Netflix Dominance Pushing Studios to Earlier Release Window

Big spending digital players Netflix and Amazon are shaking up traditional TV stalwarts. Netflix is expected to spend $6 billion on original and acquired programming this year, up $1 billion from last year. That figure is five times more than what cable outlets FX (owned by 21st Century Fox) and Showtime (owned by CBS Corp.) spend and more than twice that spent by Time Warner’s premium channel HBO. TV actors are demanding $250,000 an episode, twice their previous rate, and there’s a feeding frenzy for A-list below-the-line crews. Continue reading Netflix Dominance Pushing Studios to Earlier Release Window

Comcast’s Upcoming Streaming Option to Target Cord-Cutters

Comcast is planning a third quarter launch for its expanded streaming video service called Xfinity Instant TV. The $15-$40 per month service, targeting broadband subscribers looking to opt out of traditional cable bundles, “will include major broadcast networks as well as add-on options for sports channels like ESPN and Spanish language channels such as Telemundo and Univision,” reports Reuters. The company hopes customers will later upgrade to the X1 platform. Xfinity Instant TV is a new version of its Stream service that was tested earlier in Boston and Chicago. Dish and AT&T are already targeting cord cutters, but “Comcast’s service is different in that it is limited to its territories and to its own broadband subscribers.” Continue reading Comcast’s Upcoming Streaming Option to Target Cord-Cutters

Vudu’s Mobile App Converts DVDs, Blu-rays into Digital Copies

Vudu will now let people convert their DVD and Blu-ray Disc content into digital copies for use on various Internet-connected devices by simply scanning the UPC barcode via their smartphones. One caveat, however, is that the Vudu Mobile Disc-to-Digital feature requires the user to be physically located at their home billing address. That requirement is an anti-fraud measure put in place by Walmart, which bought the premium video-streaming service in 2010. The feature is also limited to transfer 100 titles per year per account. Continue reading Vudu’s Mobile App Converts DVDs, Blu-rays into Digital Copies

Tech Giants Compete to Stream NFL’s Thursday Night Football

Amazon, Facebook, Google and Twitter are vying for the rights to stream the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” games next season, say sources. Last year, Twitter won the bidding, paying $10 million to stream 10 games. The NFL will likely make its decision within the next month, and there’s a chance it may hint at its decision at its annual meeting in Phoenix this week. Live sports are a hot commodity and since the TV rights for nearly all of them are already locked up, “Thursday Night Football” streaming is even more valuable. Continue reading Tech Giants Compete to Stream NFL’s Thursday Night Football

AMC Planning a New Streaming Service for Cable Subscribers

According to inside sources, AMC Networks plans to target millennials with its own ad-free, online streaming service. However, distinguishing itself from today’s collection of standalone options, AMC’s offering will reportedly be made available exclusively for cable subscribers, a move meant to support the pay TV industry as it faces a growing number of cord cutters. “AMC is discussing featuring digital-only spinoff shows of its existing programs like ‘The Walking Dead’ and is considering pricing between $4.99 to $6.99 a month,” reports Reuters. “Packaging the service as an add-on to existing cable bills allows AMC to curry favor with cable and satellite companies.” Continue reading AMC Planning a New Streaming Service for Cable Subscribers

Facebook Takes its Next Step in Becoming Broadcast Platform

Facebook is taking on Amazon’s Twitch and the growing list of video competitors with new expanded live streaming features. “Users can go Live directly from Facebook’s desktop website via their webcam, stream through professional equipment and software hooked up to a desktop and broadcast gameplay from their computer,” reports TechCrunch. While mobile remains a focus for Facebook, desktop users can now broadcast straight to News Feeds and include graphics, titles and other overlays. “Opening up on desktop takes Facebook Live beyond Twitter and Periscope’s options, and brings it into competition with longer-running services like YouTube, Ustream and Livestream.” Continue reading Facebook Takes its Next Step in Becoming Broadcast Platform

Survey Finds Binge-Watching by Younger Viewers on Upswing

Deloitte’s 11th annual “Digital Democracy Survey” found that 73 percent of U.S. consumers have binge-watched video, up from 68 percent two years ago. Binge-watching TV is more common with younger audiences — 90 percent of millennials (ages 20-33) and 87 percent of Gen Z (ages 14-19) — who are increasingly watching on mobile devices. While televisions are losing popularity among younger audiences for marathon-viewing, older demographics — 60 percent of Gen X (ages 34-50) and 80 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 51-69) — still prefer TV. Nearly 40 percent of younger viewers binge-watch TV on a weekly basis, averaging about five hours of content per session. Continue reading Survey Finds Binge-Watching by Younger Viewers on Upswing

Source Says Twitter Will Launch its New Live Video API Today

As Twitter readies its first original content presentation for the Digital NewFronts in May, the company is reportedly launching a live video API today designed to help media publishers post live video broadcasts via the social platform. Twitter’s offering is expected to be similar to the Facebook Live API launched last year. “The API will let companies hook up professional broadcasting and video editing equipment to Twitter with more powerful integrations than Twitter’s existing Periscope Producer feature,” explains TechCrunch. “Telestream, Wirecast, and Livestream Switcher are amongst the API partners that will help publishers use the API.” Continue reading Source Says Twitter Will Launch its New Live Video API Today

Google Plans to Simplify Advertiser Controls for YouTube Video

In response to pressure from advertisers unhappy with placement of their commercials before extremist group videos on YouTube, Google apologized and explained it would simplify the tools that help advertisers control where online ads appear. The British unit of French advertising firm Havas, the U.K. government, and Marks & Spencer Group are among those that suspended their ads on YouTube and the Google Display Network. Matt Brittin, Google’s president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, “said he would step up enforcement and review policies to make sure ads don’t inadvertently appear near inappropriate videos,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “He said Google wanted to be careful with how it did so because some advertisers, such as news organizations, might want to place ads alongside controversial content.” Continue reading Google Plans to Simplify Advertiser Controls for YouTube Video

Netflix Continues Push to Become the First Global TV Network

Journalists were recently invited to the Silicon Valley offices of Netflix for a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s distribution efforts for its latest Marvel series, “Iron Fist.” Through a series of talks that emphasized how the streaming service is essentially becoming a global Internet-based television network for more than 93 million subscribers, the “Netflix Lab Days” event addressed the tech and business considerations involved with programming for an international audience, creating “taste communities” for recommendations and personalization, initiating deals with TV operators and ISPs around the world, language translations for original content, and translating the Netflix apps and catalog into multiple languages. Continue reading Netflix Continues Push to Become the First Global TV Network

Hulu TV Service Will Likely Offer Simultaneous Streams, Alerts

Hulu’s upcoming live TV service will compete for cord cutters with offerings such as Dish’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Sony’s PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV. While details of the new service have been limited, the company’s marketing site (where it’s currently taking sign-up requests) has teased a few tidbits. The service will likely offer a combination of Hulu’s on-demand content with the option of live TV for a monthly fee below $40. It will also feature a DVR option; a new interface with user profiles, guest profiles, and recommendations; the ability to pause a live TV show for later viewing; real-time custom alerts for events and programs; and support for multiple, simultaneous streams on live TV. Continue reading Hulu TV Service Will Likely Offer Simultaneous Streams, Alerts

Sony Holds Lead in Console Market, Platform Subs on the Rise

IHS Markit reports that Sony led the gaming hardware, software and service market last year, nearly doubling the share of Microsoft and its Xbox One. Sony is expected to continue its dominance through 2017. According to IHS, Sony captured 57 percent ($19.7 billion) of spending by gamers in 2016, “thanks to growth of digital console games,” notes VentureBeat, adding, however, “that the overall console game market shrank in 2016, and Nintendo is newly competitive this year with the launch of the Switch game console.” Additionally, Microsoft may experience a rebound this year with the launch of its PS4 competitor, Project Scorpio. Continue reading Sony Holds Lead in Console Market, Platform Subs on the Rise

Twitter Live-Streaming eSports Competitions, Related Content

Twitter has added eSports to its growing list of live-streaming pursuits. The social-networking company plans to broadcast more than 1,500 hours of gaming competitions this year. Twitter is working with eSports organizer ESL (originally Electronic Sports League) and game festival organizer DreamHack, both owned by Sweden-based Modern Times Group. The live streams include coverage of globally popular games such as “StarCraft” and “League of Legends,” in addition to sponsored highlight packages and traditional advertising. Twitter is also broadcasting an exclusive weekly highlight program. Continue reading Twitter Live-Streaming eSports Competitions, Related Content

Facebook Signs Exclusive Streaming Deal with MLS, Univision

As part of Facebook’s strategy to expand its video business, the social network is looking to stream professional sporting events. Most recently, Facebook signed an agreement with Major League Soccer and Univision that will give the social platform exclusive, English-language streaming rights for a minimum of 22 regular season games in the U.S. The games will stream via Univision Deportes’ Facebook page, and the exclusive “Matchday Live” analysis shows produced by Major League Soccer will air on the MLS Facebook page. The first match-up is slated to stream this Saturday. Continue reading Facebook Signs Exclusive Streaming Deal with MLS, Univision

Exclusive Live-Streaming Deal Brings Pro Lacrosse to Twitter

Twitter and the National Lacrosse League are teaming up to introduce live-streaming via the popular social service. Through a two-year-deal, Twitter — which has rights deals with Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, and streamed Thursday night NFL games last season — will become NLL’s exclusive live-streaming partner (NLL does not presently have a national TV broadcast deal). “Twitter will distribute a free live broadcast of one NLL game weekly (starting March 17), as well as playoff and Champion’s Cup games and highlights, on its platform for the 2017 and 2018 seasons,” reports Variety. “Games will also be simulcast on NLLTV.com, the league’s recently launched subscription-video site.” Continue reading Exclusive Live-Streaming Deal Brings Pro Lacrosse to Twitter

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