Amazon Releases Fling SDK, New Competition for Chromecast

Amazon’s new Fling SDK helps mobile developers create second screen and Cast-like functionality for iOS and Android apps, essentially simplifying the “network discovery and communication technologies” around Fire TV, according to the company. “Flinging” (Amazon’s version of Chromecast’s “casting”) is a means of sending video, audio or images from an app to a television screen via the Fire TV player. Amazon is targeting developers already using Chromecast by offering the ability to integrate Amazon’s SDK with existing Chromecast apps. Continue reading Amazon Releases Fling SDK, New Competition for Chromecast

Legit Creates Personalized Watchlist for Movies and TV Shows

An app called Legit is launching as a universal guide for finding movies and TV shows across streaming and other services. It is presently focusing on content available via Amazon, Hulu, iTunes, Netflix, YouTube and in theaters. Apps that track where shows can be found on various services already exist, but Legit’s distinguishing feature is that it provides more personal and relevant recommendations by comparing a user’s tastes with those of his/her Facebook friends, based on how they’ve rated different content. Continue reading Legit Creates Personalized Watchlist for Movies and TV Shows

FTC Examines Apple’s 30 Percent Charge for Rival Music Apps

Antitrust regulators are reportedly taking a preliminary look at whether Apple’s business model for selling streaming music apps may be illegal under current antitrust law. While the company now has its own music streaming service, Apple also takes a 30 percent cut of in-app purchases through its App Store for competing services such as Jango, Rhapsody and Spotify. According to industry sources, the Federal Trade Commission has not announced a formal investigation, but has started to look into the issue by meeting with concerned parties. Continue reading FTC Examines Apple’s 30 Percent Charge for Rival Music Apps

Facebook Looking to Expand Media Offerings with Music Videos

Facebook has turned its attention to music videos in its latest move to offer more video content to its users. The social media company began moving into video in the last few years, now showing content from BuzzFeed, Vice and other publishers, in addition to its user-generated content. Music videos would continue the trend and up the competition between Facebook and YouTube. Facebook currently has 1.4 billion worldwide users, and adding video is likely to extend the time that viewers stay on the site. Continue reading Facebook Looking to Expand Media Offerings with Music Videos

Movie Trailers Popular on YouTube, Mobile Viewing on the Rise

According to an Ipsos study commissioned by Google, younger moviegoers are more inclined to watch movie trailers on YouTube than on television. While 54 percent of respondents age 13-24 indicated they are more likely to watch trailers via YouTube, an impressive 65 percent said that trailers they watch on YouTube will influence what films they end up seeing in theaters. In addition, a related study from Google and Millward Brown Digital found that 81 percent of moviegoers age 18-64 who watch movie trailers online turn to YouTube as well. Continue reading Movie Trailers Popular on YouTube, Mobile Viewing on the Rise

Netflix Looking to Build its Brand with Original Feature Films

Netflix is ready to expand its original content beyond TV series to feature films. First, the service will release Cary Fukunaga’s “Beasts of No Nation” on October 16. The film will debut via Netflix and select U.S. theaters, which will make it eligible for industry awards. On December 11, Netflix will release “The Ridiculous Six,” the first of four Adam Sandler films it plans to distribute. And in Q1 2016, the sequel “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend” will be released globally on Netflix, theatrically in China and on IMAX. Continue reading Netflix Looking to Build its Brand with Original Feature Films

Netflix and Amazon Aim to Shape Children’s Viewing Habits

Anyone who has ever read a story to a child knows the drill: children want to hear their favorite stories over and over again. That’s the major ingredient in Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu’s success in courting young audiences (and their parents). On-demand video makes it easy for a child to replay, over and over again, his or her favorite TV episodes or movies. Acutely aware of the phenomenon, these companies are actively working to provide video content for the young set, turning toddlers into life-long viewers. Continue reading Netflix and Amazon Aim to Shape Children’s Viewing Habits

Periscope Streams Wimbledon But Is Banned at Tournament

Periscope both was and was not at Wimbledon this year. The tournament’s digital content team used Twitter’s live video broadcasting app to take fans on a Roger Federer-led walking tour of the facility. Federer also anchored Wimbledon’s Periscope feed of the matches at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. But Wimbledon simultaneously banned attendees from using the live-streaming app in the stands. Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour wasn’t fazed by the seemingly contradictory move. “Their motivation is preserving the sanctity of play,” he said. Continue reading Periscope Streams Wimbledon But Is Banned at Tournament

New 4K 360-Degree Camera is Designed for Virtual Reality

Sphericam 2 is a 4K spherical camera launched recently as a Kickstarter project with the intent of providing photographers, cinematographers and consumers with a means of easily capturing high-quality 360-degree video. The developers behind Sphericam see the camera is an ideal solution for producing content for VR hardware including Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard. The camera features six built-in 4K lenses and records 360-degree video at 60fps. With 23 days to go in the campaign, the project has already exceeded its $150,000 goal. Continue reading New 4K 360-Degree Camera is Designed for Virtual Reality

Google Amps Up Competition with Free Version of Play Music

A week before Apple was set to unveil its streaming music service, Google came out with a free, albeit limited, version of Play Music, which began as a $9.99-a-month subscription service in 2013. Google is offering the service to lure more listeners to its subscription version, which loses potential customers when they are asked to input credit card information. Whether this strategy pays off is unclear, and some industry analysts wonder if Google is cannibalizing its own services or amping up its music creds in a competitive streaming music environment. Continue reading Google Amps Up Competition with Free Version of Play Music

Sprint Stops Throttling Speeds as Net Neutrality Takes Effect

The new net neutrality laws had a real-world impact when Sprint announced it would no longer throttle speeds for unlimited data customers. Sprint chief executive Marcelo Claure made the move in reaction to customers disgruntled by the fine print of a new $80/month unlimited text, talk and data plan, noting that video would be delivered at lower speeds. The 600 kilobits/second speed recommended by a consultant to Sprint would have particularly impacted high definition video, which runs at three to four megabits per second. Continue reading Sprint Stops Throttling Speeds as Net Neutrality Takes Effect

YouTube Stars Learn How It’s Done in Hollywood Productions

A growing number of YouTube stars — who are often more popular among teens than mainstream celebs such as Seth Rogen and Jennifer Lawrence — are making their way to Hollywood. By the end of 2015, at least a dozen movies featuring Internet celebrities will be released online and in a handful of theaters. Whether or not this transition works will have its first test in mid-July when “Smosh: The Movie,” “Bad Night” and “The Chosen” — three movies featuring popular YouTube personalities — are released. Continue reading YouTube Stars Learn How It’s Done in Hollywood Productions

HBO Now Tops iOS Revenue Charts, Big Hit with Cord Cutters

HBO’s standalone streaming service HBO Now, a $14.99 per month over-the-top option for accessing HBO’s premium content without the need for a cable or satellite TV subscription, is atop the iTunes App Store revenue rankings. According to analytics firm App Annie, the HBO iOS app was the highest grossing app on the market in May. While June’s figures have not yet been released, App Annie indicates HBO Now is still performing well. Since Apple has an exclusive launch agreement for HBO Now, this could be the best insight into the service’s traction thus far. Continue reading HBO Now Tops iOS Revenue Charts, Big Hit with Cord Cutters

Survey: Stigma Associated with TV Binge Viewing is Declining

Binge-watching television shows is becoming a less shameful activity, according to a March survey of TiVo users. While 53 percent of respondents in 2013 characterized the activity in a negative light, only 30 percent of recent respondents felt the same. “People who are binge-viewing are feeling better about themselves,” said Jonathan Steuer, chief research officer for TiVo. Interestingly, 92 percent of respondents indicated that they have engaged in binge-viewing at some point, and 32 percent said they often wait to watch an entire season at once. Continue reading Survey: Stigma Associated with TV Binge Viewing is Declining

Discovery Acquires European Rights to Four Olympic Games

In a deal valued at 1.3 billion euros (about $1.45 billion), Discovery Communications has paid for exclusive rights to broadcast four Olympic Games across most of Europe from 2018 to 2024. The rights include broadcast and pay TV, the Internet and mobile. The deal, announced by Discovery yesterday, marks the first time that a single media company has paid for exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympics across Europe. Discovery plans to make at least 200 hours of the Summer Olympics and 100 hours of the Winter Games available on free-to-air television. Continue reading Discovery Acquires European Rights to Four Olympic Games

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