OTT: the importance of personal profiles

Personal profiles are favoured by over half of OTT TV viewers, according to the findings of the latest report by SPB TV.

Surveying 50,000 respondents out of its 60 million-user base, though mainly targeted at emerging markets and migrant communities worldwide, SPB TV Survey 2016 A Slice of Personalization found that the share of respondents already using such profiles, which allow users to createtheir own content collections, access their viewing history, select a name and avatar, and much more, is inversely correlated to their age.

It is the largest among the GenerationZ users and the Millennials (27% in both age groups) and the lowest among the Baby Boomers (14% of respondents).

However, there is no reason to believe that only younger viewers are interested in administering their personal space in the service.

The percentage of respondents saying they are not interested in this feature slightly increases from 36% among the Generation Z viewers to 55% among the Silent Generation, confirming that even among the 71+ respondents almost a half use or would like to use personal profiles.

The survey also notes that while the value of personal profiles on shared in-home devices, like smart TVs and set-top boxes, is widely disputed in the

Indeed, almost half of respondents are certain they want to have their profiles available on shared screens. This answer is the most often cited by all age groups – from 39% among the Baby Boomers to 49% among the respondents aged under 36.

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£5.27 Billion Invested in U.K. TV Advertising in 2016

Television ad revenue in the U.K. totaled £5.27 billion ($6.6 billion) in 2016, with online businesses now the biggest spenders on TV, according to full-year revenue figures provided to Thinkbox by the British commercial broadcasters.

According to Nielsen, among the biggest spending online businesses on TV were Amazon (£34.3 million, up 39 percent), owner BGL Group (£38.8 million, down 4 percent) and Moneysupermarket (£25.9 million, up 6 percent).

Together, new or returning advertisers accounted for 1.6 percent of total TV ad revenue in 2016, according to Nielsen. WARC estimates for the Advertising Association indicate that the total U.K. advertising market grew to £21.1 billion in 2016 (up 4.4 percent), with TV advertising representing 25.3 percent of it. The AA/WARC forecast that in 2017 the U.K. ad market will reach £21.8 billion (up 3.2 percent), with TV forecast to increase by 1.6 percent.

Despite some recent inflation in TV advertising prices—due in part to increased advertiser demand and some decline in TV set viewing—in 2016 TV advertising was 28 percent cheaper in real terms than ten years ago.

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Is YouTube Cooking the Books?

When a YouTube video reaches 1 billion views, are these numbers true? Will vloggers get paid the right amount? MRC aims to find out. Do advertisers get the right amount of traffic?

In 2015, Digital Music News questioned Facebook’s video metrics. Ari Herstand wrote that Facebook only counted 3 seconds as counted. Last year, the company came clean. The social media giant overstated video data to Publicis Media by as much as 80%. This led David Fischer, Vice President of Business and Marketing Partnerships to issue an apology. He wrote:

“But [the video count metric] didn’t – it reflected the total time spent watching a video divided by only the number of “views” of a video (that is, when the video was watched for three or more seconds).”

YouTube has faced similar accusations. Over the past few years, the Google-owned company has sold their platform to advertisers. It promises that ads on the video streaming platform will reliably find their way to young audiences. Yet, ad companies have questioned the metrics Google and Facebook have used, and have pushed both companies for more transparency. Google has also never allowed an audit to check their third-party metrics. Now, following Facebook’s announcement of their own ad auditing, Google has agreed to open up their third-party metrics.

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VR headset market poised for hockey-stick growth

The market for virtual reality (VR) headsets is expected to be worth $9.1 billion by 2021, according to forecasts from CCS Insight.

The research estimates that the total VR device market (smartphone VR and dedicated VR) will be worth $1.5 billion this year, meaning big growth is expected for this nascent area.

Breaking it down into segments, sales of dedicated VR headsets are expected to grow to 22 million units by 2021 — an 800% increase over 2017.

Dedicated VR headsets such as the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift and Sony’s PlayStation VR deliver significantly higher quality experiences compared with their smartphone VR cousins, but sales have been shy of expectations. CCS Insight has adjusted its number to reflect a slower-than-expected start for the dedicated market. Previously it expected 2 million units to be sold in 2016 – it now estimates 1.2 million were sold.

CCS Insight believes that by 2019 dedicated VR devices will start offering a meaningful revenue contribution to companies that have commercial products in this area, and by 2021, the dedicated VR market will be worth $7.7 billion. The higher cost of dedicated headsets will see them accounting for 85% of total market value despite making up only 24% of unit sales. They are expected to prove popular among gamers and other enthusiasts.

“There’s no doubt that dedicated VR headsets can be a tough sell,” said Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight. “The complete package of the headset and a high-end PC is out of reach for most consumers; and, even the PlayStation VR, which can be used with the PS4 games console, has failed to meet expectations. There’s a lot of work to be done on all aspects of the experience, but we still believe there’s tremendous potential.”

Meanwhile, smartphone VR devices continue to deliver the lion’s share of unit volumes for now. CCS Insight expects that 14 million smartphone VR headsets will be sold in 2017, rising to 25 million in 2018. Overall, global sales of smartphone virtual reality headsets are expected to grow fivefold to reach 70 million by 2021. The segment will be worth $500 million in 2017, rising to approximately $1.4 billion by 2021.

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Premium editorial video ads outgun the market on social feeds

A new study conducted by online video advertising technology provider Teads has shown the value of investment in top-end content, which on social news feeds per performs better than 80% of other online ads.

The research, commissioned with top brands Time Inc, Condé Nast, Forbes and The Atlantic, tested participants using state-of-the-art neuro mapping caps, who were exposed to a variety of adverts on Facebook as well as several key editorial publications.

Memorable content helps make ads in premium editorial environments more memorable. When it came to detailed memory encoding, a key metric for ad impact, premium editorial content was found to be 16% more engaging than social media feeds.

Premium editorial allows for a broader range of ads to be effective: content and video advertising have separate neurostates that, when aligned, drive higher effectiveness. Premium editorial achieved a balanced neurostate, meaning that activity was charted equally on the left and right sides of the brain, thus allowing a broad range of video advertising creative to be effective within premium editorial.

Premium editorial was found to have also helped create more memorable peak ‘hero’ moments that influence consumer behaviour: the Teads video ads had a 15% higher impact on peak detail memory, which has a validated correlation with purchase intent.

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Avoid the Netflix juggernaut by targeting niches

It’s difficult to get an online video service noticed next to the Netflix-Amazon-Hulu video juggernauts. However, rather than going head-to-head with them, some video services are finding a way around by catering to the niche needs of consumers.


LeEco targets Chinese-Americans with Red Pocket Mobile’s help

There are 3.8M Chinese people living in America today, and 2.2M of them were born in China. LeEco is targeting this large population and is looking to Red Pocket Mobile to help it do it. Red Pocket Mobile provides contract-free mobile services, and targets Chinese-speakers in the U.S. with native language support and free calls to China.  LeEco is also rooted in China, where the company was founded in 2004. It came to the U.S. in 2016, bringing a suite of connected devices pre-integrated with media services.

LeEco is providing the following products optimized for Chinese-American families:

  • Letv X3-55 Pro 4K TV, including Chinese voice search, for $599.
  • Letv Box U4, a 4K streaming media player, for $79.99
  • Le S3 ecophone, an unlocked dual-SIM phone, for $249.

The X3-55 TV and Letv Box U4 includes 12-months of access to Premium Chinese and English content including 120,000 TV drama episodes, 6,000 movies, and 80,000 cartoon episodes in 1080p HD along with the newest original content from China.

According to the partnership announcement this morning, the LeEco products will be showcased at select Red Pocket Mobile stores.

Cinedigm grows its niche video service customers base

Cinedigm recognised the opportunity to target niche audiences with online video services early on. It launched three standalone over-the-top video services in 2015:

  • Dove Channel, a faith and family oriented video service
  • Docurama, an SVOD service bringing quality documentary video
  • CONtv, brings video content targeting Comic Con fans.

Across the three services, Cinedigm says it has amassed 3.34M app downloads, 610,000 registered users, and 80,000 paid subscribers. The company partners with aligned organizations to help with marketing. For example, ConTV works with comic-Con International to market the service to convention attendees. As well, Cinedigm was an early adopter of Amazon’s Channels program.

No credit card? No problem. You can still get Starz.

Getting any online service is challenge if you don’t have a credit card. Just ask the 30% of Americans who don’t have one. But if you want premium video services, you could be in luck. Starz announced this week it wants your business. Speaking at the Code Media conference in Dana Point, California, Chris Albrecht, Starz CEO, said:

Chris Albrecht, Starz

“We’re going to start to offer prepaid cards to be able to buy Starz. There are a lot of people who would like to have premium television but certainly can’t afford it with a cable bundle. It’s a prepaid card for people who don’t have credit cards.”

Prepaid cards are nothing new for SVOD services. Netflix has been selling them for some time. However, they could be a particularly good idea for Starz. Compared to HBO Now’s $15 a month, Starz’$8.99 sound like a bargain. For the cost-conscious, a Starz prepaid card could be an excellent way to stretch that entertainment dollar.

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Video Usage on Mobile Devices Closing Gap on Desktops

Mobile and desktop video consumption are running virtually neck-and-neck, with 86% of consumers saying they watch video on smartphones and other mobile devices, compared to 70% on desktops, AOL found in a fresh study that tracked usage trends across seven global regions.

Additionally, 57% of consumers watch videos on a mobile phone every day, compared to 58% on desktops and laptops.Those findings indicate that the market is “very close to the tipping point where mobile will soon be the number one video screen,” AOL said.

But the shift toward mobile viewing is also tracking with consumption of short-form video, with 42% of those surveyed saying their watch videos that are 5 minutes or less in length each day.
That group tails off as the length of videos get longer – 31% of consumers said they watch video that is 20 minutes or longer — AOL found in the study, which surveyed about 1,600 consumers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, Japan, Australia and parts of Southeast Asia.

The study also focused on mobile viewing trends for virtual reality, 360-degree video and live streaming. Among U.S. consumers, 74% said they watch live video content on their smartphones, while 28% had experienced VR, and almost half tried out 360-degree video. From a broader view, Southeast Asia was home to the highest concentration of consumers (76%) who said they watch live video on their smartphones.

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Youtube stops support for 30 sec commercials

YouTube confirmed Friday that it will stop supporting 30-second unskippable ads as of 2018, to focus on more engaging commercial formats.

“We’re committed to providing a better ads experience for users online,” a YouTube spokesperson wrote in an email to Search Marketing Daily. “As part of that, we’ve decided to stop supporting 30-second unskippable ads as of 2018 and focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers.”

It’s not clear whether YouTube made the decision to stop supporting the ads after running tests on viewing habits that would suggest 30-second ads are just too long and individuals tend to click the browser closed rather than wade through to the end of the ad. It may be that YouTube will support shorter, non-skippable in-stream video ads that appear pre-, mid-, or post-roll in shorter increments such as 10, 15, or 20 seconds.

Mobile video traffic accounted for 60% of total mobile data traffic in 2016, and now accounts for more than half of all mobile data traffic, according to Cisco. Some 78% of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2021.

Shorter ads seem to improve product recall, especially when combined with TrueView or Google Preferred campaigns. In April 2016, Google announced Bumper ads, a six-second video format, sold through the AdWords auction on a CPM basis.

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BBC iPlayer makes record-breaking start

Following a record-breaking month in January 2017, which saw 304 million requests, the BBC iPlayer is hoping for even more traction with new sign-in capability and personalised features.

According to data released by BBC iStats, requests for the VOD, catch-up and live TV service were up 8% on those for December 2016, its previous best-ever month, and saw over 50 million requests more than the same month a year ago. Drama enjoyed huge popularity in January 2017, with strong returning titles including Sherlock, with 3.3 million requests for one drama, and Silent Witness (1.5 million), and new dramas Taboo (2.8 million) and Apple Tree Yard (1.7 million) performing very well.

The personalisation plans were first announced in September 2016 but now those who sign in to their BBC account on connected TVs will start to benefit from a growing number of personalised features such as the ability to resume watching an episode or series started on another device. The functionality is initially available only to viewers with YouView devices, but will roll out to other connected TV devices, including set-top boxes, streaming media devices and games consoles, over the coming weeks and months. Further personalisation features including personalised recommendations will be introduced in the near future.

To further ease access, the BBC is rolling out a ‘Pin and Pair’ feature. This means that at sign-in, all users will need to do is select the person icon at the top of the screen on BBC iPlayer on a connected TV and then on a separate computer, tablet or smartphone, go to the web address displayed on the TV screen and enter the code on screen.

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Colombia’s OTT tax reform may lead the way internationally

Colombia’s decision to start taxing over-the-top (OTT) players may lead to other countries following suit, according to market research firm Ovum.

Ari Lopez, principal Latin American analyst at Ovum, the reform of Colombia’s tax regulation at the end of 2016 may affect the OTT industry worldwide.

“Colombia has become one of the first countries to tax OTT players, and Ovum believes that more countries will start imposing taxes on Internet companies,” said the analyst’s note.

The debate around how to tax Internet services isn’t new, but Colombia’s approach its quite innovative.

“A key question is how to tax companies that are based abroad. The new Colombian law states that banks processing payments for OTTs on credit, debit and prepaid cards must collect the tax due before sending out the proceeds, overcoming the challenge of collecting taxes from companies that don’t have a company established in Colombia,” says the analysis.

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