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Walmart Confirms Launch Window for its Budget-Priced Streaming Devices, After the pandemic ends, streaming binge will continue, report says, and other top news.

Few key things happened around the Ad Tech & Media Tech world this week.

 

Walmart Confirms Launch Window for its Budget-Priced Streaming Devices

Walmart has confirmed an official launch window for its upcoming, onn-branded streaming devices, which showed up seemingly ahead of the schedule on the retailer’s own website. TechCrunch reported that Walmart expects the new devices to launch in stores and online at some point next week, the week of June 7th, 2021. Earlier this week we reported on the store listing for the onn. FHD Streaming Stick, a 1080p device that’s set to sell for $24.88. Meanwhile, its 4K counterpart, known as the onn. UHD Streaming Device, will retail for $29.88. As its name suggests, the FHD Streaming Stick follows the traditional stick-style streaming device design, with a built-in HDMI connection so it can plug directly into a TV. The higher-end UHD Streaming Device, on the other hand, resembles recent Roku Ultras with its rounded, low-profile square aesthetic. Both options are powered by Android TV and store listings indicate they’ll both be bundled with the same remote control, which includes direct access buttons for YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max. And while the devices differ in terms of maximum supported resolution, both options will support Dolby Audio and the 802.11ac WiFi standard…More

 

After the pandemic ends, streaming binge will continue, report says

Before the pandemic, Wing Lam and his wife, Kelly, used to go out three nights a week. Now, it’s just one night. To entertain themselves, 59-year-old Lam, already a Netflix subscriber, paid for two additional streaming platforms — HBO Max and Disney+ — to watch new films this year. He has no plans to cancel them, even as theaters have reopened. “As long as we can get movies at home, at the comfort of your house without having someone breathing on you and telling me what to do — we might wait a little bit longer,” said Lam, a co-founder of Tustin-based Wahoo’s Fish Taco. Even as businesses reopen, many consumers such as Lam are sticking to new entertainment habits they developed during the pandemic. Among 1,000 U.S. consumers surveyed in April, 67% said they plan to continue to spend more time consuming entertainment than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to report released Friday by United Talent Agency. Shelter-at-home efforts accelerated the pace of cable cord cutting and the migration of consumers to streaming platforms, with 56% of consumers surveyed saying they added at least one subscription streaming service. After the pandemic, 71% of those surveyed said they plan to use more than one subscription video streaming service, according to the UTA report…More

 

Premium streaming services face ‘instant accountability,’ HBO Max exec says

Premium content providers see direct-to-consumer streaming as a great way to reach more consumers, but that bigger, broader audience has more choice than ever before. “The distribution has gotten pretty easy,” Andy Forssell, EVP and GM of HBO Max, said Thursday at the Barclays Future of Media Conference. “What’s hard is retention, because customers now have the big red button they can push at any time.” HBO Max and other streaming services that allow customers to come and go as they please face “instant accountability, which isn’t comfortable all of the time,” he said. But being uncomfortable isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “A lack of accountability means you cannot be a great programming and still have good economics awhile before it catches up to you,” Forssell said. “That’s not really good for anybody.” Still, it does mean that HBO Max and others need to analyze data and receive feedback from subscribers in near real-time, and use that information to promote shows and series that keep them engaged and coming back. The team at HBO Max likes to “obsess” over having a more direct relationship with the viewer and pair data with tools, like email and other types of notifications, to keep subs apprised of content that should be of interest. “We pay attention to both wholesale and retail customers that are using our app. We know what they like. We know what they don’t like. We know how often they come [to the service],” he said. “Wholesale customers (those who get HBO Max via a pay-TV operator, for instance) are slightly less engaged, but I think the gap is less than most people would assume.”…More

 

Research: 82% US homes OTT subs

According to Parks Associates’ latest research of 10,000 US broadband households, 82 per cent of US broadband households now have at least one OTT video service subscription, up from 76 per cent in Q1 2020. Parks revealed the data in advance of its fourth annual Future of Video: OTT, Pay TV, and Digital Media virtual conference on June 9th. “With OTT adoption so high, providers are exploring new strategies, including expanded IP and AI-powered enhancements, to stay competitive,” said Steve Nason, Research Director, Parks Associates. “Service stacking is trending up, with 46 per cent of US broadband households subscribing to four or more OTT services,” said Matt Smith, VP, Business Development, Symphony MediaAI. “Forward-looking OTT providers are wondering when, not if, the tipping point will come – and they’re turning to predictive AI and other technology to prepare. We look forward to discussing the most effective strategies to mitigate the subscriber churn challenges that the OTT market will inevitably continue to face as consumer behaviours evolve.”…More

 

Local boards plan to continue streaming meetings

If at any point over the last year you wanted to watch a Shelby City Council, Kings Mountain City Council or Cleveland County Board of Commissioners meeting, chances are you had to do so from home. Local boards moved their meetings online in 2020 as a way to work around the gathering restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. And, using streaming tools through Facebook and YouTube, boards were able to do the public’s business in a way that met legal requirements for open meetings. As pandemic restrictions change and people begin to doff their masks and attend more public meetings, local leaders say live streaming of meetings will continue. “We will continue to stream meetings going forward. This may continue to be Facebook Live or some other format that allows the public to view either live and/or online,” said Rick Howell, Shelby city manager, in an email. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the city of Shelby was one of only two organizations that recorded and aired its meetings for public consumption. City Council meetings were recorded by C19TV and aired on local access airwaves following each meeting. The Cleveland County Board of Education has for years live-streamed its meetings, and its meeting archives can be found through the board website…More

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