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Leichtman Research Pegs Pay TV Losses at 255k for Q3; But Broadband Adds 625k
Leichtman Research Group (LRG) has released its Q3 pay TV post-mortem, which paints a rosier picture for the US pay TV industry than earlier reports released this week. LRG estimates pay TV collectively lost 255,000 subscribers during Q3. Earlier this week, MoffetNathanson’s research points to a collective sub loss of 486,000; and SNL Kagan’s estimates are 524,000 subs.
The cablecos lost nearly 89,000 subs in Q3, which is an improvement over the 170,000 subs lost in Q3 2015, according to LRG’s data. Satcos added 207,000 subs during the quarter, a marked improvement over the mere 3,000 added in Q3 2015; and telcos lost 374,000 subs, much worse than the 45,000 subs lost in Q3 2015.
AT&T is winding down its U-verse IPTV service, and lost 325,000 subs during the quarter; but AT&T’s new satco business, DirecTV, added 323,000 subs – indicating that AT&T successfully migrated those subs from U-verse to DirecTV.
During 2016, LRG estimates pay TV providers in the US have lost 755,000 subs so far, while other firms have pegged total yearly subscriber losses to be closer to 1.2 million.
Pay TV providers in the States are doing better with their broadband businesses. LRG said the top service providers added 625,000 broadband subs collectively during Q3, which is in line with the 2015 Q3 additions. Cablecos added 775,000 subs during the quarter. Cablecos now have 57.78 million broadband subs and 48.77 pay TV subs. Telcos continue to have a hard time competing with the cablecos’ DOCSIS broadband technology. Telcos lost 150,000 broadband subs during Q3 2016; they now have 34.67 million broadband subs and 10.5 million pay TV subs.
“While major providers now account for nearly 92.5 million broadband subscribers in the US, the broadband market continues to expand with top cable providers driving the growth,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG. “Over the past year, cable companies added more than 3.5 million broadband subscribers, accounting for 118% of the 2.995 million net broadband additions.”
In all, the top 14 broadband service providers have 92.47 million broadband subs and the top 11 pay TV providers have 93.65 million pay TV subs.
BBC Premieres VR Talk Show for Millennials
UK’s BBC has released a new talk show entitled “No Small Talk” that’s geared at Millennial women. The 10 minute show, which is a one-off special for BBC, was filmed in 360-degree video with VR production company VR City and Lyristic, which produces immersive content. BBC is releasing the show on its experimental video platform Taster. The show will be available to stream on Google Cardboard-enabled smartphones and on Samsung’s GearVR headset.
Recent research indicates that the nascent VR market is dominated by products and offerings that target males. BBC decided to create VR content that targets females in order to address this gender gap.
“The vision for this piece of content format innovation is to connect ‘Generation Podcast’ with an emerging new media technology: 360 video & VR headsets,” said Chris Sizemore, executive editor of knowledge and learning at the BBC.
VR City’s Darren Emmerson said, “We had a clear goal to try and create a VR format that felt immersive, unique and fulfilled the challenge of delivering a vibrant editorial that was intimate, surprising and accessible to women.”
Related: A VR Series for USA Today
CBS Adds 360-Degree Video to News App
CBS is introducing virtual reality video formats to its online news channel, CBSN. CBS has launched new apps for Amazon Fire TV net-top boxes and Android TV sets for CBSN, the Millennial-geared 24/7 live streaming Web news channel that CBS launched in 2014. CBSN is CBS’s answer to a cable news channel, and the strategy seems to be working: CBSN said it broke its own records during the recent presidential election. It drew 19.1 million streams and 11.1 million unique viewers during late night coverage of the election results. The Web channel saw over 60 million streams during Q3 2016.
The new apps support 360-degree video, and viewers are able to stream a behind the scenes 360-degree experience from the recent “60 Minutes” program on gorillas. “Our new apps for Fire TV and Android TV featuring 360-degree video capabilities mark a major step forward in terms of how viewers will experience and interact with news in the future,” said Christy Tanner, SVP and GM of CBS News Digital.
Both offer exclusive live streaming coverage of the day’s news and unique programs, free and ad-supported. Viewers can browse videos on-demand, watch curated playlists of past coverage or create their own playlists.
Mobile Video Has Become a Staple in Kids Entertainment
Linear TV still has a stronghold on kids in terms of being the most frequent source of content, but video platforms native to mobile devices are eating away time spent watching TV, according to a new report from Futuresource. The firm published recent findings from research examining the media consumption and viewing patterns of kids between the ages of three and 16 in the US, UK, Germany and China across digital video platforms.
Across the four territories, Futuresource found that one third of kids are consuming video on mobile devices daily, and that figure rises to 40% of kids in the US. And during that time when kids are watching linear TV, mobile devices are being adopted by young viewers as a second screen. Across the territories, 49% of kids are using smartphones and 40% of kids are using tablets while also watching TV. The activities kids are engaging in on mobile devices while watching TV include playing games and chatting with friends, but 25% of kids using a second screen are watching online video on platforms like YouTube.
The popularity of YouTube is growing among young viewers. Eighty percent of kids in the US, UK and Germany regularly use the platform and nearly one third of them are consuming video on YouTube for over five hours per week.
“This appetite for more content on a smaller screen is also having an effect on the type of content kids are watching with ‘snacking length’ of one to five minutes proving most popular with kids ages five and over, meaning kids are getting through a lot of content,” said Futuresource associated director of media and entertainment Carl Hibbert in the findings.
Despite the strong showing of kids still watching TV, with it being the first platform of choice for 75% of kids in China and Germany, the amount of kids using a second screen while watching linear TV indicates a lack of engagement in linear content on TV and signals that while the TV might be on, many kids aren’t even watching.
Twitter’s Live Streaming App Expands
Twitter launched its first live video apps for Apple TV devices, Amazon Fire TV devices and Xbox One consoles just in time for the start of the NFL’s Thursday Night Football. Now, a two months later, Twitter has finally launched it live OTT video app for Android TV, available in the Google Play store.
The expansion means Android-powered streaming devices like the Nexus Player, Nvidia Shield and Xiaomi’s MiBox as well as some smart TVs from Sony and Sharp will now be able to stream live video from Twitter directly to consumers’ TV screens, and the next live NFL game on Twitter is tonight between the New Orleans Saints take and the Carolina Panthers.
The extension of the live video app to more devices is part of Twitter’s growing video strategy as the company seeks to drive profitability and new market expansion with live video from professional sports partners like the NFL, MLB and NHL.