A Review of Q3 2016 in OTT

It’s been a busy third quarter in 2016 in the over-the-top (OTT) space, with several developments occurring in regards to a select group of businesses. Did you miss what happened in Q1 and Q2?

Check out here and here for additional information.


At the beginning of August, Time Warner Inc. purchased a 10% stake in Hulu, providing the streaming service with a value of $5.8 billion. After that moment, activity quickly ramped up.

Five days later, Hulu revealed that it would no longer be offering its free TV product.

"For the past couple years, we've been focused on building a subscription service that provides the deepest, most personalized content experience possible to our viewers," said Ben Smith, Hulu senior VP and head of experience. "As we have continued to enhance that offering with new originals, exclusive acquisitions and movies, the free service became very limited and no longer aligned with the Hulu experience or content strategy."

The exact same day as that announcement, Yahoo launched a TV website, Yahoo View, in collaboration with Hulu. It provides free television content, including the most recent five episodes of ABC, NBC and FOX shows.

“Yahoo View is our first step towards creating a powerful community TV-watching experience, but it’s really only the beginning,” said Jess Lee, VP Lifestyles Product at Yahoo.

In September, Variety reported that Hulu is developing two virtual reality-only TV series.


In August, the NFL began hosting a sports channel on Snapchat Discover.

“We’re excited to expand our partnership with Snapchat, delivering compelling NFL content to a platform where millions of our fans around the world interact on a daily basis,” said Blake Stuchin, Director, Digital Media Business Development for the National Football League, in a press release. “The launch of the NFL on Discover will provide a key touch point to follow storylines throughout the week, and the expansion of Live Stories will provide fans with a unique perspective of the excitement in and around our stadiums at every game all season-long.”

NBC provided content and coverage via Snapchat during the Olympics, and in the first week received approximately 50 million viewers.

The peacock network also partnered with Snapchat in a multi-year deal for content and advertising, which will result in Snapchat Discover TV shows.

“By partnering with Snapchat, we can combine the largest, most creative portfolio in television with a technology platform that’s evolving and complementing how we engage with audiences,” said Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising Sales and Client Partnerships, NBCUniversal. “For our advertisers, this means being associated with premium content in a new and compelling format, and creating a connection that lasts long after your snap disappears.”

Other Companies

In other Q3 news, Twitter and news startup Cheddar joined together to develop streaming news and business shows for millennials.

And YouTube set a live-streaming political record with the first presidential debate, attracting 2 million concurrent viewers.

Time Inc. launched the online People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN) in September.

“I think 15 years ago, People and SI and InStyle should have launched cable channels, because that’s when the land grab was,” said Jess Cagle, editorial director of People and Entertainment Weekly. “Now is not the time to launch a cable channel.”

Looking Ahead

Several businesses have made revelations about the OTT services that they’re currently working on.

On October 18, Vimeo will be debuting its Global Television Store in partnership with Lionsgate, which has licensed many of its shows.

“We’re proud to launch Vimeo’s first ever transaction-based global television store with Lionsgate’s acclaimed television series,” Barry Diller said, chairman and senior executive of Vimeo parent company IAC. “Their television slate includes nearly 80 series on 40 different networks, and they are a great partner with whom to kick off a service that will bring premium scripted shows from the U.S. to our hundreds of millions of viewers around the world. They are the first of many top Hollywood studios we expect to attract in the months to come.”

By the end of the year, AT&T is expected to launch its DirecTV Now service, and a few details have come known: it will feature 100+ channels, and multi-device streaming.

“This is exclusively an over-the-top product,” AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said. “This is no set-top box; this is no truck roll; this is a customer pulling down an app, getting a very robust platform.”

Sometime in early 2017, CenturyLink has a 17-channel OTT service prepared for consumers.

And by 2018, Discovery Communication hopes to offer the “Netflix for sports.” The cable company plans to utilize Eurosport, a popular European network.

“We own it all and when we go to the player and charge $8 per subscriber we’re in a whole different game,” said David Zaslav, Discovery CEO. “For us, Eurosport direct-to-consumer fills the full circle of where the world is going.”

That covers it for Q3! Stay tuned for the Q4 roundup at the beginning of 2017.

Author: Brian Cameron

Image via Shutterstock.


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