Hulu Winds Down its Free Service, Partners on Yahoo TV Site

Hulu is shutting down the free, ad-supported version of its service. The company announced it is transitioning to a subscription-only model following investments in more movies and TV shows. Hulu’s two subscription tiers include an ad-free plan for $11.99 per month and a limited-commercial offering for $7.99 per month. Hulu is also expanding its distribution deal with Yahoo by partnering on Yahoo View, a new ad-supported streaming site that will carry the five most recent episodes of series from Hulu co-owners ABC, FOX and NBC, eight days after their original broadcast. Continue reading Hulu Winds Down its Free Service, Partners on Yahoo TV Site

Amazon to Test Original Programs on Gaming Platform Twitch

Amazon has, up until now, tried out new comedy, drama, documentary and children’s shows with a ‘test’ episode on Amazon Video. The company just announced at the Television Critics Association press tour that it will now debut a few of its original pilot episodes on its streaming Twitch platform, more typically associated with games and gamers. Although Amazon made no formal announcement, the news was reported by several publications. Twitch has previously aired classic shows featuring Bob Ross and Julia Child. Continue reading Amazon to Test Original Programs on Gaming Platform Twitch

NBCU Signs Deal to Produce Original Programs for Snapchat

NBCUniversal has signed a multiyear deal with Snapchat to bring new programming based on its popular brand names to the app’s media hub. What the content will look like has not been specified, but will launch with “The Voice on Snapchat,” followed by weekly pop culture series from E! News, “The Rundown.” NBCU will rely on other popular franchises such as “Saturday Night Live” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” for additional programming. NBCU will not simply provide repurposed clips like it does on YouTube and Facebook, but will produce original content. Continue reading NBCU Signs Deal to Produce Original Programs for Snapchat

Videogame Developers Tap Music Industry for Song Licensing

Videogame app creators are turning out to be a boon to the music industry, for their willingness to pay real money for the rights to well-known songs. Startup music-licensing platform SongLily has inked deals with major record companies and publishers for licensing songs for videogames and mobile apps, for an annual flat fee of about $1,440 per song for up to 100,000 app downloads or individual registered players. For videogame developers — especially smaller ones — eager for recognizable music, that’s a bargain. Continue reading Videogame Developers Tap Music Industry for Song Licensing

Apple’s New Plan for TV Ecosystem Influence is Digital Guide

Apple is now working on a digital TV guide that shows what’s playing on video apps from HBO, Netflix, ESPN and others, so consumers don’t have to open individual apps to discover content. The TV guide will work on a range of Apple devices, including Apple TV and iPhones. Last year, Apple’s goal was to sell TV programs to consumers, with an interface to make it easy to find content. By focusing on the interface, Apple leaves the financial arrangement to programmers, distributors and consumers. Continue reading Apple’s New Plan for TV Ecosystem Influence is Digital Guide

LinkedIn Adds In-Stream Video, Initially From 500 Influencers

The 433-million member LinkedIn, which Microsoft is in the process of acquiring for $26 billion, is moving into video. The company has chosen 500 LinkedIn “Influencers” — people with large followings who regularly post to the site — who will create 30-second (or less) videos with a LinkedIn-created app Record. The videos will be each Influencer’s response to general questions relating to LinkedIn’s mission of professional development, such as leadership challenges or technology trends. Continue reading LinkedIn Adds In-Stream Video, Initially From 500 Influencers

Time Warner Invests in Hulu with Plans to Join Pay TV Service

Time Warner announced it is investing $583 million for a 10 percent stake in Hulu, joining forces with existing owners Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast’s NBCUniversal. However, Time Warner does not plan to offer its television programming via the current version of Hulu’s video service, which features repeats of recently aired shows. Instead, the media giant will license its content for the new pay TV service that Hulu plans to launch in 2017. That means channels such as Cartoon Network, CNN, TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies would be available to viewers through the planned live TV service. Continue reading Time Warner Invests in Hulu with Plans to Join Pay TV Service

Facebook Live Tests Mid-Roll Ads as Potential Revenue Model

After hinting for months that it might introduce commercial breaks inside live video streams, Facebook has started testing this concept with some of its top publishers. This marks the first time the company has served ads directly from inside videos, and follows on the heels of its new policy of paying some publishers and digital influencers to post video. The payments provide a financial incentive to post on Facebook since the platform so far lacks an advertising model that could generate shared revenue. Continue reading Facebook Live Tests Mid-Roll Ads as Potential Revenue Model

Pandora Integrates Ticketfly, Adds Concert Recommendations

A Pandora listener will now be shown concert recommendations based on the music she listens to, and a click on a concert will forward her to Ticketfly’s app or website. This is the first step in integrating Pandora’s streaming music service with Ticketfly, a concert ticketing service Pandora bought for $450 million in October 2015. Concerts are shown via the app’s feed, push notifications on mobile devices and a weekly email. Ticketfly generates notifications as soon as a concert promoter creates an event. Continue reading Pandora Integrates Ticketfly, Adds Concert Recommendations

T-Mobile’s Binge On Expands Content with ABC, Apple, Fox

T-Mobile’s Binge On service, which lets subscribers stream selected services without the content counting towards their data cap, just quadrupled its offerings with Fox Now, ABC, Apple Music, NatGeo TV and Disney Jr. among others. With these additions, the Binge On program hosts more than 100 content partners, including Netflix and YouTube. The program is catching on with users, whose streaming hours increased 50 percent between June and July. Video quality for Binge On programming is downgraded to 480p. Continue reading T-Mobile’s Binge On Expands Content with ABC, Apple, Fox

Google Reports Strong Quarter Based on Strength of Mobile

Google’s quarterly profit rose 24 percent, while revenue increased 21 percent to $21.5 billion, thanks in large part to its advertising and push into mobile, according to The Wall Street Journal. Google is also experiencing success with its cloud services division. Parent company Alphabet reported 33 percent growth of its non-advertising business over the previous year, surpassing Wall Street expectations. “The strength of the quarter is about mobile,” said Google chief exec Sundar Pichai. “Our investment in mobile now underlines everything that we do today, from search and YouTube to Android and advertising.” Continue reading Google Reports Strong Quarter Based on Strength of Mobile

LeEco Acquires Vizio to Bring its Streaming Services to U.S.

Chinese tech company LeEco (formerly LeTV), has paid $2 billion for California television seller Vizio, which presently controls about 20 percent of the U.S. market. The Beijing-based company is often referred to as the Netflix of China, although it sells hardware devices such as TVs, set-top boxes, smartphones and electric cars in addition to its streaming services. With the acquisition, LeEco can now bring its services to the U.S. “Our strategy is to integrate our platform — including software and services — with devices,” said LeEco exec Winston Cheng. Continue reading LeEco Acquires Vizio to Bring its Streaming Services to U.S.

Redbox Owner Agrees to Be Taken Private by Apollo Global

Apollo Global Management will acquire Bellevue, Washington-based Outerwall Inc., owner of Redbox movie rental kiosks and Coinstar coin counting machines, “for $52 a share, a transaction value of $1.6 billion when including debt,” reports The New York Times. “Investors applauded the move, sending the stock 11 percent higher in early trading Monday to a level just above the $52 buyout price.” Outerwall operates more than 40,000 rental kiosks in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, but has struggled to compete with cable VOD and streaming services. Redbox recently started testing its own streaming and download service. Continue reading Redbox Owner Agrees to Be Taken Private by Apollo Global

Facebook Takes Aim at YouTube with Mobile Video Features

Facebook is testing new mobile video features for its Android app, including subscription-based video channels and a dedicated video tab that incorporates video search, which would provide brands with the opportunity to target ads based on keywords. Enhancing the mobile viewing experience is the next step toward making the social platform more video-centric and ramping up competition with YouTube. However, Facebook needs to convince its users to watch video mixed with other content and, especially for advertisers, show successful video completion rates. Continue reading Facebook Takes Aim at YouTube with Mobile Video Features

Jukin Media Creates Variety of Opportunities for Viral Videos

Jukin Media has created a business model that leverages social media and the financial possibilities involving viral videos. The company searches for popular online videos, pays the video creators, “and then licenses clips out to digital media companies, brands and morning news shows,” explains The Wall Street Journal. “Think of it as Getty Images for viral videos,” said Jukin CEO and founder Jon Skogmo, who has also launched social channels that feature the unique content. The clips are becoming popular for advertising as well. “Brands are very attracted to this type of user-generated content,” said Skogmo, “especially when they’re seeing everyday people playing with their products.” Continue reading Jukin Media Creates Variety of Opportunities for Viral Videos

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