Netflix in top 4 ‘must-keep’ viewing options

Scandal’s Olivia Pope had better watch her back, because House of Cards’ Frank Underwood is coming for her, warns consultancy firm Solutions Research Group, noting that ‘must-see’ TV is giving way to ‘much-stream’ TV, with Americans increasingly likely to name streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video among their most valued entertainment options.

These services reshaped Solutions Research Group’s 10th annual Must Keep TV Report, which interviews American consumers about which TV channels and services they regard as a must-have in their households.

Netflix ranks fourth overall in its first appearance in the study. It finished behind ABC, CBS and NBC but ahead of FOX. This is the first time in the study’s 10-year history that the Big Four networks failed to occupy the top four spots, with Netflix’s emergence pushing FOX into fifth place. Rounding out the top 10 are ESPN, HBO, Discovery, PBS and CW.

History came in at #11 this year, followed by AMC at #12, unchanged from last year. HGTV is the momentum brand of the year, coming in at #13, up six spots from #19 in 2016.

The three largest streaming brands – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu – were included in the tracking for the first time in 2017. They performed extremely well as a group, all landing in the top 25 for the full 12+ population, coming in at #4 (Netflix), #14 (Amazon Prime Video) and #22 (Hulu).

The top two news cable channels appear stronger than ever in terms of viewer engagement. CNN came in at #15 overall, neck-and-neck with FOX News at #16. The two rivals have been this close together only once in the study’s 10-year history, in 2008 – when CNN was ranked #14 overall and FOX News came in at #18.

CNN is the clear choice among Americans under 50, coming in as the #15 ‘must keep’ TV brand among 18-49, far ahead of FOX News at #28. Among affluent households – those with income of over $100,000 – FOX News is seen as slightly more important, ranking #8, compared to CNN at #12.

Sports cable channels continue to perform well among men 18-49: ESPN is #5 overall, and the #1 cable channel in this demographic for the 10th straight year. Fox Sports 1 and ESPN 2 are ranked #20 and #25 respectively, similar to their previous positions. Fox Sports 2 dipped slightly in the past year, while NBC Sports is up slightly.

More US households now have a streaming service than a DVR, which means that digital-era services will continue to grow in importance, particularly among younger Americans.

The three streaming brands included in the study all ranked highly among 18-34s, with Netflix and Hulu in the Top 10: Netflix claimed the top spot while Hulu came in at #9. Amazon Prime Video was a hair outside the Top 10, coming in at #11.

Network and general cable brands with momentum in the younger demographic this year include: NBC, CW, FX, HGTV, History and Travel.

With ABC, CBS, and NBC ranking #1, #2, and #3 respectively, Netflix elbows its way in at #4, with FOX rounding out the top 5 ranking for Women 25-54.

Amazon Prime Video debuts at #8 for this demographic, putting two streaming services in the top 10 and speaking to the importance of being able to access entertainment on their own schedule.

Movers gaining top 10 status this year include CW at #7 (its first time in the top 10), HGTV (#9, its second time in the top 10 in the past 10 years) and ESPN. Hallmark Channel broke into the top 20 for the first time since tracking began in 2007, and is now ranked #19 among Women 25-54, its best showing since 2007.

In 2017, 72 per cent of those interviewed included at least one of the big four networks (one or more of ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX) on their ‘must keep’ channel list. While that is still a strong majority, it represents an 11-point drop from the historic high of 83 per cent in 2007.

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Facebook Begins Rolling Out Ads Within Messenger

Facebook is ready to bring ads to new territory: Messenger.

Starting today, the social network is starting to roll out display formats within the previously ad-free app, giving brands a way to be front and center for Messenger’s 1.2 billion users, while also giving Facebook a new place to continue scaling its massive advertising business.

While the ads have been tested in Thailand and Australia since earlier this year, Facebook is now planning to expanding the beta globally, allowing advertisers to access inventory for existing and new campaigns.

According to Facebook product manager Ted Helwick, the ads will appear in the Home tab—the same place where the company has been testing them internationally since January–which a small number of users will begin seeing over the next few weeks.

“This is immediately scalable and applicable for people,” he told Adweek. “And separately we view this as a number of ways we help businesses drive outcomes with people through messenger.”

Given that Messenger has 1.2 billion users, the move points to where Facebook could be heading as it looks for more places to show ads rather than bogging down existing placements. That could be good news for investors—over the past couple of financial quarters, executives have warned that ad load is expected to slow.

Facebook’s existing advertising business is massive. The company isn’t scheduled to report second quarter revenue until later this month. However, ad revenue in the first quarter of 2017 was $7.86 billion, up 51 percent year over year. (Last week, James Cakmak, an analyst with the firm Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co., estimated Facebook’s second-quarter ad revenue could be up 43.1 percent to total $8.93 billion.)

Asked if Facebook plans to begin reading messages between users for better targeting—much like Google has done for years with Gmail—Helwick said it doesn’t plan on it. Rather, Messenger ads will have the same targeting capabilities available across other Facebook properties such as the newsfeed and Instagram.

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All You Need To Know About In-App Advertising

Smartphones and other connected devices are not only totally ubiquitous, but they are now easily the most used accessory (even more than watches and jewelry) for both men and women. And while there is enough talk about gadget detox, let’s face it – these devices have changed our lives forever and become our office and our assistant at the same time – besides, of course, being our entertainment device, our wallet, our fitness coach among others. And yes, they are the primary communications device that we now use.

In this smart phone era, businesses have built a fortune – trying to solve our problems, make our lives easier, entertaining us and making us smarter – all by creating these wonderful apps. The business models vary for all these developers and publishers – ranging from pure brand engagements based apps, paid apps (one time and subscription), in-app purchases and ad-supported apps. With hundreds of millions of Indians getting into the connected world via these app ecosystems on their affordable android smart phones, the advertising based model (i.e. based on in-application advertising) represents the largest opportunity in the Indian market for the next few years at least. Whether its messaging, ticketing, entertainment and gaming or shopping, in-application advertising is being integrated with these applications as consumers spend more and more of their time on their favorite accessory. All stats and data points put the In-app advertising market at well over 80% of total mobile advertising ad-spend and it’s the only thing that brands, advertisers and agencies are chasing today.

Traditionally mobile game apps have used in-app advertising very effectively. Providing basic features for free (read ad-supported) and then allowing users the option of in-app purchases for premium content has worked well in the aforementioned spaces. Free usage allows a large adoption, gets users hooked on products and the usual value exchange is the data (information) that the user passes to the publisher – basis which such user is targeted for relevant ads. Google (via Youtube & other products) & Facebook (and more recently Instagram) have built huge revenue models on this business model.

VOD Players eyeing a slice of the pie

1. The 4 pre-requisites to a successful in-app advertising model are

2. Large number of users (daily and monthly)

3. User data & info – that enables targeting

4. Very high engagement and time spent

And as a top-up – Exclusive IP or unique engagement model that allows brands to connect with the user base in a deeper way

The sceptics will say that the market is dominated by the top 2 global internet giants as of now and they have the benefit of the enormous data / information they have at their behest. That is true. But something changed a few months ago – with the launch of JIO and the changes that played out post that – India jumped from being 150th in broadband penetration (in early 2016) to no 1 mobile data user in the world!!! As per Industry reports, the monthly mobile data consumption on Jio’s network was 1 billion GB which is 1.5X of China or the same as US. And in the next two years it is expected to double to become 1.5X China and US put together as per some estimates and reports. And then there are the other telcos too, who will control the balance market.

The number one beneficiary (from this explosion) is going to be the Online Video business – which is expected to account for 50-60% share of this online data usage. And we are not even talking about fixed line high speed broadband in your houses, which will power your set top boxes, wifi routers and smart TVs. That’s another top up on this already humongous opportunity. And that is the reason why you see the explosion of the number of online video destinations in the last 12 months.

Now, the above will lead to growth in all kinds of video monetization – subscription, transaction, but most of all it will be advertising. And when it comes to Video – and engaging video that allows users to consume large volumes of content on their devices – the key is great content. And that is where the party is just beginning for content creators and premium IP owners.

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VC Video Investments Go Over The Top

Although early video investments (and acquisitions) were focused on the desktop, a new influx of funding is pivoting to channels like over-the-top TV.

In the span of three months, more than $150 million in VC funding has been injected into startups capitalizing on the demand for new video content – and addressing the challenges of monetizing it all.

In June alone, smart-TV data platform Samba TV raised $30 million, Conviva raised $40 million and sports-focused streaming service FuboTV banked $55 million.

Before that, the ad-supported streaming video service TubiTV snagged $20 million in May while Mux, a video analytics platform for publishers, raised $9 million in April.

Foundation Capital, an early investor in TubeMogul, which was acquired by Adobe for $540 million, later invested in Conviva. The startup analyzes OTT viewing patterns and makes sense of the metadata for media companies like HBO and Sky.

And investors say it’s only the early innings in the next wave of video innovation.

“With increasing adoption and advancements in new platforms like mobile and VR, we expect OTT digital video revenue to double by 2020,” said Ashu Garg, general partner at Foundation Capital. “Right now, there is no easy, affordable and efficient way for brands to purchase ad space and capture analytics across multiple channels.”

Investors typically look for categories undergoing digital transformation when deciding where to place their bets.

“VCs are looking for markets ripe for heavy disruption and where there will be players addressing the needs of the end consumer,” said Farhad Massoudi, CEO of Tubi TV. “I think it’s pretty clear that TV, which is a massive market at about $70 billion just in the US, is one of them.”

Although industry observers have long predicted linear TV dollars would eventually move to digital en masse, OTT may be the first big beneficiary.

“We’ve been talking about TV dollars’ shift to digital for decades, but since TV spend isn’t [as effective when] ratings are down, more money is being left on the table,” Massoudi said. “Brands still want to communicate with their consumers with premium video advertising, but need a more efficient way to do it.”

While video platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now and Amazon have popularized OTT subscription models with consumers, advertising hasn’t kept up with demand.

And many recent video investments aim to address that gap in the market.

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How Data Is Disrupting TV Tune-In Marketing

In the past, large linear audiences weren’t always addressable, and TV tune-in marketing was more “spray-and-pray” than precise. But TV tune-in, that mainstay of traditional linear promotion, is getting a data-driven boost.

As linear ratings decline and consumers trend toward time-shifted content and new distribution points like mobile and over-the-top, marketers have more data at their disposal to advertise new episodes and series.

And the more data a network has, the deeper the insights it can glean.

“Recently, we’ve not only been asked to figure out why people tune in, but when people tuned out and why,” said Ryan King, managing director of research at Samba TV, a smart TV data and analytics platform. “We’re looking at second-by-second data to determine where there was drop-off.”

Cracking Cross-Platform

To get a more comprehensive measure of audience tune-in across platforms, Samba TV works with clients to combine multiple data sets, including set-top box data, Samba’s device map, content IDs and attitudinal data from partners like Millward Brown.

With all of that in the mix, Samba is able to work around the standard C3 or C7 TV measurement window, which doesn’t factor in viewing that happens more than a week after a program’s original air date.

On-demand viewing can happen for a very long time after a show premieres and as new fans accrue throughout the season, said Sandy Padula, SVP of research and consumer insight for TBS and TNT.

“So understanding how platforms work together is critical to driving tune-in,” she said.

Turner-owned network TNT used Samba to determine the effect of ad exposures related to the season premiere of its show “Animal Kingdom” across multiple platforms, including linear, VOD, digital video and social, and then measured the conversion of those exposures into actual tune-in.

“We were really focused on bringing in new viewers to TNT who may not be expecting that type of content on TNT or maybe had just not been exposed to TNT’s original content at all,” Padula said.

Turner also uses TV tune-in measurement – along with a dash of social sentiment analysis – for basic attribution purposes, like determining whether an addressable, local cable or national TV buy resulted in the most tune-in.

“What we started to see 10 days after the premiere of the show was a lot more conversation happening organically and outside of our program talent’s large social footprints,” Padula said. “We’re looking at how we harness those new conversations for later in the season and asking things like, if you’ve been exposed to TNT’s content before, does that convert into tune-in for a new season?”

Frequency > Reach

Getting more granular with TV tune-in also helped Turner get smarter with its message frequency.

Because consumers are bombarded with so many brand messages, fatigue can easily set in, which is why networks are trying to be more conscientious when it comes to their message cadence by doubling down on creative – and CRM data.

“Whereas in the past you might have tapped out on your frequency in one channel and saw a negative impact, we’re becoming more strategic about ensuring we have the right frequency,” Padula said.

For instance, a network historically may have heavied up on tune-in promotions in the days leading up to a season premiere or finale. But now it’s more likely to consider who is viewing its tune-in campaigns beyond the initial air date of a program – and in what channel.

Turner found that by increasing frequency through “off-channel” buys toward male-skewing networks such as FX, USA and AMC, it had a positive effect on tune-in for TNT.

Audience has also significant impact on ultimate tune-in, which is where CRM and first-party data come into the equation.

“Our most loyal user may be hit 25 times with a tune-in promo, but they’re seeing messages about the shows they want to watch and they’re not being turned off,” Padula said.

On the flip side, to expose more people to its programming – and acquire more loyal fans – TNT must limit messages to its new viewers.

Whereas tune-in used to be all about amassing the most reach, it’s “transformed into a game of managing frequency,” said Craig Woerz, managing partner and owner of agency Media Storm, which works with a number of tune-in clients.

Although TV tune-in measurement is still what Woerz calls a “Wild West of unpredictability,” he says more networks and marketers (and their agencies) need to go well beyond basic GRP planning by modeling out audiences in aggregate – and by augmenting data to validate them.

“Shows are not made for everyone, yet buying based on an 18-49 demo says they’re for everyone,” Woerz said. “We know rarified dramas and reality shows are not for everyone, so why market them like they’re for everyone?”

Media Storm reverses that process by integrating data at a micro level and reducing its reliance on standard demos.
“[We’re] looking at the science and math behind audience aggregation,” Woerz said. “Now we have models for tune-in that start with on-air, but that increase [spend] when necessary [across] smart TVs, web, tablets and mobile.”

A Page Out Of The Mobile Marketing Playbook

OTT also is disrupting TV tune-in as marketers get more performance-driven with their approach.

Because platforms like Roku are a hybrid between traditional TV and in-app environments, they’re pushing the boundaries on what’s possible with tune-in promotions.

“If you look ahead into the future, TV will be much more on-demand and more of it will be going over-the-top,” said Scott Rosenberg, SVP of advertising for Roku. “The network’s task will not just be driving audience to its linear channel, but to on-demand channels. Tune-in needs to evolve as an art and science.”

A holistic tune-in campaign across OTT and linear borrows greatly from the mobile marketing toolkit.

Just like a mobile game publisher aims to generate app downloads on a phone, a player in the streaming space like Roku needs to drive OTT app installs and generate new subscriptions and trials.

The result is a “hybrid of TV tune-in and app marketing,” Rosenberg said.

“When we started the business, most audience development was more run of network, [as in] ‘Let’s go get more installs or subscribers,’” he said. “Now, the majority of our audience development promotions are targeted.”

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OTT viewers watch more Netflix than Amazon, YouTube and Hulu combined

Netflix continues to loom large over the OTT video market and new numbers show that’s translating to an overwhelming command over total U.S. OTT viewing hours.

According to ComScore, Netflix accounts for 40% of all U.S. OTT viewing hours. That’s good enough to account for more than Amazon’s (7%), YouTube’s (18%) and Hulu’s (14%) shares combined.

While Netflix leads the pack in terms of penetration in Wi-Fi households at around 40%, Hulu is leading the charge in terms of average viewing hours per month per household at close to 30.

Hulu is also leading the top four video services in terms of engagement with viewers. Typical Hulu households average 2.9 hours of viewing per day, while Netflix averages 2.2, Amazon averages 2, and YouTube, somewhat surprisingly, averages 2.1.

ComScore said the increase in YouTube’s engagement times can likely be attributed to the service’s transition over time toward including more long-form content.

While other SVODs are outpacing Netflix in engagement times among viewers, Netflix is still likely out front in terms of the popularity of its original series.

Demand for Netflix originals is on average 8 times higher than that for Amazon’s originals, according to a study by Parrot Analytics released earlier this year.

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Apps Will be Dead in 5 Years.

One big issue was hanging over this year’s Web Summit, it’s the sudden decline of apps, which casts a cloud over the optimistic pitches that tech companies like to tout with every mobile release.

As Recode reported, the average American smartphone user now downloads zero new apps each month. New apps aren’t the only ones taking a hit. Downloads of the 15 most popular apps are down 20 percent year over year as well.

However, apps in developing markets have avoided such a fate. India’s Hike Messenger, for instance, has grown to 100 million users over the past few years, and over 90 percent of its users fall between the ages of 15 and 24. It’s the messaging world’s latest unicorn, valued at $1.4 billion after a recent $175 million venture round led by Chinese digital giant Tencent.

“All apps will be dead in five years.”

At the helm of Hike is 28-year-old Kavin Bharti Mittal—the son of Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises and the 13th richest man in the world. During an interview with me on stage at Web Summit, Bharti made a surprising prediction about the global app ecosystem: “All apps will be dead in five years.”

Mittal sees apps as a fragmented system that’s quickly going out of style. “The most natural way to interact [with a brand] is like this, just as we are now,” he said.

It’s Friday, November 2, 2018. You’ve just walked into your kitchen after a long week. “Play Etta James,” you say. “At Last” starts playing throughout the house. Your phone vibrates in your pocket; a notification on the screen reads “Return flight to Toronto now £220 per person. Book?” You type “Yes” and confirm your identity using the phone’s thumbprint reader. You open the kitchen cupboard and scan for ingredients to cook before returning to your phone and entering two emoji: pizza, wine. Twenty minutes later, the doorbell rings.

Think of the last interaction you had with a software application. You likely used a mouse, keyboard or touchscreen to navigate a series of options to complete a task. In doing so you were forced to follow the rules of software laid down more than 30 years ago; it is the software that dictates the rules of engagement, not you. Now, thanks to bots, those rules are changing.

In other words, instead of using different apps to do different things, we’ll simply start interacting with our favorite companies through a central messaging system that allows us to conversationally ask for what we want.

This forecast jives with Facebook’s plans for Messenger, which could transform e-commerce through “social commerce” that lets consumers make purchases with a more natural approach (think: “Send me three more shirts like the one I just bought”) rather than laboring through an arduous online checkout. Companies like KLM Airlines have already run successful e-commerce trials through Messenger. In China, Tencent’s WeChat has become a replacement for the entire web, allowing users to shop, order food, and hail ride shares.

Before long, the cliché “There’s an app for that” may soon be succeeded by a different retort: “That’s so 2016.”

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Two of the world’s biggest advertisers are cutting back on their digital ad spend

Procter & Gamble and Unilever have both aggressively pushed for more transparency in the murky digital media landscape in recent years, even threatening to pull back on digital spending unless the system is cleaned up. And now, it seems like the world’s biggest advertisers are putting their money where their mouths are.

Both P&G and Unilever appear to have pulled back on their digital spending, materially reducing their budgets as well as the number of sites they buy on. According to estimates from MediaRadar, a New York-based advertising intelligence company, P&G’s ad spend dropped 41% year-over-year, while Unilever’s dropped 59%.

While P&G ran ads on 1,459 sites between January and May 2016, that number dropped to 978 sites in the same period in 2017-a decline of 33% in sites featuring P&G ads year-over-year. Unilever, on the other hand, advertised on 606 sites between January and May 2016, which fell to 540 sites in 2017, representing an 11% drop in websites featuring Unilever ads. P&G and Unilever do not break down their digital ad spend publicly.

In terms of spend, P&G ran ads on 712 of the same websites between 2016 and 2017, including Yahoo News, BuzzFeed and Reuters, among others. But it reduced spend on 560 of them, according to MediaRadar, a 79% drop in spending from 2016. Unilever ran ads on 268 of the same sites year-over-year, including NBC News, Health and Time. But it reduced the spend by 57% on 155 of those sites.

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Global TV subscriber growth stalls

Despite gaining 3.46 million subscribers between them in the first quarter of 2017, the leading global TV services only increased their bases by 0.79%, comparing badly to the 6.9 million for the same period of 2016 (up 1.68%), according to informitv.

In the latest edition of its Multiscreen Index, examining the 100-leading multichannel television and video services that collectively account for around 430 million subscribing homes worldwide, the analyst identified modest gains in all regions. The Americas were up by 0.85 million; Europe, Middle East and Africa up by 0.21 million; and Asia Pacific gained 2.39 million subscribers. “Figures for the first quarter show the lowest rate of worldwide subscriber growth we have seen,” noted William Cooper, editor of the report. “There is still growth in the Asia Pacific region, but at a lower rate than previously.”

Nearly half of the services in the index reported net subscriber gains. The ten with the largest gains added 3.58 million between them while some of the greatest gains were as a result of reporting changes made by AT&T for PanAmericana and Sky Brasil. Organic quarterly gains were 1.13 million lower.

Looking at the key regions, the United States posted some notable falls. The ten leading services in the US reported total losses of 559,000 subscribers, with only Comcast reporting significant gains. AT&T reported the largest loss, with 233,000 fewer subscribers for its U-verse service, while its DIRECTV subsidiary reported no change, although it did not report numbers for its DIRECTV NOW over-the-top (OTT) offering.

By contrast, the leading operators in India gained at least 1.67 million subscribers between them, led by SITI, which added 800,000. It was a mixed bag in Europe: Canal+ lost 109,000 subscribers in France, while Sky gained 73,000 in Germany and 40,000 customers in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

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Over a third of Premier League fans watch illegally

More than a third of Premier League football fans say they regularly watch matches live online via unofficial streams, according to a survey carried out by ComRes and BBC 5 Live, the Corporation’s sport and news radio service.

The poll suggests that younger adults are those most likely to say they stream matches via unauthorised providers. Nearly a quarter of all fans surveyed regularly watch matches online via special technology, such as Kodi boxes.

According to the poll of 1,000 people for 5 live Daily:

– Nearly half of fans say they have streamed a match online through an unofficial provider
just over a third do so at least once a month and about one in five at least once a week.
– The main reasons include a friend/family member doing it and they just watch;
the quality of the stream; and because sports TV packages are considered not good value for money.
– Just under a third of fans do not know whether it is illegal to stream live Premier League matches online from unofficial providers, but another third believe it is always illegal.

On March 8th 2017, an application for a Court Order, that will result in servers streaming unauthorised Premier League content being blocked, was heard and granted in the English High Court. The Premier League (PL) is currently engaged in a range of activity to protect its IP, and the significant investment made in the competition by UK live broadcast partners Sky Sports and BT Sport who paid a record £5.136 billion for the rights. This activity includes:

– Investigations and prosecution of suppliers of IPTV boxes that enable the broadcast of unauthorised PL content
– Legal actions against pubs and commercial premises that broadcast unauthorised PL content
– Court Orders and injunctions forcing ISPs to block certain websites and domains
– Shutting down illegal streams/cleaning sites of infringing material
– The PL has been involved in several recent successful actions that have resulted in custodial sentences, injunctions being granted against sellers and pubs, and significant costs awards

“The Premier League has been granted significant blocking remedies to further curtail the availability of illegal streams,” said a Premier League spokesman. “For the first time this will enable the Premier League to disrupt and prevent the illegal streaming of our matches via IPTV, so-called Kodi, boxes. The Order was granted under Section 97a of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, and further demonstrates our intellectual property rights are protected by the law.”

“This will enable us to target the suppliers of illegal streams to IPTV boxes, and the Internet, in a proportionate and precise manner. We will continue working with ISPs, government and other sports content producers to protect consumers from illegitimate services that offer no recourse when services are removed, provide no parental controls and, in many instances, are provided by individuals involved in other criminal activity.”

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