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Video-on-demand passes one third of TV watching

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Ericsson’s latest ConsumerLab TV and Media report has shown that consumers are spending an average of six hours per week watching video on demand services – almost double that of 2011.

Ericsson has launched the latest edition of its annual ConsumerLab TV & Media Report, representative of the views and habits of 680 million consumers making it one of the largest studies of its kind.

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A key finding is that Video-on-Demand (VOD) services are succeeding in meeting consumer needs, thus allowing consumers to change their viewing habits. Consumers now spend six hours per week watching streamed on-demand TV series, programs, and movies – this has more than doubled since 2011. With recorded and downloaded content added to the equation, today 35 percent of all TV and video viewing is watched on-demand.

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Further findings highlight the considerable growth in consumers watching video on a mobile device: 61 percent watch on their smartphones today, an increase of 71 percent since 2012. When taking tablets, laptops, and smartphones into consideration, nearly two thirds of time spent by teenagers’ watching TV and video is on a mobile device.

At the same time, user-generated content (UGC) platforms account for a growing share of consumers’ TV and video viewing. Close to 1 in 10 consumers watch YouTube for more than three hours per day, and one in three now consider it very important to be able to watch UGC on their TV at home. In addition, the study finds that the increasing prominence of UGC-rich platforms, like YouTube, has resulted in a popularity boost for educational and instructional videos, with consumers watching an average 73 minutes of these videos per week.

Anders Erlandsson, Senior Advisor, Ericsson ConsumerLab, says: “The continued rise of streamed video on demand and UGC services reflects the importance of three specific factors to today’s viewers: great content, flexibility, and a high-quality overall experience. Innovative business models that support these three areas are now crucial to creating TV and video offerings that are both relevant and attractive.”

Other significant findings from the Ericsson ConsumerLab TV & Media Report 2015 include:

Bingeing is changing the game: Watching multiple TV episodes in a row has rapidly become a key part of the TV and video experience. This habit is prominent among Subscription Video-on-Demand (S-VOD) users of services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO, of whom 87 percent binge-view at least once a week.

The difficulty of finding content: Half of consumers watching linear TV say they can’t find anything to watch on a daily basis. Consumers feel that recommendation features are simply not smart or personal enough.

Different bundles, different attitudes: Twenty-two percent of consumers who have never had a pay-TV subscription are already paying for over-the-top (OTT) content services.

Linear TV remains key: The popularity of linear TV remains high, mainly due to the access it gives to premium viewing and live content, like sports, as well as its social value. In this respect, linear TV often acts as a ‘household campfire’.

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Load-shedding leads
local searches

South Africans are searching in the dark, according to the latest Google Search trends.

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With more 1 million search queries generated in the space of 76 hours, load-shedding was by far the top trending search on Google South Africa this week.

Valentine’s Day came a distant second.

After news emerged last Sunday of the impending stage 3 load shedding, South Africans had generated more than 1-million load-shedding search queries by the time Tuesday came around:

  • “Loadshedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Eskom load shedding” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding Cape Town” – generated more than 50k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 400k on Monday
  • “Load shedding Johannesburg” – generated more than 20k searches on Monday
  • Load shedding schedule” generated more than 200k search queries on Tuesday

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, South Africans generated close to 300k search queries related to the romantic festival, including searches for quotes and gift ideas:

  • “Valentines Day” generated more than 100k search queries on Thursday
  • “Happy Valentines Day Images” and “Valentines Day Images” generated more than 10k search queries each on Thursday, with “Happy Valentines Day 2019” generating more than 20k search queries on Wednesday
  • “Valentines Day Specials 2019” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Love quotes” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Valentines Day quotes” generated more than 100k search queries and “Valentine messages” generated more than 50 000 search queries on Wednesday

Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google based on what South Africans have been searching for and asking Google. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Live Google search trends data is available at https://www.google.co.za/trends/hottrends#pn=p40

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Showmax invites
student films

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Thanks to the growing popularity of video-on-demand services, there’s a new opportunity to help kickstart the careers of local filmmakers.

Numerous Hollywood blockbusters (District 9Tomb Raider 2018, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron to name a few) have featured substantial shoots in Johannesburg and Cape Town. While providing great opportunities for SA’s production talent, aspiring writers and directors don’t get the same benefit.

So where can local creatives showcase their work? Broadcast TV isn’t a natural home for unknown short films, and while self-publishing platforms are readily available hosting options, it’s tough to get noticed and get traffic when competing with videos from across the planet.

But with the emergence of video-on-demand services into the mainstream, there’s now a solution. The African film school AFDA has teamed up with the streaming service Showmax to give local talent a much larger platform than ever before. From 18 February, eighteen of the best recent short films made by AFDA students from their Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth campuses will be live on Showmax. Drama, documentary, fantasy, and animation are all represented, in pieces running from under eight minutes to almost half-an-hour long. The full list of movies is included below.

Teresa Passchier, CEO of AFDA, said: “AFDA, Africa’s number-one school for the Creative Economy, is proud to kickstart this exciting and meaningful journey with Showmax and AFDA students, ensuring emerging young African filmmakers’ voices are heard and given a platform. It’s ground-breaking to share young, local, culturally relevant content on the same platform as Hollywood blockbusters. I am certain that this unique initiative will serve to boost and develop the African film industry and the careers of many young South African and African students alike.”

Included in the short films coming to Showmax are the award winners Junior and O-PunchaJunior, directed by Bert Dijkstra, picked up the Audience Award in the Made in South Africa Competition at the shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival Awards 2017. O-Puncha, directed by Adam Hansen, won two awards at the 5th annual Eldorado Film Festival: Best Student Made Short, and Best Editing – Alexander La Cock.

Another celebrated film is Sicela Amanzi directed by Mlu Godola, which talks to the subject of water shortage. The film’s heroine Zoleka is a mild-mannered young woman forced to go to extreme lengths when a small community’s only source of water unexpectedly collapses. The power of films like this is they shine a light on critical topical issues in new ways.

Speaking about working with the film school, Candice Fangueiro, Head of Content for Showmax, said: “There’s immense depth of filmmaking talent in Africa and it’s a privilege to be able to give that talent a home and a platform. Showmax is becoming part of the fabric of film and TV production in Africa, and importantly we’re doing this as a partner rather than just as a consumer. This is a key competitive advantage of being local and something we aim to continue to work on.”

AFDA is an Academy Award-winning institution, founded in 1994, and the first and only African film school to win an Oscar – for the Best Foreign Student film in 2006, the postgraduate film Elalini, directed by Tristan Holmes.

The full list of AFDA short films coming to Showmax is as follows:

Film titleDirectorGenre
Lullaby from the CryptKeenan Lott & Raven DavidsAnimation
Ko Ga CherenyaneSibonokuhle MyatazaDocumentary
IzilwaneKyllian RouxDrama
MallemeuleJaco Van BoschDrama
Canal StreetBrodie MuirheadDrama
On the FenceWarrick BewsDrama
The Righteous FewLindo LangaDrama
Hlogoma PeakLuke AhrensDrama
Frozen FlameCameron HeathmanAnimation
WolfBrett van DortFantasy
The Walk HomeSisanda DyantyiDrama
BearWesley RoodtDrama
JuniorBert DijkstraDrama
O-PunchaAdam HansenDrama
UmngenoSiphosethu NdungeDrama
DoreenLuvuyo Equiano NyawoseDrama
ForeverLindo LangaMusical
Sicela AmanziMlu GodolaDrama

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