Paramount+, the new streaming service from ViacomCBS, will launch in the U.S. on March 4th, the company announced today. Paramount+ will also launch in Latin America on March 4th, and in Canada, CBS All Access will be rebranded on that date, though a broader content rollout won’t happen until later in 2021. Paramount+ will also launch in the Nordics on March 25th and in Australia in mid-2021 according to the release.
ViacomCBS will share more details of its streaming strategy at an investor event on February 24th.
Welcome to the 544th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Kids movies were a big part of the success of Disney+ in 2020, with the service having seven of the top 10 streaming movies, according to Nielsen. But as Colin and I discuss, Disney+ will be challenged this year by Netflix, HBO Max and others. With theaters still running at low capacity due to Covid, 2021 is setting up as a game-changing year for streaming movies.
Separate, this week AT&T pulled the plug on its AT&T TV Now virtual pay-TV service, which at one point a couple years ago led the category with nearly 2 million subscribers (when it was called DirecTV Now). Colin and I examine what went wrong and why AT&T shifted its strategy so dramatically.
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2020 was a strong year for streaming across the board, but newly released Nielsen data reveals some of the biggest winners. At the top of the list was “The Office,” which racked up the most viewership of any TV show, with 57.1 billion minutes streamed for its 192 episodes on Netflix.
Along with “The Office,” 6 of the top 7 streamed shows in 2020 were licensed content (and all were on Netflix). The only original show in the top 7 was “Ozark” with 30.4 billion minutes streamed. Ahead of it were “Grey’s Anatomy” (39.4 billion minutes) and “Criminal Minds” (35.4 billion minutes) and just behind it were “NCIS” (28.1 billion minutes), “Schitt’s Creek” (23.8 billion minutes) and “Supernatural” (20.3 billion minutes).
HBO Max is live on Roku devices, a day after Roku and WarnerMedia came to terms on an agreement. The HBO Max app can be downloaded from the Roku channel store and users can subscribe to HBO Max, which costs $15 per month. Roku users already subscribing to HBO will be automatically upgraded to HBO Max and can use their existing login information.
The Roku-WarnerMedia deal comes after a months-long stalemate between the companies and while terms were not disclosed, it makes lots of sense for both. For HBO Max, Roku’s estimated 46 million active users were a huge hole in its addressable audience. Missing Roku’s user base would have meant that promotions like “Wonder Woman 1984” coming on Christmas Day to HBO Max (and theaters) would have been under-optimized.
Peacock announced a savvy move yesterday, tiering access to “The Office” when it moves to Peacock on January 1st from its current home on Netflix. Peacock said that seasons 1-2 will be available for free, with ads, but that seasons 3-9 will only be accessible on its Peacock Premium (with ads, $5/month) and Peacock Premium Plus (without ads, $10/month) tiers. Paying subscribers will also get access to longer “Superfan Episodes” which are extended cuts with previously unseen footage, starting with season 5.
The tiered approach makes a ton of sense. Signing up for free is a no-brainer for existing fans who want continued access and will follow “The Office” from Netflix to Peacock. That will help drive up the number of Peacock signups which last week stood at 26 million. For now, this is the only metric Peacock is publicly reporting; it hasn’t yet revealed how many paying subscribers there are.
When I originally gave Disney+ a test run a little over a year ago, following its launch, I wrote that “Disney+ is a Winner.” Then, when Disney announced this past February that Disney+ had already accumulated 28.6 million subscribers, I wrote “Now It’s Really Official: Disney+ is a Winner.”
So what to say after last week’s Disney Investor Day, where it was announced that Disney+ is now up to a staggering 86.8 million subscribers? How many different ways can you say something is a winner? What seems more relevant is that Disney+ is likely to keep on winning, for years to come, totally transforming the Walt Disney Company, the streaming market and the broader media and entertainment industries.
I’m pleased to present the 541st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week Colin and I discuss the recent activation of a Showtime channel within the free Pluto TV service. Showtime and Pluto TV are both part of ViacomCBS and in this case Showtime is tapping into free streaming to drive more subscriptions and higher brand awareness. Colin sees it as part of a larger trend toward “virtual linear TV” channels that streaming offers and a potential alternative to free trials that SVOD services have long used.
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Discovery announced its discovery+ streaming service today, with a U.S. launch date of January 4th. There will be an ad-light version for $4.99 per month and an ad-free version for $6.99 per month. The service will roll out in 25 additional countries initially, at localized price points and with different packaging options. The first advertising partners announced include Boston Beer Company, Kraft Heinz, Lowe’s and Toyota.
Verizon will offer new and existing Play More and Get More Unlimited subscribers 12 months free of discovery+. Verizon will give Start and Do More Unlimited subscribers 6 months of discovery+. And new Verizon 5G Home Internet or Fios Gigabit Connection subscribers will also receive 12 months of free discovery+. Verizon offered similar free access to Disney+ at launch (and later the bundle with Hulu and ESPN+) which proved highly effective, driving an estimated 15% of Disney+’s first year subscribers.
U.S. broadband households with multiple SVOD subscriptions soared in Q3 ’20 according to new research from Parks Associates. In its new “The Next Big 3 in OTT” report, Parks found that 61% of U.S. broadband households have two or more SVOD services, compared to 48% a year ago. In Q3 ’20, 45% of these households had three or more SVOD services, up from 27% a year earlier. And 31% subscribed to four or more SVOD services in Q3 ’20, over double the 14% rate a year ago. (Which of these describes your household? Send me a note and let me know).
Topics: Parks Associates
I’m pleased to present the 538th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Disney reported its fiscal year and Q4 results yesterday, with the highlight being that Disney+ had 73.7 million subscribers at the end of the quarter. Coincidentally, yesterday was exactly one year since Disney+ launch. Disney had initially forecast Disney+ would reach 60-90 million subscribers by 2024, so it is already at the midpoint.
Colin and I dig into the Disney+ numbers, along with its average revenue per paid subscriber, which is still relatively low by SVOD standards. We also discuss results at Hulu and ESPN+, both of which also had a strong Q4 and a strong fiscal year 2020. Overall Disney seems to have successfully pivoted to the direct-to-consumer model and is now investing heavily behind it. More details will be revealed at its investor day on December 10th.
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Bloomberg reported Friday that Disney has curtailed Hulu’s international expansion because Disney does not want to significantly increase Hulu’s valuation which would trigger a higher eventual payout to minority owner Comcast. Hulu’s valuation in early 2024 will set the payout Disney owes Comcast for its one-third share in Hulu under a deal struck in May, 2019. Comcast’s Hulu stake is worth at least $5.8 billion under the deal.
Bloomberg said that Hulu’s late 2019 proposal to Disney to expand internationally was initially supported, but then in August 2020 Disney switched gears and decided to embrace Star as the international brand for its non-U.S. entertainment service. Disney acquired Star, the India media company, as part of its $71 billion Fox deal. Bloomberg also cited Disney’s concerns about extending Hulu’s losses, Covid’s negative impact on Disney’s various businesses, and its commitment of resources to Disney+’s international expansion as other reasons it decided not to support Hulu’s international expansion.
I’m pleased to present the 533rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Are AVOD and SVOD services in competition with each other for time and attention, or is there more of a continuum between them? For now at least, with viewership of both exploding, it seems like more of a continuum according to data Colin shares this week.
However, AVOD/SVOD viewership is coming at the expense of linear TV/pay-TV. This was substantiated again this week by Roku and The Harris Poll’s Consumer Holiday Shopping Report, which found a 19% YOY increase in streaming and a 13% YOY decline in pay-TV viewing. We discuss the details.
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I’m pleased to present the 526th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. We hope all our listeners are staying well.
Disney reported its Q3 ’20 results this week, swinging to a $5 billion loss as the pandemic hit multiple parts of the company. The sole bright spot was direct-to-consumer streaming where Disney now has over 100 million subscribers between Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. Disney emphasized how critical DTC is to its future and plans to launch Star as an international SVOD brand while Hulu will remain a domestic brand.
On today’s podcast Colin and I discuss the remarkable pivot Disney has made toward DTC in just the past couple of years, and what’s ahead. We’re enthusiastic about the premium opportunities Disney has, starting with the “Mulan” PVOD option coming soon, as Disney+ begins to look more like a membership with various exclusive offers.
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I’m pleased to present the 523rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. As always we wish our listeners all the best and hope everyone is staying well.
Peacock launched nationally this week and Colin and I are both impressed. The user experience and value proposition to advertisers are both strong. As more library and original content is added, it’s only going to get better. However, Peacock’s distribution is currently limited without deals with Amazon Fire TV and Roku, which is why Comcast’s own Flex device is critical. Peacock is also entering a highly competitive SVOD/AVOD market; it is poised to play a lot of different roles for NBCU and Comcast.
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I’m pleased to present the 518th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. We hope all of our listeners are staying safe and healthy.
This week Colin and I dig into a range of different data and forecasts about changing SVOD viewership patterns as the pandemic continues. These include data about co-viewing from Nielsen and average viewing minutes for major SVOD services from 7Park.
We also highlight new survey data from Magid how sports fans may shift from SVOD when sports returns. Finally we touch on a new forecast from MoffettNathanson that U.S. pay-TV subscribers will drop by 22 million by 2024, with SVOD benefiting.
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I’m pleased to present the 516th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. As always, we hope our listeners are staying well.
After much anticipation HBO Max has launched and we share our initial observations on the app and content. Colin is especially impressed with the recommendation feature, which reportedly mixes algorithms and human curation. Even with its massive content library, HBO Max at $15 per month is at the high end of the market which should slightly limit its appeal.
A far bigger limiter is that neither Roku nor Amazon Fire TV are supporting HBO Max. Colin and I dig into what’s behind the conflict. Colin believes all the companies are seeking control over the user experience and the accompanying revenue and usage insights. In particular Amazon has around 5 million HBO Now subscribers through its Channels program that it is reluctant to see transition to HBO Max directly.
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In a new survey by Leichtman Research Group, 53% of American adults agreed (selecting 8, 9 or 10 on a 1-10 scale) that they spend more time watching TV during the pandemic. Just 16% selected 1, 2 or 3 that they disagreed that they were spending more time watching TV.
LRG didn’t find significant age, income or gender differences among those agreeing. 56% of pay-TV subscribers agreed while 45% of non-subscribers agreed. The results are from an online survey fielded in April and May. Q1 also saw the worst decline in pay-TV ever, with over 2 million subscribers lost, while SVOD services like Netflix added record subscribers. Lack of live sports, budget tightening and the availability of inexpensive or free OTT services were surely primary drivers.
New research from Hub Entertainment Research has found that the average number of TV services used per viewer reached 4.8 in April 2020, vs 3 in 2018, a rise of over 50%. Hub includes all TV services in the mix - pay-TV, SVOD and AVOD. Hub found that more viewers are using SVOD services, and those that are use multiple services. 74% used either Netflix, Amazon or Hulu in April, 2020 vs. 70% a year earlier. And 46% of viewers used two or more of these services in April, 2020 compared with 43% a year earlier.
I’m pleased to present the 511th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. We wish all of our listeners good health and hope everyone is staying safe.
Earlier this week, Netflix reported an unexpectedly large gain in global subscribers for Q1 ’20, which management attributed to the shelter-at-home situation. On today’s podcast Colin and I discuss how Netflix has uniquely benefited from shifting viewership and also how it will continue to do so in Q2 and likely during the second half of the year.
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Netflix demonstrated what a huge beneficiary of shelter-in-place the company has become, reporting 15.8 million net subscriber additions globally for Q1 ’20. The number was over twice as large as the 7 million that Netflix had forecast for its Q1 gain back in January. Netflix was well ahead of forecast in all 4 of its geographic regions and now has 183 million global subscribers, cementing its position as the largest SVOD service by far.
The region that is most intriguing to me is the U.S. plus Canada region (“UCAN”), where, back in January, I thought there was a 50-50 chance Netflix could actually lose subscribers in Q1, for the first time. That was based on Netflix’s global forecast and looking at recent growth trends in the other 3 regions. Instead, Netflix added 2.31 million subscribers in Q1 ’20, up from 1.88 million in Q1 ’19.