03/01/17: YouTube unveils upcoming TV service


Good morning. It’s Wednesday March 1, 2017 and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


Online Data Providers: Online data providers are third party companies that help advertisers and ad agencies identify target consumers and their behaviors. There are a wide variety of data providers, with many specializing in specific types of data, ranging from financial data to demographic and psychographic data.


YouTube may be the world’s undisputed online video giant, but it’s about to dive into a different space: television. The Google-owned company has unveiled YouTube TV, its upcoming online TV service. The announcement came at the L.A. YouTube Space, and was simulcast to YouTube offices in San Francisco, San Bruno and New York. The service, which is slated to launch in the next few months, will feature over 40 TV networks, situated on a single platform alongside personalized YouTube video recommendations and programming from the YouTube Red streaming service. The company was quick to point out that the service will work closely with local TV stations to bring local content to viewers. YouTube TV will cost $35 per month. It’ll come equipped with a cloud-based DVR that allows users to record unlimited content, and watch anywhere on any type of screen. A single subscription will offer six separate accounts, each with its own personalized recommendations. Notably, some major companies – including Viacom and Scripps – are absent on the platform, at least at launch.
Cynopsis Digital asked YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl whether YouTube has plans to grow the number of YouTube TV networks – and whether that would mean raising the $35 subscription price. Kyncl was extremely tight-lipped, saying only that YouTube is continually in contact with partners and that there was no plan to change the price. YouTube TV is perhaps YouTube’s most aggressive move yet to peel away TV ad dollars. The company confirmed that both YouTube and its content partners will sell ads on the platform, at least to start, but said that the details might evolve over time. The OTT-based live-TV space is suddenly a very crowded one, with players such as Dish Network, Sony, and AT&T having leapt into the fray. Hulu and the sports-centric fuboTV are following soon. Suffice to say, Google has a lot of competition; time will tell how YouTube TV fares.
One other announcement from YouTube: The video giant says that global users are now consuming about a billion hours worth of daily video content on the site. Though the news was only just shared, YouTube says it actually reached the milestone last year. The Wall Street Journal reports that this represents a tenfold increase since 2012. The biggest driver of viewership growth, according to a former Google manager who spoke to the Journal: Revamped algorithms that personalized video recommendations for users. The Journal says that YouTube’s global viewership is now on pace to surpass U.S. TV viewership, based on Nielsen’s estimate that Americans consume 1.25 billion hours of TV daily.


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Looks like Microsoft is about to roll out a new Netflix-style subscription service. The twist: It’s for video games. Called Xbox Game Pass, the service is slated to roll out this spring. It’ll be priced at $10 per month. To start, it’ll feature unlimited access to over 100 game titles. Those titles will include Halo 5: Guardians from Microsoft’s 343 Industries, 2K’s NBA 2K16, 505 GamesPayday 2, and others. The service will be fairly similar to Sony’s PlayStation Now service, which charge $20 per month for access to 450 titles. The difference is that the games on the latter service are all somewhat older  – they were made for the PS3 console. Like Netflix and other services, Xbox Game Pass will offer a rotating selection of new content.


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Streaming device-maker Roku pulled in close to $400 million in revenue in 2016, the company announced. Notably, not all of that money came from hardware sales. The company says its media and licensing business, including its ad sales efforts, accounted for about $100 million in revenue. The company was also quick to point out some other metrics: For one, it now has more than 13.4 million active accounts. And the company says that those users streamed over a billion hours worth of video and music in the month of December alone. In all of 2016, the company saw about 9 billion hours of streaming activity. The number was 5.5 billion hours for 2015, the company has previously said. While Roku didn’t report its 2015 revenue, Wall Street estimates sat at about $275 million – $300 million. 


Tweet of the week: @Onuora: OMG! Oscars wow! Moonlight! WOW
Canvs, the language analytics company that measures emotions around content, analyzed tweets about TV and streaming programming from Feb. 21-27 using Twitter data from Nielsen. Insights from the 3,641,538 tweets expressing a specific Emotional Reaction (ER) include:
– 37.3% of viewers who said something on TV was crazy were watching (you guessed it) The Oscars on ABC.
– 13.0% of people who said something on TV made them cry were tuned into NBC’s tear-jerker This Is Us.
– 4.1% of people who said what they were watching on TV made them laugh were catching Love & Hip Hop on VH1.
– 60.6% of people who said what they were watching on TV was beautiful were watching (you guessed right again) The Oscars.
The ListenFirst Television Interest (TVI) Rating (TM) is a standardized measurement of the most buzzed-about TV programs on linear TV and streaming services. A complement to ListenFirst’s other syndicated data products (such as the ListenFirst Digital Audience Rating – TV), the metrics included in the rating capture organic actions that are largely unaffected by paid media. Programs that surface on the TVI leaderboards are the most hashtagged on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Tumblr, as well as most searched for on Wikipedia (used as a proxy for organic search volume).
Streaming Series (2/20/17 – 2/26/17)

Source: ListenFirst. The TVI Rating aggregates metrics that measure organically generated activity by fans of the TV show. The metric includes total volume of official hashtag mentions on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Tumblr, along with Wikipedia page views (as a proxy for organic search volume) for a show as a percentage of the total volume of the same activities for all shows.


When Daredevil – a series about a blind superhero – first premiered on Netflix in 2015, some people expressed disappointment that the series hadn’t come equipped with a certain feature designed to help visually impaired viewers take in the series. Netflix made said feature available to Daredevil viewers shortly thereafter, and has since added it as an option for a ton of other content. What’s the feature in question? (Email trivia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)
Our Last Trivia Question: Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’ isn’t Kevin Spacey’s first foray into politics-heavy entertainment. He played real-life political operative Ron Klain in which HBO movie? Answer: Recount. Kudos to Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, Mike Ciraldo-Scene Stealerz, Steve Lanzano-TVB, Susan Nessanbaum- Goldberg-Whose Line Is It Anyway?/Angst Productions/CA, Faye Kulik-Fox Networks Group/NY, Matthew Vogrin-PBS/VA, Alejandro Sacasa-Albavision/FL, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, Tim Conrod-ESPN/CT, Lorrie Shilling/CA, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/CA, Aaron Paquette-Maru/Matchbox/TX, Andrew Bellamy-Producers Guild of America/NY, Tom Hebel-News Channel 8 WFLA/FL, and Anjali Desai-Departure Films/NY


Social Good Awards Breakfast
Tomorrow, March 2, 2017 – 8:15-10:30 a.m. | Yale Club NYC

We’ll be celebrating social responsibility in the TV & entertainment industry at the third annual awards breakfast. It’s not too late to join us, but space is limited so sign your team up today!



Five Came Back, Netflix’s upcoming World War 2 docu-series, debuts on March 31. Some Hollywood giants, including Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo Del Toro, Paul Greengrass, and Lawrence Kasdan, feature as interview subjects. You can check out the trailer here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich

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