35% boost in video views driven by live sports, vMVPDs, connected TV

In the free white paper, The Secret Life of Streamers, Part II, nScreenMedia reported on the huge increase in live premium video viewing in the home. The paper also revealed that the connected TV had become the driving force in consumption of live video. According to the Q1 2018 Freewheel Video Monetization Report, these two trends are still very much in play.

Live views up 77%

Freewheel reports strong growth in premium video and ad views between Q1 2017 and Q1 2018. Video views increased 35%, and ad views grew by 34%. However, live views saw the greatest growth, increasing 77%, while full-episode and clip views grew 25% and 7% respectively.

Full episodes still draw the most ad views, 53%, but that is down from 60% one year earlier. Meanwhile, live ad view share grew from 24% to 35%. Clips ad view share declined over the same period, from 16% to 12%.

Sports dominate live streaming, with three-quarters of all live ad views coming in that content type. Entertainment delivers 16% and clips just 8%.

vMVPDs and live sports synergies

The occurrence of 3 major sporting events in the first quarter is responsible for the big increase in live consumption: Winter Olympics, Super Bowl LII, and NCAA March Madness. However, it is their wide availability online that is relatively new. Until recently, the major television networks carrying premium sports were only available through expensive pay TV subscriptions. In the last year, the emergence of vMVPDs such as Sling TV and DirecTV Now allow people to watch live sports online at a much lower price point.

There is evidence that sports are also driving growth in vMVPDs. App intelligence company Sensor Tower reports that first-time downloads of the top 5 vMVPD services increased 77% in the first week of the World Cup. Leading the pack is the sports-oriented FuboTV. Before the World Cup Sensor Tower estimated that the service average 38,000 downloads per week. In the first week of the tournament, downloads exploded to 309,000!

read more here: nscreenmedia.com

OTT Video Services to Climb to US$51.4 billion in 2022

The growth of subscription OTT services has been driving the changing trends in the Pay-TV landscape. OTT video services have attracted hundreds of millions of subscribers worldwide, causing pressure on traditional Pay-TV operators. This OTT growth trend is expected to continue, reaching a subscriber base of 400 million in 2018, according to a recent report by ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies.

OTT video services offer less expensive alternatives and no long-term contract features compared to existing Pay-TV offerings that are driving an increasing number of Pay-TV customers to switch to these OTT services. In markets such as North America and Europe, Pay-TV operators have jumped into the OTT market to improve churn by providing less costly video service. DirecTV’s Now, Dish Network’s Sling TV, and Sky’s Now TV are among the operators which offer Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributor (vMVPD) services, linear channels via an internet connection.

“vMVPD services offer live TV packages as low as US$10 and customized packages are attracting cost-sensitive customers,” said Khin Sandi Lynn, Industry Analyst at ABI Research. Dish Network’s Sling has secured more than 2 million subscribers in the two years since it launched. Similarly, DirecTV Now has gained 1.2 million subscribers within one year of its launch, offsetting the subscriber loss of its satellite TV platform. “Pay-TV operators recognize the consumer demand for vMVPD services and are trying to expand their OTT offering by providing more content choice to compete against other subscription OTT services such as Netflix,” Lynn noted.

Despite the low cost of basic vMVPD packages, the availability of live sports packages and customization features contribute the higher ARPU compared to other subscription OTT services. Hulu and YouTube launched live streaming packages in 2017 creating more competition in the vMVPD market. “As competition intensifies, content and quality of service are crucial to win the OTT war,” concludes Lynn. ABI Research forecasts that OTT video services will put more pressure on traditional Pay-TV services especially in the developed markets with high broadband and Pay-TV penetration. The worldwide OTT video market is expected to grow at CAGR 10% to generate US$51.4 billion in 2022.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Service Provider OTT Services and Set-top boxes Update report.

YouTube ditches creators, targets TV users and reaches 25% of the world

YouTube ditches creators, targets TV users and reaches a quarter of the world

At its annual Brandcast event last week, YouTube said more than 1.8 billion users – almost 25% of the world’s 7.6 billion population – log into the streaming platform each month. It represents a 20% increase from the year before and a substantial increase from its total in 2013, of 1 billion.

Alphabet – which owns Google, YouTube’s parent – earned more than $95 billion in advertising revenue last year. Estimates put the total amount of online ad revenue at around $300 billion. EMarketer estimates that around 11% of this revenue comes from YouTube. If true, this would make YouTube one of the largest advertising platforms in the world.

YouTube targets TV users

Brandcast did more than demonstrate the immense influence and scale of YouTube; it also showed a change of strategy. The company announced, “over 150 million hours of YouTube watch time was recorded per day on TV screens alone.”

“The YouTube content is actually scaling for TV incredibly well,” said YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl. “It is our fastest growing screen of all screens.”

The company will add TV screens to the list of devices that advertisers can target through AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager. For brands chasing cord-cutters, the company is introducing a new audience segment called “light TV viewers.” Targeting the new segment will allow advertisers to reach YouTube viewers who watch most of their videos on the television.

Companies can now buy TV inventory through the Google Preferred ad program. vMVPD users subscribers Q4 2017Google is adding the TV network ad inventory it gets through YouTube TV to the program. The move will allow brands to target audiences watching the most popular YouTube content and traditional TV shows in a single campaign.

YouTube touted its new vMVPD service, YouTube TV, as momentous. Though it hasn’t revealed monthly subscribers, it said the service is now available in more than 85% of US households. It is also the largest vMVPD service available. According to data from TiVo, 9% of consumers used the service in Q4 2017, more than double its biggest rival.

However, television wasn’t the only strategic change targeted by the platform.

YouTube ditches its creators for celebs

It’s no secret that YouTube enjoys massive popularity with the young Gen Z demographic. These children and young adults idolize internet sensations such as Logan Paul, Pewdiepie, and Liza Koshy. However, during Brandcast these stars were nowhere to be found. There was, however, no shortage of familiar faces.

Will Smith, Priyanka Chopra, Kevin Hart, and Demi Lovato were just some of the stars at the event as YouTube looked to “shine a light on human stories that inspire us.” The top Hollywood talent took center stage, while it was tough to find a single YouTube creator in the mix. YouTube announced new videos and partnerships with these celebrities. For example, Will Smith will bungee jump from a helicopter, and Demi Lovato will star in a show to build awareness, both efforts to help highlight the inspiring stories campaign.

read more here: nscreenmedia.com

YouTube TV seeks Digital Publishers

YouTube’s $40-a-month live TV streaming service, YouTube TV, reportedly wants to add channels from digital-native publishers like Cheddar, Tastemade, and The Young Turks (TYT) Network to its package of network offerings, Digiday reports. The skinny bundle service is now testing up to six new channels from such publishers.

YouTube deployed the service last year amid a wave of launches of similar services, known as vMVPDs (or virtual multichannel video programming distributor) or “skinny bundles,” that offer a smaller package of networks than the traditional pay-TV bundle, for less money.

Adding popular digital-native publishers to its package could give YouTube TV greater cachet and potential uptake among young viewers, while further legitimizing these publishers by opening them up to broader, more linear-based viewership — and bigger advertisers — as vMVPD subscribers more often watch through connected devices on TV screens.

By adding live streams from digital-native publishers, YouTube TV could differentiate its service in a way that rivals haven’t. Despite the many skinny bundles out there, none are markedly different from the others. Moreover, vMVPDs are arguably not only offering nearly identical services among themselves, but they are also practically identical to the traditional bundle, aside from being cheaper and delivered over-the-top (OTT). YouTube TV could therefore stand to gain subscribers, particularly millennials, who are likely to be more familiar with digital-first publishers and to want their video product as a viewing option.

Meanwhile, digital publishers are seeking revenue diversification, as Facebook proves to be an increasingly unreliable partner, as Adweek recently reported.Earlier this year, Facebook de-prioritized publisher content in News Feed, which has long driven significant traffic to publishers’ sites. Additionally, publishers that have agreed to produce content for Facebook Watch aren’t relying on those partnership deals — which typically run a year — as a long-term revenue source, per Digiday. This means these publishers are in search of new distributors, which YouTube TV could provide.

Digital publishers may also be enticed by YouTube’s strong reputation as a video destination, as well as its historically consistent monetization model, with 55% of ad revenue going to publishers. vMVPD players have structured deals with networks similarly to traditional ones with cable companies, wherein the distributor pays a carriage fee on a per-subscriber-per-month basis. In the case of these six digital publishers, YouTube isn’t paying a carriage fee yet, but will implement an ad share model, with both YouTube and publishers selling inventory.