Walmart to License MGM Content for its Vudu VOD Service

Walmart, which bought video-on-demand service Vudu eight years ago, just inked a partnership with MGM to license family-friendly content. Vudu’s monthly viewer numbers lag behind Netflix and Hulu, the latter controlled by Disney, Comcast, 21st Century Fox and AT&T. Although media outlets reported that Walmart intends to launch a subscription-based streaming video service, sources inside Walmart reveal that Walmart is not doing so, but still hopes to improve its VOD business and target viewers outside big cities. Continue reading Walmart to License MGM Content for its Vudu VOD Service

AT&T Buys Chernin Group’s Controlling Stake in Otter Media

In 2013, Chernin Group chair/chief executive Peter Chernin and company president Jesse Jacobs, believing streaming media was the future, bought Crunchyroll, which specialized in anime, for $75 million. They then added other new media startups including Fullscreen, an ad agency for YouTube stars, Rooster Teeth, a video producer aimed at gamers and VRV’s 11 niche channels, creating Otter Media. On Tuesday, in a move that was long expected by analysts, the Chernin Group sold controlling interest in Otter Media to joint-venture partner AT&T in a deal valued at more than $1 billion. Continue reading AT&T Buys Chernin Group’s Controlling Stake in Otter Media

Household Brands Are Competing to Put Tech in Your Kitchen

Brands like Whirlpool, Samsung and Bosch are in a race with tech companies like Google and Amazon to get into your kitchen, a room often considered the heart of a home. According to The New York Times, the goal is to get “Internet-connected appliances and cooking gadgets” like “refrigerators embedded with touchscreens, smart dishwashers and connected countertop screens with artificially intelligent assistants that react to spoken commands” into your home first as the promise of the connected smart home comes closer to reality. But these things remain a hard sell with consumers.

Continue reading Household Brands Are Competing to Put Tech in Your Kitchen

Reviews: Apple HomePod Offers Great Sound But Not Smarts

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker has debuted to mixed reviews. HomePod can stream music directly from Apple Music but no other popular music streaming service such as Spotify or Pandora. It’s equally partisan in that, despite its Bluetooth, users must use Apple’s own AirPlay to stream the music, and Android phones aren’t able to pair with it. The Home app lets users set up and control a variety of HomeKit-compatible smart home devices. The system currently lacks the ability to link HomePods together for a multi-room setup. Continue reading Reviews: Apple HomePod Offers Great Sound But Not Smarts

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

Netflix Launches Two New Interactive Digital Shows for Kids

Netflix is embarking on an experiment in interactive online storytelling with children’s programs “Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale” (available now) and “Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile” (debuting July 14). With thousands of possible story paths, the shows allow viewers to choose his or own adventure. Whereas books and videogames have offered this kind of storytelling for years, it’s been difficult — and, from the point of view of the studio or TV network, not financially viable — to do so for video. Continue reading Netflix Launches Two New Interactive Digital Shows for Kids

NAB 2017: Parks Associates Study Finds That TV Is Still King

Parks Associates debuted a report looking at trends in OTT, focusing on 2010 through 2016. Senior research analyst Glenn Hower stated that TV remains the top viewing platform by hours of video watched in U.S. households. “Yes, people do watch video on lots of devices,” said Hower. “But it hasn’t cannibalized TV.” Among those devices, viewing on computers has leveled out, whereas mobile phones and tablets have seen modest increases, but low overall viewership, which means people are watching a lot of short form content.” Continue reading NAB 2017: Parks Associates Study Finds That TV Is Still King

Sharing HBO GO or Netflix Passwords Is Now a Federal Crime

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled that using another person’s password to access online services such as HBO GO and Netflix is now considered in violation of federal computer laws. “But don’t panic,” suggests Variety. “It’s not likely that subscription VOD providers will suddenly have the feds descend on people swapping their login credentials.” While a 2015 study from Parks Associates projected that SVOD services could lose up to $500 million in revenue from password sharing, several services have downplayed the impact. During CES, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings even noted that many violators often become paying customers. Continue reading Sharing HBO GO or Netflix Passwords Is Now a Federal Crime

CES: Conference Tracks Explore Breadth, Depth of Innovation

In addition to its 2.2 million square feet of exhibit space and product showcases, CES offers nearly 300 conference sessions covering the gamut of consumer technology. Its 36 different conference tracks explore industry sectors from Automotive to Wireless. These conference sessions leverage the presence of more than 48,000 senior-level executives and government officials, many of whom participate on panels or present as subject matter experts. ETC will cover the most relevant sessions from Las Vegas, January 5-9. Continue reading CES: Conference Tracks Explore Breadth, Depth of Innovation

Digital Hollywood: Evolution of Internet TV and Mobile Video

Internet TV has become increasingly mainstream, fulfilling the promise of video anytime, anywhere. A Digital Hollywood panel, moderated by Siemens executive Steve Wong, took a look at video across platforms to determine where the players currently stand in the evolution. Quoting a Parks Associates study, Wong revealed that North America leads the globe with OTT, whose revenue is largely based on subscriptions rather than transactions. Internet advertising is also due to overtake TV advertising by 2017, said the study. Continue reading Digital Hollywood: Evolution of Internet TV and Mobile Video

Today’s Subscription VOD Players Deal with Password Sharing

Netflix, HBO and other Internet video-subscription providers will lose about $500 million worldwide in 2015 due to nonpaying customers who piggyback off the login info of paying friends and family. However, because these companies want to make it easy for consumers to use their services, especially as the number of new subscribers continues to grow, they have yet to crack down on password sharing. Netflix and HBO execs are reportedly not concerned about the issue, as studies have shown many unauthorized users eventually become paying customers. Continue reading Today’s Subscription VOD Players Deal with Password Sharing

PlayReady: Microsoft and Chipmakers Plan to Reduce Piracy

In an effort to reduce movie piracy, Microsoft is working alongside chip manufacturers such as Qualcommn, AMD, Nvidia and Intel to develop a technology for the PC that monitors and protects select HD content from being illegally copied. The technology, which Microsoft is calling PlayReady 3.0, will be available for PC owners running on Windows 10. Microsoft wants to ensure that PlayReady 3.0 can serve as a reliable and safe way for movie viewers to stream high-quality, 4K content on their PCs.  Continue reading PlayReady: Microsoft and Chipmakers Plan to Reduce Piracy

Parks Research Predicts Early Adopters of HBO Online Service

HBO is expected to offer its Web-only subscription service this spring. According to Parks Associates, the move could have an impact on the pay TV business since 17 percent of homes with high-speed Internet indicate plans to subscribe to the OTT service. And while 88 million U.S. households currently have broadband, that percentage potentially represents nearly 15 million subscribers. Following a strong media reaction, Parks followed up by clarifying that the data is a measure of sentiment and placing numbers on potential cord cutters may be premature. Continue reading Parks Research Predicts Early Adopters of HBO Online Service

2015 CES: Wearables to Take Many Forms at the Sands Expo

Wearables made a surprisingly robust showing at the 2014 International CES. At the next Consumer Electronics Show in January, a Wearables Marketplace (Sands, Level 2) will gather companies providing products from “high-tech fashion and smart jewelry to wearables that track your mood, activity and even your pets, as well as the newest augmented reality devices.” Other wearable providers will be found in the Smart Watches, Health & Wellness and Sports Tech Marketplaces, all located in the Sands Expo. Continue reading 2015 CES: Wearables to Take Many Forms at the Sands Expo

Chromecast Numbers Surpass Apple TV, Roku Holds the Lead

A recent survey shows that Google’s Chromecast media dongle is now more popular among U.S. households than the Apple TV set-top box. The small Chromecast device simply plugs into a TV’s HDMI slot to play streaming media content from the Internet. At just $35, Chromecast continues to gain momentum with consumers looking for an affordable means of playing video on their TVs from services such as Hulu, Netflix and YouTube. Despite Chromecast’s new position in the rankings, it remains second to Roku. Continue reading Chromecast Numbers Surpass Apple TV, Roku Holds the Lead

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