News and Press on Products and Services

Switch Media appoints former Ericsson executive as CEO

Source: Mumbrella 09 March 2018

Australian streaming technology business, Switch Media has appointed former Ericsson executive Mark Johns to take over as CEO from Christopher Stenhouse, the company has announced.

 

Mark Johns Switch Media
The announcement:

Switch Media appoints former Ericsson executive as CEO

An experienced international broadcast and over the top (OTT) executive has taken the reins of one of Australia’s fastest growing streaming technology businesses as the sector braces itself for further growth in the coming years.

Switch Media, one of the world leaders in content streaming, has appointed Ericsson’s former Head of Media and Broadcast Technology, Mark Johns, as Chief Executive Officer, with co-founder and current CEO Christopher Stenhouse stepping into the role of Chief Financial Officer.

Switch Media, which was founded in a home office as a small YouTube like start-up 12 years ago before changing its focus to OTT technology solutions, has worked with most major broadcasters, including Seven, Ten, SBS, ABC and Foxtel, developed the Free to Air Broadcast industry apps for Freeview Australia and Freeview New Zealand, and delivers solutions for Federal Parliament and Melbourne’s RMIT.

Mark Johns, who while at Ericsson headed up the development of its Video On Demand technology platform Nuvu, previously worked for Switch Media when it was in its infancy and has also held senior roles in the radio, television and technology sectors over his 25 year career.

Mr Stenhouse, who founded the business with its current Chief Technology Officer, Luke Durham, said the appointment of Mark would ensure the business leveraged the strong tailwinds that the streaming industry was experiencing to continue its strong growth trajectory.

Year on year since our inception, Switch Media has delivered more than 40 per cent growth and driven strong profitability to enable us to reinvest into the business and remain at the forefront of OTT technology,” Mr Stenhouse said.

With the evolution of streaming continuing and showing no signs of abating locally or internationally, Mark’s long-held knowledge of Switch and his experience of the international OTT market will ensure that Switch Media is well placed to grow our slice of the OTT technology pie.”

Mr Johns said he was looking forward to further growing the Switch Media success story that he had been a part of in the early days when he played an instrumental role in securing Foxtel as a major customer for streaming of the 2012 London Olympics.

This industry keeps evolving at rapid rates – from the participants offering video on demand (VOD) and subscription video on demand (SVOD) services through to the types of devices people want to access services on,” Mr Johns said.

“Switch has kept at the forefront of these changes and developed innovative solutions to some of the key challenges that the content owners face, from quality of the streaming service for the viewer to how they can best monetise their content.

“I am excited about the opportunity to take an already successful business and drive it to its next stage of growth in a market that is growing by more than 20 percent annually and seeing new entrants to the market.

“It is a really exciting time in the industry, with its strong growth trajectory being driven by three forces.

“Firstly, broadcasters want the experience provided by their streaming services to meet and increasingly exceed the experience of traditional broadcast.

“Secondly, we have new content players and owners (such as sporting associations) looking to build their own platforms that they can monetise.

“Finally, we are seeing new fields outside of the broadcast industry, such as the health, education and transport sectors, seeking access to high quality video streaming services.”

Proud end-to-end service provider for the Freeview FV roll out to Apple TV

Switch Media is excited to have provided end-to-end development and delivery of the Freeview FV app roll out to the Apple TV and Apple TV 4K platforms. Delivery included app development, user experience and interface design, the provision of flexible API with support for complex business rules, Electronic Program Guide using Gracenote data, 3rd party player integration and OzTAM VPM analytics integration.

Now for the first time, viewers can stream all free-to-air TV in one place from the comfort of their home without the need for an antenna or traditional broadcast receiver. The FV Apple TV app delivers one of the most user-friendly Free-To-Air EPG’s in the market, enabling viewers to easily see what is coming up for the next 7 days, set favourites, and receive recommendations.

 

Read Freeview press release:

 

Freeview FV now available on the App Store for Apple TV

Watching your favourite TV programs is now even easier with Freeview FV, as the world-first free-to-air
TV live streaming app is now available on Apple TV 4K and Apple TV.

Freeview FV delivers live streaming from 20 free-to-air channels and catch-up content from all free-to-air
TV channels. The app also includes a TV guide, allows users to browse and search across all free-to-air TV,
set favourites, and provides show recommendations.

Freeview CEO Liz Ross said the addition of Freeview FV for Apple TV 4K and Apple TV was the latest
development for the platform and offers viewers even more choice in live and catch-up programs from the
comfort of their own homes on their TV.

“We are thrilled to have Freeview FV now available in the App Store for Apple TV, making live streaming
more accessible than ever. “We want everyone in every household to be able to watch free-to-air TV on their terms, where and when
they choose,” said Ross.

Launched in November 2016, Freeview FV is also available on iOS and Android mobile and tablets with

Chromecast and Apple TV support delivering TV straight into viewers’ hands.

Freeview FV delivers live streaming of 20 free-to-air TV channels and the catch-up content from all
networks with just one click. Available channels include: ABC, SBS, Seven, Channel 9, TEN, ONE, ELEVEN,
ABC COMEDY, ABC KIDS, ABC ME, ABC NEWS, SBS VICELAND, Food Network, NITV, 7TWO, 7Mate,
7Flix, Racing.com, 9Gem, 9Go! and 9Life.

Source: Freeview FV now available on the App Store for Apple TV, Freeview, 1 March 2018

 

 

 

 

Switch Media at the ad:tech SYD 2018

Switch Media at NAB Show 2018

Media to rely on subscriptions over ad revenue by 2020: Deloitte

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald FEBRUARY 5 2018

The business models for news publishers are expected to undergo rapid changes in the next 24 months, with half of the revenue for media businesses tipped to come from subscriptions.

The latest data available shows that for every $10 in revenue from advertising in 2012, there was only $1 coming into media coffers from subscriptions.

 

Online news outlets are expected to push for a business model relying more on subscriber revenue in the next two years.

This is expected to shift significantly by 2020, with subscription revenue to match advertising revenue.

By the end of 2018, Deloitte’s TMT (Technology, Media and Telecommunications) Predictions 2018 report estimated there would be 20 million digital-only news subscriptions worldwide.

“We expect news providers to focus increasingly on generating revenue from subscriptions, typically as a complement to advertising, given the challenges they have encountered during years of reliance on ad revenue alone,” the report said.
People subscribing to news will remain far below those signing up to subscription video on demand services, known as SVOD, which is estimated to reach about 375 million subscribers.

The average charge for a digital subscription across platforms is $10.

“However, online news services tend to be among the most expensive individual services, often costing tens of dollars per month, and there are also many tens of millions more subscribers to printed newspapers and magazines,” the report said.

One of the challenges is the growing dominance of digital giants Facebook and Google, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission undertaking an inquiry into these platforms and how they divert revenue away from traditional publishers.

Research undertaken by Deloitte, including an annual survey of thousands of consumers across the world, found different attitudes to paying for news depending on location.

Deloitte partner Kimberly Chang said Australia “continues to face a clear challenge in terms of monetisation models in news” with most news consumers in the country “overwhelmingly reluctant” to pay for online news.

“Ninety per cent of respondents agreed they were not willing to pay because there is so much information available for free,” she said.

Despite this, accurate real-time news and deeper knowledgeable journalism were both in demand – but she said both were approaches that “require very different business models”.

Those surveyed from the United States were the most willing to pay for their news, and 18 to 34 year olds the most likely to pay.

“Publishers have also become more adept at identifying trigger points that can cause readers to become subscribers and at recognising what type and proportion of content to place behind the paywall,” the report said.

This included techniques like lowering pay walls on big news days, which would see some willing to pay when it was then reinstalled.

The surge in video streaming services was also tipped to continue to grow.

Video marketing specialists Switch Media chief operating officer Mark Wilson said there would be innovation to give users control over whether they wanted to pay or be served advertisements.

Research from the company found the average Australian had used 4.3 streaming services, with Netflix, the ABC and SBS rated as having the best overall user experience.

“Ads aren’t going to go away but more people will be able to choose to have less ads,” Mr Wilson said.

Exclusive research findings around Australian Streaming Habits – Infographic

Switch Media worked with Stable Research to conduct a body of primary research that explored Australia’s media viewing preferences and consumption habits. See below for a snap shot of some of the interesting findings from this research exclusive to Switch Media. Further insights to be revealed soon.

 

 

 

Switch Media COO speaks with ABC News around Australia’s viewing habits

Switch Media COO, Mark Wilson is interviewed by Michael Rowland and Virginia Trioli on ABC News Breakfast around the streaming habits of Australians, sharing insights derived from research commissioned exclusively by Switch Media. Findings reveal that Netflix, ABC iView and SBS On Demand are Australia’s dominant streaming players, with over half the population utilising the three services. Watch for more insights on how on-demand streaming services are changing viewing habits, including where, when and on what devices Australian’s are consuming content.

 

Infographic: How Netflix, The ABC & SBS Dominate Australia’s Streaming Wars

Infographic: How Netflix, The ABC & SBS Dominate Australia’s Streaming Wars

Source: B&TMagazine 01 February 2018

While Netflix dominates, new research shows that ABC iview and SBS On Demand are the other significant contributors to the growth of streaming services in Australia.

Check out the full findings in the infographic below.

According to new research into Australia’s streaming habits, almost seven in ten Australians (69 per cent) have watched Netflix, while close to six-in-ten (57 per cent) have used iview and more than half (52 per cent) have tuned in to SBS On Demand.

The research – undertaken by Stable Research on behalf of Switch Media – found the highest uptake of ABC and SBS is from older Australians, with 70 per cent and 67 per cent of over 65-year-olds watching iview and On Demand respectively.

Screen shot 2018-01-31 at 5.40.45 PM

Other findings of the research showed:

– Australians have used an average of 4.3 streaming services.

– The typical Netflix viewer is younger (with 96 per cent of 18-24-year-olds having used the service) and of a female skew (74 per cent of all female respondents).

– Netflix, ABC, and SBS are viewed as providing the best overall user experience with 97 per cent, 93 per cent and 90 per cent, respectively, of their audiences rating their experience above average.

– Close to half (39 per cent) of consumers use a laptop or desktop to watch streamed content, 34 per cent use an Apple iPad, and 30 per per cent use an iPhone. The Smart TV was close behind at 28 per cent.

– While a benefit of streaming is that it can be viewed while out and about, only 14 per cent watch streamed content on public transport and six per cent watch while travelling in the car.

– The most popular place to watch streamed content is the living room (86 per cent), followed by the bedroom (57per cent), while 15 per cent viewed streamed content while in the bathroom or on the toilet.

Switch Media co-founder and CEO, Christopher Stenhouse, said the research of consumer behaviour (based on more than 1,000 Australians) not only gave valuable insight into what services consumers were watching but how they are watching it.

“Being still in the relatively early days of streaming, with new players likely to emerge and new devices becoming available further changing how people view content, this research highlights some trends are emerging,” Mr Stenhouse said.

“From our research findings, it’s clear that audiences will experiment with various streaming services, however the most popular and sustainable services will be those that have the best content and user experience including benefits such as seamless ad transitions and content recommendations,” Stenhouse said.

“We are also seeing that Australians are increasingly becoming ‘binge’ watchers. While most consumers (80 per cent) use streamed content as a tool to catch up on programs they’ve missed, 60 per cent are also using it to ‘binge’ watch an entire TV series.

“Cramming an entire original series into a weekend or even one night is definitely becoming a popular pastime with consumers of all ages.”

The figures also show that on average, consumers stream on two and a half different devices.

“This was fairly consistent across most age groups and is a testament to our increasing tech-savvy population,” Stenhouse said.