Netflix Is the #3 Broadcaster in the U.S., Will Be #1 in 2016

While Netflix has been the biggest name is SVOD since its online debut, its momentum will soon make it the country’s biggest broadcaster.

The subscription video-on-demand service Netflix is now the third biggest broadcaster in the U.S. That’s according to data released today by online video advertising company Alphonso. With Netflix’s current growth rate and its momentum, it will be the biggest broadcaster in the U.S. by next year, says an Alphonso blog post. In the past year, Netflix viewing time grew by 87 percent.

The post has other bad news for traditional broadcasters: The audience for linear TV is down 15 percent year-over-year, which Alphonso calls the biggest decline ever in a single year for broadcast and pay TV.

In 2014, Netflix counted 15 percent of all viewing hours, and that grew to 28 percent in 2015. In the same period, live broadcast and pay TV viewing shrank from 52 percent to 44 percent of all viewing hours

When viewers watch live TV, Alphonso notes, they’re often highly engaged and using a mobile device or laptop to share the experience. The company measured high mobile device activity for viewers watching college basketball, the Super Bowl, and golf tournaments in Q1 2015.

While Netflix has achieved its popularity in part by not showing ads, Alphonso believes that should change, and that Netflix should offer a free ad-supported tierAlphonso’s numbers comes from its database of over 20 billion data points on TV viewing and mobile app use.

Source: Streamingmedia.com

CRTC Talk about the Transformation of Television

Montebello, Quebec
May 8, 2015
Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Here are some interesting excerpts from this talk about the issues that matter to us and are defining the future of the television industry.

The time to change and innovate has come. Your advantageous position is your springboard to the future. As Peter Drucker said, change is an opportunity—a chance. It must be seized. And the time to do so is now.

We held Let’s Talk TV—our national conversation on the future of television. In our ever-changing world, it is key that we update the regulatory framework for television. The system will follow suit to give you the tools and opportunities to compete and showcase your talent.

So you are at a crossroads. What will you do? Will you rest on your laurels, trapped in nostalgia, glorifying the past? Or will you take advantage of your situation to forge ahead and seize this golden opportunity?

We find ourselves at a time when TV content has never been as abundant. Supported by technology that continues to amaze us every day, the world of television is transforming rapidly. Competition has flourished, and comes from all over the world. As producers, your competition is worldwide.

The Television Viewer as Emperor

People view audiovisual content at will and according to their schedules. And although content is king, the viewer is now emperor.

We are creating an environment in which Canadians watch content produced by our creators not because it is forced upon them, but because it is excellent.

It should also be noted that we are bringing about these changes in a measured and responsible manner, and that they are centered on openness, innovation and quality.

Challenges

Public broadcasters have much less flexibility than in the past. The public is demanding greater investment in health, education, infrastructure and environment. There’s no point in kidding ourselves or being nostalgic: public funding will never again be what it once was.

However, you have the means to rise above those challenges. They are all the more reason to welcome change with open arms and think globally. You are now competing with the whole world, and that opens the door to international audiences you didn’t have access to before.

Funding

Now let’s talk about the funding system for television productions, which is quite complex and consists of a combination of public and private funds. Each year, Canadian television productions receive over $4 billion in public funding.

We need more large-scale productions to be able to compete with large international productions. We believe that there would be significant benefit in pooling our resources and investing jointly in large productions to show the world what we can do.

Creating the Conditions for Success – Pilot Projects

I would like to highlight an initiative that will encourage governments and partner organizations to consider more flexible and forward-looking approaches to the production and funding of Canadian programs. The CRTC is launching two pilot projects aimed at redefining Canadian productions. We want to broaden the definition of “made by Canada” to include large-scale drama and comedy series with budgets of at least $2 million an hour, as well as series based on best-selling novels by Canadian authors. Yes, it is true that both pilot projects are directed primarily at English-language productions.

Discoverability

In this age of content abundance, a critical issue for the success of Quebec and Canadian productions is the ability to discover content. And I’m not only talking about audiences here, but the world over. Content availability is not a one-way street. How can we make sure that audiences here and abroad can find our productions?

Even if, during our recent consultations, many stakeholders acknowledged the importance of the discovery and promotion of content made by Canada, few concrete proposals have been put forward to that effect.

Therefore, this fall, the CRTC is organizing a Discoverability Summit to explore the tools that could help TV viewers find Canadian-made content in this age of abundance. The Summit will bring together leading innovators and players in the public and private sectors from here and across the world. This will not be a regulatory exercise, but rather a chance to give free reign to innovative ideas.

The Future

It is now clear that the world of broadcasting is increasingly tied to the world of telecommunications. And while some of you are nostalgic, you are missing an opportunity to shape the future.

Today, Canadians rely on their connectivity in almost every facet of their lives. It is central not only to our economy, but to our culture as well. But technology cannot accomplish its mission unless it is available, reliable, secure, neutral and affordable.

That is why we began a major proceeding in which we will review the basic services Canadians need to actively participate in the digital economy.

We are looking at telecommunications services from every angle. We are asking such questions as: “What download and upload speeds are required in this digital age? Should broadband be considered an essential basic service for all Canadians?

It goes without saying that these issues affect you directly. Your market is increasingly dependent on the ability to connect with households.

Conclusion

My message today, therefore, is that the market is wide open to you, and we would like to help you conquer it. You owe it to your faithful audience to adapt to the future. To stay fixated on the past would be to its detriment.
Certain things must come into play—including change management—that may be more challenging for some industry players than for others—particularly those who do not put in place the means to adapt. Competition is coming from all directions, but you have the tools and the talent needed to remain successful.

The time to change and innovate has come. Your advantageous position is your springboard to the future. As Peter Drucker said, change is an opportunity—a chance. It must be seized. And the time to do so is now.

Thank you.

Netflix Surpasses 62 Million Global Streaming Subscribers in Q1

Streaming giant hits on revenue, comes in low on earnings per share estimates.

Netflix released its first quarter 2015 financials on Wednesday afternoon just after the U.S. stock markets closed, reporting earnings per share of $0.38 on net income of $23.7 million and $1.57 billion in revenue.

Wall Street had forecast earnings per share of $0.69 on $1.57 billion in revenue, according to numbers compiled by Yahoo Finance. Zacks saw EPS coming in at a penny lower. As such, the media company made its revenue mark, but fell quite shy on shareholder earnings.

In other negative sales-minus-expenses news, profit was down from 2014’s comparable three-month period.

But subscriptions were up, with the streaming giant adding 4.9 million subscribers in the most-recent 90-day period — a record for the company. The U.S. was responsible for 2.3 million of those new members. The total subscriber number rose to 62.27 million; 59.62 million are paid subscribers.

Netflix credited Season 3 of “House of Cards,” as well as new series “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and “Bloodline,” for its most-recent leap.

During the quarter in question, the company also announced the following coming original films: “PeeWee’s Big Holiday,” from Judd Apatow and Paul Reubens; “Jadotville,” from Irish director Richie Smyth and starring Jamie Dornan; and “Beasts of No Nation” from director Cary Fukunaga and starring Idris Elba. “Beasts” will premiere on Netflix later this year.

On its newfound competition, Netflix execs Reed Hastings and David Wells stated:

“In the U.S., HBO began offering its $15 per month “HBO Now” service last week. As we have said in the past, Netflix and HBO are not substitutes for one another given differing content. We think both will continue to be successful in the marketplace, as illustrated by the fact that HBO has continued to grow globally and domestically as we have rapidly grown over the past five years.”

“We view ‘Internet MVPD’ offerings like the rumored Apple offering, Sony’s Playstation Vue and Dish’s Sling TV as more competitive to the current pay TV bundle than to Netflix, which is lower cost, has exclusive and original content, and is not focused on live television.”

During Wednesday’s U.S. trading day, Netflix fell fairly substantially, dropping $3.25 per share, or 0.68 percent. That said, immediately following the announcement, the stock (NFLX) skyrocketed in after-hours markets to $535.57 per share at the time of this writing, up $60.34 or 12.64 percent.

Netflix bosses said they are working on a stock split to make its high price “more accessible.”

The company renewed hit series “Orange Is the New Black” for a fourth season this morning.

For 2014’s comparable quarter, Netflix added four million total subscribers. Revenue was $1.27 billion; net income was $53.1 million; diluted EPS was $0.86.

Last year, Netflix added 13 million subscribers and saw revenue, income and EPS rise. The consumer total reached 57.4 million at the end of Q4 2014, an increase of 4.33 million during the year’s final three months.

Netflix’s investor call is set for 6 p.m. ET, at which point this post will be updated with any pertinent information.

Source: Thewrap.com

NAB 2015 Keynote: Google Sends Greetings From ‘Valleywood’

Our entertainment now comes from “Valleywood,” which, as Rany Ng, Google’s director of product management for video advertising, explained in her NAB keynote address, is the merger of Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Valleywood means change: change in how people view content (including new options such as binge watching) and change in how advertisers reach those viewers.

“It’s created this massive explosion of content,” Ng said. “We’ve entered in this golden age of viewers.”

The entertainment industry has shifted from one of scarcity to one of abundance, Ng said.  Multiscreen viewing has grown by over 500 percent in recent years, she noted, and viewers now watch three more hours of online TV per month than they did only last year.

Rany Ng

Advertisers are also trying to deal with the shift to abundance. While 20 years ago they could work with the 4 major networks and know they were reaching their customers, today they have many more choices.

In this new landscape, there are three things programmers and distributors need to think about, Ng said:

Capturing the moments that matter: Brands can’t afford to be on every screen all the time, so they need to be selective and offer relevant messages to viewers.
Discovering new moments: Online TV metrics and ratings have “become this massive logic puzzle,” so advertisers need forecasting that helps them reach a desired audience.
Monetizing those moments: Google is seeing success with its programmatic marketplace for premium buyers and sellers, Partner Select.

Google acquired video advertising company mDialog in June 2014, and Ng announced that Google has now connected mDialog’s inventory with the DoubleClick Ad Exchange. This will help content owners sell programmatic ads on their inventory across multiple screens.

Google is expanding the tools available in DoubleClick for Publishers, Ng announced, to help publishers forecast their available inventory with greater accuracy. DoubleClick for Publishers now shows the impact from patterns in commercial breaks, and will soon let publishers use seasonality in forecasting upfront cycles, and also create models based on offline data.

Shortly before it acquired mDialog, Google created Partner Select, a programmatic marketplace for premium content and brands. Ng offered some stats on its success, noting that it now includes over 30 broadcast and premium content publishers and over 20 brand advertisers. Partner Select ads have a 74 percent completion rate, she said.

Ng concluded the keynote by urging attendees to think about letting advertising create moments, and explore new models of advertising.

Source: Streamingmedia.com

HBO To Netflix: Bring It On

Holding court: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” HBO CEO Richard Plepler likes to say. With the creation of HBO Now, he’s got both.Photo: Jeff Brown

HBO is releasing its new streaming platform called “HBO Now”. And it’s expected to create a ripple in the online landscape of (as the article describes) “media vehicles like Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and a slew of new online streaming services.”

Here’s an interesting excerpt from the article:

Netflix is the peskiest of these, the only one that could, in the opinion of some pundits, knock HBO off track. Plepler became CEO on January 1, 2013, and later that very month, Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, declared, “The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.” Since then, Netflix has launched original series such as House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, acquired the right to air five new Marvel series and Chelsea Handler’s next project, grown from 33 million to 57.4 million subscribers, and increased revenue from $3.6 billion to $5.5 billion, while boosting its stock price almost 400%. “Two to three years ago, the average user was watching almost 60 minutes of Netflix a day. Today, it’s nearly two hours,” says Liam Boluk, a media strategy consultant at Redef. “Netflix is bigger than every single cable and premium-cable network in the U.S. No matter how well programmed, powerful, or profitable HBO is today, you can’t look at that scale and might and not feel the need to act soon.”

HBO Now, it is a stand-alone version of HBO Go, an app that gives access to just about every episode of every HBO series, as well as tons of movies, documentaries, and sports. Rather than merely being a bonus for people who subscribe to HBO through an existing cable provider (usually paying something like $15 a month), HBO Now will not require a cable subscription. It will be available at launch to anyone with an Apple device.

People are expected to spend $236 billion on subscription television by 2018.

Source:   Fastcompany.com

Online TV: Is six minutes the new half hour?

New rules: the “mid-form”

So, in this brave new world, what story length should new creators be writing to? To illustrate, let’s take one format and see how it is evolving: the sitcom.

All of us brought up in the era of the 30-minute sitcom have suddenly gained new freedom. What are the new rules? Damian Kavanagh, who is pioneering the BBC Three model, refers to “new form” as a way of describing what he is looking for. To make a point to the conference debaters above, I’m calling it mid-form.

We have written a couple of comedies now in this space to some acclaim: Halfords’ The Bike Whisperer and Hyundai’s Under Pressure Salesman for example. The new TV Licensing Excuses campaign, which launched in December 2014, was another where we agonised over optimal durations.

Interestingly, the comedies I have been watching online are starting to congregate around a different duration altogether. Idiotsitter from Comedy Central is a brilliant example of the new rules. A fantastically simple premise, a small tight cast, a high gag count… all within a 6-minute frame, complete with throw-forwards and click-to-subscribe requests in character.

Periods Films’ “Dog CEO”, an improv troupe under Zachary Quinto’s wing, follows suit. A structured sitcom that is 6 minutes long (watch the first episode above). Note how the situation’s premise is in the programme title in both cases too.  As it is with Thundershorts’ new series “Teachers Lounge”.  Teachers Lounge and DOG CEO also show all the hallmarks of learning from their viewing environment, cue bold graphic splashes that work in thumbnails for ease of navigation for example. Clearly, however, most of the guiderails we know about great sitcom storytelling remain in this brave new world.

  1. Nail people at the top.  I defy you to watch the start of UBC’s “Gary saves the Graveyard” and not want to know what happens next.
  2. Create situations where characters are trapped – see Idiotsitter once again.
  3. Focus the eyes of the audience on the bigger characters (The “Tim from The Office” rule) – see Ted in Teachers Lounge. And so forth. Actually, Gary Saves the Graveyard stretches to 10 minutes in length, which seems to perfectly suit its slower pace while remaining totally satisfying as a narrative structure.
  4. Character, character, character as that doyen of writing Barry Cryer would say.

Excerpt from: CMF Trends, a blog by the Canada Media Fund

The Evolution of Television

The CRTC has influenced our viewing choices for a long time. It now recognizes that the masses are overtaking their influence and their approach to the broadcast industry must change if it is to survive.

The Chairman of the CRTC gave a long speech on March 12, 2015 to The Canadian Club. Here are some interesting excerpts:

• Technological change in particular has been intense and transformative. Radio begat television, television begat cable and satellite, and broadband Internet has changed everything.

• People watch content in the ways, on the devices and at the times that most suit them.

• The viewer is changing. He or she is being transformed from a passive receiver of television content to an active, self-directed aggregator. The fundamental question he or she faces nightly is no longer “what’s on?” but “what should I watch?”

The Age of Abundance

• Consider this fact: Canadians have access to over 1,300 hours of traditional television for every waking hour, assuming they do nothing else but sleep, watch TV and multitask for everything else. Moreover, it is estimated that 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day of every month.

• When it comes to video content, we live in an Age of Abundance. Content is everywhere on the Internet and on television. And it is available to us at any time of the day or night, on any device we choose.

• [The current] model will not work anymore. In the Age of Abundance, where people can pick from among a multiplicity of programming choices on as many channels, quotas are square pegs in round holes. The reality of this new Age is that quality matters more than ever before.

• Creators will have to work harder than ever before to connect with viewers. After all, what’s the use in creating the best content in the world when no one can find it and enjoy it? Discoverability is paramount

• Every year, billions of dollars are invested to create Canadian programming. Every society needs to make such investments in the arts, including in film and television programming. They enable us to reflect about who we are and where we’re going as a nation. But if Canadians cannot find these works, then surely both their intrinsic and commercial values are lost. Canadian programming needs to be more than just great. It needs to be found.

• Canada has outstanding and internationally recognized storytellers.

• As long as the story is told by a Canadian, let’s get the best talent working on it and make something that will conquer the world. Forget about the tagline “made in Canada.” We want content that is made BY Canada.

• We are now at a fork in the road. We can choose the status quo which has as a lynchpin a vision of the television media as being essentially linear. That path is known, it is tested; but it does not prepare us for the inevitable future – one that is wholly viewer centric

In his conclusion:
• As John F. Kennedy put it, we are not embarking down this path because the way will be easy and clear of obstacles. Even though it will be hard, we must take this direction. The world is evolving and we must prepare for the future before it is too late.

• Remember that, as is often the case with change, “it always seems impossible until it is done.”

Ottawa, Ontario
March 12, 2015

Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission