Weekly News Round Up: Nielsen & TV Networks Battle Over Ratings, US to reach 450m SVOD subscribers.

Nick Adams
Updated on 23/09/2022
Nielsen’s National Ratings Accreditation Suspended by Media Rating Council

The suspension is the latest salvo in a months-long joust between TV networks and the company that has long tabulated its viewership, and is the latest sign of the desperate needs of the TV industry to find a new yardstick as its audiences light out for new digital territory.

Sean Cunningham, CEO of the VAB, an industry organization that represents the TV networks to Madison Avenue: “Advertisers should expect to see more innovation in the next three years in video measurement and currency than what was achieved in the last 30 years, time has officially expired on friction and frustration.” Both the TV networks and Nielsen are grappling with an increasingly complex issue: how to measure TV viewers who no longer rely on watching TV shows in traditional fashion? As more consumers migrate from linear TV experiences to on-demand binge sessions with their favorite streaming outlet, tracking them has become a tougher task.

Advertisers are considering different barometers of success as well. Nielsen’s main strength lies in determining how big the audience was for a particular commercial or show. But as crowds for media splinter around a dizzying array of new behaviours, size matter less. A new coterie of digitally-savvy marketers has expanded in recent years, and the group is interested in isolating their most likely customers and counting how many visits they make to a website or showroom, or how many movie tickets they purchase.


Nielsen, TV Networks Battle Over Ratings — And Few May Win

“Classically delivered linear and live television is Nielsen’s bread and butter, and there isn’t any real challenge to that in term of their capabilities. But the major elephant in the room is that the vast majority of viewer behavior is fractionalizing into multiple environments that are neither linear nor live,” says Tim Hanlon of The Vertere Group, a consultancy that works with media and advertising companies. “This only speaks to the crucial need everyone has to find alternate or at least supplemental data to prove who is watching...Marketers are demanding stuff like attribution and outcomes and return on investment and butts in seats,” says Hanlon. “Nielsen, frankly, is almost an impediment.”


Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu Comprised 78% of U.S. SVOD Households in 2020

New research from Leichtman Research found that 78% of domestic households subscribe to either Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and/or Hulu — up from 74% in 2019, and 59% in 2016.

Other survey findings include that 41% of all adults stream either Netflix, Prime Video and Hulu service daily — compared with 40% in 2020, 33% in 2019, and 24% in 2016. Moviegoers aged 18-34 account for 41% of adults using SVOD daily, and the age group accounts for 67% of adults using SVOD daily.

When factoring in additional streaming video services such as Disney+, HBO Max, Paramount+, Peacock and Discovery+, 82% of all households have at least one SVOD, and 53% have three or more services. The mean number of SVOD services among all households is 3.1 — compared with 2.9 in 2020.

“While the breadth of households with a major SVOD service is similar to last year, those with multiple top SVOD services continued to expand,” Leichtman said. “Including 11 additional streaming video services, 27% of households now report having five or more SVOD or DTC services.”


US to reach 450m SVOD subs

Gross SVOD subscriptions – for movies, linear channels and TV episodes, though excluding other platforms such as sport – in the US will climb by 33% from 338 million at the end of this year to 450 million in 2026. According to the latest report from Digital TV Research, about 87%, or 106 million, of TV households will subscribe to at least one SVOD platform by 2026. This compares to 82%, or 99 million, of TV households subscribing to at least one SVOD platform at the end of this year.

The average SVOD household will pay for 4.26 SVOD platforms by 2026, compared to 3.42 SVOD platforms at end of this year. Therefore, the average SVOD home will add nearly one paid-for subscription between 2021 and 2026.


Latin America to reach 131m SVOD subs

Latin America will have 131 million SVOD subscriptions by 2026, up from 76 million at the end of this year. According to the latest report by Digital TV Research, Brazil will remain the market leader, with 49 million subscriptions by 2026, and Mexico will account for another 32 million.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “Five US-based platforms [Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+ and HBO] will account for 91% of the region’s paying SVOD subscriptions by end-2026”. Long-established Netflix will continue to lead the market, but its market share will fall. Disney+ will have 33 million subscribers by 2026, with HBO Max boasting another 10 million.


Arabic SVOD subs to reach 15m

The number of SVOD subscriptions in 13 Arabic countries is set to rise from 8.61 million this year to 15 million by 2026. According to the latest report by Digital TV Research, Netflix will bring in more subscribers than second placed OSN and third-placed StarzPlay combined. (Disney+ will not start in the Arabic countries due to its deal with OSN).

Commenting on the findings of the report, Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “Although overall subscriber numbers will climb impressively, there are just too many Arabic platforms. We do not believe that the market can sustain this many Arabic platforms as few of them offer much original or exclusive content”.


Disney+ bolsters commitment to European production

Jan Koeppen, Disney+’s president for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), has strengthened the streaming platform’s commitment to European production, during a keynote address at Series Mania today (August 31). He revealed Disney+ is on track to produce 60 European original series by 2024, more than the previously announced target of 50 by 2024…Koeppen said: “There’s never been a more exciting time to be in European production - the opportunities are boundless” and reiterated the company’s intent to “showcase local content to global audiences...Local content accounts for 77% of all TV viewing in Europe, so there is certainly no lack of appetite for European content,” Koeppen said.

“We’re clearly not the only ones leaning into European content,” he added. “European content production as a whole has ramped up to unprecedented levels. In 2020, there were a staggering 50% more European TV commissions than in the year prior. These commissions are accompanied by higher budgets, for high quality content, and I would call this a real bonanza for the European creative community.”


Warner Bros Sets 45-Day Window In Asia

Upcoming titles from Warner Bros released in Asia will be available on HBO Go 45 days after their theatrical bow, the studio announced today. The territories covered include Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

“This new windowing strategy is great news for fans that haven’t been able to catch our movies in cinemas. With the addition of the latest Warner Bros. movie slate, HBO GO continues its reputation as the region’s exclusive streaming home for the very biggest and best from the world of entertainment,” said Amit Malhotra, Managing Director for HBO Max / HBO GO in Southeast Asia and India.


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