OTT Video News: Week of 7/25/22

Apple’s services revenue growth slows to $19.6B in Q3, reaches 860M paid subscriptions

Apple released its third-quarter earnings on Thursday and reported $19.6 billion in services revenue (which includes businesses like the App Store, Apple TV+, Apple Music, cloud services and others), marking a 12% year-over-year increase, but narrowly falling short of Wall Street predictions of about $19.7 billion. Link

Roku warns investors: It’s early 2020 all over again but hey, they just surpassed $1 billion in commitments for the first time, securing deals with all seven major agency holding companies.

Citing a recent advertiser perception study, Roku CFO Steve Louden told reporters during a media call Thursday afternoon that almost half of all advertisers had paused some ad spending during the second quarter. “It was a challenging quarter for Roku and for a lot of others,” Louden said. Roku’s Q2 revenue was $764.4 million, with net losses of $112 million. The company added 1.8 million new accounts during the quarter, but streaming hours declined by 200 million quarter over quarter. Roku forecast a loss of $190 million for Q3, and withdrew its full-year guidance. Link

YES Network to Launch Direct-to-Consumer Streaming Service

Taking a page out of the NESN playbook, the Yankees are planning a direct-to-consumer streaming service for YES Network. Link

Peacock Adds Zero Q2 Subs as Loss Reaches $467 Million

NBCU’s Peacock streaming service saw its subscriber base remain relatively flat at 13 million paid monthly members since launching on April 15, 2020. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts remains upbeat that the media giant’s strong-performing box office will help Peacock in the second half of the year. Link

Smart TV Penetration Continues to Grow

Research continues to emerge showing the proliferation of smart TVs in US homes. The latest evidence, courtesy of Hub Entertainment Research [excerpt download page], finds that almost 3 in 4 (74% of) TV homes have a smart TV, up from 61% in 2020. Link

YouTube faces slowest ad growth in two years

The platform generated US$7.34 billion in ad revenue in Q2 2022, growing 4.8% year-over-year. This is significantly lower than Wall Street estimates, with analysts expecting YouTube’s ad business to grow 7% YoY to US$7.49 billion. While it was closer to analyst expectations than Q1 – where YouTube missed predictions by more than US$600 million – the growth rate is still at the lowest point since 2020. Link

Atmosphere Selects SpringServe to Power Programmatic Advertising for Digital Out of Home Campaigns – SpringServe

SpringServe announced a strategic integration with Atmosphere, the worldwide leader in streaming TV entertainment for businesses. The company will power Atmosphere’s video-centric digital out of home (DOOH) inventory. Link

LG Ramps Up Viewing Options On LG Channels

Smart TV manufacturers have been ramping up their content and ad offerings in ways that puts competitive pressure on providers of streaming media devices like Roku, Google, Apple and Amazon. Since its introduction to LG’s webOS platform, LG Channels has grown into one of the top 6 apps on webOS in the U.S. in terms of streaming hours and averages approximately 40% daily growth compared to 2021 usage, LG reported. Link

As the TV content boom fosters ‘decision paralysis,’ Samsung thinks big ads can help

A Now survey showed that 49% of UK audiences spent so long looking for content they didn’t watch anything, making discoverability a “big issue” for advertisers fighting for attention. Meanwhile, according to research by Ipsos, 75% of viewers look to their smart TVs to help them with discoverability and recommendations. Based on the insight that “infinite options” will “overwhelm” viewers, Samsung has prioritized discoverability in its latest homepage redesign. Link

Why Did Charter Choose Comcast’s Flex over GoogleTV in the tvOS War?

Comcast and Charter joining forces to attack tvOS makes a tremendous amount of sense. While historically JVs in the cable world never worked (Canoe anyone?) the industry was far more fragmented than it was today with individual companies acting far too much like regional monopolists. With Comcast and Charter effectively controlling over 80% of the cable industry and rising broadband competition spooking investors, it feels far easier to see Comcast and Charter working well together on tvOS (as they have been in wireless as well). Link

Comcast eyes Vizio and others for smart TV acquisition

By buying its own TV manufacturer, the company would be able to put more resources behind the development, marketing and sale of its own TV sets. This, in turn, would help Comcast remain relevant in a world where an increasing number of consumers cut the cord, and stream their favorite programming via their smart TVs. Link

7 ways to reduce SVOD churn on your OTT platform

With subscriber numbers falling across the board, managing churn and keeping people engaged has become a challenge. With such rapid movements continuing to shape the industry, how do you stay ahead of the game and effectively manage platform churn? Link

New Study Suggests Inflation Is Slowing Streaming Media Device Shipments

Kagan is projecting that global streaming media device shipments are expected to fall 1.2% to an estimated 80.0 million units in 2022 as inflationary pressures keep many consumers on the sidelines. That said, they expect the market to recover in 2023, with the global streaming media device (SMD) installed base growing from 232.6 million at the end of 2021 to 313.5 million by the end of 2026. Link

Subscribers Like Their Streaming Simple

Viewers want their options simplified and better managed, according to a new report from Hub Entertainment making a case for OTT video aggregators. Link

After McMahon’s Exit, Could a Streaming Company Buy WWE?

According to Front Office Sports, the Vince McMahon scandal has had a surprising effect on WWE’s stock: It has risen considerably. That’s because of speculation that a post-McMahon WWE could be sold, presumably at a premium. And even though McMahon no longer has an executive or board role with the company, he remains its largest shareholder. His daughter, Stephanie McMahon, is now the co-CEO, while his son-in-law Paul Levesque — the former wrestler known as Triple-H — is now the head of creative. Link

For Netflix, Releasing the ‘Knives Out’ Sequel in Theaters Is a Bad Idea: Here’s Why

No matter how seriously Netflix takes theatrical distribution, streaming is still the point. Theatrical-first tells viewers that streaming is second best and undermines what makes Netflix series perform so well: It’s only on Netflix. Moving into wide-release theatrical distribution is an unforced error, creating consumer confusion and denying the streaming premiere its undivided attention. Link

Tremor shakes up adtech sector with $239m Amobee acquisition

Tremor will acquire Amobee’s Omnichannel Demand Side Platform and Advanced TV Platform, which will give the combined entity a vital edge in the cutthroat digital advertising market, where advertisers are forever seeking to optimize campaigns to maximize yields. Link

TiVo: Viewers use an average of 9 streaming services

According to TiVo’s most recent video trends survey, consumers’ average number of streaming services peaked to about nine apps in Q4 2021. Link

Netflix’s Domestic Crisis

For years, Netflix bulls have argued that the company’s long-term growth will come from overseas, and they tend to dismiss domestic churn as a sort of to-be-anticipated outcome while they focus on other data points. For instance, Netflix did gain more than 1 million subscribers in its Asia Pacific region this quarter, which essentially abnegated its losses in the States and Canada.  But while that might be an encouraging metric, it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison from an average-revenue-per-user (ARPU) perspective. Netflix effectively traded 1.3 million subscribers generating $15.50 a month in UCAN for 1.1 million subscribers generating about $8.60 a month in APAC. The UCAN numbers aren’t merely important because of their ARPU potential; their trendlines are also harbingers of how Netflix can expect to perform in territories that haven’t yet endured the sort of subscription saturation that we’re seeing here. Link

Clix, A Mobile-Focused Guide To What’s Streaming, Hits 6M Monthly Users Nearly A Year After Its Launch

Clix, a mobile-focused guide to the ever-expanding world of film and TV programming available to stream, has surpassed 6 million monthly unique users nearly a year after its launch. The free app, which went live about 10 months ago, is now available via more than 80 distribution points, including Apple Fire TV, Roku and other major streaming platforms. Thus far, more than 99% of usage has been on mobile devices, the company says, with users consulting the app for top-rated series and movies, new trailers and other recommended offerings, filtered by categories and platforms. Link

Why Big Tech Is Making a Big Play for Live Sports

Emboldened by their deep pockets and eager to boost viewership of their streaming-subscription services, Apple and Amazon have thrust themselves into negotiations for media rights held by the NFL, MLB, Formula One, and college conferences. They’re competing to replace DirecTV for the rights to N.F.L. Sunday Ticket, a package the league wants to sell for more than $2.5 billion annually, about $1 billion more than it currently costs. Eager not to miss out, Google has also offered a bid from YouTube for the rights beginning in 2023. The tech companies’ interest is a thrill for sports leagues and a terror for media companies that fear competition from rivals that collect tens of billions of dollars from dominant positions in other businesses. Last year, sports accounted for 95 of the 100 most viewed programs on television. Link

From AMC to Apple: How Much Are 13 Major Media Companies Worth?

The key question in the era of media consolidation is: Who can buy who? With the economy headed toward a possible/probable recession, the circles on our above data visualization bubble chart are a bit smaller than they would have been in even the recent past. Netflix’s bubble, for example, would be nearly four times as large seven months ago. Link

Can Netflix Win the Contest for Connected TV Ad Dollars?

Netflix has an ambitious vision for its ad-supported business. The trouble is, so does everyone else. Going toe-to-toe with the entire connected TV universe risks shifting the balance of power. Link

FanDuel Reportedly Bets Big on TV

FanDuel is plunging deeper into sports media and is reportedly launching a 24-hour television channel, according to Legal Sports Report. The move could come this September. Link

National Football League’s new streaming service NFL+ launches at $4.99 per month

NFL+ marks the first time the NFL has operated its own streaming service, giving the league a new future platform to potentially show exclusive games. Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association already both sell subscriptions to their own streaming services that include out-of-market games. Link

SPI/FilmBox brings nine channels to Glo-TV in deal with Globacom

SPI/FilmBox has expanded its partnership with telco Globacom to bring nine channels from its portfolio to Nigerian streaming service Glo-TV. Link

Netflix starts linking iPhone and iPad users to an external sign-up page

Although Apple has begun to relax its policies for reader apps, it still has a strict set of guidelines that developers must follow, such as not including any pricing information with a link to external sign-up pages. Developers must also submit an “entitlement” to get permission to add the external link to their app. Link

The future of TV is chaos and confusion

It’s been seven years since Tim Cook famously declared that “the future of TV is apps.” Since then, almost everyone in the industry, including Apple, has come to the conclusion that Cook was wrong. The industry’s new paradigm is “content first.” Amazon, Google, Samsung and others all have begun to bring personalized content recommendations directly to the TV home screen. Add universal search and watch lists, and people don’t even have to think about where a show streams from anymore — or so goes the theory. Link

Finecast partners with SBS and Xandr for CTV advertising – Videonet

Finecast has partnered with SBS and Xandr to harness header bidding technology for buying CTV inventory. Link

Verimatrix and Harmonic Partner to Enable Streaming Content Protection at SaaS Speed – The Bakersfield Californian

Verimatrix announced that Harmonic is one of the first partners to integrate its cloud platform with Verimatrix StreamkeeperSM. Link

FAST streaming channels are growing—what are they and why should advertisers care?

Free ad-supported streaming TV, or FAST, has doubled in household penetration within the past year. Six in 10 houses with a smart TV are now using FAST services, making it a fast grower in streaming advertising—a market that in total is expected to reach $30 billion in ad spend by 2024, according to eMarketer. Link

HBO Max in Talks to Return to Amazon Prime Video Channels

Less than one year after HBO Max was removed from Prime Video Channels, WBD and Amazon are in discussions to bring it back. Link

R.I.P., Netflix Narrative

The dream that many Netflix employees signed up for—that Shangri-La of 500 million subscribers and global dominance (with lucrative stock options to match), all while remaining the cool kids of Hollywood that make more money and outbid rivals at will—has died. R.I.P., The Netflix Narrative. Link

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