AMC Theatres launches streaming service, The Apple TV app arrives on Roku and other top news

Few key things that happened around the Ad Tech & Media Tech world this week.

AMC Theatres launches streaming service in latest blow to Netflix

In the latest blow to Netflix Inc., AMC Theatres, the biggest cinema chain in the world, said Tuesday it is launching a streaming service that will allow members of its loyalty program to rent or buy films and watch them at home, the first such offering from a cinema operator. The 20 million-plus U.S. households that have signed up to the company’s AMC Stubs program will be able to access about 2,000 films from every major studio, starting Tuesday. Later in the year the service is slated to be expanded to include films from AMC Networks’ AMCX, +0.79% IFC Films and RLJE Films. AMC Theatres will promote AMC Networks’ targeted streaming services, marking the first cross platform marketing between the companies. Those services include Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and UMC. Customers can rent or buy films through the AMC Theatres mobile app, Roku and smart TVs with more services and devices to be added in the future. “With more than 20 million AMC Stubs households, and with our website and smartphone apps already being visited hundreds of millions of times annually by movie fans, AMC Theatres is in a unique position to promote specific movies with greater personalization than has ever been possible before,” AMC Theatres Chief Executive Adam Aron said in a statement.

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The Apple TV app arrives on Roku, ahead of Apple TV+ streaming service launch

Ahead of the arrival of Apple TV+, the brand-new Apple TV app is launching on Roku  devices, starting today. The app currently allows Apple customers to access their iTunes video library and subscribe to Apple TV channels directly from Roku devices. And, on November 1, it will be home to the Apple TV+ streaming service, featuring Apple’s own original programming like “The Morning Show,” “See,” “Dickinson,” “For All Mankind,” “Truth be Told” and others. The new app will authenticate users with their Apple ID, so they can access their purchased content, get personalized recommendations, subscribe to paid channels (e.g. HBO, Starz, Showtime, etc.) and buy and rent more than 100,000 movies and TV shows from iTunes. Additionally, Roku users will soon be able to subscribe to Apple TV+ right in the app for $4.99 per month. Typically, Roku would take a cut of subscription revenue generated on its platform, but it’s not clear what sort of deal it may have with Apple. The Apple TV+ streaming service is free for the first year with the purchase of a new Apple device, but it’s not limited to only those who own Apple hardware. With Apple’s further expansion into services, it’s been learning to embrace third-party platforms. That’s especially true for its streaming services like Apple Music and Apple TV+. The TV streaming service, for example, is being made available in 2018, 2019 and newer Samsung smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and VIZIO platforms, in addition to AirPlay 2-enabled Samsung, LG and VIZIO smart TVs. And it will stream on the web through tv.apple.com.

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UI more important to OTT users than content recommendations, claims report

According to new research from Parks Associates, 70% of US broadband households with a major video service consider its user interface to be good, with 48% rating it “very good”. The study, UI Preferences and Content Discovery, found that the quality of the UI and the ease of finding content are the most likely factors to drive willingness to recommend a video service. The research looks at consumer preferences related to new UI options and the ways that consumers find, and want to find, entertainment content. It also explores preferences by owners of various in-home devices and examines interest in new innovations such as smart speakers, personal assistants, and voice interaction. In total, the study found that one-fifth of households cancel an OTT subscription based on an inability to find something to watch. Kristen Hanich, senior analyst at Parks Associates said: “User interfaces are a key factor driving satisfaction for OTT services, and Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon – the big three in OTT streaming – have largely set the standard for content navigation and ease of use. Other services have had to follow similar structures established by these three, but as new OTT services launch with greater and greater expectations, innovations in UIs could be an even greater differentiator contributing to their success or failure.” “Consumers are interested in finding particular shows or genres of content and have less interest in browsing by channel.”

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Roku Is a Must-Have for New Streaming Services

Roku is one of many streaming-TV platforms. The hardware for its platform exists in a crowded market that competes with over-the-top devices from tech giants like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Alphabet, cable companies’ internet-connected set-top boxes, and gaming consoles. But Roku has two things going for it that help it stand apart from its peers: It’s not competing with other streaming-TV services and it has far greater reach than any other platform in the United States. The company’s decision to avoid making its own streaming-TV service and to refrain from producing original content, combined with its leading market share, continually reinforces Roku’s value proposition. This positioning as an independent market leader helps the platform attract investment from publishers and marketers and grow its user base. The latest example of Roku’s position as a must-have for new streaming services is Apple’s decision to bring its Apple TV app to the Roku platform.On Tuesday, Roku announced that the Apple TV app is now available on the Roku platform. The app lets users discover shows and movies but also gives users access to their iTunes video library and lets them subscribe to Apple TV+, Apple’s new streaming-TV service. The news comes weeks before Apple officially launches its new streaming service. Apple TV+ will make its debut on Nov. 1. Making the app available on Roku could help provide a lift to sales of Roku devices as well as engagement on the platform. While Apple has announced less than 10 original shows that will be available on Apple TV+ at its launch, the tech giant has priced the service aggressively at $4.99 per month. In addition, Apple is including one free year of Apple TV+ for people who buy Apple devices that can stream Apple TV+.

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Martech and adtech mergers jump 52%

Mergers and acquisitions amongst martech and adtech companies rose by 52 per cent during the first three quarters of 2019. This is according to new figures from Results International, which compiled data on merger and acquisition deals in the marketing sector. The study found that there were 1,057 total deals between Q1 and Q3 of this year, of which 636 were in marketing services and 421 in martech and adtech. The biggest deal overall was Bain Capital’s $4 billion acquisition of Kantar Media, while Vista Equity Partners’ acquisition of Acquia for $1 billion and Blackstone’s $750 million purchase of Vungle also featured amongst the period’s headlines. There were 133 agency deals during Q3 alone, making it the most active subsector of marketing. Roughly half of those were amongst full service and UX/UI businesses. Meanwhile there were 86 adtech deals worldwide between Q1 and Q3, up by 83 per cent compared with the same period in the previous year. But, according to Results International, adtech is still attracting less private equity money than martech. Across the entire marketing sector Dentsu was the biggest buyer, making ten acquisitions during the first nine months of the year. Insight Venture Partners came second, with Accenture in third position with seven deals.

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