After years of asking, Netflix is finally allowing their subscribers to download select movies and TV shows from their service. You can now watch most of their Originals, such as The Crown, Narcos, Orange is the New Black and House of Cards on an airplane or train without worrying about the wifi connection. (The new season of Gilmore Girls, Gillian Anderson’s The Fall, Luke Cage and a few others are not currently offering this feature.)
Back in July, on their Q2 earnings call, Amazon said they would double its video content spend during the 2nd half of 2016 compared to the same period last year. CFO Brian Olsavsky told investors Amazon would “nearly triple our offering to customers of new Amazon original TV shows and movies” compared to last year.
One of those investments (according to Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, they spent $250MM for three seasons) was their new show, The Grand Tour, a reincarnation of the hit TV series “Top Gear” which just premiered globally on Amazon Prime. According to a company press release, the first episode has become the biggest show premiere ever on Amazon Prime Video, beating The Man in the High Castle. Total new Prime membership sign-ups exceeded all previous days with the exception of Amazon’s renowned Prime Day.
Cinedigm’s family-focused SVOD service, The Dove Channel, will now offer a live stream called Dove NOW – a 24/7 programmed channel featuring a mix from their vast library of nearly 500 films and 900 TV episodes. Launched in September 2015, as a partnership between Cinedigm and The Dove Foundation, the $4.99 a month, Netflix-style on demand channel offers inspiring and uplifting content from John Wayne Westerns to The Little Rascals to Michael Landon’s Highway to Heaven. The Dove NOW live stream will feature these titles, among others, along with kids programming blocks scheduled in the morning and early afternoon, and blocks containing more adult fare from fringe to primetime.
Research firm Parks Associates updated their list of top 10 OTT video services. They are ranked by number of paid subscribers, excluding transactional or ad-based services.
(Since not all subscriber numbers were provided in the press release I took a stab at some of them.)
Netflix kept the top spot with 46MM US subscribers. Amazon doesn’t release numbers so their subscription tally is a bit tricky to determine. It’s estimated that there are 56MM US customers paying for Prime, which technically puts them ahead of Netflix. However, not every one of these paying customers are doing so for the video service, since most are there for the Free 2 Day shipping – the main reason for signing up. According to a new CutCableToday survey, nearly 20% of all Prime subs don’t use the video service. So with that complicated triangulation it’s estimated that there are roughly 45MM Amazon Prime Video subscribers.
Ever go to a network website in hopes of watching the pilot of one of their new shows? And when you get there you notice that the first episode is gone, yet they have the five most recent episodes, otherwise called the ‘rolling five.”
Well that’s about to change. Back in May, the broadcasters, especially ABC and NBC negotiated ‘stacking rights’ with the studios that make the shows. Now, all episodes from most of the new series from the current 2016-17 season along with several returning shows, will be made available, or ‘stacked’ on their website and apps. The one catch is that you must be an authenticated viewer, which means you still have to subscribe to a Pay TV service provider (e.g. AT&T DirecTV, Comcast, Charter, Verizon FiOS).
Turner was about to launch their first SVOD service tomorrow, called FilmStruck, but decided to push that till November. They cited the need to refine the registration process.
This delay is actually a good thing for the service. Here’s why
The ratings for the NFL, through the first four weeks, are down 11% across all networks. This has created such a panic that the league issued a memo (see bottom of page) to all the teams in response to media inquiries about the decline in ratings. They are essentially pinning all blame on the presidential election, while patting themselves on the back for how great there are. That’s like watching a Kitchen Nightmares episode, when Gordon Ramsey spits out a still frozen piece of lasagna in front of a shocked restaurant owner – who thought his food was fantastic. The NFL needs that same dose of reality.
Here are 5 reasons the NFL is to blame for this seasons’ decline in ratings:
Netflix just signed a 10 picture deal with luxury theater chain iPic Entertainment to screen their original movies in theaters, the same day they premiere on the SVOD service. What once took a 6-12 month ‘window’ for a theatrical movie to reach home viewing, is now instantaneous.
These movies will play in iPic’s LA and NYC theaters, with a possible wider release to their other 13 locations. Financial terms have not been disclosed, but the usual split between a studio and a US theater chain is 55/45, with 55% of box office receipts going to the studio.
This Friday, The Siege of Jadotville will be the first movie to launch under the deal.
With all the acquisitions in the US Pay TV world, it’s hard to keep up with who owns who.
Below is a chart of the Top 10 and the highlights of how they got there:
- AT&T bought DirecTV in 2015 for $49B to become the #1 US Pay TV provider.
- Charter purchased Time Warner Cable and Bright House in Q2 2016 for nearly $70B.
- Altice USA acquired Suddenlink in 2015 for $9B and Cablevision in June 2016 for $18B.
- Frontier acquired over 1.2MM video subs from Verizon FiOS for over $10B.
Source: Company websites, Cox is private – used Kagan Q4 2015 estimates.
Layer3 touts itself as ‘The New Cable’ and even trademarked the phrase.
Founded in 2013 by a bevy of media and tech executives from Google, CNN, Fox, Comcast, Motorola, Time Warner, Cablevision (now Altice USA), Microsoft and others. They are headquartered in Denver and led by CEO Jeff Binder and CTO Dave Fellows.
Why should we care about another video provider, when so many are out there?
Here are the 8 reasons why the Pay TV industry should follow them closely: