Amazon Cancels Plans to Launch a Skinny Bundle TV Service

Amazon has decided to cancel its plans to create an online streaming service that would have bundled broadcast and cable TV networks. The decision was reportedly based on the challenges involving how to generate a profit from the proposed service. The e-commerce giant has also experienced difficulties drawing interest from networks for its Amazon Channels a la carte TV platform. The company has been looking to leverage more television content, especially to attract younger cord cutters who are increasingly viewing media on mobile devices. Continue reading Amazon Cancels Plans to Launch a Skinny Bundle TV Service

Philo Streaming TV Service Offers Cable Bundle Minus Sports

Philo, the latest streaming TV service to hit the market, has eliminated sports from its line-up of three-dozen cable TV networks. The service will deliver programming to the user’s phone, laptop or connected TV. Because of the lack of sports, the base package will cost $16 per month, compared with YouTube TV’s $35 per month subscription or Hulu’s $40 per month fee. Participating cable networks include A&E, Scripps, Discovery, AMC and Viacom. Venture capital companies have invested $25 million in the new service. Continue reading Philo Streaming TV Service Offers Cable Bundle Minus Sports

Roku May Be Prepping to Stream Video on Third-Party Devices

Roku has taken an important step in its long-time efforts to evolve from a hardware-based to a services-based model. Although the company will not comment, sources say that Roku is preparing to begin streaming videos on third-party devices from rivals Apple and Google. Those same sources say that the initial efforts will likely focus on mobile devices. Most consumers still think of Roku as a hardware company, but Roku recently began licensing its operating system to TV manufacturers and making money on advertising. Continue reading Roku May Be Prepping to Stream Video on Third-Party Devices

Reelgood Buys Netflix Roulette for Picking Shows at Random

Streaming hub Reelgood, which offers viewers a guide for tracking content across more than 300 streaming video services, recently acquired Netflix Roulette, a service that randomly selects Netflix titles for its users. As part of Reelgood, the Netflix Roulette tech will be used as a feature to randomly select titles from a wide range of streaming services such as Amazon, HBO, Hulu, Showtime and Starz. This could appeal to viewers who are overwhelmed by choices or simply tired of switching between services looking for content. Continue reading Reelgood Buys Netflix Roulette for Picking Shows at Random

Discovery and Google Partner on Virtual Reality Travel Series

Discovery and Google are partnering on a 38-episode virtual reality travel series that takes viewers to all seven continents in seven chapters: North and South America, Asia, Australia, Africa, Antarctica, and Europe. Sascha Unseld, who directed the Oculus Story Studio’s “Dear Angelica” VR short, served as creative producer on the series. Discovery has nabbed an exclusive brand sponsor, which will be announced later. VR travel videos are becoming more popular, with immersive videos from airlines, travel agents and others. Continue reading Discovery and Google Partner on Virtual Reality Travel Series

Comcast Rolls Out ‘Skinny Bundle’ for Its Internet Customers

Comcast is introducing an $18-per-month “skinny bundle,” a new service the pay-TV provider has been testing and is now ready to roll out across different regions over the next few weeks. Xfinity Instant TV, which is available for Comcast’s 25.3 million broadband customers, is designed for cord cutters (and cord nevers), and will compete with OTT services such as Hulu Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV. Comcast’s service can be streamed at home or anywhere with a broadband connection. The company is specifically marketing to its customers that pay for Internet but not TV, hoping they will one day switch to a larger bundle. Continue reading Comcast Rolls Out ‘Skinny Bundle’ for Its Internet Customers

Mobile Companies Offer TV, Video and Music to Slow Churn

AT&T and T-Mobile are luring in new subscribers and holding on to existing ones by offering popular television content, including “Game of Thrones” and “Stranger Things.” T-Mobile, which now has an exclusive deal with Netflix, is offering free access to the streaming video service for subscribers who buy its unlimited family plan. AT&T expanded its HBO promotion to a larger circle of subscribers. In April, it offered free HBO to its Unlimited Plus Choice subscribers, and now expanded that to anyone with an Unlimited Choice plan. Continue reading Mobile Companies Offer TV, Video and Music to Slow Churn

Zuckerberg’s $1 Billion Bet on Making Facebook ‘Video-First’

Facebook reportedly will spend up to $1 billion on original content through 2018, an investment aimed to fulfill chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s goal to make the platform “video first.” In doing so, Facebook faces stiff competition from broadcasters such as HBO, Amazon and Netflix, all of which are focused on creating premium video content to capture advertising. Zuckerberg has been opposed to paying for content, but now has said he will do so, although he believes most creators will earn via a revenue-sharing model. Continue reading Zuckerberg’s $1 Billion Bet on Making Facebook ‘Video-First’

Networks Seek Safer Way to Deliver Screeners to the Press

Networks are changing how they deliver screeners to the press, due to rising concerns over piracy. HBO, for example, was hit by two cyberattacks on “Game of Thrones,” and now is moving access to screeners from its own portal to MediaSilo’s Screeners.com. Amazon, Hulu and El Rey Network have also moved screeners to the same site. Fox moved its screeners from one proprietary site, Fox Flash, to another, Screeners.Fox, and Starz is now delivering shows to the press via DAX’s cloud-based software. Continue reading Networks Seek Safer Way to Deliver Screeners to the Press

OTOY Uses Blockchain Tech for Distributed Cloud Rendering

The technology underlying Bitcoin is now under development to render 3D visual effects. Los Angeles-based OTOY, which provides a GPU-based software system to create a cloud-based pipeline for 3D content, is hoping to raise as much as $134 million to develop Rndr, distributed cloud rendering for VR and other content, via blockchain technology. HBO and Discovery have invested in OTOY, which has also partnered with Facebook and Mattel. Relying on cloud-based GPUs for rendering is a much less expensive solution than supercomputers. Continue reading OTOY Uses Blockchain Tech for Distributed Cloud Rendering

Archivists Promote AXF as Standard to End Metadata Issues

At AMIA’s The Reel Thing conference in Hollywood, HBO director of archives and asset management Randal Luckow and Digital Preservation Laboratories president Steve Kochak discussed cataloging unstructured metadata for preservation in distributed databases using the open standard Archive eXchange Format (AXF). Migrating physical elements often leaves out information important for the future, and metadata generated in the course of the project isn’t always documented, leading to problems linking the metadata to digital audio-video.

Continue reading Archivists Promote AXF as Standard to End Metadata Issues

Three Tech Titans Up the Ante in Scripted TV Programming

This year, 500 scripted TV shows will vie for viewers’ attention. Now, some tech leaders are turning up the heat by entering the original programming market: Apple has budgeted more than $1 billion for original content; Google will spend up to $3 million per episode; and Facebook said it is willing to spend $3 million to $4 million per episode. A few cable companies, including A&E and WGN, are withdrawing from scripted content but, with three tech titans in the game, the competition for eyeballs will be fierce. Continue reading Three Tech Titans Up the Ante in Scripted TV Programming

Apple Earmarks $1 Billion to Buy, Produce Original TV Shows

According to sources, Apple has a budget of about $1 billion to acquire and produce original content this next year, an amount that is roughly half of what Time Warner’s HBO spent on content last year and equal to what Amazon spent in 2013. Apple hopes that with its enormous global purview and marketing capabilities, it can be a serious competitor in the original content arena. With this budget, Apple could purchase or produce as many as 10 TV shows, which could be distributed on Apple Music or a video streaming service. Continue reading Apple Earmarks $1 Billion to Buy, Produce Original TV Shows

Disney to Introduce Streaming Services Over Next Two Years

In a significant departure from its traditional business model, Disney announced it plans to pull its movies from Netflix and roll out two of its own online streaming services. Early next year the company will introduce an ESPN streaming service that is expected to cover 10,000 events each year, including MLB, NHL and MLS content. The company also plans to launch a Disney-branded streaming platform in 2019 that will offer its movies and TV programming as well as original content exclusive to the service. Following the news, Netflix stock dropped 7 percent in after-hours trading. Continue reading Disney to Introduce Streaming Services Over Next Two Years

Growing Number of Viewers Are Using Antennas for Free TV

The Consumer Technology Association projects that antenna sales in the U.S. will jump 7 percent to about 8 million units, driven largely by consumers who are accessing HBO, Hulu, Netflix and other services online. While today’s antennas “can be hidden behind a flat TV or hung like a picture frame,” notes The Wall Street Journal, a June survey by the National Association of Broadcasters found that 29 percent of Americans are not aware that television content is available for free. The confusion may linger from the 2009 HD transition, despite the FCC’s efforts to educate the public. While today’s consumer may not think of the older tech as a practical means of saving money, WSJ cites examples of viewers using antennas to watch free local programming. Continue reading Growing Number of Viewers Are Using Antennas for Free TV

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