Wired Magazine Introduces New Streaming TV Channel

As the new month ushered in, Wired Magazine launched its first streaming TV channel. This is the publisher’s response to the over-the-top (OTT) video environments increasingly becoming the norm.

Starting July 1, viewers can access Wired’s streaming channel on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Apple TV. The service will also be available on Roku beginning next week.

Condé Nast, Wired’s parent organization, had the streaming video channel already as part of its agenda for this year. The TV channel is one of a series and Wired is the first one of them.

Kimberly Kelleher, Condé Nast’s brand executive for Pitchfork, Wired Media Group, Golf Digest and GQ, revealed that Condé Nast views online streaming as an opportunity to reach more audience.

She affirmed that the publishing company is mindful of the people’s increasing usage of connected TV devices. In addition, the company understands that consumers nowadays prefer the on-demand TV experience. So in response, it introduced streaming video channels.

Bon Appétit, the culinary magazine, and GQ, the men’s magazine published monthly, will also have their streaming TV channels slated to be launched in 2019.

Wired’s streaming TV channel includes the most popular shows and videos from the magazine’s website and YouTube channel. Among these shows are “Technique Critique,” “Almost Impossible,” and “Autocomplete Interviews.”

As the publication celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, more TV shows and licensed films are lined up for its streaming TV channel.

Small and middle-tier streaming TV channels struggle with viewers who refuse to give them the time of day. This is due to the reality of an ocean of channels diminishing their probability of getting noticed. Roku alone is reported to offer over 5,000 channels on a wide array of categories.

Nonetheless, Alan Wolk, TVRev’s chief analyst, pointed out that Wired has the advantage of being a “solid brand.” He explained that the publisher does not have to contend with the dilemma of discoverability.

Wired is “fortunate that it’s a big enough name,” Wolk affirmed.

Kelleher is assured that Wired will be able to attract a lot of audiences and loyalty. Wired’s YouTube page is a testament to its success, boasting over 688 million video views every year and over 2.3 million subscribers.

Kelleher added that Wired met the requirements of connected TV platforms: trusted and high-grade brands and content attracting more viewers and help to build their image. Hence, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, and Roku, have all committed to advertising the streaming TV channel on their platforms.

read more here: digitaltvlife.com

Amazon Job Posting Hints at Ad-Supported TV Ambitions

Amazon has dropped a huge hint that it’s working on an ad-supported TV service, releasing a job posting looking for a ‘head of Prime Video channels, free to air TV and advertising TV partner channels’. The job description, spotted by Facebook’s director of gaming Damian Burns, gives us some initial clues of how an ad-supported TV service on Amazon might look.

The post describes one of the main responsibilities of the roles as developing Prime Video’s European strategy for free-to-air and advertising funded channels. It says whoever us hired will be required to work with broadcasters across Europe, translating their requirements into Amazon capabilities, and to act as an “internal champion” for free-to-air and ad funded content.

There are two possibilities for what exactly this could be referring to, but both would be a significant step into the video ad world for the e-commerce giant.

Amazon may be looking to develop an ad-supported, free-to-air version of Amazon Prime Video, with subscribers able to avoid the monthly subscription fee by watching ads instead. Currently, Prime Video only runs ads for other Amazon shows as pre-rolls or post-rolls, but the company runs targeted video ads elsewhere, meaning opening up ads on Prime Video to other brands shouldn’t be too difficult tech-wise.

Ad Age reported rumours that Amazon was developing this kind of service last November, though a company spokesman denied that this was the case.

Such a move would mark an acceleration of Amazon’s TV strategy, where premium content isn’t used primarily to make an Amazon Prime subscription (which includes free delivery and a variety of other benefits) more attractive to consumers.

Currently the vast majority of VOD services available through Amazon Prime Channels only offer ad-free, paid subscriptions, even when that service has a cheaper or free ad-supported subscription tier on its native platform. A few broadcasters have made live streams of their linear channels available through Prime Video in Europe, but these still come as part of paid memberships.

The introduction of free to air channels would suggest that at the very least some of these channels would be made available without paying an extra fee, and possibly without a Prime Video subscription too.

Regardless of the end product, it will be another big step into ad land for Amazon and in the UK market it will provide additional competition for the likes of Freeview, YouView and FreeSat, as well as to paid services like Sky and Virgin Media.

read more here: videoadnews.com

Creators are making longer videos to cater to the YouTube algorithm

YouTube has frustrated digital video creators for not always displaying their videos to the people who subscribe to their channels and for sometimes pulling ads from their videos that people do see. So YouTube stars are increasingly responding by extending the lengths of their videos in order to curry favor with YouTube’s watch-time-minded recommendation algorithm and to be able to feature more ads per video.

“I’ve figured out ways to monetize and to take advantage of the power of the algorithm,” said Cody Ko, a comedian whose main YouTube channel claims more than 1.1 million subscribers. “Obviously, it preferences longer videos, throwing multiple mid-rolls in, which tons of people do now.” Last year, Ko typically posted videos to his channel that lasted between six and seven minutes. But as YouTube cracked down on which videos were eligible to carry ads and removed ads from some of Ko’s, he upped the average length of his videos to range from 12 to 16 minutes.

The move by creators to produce longer videos “is very much correlated to over the last two years when YouTube switched the recommendation engine and search and discovery [to push new channels and creators to viewers],” said Rafi Fine, CEO of Fine Brothers Entertainment, an entertainment company that produces videos and shows for digital platforms like YouTube as well as for traditional TV and whose main YouTube channel counts more than 17 million subscribers.

While YouTube’s algorithm has prioritized watch time since 2012, creators have seen it shift toward favoring videos that people are likely to click on, but from channels they don’t subscribe to over videos from subscribed channels, Fine said. But if creators can demonstrate that their audiences spend more time on YouTube in order to watch their longer videos, they may be able to retrain YouTube’s algorithm to promote their videos in order to generate the desired watch time.

Other creators and media companies are similarly lengthening the videos they upload to YouTube. Remi Cruz, a lifestyle vlogger with 2.3 million subscribers on YouTube, usually posts 20-minute videos, she said. Gwen Miller, vp of content strategy at digital video network Kin Community, said 10 to 16 minutes has become the sweet spot for YouTube videos. And Whistle Sports, a digital video network that works with individual creators and produces its own original programming, tries to stick between the seven- and 12-minute range.

“We’re trying to generate watch time because we know that’s favorable to YouTube,” said Josh Grunberg, Whistle Sports’ head of community development and growth. “We know that they want meaningful views.”

Meanwhile, the move to increasingly insert mid-roll ads within these longer videos coincides with YouTube’s push over the past year to more aggressively restrict ads from running against some videos in an effort to reduce its brand-safety problems. A video may still risk being stripped of ads, but creators can hedge their bets by attaching more ads to a video so that a monetized view can generate more money to offset a demonetized view.

Once Ko’s videos began to exceed 10 minutes, he could run multiple ads in the middle of videos in order to make more money per view. Sixty percent of viewers probably won’t even be shown an ad, said Ko, “but it ups the chance that someone will get an ad, so the [per-video revenue] goes up, and you make more money for your video.”

read more here: digiday.com

Facebook to stream live boxing

Golden Boy Promotions is launching a partnership with Facebook to bring live boxing and original programming to a global community of fans on the social media platform.

The first of five live fight nights on Facebook will debut on August 11th and will feature Jesus Rojas defending his WBA World Featherweight Title against Joseph “JoJo “Diaz Jr at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood. The second live fight will feature light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera against a soon-to-be announced opponent on August 18th from the Sands Casino Resort in Pennsylvania.

“This game-changing deal for the sport of boxing places Golden Boy Promotions and its stable of fighters at the intersection of live sports mega-casting and ultimate fan engagement. Our team is now positioned to present world-class boxing from Silicon Valley, to Madison Avenue, to Hollywood and to the rest of the world. The reach of Facebook is just incredible, and our sponsorship conversations will truly resonate with brands across all categories,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions.

Golden Boy Media and Entertainment will serve as the production entity producing the live fights and original programming. De La Hoya will serve as Executive Producer and will invoke his extremely high standards across the board and push for entirely new approaches to presenting the sport to the Facebook audience. For example, the live broadcasts will incorporate the real-time fan interaction and engagement made possible by Facebook’s social video platform.

“We’re thrilled to team with Golden Boy Promotions to make Facebook a home for championship-calibre boxing this year,” said Devi Mahadevia, North America Live Sports Programming Lead at Facebook. “Through this unique partnership, a global community of sports fans will have free access to some of boxing’s most exciting live bouts and be able to interact with the action like never before.”

read more here: advanced-television.com

35% boost in video views driven by live sports, vMVPDs, connected TV

In the free white paper, The Secret Life of Streamers, Part II, nScreenMedia reported on the huge increase in live premium video viewing in the home. The paper also revealed that the connected TV had become the driving force in consumption of live video. According to the Q1 2018 Freewheel Video Monetization Report, these two trends are still very much in play.

Live views up 77%

Freewheel reports strong growth in premium video and ad views between Q1 2017 and Q1 2018. Video views increased 35%, and ad views grew by 34%. However, live views saw the greatest growth, increasing 77%, while full-episode and clip views grew 25% and 7% respectively.

Full episodes still draw the most ad views, 53%, but that is down from 60% one year earlier. Meanwhile, live ad view share grew from 24% to 35%. Clips ad view share declined over the same period, from 16% to 12%.

Sports dominate live streaming, with three-quarters of all live ad views coming in that content type. Entertainment delivers 16% and clips just 8%.

vMVPDs and live sports synergies

The occurrence of 3 major sporting events in the first quarter is responsible for the big increase in live consumption: Winter Olympics, Super Bowl LII, and NCAA March Madness. However, it is their wide availability online that is relatively new. Until recently, the major television networks carrying premium sports were only available through expensive pay TV subscriptions. In the last year, the emergence of vMVPDs such as Sling TV and DirecTV Now allow people to watch live sports online at a much lower price point.

There is evidence that sports are also driving growth in vMVPDs. App intelligence company Sensor Tower reports that first-time downloads of the top 5 vMVPD services increased 77% in the first week of the World Cup. Leading the pack is the sports-oriented FuboTV. Before the World Cup Sensor Tower estimated that the service average 38,000 downloads per week. In the first week of the tournament, downloads exploded to 309,000!

read more here: nscreenmedia.com

‘Netflix has killed Canalplay’

Appearing before the French Senate’s commission of Culture and Communication, Maxime Saada, chair of the Canal+ board, has announced that SVoD service Canalplay will cease operating in the coming weeks.

“It’s over for Canalplay. In the last two years, we have been taken off the map in this market which is surplanting television. We had a French Netflix, it was killed,” said Saada.

The platform has seen subscriber numbers plummet from 800,000 to just 200,000 today.

“We were deprived the possibility of exclusives for Canalplay when Netflix stepped into the market,” Saada added.

Giving the example of the upcoming launch of a Studiocanal channel in the US without local hits Versailles or The Bureau, Saada urged the French State to re-examine the production decrees in order to allow French TV groups to own the rights to the drama series they’re investing in.

“We [are bound by] a ball and chain when competing with hegemonic US players such as Netflix, which is recruiting 100,000 subscribers each month in France, and investing billion of dollars into content.”

Saada pleaded for French production players to be helped and protected by new, fairer rules. He suggested that tackling piracy could represent 500,000 new subscribers and an additional €40 million to invest into the country’s movie industry and sports rights.

On the fact that Canal+ lost the rights to the French Football Ligue 1 (to Spanish group Mediapro), Saada also put forward the question of rights sovereignty.

Soon Every Social Media Platform Will Look Like Every Other One

– by David Bloom

If this year’s VidCon is any guide, its very busy organizers will soon have a much less difficult time deciding which of the many social-media platforms it should feature in coming editions of the conference. At the rate things are going, all the sites will look alike anyway.

As it was, this year’s online influencer gathering featured tens of thousands of fans, dozens of panels and performances, and all the usual big platforms alongside newcomers such as LinkedIn and Twitch. Many platforms had news to tout, but too often, their “news” sounded very familiar.

Video? Check. Long-form video? Check. Disappearing posts? Messaging? Live Video? Monetization tools? Check, check, check. And yes, check.

Call it the Big Schmear. The “cream cheese” of content and services on your favorite big bagel of a social-media platform will soon be festooned with pretty much every ingredient that everyone else has on theirs. And if anyone comes up with a new idea, everyone else will be quick to take a bite, by buying or copying it.

Everyone Wants To Be Everyone Else

That creeping, slightly creepy convergence was a constant source of conversation among those I talked with throughout the show. We were all discussing the implications of recent news like:

– Instagram announced IGTV, a standalone (though tightly integrated) mobile app for video posts of up to an hour. The goal: to be more like YouTube, and because it’s a mobile-friendly vertical format, Snapchat.
– YouTube announced more and more widely available monetization tools for its creators, including merchandising, subscription memberships, and event ticketing. The goal: to be more like Twitch. Musical.Ly and others with plentiful ways for creators to cash in on their audiences. .
– Twitch owner Amazon debuted its Merch merchandise fulfillment service, and spotlighted licensed goodies from veteran online stars Hannah Hart and Shane Dawson. Amazon also sponsored an “industry lounge” on the show’s top floor that fed and watered many brand and online-video executives. The lounge showed off even more Amazon offerings, like Handmade, a product service that seems a lot like Etsy.
– Snapchat extended its Shows, short-form episodic videos used heretofore by big publishers, to creators such as makeup guru Patrick Starrr. Snapchat also will begin sharing ad revenue with its influencers. The goal: to be more influencer friendly, like YouTube and Instagram.
– Facebook launched FB.GG, which gathers the site’s game-related creators and content in one place. The goal: to be more like Twitch and Gaming.YouTube.

These are only the latest lurches toward feature convergence. Most notoriously, of course, Facebook and its various holdings have been shamelessly copying every useful bit of Snapchat. In a minor moment of karmic justice, the copying hasn’t forestalled the flight of teens from Facebook.

In the past couple of years, Facebook also launched Watch (to be more like YouTube and Netflix) and Live (to keep up with Twitch, YouNow, LiveMe and similar players). More recently, Facebook commissioned CNN, ABC News, and other traditional media sites to create Watch-specific news shows. This may be another Facebook copycat move, given the notable, if uneven, success of news outlets on Snapchat Discover.

I’m dubious about all these #IAlso initiatives. It doesn’t take much innovation to straight copy Snapchat Stories, especially when your version even uses the same name, as on Instagram. Conversely, fans haven’t punished Instagram, which announced that it now has 1 billion users, up 200 million just since last fall.

Does More Make You Better?

The bigger question, of course, is whether adding everyone else’s features makes your favorite platform any better, or any more of a destination, or for that matter, any better a place for an influencer to ply her trade, or to cut a deal with a brand.

Every successful platform to date was built on its own unique DNA, the user interface and mechanics that made it work for the audience it created and the influencers who rose to prominence there. Doing a Jurassic Park on that DNA, extracting and bolting on the features of another platform to create some bellowing hybrid beast, doesn’t automatically translate to new fans or a better experience for anybody.

Now admittedly, not everyone at VidCon was as concerned as I am. One panel of industry notables was asked, “do all the platforms have to evolve to do everything?” Maybe not, some said.

Ivana Kirkbride, GM of OTT for Verizon’s Oath unit, insisted that “every platform serves a specific purpose.” Even look-alike functions manifest in different ways on different platforms, she said. “Facebook Watch is a very different experience” from YouTube, Netflix, Snapchat, traditional TV or even whatever IG TV becomes.

I’m certainly willing to accord Kirkbride some deference, given her run as a top executive at YouTube and Vessel before taking over Verizon’s Go90 unit and now all of its over-the-top video initiatives.

And long-time media critic and journalism professor Jeff Jarvis suggested that we’re only beginning to see what’s possible with online video, as it transforms nearly every corner of the media business, bringing lots of opportunity for more features and engagement in the future.

Things Are Looking Good For Influencers, But Diversification Still Key
I do expect, however, that the coming convergence means a lot more work for influencers themselves, and probably far less clarity about where they should devote their efforts.

Late on Day 2, I slipped into a standing-room-only workshop on branded content featuring influencer Brent Rivera and WhoSay Executive VP of Talent Harvey Schwartz. The workshop detailed the kinds of clever cross-platform posting and marketing strategies that influencers and advertisers must use in an era where, as Schwartz put it, “organic reach is dead.”

The highly technical conversation was not for neophytes. But it reminded me how far the industry has come in just a few years. In a conference room far above the milling crowds of pre-pubescent fans on the first floor of the Anaheim Convention Center, two of online video’s more prominent members talked about the science of online influence.

read more here: tubefilter.com

Video On Instagram Goes Pro

Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo and video-sharing app, is going pro. Last week, the company launched IGTV, a new long-form video app, which will also be viewable inside the main Instagram app.

IGTV features much longer videos than those on the main app, with a heavy emphasis on ones from professional creators. As with Snapchat, the videos will be in the vertical format which is increasingly becoming the default on mobile.

Instagram has tremendous scale, but it saw room to grow in the video ad market.

It’s hard to ignore the opportunity. According to eMarketer, U.S. digital video ad spending will rise to $17.87 billion this year, up 22% from last year. It is expected to jump 19% again next year. Meanwhile, 181.7 million Americans will watch video on their smartphones at least once per month, up 6% from last year.

“Instagram’s new video hub is all about stealing mobile video views away from YouTube and Snapchat, while making Instagram the preferred choice for all creators,” Eric Lam, CEO of the influencer marketing platform Revfluence, tells Digital News Daily. “It’s in line with Facebook’s mission to be king of the hill on mobile video, especially given video’s unparalleled importance to brands today and the shift by younger audiences from Facebook to Instagram.”

Instagram itself is on an explosive growth streak, and the expansion into long-form video appears designed to keep that going. Per eMarketer, Instagram will generate $5.48 billion in U.S. ad revenue this year, up 70.4% from last year. It has nearly 105 million users, up 13% from last year.

That scale is very appealing to brands, influencers and professional video creators looking to reach that massive audience. A dedicated app for long-form premium content, combined with a vertical for that content in the main app, could provide new prime real estate for marketers looking for a brand-safe place to advertise on the mobile platform.

Of course, influencers, creators and brands should also be ready to jump to another platform should the need arise, Telaria CEO Mark Zagorski tells Digital News Daily.

read more here: mediapost.com

MTV TO PRODUCE SHOWS FOR STREAMING PLATFORMS

Viacom announced the launch of MTV Studios, a new unit that will develop new series for partners across SVOD and linear, with a focus on beloved shows, franchises and spin-offs that span MTV’s 35-year history.

MTV Studios’ initial slate includes a reimagined version of the feminist icon “Daria”; cult sci-fi hit “Aeon Flux”; groundbreaking reality series “The Real World”; and an update of the Emmy Award-winning coming of age unscripted series “Made.” The slate will also include two new titles including “The Valley” (working title) and “MTV’s Straight Up Ghosted.” Within this ecosystem, other brands follow this same strategy. Children’s channel Nickelodeon will produce for Netflix the new animated series “Pinky Malinky”.

In a blog post, the company said this branching out into third-party content production has been subtly underway for some time, both in the United States and abroad. Paramount Television, the production arm of Paramount Pictures, is producing “Jack Ryan”, which will debut in August in Amazon Prime, and has produced premium content like Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” and USA Network’s “Shooter”.

In May, Viacom International Studios (VIS) united the extensive production capabilities of wholly Viacom-owned Argentinian broadcaster Telefe and majority-owned Brazilian comedy brand Porta dos Fundos with Viacom’s Miami-based production operations, creating a multi-lingual machine that will develop, produce and distribute original content around the world. According to the company’s President and CEO Bob Bakish, “there is a lot of interest from SVOD partners in licensing library properties from MTV and Nickelodeon IP for brand-new interpretations”.

read more here: nextvnews.com

Cordless TV streamers prefer Amazon Prime Video to Netflix

New comScore data shows one-third of TV streamers are cordless. It also shows that cordless Amazon Video users watch 13% more than Netflix users. The difference is all in their content strategies.

Cord-cutter and cord-never differences

According to comScore, one-third of households streaming to the television are cordless. The other two-thirds have either cable, satellite, or telco pay TV services. The cordless group is broken into two broad categories: those that had pay TV and got rid of it (18%) and those that have never had pay TV (14%.)

The cord-cutter group primarily skews older than the cord-never group. The largest group of cord-cutters comes from the 35-44-year-olds, with 23%. 21% of cord-cutters are millennials (18-34-year-olds). Millennials dominate the cord-nevers. 24% of 18-34-year-old TV streamers have never had pay TV, versus 15% of 35-44-year-olds.

Cordless favor Hulu, YouTube

Hulu has the highest percentage of cordless subscribers of the top four online video services. Hulu subscribers make up almost half of those without pay TV. 41% of YouTube users are cordless, and 37% of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are cordless.

Cordless Hulu users also watch a lot more online video on their televisions. They watch, on average, 86 hours per month and stream to the TV 21.6 days per month. Cordless YouTube users watch 78 hours per month and stream to the TV 19.8 days a month. Surprisingly, Amazon Prime Video users best Netflix in engagement among the cordless users. Amazon users watch 70 hours and 19.8 days per month, Netflix users watch 62 hours and 18.6 days per month.

The comScore data could suggest that, though the cordless group rejects pay TV, they are not rejecting traditional television. They will continue to hear about great TV shows through the social and traditional media and around the water cooler. Moreover, when they hear about a great show, the place they are most likely to find it online is Hulu.

Why cordless Amazon users watch more than Netflix
Another interesting question is why those cordless TV streamers using Amazon watch significantly more (12%) than those using Netflix. This fact is particularly interesting given there is a large overlap between the two groups.

The viewing difference stems from the different content business models used by both companies. Amazon provides a far greater variety of content than Netflix because it resells other SVOD services through its Channels program. It also rents and sells movies through the Prime Video app. According to Ampere Analysis, consumers could access 26,000 distinct movie and TV show titles through Amazon Prime Video as of February 2017.*

read more here: nscreenmedia.com