Lionsgate to Purchase Premium Channel Starz for $4.4 Billion

Lionsgate announced it has agreed to acquire premium cable network Starz for $4.4 billion in cash and stock. Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht, who just signed a new contract that runs through 2020, is expected to continue running Starz. It is not clear if the deal would have any impact on Lionsgate’s stake in Epix, which the company owns with Viacom and MGM, and serves as the pay TV home to Lionsgate films. The deal will bring 17 Starz- and Encore-branded channels and Anchor Bay Entertainment video distribution to Lionsgate. Continue reading Lionsgate to Purchase Premium Channel Starz for $4.4 Billion

Growth Slow for Skinny Bundles, Attracting Younger Demos

In-home video entertainment is expected to be a $381 billion global business by 2019, of which about $100 billion represents the North American market. That’s why TV conglomerates aren’t eager to offer skinny bundles, and Apple, for the meantime, has given up on it. In the U.S., video entertainment tends to be spread among five different apps on at least two different hardware platforms, costing between $120 and $14o a month, including a TV package of 200+ channels from providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Dish. Continue reading Growth Slow for Skinny Bundles, Attracting Younger Demos

Hulu to Launch Pay TV Service, Joining Other Digital Players

Hulu is the latest platform to compete with traditional pay TV services. Separate from its current on-demand programming model, Hulu plans to launch a cable TV-style online service in Q1 2017, say those familiar with the company’s plans. Hulu co-owners 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company are likely to strike agreements to license many of their channels. ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, the Fox network, Fox News, FX and Fox national and regional sports channels are also anticipated to be part of the lineup. Continue reading Hulu to Launch Pay TV Service, Joining Other Digital Players

Comcast to Purchase DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

The rumors are true. Comcast announced yesterday that it would acquire DreamWorks Animation SKG in a deal valued at $3.8 billion. The move reflects a significant change in entertainment media as companies seek new ways to address the impact of evolving trends such as streaming video and cord-cutting. Since animation performs well in foreign markets and helps drive consumer product sales, DreamWorks could serve as a vital resource for NBCUniversal. The animation studio could also become a launch pad for the Universal theme parks unit, which is currently planning a new park in Beijing. Continue reading Comcast to Purchase DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

AT&T Reveals Plans for 3 Tiers of DirecTV-Branded Web TV

AT&T is the latest player to enter the video-streaming market with an announcement that in Q4 it will offer three plans under the brand of DirecTV, the satellite TV company it acquired last year. What’s missing are all the details. AT&T hasn’t provided programming, pricing or a more specific launch date. But one important point was made clear: AT&T’s national, app-based OTT service will be available to those who are not subscribers to its TV or wireless services. Verizon and Sony offer a similar service. Continue reading AT&T Reveals Plans for 3 Tiers of DirecTV-Branded Web TV

Amazon Expands its TV Footprint, in Talks on Skinny Bundles

AMC Networks chief executive Josh Sapan and ESPN president John Skipper have both spoken recently about discussions with Amazon to include their channels in possible skinny bundles for the Internet. Amazon has gone on record as considering the idea for some time, but hasn’t responded to Sapan and Skipper’s remarks. Amazon isn’t the only online entity that might be hawking TV service soon. Turner Broadcasting chief executive John Martin reveals that he’s talking with six or so new companies looking to do just that. Continue reading Amazon Expands its TV Footprint, in Talks on Skinny Bundles

Research Points to Increase in Cord Cutting and Cord Shaving

According to a recent study, the number of consumers in North America who are cutting the pay TV cord in favor of OTT streaming video services is growing. TiVo subsidiary Digitalsmiths reports that 8.2 percent of survey respondents were no longer paying TV subscriptions as of 2014, a 1.3 percent increase over the previous year. Interestingly, an impressive 45.2 percent indicated that they downsized their cable or satellite TV bundles during the same period in the wake of paying for services such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Instant Video (a trend referred to as “cord shaving”). Continue reading Research Points to Increase in Cord Cutting and Cord Shaving

Apple Redesigns Minimalist Remote Control for New Apple TV

With a new Apple TV expected later this summer, the company has revamped the design for the device’s remote control. While Apple has always pushed for minimalist design, its new remote control will supposedly have more features than the previous model, which has hardly changed since the debut of Apple TV back in 2007. According to sources, the new control, while still user-friendly, features two physical buttons, includes a touchpad and is slightly thicker than the device’s current design. Continue reading Apple Redesigns Minimalist Remote Control for New Apple TV

Is Television Being Held Back by Traditional Cable Bundles?

While television continues to migrate online, live sports have been slow to follow. Many people are still tethered to their cable subscriptions because they want to watch their sports live. As soon as sports programming breaks from bundles and is streamed online, more consumers may become cord cutters and abandon their cable subscriptions altogether. Meanwhile, Canada has become one of the first countries to require companies to dismantle their cable bundles and allow customers to choose their channels. Continue reading Is Television Being Held Back by Traditional Cable Bundles?

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