In the last three months the online video space has seen new entrants, new offerings and further experimentation. Showtime's OTT service finally went live in July. Other newly launched OTT services include A+E's Lifetime Movie Club app, PGA Tour's mobile offering, and Canada's SVOD service Shomi. Mobile and pay-TV operator Comcast is also joining the fray with its YouTube competitor Watchables. Among the major online video players, competition heated up when Amazon Prime Video announced offline viewing for all its subscribers, something Netflix said they would never allow. Around the same time, Hulu unveiled an ad-free version to its users for $4 more per month.
Reinforcing social media as a new video distribution platform, Snapchat announced that it has reached 4 billion daily views. With its reach, combined with original content made for its platform (such as the original series announced by Comedy Central), Snapchat is establishing itself as an online video platform. Facebook, which also garners 4 billion daily views, announced in July that it will begin sharing ad revenue with publishers, has been testing new ad formats, and is also looking to build its own Content ID, which could provide another monetization vehicle for content creators.
In two of the biggest deals this period, NBCU invested $200 million each in BuzzFeed and Vox, both of which have billion-dollar valuations. As in previous acquisitions and investments in the space, established media companies see value in the direct relationship with, and deep insights on, teens and Millennials that these digital-first services capture.