Apple’s $6 Billion Escalates Streaming’s Content Arms Race, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video Are Gaining on Netflix in the Streaming Wars, and other top news

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

Apple's $6 Billion Escalates Streaming's Content Arms Race

Apple reportedly will spend $6 billion on original programming to fuel its upcoming Apple TV+ subscription video on demand (SVOD) streaming service. Its goal, of course, is to entice us with exclusive premium content that will compel us to pay $9.99 monthly when it launches in November — and keep us away from others. But SVODs Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and HBO already spend billions of dollars on their own “Must-See TV” for the same reason. All of this, of course, is great for consumers. The quantity, quality and variety of so-called “television” has never been better (although it’s increasingly challenging to find the specific content that appeals to each of us). It’s also great for creators – the writers, actors, directors and others who benefit from those billions. Call it Hollywood’s full employment act. Call it Hollywood’s “New Golden Age.” I’ll call it media’s great SVOD content arms race. On the heels of my most recent Forbes article about the cable bundle-approaching cost to consumers of subscribing to Apple TV+ and its SVOD competitors in their quest to cut that expensive cable cord, let’s look at the other side of the equation. 

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Hulu and Amazon Prime Video Are Gaining on Netflix in the Streaming Wars

Netflix is still king of the streaming world in the U.S., but its dominance is expected to slip slightly as competitors like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video take on more market share and new services enter the streaming space, according to a new forecast from research firm eMarketer. By the end of 2019, 158.8 million viewers are expected to watch Netflix programming, according to the firm, with the streaming service posting continued growth. Nonetheless, it’s expected that Netflix will reach 87% of the overall streaming viewers, compared to the 90% share it captured five years prior. Netflix’s hold on the market will slowly but steadily decline over the next five years, eMarketer predicted, dipping to a little over 86% of total over-the-top (OTT) video service users by 2023. As Netflix’s dominance declines slightly, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu are steadily growing in market share. Amazon Prime Video will close out 2019 having retained its position as the second-largest subscription OTT service provider, reaching about 52.9% of OTT viewers in the U.S. The service is expected to have 96.5 million viewers this year, an 8.8% increase from 2018.

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Reddit plans short video-streaming trial

Social news site Reddit is running a five-day trial of live video streaming. It has developed a tool for eligible users that will let them broadcast live video to what it calls the Reddit Public Access Network. Streaming will only be allowed between 09:00 and 17:00 and human moderators will watch every stream to ensure no inappropriate content is broadcast. The site said the test was about “fun” and if it worked well it could become a permanent feature. Not everyone on Reddit will be able to stream, it said in a post explaining the system. It added that it wanted all videos to be “safe for work”. “We will be watching r/pan broadcasts very closely,” it said. Videos from those allowed to stream will show up on the r/pan subreddit but the most popular will be also be visible on the site’s front page. Initially the site will only permit a maximum of 100 streams to run concurrently and none will last longer than 30 minutes. Like all other content on the site, Reddit users will be able to sort what is best by upvoting and downvoting streams posted to the forum.

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Google’s giant leap into video game streaming is poised to disrupt a $135 billion industry

On Monday, Google held a livestream event to reveal more details about Google Stadia, the company’s cloud-based video game streaming platform that is poised to launch in November in 14 countries. This shift into the video game business is a major move for the tech giant. Yet Google has a history of forcing evolution in a number of industries. Searching the internet was an entirely different experience before autocomplete. Translating foreign languages used to be a complex and time-consuming process before Google Translate. The Chrome browser changed how we navigate the web. And Google Fiber has prompted other internet providers to increase their speed offerings. Now the company has video games in its sights. And it could be one of its biggest markets to date. The video game industry generated sales of about $135 billion in 2018, according to market analysis firm Newzoo. And GlobalData predicts the market will hit $300 billion by 2025. Streaming access to games from any mobile device, Stadia will allow gamers to play AAA games at the maximum graphical settings on virtually any screen — TV, PC, laptop, phone or tablet — without having to worry about buying the latest and greatest processor, graphics card or console. Several major publishers, including Ubisoft, Bethesda, Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive Software and Warner Bros. are already on board. Rather than buying a game at a retail store or downloading it directly to their consoles, players will bypass downloading titles with Stadia, streaming them like they would a Netflix film.

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New OTT channel from Nitro Circus

Action sports brand Nitro Circus is launching its own OTT channel. Called Epic Makes Misses & Mayhem it’s being launched as an AVOD streaming service with Unreel.me, which has been behind a number of over-the-top streaming services. “We are thrilled to be able to help Nitro Circus reach new audiences on Xumo and start to develop their own owned-and-operated strategy on OTT with the launch of ‘Epic Makes Misses & Mayhem’ across iOS, Android, Apple TV, and Roku,” said Unreel CEO Dan Goikhman. Unreel.me will help monetise the Nitro Circus content library and develop feeds for further syndication. “This is a great opportunity for Nitro Circus to expand our reach and offer our short form quick-hit content in a dynamic way while retaining control. We are excited to be doing so alongside Unreel and the great team therein,” said Nitro Circus Global Head of Business Development Nick Crooks. Action sports provider Nitro Circus began 15 years ago, founder Travis Pastrana selling DVDs he had made in a garage in Utah. Since 2010 the Nitro Circus Live event has toured the globe.

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