Snap Is Latest Social Company to Plan Original Video Push

To better compete with social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, Snap Inc. is launching a scripted video initiative called Snap Originals. Teaming with media titans such as Viacom and NBCUniversal to produce original content and syndicate existing shows, Snap aims to ramp up its serialized offerings as Instagram readies its IGTV hub for mobile video. Snap has already been experimenting in this space through partnerships with networks including E!, NBC and ESPN to produce content for its Discover section.

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Amazon, TiVo Unveil Over-the-Air Products for Cord Cutters

Amazon recently introduced its Fire TV Recast, a networked DVR, and TiVo debuted its new set-top box, the TiVo Bolt OTA, with both companies’ products aimed at giving cord cutters a new way to enjoy content. Fire TV Recast allows consumers to watch and record over-the-air TV content with a Fire TV, Echo Show or other compatible mobile device. TiVo’s new STB joins its existing line of Bolt devices, including the voice-controlled Bolt Vox DVRs, and enables anyone with a digital antenna to watch live over-the-air TV. Continue reading Amazon, TiVo Unveil Over-the-Air Products for Cord Cutters

Apple’s Hollywood Strategy Focuses on Family-Friendly Fare

Last year Apple set aside $1 billion for Hollywood entertainment. But as the tech company pushes into entertainment, it faces issues related to its brand. Its first scripted drama, “Vital Signs,” a semi-biographical story about Dr. Dre, is a key example. After seeing its guns, cocaine and adult themes, Apple chief executive Tim Cook reportedly told Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine that the content went too far, say sources, and nixed the series. Cook wants entertainment, but not the kind that could tarnish Apple’s brand. Continue reading Apple’s Hollywood Strategy Focuses on Family-Friendly Fare

Sony Adds 200 Local Channels to its PlayStation Vue Service

Sony’s OTT service PlayStation Vue is expanding its lineup by adding 200 local stations across the U.S., including ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC affiliates and ESPN College Extra. With the expanded lineup, Playstation Vue now features more than 450 local stations. The service is available via Sony’s game console; across Android, iOS and web platforms; and media players such as Android TV, Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV, Google’s Chromecast and Roku devices. The additions could help the service compete with new players, including Hulu and YouTube TV. Continue reading Sony Adds 200 Local Channels to its PlayStation Vue Service

Facebook in Pursuit of Interactive Video With Vidspresso Deal

Facebook struck a deal with Utah-based Vidpresso to acquire its technology and absorb its seven-person team, without actually buying the company. Vidpresso’s website says that the new partnership will help put its tools in the hands of creators. Founded in 2012 to “make video more like HTML,” Vidpresso allows publishers to incorporate interactive graphics and superimposed captions to encourage viewers to respond to polls or ask questions. BuzzFeed, Nasdaq, NBC, TED, Turner Sports and Univision are among its customers. Continue reading Facebook in Pursuit of Interactive Video With Vidspresso Deal

NFL, Snap Extend Content Partnership for Next Two Seasons

The National Football League extended its content partnership with Snap for its 2018 and 2019 seasons, and added a Sunday experience, the Sunday Publisher Story, to deliver game news, highlights and hourly updates. The NFL content will continue to be featured in Snapchat’s Our Stories. In addition to the NFL, Snap has inked content partnerships with all major U.S. leagues as well as NBC and IOC for Olympics and Fox Sports for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The NFL and Snap signed their first deal in 2015. Continue reading NFL, Snap Extend Content Partnership for Next Two Seasons

Gray Television, Raycom Media to Merge in $3.6 Billion Deal

Gray Television and Raycom Media jointly announced plans to combine their companies in a $3.65 billion cash-and-stock deal. Gray will acquire Raycom for $2.85 billion in cash, $650 million in a new series of preferred stock, and 11.5 million shares of Gray common stock. After spinning off nine stations, the combined company will operate 142 stations in 92 markets. Raycom president and CEO Pat LaPlatney will become Gray’s president and co-CEO, while Gray’s current chief Hilton Howell will serve as executive chairman and co-CEO.

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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

AirTV Rolls Out Networked Tuner to Access Local Broadcasts

Dish subsidiary AirTV just launched a new device, also dubbed AirTV, that lets its subscribers watch free live content from broadcast networks, including ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and Fox, on TVs and mobile devices. AirTV is a networked tuner that comes with Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity. Priced at $120, AirTV also comes with a $25 credit for Dish’s Sling TV streaming service, which mainly provides access to cable channels. With AirTV, Sling TV subscribers can access over-the-air channels via their Sling TV app. Continue reading AirTV Rolls Out Networked Tuner to Access Local Broadcasts

NBCUniversal, Intel, Microsoft, Unity Launch Gaming Contest

NBCUniversal is inviting developers to create games leveraging its popular television and film properties such as “Battlestar Galactica,” “Back to the Future” and “Jaws.” Through the Universal GameDev Challenge — co-sponsored by Universal, Unity Technologies, Intel, and Microsoft — Unity game engine developers can submit pitches to be selected to build out their full vision in PC game form. Winner and runner-up win a consulting contract with Universal, Microsoft and Unity, along with a combined $250,000.

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NBC News Could Launch a Live-Streaming Product This Year

NBC News programming is currently available via broadcast television, cable channel MSNBC and social platform Snapchat. An additional distribution option to attract younger viewers is being considered. Speaking to reporters this week, NBC News and MSNBC chair Andrew Lack explained that execs are mulling a new live-streaming service. “Lack did not give a time frame for a launch, though he suggested the concept could roll out in 2018,” reports Variety. “He and Nick Ascheim, senior vice president of digital for NBC News, said executives were also considering whether the product would be free or require a subscription.” Continue reading NBC News Could Launch a Live-Streaming Product This Year

YouTube TV Adds Turner and Sports Content, Raises Pricing

Starting next month, new subscribers to YouTube TV will face a $5 monthly increase. The new price will run $40 per month; however, existing subscribers will continue to pay $35. The good news for consumers is that the service announced a major content expansion with new offerings from Turner, NBA TV and MLB Network. The base package now includes Turner networks such as Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, CNN, HLN, TBS, TNT, truTV and Turner Classic Movies. MLB Network and NBA TV will soon join the lineup. Continue reading YouTube TV Adds Turner and Sports Content, Raises Pricing

NBC, Intel and Snap to Stream Live Video of Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics is going to get wide coverage from NBC, which plans to live broadcast the events in PyeongChang, South Korea across all time zones and without delays. In contrast to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this one will feature even more video on social media platforms. NBC and Intel plan to stream 30 events in virtual reality, including the opening ceremony, and Snapchat is launching a tool for NBC to feed snippets of live coverage into its app. Continue reading NBC, Intel and Snap to Stream Live Video of Winter Olympics

NBCUniversal Snags Mobile Rights to ‘Sunday Night Football’

NBCUniversal inked a deal with NFL for the rights to stream “Sunday Night Football” to mobile phones, beginning in 2018 and including Super Bowl LII on February 4. The media titan, which will stream the games through its “TV Everywhere” mobile phone offering, has been streaming “Sunday Night Football” to various platforms since 2008, but this is the first time it will be able to stream the No. 1 primetime TV show on all digital platforms. Cable subscribers have had access to the games via apps for tablets and smart TVs. Continue reading NBCUniversal Snags Mobile Rights to ‘Sunday Night Football’

Verizon Inks Deal for NFL Games on Yahoo, Mobile Platforms

Verizon Communications inked a deal valued at more than $2 billion with the National Football League, to show NFL football games on its mobile network, Yahoo, Yahoo Sports and go90 mobile platforms. The telecommunications giant will make Monday, Thursday and Sunday night national games available on its smartphone apps regardless of carrier, as well as playoffs and Sunday afternoon games from a user’s home market. National games, except Sunday afternoon games, will also be available on tablets. Continue reading Verizon Inks Deal for NFL Games on Yahoo, Mobile Platforms

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