Sunday, March 06, 2016

Subscription Video

Netflix and other subscription services appear to be gobbling at cable and broadcast television's traditional trough:

Americans are spending less time with their eyes glued to a television screen, but that doesn’t actually mean they’re watching less … television. It’s a classic example of semantics trumping reality: While TV viewership went down 3 percent last year, a new study suggests that people aren’t trading in this time to be one with nature or engage in some other physically stimulating activity. Instead, they’re watching Netflix.

As per a report from Michael Nathanson of Moffett Nathanson, Netflix was responsible for around 50 percent of the overall drop-off in TV viewing time in the U.S. In fact, American Netflix subscribers are estimated to have streamed a stunning 29 billion hours of video in 2015, whereas the global Netflix community managed to binge on a total of 42.5 billion hours.

And this past year’s data, Nathanson says, isn’t an outlier. Rather, it represents a trend showing Netflix’s (and other streaming services’) increasing popularity. By 2020, the analyst says, streaming hours will account for 14 percent of all TV viewing. ...

New Media (aka Subscription Video on Demand) is a growing part of the Los Angeles animation business. DreamWorks Animation has hundreds of hours of SVOD shows in development and production, and a lot of our members are working on it. And other studios are edging their way into the newer distribution platform.

But New Media is covered by a TAG contract sideletter that gives studios a lot of leeway over wage rates. Many people are working at or above union scale, but some are working at lesser wages. This is a problem for every entertainment union and guild, since they all have new media sideletters identical to our own, but it doesn't make underpaid animation writers, artists and technicians any happier.

From all reports, the next round of contract negotiations in 2018 will be focused on leveling the playing field. The goal will be to put SVOD wage rates on a par with all the other minimums in the contract.


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