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Cordcutter News Brief - Hulu drops price, CBS All Access sets subscriber growth record, YouTube TV in 95 more US markets, Viacom buys Pluto TV, and more

January 25, 2019 - 15:54 -- RokuGuide

Cordcutter News BriefsIn this week's collection of recent cord-cutting news items from around the web: Hulu drops price after Netflix's price hikes, Sling TV readies for an SVOD onslaught, CBS All Access sets new subscriber growth record, YouTube TV now covers 98% of US households, Netflix thinks 'Fortnite' is bigger competitor than other streaming services, Cheddar Now is on all US OTT streaming services, Viacom buys Pluto TV streaming service, and more!

Hulu drops to just $5.99 per month after Netflix's price hikes

Hulu is dropping the subscription price of its basic ad-supported plan by $2.00 per month, effective February 26. "Hulu has offered its service at $5.99 previously on a promotional basis," says TheVerge, "and it clearly makes enough of a difference at pulling in subscribers to justify a price drop for the standard rate." TheVerge also said that "customers will not see an increase in ad volume because of the reduced pricing." There will be no change in the $11.99 per month price of the commercial-free plan.



Sling TV Readies its Offerings for the Coming SVOD Onslaught

"In preparation for the intensifying SVOD battle, Sling TV has adjusted its business model and re-engineered its underlying data stack based around mass personalization," StreamingMedia.com reports. "Clues to Sling TV's personalized service can be seen by Roku users. It has made search easier by automatically displaying Popular Searches, allowing users to quickly browse through the most searched-for content each day. In addition, next episodes automatically play to encourage binge-viewing."

CBS All Access broke a subscriber growth record thanks to the NFL, 'Star Trek'

From FierceVideo: "CBS All Access said it's coming off the best single weekend for new subscriber sign-ups ever, and it's giving a lot of the credit to the NFL and 'Star Trek.' The service said that the AFC Championship Game — which featured the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots—was the most streamed football game on CBS All Access to date... That game coupled with the premiere of season two of 'Star Trek: Discovery' provided All Access with its best subscriber growth weekend." In addition, the report says that CBS All Access also set a record for most unique viewers.

YouTube TV comes to 95 more US markets in time for the Super Bowl

"Formerly restricted to 100 TV markets across the country, the live TV service will soon be available everywhere," reports Cnet. "Until now the $40-per-month service, which offers a slate of live TV channels streamed over the Internet as an alternative to traditional cable TV, was only available in certain markets... With [this] expansion it blows up to 195 markets, which covers 98 percent of US households. The remaining two percent, aka the rest of the country, will also get YouTube TV 'shortly thereafter.'"

Netflix thinks 'Fortnite' is a bigger competitor than other streaming services

"Netflix Inc. has an ever-evolving view of its competitive landscape," according to MarketWatch, "and the current approach treats the popular online videogame 'Fortnite' as more of a rival than HBO." However, Forrester Research principal analyst Jim Nail told MarketWatch, "It strikes me as a bit of a head fake, because you cannot tell me that in the executive suite they’re not having a lot of conversation about what to do when Disney and Warner and Amazon’s IMDB entry hits the market... And you know they're also talking about what they're going to do when Disney and Warner... take their content off Netflix."

Cheddar Now on All U.S. OTT Streaming Services, Preps Primetime Programming Block

"Video-news startup Cheddar is launching its live-streaming news networks on Sony's PlayStation Vue, making it the first content provider to span all over-the-top subscription services in the U.S.," says Variety. "The company, founded in 2016, operates two networks — the newly rebranded Cheddar Business, positioned as a CNBC-style financial and business network for millennials, and Cheddar News, which it previously called Cheddar Big News. Cheddar's linear programming is carried on Dish's Sling TV, AT&T's DirecTV Now, Hulu With Live TV, YouTube TV, FuboTV and Philo, and went live on PlayStation Vue on Wednesday (Jan. 23)."

Cheddar will also launch a block of primetime programming in February. "The weeknight lineup will include 'reality-business programming' and a game show... That will extend Cheddar Business's original content wheel past its current live coverage from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. ET (after which the channel replays highlights from the day)."

Viacom Buys Streaming Service Pluto TV for $340 Million in Cash

The Wrap reports on Viacom's purchase of the free streaming platform Pluto TV, saying that "[t]he popular service gives Viacom a new platform to drive viewers to its subscription products like Comedy Central Now and Noggin, while also tapping into the millions of viewers that come to Pluto TV because it's free." That article explains that "Pluto TV was created with the idea that despite the growing rise of on-demand video products like Netflix and Hulu, consumers still wanted to consume video in a lean-back environment via 24-hour, TV-like channels... Pluto TV has grown to offer more than 100 channels and a library of on-demand content from MGM, Lionsgate, and Warner Bros. Driven by its growing content offering and expansion onto platforms including Roku, Chromecast, and Amazon's Fire TV, the streaming TV service says it now attracts 12 million monthly active users — up from six million in 2017."

Top U.S. Subscription Video on Demand App Revenue Grew 62% in 2018 to Nearly $1.3 Billion

"Mobile users in the United States spent an estimated $1.27 billion in the top 10 subscription video on demand (SVOD) apps last year," according to Sensor Tower. "This represented year-over-year growth of 62 percent from the $781 million spent by consumers in the top SVOD apps during 2017. Mobile spending in these apps during 2018 was nearly three times more than in 2016." Highlights from the Sensor Tower report include:

  • "For the second year in a row, Netflix led U.S. consumer spending in mobile SVOD apps, grossing an estimated $529 million from in-app subscriptions and growing 81 percent from 2017."
  • "Last year's second highest earning U.S. SVOD app, YouTube, took in less than half as much revenue at approximately $223 million, but grew more significantly year-over-year at 114 percent, up from $104 million in 2017."
  • "HBO NOW... retained its 2017 ranking at No. 3 overall, but saw its subscriber spending decrease year-over-year — the only app among the top 10 to do so."
  • "Hulu and YouTube TV rounded out the top five and both witnessed significant growth in user spending over 2017, at 68 percent and 419 percent, respectively. "

The remainder of the Top 10 consisted of: 6) STARZ, 7) MLB At Bat, 8) CBS, 9) SHOWTIME, and 10) Crunchyroll. Keep in mind that the above rankings and revenue estimates are for streaming apps only, and don't include over-the-top (OTT) devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and Apple TV.

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