Brands pull ads from Youtube

A growing number of brands have suspended their spend with Google, following The Times’ investigation into ads appearing alongside extremist content on YouTube and Google’s display ad network

More than 250 brands have reportedly frozen all their campaigns with Google aside from search, after the issue – which first seemed isolated to the UK – spread globally as major US advertisers began to boycott the online ad giant too. According to The Times the spend pulled amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars.

The tech company has responded with an announcement of tougher ad policies, increased control for marketers, and said it would grow its capacity to review offensive content with a hiring spree.

Here’s a list of some of the biggest advertisers who have stopped their spend with Google and YouTube in the UK:

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US now a “binge watching, streaming, multitasking nation”

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of US consumers and nearly 90% of millennials have watched binged video content, according to the findings of Deloitte’s 11th Digital Democracy Study.

Furthermore, almost 40% of millennial and Gen Z binge watchers do so weekly and they watch an average of six hours, or five hours of content, in a single sitting.

The study found that the device of choice for key demographics remains split: Gen Z and millennials spend about half their time watching television shows and movies on devices other than a TV. Additionally, Gen X favours the TV by over 60% and Baby Boomers watch over 80% of programming on the TV. Also, nearly all (99%) of millennials and Gen Z are multitasking while watching TV, averaging four additional activities, such as texting, browsing the web, using social networks, reading email and online shopping.

Almost half (49%) of US consumers and nearly 60% of Gen Z, millennials and Gen X subscribe to at least one paid streaming video service. However, the survey notes that despite the growth of paid streaming services, US consumers spend more time streaming video via free services (40%) than paid streaming subscriptions (35%).

In terms of advertising, 67% of consumers, and over 70% of Gen Z and millennials, find mobile ads on their phone to be irrelevant. However, 37%of consumers find it valuable to receive location-based ads on their smartphone and use them regularly.

More than 80% of consumers will skip an online video ad if allowed, while almost half (46%) pay more attention to an ad they can skip versus an ad they cannot skip.

Almost half (45%) of millennials use ad-blocking software, with 89% of the group saying their primary reason is to avoid all advertising. In fact, 40% of them also noted use of ad-blocking software on their smartphones.

Online recommendations on social media (27%) are more influential than TV ads (18%) for Gen Z in influencing buying decisions.

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Digital transition drives growth in European cable

The cable industry is growing, with total revenues up 4.6% year on year based on IHS statistics released today by the industry’s trade association, Cable Europe, at the annual Cable Congress in Brussels.

Revenue growth remains solid across all cable services: broadband internet (7.5%), TV (3.7%) and telephony (2.1%). Broadband represents an increasing share of revenue at 32.8%, and the number of broadband subscribers rose 5.9%. Television continues to be the largest source of profit for the industry, accounting for 46.5% of the €23.45 billion of revenue.

The digital transition continues to be an important driver for TV services, with revenue growth for TV driven by a strong appetite for digital subscriptions and video on demand (VOD). Digital TV subscribers rose 6.3%, accounting for 66.3% of all TV subscriptions and generating 80% of TV revenue.

More than 2.7 million Revenue Generating Units (RGUs), the industry metric for the total sum of TV, internet and telephony subscriptions, were added in 2016, and the total across Europe is now 118.24 million.

Manuel Kohnstamm, President of Cable Europe, commented: “Overall digital VOD revenue has increased by 14.1% year on year, showing solid growth in the year. Going forward, we still see huge opportunities for sustained digital growth in Europe, as 18.5 million analogue TV subscribers are still to convert.”

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Native display ads to spike by a third in 2017

Native digital display ad spending in the US will grow 36.2% this year to reach $22.09 billion, according to eMarketer’s inaugural forecast.

For the first time this year, native ad spending will make up more than half (52.9%) of all display ad spending in the US, the firm said.

“Growth of native digital display is being driven by publishers’ pursuit of higher-value and more mobile-friendly inventory, as well as by advertisers’ demands for more engaging, less intrusive ads,” said eMarketer principal analyst Lauren Fisher.

An overwhelming portion of US native display ad spending goes to social networks, driven mainly by Facebook. This year, native social network display ad spending will reach $18.59 billion, representing 84.2% of all US native display. Importantly, social’s share of native is falling and will drop to 82.2% next year, as non-social (specifically in-feed and sponsored content) grows faster.

“We’re seeing a huge ramp up in non-social publishers adopting in-feed ads and video,” Fisher said. “This, coupled with continued advancements on the programmatic native front, will accelerate non-social native ad spending.”

Since native advertising is largely purchased on social platforms, it’s also almost entirely mobile. Native mobile display ad spending will reach $19.50 billion this year, representing 88.3% of all native advertising – with that share growing. And native mobile will represent 64.5% of all US mobile display ad spending this year.

“Greater demand for native formats such as in-app rewarded video ads, and greater momentum around redesigning the mobile experience for a more in-feed and mobile-first world will also draw greater ad dollars to native inventory on mobile devices,” said Fisher.

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Three ways Netflix continues to set the pace in SVOD

Netflix dominating the competition in usage

New user data from Netflix suggests the service is watched much more than competitor services. The company reports that on an average day it delivers 125 million hours of video to its approximately 100 million members. That works out to an hour and quarter per day per subscriber. It also says that the busiest day ever occurred on January 8th 2017, when the company streamed 250 million hours. That’s two-and-a-half hours of video per subscriber.

Though Netflix has not broken out this data regionally, there’s reason to believe that usage is much higher in established markets like the U.S., Canada, and the UK. For example, one of the most popular devices to stream Netflix on is a Roku set-top box. In December, Roku said that it’s 14.5M active users watched 1 billion hours of video and music. That’s 2 hours and 24 minutes per day. The company says that the average active user streamed an hour-and-three-quarters a day in 2016.

Combining Netflix and Roku data suggests SVOD leader absorbs the lions’ share of streaming on Roku set-top boxes. It also implies usage of all other streaming services, including Amazon Video and Hulu, doesn’t even come close.

Taking anchor tenant status in consumer entertainment mix

Consumers are migrating video consumption to connected platforms. Over the last three years, the average U.S. consumers has increased connected device viewing from 257 minutes per week to 388. The Roku and Netflix usage data suggests that as people shift their viewing, Netflix is the first service they turn to. Sanford and Bernstein media analyst Todd Juenger agrees. He says that Netflix has become the anchor tenant of consumer online video offerings.

Being anchor tenant is a coveted spot in a consumer’s video portfolio. Consumers will pay for anchor tenant services month-in-and-month-out. Chances are they will only have a few of these. Perhaps one for scripted shows, another for movies, and one more for live sports. All other services likely will be subscribed to as needed, and then dropped at other times.

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Pay TV Lost Subscribers in 2016 as Cord-Cutting Accelerates

Cable, satellite, and telco multichannel providers combined lost 1.8 million U.S. subscribers in 2016, notes Kagan, formerly SNL Kagan and now part of S&P Global Market Intelligence. According to Kagan’s U.S. multichannel subscriber report for Q4 2016, cord-cutting accelerated in that period with a decline of 460,000 subscribers. That left cable, satellite, and telcos with 94.7 million subscribers at the end of the year.

Looking at cable alone, the report says its decline is slowing. Cable lost 472,000 subscribers in 2016, which is 28.5 percent less than its 2015 decline. It was also the best loss cable has had since 2007. It says something about the pace of cord-cutting that a loss of nearly half a million subscribers is a positive.

Cable lost 103,000 subscribers in Q4 2016, while satellite lost 18,000 in that period. Telcos did especially poorly, with a Q4 loss of 338,000 subscribers. That’s driven by the planned retirement of AT&T U-verse, Kagan notes.

Overall, 77.5 percent of U.S. household have a pay TV subscription, down from 81.3 percent in Q1 2015.

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eSports content to drive $3.5BN in revenues

A rapid rise in the consumption of eSports and streamed games content to 2021 will almost double revenues from the $1.8 billion forecast for 2017 to $3.5 billion, says Juniper Research.

he market is on a role at the moment with broadcasters rushing to have an eSports offer. Only days ago, South African pay-TV network SuperSport announced that it was launching the GINX esports TV channel in April, while Spanish telcos are increasing their presence in the growing eSports market by exploring new platforms.

The eSports, Let’s Play & Watch Play: Competitive Tournaments & Content Streaming 2017-2021 report found that much of the rise relates to viewers seeking to improve their own gameplay, alongside a dedicated following of individual broadcasters on platforms including Twitch and YouTube. It adds that whilst the subscription model, as seen on platforms such as Twitch, will contribute significant revenues to the industry, it will be advertisers who reap rewards with almost 90% of eSports and ‘let’s play’ viewers — commentary on streams of the playing of videogames — also watching ad-supported casual games streams in 2021.

Juniper advised companies seeking to cash-in on the trend to either work with a streamer who aligns with their values, or closely monitor content which is to be published.

read more here and/or download the report:$3-5-bill

Unfiltered Live Online Video Shows the Need for Journalists

Access to live video from breaking world events is a double-edged sword: It brings a compelling eyewitness-to-history view, while bypassing critical cultural gatekeepers. — By Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen

As I write this on Feb. 1, both the U.S. and Europe are in the midst of more political uncertainty than they’ve experienced at any time in recent memory. In the U.S., it seems we can’t go more than a couple hours without an announcement coming from the White House that, depending on one’s perspective, either weakens the very foundation on which American democracy stands or takes another step toward returning the country to its former glory. In Europe, the U.K. Parliament just voted to move forward the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, which will trigger Brexit.

Add to that rumblings of war coming from China, and it’s not hyperbole—nor is it technically violating Godwin’s law—to say that the world is as unstable and unpredictable as at any time since the 1930s. These are exciting and, many would argue, frightening times.

This is why it feels so odd, as I sit and reflect upon the state of online video for this annual Streaming Media Industry Sourcebook, to realize that our industry has reached a plateau and things are as stable and steady as they’ve ever been. Online video is the new normal in the enterprise and education, and connected devices like the Roku and Apple TV are no longer curiosities. Sure, we still have to explain what “OTT” is now and again, but just about everyone is familiar with the concept, if not the acronym.

In fact, OTT has become so commonplace that Facebook has announced that it’s building an app for connected devices, and the new president announced his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court via Facebook Live. Broadcast and cable networks also carried the announcement, but the Facebook Live stream allowed the president and his administration to deliver the message without network commentary.

That “unfiltered” approach might seem refreshing, but—combined with the new administration’s hostility toward the media, which includes forbidding staffers to speak on CNN—I find it to be a troubling precedent. Granted, while the nomination of a Supreme Court justice is a big deal, the actual announcement of that nomination is fairly innocuous, and people who watched it on Facebook surely found no shortage of commentary as soon as they moved to TV or another website (or elsewhere on Facebook, for that matter).

But the stakes could be considerably higher, and if government entities start to favor straight-to-the-viewer channels like Facebook Live over traditional media outlets (the ones staffed with, you know, journalists) we will see the traditional role of the press— to report the truth, not just parrot what a politician says—dwindle even further than it already has. I’m not worried about a dearth of commentary; there’s no shortage of that these days. I’m talking about reporting and analysis that doesn’t assume that whatever comes out of the mouths of political leaders (of any party or political stripe) is something simply to be relayed to the public without challenge.

If Facebook and Twitter are now media companies, perhaps it’s time for them to hire well-trained, well-educated reporters to contextualize events and call out blatant lies that are shared via those platforms’ live streaming. Facebook has made some strides on this front in its move to let users flag “fake news,” but we’ve seen that term get co-opted to simply mean “news that doesn’t conform to my preconceived idea of what’s right.”

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Access overwins ownership for UK home entertainment

The digital revolution in the entertainment business has reached a new tipping point with Britons now spending nearly 80 per cent of their expenditure on entertainment online, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association.

And for the first time, entertainment has gone ‘pay monthly’ with expenditure on access to entertainment via services such as Netflix, Spotify and apps such as Pokemon Go exceeding expenditure on ownership models such as discs or permanent downloads for the first time.

The figures are included in the latest edition of the ERA Yearbook, regarded as the definitive statistical source on the UK games, video and music markets.

In 2016, online and mobile-generated digital and home delivery entertainment revenues accounted for 77.7 per cent of the £6.32 billion (€7.24bn) spent on music, video and games, with physical stores accounting for just 22.3 per cent.

ERA figures also indicate that for the first time in 2016, Britons spent more on accessing entertainment via subscription services from Netflix, Amazon, Spotify, Google Play, Sky and Apple Music and mobile apps like Pokemon Go than they did buying it permanently on disc or download.

Access services accounted for 51.3 per cent of entertainment expenditure in 2016 with 48.7 per cent spent on discs and downloads. A key factor was booming expenditure on music and video streaming services.

“We are seeing the rise of a ‘pay monthly’ generation in entertainment, noted ERA CEO Kim Bayley. “Rather than buying music, video or games outright, the British public is being won over by rental or all-you-can eat services which are available 24/7. If downloads represented the first digital revolution in entertainment, we are now at digital 2.0, the subscription age.”

Despite the broader trend, affection for physical formats still remains strong. Music fans remain devotees of ownership formats, with sales bolstered by the boom in vinyl (up another 54.4 per cent in 2016 to £65.6 million) and deluxe CD and box set editions.

Even in previously declining markets, the introduction of a hot new product can generate substantial new physical sales.

The handheld games software market saw a surprise sales boost in the fourth quarter of 2016 after Nintendo released two new Pokemon titles for its 3DS platform. With each selling around a quarter of a million units, it was enough to see the entire sector grow by more than 20 per cent compared with 2015.

“Digital may grab the headlines, but we should not underestimate the fondness of the UK public for physical formats in particular,” added Bayley. “While the vinyl revival has been well reported, millions of people still regard DVDs, CDs and console game discs as the best way to access entertainment. Discs are durable, convenient and are still probably the best entertainment option for gifting.”

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