AT&T’s WarnerMedia Readies Beta of Its Streaming Service

According to sources, AT&T’s WarnerMedia will package HBO, Cinemax, the Warner Bros. TV/movie library and original content into a streaming service priced at $16 to $17 per month. The new offering, which would be competitively priced in a crowded market of streaming services, is expected to launch in beta later this year. Currently, an HBO Now streaming subscription costs $14.99 per month and Cinemax for cable customers is priced at $12.99 per month. WarnerMedia executives are meeting to discuss the service’s name and other details of its operation. Continue reading AT&T’s WarnerMedia Readies Beta of Its Streaming Service

New Amazon Studios Head Is Charting an Ambitious Course

Four months ago, Jennifer Salke, previously NBC president of entertainment, replaced Amazon Studios chief Roy Price, who was ousted after a sexual harassment scandal. Now, she’s moving forward to clarify the studio’s message on the kinds of content it wants, as well as get more productions into the pipeline. Salke is making a strong play for Hollywood creatives to work with the studio, noting that, “there is a lot of talent out there looking for a home … [and] we have the resources.” Continue reading New Amazon Studios Head Is Charting an Ambitious Course

Technology May Lead to Change for Theatrical Film Releases

MoffettNathanson analyst Robert Fishman suggests that the film industry is on the verge of change, “in part because the movie studios want and need it to change,” notes Recode, “and in part because Netflix is going to push the industry forward whether it likes it or not.” Studios are looking to make movies available in the home without waiting for the traditional 90-day theatrical window, while Netflix is ramping up its original programming and straight-to-streaming library. According to Fishman, such change could cost theater owners up to 20 percent of their profits. While Hollywood was not successful with earlier attempts to shorten the release window, Fishman believes this year could be different, since Internet technologies continue to impact the home video business. Continue reading Technology May Lead to Change for Theatrical Film Releases

FCC TV Airwaves Auction Reaps Disappointing $18.2 Billion

The Federal Communications Commission’s auction of TV airwaves, nearing its end, has brought in about $18.2 billion in bids. That figure is far less than the last sale of government licenses, due, say analysts, to a lack of interest in low-frequency television airwaves. The spectrum auction enabled TV stations to sell their airwaves, which would be repurposed for use by the mobile industry. But potential buyers are apparently more interested in airwaves that “can carry more data over short distances.” Continue reading FCC TV Airwaves Auction Reaps Disappointing $18.2 Billion

Comcast Rolls Out X1 Search & Record Tool for Rio Olympics

Comcast developed X1, a voice-controlled remote technology that allows its subscribers to search, similar to virtual assistants from Amazon and Apple. Now chief executive Brian Roberts has a good reason to roll it out: the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. NBC plans to broadcast every event live on TV or online — a programming equivalent of 24 hours a day for 250 days — and X1 will make it all searchable, by event, athlete or country. Subscribers can even get alerts when an American is close to winning gold. Continue reading Comcast Rolls Out X1 Search & Record Tool for Rio Olympics

Netflix’s $5 Billion Budget Pushes Networks to Also Spend Big

FX Network chief executive John Landgraf says there’s too much TV, citing the 400+ scripted shows he estimates were made last year. But rather than slowing down on the new programs, media companies including Discovery, Viacom, Starz as well as Amazon and Hulu are all spending more. They’re competing for viewers in an increasingly fragmented market — and against Netflix, which has committed $5 billion this year for film/TV projects, and an estimated $11 billion over the next five years. Continue reading Netflix’s $5 Billion Budget Pushes Networks to Also Spend Big

Sprint Offers Free Service to Lure DirecTV Subs From AT&T

Directly targeting AT&T, Sprint is now offering DirecTV subscribers a year of free cell phone service. The offer, which started August 28 and ends September 30, includes a plan with unlimited talk, text and up to 2 gigabytes of data per month, plus a one-time $36 activation fee, but not the cost of a smartphone. Sprint’s move is an attempt to foil AT&T’s plan to turn DirecTV subscribers into AT&T subscribers, a key motivation for the wireless company’s $49 billion acquisition of the satellite TV provider. Continue reading Sprint Offers Free Service to Lure DirecTV Subs From AT&T

Apple Delays Live TV, Lacking Licensed Content and Network

At Apple’s upcoming September 9 event, the Silicon Valley company will announce a more powerful version of its Apple TV set-top box. But what it won’t be introducing is a live TV service streamed over the Internet. Although Apple insiders are mum, those close to the project say that Apple hasn’t licensed enough content from TV networks and that talks to do so are moving slowly. Another obstacle is a sufficiently robust computer network to guarantee the content will stream properly. The company is reportedly now targeting a 2016 launch date. Continue reading Apple Delays Live TV, Lacking Licensed Content and Network

ESPN is First to File Suit Against Verizon Over FiOS Bundles

ESPN filed a lawsuit Monday in New York Supreme Court against Verizon, claiming that Verizon’s new FiOS TV packages — which allow subscribers to purchase a basic set of channels starting at $55 per month, and add tiers of genre-based channels — are in breach of contract regarding ESPN distribution. While Verizon introduced the new packages to attract consumers looking for more flexibility, the company has met resistance from major players such as 21st Century Fox and NBCUniversal regarding current programming agreements. Continue reading ESPN is First to File Suit Against Verizon Over FiOS Bundles

Report: TV Viewers Continue to Drop Cable and Satellite Subs

Third quarter reports indicate a greater reduction in the number of pay TV customers as compared to the previous year. The decline in pay TV customers suggest that a growing number of consumers are taking to “cord cutting” when it comes to media consumption. With a number of viable streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon currently available, customers are choosing to abandon traditional pay TV to avoid paying the steep cost of cable and satellite packages. Continue reading Report: TV Viewers Continue to Drop Cable and Satellite Subs