YouTube extending free-to-web dominance to TV

YouTube is the undisputed king of free-ad-supported video online. Now it is extending its dominance to the connected television set, and could be replacing traditional free-to-air broadcasters in the process.

Cord-cutters love YouTube

New data from comScore shows there is still a strong appetite for free ad-support video. And that appetite gets stronger in cord-cutter households. comScore analyzed data from 870 cord-cutters in its panel of 12,500+ households. What it found, unsurprisingly, was that OTT video consumption is much higher in cord-cutter households than average. These households watch 60% more online video, which translates to an hour more per day than the average home.

The comScore data shows that cord-cutters watch 41% more video on Netflix than average, 45% more on Amazon, and 13% more on Hulu. However, the biggest difference is in YouTube viewing. Cord cutters spend 47% more time with YouTube than the average.

YouTube becoming more of a TV thing

Though YouTube says that more than 50% of viewing is from mobile devices, an increasing amount is being viewed on a television. Google claims that 2 out of 3 YouTube viewers watch at least some of the videos on the television. Given that 180 million people in the U.S. use YouTube, that implies 120 million watch YouTube on a television.

Many of those YouTube-on-TV viewers behave very much as regular TV viewers. Daily peak viewing occurs during primetime, and the most popular time in the week to watch is on the weekend.

It should be noted that viewing through all screens, not just the television, follows the established viewing patterns of regular television. Smartphone, tablet, PC, and connected TV viewing all show strong peaks in usage between 8 and 10 PM in the evening. However, it is the television that has by far the biggest peak at that time.

There is one big difference between watching on the TV and watching on a mobile device. YouTube-on-TV viewers are far more likely to be watching with someone else. Google says those watching on the TV screen are twice as likely to be watching with a friend as someone watching on mobile device.

Operators are helping YouTube reach the TV

Pay TV operators have noticed that their customers like to watch YouTube videos on their television. Some have already integrated the YouTube client into their set-top boxes, and with great success. For example, UPC in Hungary put YouTube on its STBs. Soon after the release, the company found that 72% of its video customers were watching YouTube for an astonishing 45 minutes per viewing session.

Acceding to the trend, even operators like Comcast are getting onboard the YouTube train. The cable giant announced that it will also add the YouTube client to its X1 set-top boxes.

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Video to form three-quarters of mobile traffic by 2022

An average of over a million broadband subscribers a day will be added from now until 2022, with video being the driving force of this growth, accounting for 75% of all mobile data traffic by then, says the latest Ericsson Mobility Report.

The report, an analysis of mobile data traffic, is designed to provide in-depth measurements from live networks spread around the globe. Fundamentally the report calculates that by 2022 global mobile data traffic will increase to eight times its current level. This, says Ericsson, is the equivalent of the population of Spain streaming HD video 24 hours per day for a month or a single subscriber streaming HD video continuously for 3.55 million years, or 31 billion hours of continuous HD video streaming.

Mobile video traffic is forecast to grow by around 50% annually through 2022, while social networking is expected to grow by 38% annually over the next six years. However, the latter’s relative share of traffic will decline from 13% in 2016 to around 11% in 2022 as a result of the stronger growth in video. Additionally, the use of embedded video in social media and Web pages continues to grow, fuelled by larger device screens, higher resolution and new platforms supporting live streaming. Ericsson’s study regards embedded video in social media and Web pages as video traffic in the forecast and network measurements.

Examining the different types of devices used to consume mobile video, the report found that the emergence of new applications can shift the relative volumes of different types of traffic, and the proliferation of different sized smart devices will also affect the traffic mix; for example, tablets are associated with a higher share of video traffic than smartphones. Typically, smartphones are used more than tablets for watching short video content, but tablets are used more for watching longer video content.

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Cord-cutters consuming 60% more OTT content than other viewers

The bad news for the established TV industry is that cord-cutting is carrying on apace, but in a crumb of comfort it appears that such people are not turning their back on TV and video per se, just how it is offered to them.

An analysis by comScore looking at the over-the-top (OTT) viewing habits of US households found that the average OTT viewing home spends 49 hours a month viewing OTT content, while cord-cutter homes consume 79 hours of OTT content a month, roughly 2.5 hours per day and 60% more than the average. By comparison, the average US household watched 225 hours of traditional linear TV content.

Looking to find who the cord-cutters may be, the survey found that they are more likely to have annual incomes of $75,000 or less, and the lower the income, the more likely they are to be a cord-cutter. Homes with annual incomes of $60,000 to $75,000 are 8% more likely to be cord-cutters compared to the average OTT viewing Wi-Fi enabled home. Homes with income between $40,000 and $60,000, were 14% more likely, while those homes with less than $40,000 annual income were 20% more likely. The homes least likely to cut the cord are homes with incomes between $75,000 and $150,000.

Mike Rich, VP, emerging products at comScore, suggested that these cord-cutting households seem to have less of an overall appetite for television content, which may explain their decision to cut the cord. “Without pay-TV competing for their attention, cord-cutters do tend to watch quite a bit more OTT content,” he explained. “They spend 41% more time on Netflix, 47% more time on YouTube, 45% more time on Amazon Video, and 13% more time on Hulu compared with the average OTT viewer.”

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Global pay-TV subscribers total 969MN in 2016

A study from Digital TV Research has found that 2016 saw an estimated 254 million additional pay-TV subscribers between 2010 and 2016, an increase of 35%, to take the global total to 969 million.

The Global Pay TV Subscriber Databook found that digital cable TV created the most additions by platform – at 256 million between 2010 and 2016 just as analogue cable TV lost 218 million, dampening overall cable gains. There were 76 million extra subs for IPTV to nearly quintuple its total. Satellite TV added 77 million subs and pay-DTT five million. The survey also showed that excluding analogue cable TV, the digital pay-TV market rocketed from 380 million subscribers in 2010 onto 852 million at end-2016.

Looking at regions, the survey found that pay-TV subscriber counts doubled in 53 countries between 2010 and 2016. The Asia Pacific was the world’s largest pay-TV subscriber region, contributing three-fifths to the global total. China supplies about a third of the world’s pay-TV subscribers, with 313 million by end-2016. However, the research also noted that pay-TV subscriber numbers fell in nine countries, with the US down by 4.4 million and Italy by 2.3 million.

Google’s new adblocker. Here’s what’s really going on.

GOOGLE, a data mining and extraction company that sells personal information to advertisers, has hit upon a neat idea to consolidate its already-dominant business: block competitors from appearing on its platforms.

The company announced that it would establish an ad blocker for the Chrome web browser, which has become the most popular in America, employed by nearly half of the nation’s web users. The ad blocker — which Google is calling a “filter” — would roll out next year, and would be the default setting for Chrome when fully functional. In other words, the normal user sparking up their Chrome browser simply wouldn’t see the ads blocked by the system.

What ads would get blocked? The ones not sold by Google, for the most part.

The Chrome ad blocker would stop ads that provide a “frustrating experience,” according to Google’s blog post announcing the change. The ads blocked would match the standards produced by the Coalition for Better Ads, an ostensibly third-party group. For sure, the ads that would get blocked are intrusive: auto-players with sound, countdown ads that make you wait 10 seconds to get to the site, large “sticky” ads that remain constant even when you scroll down the page.

But who’s part of the Coalition for Better Ads? Google, for one, as well as Facebook. Those two companies accounted for 99 percent of all digital ad revenue growth in the United States last year, and 77 percent of gross ad spending. As Mark Patterson of Fordham University explained, the Coalition for Better Ads is “a cartel orchestrated by Google.”

So this is a way for Google to crush its few remaining competitors by pre-installing an ad zapper that it controls to the most common web browser. That’s a great way for a monopoly to remain a monopoly.

There’s more to the story, however. The real goal for Google appears to be not just blocking ads sold by other digital suppliers besides Google, but to undermine third-party ad blockers, which stop Google ads along with everyone else’s.

According to the Financial Times, Google will allow publishers what it’s calling “Funding Choices.” The publisher could charge the consumer a set price per page view to use third-party sites that block all advertising. Google would do the tracking of how many pages users view, and then charge them. Users could then “white list” particular sites, allowing ads to be shown on them and removing the charge. If users decided to pay to block ads, Google would receive a portion of that payment, sharing it with the publisher.

Web users will quickly recognize their only options: pay to use the internet, or uninstall the ad blockers and surf the web for free. At least 11 percent of all web users, and perhaps as many as 26 percent of all desktop users, have third-party ad blockers on their devices, a number that will likely grow in the next few years. But it’s easy to see how Google’s policy would depress ad blocker usage — except for the case of Google’s ad blocker, which creates preferences for Google’s own ads.

Google has already been found to have paid off ad blockers to keep its own ads intact. But this new policy creates an internet landscape where Google ensures viewing of its own ads, to the relative disadvantage of competitors.

Senior Vice President of Google Sridhar Ramaswamy describes the concept as a way to support internet websites and users alike, by making online ads less annoying and helping to “maintain a sustainable web for everyone.” It’s hard to build a coalition in favor of annoying ads. And publishers would be guaranteed a revenue stream, either through charging consumers for an ad-free experience, or from the ads themselves. So the policy aligns the interests of virtually everyone on the web content side.

Improving Google’s bottom line and crushing anyone who tries to compete is just a nice side benefit.

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Comey Coverage Comes With Plenty Of Spin

The extensive coverage of former FBI Director James Comey’s Senate testimony gave Americans time to pause and focus on the slowly unfolding story about President Donald Trump and Russian involvement in the presidential campaign. But there was no rest for partisan spinners.

Broadcast networks cast aside regular schedules for three or four hours. So did cable news networks, bracketing Comey’s first public appearance since being fired by Trump with hours of their own talk. His plain-spoken answers to questions from alternating Democratic and Republican senators offered quotes for each side to latch on to.

Depending on which camp you’re in, you could say that Comey totally condemned President Trump today, or you could say the president was exonerated by Comey,” commentator Dana Perino said on Fox News Channel. “The thing is, this was just another log on the fire, because America is going to continue to push forward on this.”

Television commentators did not break in to Comey’s testimony, but through headlines put onscreen — called chyrons — they were able to choose often contradictory points of emphasis. That was the case when Comey talked about Trump’s discussion with him about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

On Fox, for example, a chyron read, “Comey: President did not order me to let Flynn probe go.” On CNN, the message read “Comey: I took Trump’s request about Flynn as a directive.”

Chyrons on Fox, where Trump fans dominate the audience, often emphasized news favorable to the president. “Comey: Not for me to say if Trump obstructed,” read one headline. “Comey: Nobody asked me to stop Russian probe,” was another.

Other networks were more likely to highlight testimony where Comey said Trump lied, or he didn’t trust his word. “Comey: Trump lied about reasons for firing,” was one chyron on MSNBC. “Comey: Trump administration lied about me and FBI,” was on CNN.

Evidence of the fierceness of the political battle came in the bits and pieces of Comey’s testimony emphasized on different outlets and social media accounts. This was particularly true when Comey said that he leaked contents of a memo about his conversation with Trump to The New York Times through a friend, later identified as Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman. Comey wanted to get his account out, perhaps encouraging the appointment of a special counsel.

“This whole thing is a giant nothing-burger,” the conservative website Breitbart News wrote as Comey talked, “except for Comey implicating himself as a leaker.”

On the liberal site Talking Points Memo, the same detail was hailed as evidence of “how Comey outflanked Trump.”

For those who paid close attention, that wasn’t entirely new. The Times, in a May 16 story, noted that one of Comey’s associates read parts of the memo to a Times reporter.

Comey took the Times and other media outlets to task, however, testifying that “there have been many, many stories about Russia … that are dead wrong.” Prodded specifically by Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, Comey also said that much of a Feb. 14 story in the Times about Trump campaign aides repeatedly being in contact with Russian intelligence agents was incorrect.

The Times, through a spokeswoman, said it had reviewed the story in question and found no evidence that the reporting was inaccurate. Subsequent reporting by the Times and other media outlets have verified the reporting, she said.

read more here: – Streaming service focused on Stand-Up Comedy is a streaming platform launched last summer that focuses solely on comedy, which makes sense given the name. The site offers every type of comedy one could be looking for, with the spotlight shining bright on all things stand-up. Users can search by name, album, or by stations, which are broken up into a number of different categories, including genre (such as “popular,” “raunchy” or “urban”) or what appears to be topic (like “doctors and nurses” or “cops”).

As they are listening (and laughing, hopefully), users can give the track playing a smiley face or a frowny face, which will help the program suggest what comes next, a trick borrowed from internet radio giant Pandora. Stand-up comedy does exist on the more popular streaming platforms which make their money in music, such as Pandora, Spotify and so on, but it isn’t a focus. In fact, it is often hidden, and the majority of listeners likely doesn’t even realize that it’s an option available to them.

The platform is a relatively simple one in terms of design and offerings, at least upon first glance, but there is plenty to keep listeners entertained for a long time to come. The site features content from headliners—George Lopez, Aziz Ansari, Kevin Hart and Dane Cook are just a few of the names that were shown to me immediately after signing up—but clearly wants to promote up-and-comers as well. It’s incredibly easy to find comedians never heard of or those just getting started, and the stations seem geared towards mixing in some new talent in between better.

Perhaps one of the most interesting revenue sources has come up with is in pairing up comedians and brands for audio ads. Brands pay comedians—usually those looking for a way to make a living from their jokes, rather than ones who are already stars—to write and record audio ads, which are used on and elsewhere. The spots are funny, far more entertaining than a traditional smoke radio advertisement and it benefits both parties, as well as the streaming platform behind it.

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Ariana Grande Benefit Concert clocks 79 million views

Ariana Grande’s One Love Manchester benefit concert drummed up massive viewership on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter over the weekend. The event, which served to commemorate and raise money for the families of the 22 victims who were tragically killed in a terrorist attack at Grande’s Manchester tour stop last month, clocked 79 million total views on Facebook, the company said.

In addition to more than 2.6 million reactions, 775,000 shares, and 380,000 comments, Facebook Live said that its stream — unlike those of YouTube and Twitter — enabled fans to use its Donate button to give directly to the One Love Manchester Fund. Using this tool, Facebook helped raise $450,600 from 22,700 donors — and counting — for the cause. All told, organizers of the event said they raised $2.9 million for the fund during the live broadcast.

“All the donations will be directed to the One Love Manchester Fund and will benefit charities that help victims of terror worldwide,” wrote Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in a post expressing her sympathy for the victims and gratitude for the Facebook community’s support in the wake of the harrowing incident. “While the concert came out of a tragedy, it’s a beautiful example of how people can come together during the darkest times and prove love wins over hate — always.”

YouTube’s stream of the three-hour-long event on Grande’s Vevo channel, meanwhile, totaled 11 million views — though videos from individual performances posted to the BBC Music channel have also racked up millions of views apiece. The most popular is Grande’s duet with Miley Cyrus of Don’t Dream It’s Over, which has 7 million views.

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NBC creates pop-up websites to try out content

NBC News wanted to mix up its news coverage to include more “near news”: content someone reads after they get their fix of breaking news and politics – or as a relief from it.

Two pop-up sites, future-oriented “Mach” and self-improvement site “Better,”officially launched May 31 with a fresh web design to test the content and ad experience with NBC News’ audiences.

NBC News’ strategy to create content aligned with passion has been popular among publishers lately. HuffPost created content for introverts, for example, and distributed to its social followers. Mic launched nine new content channels in March tailored to micro-interests.

“Publishers have an opportunity to tap into passion points with content that small sections of a broader audience can attach themselves to from an identity and interest perspective,” said NBC News executive editor Ashley Parrish. “Writing about tech and innovation as a siloed vertical allows us the resources build out a separate team and for editors to hone in on topics.”

NBC News chose to create content around technology and wellness because those areas historically performed well with its audience. Readers trusted NBC News to report on those topics, Parrish said. Mach started out as a subsection on the NBC News website in November, and Better joined in March, before getting a completely new look last week.

Since the beginning of the year, traffic on Mach grew 100%, making it the fastest-growing section across all of NBC News. Better, which started creating content in March, has grown 60% since launch.

After making the sites look as clean as possible within the existing design, NBC News product head Moritz Gimbel created a new design for the sites. To speed up the process,the internal team collaborated with outside agency Code & Theory.

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Global SVOD’s assault on cultural identity

At the Future TV Conference in Copenhagen, delegates wrestled with strategies to compete with global video providers such as Netflix. However, underlying these discussions was a deeper concern: global SVOD’s impact on the cultural identity of the country.

Denmark’s youth leaving TV behind

Just as in the US and UK, Danish kids are spending increasing time with streaming services, and much less time watching regular TV. 15-29-year-olds halved their daily TV viewing between 2011 and 2016, going from just over 3 hours to just under 1.5 hours.

This dramatic decline has been accompanied by strong growth in the use of streaming services, and particularly U.S. based Netflix and YouTube. Between 2014 and 2016, the number of 7-12-years-olds using YouTube daily increased from 38% to 70%. Netflix daily users almost double over the same period, from 13% to 25%.

At the same time, traditional television brands lost their luster. Kids using DR Ultra daily fell from 28% to 22%. Disney channels suffered even more, falling from 36% to 24%.

When asking Danes which video service they would miss the most, the divide between young and old becomes stark. Those in the age range 3-to-39-years strongly favor Netflix and YouTube over traditional television channels. 20% said they would miss Netflix the most, 18% opted for YouTube. Only 6% of 40-59-year-olds said the same.

Conversely, just 16% of the under-39s said that they would miss DR TV channels the most. Whereas for older Danes these channels remain a vital ingredient of their entertainment diet, with 35% saying they would miss them the most.

Children’s habits are set for life

There is a growing realization that the young, and specifically today’s children growing up in the connected-screen era, are unlikely to return to traditional television. These children simply don’t understand the concept of having to wait for anything that they want to watch. DR, the public broadcaster in Denmark, put it this way:

“It is impossible to imagine that the present generation of children – when they become adults – will give away the control, make themselves comfortable in the sofa and wait for their favourite programme to be scheduled on a traditional TV channel.”

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