Europe will regulate video sharing platforms like Youtube

The European Parliament, Council and Commission announced last week that they reached an agreement on the main elements of revised rules to apply to audiovisual media across Europe. The new rules will cover not only the traditional TV broadcasters but also the Video on Demand (VOD) providers, like Netflix, and Video sharing platforms, like Youtube.

The extension to VOD and Video Sharing platforms is limited. These platforms will have to protect minors from harmful content (which may impair the physical, mental or moral development), access to which would have to be restricted; and protect all citizens from incitement to hatred.

The European Commission says “that audiovisual media is increasingly target markets across national borders. At the end of 2013, more than 5,000 TV channels (not counting local channels and windows) were established in the EU. Of these, almost 2,000 targeted foreign markets (either EU or extra-EU). This share had increased from 28% in 2009 to 38% in 2013. As far as video-on-demand services are concerned, 31% of the video-on-demand services available in a Member State are established in another EU country. This underpins the continued added value of the EU action in this area.”

The directive on revision is called AVMSD – Audiovisual Media Services Directive – and it is in public debate / consultation since 2015.

One of the main news on the advertising is that TV broadcasters will not have anymore a limit of 12 minutes per hour of advertising. Instead, TV broadcasters will remain only with the 20% limit of broadcasting time, between 6:00 to 18:00.

Here the announced updates of the revised AVMSD:

– Strengthened Country of Origin Principle with more clarity on which Member State’s rules apply in each case, and the same procedures for both TV broadcasters and on-demand service providers as well as possibilities for derogations in the event of public security concerns and serious risks to public health.

– Better protection of minors against harmful content whether on TV or video-on-demand services. The new rules envisage that video-sharing platforms put appropriate measures in place to protect minors.

– European audiovisual rules extended to video-sharing platforms. The revised Directive will also apply to user-generated videos shared on platforms, e.g. Facebook, when providing audiovisual content is an essential functionality of the service.

– Stronger rules against hate speech and public provocation to commit terrorist offences thatprohibit incitement to violence or hatred and provocation to commit terrorist offences in audiovisual media services.

– The rules will also apply to video-sharing platforms to protect people from incitement to violence or hatred and content constituting criminal offences.

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Smartphone video, connected TV increase penetration and usage

According to Nielsen’s Q2 2017 Comparable Metrics report, released in December 2017, the amount of time we spend watching online video increased on all connected screens over the last two years. However, the number of people using the tablet and PC to consume video declined over the same period.

Connected TV enjoys steady growth

connected device penetration and use by age groupNielsen includes streaming media players, game consoles, and connected DVD/Blu-ray players in its accounting of connected TV use. Penetration of connected televisions has increased steadily between Q2 2015 and Q2 2017. In 2015, 40.7% U.S. adults watched at least 1 minute of video on one or more of the connected TV devices. That increased to 46.9%, or 115.2 million people, in 2017.

Connected TV users also steadily increased viewing time through their device of choice. In 2015, users watched 1 hour and 4 minutes a day, increasing over 10 minutes in 2017.

Penetration of TV-connected devices is deepest among people in the age range 18 to 49 years. Millennials (18-34-year-olds) spend the most time watching video on their connected televisions.

PC Video users decline, but usage increases

Those watching at least 1 minute of video per week on their PC declined from 34.7% in 2015 to 29.1% in 2017. Video mirrors the general decline in PC usage.

However, those watching video on their PC increased their viewing sharply. In Q2 2015, PC video viewers watched about 37 minutes a day. Two years later viewing has increased to 1 hour and 6 minutes day. An impressive gain for a device that is in decline.

The PC is most popular as a video platform among the 35-49-year-olds, though a smaller number of millennials watch for longer on the device.

Smartphone reach and usage increase sharply

Those watching video on their smartphone increased from 37% in 2015 to 52% in 2017. As well, the amount of time spent watching on the device by smartphone video viewers more than doubled, to nearly 14 minutes a day in 2017.

This surprisingly strong growth is likely the result of two factors:

The re-emergence of unlimited data plans
The aggressive bundling of video services with mobile plans from operators.
Expect both these factors to continue to drive the adoption and usage of smartphone video for the rest of 2018.

People in the age range 18-49-years prefer the smartphone, though millennials watch far more than any other age group.

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YouTube’s Ad Boycott Becomes Google’s Biggest Headache

YouTube’s inability to keep big-brand ads off unsavory videos is threatening to transform a rising star in Google’s digital family into a problem child.

It’s not yet clear whether a recent ad boycott of YouTube will be short-lived or the start of a long-term shift away from the video service — one that could undercut Google’s growth and that of its corporate parent,Alphabet Inc.

Alphabet’s first-quarter results, released Thursday, provided few clues. Major advertisers didn’t start pulling their money from YouTube until the three-month period was nearly over.

The company’s earnings rose 29 percent to $5.4 billion while revenue climbed 22 percent to $24.8 billion. Shares surged nearly 5 percent, to $933, in Thursday’s extended trading.

But the fallout from the YouTube boycott is likely to be felt through the rest of this year. Skittish advertisers have curtailed their spending until they are convinced Google can prevent their brands from appearing next to extremist clips promoting hate and violence.

“There is no entity in the world that is more risk averse than a senior marketing person,” says Larry Chiagouris, a marketing professor at Pace University in New York. “They don’t want to go with a media choice that presents problems for a brand, and they don’t have to because they have many other choices.”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told analysts during a Thursday review of the first quarter that the company has had “thousands and thousands” of conversations with advertisers as YouTube takes steps to protect their brands. “We are evolving overall to a better place,” Pichai said.

At another point, he assured analysts that YouTube is still experiencing “extraordinary” growth without providing specifics.

Even if YouTube continues to lose advertisers, it won’t leave a huge dent in Alphabet’s earnings. That’s because marketers are expected to keep feeding the company’s golden goose — Google’s dominant search engine. Ads appearing alongside the billions of search results Google churns out each day still generate most of Alphabet’s revenue even as it expands into other fields.

But ad spending has been accelerating at a rapid pace on YouTube over the past two years as brands sought to connect with its audience of more than 1 billion people. Now it looks like things might taper off.

Before the boycott began, YouTube’s ad revenue after subtracting commissions was expected to rise 26 percent this year to $7 billion, based on estimates from the research firm eMarketer. Alphabet doesn’t disclose YouTube’s finances.

Advertisers began to flee YouTube last month, after The Times in London and other media outlets turned up evidence that their brands were appearing alongside clips promoting terrorism and racism.

The findings alerted advertisers that YouTube didn’t have adequate technology or staffing to shield brands from some of the appalling material that gets posted on a site that receives 400 hours of video per minute.

“This is an ostrich situation where the ostrich just pulled its head out of the sand,” says Harry Kargman, CEO of Kargo, which helps manage ad campaigns on mobile devices.

At one point, about 250 advertisers were boycotting YouTube. (Some also stepped back from a related system that Google operates to place commercials next to videos on outside websites.) The list included big-spending marketers such as PepsiCo, Wal-Mart Stores, Starbucks, AT&T, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, and Volkswagen.

It’s unclear how many, if any, of those have returned to YouTube since Google promised to hire more human reviewers and upgrade its technology to keep ads away from repugnant videos.

Both Verizon and AT&T, two companies that are trying to expand their own digital ad networks to compete with Google, told The Associated Press that they are still boycotting YouTube. FX Networks confirmed that it isn’t advertising on YouTube either. Several other boycotting marketers contacted by AP didn’t respond.

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