Netflix Is Joining the MPAA, ‘Roma’ Nominated For 10 Oscars

Netflix continues to define itself as a significant player in the film industry. Shortly after it revealed plans to continue investing heavily in original content, the streaming media giant has joined major Hollywood studios as a member of the Motion Picture Association of America. The move marks the first time an Internet company has joined the MPAA. “Joining the Motion Picture Association further exemplifies our commitment to ensuring the vibrancy of these creative industries and the many talented people who work in them all over the world,” explained Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. Continue reading Netflix Is Joining the MPAA, ‘Roma’ Nominated For 10 Oscars

Netflix Is Expected to Spend $15 Billion on Content This Year

Netflix is continuing to invest heavily in content for its popular streaming service. According to its 2018 fourth quarter earnings report, the company spent $8.9 billion in 2017 and $12.04 billion last year. Wall Street analysts predict Netflix will increase its spending around 25 percent in 2019, which would bring its investment to $15 billion. Netflix will also continue to spend big on marketing its original content; such costs increased 65 percent last year, and are projected to jump another 22 percent this year to almost $2.9 billion.

Continue reading Netflix Is Expected to Spend $15 Billion on Content This Year

Netflix Raises Subscription Prices to Fund Its Original Content

Netflix is raising its prices again, increasing the cost of its most popular plan to $13 per month, from $11, an 18 percent bump. The basic plan rose from $8 to $9 per month, a 13 percent increase. Netflix, which last raised prices in 2017, did so to offset its massive spending on original content. It is also a way to compete with rivals in streaming video from Amazon to Hulu as well as newcomers including AT&T’s WarnerMedia, Disney and Comcast’s NBCUniversal. In response to the news, Netflix shares rose 6.5 percent to $354.64. Continue reading Netflix Raises Subscription Prices to Fund Its Original Content

U.S. Home Entertainment Spending Peaks at $23.3B in 2018

According to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, U.S. consumer spending on home entertainment during 2018 reached an estimated $23.3 billion, a new record. During CES, DEG revealed that subscription streaming and “transactional video-on-demand” (TVOD) boosted the amount spent, which was up 11.5 percent from 2017. DEG noted that the numbers are still preliminary and that final numbers will be revealed in early February. The biggest growth came from subscription streaming mainly via Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Continue reading U.S. Home Entertainment Spending Peaks at $23.3B in 2018

NBCUniversal Readies Free, Ad-Supported Streaming Service

In 2020, Comcast’s NBCUniversal will launch a free, ad-supported streaming video service featuring the company’s own TV and film content as well as acquired programming and original content. The 52 million subscribers to Comcast Cable and Sky, the recently acquired European pay-TV unit, will receive the streaming service for free. According to sources, NBCUniversal will also offer the service for no additional charge to Charter Communications and Cox Communications, among other U.S. pay-TV companies with NBC channels. Continue reading NBCUniversal Readies Free, Ad-Supported Streaming Service

CES Panel: Envisioning Entertainment in the 5G Ecosystem

UTA chief innovation officer Brent Weinstein convened technology and entertainment honchos to parse out 5G’s impact on a range of M&E applications. Intel senior vice president/general manager of the network platforms group Sandra Rivera opined that, “it’s never too early to be on the forefront of innovation.” “The work we did on 4G created the environment that drew in investment and services from Airbnb to Netflix and Uber,” she said. “We’re not quite at 5G, but the excitement is attracting the entrepreneurs and engineers.” Continue reading CES Panel: Envisioning Entertainment in the 5G Ecosystem

CES Panel: Defining TV Across Primetime and Multi-Platforms

Altman Vilandrie & Company director Jonathan Hurd presided over a panel at CES on how TV has evolved and will continue to change. Viacom’s Stefanie Schwartz noted that her company is making “hours of original content to drive viewership and engagement on all the social platforms.” “We’re experimenting with all kinds of formats and seeing what works,” she said. MAGNA North America president David Cohen said his company is doubling down on OTT. “We’re looking to think about where to put the dollars as consumers migrate,” he said. Continue reading CES Panel: Defining TV Across Primetime and Multi-Platforms

New Netflix CFO Is Expected to Face Cash Flow Challenges

Netflix recently named Spencer Neumann as its new chief financial officer. He faces the unenviable task of convincing investors that the path of investing immense sums of money into original content to grow subscriptions and profits will eventually pay off. Co-founder/chief executive Reed Hastings and chief content officer Ted Sarandos have driven the current strategy relying on original content, which is aimed at battling rivals such as Amazon, Hulu and HBO. They will continue to lead business and content strategy. Continue reading New Netflix CFO Is Expected to Face Cash Flow Challenges

Roku Adds Premium Subs to Roku Channel, Updates its App

Following in the footsteps of its rival Amazon, Roku announced that users will be able to buy pay-TV subscriptions through its streaming service, The Roku Channel, beginning in late January. That mimics Amazon’s sale of access to HBO and other premium channels through its Prime Video platform. Roku’s offering will include Showtime, Starz and EPIX among others. The new feature, which replaces one in which Roku acted as a portal to outside services, will also be financially favorable for the company. Continue reading Roku Adds Premium Subs to Roku Channel, Updates its App

Netflix Tests Interactive Storytelling in ‘Black Mirror’ Episode

Netflix released “Bandersnatch,” an interactive episode of “Black Mirror,” its popular techno-paranoia series, that lets the viewer decide what happens at many points throughout the story, beginning with what cereal the protagonist has for breakfast. Netflix, which is using the episode to test if audiences are ready to embrace interactivity, already developed software to organize stories with infinite variations, called on producers to submit proposals for interactive stories, and hinted it has more in the works. Continue reading Netflix Tests Interactive Storytelling in ‘Black Mirror’ Episode

Samsung Likely to Enable Third-Party Assistants in 2019 TVs

At CES 2019, when Samsung introduces its latest line-up of TVs, it might also unveil plans to integrate Google Assistant into its 2019 TV sets, according to sources. The company is expected to place a bigger emphasis on audio quality, and might also offer features in its TVs that are similar to Apple’s HomePod, which “tunes” music to its environment. Samsung wouldn’t comment on these plans, but did highlight the 2019 models of its Frame and Serif TVs. In 2018, Samsung added Bixby, its own voice assistant, to that year’s TV lineup. Continue reading Samsung Likely to Enable Third-Party Assistants in 2019 TVs

Facebook Shared Private Data to Advance Its Own Interests

According to its 2017 internal records, Facebook shared users’ personal data with the world’s biggest tech firms, allowing them to circumvent privacy rules. By doing so, Facebook boosted its advertising revenue, partner companies enhanced their products with more features, and Facebook users were able to connect across websites and devices. For example, Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see names of all its 2.2 billion global users without consent, and let Netflix and Spotify read users’ private messages. Continue reading Facebook Shared Private Data to Advance Its Own Interests

Netflix’s Release Models Are Challenging Hollywood Studios

If director Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” gets Netflix its first Best Picture nomination for the Oscars, much of the credit will go to Scott Stuber, who heads Netflix’s movie business. His mandate is to help Netflix loom as large in movies as it does in television, where it received 112 Emmy nominations this year, the most of any network. Netflix is spending big on its Academy Awards campaign for “Roma,” and studios are worried that Netflix’s move into features might lead viewers to avoid movie theaters altogether. Continue reading Netflix’s Release Models Are Challenging Hollywood Studios

Computer-Generated Photoreal Influencers, Avatars Are Here

Computer-generated influencers have arrived. The glamorous all-digital Miquela Sousa (also known as Lil Mequela), which was created by Los Angeles-based startup Brud, has been the star of an Ugg advertising campaign, appearing on billboards around the world. Brud believes it can create CGI social media stars that are easier to manage and monetize than human celebrities. It’s not alone in its efforts; Soul Machines, which has debuted dozens of digital humans, is launching its Digital DNA platform to make it easier to create virtual avatars. Continue reading Computer-Generated Photoreal Influencers, Avatars Are Here

Netflix and Amazon Face Formidable Video Rival in YouTube

Netflix is strategizing ways to court the hundreds of thousands of people in places like India that are glued to watching YouTube on their mobile phones. Only a few months, ago, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings said sleep was Netflix’s biggest competitor. But since his company is also eyeing India for its next 100 million Netflix subscribers, that country’s focus on YouTube is concerning. Netflix and Amazon, both of which have spent billions to produce original content, still find it difficult to crack emerging markets. Continue reading Netflix and Amazon Face Formidable Video Rival in YouTube

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