Internet Firms Now Describe Themselves as Content Leaders

Google and other members of tech trade groups have gone up against the entertainment industry’s chief lobbying organizations in recent years, but now the tech firms are describing themselves in a new light. “We are the new faces of the American content industry, winning Emmys and Oscars, providing distribution for streaming-only Grammy winners, while creating services that address the challenge of piracy by allowing consumers to legally access content globally,” states a letter sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, which details concerns regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement. Continue reading Internet Firms Now Describe Themselves as Content Leaders

Vevo Brings New Live Talk Show Format to Social Platforms

Vevo is launching a live talk show format that streams across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vevo.com and Vevo’s mobile apps. Vevo Live includes artist interviews, a studio audience, and interaction with streaming viewers via text chat. The concept evolved from the Vevo Party app, developed during an internal company hackathon last year to enable users to chat while watching the same videos, and eventually became Watch Party. After initial success with its audience, and interest by artists who began hosting their own Watch Parties, the company created Vevo Live. Last week, a Fifth Harmony Vevo Live show attracted more than 3 million viewers across social platforms. Continue reading Vevo Brings New Live Talk Show Format to Social Platforms

20th Century Fox, Panasonic, Samsung Partner on HDR10+

High dynamic range (HDR) is gaining steam in movies and television even as it divides into different versions, each of which has its supporters. Dolby Vision has attracted Sony and TCL, while Samsung, with its HDR10+ open standard, gathered Amazon Video as a streaming partner. Now, partnered with 20th Century Fox and Panasonic, Samsung plans to begin licensing HDR10+ in January of this coming year. The three companies hope that television, Blu-ray and set-top box manufacturers will adopt the HDR10+ format. Continue reading 20th Century Fox, Panasonic, Samsung Partner on HDR10+

Fitbit to Launch First Real Smartwatch With Focus on Fitness

Fitbit will debut its first true smartwatch, the $300 Ionic, in October. This new gadget, however, is focused on the company’s core competency — fitness — although it still offers typical smartwatch functionalities, including music, mobile payments and push notifications. Since Fitbit views health and fitness as the killer app, the Ionic offers an expanded range of health-oriented functions. Fitbit co-founder/chief executive James Park said the decision to take this tack was because he saw that consumers have been confused about the purpose of smartwatches. Continue reading Fitbit to Launch First Real Smartwatch With Focus on Fitness

Facebook and Google Take the Lead in Popular Mobile Apps

According to comScore’s annual U.S. Mobile Apps Report, consumers spend 57 percent of their digital media time on smartphones and tablets using apps. The figure is roughly the same as the previous year, suggesting that the shift to mobile has reached a point of leveling out. The report also notes that Facebook and Google own eight of the top 10 apps. Among the most popular mobile apps today are Facebook (top app for all age groups except 18- to 24-year-olds), YouTube (No. 2 overall and No. 1 with 18- to 24-year-olds), Facebook Messenger, Google Search, Google Maps, Instagram, Snapchat, Google Play, Gmail and Pandora. Continue reading Facebook and Google Take the Lead in Popular Mobile Apps

Spotify Strikes Licensing Deal with Warner Music, Preps IPO

Music streaming service Spotify, which is planning its IPO for late 2017/early 2018, just signed a new global licensing deal with Warner Music Group. Terms were not disclosed. The company earlier reached long-term agreements with Universal Music Group and Sony Music; Warner was the last of the big three labels Spotify needed to go public. The online music pioneer is reportedly planning a nontraditional IPO in which it will offer shares directly to the public rather than the standard method of going through Wall Street banks. Continue reading Spotify Strikes Licensing Deal with Warner Music, Preps IPO

Tencent Signs Deal With NFL to Livestream Games in China

The National Football League and China’s Tencent Holdings have signed a deal to give the latter exclusive rights to livestream games and other NFL content online for three years. Tencent will stream the games and other content for free on its flagship social media app, WeChat, as well as other mobile and desktop platforms. WeChat has more than 960 million monthly active users. The NFL first made a move into China in 2009 when it produced a 16-episode reality TV series in which a Taiwanese pop band explored football culture. Continue reading Tencent Signs Deal With NFL to Livestream Games in China

Three Tech Titans Up the Ante in Scripted TV Programming

This year, 500 scripted TV shows will vie for viewers’ attention. Now, some tech leaders are turning up the heat by entering the original programming market: Apple has budgeted more than $1 billion for original content; Google will spend up to $3 million per episode; and Facebook said it is willing to spend $3 million to $4 million per episode. A few cable companies, including A&E and WGN, are withdrawing from scripted content but, with three tech titans in the game, the competition for eyeballs will be fierce. Continue reading Three Tech Titans Up the Ante in Scripted TV Programming

Millennials Regularly Use Variety of Apps for Digital Services

According to a new study from measurement firm Nielsen, the lack of brand loyalty among 18- to 34-year-olds is reflected in their consumption of digital services such as communication apps and streaming music. Perhaps not surprisingly, Nielsen found that the demographic consumes a great deal of digital media but tends to use multiple services across categories, rather than focus on one service for a specific segment. For example, while only 39 percent of consumers over 35 use two or more apps to stream music, almost 60 percent of millennials will commonly do so on a regular basis. Continue reading Millennials Regularly Use Variety of Apps for Digital Services

Turner’s Streaming Service to Debut with European Football

Turner Sports is introducing a streaming subscription service to air the Union of European Football Associations’ Champions League and Europa League soccer matches. Although the streaming service doesn’t have a name or price yet, it is scheduled to debut in 2018, when the Time Warner-owned network’s deal for the UEFA matches begins; Turner’s English-language three-year rights is reportedly valued at more than $180 million. Turner Networks joins numerous other traditional media companies launching similar direct-to-consumer digital services. Continue reading Turner’s Streaming Service to Debut with European Football

HTC Slashes Cost of its Vive Virtual Reality Headset by $200

Just weeks after Facebook temporarily reduced the price tag for its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, HTC announced it is chopping $200 off the cost of its Vive headset. The HTC Vive now costs $599, which brings it closer to the $499 Rift (currently $399 during its summer sale). Both VR devices require connection to a computer. HTC’s new price point is intended to spark new interest in the device and its accessories such as the Vive Tracker, wireless adapters and a new head strap. The deal also offers access to VR game titles through a one-month free trial to HTC’s Viveport subscription service. Continue reading HTC Slashes Cost of its Vive Virtual Reality Headset by $200

NBC News’ Daily Show Tops 29 Million Viewers on Snapchat

NBCUniversal reports that its first NBC News daily show for Snapchat already has more than 29 million unique viewers after one month on air. “Stay Tuned,” which broadcasts twice daily, launched July 18. While the figure tops viewership for some of NBC News’ top-rated television offerings, a direct comparison is not necessarily realistic since a Snapchat view starts as soon as a video is opened — and content created for mobile users is distilled into smaller need-to-know bits as compared to traditional TV news. However, the early success marks a major first step for NBC on the social platform. Continue reading NBC News’ Daily Show Tops 29 Million Viewers on Snapchat

Amazon Promotes Alexa With SDK, Revenue for Developers

Amazon is going full bore promoting its virtual assistant Alexa. In an effort to make it available on more devices, the company has debuted the Alexa Voice Service Device SDK toolset, which lets developers integrate a fully functional version to their devices, offering speech recognition and all the other Alexa capabilities such as notifications, weather reports, streaming media and thousands of voice apps. Amazon is providing additional incentive to developers by paying those whose voice apps demonstrate customer engagement. Continue reading Amazon Promotes Alexa With SDK, Revenue for Developers

Apple Earmarks $1 Billion to Buy, Produce Original TV Shows

According to sources, Apple has a budget of about $1 billion to acquire and produce original content this next year, an amount that is roughly half of what Time Warner’s HBO spent on content last year and equal to what Amazon spent in 2013. Apple hopes that with its enormous global purview and marketing capabilities, it can be a serious competitor in the original content arena. With this budget, Apple could purchase or produce as many as 10 TV shows, which could be distributed on Apple Music or a video streaming service. Continue reading Apple Earmarks $1 Billion to Buy, Produce Original TV Shows

Nielsen Includes Facebook, Hulu, YouTube in Digital Ratings

Nielsen will expand its Digital Content Ratings to credit video distributed via Facebook, Hulu and YouTube. According to Jessica Hogue, SVP of product leadership at Nielsen, “These are three of the biggest and most meaningful platforms for media companies and advertisers.” The move “will allow TV network and digital publishers to capture incremental viewing of video on the three digital outlets,” reports Variety, and extends the measurement firm’s push into new media viewership. “Nielsen’s announcement comes as more digital companies are placing new emphasis and added resources on creating video content, rather than pieces of simple text.” Continue reading Nielsen Includes Facebook, Hulu, YouTube in Digital Ratings

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