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Cable TV

Video on Demand is Changing the Way We Watch TV, and That’s Good for Everybody

1Sometimes, playing catch up isn’t a bad thing.

Video on demand (VOD), a long-time content consumption afterthought, is now promoted by TV networks, embraced by advertisers, a focus for cable service providers, and used frequently by consumers.

Matt Strauss, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Video Services for Comcast Cable, has been working in the VOD space for a long time and in a phone interview last week with Lost Remote, pinpointed the service’s recent growth to four things:

First is predictability. Historically, consumers would not know which shows were available, how many episodes there would be, or when the content would be loaded after it premiered. Now, the top 100 Nielsen-rated shows are typically made available on Comcast’s VOD platform hours after they first air on linear TV.

Second is ad serving. Programmers now have the ability to swap out ads on VOD just as they have been doing online.

Third is measurement. C3 viewing (Nielsen’s metric for commercial viewing which includes day of broadcast plus three days) has historically only included live viewing and DVR viewing, but now includes VOD.

Fourth is audience. 70% of Comcast subscribers now use VOD services, with a 100% increase in time spent viewing TV content on VOD in the past three years.

More than anything else, predictability has set VOD in motion. An extensive and current content library has allowed consumers to discover shows and to catch up on them, which in turn leads to a return to live TV. Until recently, viewers who missed the boat on a show had to wait until a season ended to catch up on Netflix. Before that, it was via DVD box sets.

Comcast releases a weekly list of the top 20 most viewed shows on its VOD platform. Sometimes the list mirrors the Nielsen ratings, but sometimes it doesn’t.  The implications of this to networks and to advertisers cannot be overstated: audiences are now expanding in season rather than after the season. And whether this results in live TV viewing or in plus-three viewing, more ads are being seen within an important window.

“We’re finding that through on demand we’re seeing an increase in commercial viewing,” Strauss said. “On average we’re seeing about a 20% increase in commercial viewing during the C3 window in Comcast households and that’s even higher than 20% when we look at series that are stacked with a full season. It’s an interesting footnote because I think that there’s a lot of misperceptions around how on demand is viewed and used and I think binge viewing has been miscast, with respect to what we’re finding, in how customers are truly looking to enjoy the video.” Read more

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How ‘The Walking Dead’ Fans Reacted on Twitter to the Season 5 Premiere

Comic-Con Trailer: The Walking Dead: Season 5 (Screengrab)Not many shows can unseat ‘Scandal’ from the social TV throne, but ‘The Walking Dead’ did just that last week. AMC’s hit show topped Nielsen’s Twitter TV Ratings chart last week, winning all four major categories easily.

According to our analytics partner Canvs, which measures Twitter sentiment, 354,675 of 1,320,056 tweets about the premiere were emotional reactions. 34% of the emotional reactions included the word “amazing” and 21% included “funny.” The premiere drove the most emotional reactions 20 minutes in, when Carol blew up a gas tank. Below, some more insights from Canvs on what drove the Twitter conversation, followed by an infographic:

  • Right at 9:00 when fans were “excited” for the new season. This five minute period is when the highest spike in tweets, though not reactions, occurred.
  • “Crazy” spiked from 9:05-9:10 during the brutal murders at Terminus.
  • People expressed “hate” when the Terminus guy threatened baby Judith from 9:40-9:45.
  • Both “happy” and “cried” spiked when Daryl and Carol were reunited from 9:50-9:55.
  • People expressed “Love” when Mary from Terminus got eaten by zombies from 10:10-10:15.

CBS Launches Subscription Streaming Service, ‘All Access’ Today

cbs all accessYesterday, pigs finally flew and HBO announced that it was going to offer a standalone streaming service in 2015. Today, CBS announced a similar service called All Access, available for $5.99 a month. At the time of launch, consumers in fourteen cities will have live access to their local CBS station. So you can stream the news and “The Good Wife” as they air.

It’s like Christmas in October.

Ok, well not for sports fans. You won’t be able to stream Thursday Night Football, or any NFL content for that matter. And though there are thousands of episodes available of vintage CBS — like “Twin Peaks,” and “Star Trek” — you can’t watch old seasons of “The Big Bang Theory,” which is OK because haven’t you seen them all already?

Read more

Peters and Twisty the Clown Drive ‘American Horror Story’ Tweets During Premiere

American-Horror-Story-Freak-Show‘American Horror Stories: Freak Show‘ premiered last Wednesday to series-high linear ratings (more than 6 million people tuned in) and a huge social outpouring.

According to our analytics partner Canvs, which measures Twitter sentiment, 284,801 of 1,095,074 tweets about the premiere were emotional reactions. 29% of the emotional reactions included the word “love” and 17% included “excited.” The premiere drove the most emotional reactions 20 minutes in, when Twisty the Clown brutally attacked a young couple.

Below, some more insights from Canvs on what drove the Twitter conversation, followed by an infographic:

Here are some other insights on this massive million+ tweet premiere:

  • Evan Peters was the second most mentioned topic during the premiere, behind only the show’s title. Peters was mentioned in nearly 14% of tweets with reactions.
    • 40% of reactions to Peters expressed “love.”
    • 25% of reactions to Peters expressed “attractive.”
  • Peters has gotten more popular in the last year: he was only mentioned in 6% of tweets with reactions during season three’s premiere.
  • The creepy clown was mentioned in 22,896 reactions during the premiere. This accounts for about 8% of reactions. 44% of “clown” reactions to the clown said some form of “afraid.”
  • Fans really loved the show’s new intro sequence. In the five minutes surrounding the opening, there were more than 14.5k tweets, 29% of which expressed “love.”

Read more

Oxygen Rebranding Includes New Tagline and Digital Initiatives

oxygen_logo_very_realTo coincide with its rebranding today, Oxygen is introducing a number of new digital initiatives. The most exciting of them is the roll out of Play Live technology (featured prominently on sister channel Bravo’s ‘The Singles Project’) across a number of upcoming series. Play Live will allow fans to interact with the live broadcast in real time. The first show to incorporate Play Live is ‘Nail’d It,’ which premieres tonight and will display questions for fans to answer at http://www.oxygen.com/playlive. Answers are displayed on TV through sliding scales that update in real-time.

The network is the #4 most social primetime cable reality network in 2014, and of the top 10 most social cable reality networks, Oxygen viewers have the largest number of followers. Engaging viewers through Play Live and the redesigned Oxygen.com will be key to the network’s continued success.

“Layering meaningful multiplatform experiences into our shows has become a vital part of Oxygen programming – we encourage our fans to engage with us and have access to show experiences beyond the ‘first’ screen,” said Lisa Hsia, EVP of digital, Oxygen and Bravo Media.  “Rolling out Play Live for the network in tandem with our rebrand is the next step in bringing Oxygen viewers into the fold, giving them a platform to share their perspectives as they watch in real time.” Read more

From The New York Times Wedding Section, a Marriage That Started With Social TV

Sue Kessler/Christian Oth Studio

Sue Kessler/Christian Oth Studio

Michelle Katharine Barna and Joanna Ruth Stern were married last Sunday evening, thanks to Barna stumbling upon Stern’s tweets about the series finale of “The L Word.”

Barna is the director of social media at Deep Focus, an agency that has conceived many great social TV programs, while Stern is a personal technology columnist at the ‘Wall Street Journal.’ Forget about proving a positive correlation between tweet activity and ratings when we now know it can lead to true love!

From ‘The Times‘: Read more

‘Sons of Anarchy’ Return Dominates Twitter [Spoiler Alert!]

SOA-logoThe Season 7 premiere of ‘Sons of Anarchy’ aired on Tuesday and was cable’s highest-rated show, and was at the top of Nielsen’s daily Twitter TV ratings.

According to our analytics partner Canvs, which measures Twitter sentiment, 62,254 of the 214,777 tweets about the show were emotional reactions. If you haven’t watched yet (time-shifting or not, how could you not have?), don’t read any further. But if you were tweeting along with the premiere, see below for some more insights from Canvs on what drove the Twitter conversation, followed by an infographic: Read more

Playing Along With ‘Project Runway’

projetrunway_klumgunnSocial television and casual gaming are having a moment. It makes sense: people like talking about television on social media and people really like playing games. Why not do both?

This fall Bravo’spioneering the social TV-gaming area with “The Singles Project,” a reality show that is an interactive game (and might get you a date), and just this week we wrote about an app to make a game out of watching NFL games.

Lifetime’s getting in on the fun, too, with “Project Runway.” Every Thursday, viewers are instructed to go to mylifetime.com to play along live. They prompt you to get ready, and then ask questions like “Is Fade About To Lose It?” (answer: yes), or “Is Emily’s Look Too Boring?” (maybe). projectrunwayscreenshot1

The catch? Once you’re there playing along whether you want to or not, you’ve entered the deep, deep world of “Project Runway.” Get the weekly newsletter, answer trivia about past seasons, shop the designer’s clothes, and tweet, tweet, tweet about your experience there.

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Twitter Users ‘Love’ the Suits Midseason Finale

SUITS -- "No Way Out" Episode 316 -- Pictured: Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter -- (Photo by: Ian Watson/USA Network)The Suits midseason finale aired on Wednesday, and fans went wild. According to our analytics partner, Canvs, which measures Twitter sentiment for shows, the emotions “love,” “good,” “crazy,” “upset,” and “intense” all peaked during the five minutes following the show’s last scene (10:00-10:05). A big cliffhanger still has fans talking, and a plot-line involving Louis Litt, Pearson Specter’s most obnoxiously brilliant lawyer, will keep fans engaged on social during the hiatus.

Here are some other insights from Canvs followed by an infographic:

  • Louis had the most reactions of any character on the show. He was mentioned in 10.2% of all reactions. He was mentioned even more than the shows title, “Suits,” which was only mentioned in 9.8% of reactions.
  • The show’s cliffhanger got fans tweeting up a storm. There were 492 reactions out of 1,617 tweets in the five minutes after the show ended (10:00-10:05). This was higher by far than any peak during the show’s airtime.

Read more

‘Shark Week,’ Social TV’s #KingOfSummer, Set to Take Its Biggest Bite Yet

Shark Week
Cue the ‘Jaws’ soundtrack: the 27th year of ’Shark Week‘ is upon us and primed to take its biggest social bite yet.

Last year, ‘Shark Week’ was Discovery‘s most social event to date, generating more than 10 million Facebook interactions throughout the week. This year, the network will utilize Spredfast to incorporate Facebook Trending Topics, Hashtag Polling and live Instagram posts during broadcasts. Throughout the week, fans will also be able to see their Facebook posts featured live on air throughout the 26 hours of programming.

“We’re taking ‘Shark Week’ to a new level this year – complementing the incredible on-air lineup with more social integrations and more live online events than ever before,” said Conal Byrne, Vice President of Digital Media at Discovery Communications. ”From streaming Discovery’s FinFest celebration at the start of the week to Facebook fans deciding the best ‘Shark Week’ moments of all time at the end of the week, ‘Shark Week’ 2014 is a non-stop, fan-focused extravaganza.”

Fans can consume all things ‘Shark Week’ at SharkWeek.com and through in-person, digital, and social integrations. Here are the details from Discovery: Read more

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