While a great deal of TV programs are viewed live—especially premieres and season finales—40 percent of Gen Z and 38 percent of millennials who subscribe to cable or satellite say they have plans to cancel their service in favor of an online-only option. VOD fits more easily into the young cord cutter’s lifestyle, which is why more TV networks are making the move to OTT.
YouTube, already a major source of free entertainment, has taken its YouTube Red subscription idea even further with the launch of YouTubeTV. The OTT service offers access to the top four broadcast networks—ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS—and close to 35 of their affiliated cable channels, including ESPN, Disney Channel, MSNBC, National Geographic and Fox News. For $35 per month, viewers can watch live TV or record unlimited programs on a virtual DVR, but the service is not ad-free, and YouTube Red is not included (only YouTube Red Originals).
During the network’s Upfront presentation, CW discussed its shift from broadcast to being a multiplatform player.
“The CW lineup is better and broader than it’s ever been,” said CW president Mark Pedowitz. The network now offers on-demand viewing thanks to partnerships with Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and other digital platforms. Pedowitz said the company is taking a “360 degree” approach as it reaches a wider demographic. The average age of a CW TV viewer is 45, he said, while a digital user is 26.
Missed that episode of Game of Thrones all your friends are talking about, and don’t have an HBO subscription? Touting over two million domestic subscribers, HBO Now is available as a standalone service and does not require a television subscription to use—targeting cord cutters who use competing services such as Netflix and Hulu. Thanks to partnerships with Amazon, Microsoft Xbox, Samsung and PlayStation Vue, HBO Now is available to those without access to traditional cable or satellite subscriptions.
As networks make the move to OTT programming, the benefits are obvious but the challenges aren’t always easy to overcome. Measuring OTT viewership has been limited to secret, internal data and estimates from third-parties.
Just in time for Digital Content Newfronts, comScore has announced a new offering—ComScore OTT Intelligence—that sheds light on audience behavior across platforms. Measures include household reach, audience size and demographics, along with a variety of usage metrics, comScore said. In addition, data can be segmented for cord cutting and “cord never” homes, as well as those with a cable or satellite subscription.
“With very limited insight into viewing behavior across providers, the OTT market has largely been a black box,” Mike Rich, comScore’s vice president of emerging products, said in a statement. “As more TV viewers look beyond traditional content sources, it’s more important than ever for networks, content producers, device manufacturers and others in the ecosystem to understand this growing segment of cross-platform viewing.”