The appetite for live-streaming is bigger than ever, Amazon in Talks to Sell Streaming TV Ads Outside of Fire TV and other top news

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

The appetite for live-streaming is bigger than ever

It would be easy to assume that because competition is so stiff among live-streaming platforms — for talent, for eyeballs — that the market is zero-sum. But as it turns out, that isn’t actually true. According to a fourth-quarter report from the streaming tools provider StreamElements and the metrics tracker Arsenal.gg, the entire industry grew an astonishing 12 percent in the last year (based on hours watched). A lot of growth came from Facebook Gaming, which increased its hours watched by a full 210 percent — most likely from its signing of new streamers. According to the StreamElements report, Facebook had a 6 percent increase in streamers and a whopping 78 percent increase in the average number of viewers per hours streamed. While Twitch’s market share dropped slightly, it found a new growth in its non-gaming categories — they now represent a full 11 percent of content watched on Twitch, up 3 percent since December 2018. And it’s Just Chatting category was the biggest in December 2019, in a major first for the site. That’s interesting because it means the audience for Twitch’s content is engaged by more than just games, which is obvious, but it’s good to see that feeling reflected in the data. What the StreamElements report really means is that live-streaming is more popular than ever, and that a rising viewership tide really does lift all platforms — even if we’re in the middle of a war for top live-streaming talent. (Every major platform grew over the last year. Streaming site Caffeine wasn’t a part of the report, but it only officially launched in mid-November.).

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Amazon in Talks to Sell Streaming TV Ads Outside of Fire TV

Amazon. com Inc. has been building a business selling ads on its Fire streaming television platform. Now, it wants to sell some ads for the first time on other streaming TV systems such as Apple TV and Xbox, according to people familiar with the matter. In a new initiative, Amazon is talking with TV app owners about integrating technology to let it sell some of their ad inventory on other streaming TV systems, which would also include PlayStation and Android TV, according to the people. The talks are taking place between programmers and Amazon Publisher Services, a company division whose services include providing tech for publishers to sell ads across platforms. Amazon Publisher Services offers publishers a way to connect to different sources of advertising demand, including through Amazon’s own ad-buying tool. App owners already working with Amazon Publisher Services include CNN, Discovery and A&E, as well as digital video platforms such as Pluto TV and Tubi TV. Amazon began contacting TV app owners late last year about getting access to their ad inventory across platforms, the people said. Amazon uses data on shopping and browsing behavior it collects from its own e-commerce websites and apps to target the ads it sells on Fire TV, and would do the same on other platforms, according to a person negotiating with the company. That targeting would only be available to advertisers who buy ads through Amazon’s ad-buying tool. Amazon has told publishers it can fill ads at higher prices—as much as $40 per thousand impressions—than other third-party ad-selling platforms, the person said.

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Cadbury tests skipping TV ads in favor of streaming ads

As the popularity of streaming video rises, Cadbury is experimenting with ways to shoehorn ads into the streaming experience. That’s led to its ditching of TV ads for some parts of its latest campaign in favor of ads on YouTube and Facebook alongside content on Amazon Prime. No ads will run on TV in the U.K. for the advertiser’s Creme Egg brand from January to Easter, which falls on April 12 this year. “TV isn’t part of the media plan,” said Raphael Capitani, brand manager of Cadbury Creme Egg. Instead, ads will be bought on both Facebook and YouTube as well as Amazon and outdoor channels. Aside from running the ads for Creme Egg across Amazon’s site, they will also appear on IMDb and the Fire TV service. Amazon has also produced for the campaign two short films to appear on its Amazon Prime video-streaming service. Capitani declined break down how the investments are split between each channel. He did, however, say that significant investments have been made on both Facebook and YouTube to offset the lost reach of TV. Cadbury said its budget has remained the same. In 2017, Cadbury’s said it had spent £4 million ($5.2 million) on Creme Egg as part of a wider £10 million ($13 million) Easter campaign for its chocolate. (The company wouldn’t say exactly how much it would spend on this year’s campaign.)  “We’re focused on getting the most reach through YouTube and Facebook as well as outdoor,” said Capitani. Those ads will double as short trailers for the films and series created for Creme Egg’s proprietary streaming service called Eatertainment, he said. With the fight for traditional eyeballs on linear TV intensifying as its supply plateaus, Cadbury’s is searching for alternative takes on video advertising beyond standard commercials. “We’re not abandoning TV forever, but the truth is linear viewing is down and we need to see how the brand would perform without TV now so that we can work out how we can strike a better balance across a fragmented TV space in the future,” Capitani said.

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UK spent a record £3bn on streaming music, films and TV in 2019

The rise in popularity of services such as Netflix, Amazon and Spotify prompted record spending on streaming music, films and TV shows in the UK last year to more than £3bn, as the digital revolution hammered high street sales of DVDs and CDs. The total UK entertainment market, which also includes the video games sector, grew by 2.4% to hit a record £7.8bn in 2019, according to the latest annual sales and spending figures from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA). The report highlights the scale of the dramatic consumer shift towards internet-based services, from subscribing to Netflix or Spotify to buying or renting a film or box set on Sky Store or Apple’s iTunes, with more than 80% of total entertainment spend now on digital services. Digital video sales hit £2.1bn last year, while UK music fans spent £1bn on streaming services for the first time. Last year, UK consumers spent almost £400m less on physical entertainment products, such as buying and renting DVDs, CDs and console games, than they did in 2018. Total sales of physical entertainment products fell by 21% last year, from £1.8bn to £1.4bn. In just a decade the physical entertainment market has shrunk by 70%, from £4.7bn in 2010. “The rise of digital entertainment has created the biggest revolution in UK leisure habits in history,” said Kim Bayley, chief executive of the ERA. “There is no doubt retailers of physical products had a tough time in 2019. The flipside to digital’s success has been increasing pressure on sales of physical formats.” The booming video market, fuelled by the popularity of Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video and Sky’s Now TV, proved to be the fastest-growing entertainment sector, up 9.5% to £2.6bn. The streaming revolution is driving growth, with revenues from digital video surging 21.5% last year to £2.1bn. Just a decade ago digital video revenues stood at just £154m.

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More OTT content to go direct to consumer

The number of companies that choose to by-pass the traditional pay-TV operator and instead market their services direct to the consumer are expected to dramatically increase in 2020, a new report claims. ABI Research 54 Technology Trends to Watch in 2020 expects consumers to move away from the “forced packaging of channels into fixed bundles”. ABI expects consumers to be granted the ability to pick and choose the channels that are most important to them. It says the “growing penchant” among content owners to go direct to the consumer is creating a more challenging market that is leading to a decline in subscriber bases. However, one technology that ABI does not expect to see is the 8K Television sets that were announced by vendors early in 2019. Instead, ABU believes the move to from high definition to 4K will continue in 2020 with very limited 8K shipments, representing less than 1 million worldwide.

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