nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

CandW discuss the broadcast TV revival and OTT TV slump

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TV broadcast network audiences have held steady since February even as they lost live sports. Could local news be responsible for the broadcast TV revival? OTT viewership is falling from its heights. Are services in need of a content injection?

Chapter 1: TV viewership holds up well during the C-19 crisis (1:30)

Alphonso says that the number of people watching ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and CW has remained unchanged from pre-emergency levels throughout the crisis. Maintaining the audience during these troubled times is an achievement for the broadcasters. They have lost live sports, and daily talk and late-night shows have either gone to re-runs or switched to social distancing formats. As well, some TV show seasons have run out of episodes.

Perhaps the broadcast TV revival as due to local news. Alphonso says local news broadcasts have maintained their audience throughout the crisis. Local news has been deemed an essential service and has maintained its schedule of regular shows.

Chapter 2: OTT viewers falling back from highs (8:00)

According to Alphonso, the March spike in OTT viewing is returning to pre-emergency viewing levels. The company says that the number of households streaming content peaked at almost 30% above January-February average levels. Since then, it has been in a deep decline. In early May, it was still 10% above average though on a downward curve.HHs streaming OTT to TV Feb-Apr 2020

Could the fall in viewers be due to the lack of new content? Many services like Disney+ and Hulu have been affected by the halt in production due to emergency restrictions. With much less content flowing into the services, viewers could well have run out of new things to watch.

Chapter 3: Netflix could be the exception (12:20)

There is one service that continues to release new shows at close to a pre-crisis pace: Netflix. In Q1, the company added 15.8 million new paying subscribers versus 9.6 million in Q1 2019. We have to wait for the company’s Q2 results in July to find out if the original content provided a sustainable advantage.

Chapter 4: YouTube Preferred becomes Select (14:15)

YouTube has expanded the brand-safe content in its Preferred library dramatically and renamed the program YouTube Select. The social site is looking to boost viewing on connected TVs to attract more advertising revenue, and perhaps more TV ad spend. The new content will encompass genres such as entertainment, sport, technology, and beauty and fashion.

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