18 STREAMING MEDIA INDUSTRY SOURCEBOOK 2018
life in 2017. TVE is a system where pay TV customers
can access broadcaster content on-demand through
apps or websites by signing in with their account IDs.
It turns out all TVE needed to give it a little life was
a way for broadcasters to make money from it. Once
the major measurement services figured out how to
count streaming views—so that online views counted
the same as traditional views for ratings and advertising—broadcast and cable channels were suddenly
motivated to put more of their content online. Signing
in (called “authentication”) became easier this year
thanks to single sign-on solutions. Adobe, for example, debuted its single sign-on solution in June 2016,
and reported strong TVE growth at the end of 2017.
With catch-up programming just a few taps away on
their Roku or Apple TV, and signing in often not the
hassle it once was, viewers were all too happy to add
more apps to their living room viewing.
Even though streaming services provided more
than enough original programming to keep viewers entertained, content came from several other
directions in 2017. Some well-established companies decided that they really wanted to be Hollywood studios. Apple, for example, released original
shows like Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke,
then announced it August that it will invest $1 billion
in original programs. Facebook, well into its free-spending video transformation, created an app for
living room viewing, debuted its Watch tab, and
streamed shows created by partner companies. The
social network paid selected partners to create those
first original series, but said that was a one-time offer and creators would need to subsidize their own
content after that.
People in their teens and
20s are such a desirable market that several online services are targeted at them,
Viewers were willing to open their wallets in 2017
and create their own custom streaming solutions. The
promise of SVOD services was that people could save
money by cutting the cable cord and signing up for
the few targeted plans that offer what they enjoy. But
it didn’t feel like anyone was saving money in 2017. At
the end of the year, Brett Sappington, senior director
of research for Parks Associates, reported that 69 percent of U.S. households with broadband subscribed to
at least one over-the-top (OTT) service, and the number of homes with three or more services was increasing. Netflix, Amazon Video, and Hulu were the most
popular options, according to Parks. Meanwhile, the
measurement specialists at Nielsen reported that 12
percent of total viewing time is going to streaming services, and 48 percent of that chunk is spent with Netflix. Speaking at an Advertising Research Foundation
conference in October, Nielsen senior vice president
of product leadership Brian Fuhrer agreed about the
top three services, noting that Netflix is in 59% of U.S.
homes with an SVOD subscription, Amazon is in 31%,
and Hulu in 13%.
“The more options you can give consumers with a
better experience, the happier they’ll be,” Fuhrer said.
“Streaming is definitely no longer an edge case.”
Fuhrer also noted interesting gender differences in
what we’re watching: 62% of Hulu viewers are female,
he said, while 55% of You Tube viewers are male. Hulu’s
recent success with The Handmaid’s Tale may have
temporarily inflated its numbers with women, so it’s
not certain this will hold up over time. Fuhrer also
Netflix may not have commanded headlines in 2017 as it did in previous years, but it still churned out hit series and special programming,
setting the gold standard for SVOD services.