Spotify Adds Content to Compete With Radio, YouTube, Apple

Popular streaming music service Spotify plans to take on radio and podcasts from Apple and others by introducing news and political coverage to its content offerings. Spotify’s new Spotlight feature will include programming from partners such as BuzzFeed and Refinery29. BuzzFeed, for example, will provide daily newscasts that run four to seven minutes in duration. Spotify’s 70 million users already have access to music and new video and podcast offerings; Spotlight will add news, politics, pop culture and sports coverage. The strategy could position Spotify as a competitor to YouTube and Apple. Continue reading Spotify Adds Content to Compete With Radio, YouTube, Apple

Facebook Lifts Ban on Pre-Roll Ads, in Beta Tests for Watch

Facebook has resisted the practice of pre-roll ads. Now, according to knowledgeable advertisers, in a major shift the company says it plans to test such ads for Watch shows. The ban on pre-roll ads came directly from chief executive Mark Zuckerberg who stressed that users came to the site to look at a feed, not watch one specific piece of content. This year, however, Facebook debuted Watch, where TV studios, publishers and celebrities can try to sell advertising against their shows, an ideal format for pre-roll ads. Continue reading Facebook Lifts Ban on Pre-Roll Ads, in Beta Tests for Watch

Facebook Plans to Introduce Original Programs This Summer

Facebook is meeting with Creative Artists Agency, United Talent Agency, William Morris Endeavor and ICM Partners as part of its effort to debut original programs by the end of summer, say sources. The social media titan also said it will commit to hefty production budgets — up to $3 million per episode — similar to those of high-end cable shows, as well as more moderately priced shows costing mid-to-high six figures per episode. Facebook’s plan is to own as much of the content as possible. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Introduce Original Programs This Summer

Tumblr Users Can Stream Live Video to Followers’ Dashboards

Blogging platform Tumblr now enables users to live stream video directly to their followers’ dashboards. Live videos “can be reblogged like any other post,” while push notifications can be distributed when someone goes live or reblogs a live stream. Unlike Facebook Live, Tumblr is positioning itself as the publishing and discovery platform for existing services, including YouTube, YouNow, Kanvas and Upclose. All partner apps are ready to support live streaming to Tumblr on iOS and Android, with the exception of YouTube, which is Android-ready now and will add iOS support shortly. Continue reading Tumblr Users Can Stream Live Video to Followers’ Dashboards

Emmy Awards to Debut New Short-Form Categories This Year

The Television Academy has added Emmy Award categories for short-form variety, nonfiction/reality and animation series as well as new actor and actress awards. The move reflects recognition of the growing popularity of original content produced primarily for online video services. Contenders on the 2016 ballot include digital series such as Maker Studios’ “Epic Rap Battles of History;” “Scare PewDiePie,” available on YouTube Red; AwesomenessTV’s “Guidance;” and New Form Digital’s “Oscar’s Hotel for Fantastical Creatures,” produced with Jim Henson’s Creature Workshop and available on Vimeo. Continue reading Emmy Awards to Debut New Short-Form Categories This Year

Snapchat Tests Sponsored Discover Channel with James Bond

Snapchat launched a temporary Discover channel yesterday featuring advertiser-created content. Sony Pictures Entertainment paid for a “sponsored” Discover channel to promote its new James Bond film “Spectre,” which opened on Monday in the U.K. The Discover section currently includes 15 media partners, but the 007 channel (which is sharing multimedia content for the film such as behind-the-scenes footage, cast member testimonials and Bond trivia questions) represents the first time a brand has paid to be featured this way on Snapchat Discover. Continue reading Snapchat Tests Sponsored Discover Channel with James Bond

Comcast to Debut Latest Streaming Video Platform, Watchable

The video platform skirmishes just heated up with news that Comcast is about to launch its own, dubbed Watchable. The streaming video platform will feature content from a list of major publishers, including NBC Sports, AwesomenessTV, Refinery29 and The Onion as well as two companies it has already invested in, Vox and Buzzfeed. Deals are non-exclusive, allowing publishers to also post on Facebook, one of Comcast’s chief rivals in online video. Comcast is also up against YouTube and Verizon’s as-of-yet unnamed video platform. Continue reading Comcast to Debut Latest Streaming Video Platform, Watchable