Category Archives: TV Trends

Soaps: Far From Washed Up

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Beloved characters are returning from the dead for second chances at romance and treachery! Sound like the plot of a soap opera? Try two soap operas — namely All My Children and One Life soapsto Live, which return today on Hulu, the gold standard of free streaming services.

2013 is turning out to be the year of digital life after death for series with significant fan followings. Between Netflix’s resurrection of Arrested Development, the Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter project, and Hulu’s own takeover of the two classic soaps, we’re seeing that online service providers have created important new paradigms for the economics and production of original content — whether financed through subscription dollars and/or targeted advertising. For instance, Hulu’s innovative model allows for free, advertising-supported viewing of new episodes of OLTL and AMC on computers, or for more flexible viewing options (such as mobile devices, gaming consoles, and smart TVs) through the Hulu+ subscription service.

Hulu’s commitment to its original content is comparable to network-produced primetime series; when not watching the new episodes (which, in a nod to the series’ roots, have been tightened up from 60-minute run times to 30 minutes), fans can check out trailers, old clips, and behind-the-scenes features.

Making these genre-defining series available anywhere and anytime completely changes the soap opera demographic. Once the sole province of daytime TV aficionados, any Hulu user can decide to make Pine Valley his personal primetime destination, or visit Llanview on her morning commuter train. After all, if there truly is only one life to live, there’s no time like the present to hit the play button – which you can do below to watch the full episodes of each show.

One Life to Live

All My Children

– Leah Friedman, SideReel’s Movies and WebTV Content Editor

Network TV Must Change with the Times

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imgresToday Amazon released 14 original series pilots, giving consumers editorial control over its original programming, and catching up with the offerings of competitors like Netflix, which has recently introduced its own group of original series. There’s no question that streaming originals like these will continue to come in droves, as the streaming providers strive to compete with – and perhaps even surpass – traditional TV networks.

But instead of taking license fees and barking about copyright protection, maybe these TV networks should start looking at other ways to reach their consumers. Despite their wishes, it’s pretty obvious that cable boxes won’t dominate the TV landscape forever. As consumers move from individual to multiple screens and want more flexibility, they are seeking options for how they consume TV content – and fighting the sky high cable fees.

With the advent of mobile devices, tablets and Internet-connected TVs, there are too many ways to get TV content for traditional networks to rely solely on reaching consumers through a cable subscription. Guy Bisson, who researches television trends for IHS, knows there is a changing of the guard and that networks should look at it as an opportunity instead of a threat.

“As operators add multi-screen services to their portfolios, building CDNs makes sense and allows them to transition their operations into a lucrative new area,” Bisson said. “By doing this, pay-TV operators can transform the Internet from a threat into an opportunity as well as open up new business opportunities by servicing the content distribution needs of their content partners.” Source

Why fight the audience that they actually want to attract? Instead, networks should look to these new TV outlets as a way to reach consumers anywhere and everywhere.

SideReel Content Trends – February’s Numbers Soar!

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Hey SideReel!

Check out February’s SideReel Content Trends, our second monthly recap of all the best in SideReel! We’re doing everything we can to offer the deepest library of TV content anywhere online, and February’s SideReel Content Trends showcases those efforts. We’re nearing 12 million total show tracks – that’s 12 MILLION – and with almost 120,000 more users in February, we’ve exceeded 6 million registered users.

FOX again topped the list for most show tracks on SideReel while The Walking Dead upstaged newcomer The Carrie Diaries for most monthly show tracks.

How I Met Your Mother kept the top spot on the SideReel Meter, which uses a detailed calculation of SideReel audience data to determine the most popular show of the past month. The Walking Dead and Glee – both not on the list in last month – joined the top 10 in February.

Find out more in this month’s SideReel Content Trends.

Missed last month’s issue? Check it out here.


SideReel Content Trends – What’s new this month at SideReel

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It has been our promise to showcase the best in online TV content, and we are always committed to giving our users the ability to find, track and watch TV content wherever it is online.

Part of that commitment is ensuring that our users can find that content directly from the source; that’s why we have more than 500,000 featured sources of TV content online.

In addition to showing our users where to find TV content online, we strive to make sure content owners keep control over their content by monitoring the specific sources we make available to our users. Part of that effort has meant banning more than 1,000 domains that have abused the community-driven environment that we’ve tried to create on SideReel.

Add it all up and you get SideReel Content Trends, our monthly snapshot of the latest happenings on SideReel. From top networks to most popular shows, SideReel Content Trends gives you insights into what’s the best in TV online.

Find out more in this month’s SideReel Content Trends.

SideReel Trends: Most Popular Shows & Videos of 2011

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If you visit SideReel frequently, you probably have noticed our weekly Top 10 Lists scattered around the site. With 2011 coming to a close, we thought you’d be curious to know what the Top 10 Most Popular Shows of the year are based on site traffic. Without further ado:

1. How I Met Your Mother
2. Gossip Girl
3. The Big Bang Theory
4. Glee
5. Pretty Little Liars
6. Modern Family
7. Jersey Shore
8. Grey’s Anatomy
9. Vampire Diaries
10. 90210

True Blood fans might be surprised to see that their favorite fangbangers are absent from this list. The series narrowly missed out, landing at #11. However, this is still quite impressive, considering that True Blood is only on for 12 episodes and less than 3 total months of the year.

How many of these shows do you watch?

2011 has also been a huge year in Original Video for SideReel. Our Youtube Channel has grown from less than 200 to over 8,500 subscribers. We’ve produced over 1,000 original videos. Here are the 10 most popular:

1. A Shocking Glee Death to Come during Regionals & Glee Volume 5 Released
2. Glee Season 3 Spoilers! Brittany & The Glee Project Winner Damian McGinty Shack Up!
3. How I Met Your Mother Season 7 Scoop: Could things begin to wrap up for HIMYM?
4. One Tree Hill Season 9 Premiere Scoop!
5. Interview with The Big Bang Theory’s Carol Ann Susi on Playing Howard’s Mom, Mrs. Walowitz
6. Sophia Bush Talks Season 9 for One Tree Hill – Will Season 8 be its Last?
7. Godric Returns to True Blood in Season 4!
8. Supernatural Season 7 Sneak Peek!
9. Grey’s Anatomy Season 8 – Lexie Grey to Steal Meredith’s Spotlight?
10. Kaley Cuoco Poses Naked for Allure Magazine Shoot

You can watch ALL of SideReel’s original videos over on Reel TV. As always, we’re eager to hear your feedback on our videos, about SideReel, or anything else you wish to share!
Happy Holidays!

SideReel Survey of Online TV Behavior Finds Unexpected Results: Users Aging, Social Networking Not Important, 5% Own iPad

By | Awesome, Press, TV Trends | 7 Comments

SideReel, the largest independent TV destination on the web with more than 10 million monthly unique users, released results from an online video survey of 1800+ users today. Conducted in December 2010, the survey identifies usage patterns in the areas of social media, Web TV, and the use of connected devices.

“People are mixing new technologies with familiar ones to get a personalized TV experience that includes all of their favorite shows,” said SideReel CEO Roman Arzhintar. “For many, traditional TV watching is starting to supplement online watching, rather than the other way around.”

Highlights below.

Social media
Social Media is important, but only for 25 percent of online TV watchers. While 29 percent used Twitter, none of the check-in services including GetGlue, Miso, Clicker or Foursquare have significant usage among SideReel’s TV watchers. Only 10 percent of users want to broadcast what they are watching – or want to watch – to their friends. Only 25 percent of SideReelers want to know what their friends are watching – down 50 percent from last year.

Connecting Computers & TVs
Forty percent had connected their computer to their TV in the past month, a three-fold increase over last year’s results. Sixty percent of people connecting a device to a TV connect their computer, and five percent use a box like Roku, Boxee or Google TV.

Twenty-four percent of SideReel visitors subscribe to Netflix. Seventy percent of users who stream video via the Internet to their TV do so using Netflix. Thirty percent of users stream video other than Netflix to their TVs.

Time Spent Watching/Cord Trimming
Users who watch more than 10 hours per week are less likely to have cable than users who watch less than 10 hours online – these are likely tomorrow’s cord cutters, or cord trimmers. 72 percent of SideReel users watch more than five hours of TV online per week.

Thirty percent of SideReel users own an iOS device. Sixteen percent own an Android device. More than five percent of SideReel users have an iPad – impressive for a new device.

About SideReel
Founded in 2007, SideReel helps users find, track and watch shows online. SideReel’s library includes over 24,000 shows and more than 530,000 episodes. SideReel also creates and distributes original video recaps, recommendations, news, reviews and gossip for popular TV shows. If it’s online, it’s on SideReel. For more information please visit

SideReel’s Guide to Cutting the Cable

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Cord Cutting Title
By Megan Larson

Welcome to SideReel’s Guide to Cutting the Cable, a series designed to help viewers explore the current options in the world of Internet-based TV.Google TV, AppleTV, Boxee

We’ve all heard that the future of television watching is online, but where do you start? Is there really an online alternative to your cable box? Are paid services like Hulu Plus or Netflix worth your dime? What about devices like GoogleTV or AppleTV or Boxee — how do they fit into the picture? Or maybe you’re just looking for an alternative for when the TV in your living room is being monopolized by yourgame-playing kids. In this series of articles, SideReel will provide answers to these questions and more.

Part One: Watching TV on your computer

First, let’s take the simplest case: watching your favorite shows on your computer. Generally speaking, all that is required is your Internet connection and a decent computer. You find the video you want to watch, press play, and that’s all there is to it. Seems pretty doable, right? It is, as long as you can find what you’re looking for. Let’s break down what’s out there now.

Current shows: keeping up with the Nielsens.

TV on the LaptopThe networks are still trying to figure out the best way to take advantage of the Internet. When it comes to current shows, many are made available online soon after broadcast but are only kept up for a short period of time. Often these free videos have ads, although usually not as many commercials as a regular television broadcast. Some networks are taking a more conservative approach, offering only some or no episodes. In addition to full-length shows, many networks post clips of the latest watercooler (or watercooler-hopeful) moments.

If you can watch new episodes within the window that networks provide them, like the five most recent episodes, network sites and Hulu provide many options for viewing current shows.

Old favorites: from another season or another decade.

As the popularity of videos has grown, the networks realized that they have lots of older shows in their vaults that people would still like to see. Internet television has given them a new space to share these shows, whether previous seasons of current hits like Mad Men or shows that signed off long ago like The Dick Van Dyke Show. You no longer have to be a slave to syndication or buy a wall of DVDs to see your old favorites today.

Network sites may provide video of their older shows, although they provide only few recent episodes of shows that are currently airing. Hulu is another source for older content. They have many free episodes (and lots of clips), although selection can vary.

Get in-depth tips and tricks on nixing cable from GigaOm’s Cord Cutters series.

Netflix, Hulu Plus, iTunes, Amazon Video on DemandPaid content: how it works and what you’re getting.

We’ll cover paid content in greater deal in a later article, but at a high level, there are two ways of paying for content: subscription-based and per-episode (or -season).

In the first scenario, you pay a subscription fee to a site and during that window you can watch as much of their content as you want; it’s more or less analogous to paying your cable bill. Subscription services include Hulu Plus and Netflix.

In the second scenario, you purchase a particular episode or season of a show, similar to how you’d buy a DVD. The difference is that instead of a owning a physical disc, you’ve bought a right to watch a particular file that may be subject to certain limitations. Limitations could include an expiration date (in the case of an episode rental), or the file could be streaming-only, which requires an Internet connection to view it. Popular sites that offer per episode/season purchases are iTunes and Amazon.

Where to find them.

Given all of the options above, you can see how the biggest challenge can be finding what’s available and where to find it. And that’s where SideReel comes in. We know you don’t want to have to hunt down your five favorite shows on five different sites or figure out whether a new episode has aired this week. And with so many options out there, it can be hard to know which episodes you’ve watched already. Luckily, SideReel provides one easy place to find free and for-pay links to shows from every network, view a schedule personalized with all of your favorites, and track what you’ve seen.

Visit SideReel at now to cut the cable today!

Coming Next:

The Internet on your television set.

Megan Icon

Megan Larson has always had a complicated relationship with her TV.
She lives in Oakland, CA and blogs at

SideReel Annual Survey Preview: We’re Getting Old!

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SideReel users – we’re getting old! Well, old-ER anyway.

Results of SideReel’s annual survey found that the average user age has jumped from 26 years old to 29 since we last checked.

Now before we all run out and stock up on anti-aging cream, let’s review what happened in 2010 in online video to bring more (and older) people online to watch television.

– Cord cutting: it’s not just for newborns anymore. More people are getting rid of cable and relying on their computers for entertainment. Cable companies needn’t panic today – plenty of people still want and need traditional cable subscriptions – but it will be interesting to see how the next few years play out, and how much broadcast content will become freely available online.
– Netflix: the DVD-shipping company announced that it is now the Streaming Company Formerly Known for DVDs, and will focus on making premium TV content available to users on-demand. Some content is already available, and we will be eagerly awaiting news in 2011 for even more.
– GoogleTV launched amidst all kinds of controversy with broadcast networks, but let’s all admit that the platform has potential. Other devices like Boxee, Roku, Apple TV and others all gained steam in 2010, and the connected TV race is officially on.
– People really started watching made-for-web series like “Between Two Ferns: With Zach Galifianakis” and “Very Mary Kate” in 2010. At SideReel we’re working hard to find the best content and bring it to you – so check it out! WebTV rocks!
– And last but not least (with no scientific data to back this up), I don’t know about yours, but my parents (Baby Boomers) are starting to use the scary Internet machine for things other than incessant forwarding of chain emails and checking the weather – and they’re kind of a big group.

Despite all this, 18-24 years olds continue to be our largest age demographic (44% of all users) and 68% of our users are 18-34. So youngins – keep watching TV online – and teach your parents how to do it too!

Thank you and Happy New Year!  – Pam