Netflix still has a huge lead in the streaming wars, but Hulu’s smaller service has loyal users

One big difference between regular TV and streaming TV is that streaming TV is pretty murky when it comes to numbers: We don’t know much about how many people are watching streaming TV services, or what they’re watching.

So here’s a little bit of light, courtesy of a new report from comScore: A chart that shows us the relative popularity — and usage — for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video and YouTube.

Most important caveat here: ComScore’s data, from December 2016, is measuring video streamed over Wi-Fi, at home, to TV sets. So it’s missing what’s happening on phones in and out of homes — which is a big deal — and what’s happening over wireless networks — a smaller deal.

Still, if we assume this data is at least directionally correct, it’s helpful.

We did know that Netflix is far and away the leader when it comes to streaming TV — the service says it has about 50 million subscribers. And comScore’s data syncs up with that, pegging the service’s penetration at about 40 percent of homes with Wi-Fi.

It is interesting, though, to see how far behind YouTube is when it comes to getting video to your TV. The world’s biggest video service gets to TV sets in less than 30 percent of the U.S., per comScore.

That may explain why YouTube is going to launch its own pay TV service — though YouTube has taken pains to describe YouTube TV as a “mobile first” offering.

And while Amazon and Hulu have been making a big push to build up their offerings, they’re still far behind. On the other hand, if you compare comScore’s data to earlier estimates from broadband services company Sandvine, they may be making progress. (Yet another caveat: Sandvine is measuring the amount of data those services push out; comScore is measuring how many homes they reach. So this is apples and oranges. Still, fruit.)

The other big takeaway: People who do use Netflix use it a lot — and so do people who use Hulu. Both services engage their users for more than 25 hours a month, comScore says.

Facebook’s Live Video Push Continues With Video Tab on Mobile, Live Reactions and Filters

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 8.51.42 AM.pngFacebook is continuing to take its live video service very seriously, prominently placing live video on mobile and rolling out some new features for users today.

The company will now show a dedicated tab on the mobile app where people can see live video. The company last year tested a tab, but in its statement on the updates it billed it as a dedicated part of the app where “you can discover live video that the world is talking about, live video from the friends and creators that matter most to you, and live video on topics you’re interested in. From that place, you can also search live and non-live videos, and choose to go live yourself. Simply tap on the new video icon in the app to navigate to this new space.”

Read the full article and see the demo here.

Facebook Updates Its News Feed Algorithm to Give Preference to Live Video

facebook-live-video-hed-2016.pngIn another sign that Facebook is increasingly betting on real-time video, the social network said its algorithm will now give more preference to video that is live than video that is not.

In a blog post published Tuesday, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company said people spend on average three times as much time watching Facebook Live video as they spend watching other video content. According to the company, the update is not expected to significantly affect Pages.

“Now that more and more people are watching Live videos, we are considering Live Videos as a new content type—different from normal videos—and learning how to rank them for people in News Feed,” wrote Facebook product managers Vibhi Kant and Jie Xu. “As a first step, we are making a small update to News Feed so that Facebook Live videos are more likely to appear higher in News Feed when those videos are actually live, compared to after they are no longer live.”

The company has been gradually making Facebook Live available to its roughly 1.04 billion daily active users. Last summer, it began allowing celebrities to share live videos. Later, it included journalists, verified accounts and other beta users before opening it up to to all iPhone users in January. Then, last week, it added Android users to the mix.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been doing his fair share to foster the format. Last week, after a surprise appearance at Samsung’s Unpacked event in Barcelona, Zuckerberg went live to tell the rest of his followers about a new partnership between the two companies. A day later, during a keynote interview at Mobile World Congress, Zuckerberg said he sees live video as a way for people to have a more authentic and intimate experience sharing about their lives.

Blab video chat app is like Periscope for groups of friends

blb970As Facebook and Yahoo recently demonstrated, video streaming apps are the hottest new app category.

But last night I found out that the real, bleeding-edge video chat action is happening on an little known website called Blab.im, where four people can video chat simultaneously as an audience watches, comments and can instantly switch places with one of the four video chatters.

To participle as a video chatter in one of the squares — which I can’t help thinking looks like a 21st century Brady Bunch panel (translation = very fun) — you sign in with your Twitter credentials. Afterwards, when someone clicks on your name in Blab, they see the handle and bio you’ve already entered on your Twitter bio.

When a new video chatter attempts to join the four-person chat, the creator of a Blab can choose to accept or deny entry. And as the video chat plays out, the moderator can let the live chat disappear into the ether when it’s over, or hit record to save the chat for others to view later.

Read full article here.

These Digital Stats Show Exactly Why Google Fears Facebook Ads

adobe-digital-trends-hed-2015Facebook continues to apply pressure to Google’s ad business, showing that the social network’s boldness is paying off, according to new research from Adobe.

Adobe looked at the last three months in digital advertising, as it does at the end of every quarter, and highlighted some key shifts in the industry, including a slowdown in Pinterest’s retail momentum and Periscope’s dominance over Meerkat in video streaming. It also showed that Google’s “Mobilegeddon” affected mobile Web traffic more than expected, and Reddit, despite recent turmoil, could be a good place for retailers to focus their attention.

Read full article here. 

Meerkat Launches Developer Platform To Differentiate From Periscope (via Techcrunch)

meerkat-api1

How did it feel getting cut off by Twitter with just 2 hours notice? “It sucked” says Meerkat founder Ben Rubin. That’s why it’s determined to treat developers with more respect. In the nine weeks since Meerkat launched, 37 developers have built companion experiences to the livestreaming apps on its unofficial, private API, including stream discovery, automatic uploads of streams to YouTube, and audience analytics tools.

Today, Meerkat is legitimizing those developers by launching an official developer platform and APIs that it promises to never take away. By becoming a platform, Meerkat could allow outside developers to build tools for a much wider variety of use cases than its small, independent team build spawn itself. That might help it differentiate itself from fellow livestreaming app Periscope, which benefits from the massive team and deep pockets of its acquirer Twitter. Read full article here.