Netflix Subs and Revenue Are Up, Operating Profit Is Down

Netflix has always wanted Wall Street to judge it based on revenue and global operating-profit margins rather than subscription growth. But the company’s Q2 report shows just how unpredictable those results can be. Netflix added 5.2 million subscribers, much more than the 3.2 million it predicted, for a total of 104 million global subscribers. But its global operating profit margin was down 4.6 percent from 9.7 percent in Q1, while revenue skyrocketed 32 percent to $2.79 billion. Continue reading Netflix Subs and Revenue Are Up, Operating Profit Is Down

Music Industry, YouTube Battle Over Perceived ‘Value Gap’

As the $7.7 billion U.S. music industry has moved from CDs to streaming, the top venue has become — not Spotify or Pandora — but YouTube, which is responsible for 25 percent of all music streamed. But that’s a problem since accessing music on YouTube is free, and music labels are increasingly unhappy that the platform pays less for songs than other streaming sites, calling it a threat to the music industry. The music industry has begun taking its concerns to regulators, not just in the U.S., but around the world. Continue reading Music Industry, YouTube Battle Over Perceived ‘Value Gap’

Sony Music Reaches New Licensing Agreement with Spotify

Sony Music Entertainment has agreed to a new licensing deal with Spotify, which should be finalized in the coming weeks. “The agreement helps to clear the way for Spotify’s long-anticipated public offering, which is expected later this year or early next year,” reports Variety. An inside source suggests the deal is similar to the current Spotify agreements with Universal Music Group and digital rights agency Merlin. A major component of the deal is a windowing option, “whereby artists can withhold their releases from its free, ad-supported service for up to two weeks.” Continue reading Sony Music Reaches New Licensing Agreement with Spotify

Hulu Is Latest SVOD Service to Back AOMedia Video Codec

Hulu has joined the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) to help promote the AV1 AOMedia Video codec. The alliance’s video compression standard “strives to deliver improved compression efficiency over the current cutting-edge video compression standards HEVC/H.265 and VP9, in addition to providing the industry with an open source, royalty-free, interoperable video format,” wrote Hulu CTO Tian Lim. “Hulu joins other streaming media industry leaders in pursuit of a common goal — to accelerate development and facilitate friction-free adoption of new media technologies that benefit the streaming media industry and our viewers.” Continue reading Hulu Is Latest SVOD Service to Back AOMedia Video Codec

Facebook Plans to Introduce Original Programs This Summer

Facebook is meeting with Creative Artists Agency, United Talent Agency, William Morris Endeavor and ICM Partners as part of its effort to debut original programs by the end of summer, say sources. The social media titan also said it will commit to hefty production budgets — up to $3 million per episode — similar to those of high-end cable shows, as well as more moderately priced shows costing mid-to-high six figures per episode. Facebook’s plan is to own as much of the content as possible. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Introduce Original Programs This Summer

Westergren to Step Down as CEO of Music Service Pandora

Pandora co-founder and CEO Tim Westergren plans to step down from his position running the 17-year-old streaming music pioneer. The company has yet to select a replacement. Earlier this month, satellite company Sirius XM announced it would invest $480 million in the web radio service for a 19 percent stake in the company and three board seats. Despite a user base of 80 million, “Pandora has struggled to generate enough advertising revenue to cover the cost of the free service,” reports Recode. “Meanwhile, music listeners have begun gravitating to the on-demand subscription services of Spotify, Apple and others, which offer ad-free access.” Continue reading Westergren to Step Down as CEO of Music Service Pandora

VidAngel Debuts New Service as 9th Circuit Court Mulls Suit

VidAngel, the Utah-based video streaming service that filters out language, nudity and violence from Hollywood movies, launched a new version of its service that it hopes will address concerns about release windows and licensing fees. Disney, Warner Bros. and Fox sued VidAngel for copyright infringement, and in December, U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte issued an injunction against the company, which appealed. While litigation plays out in the 9th Circuit Court, however, VidAngel is back in the game with a new service. Continue reading VidAngel Debuts New Service as 9th Circuit Court Mulls Suit

Spotify Signs New Universal and Merlin Deals, Preps for IPO

Spotify will pay music labels more than $2 billion in minimum payments over the next two years. The company’s revenue has grown more than 50 percent, to $3.3 billion last year, so the big deals are a means to keep growing. Sources say the company has inked two deals recently, with Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest music label, accounting for one-third of the market, and Merlin, which represents a group of independent labels. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Spotify plans to go public this year. Continue reading Spotify Signs New Universal and Merlin Deals, Preps for IPO

Facebook Inks Deals With BuzzFeed, Vox for Video Content

Facebook has inked deals with millennial-focused news and entertainment publishers ATTN, BuzzFeed, Group Nine Media, Vox Media and others to produce original programming for its upcoming video service. The social network will pay up to $250,000 per episode for long-form scripted shows, which it will then own, and up to $35,000 for shorter videos, for which creators will receive 55 percent of ad revenue (both formats will carry advertising). The video initiative is expected to position the platform in competition with YouTube Red, Snapchat’s Discover, and even traditional TV networks. Continue reading Facebook Inks Deals With BuzzFeed, Vox for Video Content

Supreme Court Ruling Is Likely to Suppress Patent Troll Suits

In a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court tightened rules on where patent lawsuits may be filed. The consequences, say the experts, will make it much more difficult for patent trolls to seek out friendly courts that are likely to rule in their favor. Patent trolls are companies that buy patents solely to demand royalties and sue for damages. Currently, more than 40 percent of all patent lawsuits are filed in a federal court in East Texas, with a single judge there overseeing 25 percent of all nationwide patent cases. Continue reading Supreme Court Ruling Is Likely to Suppress Patent Troll Suits

Apple, Nokia Sign Agreement to Settle Ongoing Patent Battle

Apple and Nokia have signed a multi-year patent license and new business cooperation agreement that settles all litigation related to the ongoing IP dispute between the two companies. As part of the deal, Nokia will provide Apple with network infrastructure products and services, while Apple has agreed to pay Nokia an upfront cash fee and resume selling Nokia’s digital health products, formerly under the Withings brand (which Apple had stopped selling last year). According to the press release, “Regular summits between top Nokia and Apple executives will ensure that the relationship works effectively and to the benefit of both parties and their customers.” Continue reading Apple, Nokia Sign Agreement to Settle Ongoing Patent Battle

Pluto TV Now Offers Free On-Demand Movies and TV Shows

In addition to its more than 100 TV-like linear channels, Pluto TV is now offering thousands of free movies and TV shows on demand via its streaming platform. Pluto TV is expanding its “ad-supported service with VOD as it positions itself as a kind of Spotify for premium video,” reports Variety. “It’s worth noting that Ken Parks, Pluto’s executive chairman, was Spotify’s first U.S. employee and led the music streamer’s negotiations with record labels.” The startup, which launched in 2014 and currently touts more than six million monthly viewers, may introduce a hybrid free/subscription model in the future. Continue reading Pluto TV Now Offers Free On-Demand Movies and TV Shows

Amazon’s Twitch Weighs Original Programs With Interactivity

Twitch, the live streaming video and gaming site purchased by Amazon for $1 billion almost three years ago, is thinking about streaming original programming, says its chief operating officer Kevin Lin. But unlike all other new platforms streaming original content, Twitch is looking for its users to have input on the programs as they are written and produced. Twitch already lets its users comment on the videos in real time and Lin believes these comments can help guide a scripted show as it evolves from episode one onward. Continue reading Amazon’s Twitch Weighs Original Programs With Interactivity

Warner Renews its Music and Publishing Deals With YouTube

Warner Music Group has renewed its music and publishing deals with YouTube following “months of tough negotiations,” according to WMG CEO Stephen Cooper. The renewal includes Warner Music record labels and the Warner/Chappell Music publishing division. Music labels have been limited by safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that “allow digital services leeway in hosting and taking down unlicensed content,” reports Billboard. “Neither of Warner’s major competitors, Universal Music Group or Sony Music Entertainment, have reached new deals with YouTube and are still operating on a month-to-month basis, sources say.” Continue reading Warner Renews its Music and Publishing Deals With YouTube

Netflix Inks Licensing Deal with Chinese Online Video Platform

Streaming video giant Netflix will finally enter the Chinese market, via a newly inked licensing deal with iQIYI, one of that country’s streaming platforms. When Netflix launched its efforts to go global a year ago, it failed to make deals in only a few countries, among them China, Iran and North Korea. Although not many details of the new arrangement have been made public, what is known is that Netflix content will be available on a day-and-date or near-simultaneous basis, as with other global territories. Continue reading Netflix Inks Licensing Deal with Chinese Online Video Platform

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