Hulu Now Has 25 Million Subscribers and an Aggressive Strategy to Get More

Hulu Now Has 25 Million Subscribers and an Aggressive Strategy to Get More

The streaming service Hulu has just hit the 25 million subscribers mark.

This is 50 percent more than its number of subscribers compared to last year, so how has the company managed to basically double its memberships? With more content.

The race to capture eyeballs is on.

Hulu, along with its competitor Netflix, has been rapidly collecting premium content to attract more viewers.

Hulu has exclusive content like ER, Bob's Burgers, and 30 Rock, all not available anywhere else. 97 percent of content streamed by subscribers have licensed deals, meaning it's not available on any other streaming platform.

Even though Hulu has popular programs like the original series The Handmaid's Tale, licensed programs still get 89 percent more viewing, according to the research firm 7Park Data.

25 million is quite the milestone but is still less than half of Netflix's 58 million subscribers.

Netflix is available internationally too and has an additional 70-plus million in these markets.

Disney, which is rolling out its own streaming service Disney+, poses a threat to streaming services.

The Roku Channel Now Has These Premium Subscriptions

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Last summer, Roku launched a free web channel to take on popular streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu.

First Roku offered ad-supported movies for free, now the platform also has news, sports, and TV shows available for streaming.

But the Roku Channel also just added premium subscriptions with its free content.

Roku is partnering with video providers to offer its users more entertainment. Some of the subscriptions include Showtime, Starz, Tastemade, EPIX, CuriosityStream, Noggin, Baeble Music, and more.

Users can see what is available on the premium program before signing up. And if they do want to sign-up, they can use the payment card already on file with Roku– making it especially easy to do so.

“We’ve been focused on ad-supported content and will continue to have a very robust offering there. But there’s lots of great content that’s available only in subscription services,” said Rob Holmes, Roku’s vice president of Programming. “We also wanted to try to improve the user experience in a lot of the same way that we did with the launch of The Roku Channel around ad-supported content.”

Previously, users could download the apps of premium subscription programs like HBO Go to watch their subscription content. But now, a users' subscriptions will have their own standalone area in The Roku Channel.

Roku has plans to add even more video partners to its channel, but won't be offering subscriptions via packages similar to Sling TV. Instead, Holmes says that they will likely remain " à la carte."

“Ultimately, from a user standpoint, there’s a lot of value in being able to pick and choose exactly what you want to sign up for — without having to sign up for one of these base packages to start with," said Holmes.

Read more about how The Roku Channel is adding more content at "Tech Crunch" now.

Users are Watching 8 Billion Hours of Content on Streaming Devices a Month

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As consumers switch from traditional TV services like Satelite Dish and cable, Roku, Google Chromecast, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV have quickly emerged as the most popular devices to stream video.

According to data from Nielsen, Americans are watching about 8 billion hours of content on these devices. The majority of the streaming is happening in the living room and users 13 and older using these platforms to stream to their TVs for an average of at least an hour a day.

Bigger screens are still the most popular when it comes to watching content. According to Nielsen's findings, consumers only stream for 36 minutes a day on average on computers and 24 minutes on mobile devices.

Younger audiences aren't watching live TV as much, with only 3 percent of live TV viewers being between the ages of 18 and 24.

"For example, out of total day viewers watching content aired across five networks on live TV, 7% are between the ages of 25 and 34, while 19% of connected device viewers are in the same age bracket," writes Nielsen.

Not to mention, there are multiple programs out their now streaming live TV channels. So how can advertisers reach all viewers watching live TV on multiple platforms?

Nielsen has launched the dynamic ad insertion (DAI) pilot that uses Gracenote Video Automatic Content Recognition technology.

"The tech is used to allow MediaTek-based smart TV platforms to deliver addressable advertising capabilities in live trials across five U.S. markets," writes "Fierce Video."

“Nielsen recognizes the huge opportunity addressable TV presents for our clients,” said Kelly Abcarian, senior vice president of product leadership for Nielsen. “So, we’ve worked hard to create an advanced DAI solution that covers everything from ad targeting to delivery. As the result of our expanded DAI pilot with leading smart TV platforms and manufacturers and some of the largest broadcast and cable networks, marketers will be able to better realize the value of their advertising inventory, achieve maximum return on their ad spend and viewers will see messages that are most relevant to them.”

But will this only push viewers to watch more content on commercial-free streaming apps like Hulu and Netflix?

Read more about Nielsen's Digital Content Ratings now at "Fierce Video."

Cable Cord Cutting is at an All-Time High

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Cable companies are continuing to lose more customers.

In July, August, and September, these companies lost 1.1 million subscribers, according to the research firm MoffettNathanson.

This is the biggest lost for these companies ever.

But S&P Global Market Intelligence is saying the number of subscriptions lost is actually closer to 1.2 million.

There are still 91 million customers with cable, Telco TV, or Satelite dish.

"Satellite TV providers had their worst quarter on record with a loss of 726,000 subscribers, the firm says. Cable operators have been hit with a tough trend, too. So far this year, they have lost nearly 1.1 million subscribers, their worst losses at the three-quarter mark since 2014. So far this year, traditional pay-TV providers have lost 2.8 million subscribers," writes "USA Today."

The average cost for cable subscribers is between $85 to $100 a month. Now that content is available on so many platforms for instant streaming, consumers are no longer willing to pay these premiums.

Netflix and Hulu, on the other hand, are under $12 a month. So a household can get multiple streaming platforms for less than a traditional TV provider and have access to more on-demand content.

"People have embraced them," said Tony Lenoir, S&P senior research analyst. "There's a lot of competition from streaming services out there. People are just cutting the cord. I don't think we've seen the end of it."

So is this the beginning of the end for cable companies? Or will these companies turn into strictly internet providers?

Read more about how consumers are cutting the cord at a rapid rate at "USA Today."

Why Consumers are Investing in Streaming Services Over Cable

Why Consumers are Investing in Streaming Services Over Cable

It's no secret that cable companies are struggling to keep consumers from cutting the chord.

According to a recent report by the Parks Associates, consumers think that cable services are a poor value in today's market.

"The primary driver for pay TV cancellation and downgrades continues to revolve around pricing and perceived value. While some consumers consciously plan to use OTT video services to address the absence of pay TV content, most consider each offering on its own merits," said Brett Sappington, senior director of research at Parks Associates in a press release.

Not to mention, there are so many streaming services under $15 a month with OTT content ready for binge-watching. There's Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, all of which have become wildly popular.

Roku also recently launched its own free streaming service. Disney is launching a streaming service too. Fox News is launching a new on-demand service at the end of this month. The company is shooting to release its content platform by the end of 2019, according to the Disney CEO Bob Iger.

Fox to Roll Out New OTT Streaming Service

on demand streaming

Add Fox News to the many networks jumping on the streaming content bandwagon. On November 27, Fox Nation will debut its brand new on-demand service.

For $5.99 a month, which is $65 a year, subscribers will be able to view more daily short-form programming from Fox News.

“Our short-form daily programming will showcase powerful commentary from our signature roster of talent. Each program will provide distinctive viewpoints, whether it be focused on news of the day or topical, in-depth discussions, and we are looking forward to debuting this new platform to the most loyal fans in television,” said John Finley, Fox News Senior Vice President.

Some of the programs will feature some Fox news' favorites like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Brit Hume.

As traditional TV channels continue to lose viewers as more consumer consume their news on mobile phones and other devices, Fox News is offering their viewers another convenient way to stay up to date on the network's coverage.

"In an on-demand era of viewers watching content wherever and whenever they want, Fox Nation will complement and enhance our powerhouse Fox News programming for the loyal superfans who want to remain connected to our signature platforms," said Finley.

But the question is will Fox News' demographic be interested in content delivered this way?

The median age of the Fox News audience is roughly 65. This service will likely appeal to younger demographics, which may be Fox News' intention.

Fox News isn’t the only company investing in an on-demand streaming service. Apple is expected to soon launch its own streaming service and Roku launched a free service available for streaming on its platform a few moths ago.

Fox News also recently tried to increase its stake of the European pay-TV company Sky PLC but was beaten out by Comcast.

Learn more about how "Fox News'" is selling off even more of its entertainment assets at "Market Watch."

Pluto TV Now has a Channel Playing Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsey Shows 24/7

The internet-based TV platform and app Pluto TV has a channel solely dedicated to playing Chef Gordan Ramsey's TV shows including Kitchen Nightmares and Hell's Kitchen.

Pluto TV is a free, ad-supported app available for streaming via Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Roku, Chromecast, and more. The platform launched in 2014, but now there are over 100 channels available for viewers.

Pluto TV has been investing in a massive amount of content. Programmers like The Onion, Newsey, and Cheddar have publisher-branded channels on the app.

“We love it. Millions of views a month [and] growing revenue,” said Jon Steinberg, CEO of Cheddar. “They are a much better partner for news video in terms of discovery, revenue and a high-quality environment than Facebook.”

At the beginning of September, the Canadian food network Gusto Worldwide Media announced it would be producing eight original series, along with four TV specials for Pluto TV, which will be 75 hours worth of culinary-focused content.

"Much of this content has never been seen in the United States," said Chris Knight, president, and CEO at Gusto. "We're very excited to bring even more of our programming to Americans and look forward to a lasting relationship with Pluto TV."

Besides adding more food-focused shows, Pluto TV also added a 24/7 unsolved mysteries channel earlier this month.

According to Cord Cutters News, the streaming app has an average of 6 million users.

Pluto TV isn't the only service offering free TV streaming. Last year, Roku launched a free streaming service supported strictly from ads. Amazon is also planning to offer a free, ad-supported network called "Free Dive" on its Fire TV platform, as recently reported by "The Information."

Read more about Pluto TV's new channel at "Digiday."

Will Apple Roll out a TV Service by 2019?

Apple Tv Remote

Similar to Roku, which is launching its own streaming service this year, Apple is looking into developing their own TV programming.

The tech giant already has the Apple TV, a platform where users can stream programs onto their televisions. But it appears as though Apple has plans to create their own content.

The technology company has signed deals with big players in the industry including Steven Spielberg and M. Night Shyamalan, along with two renowned TV executives. Apple reportedly already has a $1 billion budget set aside to create original content like TV series and movies.

But the content has to be released somewhere to be seen. Previously, Apple released video series on its music subscription service but they did not perform well.

Will Apple give the content away for "free" or charge like Netflix or Hulu?

"Rich Greenfield, an analyst for BTIG, believes Apple will give its $1 billion in programming away for free," writes "CNET.""If you own an Apple device, Greenfield anticipates Apple will provide free access to all these productions in the TV app on iOS or Apple TV. "Think of Apple's strategy along the lines of [Amazon's] Prime Video," he said in a September note."

Greenfield thinks that Apple will get viewers hooked with its original programming and then collect a cut from other paid services like Starz or HBO.

Apple's CEO Tim Cook has alluded to launching the service and has ramped up his talk about TV lately, causing Greenfield to believe that Apple will launch it in mid-2019.

Read more about Apple potentially launching a TV service at "CNET."

Watch Out Netflix, Roku Expands to the Web

Roku, a platform for streaming movies from various apps, is expanding with a free web channel. 

Roku devices are similar to Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, or an Apple TV, all fo which are devices where users can stream TV shows or movies to their televisions using popular apps like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and more. 

“Roku launched this channel on hardware running Roku OS in October 2017 as a first step in offering content of its own after years of positioning itself as a neutral platform through which Amazon, Netflix, and others could offer their content,” writes “Ars Technica.” Roku licensed mostly movies that are more than 10 years old from studios like Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures, and the library still has that character for today's Web portal launch: the top-billed items on the homepage are currently the three Matrix films from 1999 and 2003.”

However, Roku’s library of content isn’t impressive compared to its competitors, but it’s price is. 

The Roku channel is free and users only have to watch ads during movies and TV shows. 

The interface is user-friendly and mimics that of Netflix’s functionality. Those who have the Roku device will notice the new “Feature Free” section now on the Roku home screen. The section will make it easy for users to find content. 

”Roku says the section "includes the latest in-season episodes, full past-season catch-ups, and more." This section could highlight content from The Roku Channel, but it will also include shows and films from third-party channels that offer some programming for free, like The CW, Freeform, Crackle, and ABC,” writes “Ars Technica.”

Roku saw 57 percent growth in the second fiscal quarter of this year compared to last year. During this quarter, 22 million accounts were added to the Roku database. 

Netflix actually invested $5.7 million in Roku, but then in 2009 sold its stake for a pretax gain of $1.7 million.

Should Netflix and Hulu now be concerned that a former partner is a competitor?

Read more about Roku’s new channel at “Ars Technica” now. 

33 Million Consumers are Cutting the Cable Cord This Year

33 Million Consumers are Cutting the Cable Cord This Year

As more streaming services like Netflix and Hulu continue to accumulate millions of subscribers, the more cable companies are losing more customers. 

According to a recent forecast by eMarketer, the number of consumers cutting the chord is only going to increase this year. 

Individuals canceling pay-TV service will spike by 32.8 percent to 33 million people this year. Previously, it was predicted that only 22 percent of households (27.1 million) would cut the chord this year. 

“Most of the major traditional TV providers (Charter, Comcast, Dish, etc.) now have some way to integrate with Netflix,” said Christopher Bendtsen, eMarketer senior forecasting analyst to "Forbes." “These partnerships are still in the early stages, so we don’t foresee them having a significant impact reducing churn this year. With more pay TV and OTT partnerships expected in the future, combined with other strategies, providers could eventually slow, but not stop, the losses.”

In 2018, only 186.7 million U.S. adults will watch payTV in 2018, which is a decrease of 3.8 percent from last year. 

As streaming services like Amazon Prime Video offer more original content, the more attractive they are to consumers. Why would they invest in cable when they are already investing in multiple platforms with original content not available anywhere else?