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? 

Smartphones Prove to be the Largest Screen Play of World Cup Coverage

It’s no surprise that the largest screen playing World Cup coverage is actually the smallest,  smartphones.

According to NBCUniversal, between 48-51 percent of its live digital viewers are consistently watching the games on their smartphones.

The broadcaster, which has the Spanish-language rights to air every game of the World Cup, also said that the remaining viewers alternate between TV and desktop streaming.

“What we’ve learned is that inside of our streaming numbers, we have two different groups: We have the mobile device group, which is using smartphones, and we have the other group, which is on connected TVs and desktops,” Peter Blacker, evp of digital media and emerging business for NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, said. “The mobile device group has stayed steady, no matter how much numbers have spiked from game to game.”

Telemundo reported that with a total of 48 matches, at the end of the World Cup group stage reached live streaming coverage of 10.7 million unique viewers, 105.3 million total live streams and more than 1.6 billion total minutes watched.

With high numbers of views, the average digital coverage on Telemundo was about 2 million live streams per match.

Reaching peak concurrent live streams was this past Wednesday’s match between Mexico and Sweden. This was the second time any NBC Sports broadcast has ever hit that mark.

“With [the mobile device] group, I would have thought that come the weekends, they might have put the phone down and switched to connected TVs, but they remain die-hard,” Blacker said. “This is different from the Olympics [which Telemundo parent NBCUniversal broadcasts], where there was a much greater variety of folks swimming back and forth.”

The World Cup viewership provides a way to show marketers the consumption habits of U.S Hispanic audiences and that they are digitally savvy.

Read more information about  digital views of World Cup at “DigiDay.”


How to Make the Most Out of Your Company's Video Marketing

According to Animoto, 4x as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product or service rather than read about it. 

In the last 10 years, video has become consumers' favorite way to ingest content. So it's safe to assume, that video should be playing a central role in your marketing campaigns. 

Before creating your video content, it's important to understand how your target customer will find it. 

Most likely, the video will be found via a social network, Google, or Youtube. 

If you aren't leveraging Youtube. Here's why you should be. 

Youtube is owned by Google, so this SEO connection gives your video a higher ranking on the Google search engine. Ultimately, this leads to more views and better SEO rankings

According to Hubspot, "48% of marketers plan to add YouTube to their content strategy in the next year."

YouTube has quickly become people's go-to source for information. 

"YouTube, with 1.5 billion logged-in users per month, isn’t just a repository of cat videos and viral memes. It’s a go-to resource for answers to questions, with viewers watching an aggregate of 1 billion hours of YouTube a day. In fact, a Cisco study projects that video will represent 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2021," writes "Forbes."

So you're ready to create a video, but you aren't sure what to highlight. 

In a video, it's much easier to explain and show your product. 

"Showing your product in action can impact whether a customer buys it or moves on to another corner of the web. Video can be an effective way to show how easy your product is to set up or install, for instance," writes "Forbes."

Also, don't forget the little details that make a difference.

"Optimize each video listing by including a clear call to action, writing a concise video description and creating a video thumbnail that encapsulates your content," writes "Forbes." 

Read more tips on how to kick-start your video marketing program at "Forbes."



What Quality Over Quantity Means When it Comes to Digital Marketing

What Quality Over Quantity Means When it Comes to Digital Marketing

The digital world is so fast moving that each brand is trying to stay ahead of the game to catch the attention of the ever so restless consumer. This often means a consumer see thousands of ads a day. 

While having these touchpoints should be part of your marketing strategy, a smart marketer realizes that quality trumps quantity. 

Consumers only remember a few of these ads a day. With that in mind, content marketing like podcasts and videos are key in this ad-saturated world. But it should be compelling, tells a story that connects with your customers, while also entertaining and educating them about your brand, product, or service. 

"Forbes" has outlined some other tips to keep in mind when creating content marketing. 

Don't overload your customer with too much content 

"Don’t annoy your audience with too much content. Be the brand that offers a laugh or meets a need by gracefully slipping into the fold, communicating to the consumer, “We’re here, and look at this cool thing you didn’t know.” Don’t content bomb. Don’t speak at or down to your consumer. Create a conversation," writes "Forbes."

Ramp up Your Content Marketing Strategy with Podcasting

Ramp up Your Content Marketing Strategy with Podcasting

While video remains a content marketer's secret weapon, podcasting has emerged as an additional marketing tool in your arsenal. 

As more on-the-go consumers are shifting to mobile and away from desktops, audio programs continue to grow in popularity. 

Statista predicts that there will be over 100 million podcast listeners by 2021 and currently, 24% of Americans over the age of 12 listen to podcasts. 

Besides being a format more and more consumers are gravitating to, search engines are changing algorithms to give mobile priority, meaning companies focusing on content marketing strategies for mobile will get more visibility. 

Why most publishers made a bad move with Facebook

Facebook’s news-feed change is likely to cut into the money publishers can make from producing and distributing custom branded and sponsored editorial videos on the platform, their top source of revenue on Facebook.

With exception of those publishers that actually have custom audiences to target, a publisher has spent the last 10 years indexing the audience of Facebook and other social media platforms– they have out smarted the big blue demon.

The other alternative for publishers is to develop their own distributed media platform with video, podcasts, and content that only their audience gains access to, this is where niche media is now the 800 lb. gorilla in the room. 

With highly targeted audiences and content that is super valuable, Facebook looses the connection to these consumers and business people and puts search for relevant content back in the hands of the niche publisher. 

Top Facebook publishers can nab a 50-70 percent margin on custom branded videos they distribute on Facebook after paying for production and paid media, according to four publishing sources, including three executives from publishers with at least a billion monthly views on Facebook.

With Facebook counting views at 3 seconds, the cost per view has been incredibly low — “less than a penny,” one source said — which means top publishers can scoop up plenty of ad dollars based on their organic reach on Facebook.

There was even more money to be made from sponsorships of editorial videos that publishers already had on their schedule and required no additional production dollars — “essentially free money,” said one exec, who is top Facebook publisher. And it helped that the typical, made-for-Facebook news-feed videos — short, silent, text-on-screen autoplay clips — are cheap to churn out.

HULU Growth is breaking video on demand records

Hulu has announced that its subscriber base surpassed 17 million customers in 2017.

The streaming company last revealed its subscriber numbers in May 2016, when it reported a following of 12 million paying customers. That’s up 40% over the last year and a half.

Additionally, the company announced that its total audience grew to 54 million total unique viewers, up from 47 million in May 2017.

Its increased rate of growth can be attributed to Hulu’s growing catalogue of licensed and award-winning original content.

In 2017, the streaming service expanded its content library to over 75,000 episodes of television across 1700 titles – more than twice the number of episodes available on any of the other leading streaming services, according to Hulu Internal Data and Ampere Analysis.

Marvel Entertainment Joins the Podcast Playground, More 2018 Podcast Predictions

Marvel Entertainment Joins the Podcast Playground, More 2018 Podcast Predictions

As more on-the-go consumers are shifting to mobile and away from their desktops, podcasts are only continuing to grow in popularity.

Not to mention, voice-activated devices like the Amazon Alexa will only add fuel to fire to when it comes to the audio-on-demand world. These devices make it easier to listen to this type of content.

With that being said, more content creators are investing in this audio space. 

Marvel Entertainment released a fiction series "Wolverine: The Long Night" earlier this year.

Podcasts like Marvel's Wolverine offer fans additional entertainment that compliments other similar content like a popular film or TV show.

"Disney subsidiary Marvel will lead the charge in early 2018, bringing Wolverine to podcasts with "The Long Night." Expect to see more blockbuster franchises diving into the podcast pool with a wave of scripted fiction," writes "Adage."For Hollywood, the medium provides the perfect storytelling platform to build hype in the lead-up to a film's release. Equally, it allows documentary film and TV shows to release long-form interviews from footage that hit the cutting room floor due to time restrictions. We'll also see subplot storylines told via podcasts, syncing up with weekly TV drama releases."