Access, dropped to No. 8 from No. 6 with a 5.5% decline in demand.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States. Parrot Analytics uses a proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Despite the Hype, Out-of-Home Video Consumption Remains Small

NEWS ANALYSIS — Pay-TV distributors and over-the-top video platforms have long pushed for mobile video consumption in an effort to expand viewership and market size.

New data from IHS Markit suggests out-of-home video consumption is still a minor activity — even among Internet users between the ages of 17 and 24 who seemingly can’t exist without their smartphones.

More than 50% of Internet users surveyed in the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, Japan and Germany watched video content out of their homes at least once a month, according to the study conducted in the first quarter of 2018.

Of those viewers, nearly 17% did so on a daily basis. Among the previously-mentioned younger demo, 80% viewed video content outside the home at least once a month, with a quarter doing so on a daily basis.

That also means the vast majority of respondents DO NOT view video outside the home or on portable devices.

IHS correctly contends pay-TV operators are expanding distribution of their multiscreen services across devices and bringing third-party apps onto their own set-top boxes. The latter is true only for in-home consumption.

“In the U.K., Virgin Media customers are twice as likely to have a Netflix subscription than Sky TV customers, highlighting the benefits of content discovery integration,” said Fateha Begum, associate director for connected devices and media consumption at IHS Markit.

Indeed, more than half of survey respondents said watching video on their mobile devices was “somewhat or very important,” rising to 75% among those aged 17 to 34.

Yet, that same demo also said they only used multiscreen services on a smartphone or tablet “at least once a month,” compared with 50% among those aged 35 to 54.

“At least once a month” does not portend a trend or paradigm shift in video consumption.

YouTube, Netflix and Amazon were the most popular video platforms in the five countries surveyed — beating pay-TV and video-on-demand services.

In the Netflix earnings call in April, CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings said apps represented the new TV network.

“All apps on your phone will have some form of video, or most apps will,” Hastings said. “And so, you just see a very wide spread of entertainment options, some of which are movies and TV shows, some are more interactive.”

All true, except accessing that video on mobile devices takes data. Lots of data. And data costs money — a challenge to younger demos.

Indeed, IHS said the popularity of these platforms varied according to geography. For example, YouTube was the most popular service in Japan, with 84% reporting it as their first choice when looking for something to watch, while Sky TV in the U.K. was the only pay-TV operator to maintain the top position in any country surveyed, with 30% of respondents claiming it their first choice.

“The extensive reach of online video platforms, covering customers from across the various pay TV platforms and devices, threatens pay-TV service viewership and value perceptions,” said Begum. “Bringing online video services to set-top boxes allow pay-TV operators to maintain and control their customer relationships and experiences, while presenting their platforms as the best way to find and view the widest variety of content.”

Again true, but not outside the home.

Michelle Slavich Joins Warner

Michelle Slavich has been named EVP, global publicity and strategy, Warner Bros. Pictures.

In her new role, Slavich will oversee domestic and international publicity and work with her teams to develop global publicity strategies on all releases from Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema across media outlets and platforms worldwide. She’ll also work closely with the marketing group’s senior management team on PR campaign design and strategy for both individual film titles and key franchises. Slavich will report to Blair Rich, president, worldwide marketing, Warner Bros. Pictures Group and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

“Michelle is a well-respected publicity executive with an impressive track record of leadership, innovation and strategic vision,” said Rich in a statement. “As we tackle the constantly evolving landscape of film publicity, she’s a great choice to lead the team and further our already-excellent publicity teams in supporting our world-class films and filmmakers.”

Slavich joins Warner from Google, where she most recently served as head of entertainment communications for YouTube, overseeing the platform’s entertainment and music PR initiatives, as well as corporate and creator communications. She was with Google more than five years, and in the last two years, her team launched more than 50 publicity campaigns for the company’s YouTube Original series and movies. Slavich was also responsible for the PR launch campaigns for the company’s subscription services YouTube TV and YouTube Red.

Before that, Slavich served as VP of publicity at Universal Studios Home Entertainment (USHE), overseeing publicity, promotions and events for NBC Universal film and TV releases. In this role, Slavich supervised more than 200 publicity campaigns for Universal Pictures, Focus Features & NBC.

Prior to USHE, Slavich held positions at Rogers & Associates and PeopleSupport Inc., as well as in theatrical publicity at DreamWorks/Amblin Entertainment. She began her career as a publicity assistant at the Shoah Foundation, Steven Spielberg’s nonprofit organization dedicated to the recording of Holocaust survivor testimonies for educational use.

Comcast Begins Streaming SlingTV International on X1 Set-Top Devices

As expected, Comcast has begun offering Xfinity subscribers direct access to Sling TV’s multicultural programing.

First announced last November, the agreement between the nation’s largest cable operator and satellite operator Dish Network (which owns Sling TV) underscores Comcast’s expansion beyond its walled pay-TV ecosystem. The cabler currently offers direct-access to Netflix, Pandora, YouTube and NPR podcasts.

“And today, we’re excited to add another choice to the platform with the launch of the Sling International app on X1,” Rebecca Simpson, executive director international strategy and programing at Comcast Cable, wrote in an April 5 blog post.

Sling International offers multicultural content from different countries in 21 languages starting at $10 per month.

Available languages include Arabic, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, English, Marathi, Kannada, Punjabi, Urdu, Bangla, Bengali, Brazilian, French, Italian, German, Polish, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Taiwanese and Mandarin.

Existing Sling TV customers will be able to log in and access any of the international live or on-demand programming that’s part of their current package.  New customers will be able to sign up directly through the Sling International app on X1 at

Twitter, Major League Baseball Renew Streaming License

Social media giant Twitter, beginning April 5, will live-stream one Major League Baseball game on a weekly basis through the 2018 season. The free, ad-supported, non-exclusive webcast between the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics begins at 3:35 PM ET at

The stream-cast is part of a renewed license agreement between the MLB and Twitter, as the national pastime seeks alternative distribution models.

Previously, Facebook announced an exclusive deal to live-stream 25 afternoon MLB games. YouTube is a presenting sponsor of the World Series. And ESPN+, Disney’s first standalone SVOD service, will live-stream more than 180 MLB games.

Indeed, MLB is no stranger to over-the-top distribution. It has been offering live-streaming access to out-of-market games through since 2012.

Shooting Reported at YouTube Headquarters

Police in San Bruno, Calif., April 3 confirmed reports of shots fired this afternoon at Google-owned YouTube headquarters.

“We are responding to an active shooter. Please stay away from Cherry Ave & Bay Hill Drive,” San Bruno police said on a Twitter post.

Police later released a timeline of events. Officers arrived on scene at 12:48pm, two minutes after the first call, and immediately began searching for a possible suspect. Arriving officers encountered numerous employees fleeing the building. Officers encountered one victim with an apparent gunshot wound to a lower extremity at the front of the building.

At 12:53 p.m., officers conducting a search located a deceased female inside with a  self-inflicted gunshot wound. She was later identified by CNN as Nasim Aghdam. Two additional victims were located after fleeing to a next door business. A total of four people were transported to local hospitals, three of which had gunshot wounds.

The shooter is believed to have known at least one of the victims, two law enforcement officials told CNN.

A spokesman for Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital told CNN that the facility received three patients: a 36-year-old man in critical condition,  32-year-old woman in serious condition and a 27-year-old woman in fair condition.

Vadim Lavrusik, a YouTube product employee, told CNN he and others hid.
“Heard shots and saw people running while at my desk. Now barricaded inside a room with coworkers,” he tweeted.
The Associated Press reported that Aghdam was from San Diego and had taken part in an animal rights protest in 2009, dressed in a wig and jeans with large blood drops painted on them as she protested the use of pigs in military trauma training.

Study: Young People More Engaged by Brand-Boosting YouTube Videos Than Traditional Advertising

Brands that want to reach Gen Z and young millennials might have a better shot by placing products in influential YouTube videos.

That’s according to “neuroscience intensity research” from Fullscreen conducted in partnership with research lab MediaScience. The study evaluated Gen Z and young millennials’ attention to and response to traditional brand advertising versus YouTube branded influencer videos, as well as the impact of the two kinds of brand boosting. It used physiological response tracking tools in a lab setting to monitor 128 subjects ages 13-24 while they watched both a TV sitcom and YouTube videos and were exposed to advertising as it would naturally appear in those two separate environments. Study metrics included eye tracking, biometrics, facial coding and post-exposure survey.

Key findings include:

  • Branded influencer videos are on par with the 30 second TV spot on biometric intensity and joy.
  • While viewing branded influencer videos, 93% of the time consumers’ eyes were locked on the content; this is 30% higher than the experience viewing a brand pre-roll ad. This high attention also correlated to 2 times higher levels of brand recall than brand pre-roll ads.
  • Teens are 18% more likely to “like” branded influencer videos than young millennials.
  • Branded influencer videos delivered higher levels of brand attitude (10% more than TV; 9% more than pre-roll) and brand loyalty (10% more than TV; 13% more than pre-roll) than traditional brand formats.
  • Brand Influencer videos yield stronger recommendation levels compared to TV (10% more) and pre-roll (13% more).


“Studying the biometric responses of Gen Z and young millennials allows us to understand what types of advertising formats are making an emotional connection and impact,” said Pete Stein, general manager, Fullscreen, in a statement. “Our study found that influencer branded content delivers TV-like emotions, higher attention than pre-roll, and stronger brand impact across the board that hints at a deeper level of connection between audience and format. Today’s youth audiences are a complex mix of ad avoiders and brand advocates. Marketers need nuanced approaches to effectively impact them.”

Redbox Ups Q4 Usage, Tops iTunes, Google, YouTube, Vudu

The percentage of consumers renting or purchasing movies from Redbox increased in the fourth quarter 2017 from Q3, according to new data from TiVo.

In a survey of 3,000 respondents, TiVo found that 12.5% of respondents used Redbox in Q4 compared to about 10% in Q3. The percentage trailed only Amazon (17.9%), which was up 3.3% from Q3.

Redbox usage topped iTunes (7.9%), Google Play (7.2%), YouTube Movies (4.8%), Vudu (3.7%), CinemaNow (2.2%), Flixster (1.5%) and other (1.4%).

TiVo found that 37.3% of all respondents purchased from pay- per-rental or TVOD services, an increase of 4.6% from Q3. Another 38.5% with pay-TV service are cord-cheaters (those who have pay-TV service and also use a TVOD service), an increase of 5.8%.

The report found that 34.3% of cord-cheaters use both TVOD and SVOD services in addition to their cable/ satellite service, a category that increased 5.2%.

Specifically, 79.6% of respondents spend money on a TVOD rental monthly, an increase of 3.1% from Q3; up 6.7% from the previous-year period and up 11.2% from two years ago.

More than 32% spends $3 to $8 monthly, while 13.3% spends $9 to $11 per month, and this group increased slightly quarter-0ver-quarter; up 4% y/y and up 5.8% over two years.

Finally, of the 37.3% of respondents who use TVOD services, 79% watch content on a weekly basis, an increase of 8.7% y/y and 11.8% over two years.

Facebook Snags Rights to 25 MLB Afternoon Games

In a first, Major League Baseball has signed a deal with Facebook enabling the social media behemoth (1.4 billion active daily users) to exclusively stream one afternoon MLB Network game per week. The deal reportedly is worth upwards of $35 million.

The deal, which primarily involves Wednesday games, starts April 4 with the Philadelphia Phillies taking on the New York Mets. Facebook reportedly will include graphics and links during games to enhance the social media appeal among younger viewers.

Last May, MLB and Facebook partnered to stream select Friday night games – the league’s first regular-season live streams on a third-party platform beyond and Facebook previously streamed Spring Training games in 2011.

Unlike Netflix, which thus far is shunning live sports programing, Facebook, YouTube and Amazon have become active platforms/bidders for National Football League, UEFA Champions League soccer and NCAA basketball live contests.

“Much like the migration of sports from broadcast to cable, you’re reaching these milestones where the combination of the financial incentive and the audience allow you to make the next great leap,” industry consultant Lee Berke told “This is part of the next great leap.”