In Strategy Reversal, Yahoo Shutters its Online Video Portal

Yahoo has shut down Yahoo Screen, the company’s four-year-old video portal that had been a major component of chief exec Marissa Mayer’s turnaround strategy. Yahoo took a $42 million write-off on original video content in October, and while Yahoo Screen had yet to compete with video giant YouTube, comScore notes that the portal had about 15 million U.S. visitors in November. The portal had provided easy access to Yahoo’s video content — from digital magazines, concerts and football games to licensed reruns of “Saturday Night Live” and original series such as “Community.” Continue reading In Strategy Reversal, Yahoo Shutters its Online Video Portal

Comcast’s Stream TV Does Not Affect Subscriber Data Caps

Comcast just launched Stream TV, its live streaming TV service, in the Chicago and Boston areas (including eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine), and plans to debut the service in all its territories by early 2016. What makes Stream TV of interest is that its usage does not count against the 300GB data plans available in some Comcast territories or use a customer’s Internet bandwidth measured in bits per second. Stream TV is an IP cable service delivered over Comcast’s managed network rather than the public Internet. Continue reading Comcast’s Stream TV Does Not Affect Subscriber Data Caps

Networks Cautious of Canceling Shows as TV Viewing Evolves

The television industry is experiencing an unusually long cancellation-free streak for its current season, as networks struggle to adapt to a changing landscape with more viewing alternatives than ever before. Network execs are being extra cautious not to drop a series that may have potential as consumers turn beyond the major broadcasters to cable, on demand, and online streaming alternatives. In addition, overall TV ratings are down and there are more shows than ever before (more than a record-setting 400 are expected by the end of the year across broadcast, cable and online services). Continue reading Networks Cautious of Canceling Shows as TV Viewing Evolves

NY State Attorney General Goes After Fantasy Football Sites

New York State attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman is on a mission to shut down daily fantasy sports websites FanDuel and DraftKings, calling them illegal. Most recently, he sought an injunction to prevent both companies from operating in the state. FanDuel says it will comply by temporarily banning New York consumers from playing. DraftKings, however, says it’s still open for business with New York clientele. Schneiderman is also focusing on other daily fantasy sports sites, subpoenaing Yahoo. Continue reading NY State Attorney General Goes After Fantasy Football Sites

Ruling Against FilmOn Shows Aereo Issues Are Not Resolved

FilmOn just lost its latest court case, with U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer’s ruling that the company is not a cable system, denying it the statutory license cable companies receive. Collyer’s ruling comes as good news to the coalition of TV and movie companies — including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and Telemundo — that sued FilmOn in 2013. The new ruling goes against the July ruling from a Los Angeles Federal judge that went in favor of FilmOn, and also revives many of the same questions behind the Aereo ruling. Continue reading Ruling Against FilmOn Shows Aereo Issues Are Not Resolved

NBCUniversal to Launch Ad-Free Streaming Comedy Channel

Comcast’s NBCUniversal plans to debut a Web-only subscription video service in January called Seeso that will offer comedic fare such as standup specials, original series, select movies, and NBC classics like “The Office” and “30 Rock” along with late-night hits including “Saturday Night Live” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” The ad-free channel, which will cost $3.99 per month, will offer more than 20 exclusive original series during its first year. NBCU said it does not have plans to remove its content from other digital services such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube. Continue reading NBCUniversal to Launch Ad-Free Streaming Comedy Channel

Facebook Betting On VR with New 360-Degree Video Feature

Facebook introduced a new 360-degree spherical video feature this week for the social platform’s newsfeed. At launch, users can roam an immersive trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” by dragging their mouse over the video in order to access different vantage points. Mobile users can change their angle within clips featuring NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and workouts by NBA star LeBron James by simply tilting their smartphone or swiping their finger across the screen. Continue reading Facebook Betting On VR with New 360-Degree Video Feature

Instant Access to NBC Shows and Highlights with Roku App

NBCUniversal has launched a free Roku app that offers television viewers access to day-after-air full high definition episodes and highlights of their favorite NBC shows, including new fall series such as “Blindspot,” “Heroes Reborn” and “The Player.” While no provider login is required for select new series, authentication will be needed for access to returning NBC shows and older content. The network also plans to make late night programming — including “Saturday Night Live” and “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” — available as full episodes and as clips. Continue reading Instant Access to NBC Shows and Highlights with Roku App

“The Daily Show” Builds Out Digital Brand Beyond Cable TV

Comedy Central just hired Baratunde Thurston as a supervising producer of “The Daily Show” to oversee expansion of digital content. As Trevor Noah replaces original host Jon Stewart, “The Daily Show” is poised to deliver expanded content across a wide range of digital platforms. Thurston, humorist and author of “How To Be Black,” was formerly director of digital for The Onion. Online virality has become increasingly important for late night shows such as NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Continue reading “The Daily Show” Builds Out Digital Brand Beyond Cable TV

CBS to Live-Stream Super Bowl Ads, Link Online/TV Ratings

In a first, CBS will live-stream all the Super Bowl ads for its February 7, 2016 broadcast of Super Bowl 50. Super Bowl sponsors will also see online hits and TV ratings coupled, which, up until now, have been separated between Nielsen ratings for TV and other means for online. CBS is also seeking a hike in the cost of placing an ad in the Super Bowl, from at least $4.5 million to $4.7 million for a 30-second spot. This represents another record price since last year when NBC asked between $4.4 million and $4.5 million. Continue reading CBS to Live-Stream Super Bowl Ads, Link Online/TV Ratings

YouTube Readies Paid Service, Mobile Viewership on the Rise

During its recent earnings call, Google claimed that YouTube is now bigger than any single cable network among the 18-49 demographic. YouTube’s heavily engaged user base and significant mobile growth were highlights of the discussion. The video-sharing network will put its own online stars to the test early next year when its new paid video service is expected to launch. Media partners representing more than 90 percent of current YouTube viewing have signed on to the new service, although Google has yet to secure deals with major TV networks. Continue reading YouTube Readies Paid Service, Mobile Viewership on the Rise

Judge: FilmOn Entitled to Compulsory License of Programming

Less than a year after the Supreme Court shut down Aereo for delivering OTA TV signals to Internet subscribers, a U.S. District Court in California granted FilmOn, an Internet video streaming site, a compulsory license to retransmit TV station programming online. The difference between the two cases, says the judge, was that the Supreme Court did not address whether Aereo was entitled to a compulsory license, but rather found that it violated copyright laws. Fox Broadcasting has said it will appeal the ruling favoring FilmOn. Continue reading Judge: FilmOn Entitled to Compulsory License of Programming

Yahoo Hosting Lucrative Daily and One-Week Fantasy Sports

Yahoo now hosts daily and one-week fantasy sports games, one of the most popular activities on the Internet, with an estimated 57 million fans in the U.S. and Canada. Yahoo, similar to other online destinations, has long hosted season-long fantasy sports but the daily segment has grown rapidly in the last two years. Yahoo stands to make hundreds of millions in new revenue, say analysts. Two companies dominate the category: FanDuel and DraftKings, which are now drawing interest from big name investors. Continue reading Yahoo Hosting Lucrative Daily and One-Week Fantasy Sports

Discovery Acquires European Rights to Four Olympic Games

In a deal valued at 1.3 billion euros (about $1.45 billion), Discovery Communications has paid for exclusive rights to broadcast four Olympic Games across most of Europe from 2018 to 2024. The rights include broadcast and pay TV, the Internet and mobile. The deal, announced by Discovery yesterday, marks the first time that a single media company has paid for exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympics across Europe. Discovery plans to make at least 200 hours of the Summer Olympics and 100 hours of the Winter Games available on free-to-air television. Continue reading Discovery Acquires European Rights to Four Olympic Games

Android TV Blends Online Video and Broadcast Programming

At last week’s Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco, Google announced a new initiative to mix online video services with popular television content. Via Android TV Channels, Internet video app publishers have the ability to add linear channels of programming to Google’s Android TV platform on the same program grid used for broadcast TV networks. According to Google, the initial launch partners include AOL, Bloomberg, the Huffington Post, Pluto, TED, Vevo, the Weather Network, and European live streamer Zattoo. Continue reading Android TV Blends Online Video and Broadcast Programming

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