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 live.twitter.com/MLB.

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 MLB.tv 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 MLB.com and MLB.tv. 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 Bloomberg.com. “This is part of the next great leap.”

Apple, Disney and YouTube Top Millennial Brands in New Report

Apple, Disney and YouTube, respectively, ranked as the top three most “intimate” brands among millennials, according to MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2018 Report, which is the largest study of brands based on emotions. Brand intimacy leverages and strengthens the emotional bonds between a person and a brand.

“We were surprised and pleased to see YouTube as an addition to the top three most intimate brands for millennials this year,” stated Mario Natarelli, managing partner, MBLM. “We believe its rise is due to our culture’s continued need for escape and the brand’s immediate, diverse content, personalities and growing offerings in movies and live TV. YouTube is clearly an established ritual in the lives of many millennials today.”

By comparison, in MBLM’s 2017 report, Disney placed first, followed by Amazon and Netflix.

The other brands that rounded out the top 10 were Target, Amazon, Nintendo, Google, Xbox, Netflix and Whole Foods.

The age group of 18-24-year-olds had a slightly different mix of top companies. The top 10 for that group were Apple, Amazon, YouTube, PlayStation, Starbucks, Nintendo, Google, Netflix, Coca Cola and Walmart.

The report analyzed the responses of 6,000 consumers and 54,000 brand evaluations across 15 industries in the United States, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. The full report will be released on March 13, 2018.

Survey: Facebook Losing Favor Among Millennials?

The average millennial reportedly checks their phone more than 150 times per day. But where (i.e. Facebook) this demo (18-38) checks on favorite brands is changing, according to new data from Moosylvania, a 40-person marketing agency based in St. Louis.

“We know they are on the channels talking with their friends. What we want to know is how and where they are connecting with their favorite brands,” said CEO Norty Cohen.

In a January mobile-only survey, respondents were asked how they connected with their favorite brands on their smartphone. The survey compared responses from 2017 to 2018.

Respondents that used Facebook declined from 52% to 40% among younger millennials (17-27) and from 48% to 33% among older (28-38) millennials.

Despite the drop, Facebook remained the largest go-to platform among respondents.

“[It] can’t be overlooked,” said Cohen.

Indeed, Facebook had 2.2 billion monthly active users in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Statista.com. Facebook says 1.40 billion people on average logged on daily in December 2016, which represented a 14% increase from the previous-year period.

Meanwhile, Instagram use remained steady at 33% for younger respondents and up 5% to 24% among older millennials, according to the survey.

Twitter fell from 28% to 16% among younger millennials, and down 4% to 17% for older millennials.

Snapchat use increased from 20% to 24% among younger millennials and up 1% to 11% with older millennials.

Cohen attributed the changes to increased efficiencies of branded emails and websites.

Brand website use among respondents increased 1% to 20% with younger millennials and went from 20% to 25% with older millennials. Email use increased from 17% to 18% with younger millennials and up 4% to 22% with older millennials.

“Personalization and customized experiences [online] are easier to create than ever,” Cohen said.

YouTube gained from 22% to 23% among younger millennials and decreased 1% to 17% with older millennials.

Pinterest was down from 4% to 7% of younger millennials and down 5% to 6% with older millennials.

Text messaging was flat at 9% for younger millennials and up 1% to 11% with older millennials.

Cohen, who has written a book on brand connectivity in the Internet age – says brands need to develop two-way conversations to better connect with their consumers.

“Channels that can personalize and get there quickly are going to do better in the long run,” he said.

Gun Safety Activists Urge Tech Companies to Drop NRA TV Streaming Service

In the wake of the Florida high-school shooting that left 14 students and three teachers dead, gun safety activists are asking tech companies to stop streaming NRA TV, an ad-supported service of the National Rifle Association.

Launched in 2016, NRA TV features original programming supporting gun rights and other issues, in addition to covering conservative events such as C-PAC.

“Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense” and “Everytown for Gun Safety” are calling on companies such as Amazon, YouTube, Roku and Apple to stop carrying the NRA TV app, claiming the platform “promotes dangerous conspiracy theories, racially charged rhetoric and violent demonization of the NRA’s political opponents,” among other issues.

“Everytown,” which is fighting to close existing loopholes in gun purchase background checks and curbing the illegal trafficking of firearms, is helping spread hashtag #DumpNRATV.

The groups are also asking pay-TV operators such as DirecTV Now to cancel programming produced by the NRA.

“American businesses have the responsibility to make ethical decisions about the content they will provide on their platforms,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, said in a statement.

Watts, a mother of five children, founded “Moms Demand Action” following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2012 that left 20 children and six adults dead.

Roku spokesperson Tricia Mifsud took the high ground, saying the over-the-top video pioneer merely acts as a conduit to programming users voluntarily choose to stream.

“We operate an open-streaming platform; however, our content policies prohibit the publication of content that is unlawful, incites illegal activities or violates third-party rights,” Mifsud said in a statement to CNN.com.

 

Dotcom Pioneers All in for NFL Thursday Night Football

The National Football League suffered through a controversy-plagued season, underscored by declining attendance and slipping TV ratings – down 13%.

But that isn’t stopping Twitter, Amazon, Google-owned YouTube and Verizon from upping bids for first-time multiyear streaming rights to the 2018/19 season of NFL Thursday Night Football, according to Recode.net.

With Fox Sports securing exclusive Thursday Night Football broadcast rights over the next five years for $3.3 billion – nearly 50% more than what NBC and CBS paid to split rights to 10 games last season, expect online properties to dig deep into the wallet as well.

Indeed, Twitter secured rights in 2016 for $10 million, a figure that ballooned to $50 million in 2017 for Amazon Prime Video.

While Verizon has select mobile streaming rights along with Fox, it could seek to expand them for its fledgling Oath platform. And YouTube, which is shipping the YouTube Red brand internationally, in addition to upping content selection (and pricing) for YouTube TV, is interested, CEO Susan Wojcicki told Recode’s Code Media confab this week in Huntington Beach, Calif.

But without deep-pocket market leader Netflix, which steadfastly declines any interest in live sports, dramatically up the bidding price, streaming rights should remain reasonably priced considering online viewership to Thursday Night Football pales in comparison to broadcast. An early season game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers generated 373,000 viewers on Prime Video, compared to 14.6 million for broadcast.

 

 

 

 

TiVo Ups Google Deal to Include YouTube TV

TiVo Jan. 18 announced an updated patent license agreement with Google that includes the search behemoth’s online television service, YouTube TV.

The deal covers Google’s use of TiVo’s technologies worldwide and offers a license for Google’s products and services across Internet-based platforms and devices.

Launched last spring, You Tube TV offers access to more than 40 pay-TV channels starting at $35 monthly. The app enables subs to watch programing on computers, portable devices and connected LG and Samsung TVs, or televisions employing Chromecast, Android TV, Xbox One or Apple Airplay streaming media devices.

TiVo, which helped create the digital video recorder market in the ’90s, licenses software applications that help track user data, remote control functions, program search, channel listings, transactional VOD support and other backend technology.

“The world of video entertainment is expanding with exciting new consumer offerings such as YouTube TV,” said Arvin Patel, EVP and chief intellectual property officer, Rovi Corp., a TiVo company.