Each week, we break down the most impactful news, insights, and analysis in the OTT video industry.

Streaming viewership surpassed cable TV…for the first time

This is according to Nielsen, who released its total TV and streaming report for July, stating that streaming represented a 34.8% share of total TV viewing in the U.S. — an increase of 22.6% compared to July 2021. Cable consumption was a little behind at 34.4%, an 8.9% drop from the year prior and a 2% decline compared to June. The new milestone reinforces streaming as a top choice for TV viewers, mainly driven by original content that can’t be found on cable or broadcast television. As the homie Rich Greenfield says, #goodluckcable. Link

Prime Video Quietly Drops the Amazon Name from Streaming Moniker

When Amazon in July announced changes to the user interface on the Prime Video streaming platform, it also began dropping the corporate name from media references. n an Aug. 18 media release for the new original limited series, “The English,” starring Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place franchise, Sicario, Oppenheimer) and Chaske Spencer (Wild Indian, Echo), Amazon included the following statement: “Note to editors: Please refer to our streaming service as Prime Video and not Amazon Prime Video.” Link

Netflix’s Ad-Supported Plan Will Block Downloads of Shows, Films

Unsurprisingly, Netflix is unlikely to let users of its new ad-supported tier download shows and movies for offline viewing, according to code found inside the company’s iPhone app. Given that the service’s launch is several months away, it’s possible that the company could still change its plans. This would become a feature you’d need to upgrade, which would be one distinguishable feature between tiers…beyond…ya know ads. Link

Discoverability As The New Differentiator

Streaming providers face a host of challenges as the streaming market matures. Competition is fierce, churn is high (some services experience churn rates as high as 50 percent, according to Samsung Automatic Content Recognition/ACR data), the cost of consumer acquisition is high and streamers still need to spend lots of money on production to supply their platforms with a steady stream of new content. The companies that master the art of discoverability will not only solve a problem for consumers, they will create new opportunities for advertisers to participate in the content curation process. Link

Bob Chapek’s Funny Math on Streaming

Disney has a self-reported 221 million subscriptions across its streaming services. That, on paper, is more than Netflix’s 220.6 million. It’s also not the full story (If you subscribe to the Disney bundle, the company counts you as three subscribers) and, although it’s a game of semantics to impress the Street, it’s also a key reminder of how complicated the streaming races have become. Link

Bally Sports+ Streaming Services to Officially Launch on Sept. 26

After an introductory launch of five direct-to-consumer regional sports streaming services in June, Sinclair’s Diamond Sports Group said Bally Sports+ will officially launch all 19 of its Bally Sports regional sports network brands (RSNs) as direct-to-consumer services on September 26. Link

Why Niche SVOD and FAST Will Fuel Post-Pandemic Streaming Success 

With an increasing number of streaming video on demand (SVOD) platforms entering the market, driving acceleration but furthering fragmentation, it’s now far more challenging for content owners to secure a slice of viewers’ engagement — and wallets.   Specialized SVOD platforms and FAST offerings, especially in concert, are uniquely positioned to engage viewers with customized content, reach them at scale and unlock previously unforeseen revenue streams according to Endeavor Streaming’s Fred Santarpia. Link

FAST Usage Was Up 9 Points in the First Five Months of 2022

The percentage of U.S. TV watchers who say they use a free, ad-supported streaming service like Roku Channel, Pluto TV or Freevee ticked up 9 points to 55% in the first five months of 2022, according to a survey of 3,004 U.S. consumers conducted by Hub Entertainment Research. Meanwhile, the percentage of those who report using a partially ad-supported tier of a subscription streaming service, including Peacock, Hulu or HBO Max, ticked up four points to 42% over that same span. Link

Walmart Reaches Streaming Deal With Paramount+

Walmart has agreed to a deal with Paramount Global to offer Paramount+ to subscribers of Walmart’s membership program, which has grown to around 200 million global members. Link

A look back at Walmart’s seemingly doomed 20-year quest to break into Hollywood

Walmart has been down the streaming road before prior to its deal with Paramount—and it’s been a slippery road, to be sure. The company’s attempts to gain a stronger foothold in entertainment have been a 20-year slog. Link

Should Disney Sell ESPN?

Matt Belloni (The Town podcast) is joined by Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw to discuss ESPN’s value to Disney and whether Disney should explore shopping the worldwide leader in sports. Cord cutting and the shift to streaming threaten the financial value of ESPN for Disney—the subscriber base is going down and costs are going up. So should Disney sell ESPN? Link

Netflix commissions originals from a record 28 international markets

Netflix commissioned original film and TV content from 28 different markets in the second quarter of 2022, a record for the streaming firm according to a report by Ampere Analysis. The geographical scope of Netflix’s commissioning reflects the increasing importance of the international audience to the company’s growth, according to Ampere. Netflix has commissioned new content from 44 territories since the start of 2020, far ahead of rivals. By comparison, Warner Bros Discovery’s SVoD platforms (HBO Max and Discovery+) ordered film and TV content from 27 territories over the period, Disney from 23 and Amazon from 21. Link

YouTube eyes service aggregation with planned ‘channel store’

According to the WSJ, YouTube will join the likes of Amazon, Roku and Apple in launching a ‘channel store’. The platform, which is said to have been in development for at least 18 months, would allow consumers to access streamers a la carte through the main YouTube app. The report goes on to note that YouTube is discussing revenue splitting relationships with streaming partners, though it does not say which streamers would be signed up. It already offers streamers like HBO Max, Starz, CuriosityStream and Showtime to customers in the US via its YouTube TV vMVPD service. Link

Tom Ryan On The Value Of Curation And The Early Days Of Pluto TV

Alan Wolk from TVREV chats with Tom Ryan, President & CEO, Streaming at Paramount, as well as the Co-Founder of Pluto TV about Pluto’s humble beginnings to the Paramount Global “super funnel”, and much more. Link

US viewers still love SVOD: spending up 16% in Q2 2022

While the headlines are full of news of slowing SVOD growth, spending continues to grow at a healthy pace. In Q2 2022, $7.4 billion was spent on SVOD services, up 17% over Q2 2021. The growth rate is only marginally lower than last year, though significantly lower than the growth rates in 2018 and 2019, which were in the 26% range. The numbers suggest viewers have slowed adding more services, though they have not stopped. It will be interesting to see the impact of significant price rises for Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu in the year’s second half. Link

What Walmart Can Learn About Streaming From Wireless Biz

In addition to its similarity to Amazon Prime Video’s strategy, Walmart+’s partnership moves with streamers is reminiscent of the streaming deals struck with telecom giants like AT&T and Verizon. The history of these deals dates back to late 2017 when Netflix and T-Mobile came together to begin the “Netflix on Us” promotion. Since then, the deals have been steady with the latest between T-Mobile and Paramount+. Walmart’s value proposition is its reach via its massive footprint nationwide, and it could be a great marketing tool for the streamers. Though Walmart hasn’t broken out Walmart+ subscription figures yet, the third-party estimates are rather impressive. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) estimated Walmart+ subscribers account for a quarter of Walmart.com customers in the U.S.  Link

NPAW releases its Video Streaming Industry Report H1 2022

Dive deep into the trends that shaped streaming strategies in the first half of 2022 with NPAW’s Video Streaming Industry Report H1 2022. From evolutions in video consumption and streaming quality to the rise of sports streaming — discover the state of the video streaming industry in a time of growing competition and high viewer expectations. Link