Launch F1 TV OTT streaming service

Formula 1 is set to launch F1 TV, a live Grand Prix subscription service, early in the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.

F1 TV is Formula 1’s over the top (OTT) platform and marks F1’s biggest investment in its digital transformation to date. Pricing for F1 TV Pro will be offered on a monthly basis of between $8 and $12, and annual rates will be priced according to market.

F1 TV will offer commercial-free live streams of each race with multi language commentary. In addition, the service will provide access to all 20 driver on-board cameras throughout every race session. F1 TV Pro will have unique feeds not available on any other platform with the capability of multi-level personalisation.

Subscribers will be able to choose the content they view and how and when they access it. All of practice, qualifying and races, will be offered live, along with press conferences and pre and post-race interviews. Subscribers will be able to watch live races of the main support series, the FIA Formula 2 Championship, GP3 Series and Porsche Supercup, among others.

During the season, F1 TV will be made available in four different languages (English, French, German and Spanish) and will appear in nearly two dozen markets at launch (including Germany, France, USA, Mexico, Belgium, Austria, Hungary and much of Latin America). Access will initially be available through desktop and web, with mobile apps and TV apps being phased in on Amazon, Apple and Android.

A less expensive, non-live subscription tier, F1 TV Access will provide live race timing data and radio commentary, as well as extended highlights of each session from the race weekend. It will also be underscored by unprecedented access to archive video content from the historic archive owned by Formula 1. F1 TV Access will be available on a near-global basis at launch, to complement F1 TV Pro.

CDN and connectivity services to distribute the F1 TV content globally will be supplied by Tata Communications, Formula 1’s Official Connectivity Provider.

“With the launch of F1 TV, we are beginning on the journey to build a cornerstone of our digital transformation. F1 TV subscription products are clearly and centrally aimed at our hardest core fans, and we are firm believers that while we are bringing a new audience to the sport, we must always remain focused on delivering products and experiences that serve the most avid F1 fans,” said Frank Arthofer, Director of Digital and New Business, Formula 1.

“Our objective with F1 TV is simple: provide these fans with the best available service to watch live Grands Prix and provide them with the best sports OTT customer experience in the world. Our team and our partners are singularly focused on delivering on that vision: not just for launch but over the long-term. Live streaming video is an exciting space changing almost daily.”

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Study: Consumers resist paid live streaming

Despite predictions that live streaming television was going to be one of the hottest features in 2017, interest in this service has fallen flat. StreamOn, a new Cogent Reports study by Market Strategies International, has found that only 11 per cent of all streamers pay for live streaming television.

Nearly a dozen new name-brands entered the video streaming market in 2016, and virtually all of them offer and highlight live video streaming. With the exception of sports and news, Market Strategies International research shows that viewing live content is not in high demand as it is currently offered.

“TV providers are failing to recognise that the habits and needs of the viewer have dramatically changed, and the old rules of television no longer apply,” noted Greg Mishkin, vice president of research and consulting at Market Strategies. “TV providers must evaluate and revise the business model to fit the needs of the consumer, because if they don’t they are setting themselves up to fail.”

This customer experience research shows that nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of the population use streaming services and nearly one-third (29 per cent) of those who stream have either cancelled or downgraded their traditional TV services. According to Market Strategies International, this signals a dramatic change in how television is sold. The most successful streaming companies are the ones that have gone outside the components of the traditional pay-TV format: broadcast channels, scheduled live programming, and programming guides, with Netflix currently the leader in the video streaming industry, setting the bar for other streaming providers.

“While Netflix has the highest use rate and share of wallet by a long shot and is the provider to beat—there is not a clear winner yet. None of the current providers has cracked the code on what consumers want,” continued Mishkin. “However, the research clearly shows that the strength of the leaders is due to their ability to break free from the old rules of TV.”

Smart TV users watch 36% less than streaming box users

Most TVs shipped in the US are smart and increasing numbers of consumers are connecting them and using them to stream video. However, will they catch up to, and overhaul, the market leading streaming media players?

Smart TVs the norm when purchasing a new set

Smart TVs are now the default choice for consumers when purchasing a new set. 70% of all televisions shipped in North America in 2016 were smart. A third of total smart TV sales have gone to Samsung, with Vizio close behind with 30%. The rest of the market is divvied up between multiple manufacturers. LG secures the third spot with 10%, Sony is next with 7%.

Smart TV and streaming media player benefiting from OTT growth

Streaming media player (SMP) and enabled smart TV penetration has grown strongly over the last four years. In Q1 2014 just 10% of TV homes had a smart TV and 15% had a streaming media player. In Q1 2017, smart TVs have narrowed the gap on SMPs as penetration has grown to 29% and 31% respectively.

Both devices growth reflects how video streaming has moved into the mainstream. Between Q1 2014 and Q1 2017, Netflix U.S. streaming subscribers have grown from 36 million to 52 million. Moreover, services like Netflix put a strong emphasis on the television as the primary viewing platform. This trend seems likely to accelerate as consumers continue to move traditional television viewing to online platforms.

So, will smart TVs continue to catch up to, and overtake, SMPs as the preferred device for online streaming? Maybe not looking at usage data.

Smart TV usage is mixed

When it comes to usage smart TVs come with a natural advantage. When the TV is turned on many smart TVs start from the devices web portal. Moreover, many smart TVs make content and app suggestions in the opening screen. These advantages impact how often an owner uses that functionality. According to Nielsen, enabled smart TVs were used on 20.8 days between December 26th, 2016 and January 29th, 2017. Game consoles were used 15.3 days and SMPs 14.9 days.

When it comes to raw viewing hours the smart TV is well behind other devices. For example, game consoles are used for 4.4 hours per day, though that usage is likely dominated by gameplay rather than video viewing. On the other hand, SMPs are used for 3.6 hours per day with most of that usage dedicated to streaming. Enabled smart TVs are used for 2.3 hours, over an hour less than devices like Roku and Apple TV.

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One to Many: Streaming Live Video to Multiple Platforms

As recently as two or three years ago, most live streams were distributed by a single service provider like Livestream or Ustream, whether on a page on their websites, via an embedded player on your website, or both. With the rise of YouTube Live, Periscope, and particularly Facebook Live, the focus has changed from publishing to a single platform to getting your video on every platform possible. As with all things streaming video related, there are multiple ways to get this done. This article will cover the most prominent alternatives.

One great thing about most alternatives is that you don’t have to be a technology guru to use them. Understand a few key concepts that I’ll cover at the start, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a multiple-platform streaming maven.

Before we jump in, note that the companies discussed below are meant to be a representative sampling, not an exhaustive list. As you’ll see, many of the products and services are ones I’ve reviewed or discussed in the past. If you feel like your product or service should have been included, feel free to add it via comment below.

The first point to understand is that from an encoder interface perspective, there are two ways to connect to services like Facebook Live and YouTube Live: via platform-specific presets or via generic configurable destinations. With most of the products or services that we’ll discuss, if you’re using a platform-specific preset, you choose the preset, log in to the service, and your encoding tool and platform shake hands and exchange all required information.

If you’re using a generic destination or preset, you’ll have to provide the same information manually, which I show how to do in Figure 1. On the right is the server URL and stream key information provided by Facebook Live; on the left are the corresponding input fields from a generic destination provided by livestreaming service provider Livestream. By way of background, real-time messaging protocol (RTMP), originally developed by Adobe, is the common language spoken by all live-streaming encoding tools and live-streaming services. If you must create a custom preset, you’ll have to dig around in your streaming service to find these parameters, then copy and paste them into the encoder setup screen. Easy-peasy.

Why will you almost certainly have to use generic destinations? Because the 600-pound gorilla, Facebook’s Platform Policy Live API, states, “Don’t build apps that enable publishers to simultaneously stream to Facebook and other online streaming services.” So, if a product or service offers presets for Facebook Live and YouTube Live, it can’t let you use both simultaneously.

What’s the workaround? Stream to Facebook Live via the Facebook Live preset and to YouTube Live via a generic RTMP preset (or vice versa), which all products and services enable.

Now that you know how the plumbing works, let’s begin our look at on-premises hardware and software programs.

On-Premises Hardware and Software
These are devices or programs that you run from the source of your live stream, whether on-premises or at your live event. In general, the advantages of these products are:

Cost—You pay for it once, and that’s it.

Ease of use—There’s one product to learn, as compared to an encoder and web service.

Security—There’s one less service you’re bouncing your videos through, which may be important to some networks and businesses.

Lower latency—Web services that redirect your streams add some latency between the live event and the video seen by your viewers.

Captioning—This is available in many on-premises encoders but in few web services.

The primary disadvantage of products in this class is outbound bandwidth, particularly for those producing live, off-site events at conferences or stadiums where outbound bandwidth costs are prohibitive. That is, with a web service, you send one stream out to the cloud which is then redirected to multiple web destinations. With on-premises encoders, you’re sending multiple separate streams to the various web destinations, which all require their own bandwidth. The other primary disadvantage is CapEx, at least for several of the alternatives discussed below.

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Viewers Will Stream 47 Minutes of Video Per Day in 2017

Global viewers will average 47.4 minutes of online video viewing in 2017, forecasts media buying agency Zenith. That’s up from 39.6 minutes the previous year. Nearly all of that increase will come from mobile devices, where online video viewing will grow 35 percent to 28.8 minutes per day. Looking ahead, it should grow another 25 percent in 2018 and 29 percent in 2019 thanks to an increased use of mobiles, better screens, and faster mobile connectivity.

Viewing time on non-mobile devices (including connected TVs, desktop computers, and laptops) will grow only 2 percent in 2017 to 18.6 minutes per day. Within that area, Zenith sees connected TV streaming time rising, while desktop and laptop viewing times are decreasing. Viewing times on non-mobile devices will actually shrink by 1 percent in 2018 and 2 percent in 2019.

This data comes from Zenith’s Online Video Forecast 2017, and includes all online video sources such as video sharing sites and subscription services. In 2019, mobile devices will make up 72 percent of all online video viewing, Zenith says, up from 61 percent in 2017.

All this video viewing will lead to an increase in advertising on streamed video. Zenith predicts the global online video ad market will reach $27.2 billion U.S. this year, an increase from 2016’s $22.2 billion U.S. It should grow by 21 percent in 2018 and 17 percent in 2019, reaching $38.7 billion U.S.

For Some, Live Streaming Video Is Already a Constant

New research from consulting firm Magid finds that many people are frequently watching live streaming video.

In fact, nearly half (48%) of US internet users surveyed in June 2017 said they do so at least once a week. And roughly a quarter (23%) said they watch live streaming content at least once a day.

Frequency with Which US Internet Users Watch Live Streaming Video, June 2017 (% of respondents)

But while many people are frequently viewing live content, there’s still room for growth. According to Magid, 28% of respondents have never watched live streaming video.

That may change, however. For one, live streaming TV services are already being offered by many established companies including YouTube, Sling TV, DirecTV and most recently Hulu.

Even Amazon is dabbling with live streaming. It recently paid the National Football League roughly $50 million for the rights to stream 10 Thursday night games this season.

What’s more, people feel updated and informed when they watch this type of content, at least according to the Magid study. When asked why they watch live streaming video, a quarter of respondents mentioned that very reason.

And one in five said watching live streaming video makes them feel like a part of an event.

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ComScore Now Shows Advertisers Who’s Watching Their Content

For a while now, those in the television industry have been clamoring for viewership data on people watching content on streaming services, including Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. And it appears measurement firm comScore, which has been nipping at Nielsen’s heels for some time, is attempting to step up to the plate.

According to Fierce Cable, comScore is promising viewership data for streaming content on TV screens through a new service called OTT Intelligence. The data is gathered through comScore’s Total Home Panel, a platform that has access to audience statistics based on approximately 12,500 households and 150,000 active devices.

Subscribers to OTT Intelligence will have access to metrics including household reach, audience size and usage for the aforementioned streaming services as well as YouTube. The company said the data can be segmented for cord-cutting and cord-never homes as well as those with a cable or satellite subscriptions.

“With very limited insight into viewing behavior across providers, the OTT market has largely been a black box,” said Mike Rich, comScore vp of emerging products, in a statement. “As more TV viewers look beyond traditional content sources, it’s more important than ever for networks, content producers, device manufacturers and others in the ecosystem to understand this growing segment of cross-platform viewing.”

Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon occasionally provide updates about their total number of subscribers, but they’re traditionally far vaguer when it comes to releasing viewership data for their original content.

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Music Industry Predicts a Major ‘Wake-Up Call’ on Streaming

BMG says its artists receive more than 75% of music streaming royalties. Why are other artists getting 0%?

In the past few years, all three major music labels have posted higher financials thanks to one magic word: streaming. Revenue from music streaming has pushed major labels to their highest revenues in years. It’s off the charts!

So why exactly are artists still receiving such tiny royalty payments?

According to Hartwig Masuch, CEO of BMG, the reason may lie behind a “complex” excuse major labels use.

Streaming has provided a strong growth boost after sharp declines due to piracy and declining CD sales. Just two months ago, in Warner Music Group’s Q1 financials, CEO Steve Cooper proudly says:

“Our strong momentum continues with excellent first-quarter results including 11% constant-currency revenue growth on top of 11% growth in the prior-year quarter. While streaming continues to drive industry growth, we are outperforming the market thanks to extraordinary music from our artists coupled with first-class execution from our operators around the world.”

However, the BMG CEO warned that as major labels continue to report higher financials thanks to streaming, artists will soon demand a greater cut of royalty revenues. The simple reason is that the cost base can’t reasonably be justified.

Speaking with the Financial Times, Masuch said,

“I believe there will be some wake-up calls. I am very cynical about the view that the good days have returned. Every renegotiation [with an artist] will cut down massively on the margin.”

Artists have long complained about poor payouts from streaming platforms, including Spotify and YouTube. Citing one example, Chris Difford co-wrote hits like ‘Up the Junction’ and ‘Tempted’ with his band Squeeze. Yet, he has only received £1.50 ($1.87) for every 6,000 streams.

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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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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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