2017 is coming to a close, which means last-minute shopping, New Year's resolutions, and reflecting on what was truly a benchmark year for connected TV. After doing our homework, we went ahead and aggregated the top five moments for OTT in 2017. Check it out:
1. Award show sweep
Just a few years ago, the idea that a streaming service could win anything at the Emmy Awards was insane. Then Netflix entered the arena with hits like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, and the game was changed forever.
This year, our third-party providers stole the show, with HBO taking 29 wins at the Emmys, Netflix coming in second with 20 wins, Hulu winning eight, and Amazon scoring two. "The Handmaid's Tale", "Big Little Lies" and "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week" were definitely some of the most talked about programs of the year, and for good reason!
So, what does this mean? 2017 showed us that we're in store for a lot more amazing, binge-worthy content. The future of original programming is looking bright.
2. The Super Bowl breaks online viewing records
2017's Super Bowl proved two things: 1) People want televised content on multiple platforms and from distinct access points and 2) We are now in a place technologically where we can provide this kind of service effortlessly and effectively.
The Big Game marked a big moment in streaming – the ability to watch without broadcast servers, thanks to FOX. Previously, the Super Bowl had been available to online-TV packages, but 2017 marked the first year in history where you didn't need a cable subscription to stream and watch the game.
According to Nielsen, Super Bowl LI was seen by 113.7 million viewers, including the Fox telecast and 1.7 million streaming viewers, plus an additional 650,000 from Fox Deportes, the Spanish-language simulcast. Talk about connected TV!
Mobile users weren't forgotten either, as long as they were a Verizon Wireless customer. Verizon was granted exclusive, mobile-streaming rights to the game. What's more, approximately 70% of watch time attributed to the infamous Super Bowl commercials came via mobile devices, with Anheuser-Busch ads taking the top two spots overall.
3. Apple's move into TV
What doesn't this tech giant do? From self-driving cars to self-made stars, Apple has really been making some key moves this year. After months of trailing a move into original TV content, Apple pushed play on its first episode of Planet of the Apps, which can now be watched online via iTunes if you're an Apple Music subscriber. Apple's four judges for Planet of the Apps are: Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, Will.i.am and Gary Vaynerchuk, along with in-house host Zane Lowe. Looks like the next big screen is the second screen.
But Apple didn't stop there; they also bought the worldwide rights to Carpool Karaoke in 2016. The viral video sensation is one of many programs that transformed from a social media platform to a more traditional viewing space. Ever heard of a little show called "Broad City"? However, what sets this particular deal apart is that Apple is not a network, at least not yet.
4. Disney leaves Netflix and buys Fox
Localization is a trend bigger than advertising it seems. Celebrities are now introducing their own apps, and production houses are moving off of third-party providers, and into their own streaming platforms. Disney, for example, is now creating its own service, effectively cutting ties with Netflix.
Netflix may still get to keep Star Wars and Marvel, however. But movies branded Disney or Pixar will be segmented solely to Disney's service, and be dropped from Netflix’s exclusive deal in 2019.
Disney also recently passed a deal with Fox, reflecting the company's move toward creating richer, more diverse entertainment experiences. Disney now basically controls 60% of Hulu, giving them more control over their distribution in both traditional and connected OTT channels.
This is just the beginning for Disney as it continues to forge direct relationships with its consumers.
5. The year of OTT and mobile first
This year was all about OTT. Cord-cutting is at an all time high and cord-nevers is becoming increasingly common. This translated into a huge shift in ad consumption as well. Viewers completed 97% of mid-roll ads in full-episode content and 92% in live streams. Entertainment content accounted for 93% of full-episode ad views, while sports drove 73% of live streaming ad views.
More importantly, digital audiences are highly engaged, with about a 98% ad completion rate as of earlier this year. Premium ad views grew 17% in a year due to live and full-episode monetization opportunities, and the growth of multichannel video programming distributors, or MVPDs, and direct-to-consumer offerings.
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