Apple unveils cheaper iPhone, streaming TV, Samsung’s PlayGalaxy Game Streaming Is Live on the Note 10, and other top news
Few key things that happened around the Ad Tech & Media Tech world this week.
Apple unveils cheaper iPhone, streaming TV
Apple has unveiled new iPhones that are largely unchanged from previous models, accompanied by an unexpected price cut for the cheapest model, as well as its upcoming video service, at its latest product launch in the US. The price cut underscores the company’s efforts to counteract a sales slump of its flagship product, with the new models so similar to last year’s line-up they may be upstaged by Apple TV Plus, which is rolling out on November 1. Apple is offering a free year of Apple TV Plus with new device purchases. IPhone shipments are down 25 per cent so far this year, according to the research firm IDC, putting more pressure on Apple to generate revenue from services such as music and video streaming, games and its App Store. Revenue from services rose 14 per cent to nearly $US23 billion ($A34 billion) during the first half of this year. It is cutting the price of the iPhone 11 to $US700 ($A1,020) from $US750 ($A1,093), the price of last year’s XR. The lower prices reverses a trend in which premium phones get more expensive as people upgrade them less often. Apple CEO Tim Cook didn’t have much new to say about the TV Plus service beyond its pricing and service date, although he did show a trailer for a new Jason Momoa-led series called “See”. Like Netflix and similar services from Amazon and Hulu, Apple has been lavishing billions of dollars for original programs featuring stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. The service will launch in 100 countries with nine original shows and films, with more expected each month.
Samsung’s PlayGalaxy Game Streaming Is Live on the Note 10
The Galaxy Note 10 got most of the attention at Samsung’s recent Unpacked event, and quite understandably. Samsung also talked about its upcoming PlayGalaxy Link game streaming platform. PlayGalaxy wasn’t available when the Note 10 launched, but it has now started rolling out as a beta. This is your chance to (kind of) play desktop games on your smartphone. Samsung’s PlayGalaxy Link is similar to Nvidia GameStream — the game renders on your computer. The PlayGalaxy client encodes the video and streams it to your mobile device over the local network or the internet. Your control inputs go back to the PC, allowing you to play the game. It’s like a fancy, low-latency remote desktop. The get set up, you’ll need the desktop PlayGalaxy Link client, which is only available for Windows 10. You also need a reasonably powerful GPU (at least NVIDIA GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 550), a Core i5 or higher, 8GB of RAM, and a gigabit router. The app strongly suggests having your PC wired to the router rather than connected via Wi-Fi. The client should detect games on your PC, but it only spotted one for me. You can manually add more by directing it to the EXE files. On the phone side, there’s a PlayGalaxy Link app available in Samsung’s Galaxy Store. PlayGalaxy Link is still in beta, and it only works on the Note 10 and Note 10+ for the time being, More Samsung phones will get support soon, though. There’s support for wired and Bluetooth game controllers, which make desktop games playable on a phone.
Asian TV viewers are the most likely to use streaming services
Around 8 in 10 (78%) Asian TV content viewers are streamers, compared to 65% of TV content viewers overall, according to a Horowitz Research. The viewership is being driven by the demand for international content that was generally unavailable or expensive to subscribe to stateside, and the programming and marketing challenge the pay-TV industry faced in serving a culturally and linguistically diverse consumer segment. Netflix is the main provider of Asian content ( 39%) followed by TV services like Sling TV and Directv Now. The report titled FOCUS Asian: The Media Landscape 2019 further highlights how the average Asian TV content viewer spends more than half (52%) of their viewing time with streamed content, while just 39% of content is watched live through traditional TV platforms. Moreover, one in four Asians stream all their content. Among Asian-language viewers, 59% say they access Asian-language content via streaming frequently, vs. just 31% who access it via traditional cable/satellite/antenna. According to Adriana Waterston, senior vice president of Insights for Horowitz Research, even back in the 1990s, when internet meant dial-up and streaming videos was not even in most of our consideration sets, we found that many tech-forward Asian households had found ways to access and download content from their countries of origin to their computer— a painstakingly slow process that would take all night— so that they could watch their episode the next day.
Subscription VOD closes in on live TV as top platform for young viewers
Young people in the UK are now almost as likely to watch TV via subscription video-on-demand platforms as on live channels, new data shows. According to the latest IPA TouchPoints research, 71% of viewers aged 15-34 now watch SVOD platforms each week, up from 63% last year. Meanwhile, only 77% of 15- to 34-year-olds watch live TV each week, down from 82% last year. If SVODs expand their reach at a similar rate and live TV declines at a comparable pace next year, SVOD will comfortably overtake live TV as the platform of choice for young viewers. In terms of time spent viewing, SVOD also comes close to live TV for viewers between the ages of 15 and 34, who watch an average of 82 minutes a day of SVOD and 93 minutes of live TV. The top SVOD platform, Netflix, is watched by 63% of the age group, up from 54% last year, for an average of 73 minutes a day. This puts Netflix ahead of the top broadcast TV channel, BBC One, which is watched by 52% of 15-34s, for an average of 31 minutes per day. Among the population as a whole, BBC One reached 73%, who watched for an average of 67 minutes. Netflix has also enjoyed a boost among adults as a whole. It now reaches 37% of adults each week, up from 29% last year and 20% two years ago. Taken as a group, SVOD platforms now reach 45% of adults each week, up from 37% a year ago, but still a long way behind the 88% who watch live TV each week. The second-biggest SVOD platform, Amazon Prime, has grown its reach from 12% in 2018 to 14% of all adults this year, and from 17% to 21% of 15- to 34-year-olds over the same period.
Electronic Arts’ Project Atlas Cloud Gaming Service Launched
Electronic Arts (EA) has announced that they will be hosting an “exclusive external trial” of Project Atlas, the company’s “engine+services” cloud-based platform which was announced in October of last year. Polygon has it that EA will be spearheading a two-week test run of its streaming gaming service on September 10 at 10 p.m. PT/1 a.m. ET. Players with existing Origin accounts and those who will sign up for the test, will have a chance to play four games: Need for Speed Rivals, Titanfall 2, FIFA 19 and Unravel. Ken Moss said via Medium that Project Atlas is EA’s conscious effort to serve players with a “cloud-powered feature” so that they can “engage and enjoy anytime, anywhere and on any device.” Moss, EA’s Chief Technology Officer, was also the one who introduced Project Atlas in 2019 as a collective effort to fuse “gaming engine technology and services” alongside the many benefits of the cloud. “As our games will continue to be the creative heart of EA, we are focused on testing and understanding their performance in cloud gaming,” Moss said. He further explained that the trial’s first and foremost motive is to gauge on the quality of service in various networks, as well as to “gather more inputs at scale to test performance.” While the trial is focused on cloud gaming on the PC, EA will also set their goals on how cloud gaming performs on multiple devices. Furthermore, the two-week trial will serve as the backbone for EA to “improve and enhance” gaming experience. Among others, Moss pointed out that they will be testing on how cloud gaming would adjust to “real-world” conditions such as unstable bandwidth and network strength and its capability to handle “full-scale HD games” to a device a player wants to use, may it be on a Smart TV, PC, Mac or even Smartphones.