Vizio Adds WatchFree Service to SmartCast TVs via Pluto TV

On Wednesday, Vizio debuted WatchFree to its TV sets with its SmartCast operating system, adding more access to free, ad-supported TV programming. Pluto TV, an ad-supported streaming service, powers the service, which will offer 100 channels including NBC News/MSNBC, Fox Sports, MST3K and The Surf Channel, as well as movie channels. In the near future, “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” and “Unsolved Mysteries” will appear as pop-up channels. Vizio’s SmartCast operating system was first launched in 2016. Continue reading Vizio Adds WatchFree Service to SmartCast TVs via Pluto TV

FCC’s O’Rielly Asks Amazon, eBay to Remove ‘Rogue’ STBs

FCC commissioner Michael O’Rielly is urging Amazon and eBay to pull listings from their sites for “rogue” set-top boxes that enable consumers to watch pirated TV shows. On Friday, the commissioner sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and eBay CEO Devin Wenig noting that the STBs in question often falsely feature the FCC logo, and are responsible for encouraging “intellectual property theft and consumer fraud.” O’Rielly recognized that the companies have been working to address the problem, but wrote “despite your good work in this area, devices continue to make it to consumers through your websites.” Continue reading FCC’s O’Rielly Asks Amazon, eBay to Remove ‘Rogue’ STBs

YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV Experience Early Subscriber Growth

Hulu with Live TV has reached about 450,000 paid subscribers, while YouTube TV now has more than 300,000, according to sources familiar with the private figures. Neither service has reached the success of leading live-streaming services such as Dish’s Sling TV (more than 2 million subscribers) and AT&T’s DirecTV Now (1 million subscribers), but Hulu and YouTube only launched their offerings last year. Sling TV is the oldest, having launched in 2015, and DirecTV Now experienced recent growth after promotional deals offered free HBO and the option to add the service to mobile plans for $10 a month. Continue reading YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV Experience Early Subscriber Growth

Studios Take on Dragon Box in Latest Streaming Piracy Battle

Amazon and Netflix have joined major studios including Disney and Warner Bros. in suing Dragon Box, claiming that the company’s $350 streaming device makes it easy for consumers to access illegal streams of TV shows and movies. The lawsuit alleges that some of the titles, such as Disney’s “Coco,” are still in theaters. Variety reports: “Dragon Box has advertised the product as a means to avoid paying for authorized subscription services, the complaint alleges, quoting marketing material that encourages users to ‘Get rid of your premium channels … [and] Stop paying for Netflix and Hulu.’” Continue reading Studios Take on Dragon Box in Latest Streaming Piracy Battle

T-Mobile Buys Layer3, Prepares to Debut Streaming Service

T-Mobile US is buying Layer3 TV, a streaming pay-TV distributor, to launch its own pay-TV streaming service. In doing so, T-Mobile, the third largest wireless carrier (by subscribers) in the U.S., joins a growing host of other companies, such as Sony, Dish and YouTube, that aim to lure cord-cutters to their streaming services. Some of those efforts have been successful; AT&T, for example, now has one million subscribers to its DirecTV Now streaming service, which debuted last year and is priced as little as $35 per month. Continue reading T-Mobile Buys Layer3, Prepares to Debut Streaming Service

TDG: 40 Percent of U.S. Households Will Cut the Cord by 2030

Despite the increasing number of digital streaming services currently available, including Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, about 85 percent of U.S. households continue to subscribe to traditional cable television. However, The Diffusion Group suggests the tide is turning; the market analyst predicts that by 2030 as many as 40 percent of Americans will have cut the cord. TDG Research also expects the percentage of households subscribing to pay TV will drop to 60 percent during the same period. TDG suggests that by 2030, about 30 million households will be “without an MVPD service of any kind.” Continue reading TDG: 40 Percent of U.S. Households Will Cut the Cord by 2030

Sandvine Details Households Turning to Illegal TV Streaming

About 6.5 percent of North American households are now accessing illegal TV streaming services per month, according to data from a new Sandvine study based on broadband service provider customers. The illegal services earn an average of $10 per month in fees, which represents nearly $840 million for the pirates, notes Variety. Meanwhile, the percentage also represents a potential $4.2 billion in lost revenue for cable, satellite and telco providers based on a estimated $50 per month fee for pay-TV services. However, it is not known whether the households in question would even consider legal pay-TV or OTT options. Continue reading Sandvine Details Households Turning to Illegal TV Streaming

Fox to Air Six-Second Ads During Thanksgiving Day Football

On Thanksgiving Day, sports fans watching football on Fox Sports will be treated to six-second commercials, which will take over the screen between plays, leaving the game in a small box on the side. Fox Networks Group first tested the six-second spot in August and, more recently, has aired them during the Major League Baseball World Series. The National Football League is embracing the six-second ad model as a way to cut down on time spent on commercials as well as make them less disruptive. Continue reading Fox to Air Six-Second Ads During Thanksgiving Day Football

YouTube Video Is Increasingly Popular as Viewers Go Mobile

Video consumption is continuing its transition from the living room to mobile devices. Android users in the U.S. watched nearly 1 billion hours worth of YouTube video content in July — the most time ever spent over a month in a single streaming video app. According to App Annie, the Android version of YouTube’s app accounted for about 80 percent of the 12 billion hours Americans spent between July 2016 and July 2017 using the top 10 Android apps for streaming video. Total time spent by consumers using video streaming apps jumped 45 percent from the previous year. Following YouTube is Netflix, Twitch, Hulu and Amazon Video. Continue reading YouTube Video Is Increasingly Popular as Viewers Go Mobile

Streaming Service to Debut Without Pricey Sports Channels

Discovery Communications, Viacom, AMC Networks, A+E Networks and Scripps Networks Interactive are joining forces to create a new streaming service catering to people who don’t want sports in their streaming TV bundles. According to sources, the service will have a soft launch in the next few weeks, cost less than $20 per month, and offer nonfiction, lifestyle, children’s and scripted drama programs from the channels owned by these networks. Media outlets have discussed a bundle without sports for some time. Continue reading Streaming Service to Debut Without Pricey Sports Channels

Cable Providers Make Course Correction and Support Netflix

As part of an industry shift that began in Europe, an increasing number of cable operators in the U.S. have been forming agreements with Netflix. Charter Communications is expected to join more than a dozen pay TV providers, including Comcast, in making the streaming service available through its set-top boxes. “Some U.S. providers could start selling the streaming service as part of their Internet and video packages,” reports VentureBeat. “Altice NV is trying that approach in France, and the company aims to extend the deal to the United States.” Continue reading Cable Providers Make Course Correction and Support Netflix

Snap, Time Warner Ink $100 Million Deal For Original Shows

Snap Inc. has inked a $100 million deal with Time Warner’s Turner cable channels and Warner Bros. studios for up to 10 original shows a year for the platform. The big studios and traditional TV companies see Snapchat as a way to reach its younger demographic, which is much less likely to subscribe to their premium channels. For example, HBO now has a path to creating content for Snapchat, and scripted drama and comedy are among the genres considered for distribution via the deal. Snap’s shows typically run three to five minutes. Continue reading Snap, Time Warner Ink $100 Million Deal For Original Shows

Plex Includes Live TV, Nvidia Shield Aims to Be Best Partner

Plex just announced that it is allowing users to not simply record TV programs, but watch live TV from broadcast stations. Originally launched as a company that allowed users to organize their media, Plex introduced its DVR feature last fall, initially requiring a digital antenna and HDHomeRun digital tuner. The company also now supports digital tuners from other vendors, such as those from Hauppauge and AVerMedia, among others. Nvidia’s Shield software also now supports Plex’s DVR and Live TV capabilities. Continue reading Plex Includes Live TV, Nvidia Shield Aims to Be Best Partner

Research Indicates Another Drop in Number of Pay-TV Subs

According to new research from Kagan, pay-TV providers in the U.S. lost about 1.9 million subscribers in 2016. Additionally, OTT providers such as Sling TV, DirecTV Now and Sony PlayStation Vue “gained about 900,000 subscribers last year, rising from approximately 600,000 at year-end 2015 to 1.5 million at the end of 2016,” reports Variety. “While the gains on the OTT front would appear to be good news for cable programmers, the problem is that many broadband-targeted TV packages are stripped-down ‘skinny bundles’ that omit many of the channels included in traditional basic cable lineup.” Kagan estimates 94.7 million residential pay-TV subscribers for the close of 2016, down 2 percent from 2015. Continue reading Research Indicates Another Drop in Number of Pay-TV Subs

Comcast’s Upcoming Streaming Option to Target Cord-Cutters

Comcast is planning a third quarter launch for its expanded streaming video service called Xfinity Instant TV. The $15-$40 per month service, targeting broadband subscribers looking to opt out of traditional cable bundles, “will include major broadcast networks as well as add-on options for sports channels like ESPN and Spanish language channels such as Telemundo and Univision,” reports Reuters. The company hopes customers will later upgrade to the X1 platform. Xfinity Instant TV is a new version of its Stream service that was tested earlier in Boston and Chicago. Dish and AT&T are already targeting cord cutters, but “Comcast’s service is different in that it is limited to its territories and to its own broadband subscribers.” Continue reading Comcast’s Upcoming Streaming Option to Target Cord-Cutters

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