Number of streaming video viewers exceeds pay TV subscribers (US)

For the first time ever, the percentage of free or paid streaming video subscribers in the U.S. (68 percent) has caught up to the number of paid TV subscribers (67 percent), according to new research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) ™. The new study, The Changing Landscape for Video and Content, also shows the time consumers spend watching video content on TVs (51 percent in 2016, down 11 points since 2012) is now equaled by – within the sampling margin of error – time spent watching video content on all other consumer technology devices (49 percent) including laptops, tablets and smartphones.

“More and more consumers are embracing the freedom of connectivity – in this case, the anytime/anywhere access to video content,” said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research, CTA. “This is one of the driving trends of our time. Today’s advancement of technology delivers ‘content convenience’ that results in cultural changes such as binge watching, second screen behavior, content recommendations and the screens consumers use to consume video. And we expect streaming subscribers to surpass paid TV services – and by a fair margin – in the next year or so.”

The growing diversity of content sources and consumer viewing devices helped raise consumers’ average video consumption. On average, the amount of video that consumers watch per week is increasing considerably – up 32 percent since 2001 (16.8 hours a week in 2016, from 12.7 hours in 2011) – or 3.2 hours a day.

Most consumers still learn about new content through traditional methods such as commercials on TV (56 percent), word-of-mouth (54 percent) and internet search (32 percent). Yet roughly one in five cite nontraditional mediums such as streaming service recommendations (23 percent), social media (21 percent) or radio, TV or podcast host recommendations (16 percent) as content discovery sources.

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Undeveloped has joined!

Today Undeveloped ( is very pleased to announce that Undeveloped is joining forces with, a US based full-service registrar! Undeveloped will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Epik Holdings Inc group of companies executing on its existing roadmap with the current management team.

We started about three years ago giving it a shot at changing an industry that had turned fragmented, inefficient and let’s just put it out there painfull to deal with. Today, we feel we have gotten pretty close to introducing a breath of fresh air in the secondary market. The moment you get kudos from domain buyers on a regular basis that they actually enjoyed acquiring a name from a random seller on your marketplace, you know you’re on the right path ;). Having said that I cannot emphasise this more: this is just the beginning of Undeveloped‘s future and global expansion.

Undeveloped and Epik share the desire to deliver customer-focused solutions while also building a great team and company culture. Both Undeveloped and Epik are heavily customer-centric. As you’ve noticed in the past years, we always put our customers first and treat our users as our partners. We keep pushing the boundaries, iterating and looking for new directions to deliver more value to you and your buyers. Early in our company’s life, we realised that our road to success would be for us to become an enabler. Domain sellers are entrepreneurs that run a business, be it full time or part time. Undeveloped’s core position is to enable you to become more successful. That’s the only way we can succeed and change the way you run your domain business. Epik shares the exact same values. By joining Epik we feel we can do so much more for you and that’s been a very important motivation for us to join forces with Epik.

We’ve already started integrating Epik’s core technology directly at Undeveloped to create a more full-service marketplace and go beyond just accommodating buying and selling domains. Starting today, Epik users can sign-in at Undeveloped with their Epik credentials. We’ll even allow Epik users to import their domains with a single click of the button!

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TV home penetration down, but is it headed lower?

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that the number of homes without a TV is increasing, and the number of TVs per home is decreasing. Are PCs, tablets, and smartphones beginning to replace the TV in American homes?

In its most recent Residential Energy Consumption Survey, the EIA reports that the number of homes without a TV has increased to 2.6%. As recently as 2009, there were just 1.3% of homes without a TV. As well, the EIA says the number of TVs per household has also decreased. The average in 2015 was 2.6, and fell to 2.3 in 2015.

Looking at Nielsen data for the number of television homes, you might not think there was any decline at all. The company says that since the turn of the century the number of TV homes has increased 16.2M, to 118.4M. However, the number of US homes has increased a little more, 21.1M, over the same period, to reach 125.8M.

Television penetration hit its peak for the 2010-11 TV season, reaching 98.6%. It has subsequently fallen over 4.5%, to 94.1% for 2016-2017 season. However, most of that fall occurred between 2011 and 2013, when penetration fell over 4.3%. For the last 4 years, penetration has bounced around 94%, with between 7 and 8M homes lacking a TV.

2010 marked the beginning of the build-out of high quality video online. That year the iPad was released, and was immediately embraced by consumers and, more importantly, by Hollywood. At the beginning of 2010, Netflix had 12.3M subscribers, and by the end of 2012 it more than doubled that number to 27.2M. In December 2012, YouTube served 182M unique viewers with 40B videos.

Consumers began to watch TV and web originals on PCs, tablets, and smartphones in earnest during this period. It certainly had some effect. Likely, some consumers decided not to replace a bedroom TV, and instead rely on one of the connected devices in their possession. And 4M homes realized they could do without a TV completely in favor of their connected devices.

But why hasn’t TV penetration continued to fall?

The rise of the connected television has slowed the decline of the television in the home. In 2013, use of the connected TV by consumers was so small Nielsen didn’t even bother to count it. Now the company reports 43% of the population use smart TVs, streaming media players, and game consoles. They are watching an average 1 hour and 12 minutes of video per day on them.

What changed over the last 4 years? Certainly, connected TV hardware has become far more accessible. There are now many options to connected a TV to Internet at or below $50. However, it is the industry’s attitude to the devices that has shifted the most.

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Canal+ sentenced to pay €38 million to Parabole Réunion

The French Tribunal de grande instance de Paris has sentenced Vivendi’s Canal+ to pay €38 million to its competitor Parabole Réunion, failing to comply with its obligations after Canal+ acquired its French competitor TPS.

Parabole Réunion operates a satellte DTH service in Reunion, Mauritius and Madagascar, which was launched in 1999. The platform obtained the exclusive distribution rights of eight premium TPS channels, and was competing with Canal’s African DTH service.

In 2006, Canal+ acquired TPS and closed down the premium channels, which were delivered to Parabole Réunion. By contract, Canal had to provide other channels with “equivalent attractiveness”. Until the end of 2012, Canal+ was forced to develop channels only for its small competitor from Reunion. But in practice, it has provided channels on the cheap, less attractive than the old TPS channels. “This strategy was aimed at destroying Parabole,” according to Parabole.

To complicate matters, Canal+ said in 2008 it inteded to acquire its competitor, but failed to do so after one of its local shareholders blocked the acquisition. The deal would have put an end to the many disputes between the two rivals.

On September 20, 2011 the Autorité de la concurrence withdrew the green light for the acquisition of TPS by Canal Plus due to non-compliance with commitments made, particularly with respect to Parabole. The watchdog ruled that Canal had not respected its obligation, and forced the company to pay Parabola compensation, after a long legal battle. However, the difficulty was to establish the amount of the damage, and therefore the amount to be paid.

On July 23, 2012 the Competition Authority gives a new green light for the purchase of TPS, and imposed new obligations, which would lead to the conclusion of a new contract with Parabole. Parabole asked Canal to correct the copy of the Authority (power of evocation), but to no avail.

The tribunal de grande instance of Paris commissioned a report to an expert, Gabriel Grosjean. It noted that Parabole’s market share had fallen from 37% to 26% between 2006 and 2012 (including Réunion, Mauritius and Madagascar). And in total, Parabola had lost or 40,000 subscribers to its rival.

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Streaming facts and fiction

How big are the changes in UK viewing habits that Netflix and Amazon are fostering? Torin Douglas investigates.

Have Netflix and Amazon Prime Video finally come of age as viewing platforms in the UK, thanks to the uber-hyped The Crown and The Grand Tour? How many people have watched these, the first two big British commissions by the streaming companies, and what impact are the video-streaming companies having on our viewing habits more generally?

With their huge budgets and endless press and online coverage, there is a lot riding on the return of Jeremy Clarkson and co, and the drama series about the young Queen Elizabeth.

Since neither company will share its viewing figures or UK subscription numbers, it is not easy to gauge their real impact, but we can try to sift the fact from the fiction.

If you believe the headlines, services such as Netflix are carrying all before them. But, while everyone agrees that viewing habits are changing – particularly among the young – the stalwarts of terrestrial television insist that the change is far less dramatic than the internet cheerleaders would have us believe.

“We are experiencing profound change, with new ways to watch, and new global providers of content,” says Jonathan Thompson, Chief Executive of Digital UK, which co-ordinates the Freeview DTT platform. “But it is really important that we separate rhetoric from reality and not get carried away with a Silicon Valley view of the future of broadcast TV.”

There has been a fog of hype surrounding both shows. In December, the Mail on Sunday reported that Clarkson’s The Grand Tour was the most illegally-downloaded TV show in history. The source was a piracy data firm called Muso.

The story was picked up by the Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph, Fortune and other media.

But Variety checked the details with Muso and squashed the claim. It said The Grand Tour may have had piracy problems but it “was not even close to being the most-pirated show over the last three weeks” – let alone ever. Similarly, when Netflix launched The Crown, the Times proclaimed: “Streaming upstarts seize traditional television’s crown. Britain is turning into a digital couch-potato economy, with four in five of us subscribing to at least one streaming service.”

Thompson publicly challenged this claim at Digital UK’s stakeholder conference: “The survey’s ‘four in five’ figure was for people subscribing to any type of service, not just streaming – gym membership, publications, software, music and so on,” he said. “It was commissioned by a company called Zuora, which runs a subscription management programme.”

The headline on Zuora’s press release was dramatic, echoing a theme repeatedly peddled by internet businesses: “Is broadcast dead? Half of Brits now rarely watch ‘normal TV’ due to Netflix and Amazon Video, finds consumer research.”

This assertion was contradicted by the release itself. It stated that a quarter of British consumers subscribed to video streaming services and almost half of these subscribers said they rarely watched “normal” TV.

“That’s 12% of the UK adult population,” the release declared. But 12% is not “half of Brits”. And, as rigorous researchers know, what people say in a survey can be very different to what they actually do.

So how do The Crown and The Grand Tour compare with the most popular series on “normal” TV, such as The Great British Bake Off, Strictly Come Dancing, and Planet Earth II? Their audiences can’t be compared directly, because Amazon and Netflix don’t publish figures or submit themselves to Barb’s strict rules, as broadcasters do – though Amazon has made an approach.

“We had an enquiry recently from a representative of Amazon about measuring audiences for The Grand Tour, but it came to nothing,” wrote Barb CEO Justin Sampson on its website. “I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.”

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Are Hundreds of Thousands of People Using Spotify Premium for Free?

Millions have watched tutorials on how to get Spotify Premium for free. Google and YouTube are fuelling the fire. So how much money is being lost here?

Last week, Digital Music News wrote about a potentially disturbing development. After years of seemingly non-stop growth, Google search traffic showed a troubling trend. According to search engine optimization (SEO) leader SEMrush, searches for ‘how to cancel Spotify premium’ had tripled since late last year.

Even more surprising, people were searching DMN (and undoubtedly other sources) for a how-to. Maybe it was the bundling with the New York Times, or people tightening their belts after Christmas. Maybe it’s competition from Apple Music, whose subscribers are well past 20 million, according to the company’s latest reports.

Or, maybe it’s a blip, with paying subscribers continuing to soar.

But while we’re finding that out, there’s another trend we spotted. Searches for ‘how to get Spotify Premium for free’ are also going strong (though not increasing). So DMN poked around, and found a stunningly high number of guides and YouTube videos dedicated to this exact topic.

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New virtual reality ads give 360° view from within editorial

Vibrant Media has launched technology allowing new user-initiated and controlled virtual reality (VR) ads to place consumers within branded 360° digital environments for editorial on any device.

The new Vibrant 360°/VR format, is the first new format being deployed in the company’s future-thinking approach to brand communications termed ‘insperience’ marketing. These are app-free, immersive branded digital experiences designed to transform consumers from passive viewers to active participants using either VR or augmented reality (AR) technology. They prioritise interactivity, personalisation, contextual targeting and measurable scale to connect brands with people.

Vibrant Media believes it has identified strong demand for such formats, with its research team finding that two-thirds of media planners and buyers want more AR and VR ads incorporated into digital marketing campaigns, primarily to improve consumer engagement. Half of these media agency executives expect the interactivity of AR and VR ads will help to prevent ad blocking.

“360° VR technology is the fastest growing segment within digital media right now. We’re also seeing strong demand for VR products from media agencies,” said Vibrant Media founder and executive chairman Craig Gooding. “Our researchers also found that one in ten of planners and buyers have their own VR headset or viewer they can use to experience VR ads, and one in five of them are open to the possibility that VR will be better than the real world.

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YouTube TV unveils live OTT service

YouTube has unveiled details of its live OTT service, offering major US networks ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, for $35 per month.

The announcement was made by Susan Wojcicki, YouTube CEO.

The live TV streaming platform will also offer sports networks including ESPN, Fox Sports Networks and Comcast SportsNet and dozens of popular cable networks, such as MSNBC, Fox News, USA, FX, the Disney Channel, Sprout, E! and Bravo. Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus are available for an additional charge. In total, YouTube TV gives access to more than 40 networks.

YouTube TV offers unlimited cloud PVR recording. People can stream up to three channels simultaneously, and a single subscription can have up to six accounts.

It is possible to stream to a regular TV set with a Google Chromecast or watch on a Chromecast built-in TV. YouTube TV works on both Android and iOS.

In addition, subscribers will have access to YouTube Red premium content.

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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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