Amazon Prime Video Knocks Netflix from Top Streamer Spot

Amazon Prime Video has overtaken Netflix as the most popular OTT video service in the U.S., according to a new study by Parks Associates, marking the first time Netflix fell from No. 1 in the history of the company’s annual report. Peacock entered the top 10 list for the first time in 2022, debuting at No. 9, while Showtime dropped off. The research firm reports that 83 percent of U.S. broadband households have at least one OTT service, while 23 percent subscribe to nine or more OTT subscriptions. While Netflix, Prime Video and Hulu have traditionally held the top three spots, the list has recently become more varied due to an influx of new players. Continue reading Amazon Prime Video Knocks Netflix from Top Streamer Spot

Disney Could Be Planning to Create a Mega Bundle with Hulu

Speculation is afoot as to the fate of popular subscription streaming service Hulu, initially launched 15 years ago. Disney presently owns 67 percent of the company, and Comcast 33 percent. The two had agreed to come to terms of a sale by January 24, but now there is talk that Disney wants to resolve the matter sooner and is planning to buy out Comcast and integrate Hulu into Disney+, providing access to titles from Disney’s “Star Wars” and Marvel Universe franchises along with popular Hulu originals such as “Only Murders in the Building,” “The Great” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Continue reading Disney Could Be Planning to Create a Mega Bundle with Hulu

Amazon Offers Expanded Music and Podcast Catalog Ad-Free

Amazon Music has taken a major leap forward, expanding its catalog from about 2 million to 100 million songs that will be made available ad-free to Prime members as part of their existing $139 annual membership fee. Starting this week, Prime members can “shuffle play any artist, album, or playlist, plus stream a selection of All-Access playlists on demand” as well as “access the largest catalog of ad-free top podcasts,” the online retail giant said. The move underscores a new battleground for membership-focused retailers, including Costco and Walmart, who see streaming as an opportunity to add value. Continue reading Amazon Offers Expanded Music and Podcast Catalog Ad-Free

Disney+ Subs Get Early Access to Exclusive Holiday Shopping

The Walt Disney Company has begun mixing-in shopping opportunities among Disney+ streaming content. U.S. subscribers with Disney+ profiles verified as 18 and older will have first crack at new products from franchises including “Frozen,” “Star Wars” and “Black Panther.” Included among the items are a light saber ($250 to $400) and apparel ($27 to $100). After the limited Disney+ window closes on November 8 the goods will be made available to the general public for purchase. Disney is reportedly also considering an experiment with early access to new theme park rides. Continue reading Disney+ Subs Get Early Access to Exclusive Holiday Shopping

Consumer Study Finds Bundling Is Key to Streaming Success

Winners in the current streaming wars will be companies that diversify beyond a single programming vertical, checking boxes that include movies, series, news, sports and video games, according to a new survey, “What Will They Pay For? The Mind of The Modern Subscriber,” from Consumer Insights, the research division of Publisher’s Clearing House. According to the report, the answer is movies and scripted TV (39 percent), trailed by sports (12 percent), followed closely by music and podcasts (11 percent). At 10 percent, “other” is a category to keep an eye on, the study’s authors advise. Continue reading Consumer Study Finds Bundling Is Key to Streaming Success

IMAX 3.0 Underway with Acquisition of Streaming Tech Firm

IMAX Corp. has acquired SSIMWAVE, a leader in AI-driven video streaming solutions for $21 million in a mostly cash deal. Ontario-based SSIMWAVE lists Disney, Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery among those currently using its technology, which lets streaming and broadcast providers deliver what IMAX says is “the best possible image” to any device for on-demand and live video. The move marks a significant expansion of IMAX’s strategy to deliver its own super-sized content at the highest quality to a variety of screens, including phones. As a service, SSIMWAVE fits IMAX’s financial strategy to generate new, recurring revenue. Continue reading IMAX 3.0 Underway with Acquisition of Streaming Tech Firm

Disney+ Shares the ‘Future of Storytelling’ with New AR Short

Disney+ has unveiled a new app for viewing augmented reality, inviting subscribers to test drive “the future of storytelling, in your own living room” with the new short “Remembering: The AR Experience.” Created by an award-winning duo (“Captain Marvel” star Brie Larson, who also produces, and writer/director Elijah Allan-Blitz), the 8-minute film is meant to be viewed “through” an iOS tablet or iPhone that you hold up to your TV screen, allowing its camera to activate a QR code that triggers the AR, bringing fanciful objects (trees, rainbows, shooting stars and clouds) to your IRL surroundings. Continue reading Disney+ Shares the ‘Future of Storytelling’ with New AR Short

Netflix Reportedly Bumping Up Ad-Tier Launch to November

Netflix has reportedly moved the timeline for launching its ad-supported subscription tier to November 1 in an effort to get to market before the December 8 debut of the Disney+ tier with advertising. Over the summer, Netflix told investors it planned to launch the lower-priced alternative tier “around the early part of 2023,” a strategy that appears to have shifted, with a Q4 rollout that is expected to include the U.S., Canada, Germany, France and the UK. The streamer is also said to be discussing a pricey $65 CPM rate per thousand impressions. Netflix characterized the conjecture as “speculation.” Continue reading Netflix Reportedly Bumping Up Ad-Tier Launch to November

Roku Aims to Expand Its Audience for Original Programming

Roku, the streaming media platform with more than 63 million U.S. accounts, has taken the plunge into exclusive programming this past year. In addition to purchasing the Quibi library and spending a reported $97.8 million to buy the home improvement franchise This Old House Ventures, Roku Originals has funded the Funny or Die production “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,” budgeted at $12 million. Roku Originals has also produced a movie adaptation of NBC’s canceled “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” and greenlit fresh seasons of Quibi’s Kevin Hart-starrer “Die Hart” as well as the remodeling series “Murder House Flip.” Continue reading Roku Aims to Expand Its Audience for Original Programming

Nielsen Reports Streaming Leads Cable TV for the First Time

July was the first month in which streaming has overtaken cable viewing, according to Nielsen’s monthly snapshot The Gauge, which reports streaming captured a record 34.8 percent share of total U.S. TV viewership, cable 34.4 percent and broadcast 21.6 percent. While streaming has exceeded broadcast’s viewing share before, this is the first time it also exceeded cable, said Nielsen Global Media’s Brian Fuhrer, SVP of product strategy and thought leadership. Audiences spent 23 percent more time streaming content than they did in July 2021, 9 percent less time watching cable and 10 percent less time watching broadcast television. Continue reading Nielsen Reports Streaming Leads Cable TV for the First Time

Record $7.4B in Theme Parks Propels Profit Surge for Disney

It was a successful fiscal third quarter for The Walt Disney Company, which saw revenue jump 26 percent and profits up 54 percent compared to the same period in 2021. The company, celebrating its centenary, had revenue of $21.5 billion and profits of $1.41 billion (77 cents a share) for the three months ending July 2. Theme park revenue was up more than 70 percent, to $7.4 billion, as the company continued to shake COVID-19 contractions. For an added flourish, Disney+ grew a whopping 31 percent worldwide, adding 14.4 million subscribers to top out at 152 million. Continue reading Record $7.4B in Theme Parks Propels Profit Surge for Disney

Warner Bros. Discovery Explores Adding a New FAST Service

Warner Bros. Discovery reported Thursday that the number of direct-to-consumer subscribers to HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+ was up 1.7 million since the close of Q1, for a total of 92.1 million subs. As part of its effort to reach a broader streaming audience, the company plans to launch a combined subscription version of HBO Max and Discovery+ in summer of 2023. CEO David Zaslav revealed that the company is also exploring a free ad-supported TV service. “We see potential,” Zaslav said of launching a discrete FAST service, one that may offer different content from what is currently available on the premium VOD platforms. Continue reading Warner Bros. Discovery Explores Adding a New FAST Service

Streaming Viewership to Surpass Cable TV Before Year’s End

Streaming is expected to overtake linear TV viewing by the end of the year, according to a study by research firm Omdia. The Gauge, Nielsen’s latest media analysis report, found that streaming claimed 34 percent of total TV time in June for a fourth consecutive monthly record. That’s what cable claimed in June 2021, only to decline to 35 percent in June 2022. Nielsen SVP of product strategy and thought leadership Brian Fuhrer says what is unusual is “the extraordinary breakout that a number of the streamers had,” with Netflix jumping the most, a full share point. Continue reading Streaming Viewership to Surpass Cable TV Before Year’s End

Amazon Launches Updates to Its Prime Video User Interface

Amazon is rolling out a redesigned Prime Video app for Android and connected living room devices, including Fire TV for customers worldwide, with iOS and web to follow. The company says the new interface will make discovery and navigation much easier. Among the visual enhancements are a Top 10 Chart showcasing trending Prime Video content and “Super Carousel” displays with “poster-style artwork” for Amazon Originals. Also emphasized is graphical distinction between content included with Prime memberships versus that which is available for general purchase. Continue reading Amazon Launches Updates to Its Prime Video User Interface

Disney Enters a Cross-Platform Ad Deal with The Trade Desk

Disney Advertising has entered into a deal with global ad tech firm The Trade Desk that will allow advertisers “to buy once to deliver everywhere across Disney.” Rita Ferro, president of ad sales, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said the pact leverages years Disney has spent “investing in our data and technology” to create solutions that use precision targeting “in a privacy-focused way.” The Trade Desk will utilize data from the Disney Clean Room, a repository of first-party data Disney has collected from customers combining it with consumer data produced by the Unified ID 2.0 industry framework. Continue reading Disney Enters a Cross-Platform Ad Deal with The Trade Desk