Paramount Considers Absorbing Showtime into Paramount+

Just weeks after introducing a new bundled approach to marketing Paramount+ and Showtime, there are reports that Paramount Global is considering discontinuing Showtime as a separate streaming service and merging its content into Paramount+. Although couched as in the early phases of discussion, the idea would be to boost the signature platform’s consumer appeal in an increasingly crowded market. Showtime is currently available for $10.99 per month as a standalone service, and Paramount+ subscribers can get Showtime at special pricing through October 2, gaining access to its premium content, including “Billions” and “Yellowjackets.” Continue reading Paramount Considers Absorbing Showtime into Paramount+

Netflix Cutting Costs in Areas Such as Cloud, Staffing, Perks

Netflix, which said it lost almost one million subscribers in Q2, has been aggressively cutting costs, implementing a variety of measures that range from scaling back its real estate footprint to trimming cloud computing. While the streaming giant says the cuts have not significantly impacted content spending, it has laid off more than 400 employees in 2022 and has begun hiring more junior staff, according to reports. Macroeconomic trends have made belt-tightening common across the industry, but at Netflix it stands in stark contrast to years of explosive growth and free spending. Continue reading Netflix Cutting Costs in Areas Such as Cloud, Staffing, Perks

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

YouTube CBO Robert Kyncl Exiting, Mary Ellen Coe Steps Up

After a 12-year run that saw YouTube emerge as the dominant U.S. social video platform, chief business officer Robert Kyncl announced he is stepping aside. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that Google president of global customer solutions Mary Ellen Coe will assume the role of CBO, effective October 3, with Kyncl continuing as part of YouTube’s executive team until early 2023 during the transition. Known as YouTube’s Hollywood connection, Kyncl was ultimately unable to transition YouTube into the long-form streaming platform Google once envisioned, but he oversaw its rise to short-form video powerhouse. Continue reading YouTube CBO Robert Kyncl Exiting, Mary Ellen Coe Steps Up

Snap Canceling Projects and Cutting 20 Percent of Workforce

Snap Inc. announced plans to cancel ongoing projects such as Snap Originals, in-app multiplayer games, HTML mini-apps built by outside developers, and future development of its Pixy selfie-camera drone — all part of a corporate restructuring that will include laying off about 20 percent of its more than 6,400 employees. The company, which operates the popular social media app Snapchat, is taking cost-cutting measures as it faces growing competition from TikTok and other rivals and challenges to its core digital advertising business. Continue reading Snap Canceling Projects and Cutting 20 Percent of Workforce

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

VTubers are Latest Creators Earning on YouTube and Twitch

VTubers are Japan’s latest export, with dozens of the virtual online stars claiming millions of fans and becoming a new breed of influencer, raking in hefty sums on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. Tokyo-based Hololive Production kicked off the creator trend, which centers on animated personas that stream using motion-capture or AR face-tracking. Complete with their own mythos and origin stories, the characters amass large followings. As of April, Hololive represented more than 65 VTubers, the most popular in English, Gawr Gura, has more than 4 million YouTube subscribers. Now UTA has signed VTubers Shxtou and Baoo for representation. Continue reading VTubers are Latest Creators Earning on YouTube and Twitch

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

Walmart+ Subscribers Get Basic Tier of Paramount+ for Free

Walmart is taking a page from Amazon’s playbook and providing its Walmart+ customers streaming video content thanks to a deal with Paramount Global. Walmart+ subscribers will receive an ad-supported Paramount+ subscription as a perk. In addition to helping Walmart keep customers happy, the deal will further Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish’s stated goal of having 100 million Paramount+ subscribers by 2024. Walmart launched Walmart+ about two years ago charging $98 a year, or $12.95 a month, in exchange for free shipping with online purchases, free grocery deliveries for orders above $35 and discounted prescriptions and gas. Continue reading Walmart+ Subscribers Get Basic Tier of Paramount+ for Free

Nexstar Acquiring Majority Stake in The CW in Cashless Deal

After more than six months of negotiations, Nexstar Media Group has struck a deal with Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery to acquire a 75 percent stake in The CW Network. Paramount and WBD will each continue to hold a 12.5 percent stake in The CW and will continue to provide scripted programming for it through the 2022-23 season after the deal closes, which Nexstar expects to happen in Q3. Financial terms were not disclosed, though Variety reports Nexstar is not paying cash, but rather assuming “a large chunk” of The CW’s “more than $100 million” in debt. Continue reading Nexstar Acquiring Majority Stake in The CW in Cashless Deal

YouTube Explores Plans for a Multi-Service Streaming Portal

YouTube is launching an online streaming video store and is in talks with entertainment companies to engage their participation. Internally referred to as a “channel store,” it could reportedly be open for business as early as this fall. Currently, subscribers who pay $64.99-a-month for the YouTube TV package of cable channels can add services such as HBO Max. The new marketplace would let consumers add streaming services a la carte via the main YouTube app. YouTube, a division of Alphabet-owned Google, will be competing with platforms including Amazon, Apple and Roku, which all have hubs that sell streaming video services. Continue reading YouTube Explores Plans for a Multi-Service Streaming Portal

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

Paramount+ Adds 3.7 Million Subscribers in Second Quarter

Paramount Global reports adding 3.7 million Paramount+ subscribers in Q2, growing the total count to 43.3 million paid customers despite 1.2 million disconnects in Russia (following the invasion of Ukraine). The company’s other streaming platforms — including Showtime, BET+ and Noggin — collectively recorded a loss of subscribers. However, Paramount’s SVOD services will close 2022 in a total of 60 markets, CEO Bob Bakish said. Meanwhile, the company’s filmed entertainment unit received a 126 percent boost propelled largely by “Top Gun: Maverick,” which just passed “Titanic” to become the seventh-highest grossing film of all time at the U.S. box office. Continue reading Paramount+ Adds 3.7 Million Subscribers in Second Quarter

Dish Loses Subscribers in Q2, Preps Launch of Boost Infinite

Dish Network posted a Q2 subscriber loss in both the satellite TV sector and among customers of its virtual multichannel video programming distributor Sling TV. Sling shed 257,000 traditional satellite video subs while Dish lost 202,000 net satellite subscribers. Regarding Sling TV, the vMVPD lost subscribers for the third consecutive quarter, down 55,000 in Q2, a marked improvement over Sling’s Q1 net loss of 234,000 subs. Dish ended Q2 with 7.79 million satellite TV subscribers, while Sling closed the April through June period with about 2.19 million customers. Meanwhile, Dish announced its Boost Infinite postpaid wireless service will launch later this year. Continue reading Dish Loses Subscribers in Q2, Preps Launch of Boost Infinite