Facebook Developing Portal-Infused OTT Player, Tesla will add Netflix and YouTube streaming to its cars, and other top news

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

Facebook Developing Portal-Infused OTT Player

Facebook has approached Disney, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon, and other media companies about developing apps for their respective streaming services that would play on a new OTT device. Facebook’s new streaming player (codenamed “Catalina”) would provide access to major SVOD, AVOD and live-streaming services, just like Roku or Amazon Fire TV. However, the device would incorporate the same camera and videoconferencing technology found in Facebook’s Portal device. The report comes courtesy of subscription news site The Information, citing unnamed sources. Portal was released in October of last year. Facebook hasn’t released any sales figures. But judging by the $120 erosion of the MSRP since that introduction (the entry-level Portal with 10.1-inch screen is now only $80), sales can’t be all that brisk.

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Tesla will add Netflix and YouTube streaming to its cars

Never mind playing games in your Tesla — for many, the dream has been to catch up on shows while charging or waiting for a passenger. And that vision might soon come true. Elon Musk has revealed that Tesla’s cars will “soon” offer Netflix and YouTube streaming so long as the car is stopped. He didn’t go into detail for the functionality but claimed it would have an “immersive, cinematic feel” since you’re sitting in posh seats with surround sound. You should eventually have the option to watch on the move, too. Musk added that Tesla would allow on-the-move viewing once regulators approve self-driving abilities. You probably won’t want to hold your breath for that one when autonomous driving is so far only legal in very limited capacities, but this does suggest that you’ll one day catch up on Stranger Things while your EV brings you to work. Ironically, the news is most likely to favor people who own lower-end Teslas like Model 3 and the upcoming Model Y. While the Model S and X technically have larger screens, they’re in vertical orientations — you’ll end up wasting a lot of screen space trying to watch Netflix and YouTube videos. The lower-end cars have wide-aspect screens that make them better-suited to video. Few people will buy a car based on its ability to stream shows, of course, but it’ll be something to consider if you frequently find yourself idling in your car for episode-length stints.

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Sony Music reports a 27% growth in its streaming revenues

We had Universal Music’s latest financials last week, but yesterday it was Sony Music’s turn, fresh from news that its non-Japanese recorded-music and publishing businesses are coming together as Sony Music Group. The company’s Q2 financials pre-date that announcement, of course. Overall quarterly revenues across Sony’s music businesses grew by 11% year-on-year to ¥202.3bn (around $1.86bn), with Sony saying that a 27% growth in streaming income helped push its recorded-music revenues to ¥111.9bn ($1bn), representing 11% growth compared to last year. Meanwhile, Sony’s publishing revenues grew by more than 80% year-on-year to ¥39.3bn ($362m) – but as Billboard pointed out, that startling percentage is due to the consolidation of EMI Music Publishing. Within Sony’s recorded-music business, streaming revenues were ¥66.5bn (around $612m) – around $6.8m of daily revenue. That compares to around $10.4m of daily streaming revenues for Universal Music, based on its financials last week.

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Netflix Rules in Global OTT Demand, But its Lead Is Slipping

Netflix is the undisputed king for over-the-top (OTT) video around the globe, but for how much longer? A report released today from industry analysis firm Parrot Analytics said that Netflix commands 64.6% of the demand for digital original series. Parrot surveyed over 100 markets to get its rankings. A look at two year’s worth of data for 10 major markets, however, shows that Netflix’s lead is decreasing. For the calendar year 2018, Netflix had a demand share of 71%. For the first time, Netflix’s share of demand is under 50% for some combinations of markets and genres. For example, competition for action/adventure titles in the US and Japan has pushed Netflix’s demand share to around 47.5%. After Netflix, Amazon Prime Video has the next highest global demand share for digital originals, with 10.3%, followed by Hulu (7.7%), DC Universe (5.2%), and CBS All Access (4.4%).

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Pay-TV penetration across APAC set to decline with the rise of OTT platforms

Pay-TV penetration in APAC – in particular for developed markets such as Hong Kong and Australia- is set to decline marginally through to 2023 due to cord-cutting and the popularity of over-the-top (OTT) video streaming platforms, according to the latest report by data and analytics company, GlobalData. Further convergence of Pay-TV and OTT platforms is also expected. GlobalData’s report – “Pay-TV Market Trends and Opportunities in the Asia Pacific – 2019” – shows that the APAC pay-TV market remains very diverse, with household penetration levels ranging from 11% in Indonesia to 168% in South Korea as of year-end 2018. The report also revealed that China and India are currently the largest pay-TV markets in the region with 415.6 million and 177.2 million subscriptions respectively as of year-end 2018, distantly followed by South Korea with 33.2 million subscriptions. The report stated that an increasing number of video content consumers in the region prefer services that offer “watch-anywhere” capability. While home TV is still an important device, customers also demand the same experience across mobile handsets, laptops, and tablets. This has led to a rising trend of service convergence between traditional OTT and pay-TV. 

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