Pandora Ends Long Fight with ASCAP, BMI Over Royalty Rates

Pandora Media has ended its ongoing legal battles with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) over royalty rights, without disclosing the details of their new licensing agreement. Pandora previously licensed both performing-rights group’s catalogs based on rates that had been determined by the U.S. District Court in Manhattan that sets music royalty fees when the parties can’t agree. ASCAP and BMI currently represent a combined collection of 20 million songs. Continue reading Pandora Ends Long Fight with ASCAP, BMI Over Royalty Rates

Facebook, YouTube and Messenger the Top Apps for 2015

Facebook was the top app this year based on the average number of unique users, according to Nielsen. Facebook has more than 126 million unique users each month. Video powerhouse YouTube followed with 97 million unique users. Meanwhile, Facebook Messenger is the fastest growing app with a 31 percent increase in users since last year. More than 96 million unique users are using the Facebook Messenger app to chat each month; it is the third most popular app of the year. Continue reading Facebook, YouTube and Messenger the Top Apps for 2015

Holiday Season Top Movies Heavily Pirated Before Releases

Shortly after screeners were sent to voters for awards consideration, some of Hollywood’s top movies of the current holiday season — most notably “The Revenant” and “The Hateful Eight” — have been pirated. Within a 24-hour period after being posted by Hive-CM8 and other piracy groups, “The Revenant” was downloaded to over 739,580 unique IP addresses, and “The Hateful Eight,” to 569,153 IP addresses. Both are slated to premiere on Christmas Day. “Creed,” although already released, logged 499,082 illegal downloads. Continue reading Holiday Season Top Movies Heavily Pirated Before Releases

Apple Plans to Leverage Hi-Res Audio Format for Streaming

Apple Music subscribers are poised to enjoy the results of recent Apple development of the new Hi-Res Audio format with an expanded 96kHz, 24-bit sampling rate. The Hi-Res Audio format leverages the high fidelity audio output capability of Apple’s new Lightning ports, which were introduced last year and utilized by Philips, JBL and others for Lightning-equipped headphones. Japanese site Macotakara, with input from inside sources, says Apple Music will debut Hi-Res music streaming next year. Continue reading Apple Plans to Leverage Hi-Res Audio Format for Streaming

There Was a Record Number of Scripted TV Series in 2015

The number of scripted television shows is growing with a total of 409 different shows this year available on broadcast, cable and online services. By comparison, there were 376 scripted shows in 2014. This was the third consecutive year that scripted TV has grown across all three platforms, according to FX Networks’ research department. Basic cable had the biggest gain, with 174 percent more scripted shows since 2009. Some executives debate whether scripted TV has grown too much.

Continue reading There Was a Record Number of Scripted TV Series in 2015

ETC Coverage of CES Resumes in January From Las Vegas

ETC coverage of CES 2016 shifts to Las Vegas on January 4 and will feature the latest news and guidance for attendees. The ETC team will report from the Consumer Technology Association’s Top Trends and Global Market Report sessions on Monday afternoon. From there, we will go to CES Unveiled, the major press preview of many of the most noteworthy products to be displayed when the exhibit halls open two days later on January 6. Expect twice daily news briefs and as-its-published updates on the ETCentric app. Continue reading ETC Coverage of CES Resumes in January From Las Vegas

Netflix Earns Spot in the Top 10 Grossing Apps Worldwide

Netflix has become one of the world’s top grossing apps after the streaming company introduced an in-app subscription option. Netflix placed ninth in App Annie’s Top Grossing Apps chart for November 2015. This marks the first time that Netflix has made the list, joining the ranks of other streaming services including Spotify, Pandora, HBO Now and Hulu. Netflix’s reluctance to sell subscriptions through its app in the past may have been due to Apple’s steep cut of in-app purchase revenue. Continue reading Netflix Earns Spot in the Top 10 Grossing Apps Worldwide

FCC Queries Comcast, AT&T and T-Mobile About Data Caps

Comcast, AT&T, and T-Mobile USA received a letter from the FCC asking them to answer questions about their use of “zero rating,” by which some types of content are exempted from a customer’s data cap. Though FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler insisted this doesn’t constitute an investigation, the FCC has previously noted that data cap exemptions can favor the exempted content over content that counts against a customer’s data use. The FCC asked the companies’ technical and business personnel to be available for discussions by January 15. Continue reading FCC Queries Comcast, AT&T and T-Mobile About Data Caps

Facebook Users Can Search Top-Ranked Local Businesses

Amazon and Google have recently made efforts to connect Internet users with home and local service providers, taking on companies such as Angie’s List and Yelp in the process. Now, Facebook is testing its own feature that directs social media users to the top-reviewed service providers in their area. The new site is only available on desktop, but Facebook offers the ability to find local businesses on mobile via “Nearby Places.” In addition to home services, Facebook’s feature highlights restaurants, bars, nightclubs and travel-related businesses such as hotels, sightseeing and tours. Continue reading Facebook Users Can Search Top-Ranked Local Businesses

CES 2016: Virtual Reality Headgear, Platforms, Ecosystems

Virtual reality began to dominate headlines last year at CES, and that drumbeat will only grow louder this year. Falling at the beginning of the proclaimed release window for two of the flag bearers of the VR renaissance, Oculus and Sony, and accompanied by a bumper crop of hardware and software suppliers, VR is ready to emerge from the shadows of the early adopters and meet the general consumer. We expect to see innovative products in January from companies such as Google, GoPro, HTC, NextVR, Sixense, Yezz and others. Beyond gaming and 360-degree video, we’ll be watching for new approaches to live streaming sports and music events. Continue reading CES 2016: Virtual Reality Headgear, Platforms, Ecosystems

BuzzFeed Introduces Yet Another Top Facebook Video Page

BuzzFeed, already a top Facebook video contributor with four different brands, launched another one in October: Top Knot, which focuses on beauty and fashion. The Top Knot Facebook page already has nearly 1 million fans and has logged almost 200 million views in two months, with a handful of clips generating up to 7 million views each. BuzzFeed and NBCU, which invested $200 million in the company, are looking into ways to collaborate, in addition to an announced plan to jointly cover the 2016 Summer Olympics. Continue reading BuzzFeed Introduces Yet Another Top Facebook Video Page

YouTube Pursues TV/Movie Streaming Rights to Rival Netflix

YouTube, which recently launched YouTube Red, a $9.99/month subscription service, now aims to obtain streaming rights to TV series and movies. According to unnamed sources, YouTube executives are leveraging the relationships of parent company Alphabet’s Google Play to set up meetings with Hollywood studios and production companies. The company has already committed to creating original content, starring its own celebrities such as PewDiePie. By obtaining streaming rights, YouTube will turn up the heat on rivals Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Continue reading YouTube Pursues TV/Movie Streaming Rights to Rival Netflix

DirecTV Planning to Debut Live 4K Broadcasting in Early 2016

DirecTV has joined the ranks of those looking to bring more 4K content to consumers. During New York’s TranSPORT conference, DirecTV’s Phil Goswitz confirmed that the company plans to launch a live 4K broadcast service sometime early next year. He said live sports transmissions are currently being tested and DirecTV has the ability to transmit up to 50 new UHD channels. Goswitz explained that DirecTV is “moving into working with partners” for more 4K content. CBS, ESPN and Fox are among the networks that have also been experimenting with live 4K production. Continue reading DirecTV Planning to Debut Live 4K Broadcasting in Early 2016

Streaming Music Services Thrive But Free On-Demand a Threat

Depending on where you live, the top music-streaming site might be Spotify, Pandora or even Saavn. A new music-focused report from App Annie crowns Spotify as “the world’s top streaming music service” in terms of active users, downloads and revenue. But, in the U.S., the No. 1 spot goes to Pandora Radio, a hit among active users on iPhone and Android. And in other markets, local providers are topping the charts, including Saavn and Gaana in India, Deezer in France and South Korea’s MelOn, among others. Continue reading Streaming Music Services Thrive But Free On-Demand a Threat

Prime Instant Video Heads to New Networks, JetBlue, Apple TV

Although Amazon won’t comment, those in the know say that the company will soon open up Prime Instant Video to other on-demand networks. With this move, Prime customers will be able to add other online subscriptions to their accounts, and Amazon will be able to aggregate its own network bundles. Amazon has also signed a deal with JetBlue to feature its streaming video and music services on the airline’s satellite Internet system, and Apple TV users will soon have access to a Prime Instant Video iOS app. Continue reading Prime Instant Video Heads to New Networks, JetBlue, Apple TV

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