Vatican Drama Borgia Takes Unconventional Distribution Path

The latest project from showrunner Tom Fontana, writer/producer of acclaimed shows such as “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “Oz,” is not currently available via cable or broadcast in the U.S. Instead, the historical Vatican drama “Borgia” was launched without a network, has aired in France, and is now looking to additional options, including streaming. Adweek talks with Fontana about the unorthodox path the show has taken. Continue reading Vatican Drama Borgia Takes Unconventional Distribution Path

Justin Timberlake Promotes New Single with Myspace Launch

To release his first single in six years, Justin Timberlake went with an unorthodox approach. After investing in Myspace, he is helping to relaunch the social networking site by making his new track the first thing that loads on its homepage. After months of private beta previews, the new Myspace is open for business with a new focus on helping artists post music to share with fans. Continue reading Justin Timberlake Promotes New Single with Myspace Launch

M-GO Launches Beta of Streaming Service for Multiple Devices

M-GO promises to be the “people friendliest” rent/buy movie service the Internet has to offer. It’s backed by Technicolor and DreamWorks Animation and is ready to stream movies through browsers and to connected devices preloaded with its apps. And it really is friendly: “M-GO promises that if you’re looking for a movie it doesn’t offer, it will search other stores to find it for you,” writes Engadget. Continue reading M-GO Launches Beta of Streaming Service for Multiple Devices

Amazon: AutoRip Service Offers Free MP3 Copies of Your CDs

Amazon launched a new service called AutoRip that will start offering free MP3 downloads of any CD you buy from the site. But the really interesting part of the new service is the fact that it will give consumers MP3 versions of any album they’ve purchased from Amazon in the last 15 years. AutoRip will link to 50,000 albums and counting, and users will be able to listen in the cloud and/or download digital copies. Continue reading Amazon: AutoRip Service Offers Free MP3 Copies of Your CDs

Spotify Rival Deezer Launches Wide, Seeks U.S. Partner

Heavy-hitting music-streaming company Deezer wants into the U.S. market in order to increase its overall market share. The Paris-based Spotify competitor launched a free streaming service in late December in more than 150 countries. The service currently allows users two hours of free listening per month on desktops and laptops, marking the first time the company has offered a free service backed by advertising outside its native France. Continue reading Spotify Rival Deezer Launches Wide, Seeks U.S. Partner

NimbleTV Launches NYC Trial Run of TV Everywhere

The concept of TV Everywhere is simple: it’s “supposed to let you watch whatever you want, wherever you want to watch it, on any device you want — as long as you pay for TV,” writes AllThingsD. But behind the straightforward idea, cable companies have been struggling for three years to get it done — “and they still can’t really deliver,” suggests the article. But startup NimbleTV says it can do the job. Continue reading NimbleTV Launches NYC Trial Run of TV Everywhere

NPD Study: Consumers Slow to Adopt Apps on Smart TVs

Research organization NPD estimates that approximately 25 million U.S. households currently have smart TVs. While nearly six out of 10 owners are using their smart TVs to watch over-the-top video services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, and roughly 15 percent are accessing music services like Pandora, the majority of Americans are not utilizing applications beyond streaming video and music. The latest NPD Connected Intelligence Application & Convergence report suggests the Internet connected HDTV screen has yet to reach beyond its TV-centric heritage. Continue reading NPD Study: Consumers Slow to Adopt Apps on Smart TVs

Hulu Earned $695 Million in 2012 and Doubled its Paying Subscribers

According to a blog post from Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, the video service earned $695 million in revenue in 2012. Additionally, Hulu Plus saw a 50 percent increase in paying subscribers, passing the three million mark.
By comparison, Hulu’s 2011 numbers included $400 million in revenue and less than 1.5 million Hulu Plus subscribers. Continue reading Hulu Earned $695 Million in 2012 and Doubled its Paying Subscribers

Vectorized Streaming Video: British Researchers Aim to Kill the Pixel

The pixel might be on its way out, if a team of British researchers have their way. They’d like to see the vector take over within the next five years, reports ExtremeTech. While vector graphics are well suited for illustrations, clipart, maps and typography, bitmap (which is a grid of pixels) graphics are used for all else, including streaming videos, digital cameras, movie editing, video game textures and more. Continue reading Vectorized Streaming Video: British Researchers Aim to Kill the Pixel

Aereo Pays for TV Content: Strikes Deal with Cabler Bloomberg TV

We’ve been following this year’s legal battles of Aereo as major broadcast networks have sued the online TV startup over copyright infringement. Since the service streams TV signals of New York stations for a monthly fee without paying for the right to carry signals, Aereo has created an uproar in the television industry. Now Aereo has begun paying for content, after adding Bloomberg TV to its program lineup.

“We believe that our members will see deep value adding in Bloomberg Television as their ‘go-to’ source for financial news,” said Aereo founder and CEO Chet Kanojia in a written statement. The service also plans to announce expansion to 15 new cities early next year. Kanojia recently said that Aereo is pursuing additional content deals.

“Meanwhile, Aereo and major broadcasters are awaiting a critical decision from an appeals court in their legal battle,” notes the Wall Street Journal. “Last month broadcasters argued their appeal of a lower court’s decision in July denying the broadcasters’ request for a preliminary injunction shutting down Aereo’s service.”

The legal battle could take years to be resolved. “Without a preliminary injunction, Aereo has time to expand and streaming competitors also have a chance to emerge,” notes WSJ.

Amazon Announces Cloud Player Now on Roku, Samsung Smart TVs

Amazon’s cloud-based music storage and streaming service is now available on Roku and Samsung’s Smart TVs, allowing users to play digital music on a single device. The app “finally gives Roku a good response to Apple TV’s iTunes Match,” notes CNET. Months ago Roku announced that the Amazon Cloud Player was “coming soon.”

Like its competitor iTunes Match, Amazon Cloud Player charges $25 per year to store up to 250,000 songs. It also includes a feature that automatically identifies music files and upgrades the quality using a 256 Kbps file from the Amazon catalog. “That’s a ton of digital music, although the competing Google Play Music allows you to store up to 20,000 tracks for free and is available on Google TV devices,” explains the post.

The release was announced the same day that Amazon added its Amazon Instant Video app for the iPhone and iPod touch.

According to a related post from CNET, the Instant Video streaming app “allows for access to over 140,000 movies and television shows that can be downloaded for purchase or rental.”

Amazon offers access to its streaming library across devices including the iPad, Kindle Fire HD, PlayStation 3, PCs and Macs. The app is only available to customers who pay for the company’s $79-a-year Prime membership.

Streaming: Is Netflix Popularity with Kids a Double-Edged Sword?

  • In August 2011, Netflix launched its “Just for Kids” page, which features commercial-free age-appropriate content organized by “superheroes” and “princesses.” Recently, the streaming service signed a content deal with Disney for an estimated $300 million a year.
  • “But Netflix’s popularity with children could be a double-edged sword,” the Wall Street Journal suggests. “Analysts say the streaming service could be undermining the very companies that supply it with most of its children’s television content, namely Disney and Viacom.”
  • Sanford C. Bernstein analyzed TiVo data, finding that kids’ cable ratings were up 8.5 percent in the first quarter among viewers who didn’t stream content compared to the relatively small 0.4 percent uptick among those who did. “Disney ratings grew 11 percent for nonstreaming users and 6 percent for streaming users, while Viacom ratings grew 6 percent for nonstreaming users and only 2 percent for streaming users,” WSJ reports.
  • “Bernstein says those trends have persisted through the year. And looking at an individual network tells the same story. From the end of 2011 through August 2012, ratings at Nickelodeon were up 11 percent among nonstreamers, compared with only 3 percent among streamers,” the article continues.
  • Unlike Nickelodeon, Disney Junior and Disney XD ratings are rising. “But both channels are relatively new and are coming off a small base. And even there, Netflix appears to be having an effect,” the article states.
  • “For Netflix, the risk is that Disney and Viacom demand significantly more for children’s content to make selling it worthwhile. In extremis, they could even decide to stop selling it to the streaming company.”

New York Appeals Court Seems Skeptical About Aereo Television Service

A federal appeals court panel is skeptical whether streaming service Aereo has the right to retransmit broadcast television content without permission, but has yet to issue a decision. Three judges of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals appeared ready to reverse July’s lower court decision that reluctantly gave Aereo approval.

ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC are among the networks appealing the lower court judge’s decision that cited a Cablevision DVR case to allow Aereo to operate.

“Cablevision was a storage service, not a retransmission service,” says Bruce Keller, the networks’ attorney. “Aereo is a retransmission service by its own design. Without a license, it violates copyrights.” Paul Smith, another lawyer for the broadcasters, told the panel that the startup was trying to turn the Cablevision case “into a complete carte blanche where people can violate copyrights.”

Meanwhile, Aereo insists that it is complying with copyright laws and provides a legal, alternate platform for free TV broadcasts. Attorney R. David Hosp argued that Aereo lets customers “rent remotely located antennas to access content they could receive for free by installing the same equipment at home,” notes the Wall Street Journal.

“Aereo has grown from 100 users to more than 3,500 in the last year and has expanded from Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad to devices including Windows computers,” reports WSJ. “It lets customers capture broadcasts from 29 local channels with subscriptions starting at $8 a month.”

Verizon FiOS Announces Live TV Streaming App for LG Smart TVs

The Xbox 360 has it. Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s connected TVs have it. And now LG Smart TVs are also getting the Verizon FiOS TV app, bringing access to 75 channels and Flex View video on-demand.

“The expansive selection of channels from FiOS TV and on-demand content from Verizon’s Flex View library further strengthens LG’s Smart TV platform, giving consumers of all ages a virtually limitless amount of entertainment on TVs, Blu-ray players, PCs, even tablets and phones,” says Samuel Chang, VP of Smart TV and Innovation for LG Electronics.

According to the press release, FiOS TV’s Flex View “offers more than 25,000 on-demand movies and show titles for purchase or rent on any Internet-connected device, whether home on a TV or PC, or on-the-go on a mobile device.”

“As promised back at CES — when they said it would launch in the ‘first half of 2012’ — the app is of course customized for LG’s Magic Remote gesture control feature, and is available on all 2012 Smart TVs, plus the BP620 Blu-ray player via the Smart TV smart World app store,” reports Engadget.

“The good news is you can make use of it in a room with no cable box needed, however the lineup is still missing a few key channels (ESPN) that may be tough to do without,” notes the post.
Verizon also recently announced a partnership with NBCUniversal to expand its TV Everywhere offerings. “If [Verizon] can add a few more, the set-top box-less future may be within reach,” Engadget suggests.

Dyle Delivers Live TV to the Apple iPad: Ready for Prime Time?

Watching live television on an iPad currently has limited options. With a cable subscription, for example, users can stream Disney and ESPN shows. Alternatively, New York City viewers can opt for Aereo (but the networks are suing to shut it down). Enter Dyle, which just launched for Apple’s iOS devices. Dyle, with support from NBC, Fox and other top broadcast groups, has released a free TV app for iOS devices that uses broadcast signals to beam licensed programming to viewers. Continue reading Dyle Delivers Live TV to the Apple iPad: Ready for Prime Time?

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