OTT Overload: All the Media Companies Preparing to Launch New Streaming Services in 2019

It’s hard to imagine that the OTT space could get even more crowded than it already is, but that’s what 2019 is about to usher in. A slew of new streaming services will arrive on the scene, going toe-to-toe with current big players like Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu, Showtime, Amazon and YouTube Premium.

Here are the biggest streaming offerings set to roll out next year.

AT&T

The company, which completed its $85 billion purchase of Time Warner in June, will launch a direct-to-consumer offering in Q4 of 2019.

The still-unnamed OTT product, which AT&T first announced in October and shared more deals about with investors last month, will rely heavily on content from WarnerMedia, including HBO and the Warner Bros. library.Randall Stephenson said earlier this month that it will be a three-tiered service with a “core platform of movies,” which will be followed by a second tier of original programming and blockbuster movies and a third layer that features the library content (some of which could be licensed from third-parties), including classics, kids/family and niche programming.

AT&T doesn’t intend for the service “to become another Netflix,” said Stephenson, explaining that it is “not our ambition” for the OTT product to rival Netflix as a “warehouse of content.”

Disney

Disney has slowly rolled out information about its upcoming OTT channel, Disney+, which is expected to launch in late 2019.

The channel will feature a second live-action Star Wars series, currently in development, and though it will have less content than Netflix, Walt Disney Company chairman and CEO Robert Iger said it would be cheaper. The app will feature programming from brands such as Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm.

“We’re going to walk before we run as it relates to volume of content, because it takes time to build the kind of content library that ultimately we intend to build,” Iger said in August.

Apple

Apple has greenlit a number of original shows during the past year—including one about the morning news starring Steve Carell, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston—but it’s not clear on which platform that content will live when it is finally released. That content is finally expected to be rolled out next year, though specifics remain under wraps.

Viacom

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said his company is taking a “multifaceted” OTT strategy and will include direct-to-consumer options as well as producing content to sell to other services or content library.

“We do believe there is an opportunity on AVOD, ad-supported video on demand, and that is useful for building a funnel into our subscription products,” Bakish said at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference.

Viacom has already tiptoed into the OTT space and has content from its Nickelodeon brand on a standalone “NickSplat” channel on video aggregation platform, VRV.

Discovery

Discovery, Inc. executives have said they’re considering a direct to consumer offering, especially now that the company has 17 networks in its portfolio after merging in March with Scripps Networks Interactive.

Though execs have said they’re only considered the options, which could include bundling a number of brands, like HGTV, Food Network and TLC, in one channel. In theory, it could cost as low as $5 to $8 per month, said president and CEO David Zaslav in July.

read more here: www.adweek.com

OTT Growth Is Explosive, But Challenged By Silos

OTT audiences are increasing in volume and engagement, but the channel must still overcome issues related to content discovery, measurement and fill rates.

At A&E Networks, OTT’s share of audience is up 150% compared with decreases in engagement across desktop and mobile. At Bloomberg, 30% of its OTT audiences watch for 30 minutes or more compared with less than five minutes spent watching digital video.

“It’s a powerful channel for people who want to engage with us for a longer period of time,” said Julia Beizer, Bloomberg’s chief product officer, speaking at Tune’s Postback conference in Seattle on Thursday.

But it’s still a chore and a half for viewers to find the shows they’re looking for. Each platform is essentially its own little fiefdoms of content, of “closed universes,” Beizer said.

“A lot of our audience today comes from organic brand loyalty, but is that us reaching new audiences? No. And we really want to do that,” she said. “To reach the kind of audience you want to reach from an audience perspective, you have to build on five platforms and that’s expensive. There’s not a lot you can leverage from one to the other.”

And measurement remains a big challenge. Even though some of the streaming players are rolling out ad measurement tools, they’re not usable across platforms.

A&E, for example, has a partnership with Roku, which recently launched its own ad tracker that allows networks and brands to see post-install advertising performance. It’s a step in the right direction, but visibility doesn’t extend beyond Roku’s offering, said Jen Taylor, senior director of digital marketing at A&E Networks.

“That is one solution for one partner, not a solution that solves all of our partner relationships,” she said, and while tracking engagement is easy enough, “where people are coming from and how they’re getting there? It’s all a bit of a black hole.”

To try and get a better handle on the attribution piece, Starz is starting to make a bigger effort at measuring awareness and user engagement long before someone downloads its OTT subscription app.

“We started off from a perspective of the usual cost per subscriber and balancing that against lifetime value or ROI,” said Robin Chacko, SVP of Starz. “What we’re doing now is trying to integrate a little more of what the upper funnel does for us in terms of softening prices and what the leading indicators are for impact, so we can raise or lower our bids.”

But as a subscriber-based service, Starz doesn’t have to worry about another challenge still facing the OTT space: getting advertisers to buy ads.

read more here: adexchanger.com