Category Archives: Entertainment

Engagement Ring in Rare Post

Kim Kardashian was missing a key piece of jewelry while out and about Saturday night, in what marked another rare public sighting of her since she survived an armed robbery in Paris two months ago.

The 36-year-old was photographed driving an SUV, with her 1-year-old son, Saint, in the back seat and friend Brittny Gastineau in the front passenger’s seat. Kim did not appear to wear her engagement ring from husband Kanye West, instead sporting a plain gold wedding band.

The reality star has largely kept out of the public eye since robbers held her at gunpoint in Paris and stole at almost $11 million worth of her jewelry, including one of her diamond rings that was reportedly an “upgraded” 20-carat Lorraine Schwartz diamond engagement ring Kanye had given to her in September. Kanye had proposed to her in 2013 with a 15-carat ring.

Kim and Kanye have recently been the subject of breakup rumors. Neither she nor the rapper, who has been laying low himself since his hospital stay for exhaustion, has commented about the reports.

A source had told E! News last week that Kim and Kanye were together at their Los Angeles home and appeared “very sweet together and were very much together.” Another source had said the two are “strong” and doing fine as a couple.

Kim was ringless when she was spotted in New York hours after the robbery. A day before the incident, she had appeared at an event in the city wearing on her ring finger a massive emerald-cut diamond ring—similar to both rings Kanye gave her.

The Living Room Place in the US Digital

Connected TV and over-the-top (OTT) video viewing are growing on the strength of streaming technologies and premium content aimed at living room screens. The advertising market will follow as connected TV amasses more scale.

  • US connected TV users and households will increase by over 20% in 2016 and are on track to continue growing through 2020, albeit at single-digit rates starting next year. The trend is led primarily by the popularity of smart TVs and streaming devices from Amazon, Google and Roku.
  • OTT video viewership is also increasing, particularly on subscription services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Ad-supported YouTube is nearly saturated, so its growth has slowed.

Worldwide, and aside from the VR professionals themselves, it’s also encouraging that investment in VR and AR companies has been on the rise. According to CB Insights, a venture capital research firm, since early 2014, more than $2.5 billion has been invested in VR and AR companies across more than 200

Worldwide, and aside from the VR professionals themselves, it’s also encouraging that investment in VR and AR companies has been on the rise. According to CB Insights, a venture capital research firm, since early 2014, more than $2.5 billion has been invested in VR and AR companies across more than 200 deals.

Devices that power home-based video viewing showed high US penetration rates in separate studies published in September 2016. Nielsen noted that 24% of US households had smart TVs in Q2 2016, while 76% had DVD or Blu-ray players, 53% subscribed to a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service and 44% had game consoles. The study also noted that 94% of households had HDTVs.

A study by Verto Analytics found that in addition to the 90% of US internet users who had desktops or laptops, 31% had smart TVs, 29% had game consoles and 21% had streaming media devices. Since consumers need only one such device to enable connected TV viewing, the combined penetration rates—coupled with the likelihood that other household members might be using the same devices—amount to mainstream adoption of home-based video streaming technologies.

Cutter Attention For New Entries Vies

AT&T made a play for the growing streaming TV market, announcing the launch of DirecTV Now, a cable-like over-the-top (OTT) live streaming service which will offer DirecTV’s satellite channels to subscribers.

AT&T’s move into streaming TV makes sense as more and more consumers are watching digital content on their TVs, laptops and mobile devices through OTT services. eMarketer estimates that there will be 188.1 million OTT video service users in 2016, rising to 206.1 million in 2020. YouTube is included in eMarketer’s estimates. Because its audience is so large and well-established, it makes the growth of the entire category appear to be less dramatic.

Many OTT viewers have increased their digital TV and video content consumption after cutting the cord to cable TV. eMarketer expects the number of cord-cutters (and cord-nevers—those who never have had pay TV) to rise substantially over the next few years, growing from 17.8% to 22.6% of the US adult population between 2016 and 2019. AT&T’s move into the live-TV streaming space is a new way to offer potential viewers access to traditional live TV content that they would typically view via cable subscription.

AT&T is looking to attract subscribers with a variety of deals, including an introductory pricing option of $35 a month for a package of more than 100 channels. AT&T is also including a fourth-generation Apple TV to customers who sign up for 3 months of pre-paid DirecTV Now service, and an Amazon Fire TV Stick with 1 month of pre-paid service. Additionally, AT&T mobile customers will be able to stream the content via the DirecTV Now app without worrying about monthly data limits.

While these offers may be tempting for some customers, it may not be a deal-driver for many, said eMarketer analyst Paul Verna. “Price is one of the factors people take into account when choosing a pay TV service, whether a cable- or satellite-delivered one or a digital streaming package,” he said. “However, consumers are also picky about what shows, movies, sports, live TV, and local channels they watch. In that regard, they tend to select services based on how closely they match their wish lists, as opposed to simply choosing on the basis of cost.”

DirecTV Now’s content does come with some caveats. It reportedly does not offer consumers a DVR option, excludes CBS (which offers its own live streaming service) and does not offer local networks not owned by ABC, NBC or Fox.

AT&T also faces competition with other existing cable-like streaming services such as Sling TV and Sony PlayStation Vue. The market is expected to become even more competitive in 2017 with Hulu’s expected move into live TV, which will include channels such as ESPN, ABC and Fox, as well as YouTube’s new “Unplugged” service, which will offer a bundle of not-yet-announced cable TV channels.

Monetization Audience Platorms and Content

This is the latest installment in an ongoing series of quarterly video ecosystem overviews focusing on monetization, audience, platforms and content. Our goal is to provide a summary of key developments each quarter on a need-to-know basis.

  • The US digital video market remains a tale of two monetization mechanisms: advertising and subscriptions. YouTube and Facebook, among others, solidified the case for video advertising in Q3 2016, while some services, notably Vimeo, Hulu and Amazon, doubled down on subscription-based approaches.
  • Connected TV users in the US jumped by more than 20% this year. However, as the format continues to approach saturation, growth rates will level off to single digits starting next year. Smart TV usage also increased significantly in 2016 and will remain a strong growth category.
  • Game consoles are the most popular devices for streaming videos on connected TVs and will stay there through the end of the decade. However, smart TVs will gradually close the gap, and specific devices like Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast and Roku will continue to gain momentum. Content platforms are led by YouTube, followed by Netflix and Amazon, both of which will keep surging over the next few years. Hulu will take a hit because of its recent decision to forgo free access in favor of paid content.

 

Games Player

Facebook’s launch of a new set of games, called Instant Games, available for play both on the core Facebook platform and its spun-off Messenger app, is a new step but also a bit of a throwback for the social network.

Facebook beta-launched 17 games, including old school titles like Pac-Man and Space Invaders, which can be played in app, whether the user is on a desktop, laptop or, more likely, a mobile device.

While Facebook’s sharing and communications utilities are what made it the cultural juggernaut that it is, gaming has played an outsized part in its history, contributing a significant amount of its revenue in the early days, when it was still experimenting with ways to unlock the advertising potential of the platform.

A survey by AYTM suggests that game-playing is still a widespread activity on Facebook. AYTM found that almost half of social network users said they played games on social platforms at least occasionally, and half of those said they did so regularly. While the survey didn’t ask about gaming on specific platforms, Facebook users predominated the survey group—92% of those who said they used social networks were on Facebook.

The AYTM survey suggests that, at least at the moment, user interest in playing games on a social platform is not likely to change much. When asked if they were likely to play a social game in the next year, 38.7% said they probably wouldn’t —almost the same number who said they had never played a social game.

Some 15% of the time users spend on Facebook is devoted to games, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, and games generate $45 million in monthly revenue, down from $65 million in December 2011, according to a Piper Jaffray estimate.

At that level, games make up only small slice of Facebook’s overall revenue. Most gaming revenues are accounted for in Facebook’s financials as “payments and other.” eMarketer estimates that such revenues will make up less than 3% of the company’s total this year. That revenue mix is not projected to change much over the next two years.

 

Daily Activities in Japan

The widespread success of the location-based game Pokémon Go is inspiring a wave of interest in location-powered entertainment among consumers and businesses around the globe. In Japan, in fact, growing time spent by younger smartphone users with these mobile games is leading to potential marketing opportunities for businesses.

According to a September 2016 survey of location-based gaming habits in Japan conducted by JTB Tourism Research and Consulting, a growing portion of the country’s young smartphone users were interested in such games. Twenty percent or more of male and female smartphone user respondents in the 18-to-29 age segment said they spent between 0 and 60 minutes per day playing location-based smartphone games. In addition, a particularly engaged segment of smartphone users (7.8% of males and 8.7% of females) from the same 18-to-29 age group said they spent an hour or more playing them.

One consequence of the time spent playing location-based games is that they often lead to adjustments in game players’ real-world habits. For instance, in JTB’s survey, 13.4% of location-based smartphone gamers said they had made a purchase at a store in order to stay longer and continue playing. Meanwhile, a majority (55.4%) said they had gone on a detour from their daily commute in order to participate in such games.

 

While the popularity of specific games like Pokémon Go may rise and fall, it is entirely possible that the habits shaped by this phenomenon will see more consumer adoption in the future. Businesses that are able to use the rules of location-based games to encourage visits through paid sponsorships or active participation in the games could potentially reap significant benefits.

 

Political Turmoil in South Korea

Last week, the government cut its planned spending to develop the VR industry by roughly 42%, reducing the amount to 11 billion won ($9.8 million).

The cut came amidst a rapidly escalating scandal involving President Park Geun-hye. South Korea’s parliament voted to impeach Park last week. She is accused of giving an unofficial adviser wide latitude in government affairs that led to preferential treatment, including kickbacks. Park has rejected the charges.

There has been no direct link of the scandal with the reduced VR investment. A government oversight agency said the reduced investment reflects concerns about transparency in the formation of the project and lack of understanding about the project’s goal.

VR in South Korea has been less focused on game and entertainment applications, and more on industrial use cases, such as architecture and engineering. The government investment was part of a joint public/private effort to encourage the development of gaming, entertainment and education platforms.

Hardware companies such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics offer a variety of VR devices including headsets and 360 degree cameras, but software and content for VR has been less of a focus. The government investment is meant to address that.

Not all areas of VR were affected equally by the government cuts: Investment in game content was not reduced. “Games are the area that will drive the most growth,” said Baek Hyun-jung of Innocean Worldwide, a global marketing and communications company.

With South Korea’s government stepping back, China may step in as an investor. “China’s VR market is growing at a very fast pace, yet their content is not diversified,” said Baek.

 

Holistic Audience View

Over the past 12 months, advertisers’ understanding of cross-device targeting and the identity matching methodologies behind the technology have improved. With that improvement comes added expectations for the types of data that can be added to these identity graphs and the locations in which that targeting can be applied, such as in living rooms and in stores.

  • As capabilities improve, advertisers will look to cross-device technology to enhance messaging by improving the personalization of ad creative and managing key functions such as ad sequencing and frequency capping.
  • Historically, cross-device and its identification capabilities have lagged in integration and use among measurement and attribution tools. However, 2017 will bring greater focus to ensuring that cross-device measurement capabilities match targeting capabilities.

There has been no direct link of the scandal with the reduced VR investment. A government oversight agency said the reduced investment reflects concerns about transparency in the formation of the project and lack of understanding about the project’s goal.

VR in South Korea has been less focused on game and entertainment applications, and more on industrial use cases, such as architecture and engineering. The government investment was part of a joint public/private effort to encourage the development of gaming, entertainment and education platforms.

Hardware companies such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics offer a variety of VR devices including headsets and 360 degree cameras, but software and content for VR has been less of a focus. The government investment is meant to address that.

 

E Marketer PRO of Reviews

For decades, TV advertising time has been valued and transacted on the basis of delivering the standard age and gender audience segments, such as adults ages 25 to 54. But richer, more descriptive advanced targets are emerging to form the basis for secondary audience guarantees, supplementing the primary benchmarks.

  • Advanced targets are created by combining first- or third-party consumer purchase data with TV viewing information, resulting in TV ratings that better reflect advertisers’ targets as opposed to the standard age and gender descriptions.
  • In the 2017–2018 TV season, secondary guarantees made on advanced target delivery could account for as much as 10% to 15% of the inventory sold by those network groups that are leaders in data-driven targeting.
  • The variety of advanced TV offerings introduces new complexity to the marketplace. Differences in the data sources used to create these targets make it difficult for media agencies to evaluate offerings vs. their own in-house TV investment models. Third-party verification of network-produced advanced TV ratings will be inevitable as advanced targeting scales.
  • Advanced TV offerings will eventually include targeting capabilities across both TV and digital—which currently make up more than 70% of spend for a typical media plan. TV and digital targeting is a longer-term prospect, given the networks’ primary focus on selling just TV inventory. The undertaking also requires integration of TV and digital audience estimates within a closed system.
  • TV networks have begun to work more directly with advertisers, many of whom are providing networks with first-party customer and transaction data to develop more precise TV targeting and gauge ad effectiveness on network properties.

 

TV Merger Moves Forward

21st Century Fox finalized its deal to acquire Sky, the largest pay TV service in Europe, the latest combination in a global wave of consolidation in the TV industry, which is responding to rapid changes in the way that consumers watch video programming.

From the perspective of overall market growth, the pay TV sector hardly seems like the most attractive investment, with many researchers foreseeing slim growth in users or revenues this decade.

Ovum estimates that pay TV revenues for the region as a whole will grow only 12% from 2015 to 2021—a mere 1.88% compound annual growth rate.

Data from other researchers paints a similar picture. According to a report from Digital TV Research Limited, the total number of pay TV subscriptions in Western Europe will barely edge higher in coming years, reaching 175.2 million in 2021, up from 172.2 million in 2016—a compound annual growth rate of less than 1%.

Pyramid Research says that pay TV penetration at the household level will grow to 60.2% in Western Europe this year, up from 58.6% in 2015.

Whatever the growth of pay TV, overall video consumption is growing rapidly, and Sky is a key provider of a particularly compelling content format—sports. “Despite the fact that pay TV subscriptions are dwindling, the Sky acquisition makes sense since pay subscribers are willing to pay for sports and entertainment content that is unavailable elsewhere,” said eMarketer analyst Gerard Broussard.

That highly compelling content is valuable however consumers end up viewing it—whether OTT or some other digital format, and whether it is monetized via advertising or subscription payments.