The State of Entertainment Video and Media 2014


2013 was a huge year for media and entertainment video. The major players have moved from simply purchasing content licenses from broadcasters and distributors to purchasing their own content in an effort to increase the perceived value of their services. Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon all have their own original series online with more in the works. YouTube has invested millions to get more premium content. In general, there appears to be a video entertainment migration going on. Millennials rarely watch live TV, instead opting for more of their video entertainment from digital sources through their smartphones and tablets. Some call the next generation “wireless,” which means they’ll never have a pay-TV subscription and get all of their content online.

Netflix: original content ended, next 4K

Netflix, which reaches 29% of American TV households, learned early on that to better compete in a market that was quickly becoming crowded with platforms, it had to separate itself from the rest. While Netflix still buys licenses of previously aired content – such as the deals that brought the BBC’s ‘Ripper Street,’ ‘Call the Midwife’ and ‘Top of the Lake’ as well as new PBS programming – 2013 was a year in which we saw Netflix go from being a simple licensee to a competitor for new first-run content.

He covered Kevin Spacey’s remake of “House of Cards” in the UK. “Lilyhammer”, with Sopranos star Steven Van Zandt, kicked off a second season in mid-December; cult favorite “Arrested Development” got a fourth season; and “Hemlock Grove,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “Bad Samaritans” saw their first seasons debut on the streaming service. Netflix also broke the “episode per week” tradition when it started offering full seasons all at once. Since Netflix users like to binge on an entire season in a week, why make them wait week after week for a new episode? With no ad slots to fill, Netflix realized it didn’t need to take 3 months on TV for the story to unfold; he could do it all at once and let his viewers watch at their own pace and on their own terms.

Later in 2013, Netflix also signed a deal with Marvel Entertainment, a Disney affiliate, for a five-show deal in 2014, including “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” “Iron Fist,” and ” The Defenders. In fact, Netflix has seven more new series in the works, many of which will appear in 2014. According to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, 4K streaming content will also be present in 2014.

Not content with delivering “Super HD” to all subscribers, Netflix continues to offer better quality streaming video content. While the market is small in terms of homes with 4K-capable TVs and displays, it is rapidly growing and Netflix will be there when the market is ready. It’s already doing 4K streaming tests and shooting “House of Cards” Season 2 in 4K, and Hastings has openly stated that a stable 15 Mbps downstream would be sufficient for 4K streaming. In 2012, Netflix expanded its streaming capabilities by creating Netflix Open Connect, which helps ISPs with the bandwidth load during prime time.

Netflix made waves with original content in 2013; 2014 will see House of Cards and other shows available in 4K for select subscribers.

He also realized that the path to the hearts of his users was through their connected devices – every one of them. Netflix has therefore strengthened its presence on game consoles such as the Xbox 360 (with voice control and Kinect) and the PlayStation 3, seriously started to make its mobile apps for Android and iOS the best and most useful experiences possible. , and adopted OTT boxes such as Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku as well as smart TVs. The company has realized that households share accounts and have started offering profiles for individuals on one account, and is actively curating content such as documentaries to deliver the best on each topic, not mediocre ones. unending.

Phew! 2013 has been a big year for Netflix, and this recap hasn’t even touched on some of the amazing tech things it does on a regular basis. We could probably write an article just on Netflix, but there is still a lot more to cover.

Hulu: $ 1 billion in revenue, 5 million Hulu Plus accounts

Since it was for sale not once but twice a year, one would think that the owners of Hulu – a partnership of FOX, NBCUniversal and ABC (Disney) – don’t know what to do with their ad-supported streaming video service. Perhaps they have not yet realized its ultimate potential. It’s the closest thing we have today to a Virtual Multi-Channel Video Programming Distributor (MVPD), and yet it’s far from a true virtual MVPD. Instead, it’s an odd mix of ad-supported video on demand (VOD) and subscription VOD (SVOD), although even subscription Hulu Plus comes with a pretty heavy ad load. It’s entirely possible that the current format is exactly what is keeping Hulu from really exploding in terms of growth.

Reports place Hulu Plus accounts at around 5 million, not even a fifth of what Netflix has, and the latter doesn’t offer current season TV at all. Maybe 2014 will be the year of Hulu’s sale, which seems unlikely. Perhaps due to the departure of former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, it’s more likely that Hulu will finally discover its own business model and make do. That’s not to say it doesn’t generate revenue, as it announced in mid-December that it would exceed $ 1 billion this year.

Perhaps the new CEO will be able to tie together the diverse interests of its owners and show them what the service could achieve while maintaining its revenue levels and other strategic business partnerships. It does appear that Hulu relies less and less on partner content and more on content partnerships, and original series, like its “The Wrong Mans” in co-production with the BBC, “Spoilers” with Kevin Smith, “The Impressionnants” , “Behind the Mask” and “The Stand at the End”.

2014 could be the year when Hulu finally finds out its business model and direction, but right now Hulu Plus accounts only make up around 5 million, a fraction of Netflix’s customer base.

Or things could go in a completely different direction. 2013 saw a long list of struggles between broadcasters and cable / satellite providers over retransmission fees. Maybe the Hulu partners have all learned from this and are working on a way to reach more people through their online portal while delivering new and original content. Could it be that they are preparing to start offering live TV through the service? This could weigh heavily on future negotiations on retransmission fees. They could easily say, “If you don’t like the fees, we can easily accommodate your customers without you. They might also be able to better price their content by removing it from pay TV and offering it directly to viewers. It would be a big step forward and could alienate millions of cable and satellite viewers, but it’s not out of the question.

Amazon: Challenge Netflix?

Where Netflix is ​​SVOD, Amazon enters the transactional VOD (TVOD) market by charging per purchase or rental, but it also offers an SVOD option with its Amazon prime, a major competitor of Netflix, not so much in terms of customer competition as of content licensing. Amazon Prime has also moved away from strictly licensing other people’s content to create its own exclusive and unique series.

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