Roku Goes Public Today, Sets its IPO Price at $14 per Share

Video streaming device maker Roku begins trading today on Nasdaq, setting its IPO price at $14 per share, which would give it a $1.3 billion stock market value. The 15-year-old company is competing with the likes of Amazon, Apple and Google that all offer streaming video boxes featuring popular apps such as Netflix and Hulu. Roku’s devices provide access to Amazon, Netflix, YouTube and dozens of online channels, but competition is a major consideration with today’s tech investors. Snap Inc., for example, the year’s biggest tech IPO, has watched its shares plummet in value as Facebook’s Instagram rolled out Snapchat-like functionality. Continue reading Roku Goes Public Today, Sets its IPO Price at $14 per Share

Amazon Launches Alexa on Music Apps to Attract New Users

Amazon, ranked third in streaming music, launched virtual assistant Alexa on its Amazon Music apps this week to better compete with No. 1 provider Spotify and No. 2-ranked Apple. Amazon Music will provide a button which users can push to access Alexa “play” commands that will work as they do on Echo. Amazon determined that Alexa is now the primary way that users listen to Amazon Music. Competitor Apple offers its virtual assistant Siri on Apple Music. Meanwhile, Google has decided to stop supporting the Amazon Echo Show on YouTube. Continue reading Amazon Launches Alexa on Music Apps to Attract New Users

Vimeo to Acquire Livestream Platform and Launch Vimeo Live

IAC-owned Vimeo is purchasing the Livestream platform and rolling out its own live-streaming service called Vimeo Live. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Earlier this year, Vimeo abandoned its plans to release a SVOD business. Rather than compete in the SVOD space with Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, “Vimeo’s core business is focused around selling tools and services to professional and semi-professional video creators,” reports TechCrunch. Integrating Livestream tech into Vimeo Live “will allow video creators to capture, edit, stream and archive their live events … in addition to hosting, distributing, and generating revenue from their videos.”  Continue reading Vimeo to Acquire Livestream Platform and Launch Vimeo Live

Netflix Aims to Bring More In-Flight Entertainment to Travelers

Netflix plans to extend bandwidth-efficient, mobile tech to airlines in an effort to offer passengers low-cost or free Wi-Fi entertainment. The company claims the mobile-encoding tech would allow travelers to “watch Netflix in high quality while airline carriers save up to 75 percent in bandwidth costs,” reports Variety. Netflix already has various deals involving in-flight Wi-Fi with Virgin America, Aeromexico, Qantas and Virgin Australia. On select flights with next-gen Wi-Fi, “such as those equipped with Ka-band and Gogo’s 2Ku Internet access, passengers are able to access Netflix from their carry-on devices and watch the streaming service at no extra charge.” Continue reading Netflix Aims to Bring More In-Flight Entertainment to Travelers

Fox Revamps its TV Everywhere Offerings With Updated Site

In the wake of its newly redesigned Fox Now app, Fox has updated its Fox.com website to include content from networks such as Fox, FX and National Geographic. “The new website and app include live streaming, giving viewers the option to dive right into watching the live show or start from the beginning,” explains The Hollywood Reporter. “There is also a library of 500 hours’ worth of programming, including new and returning shows that will be available online as soon as they begin airing on television.” The Fox Now app is available for Android, Apple TV, iOS, Roku and others. Continue reading Fox Revamps its TV Everywhere Offerings With Updated Site

Pay TV Losses Could Jump to 5 Million Households per Year

We’ve seen a wide range of recent forecasts regarding cord cutting and the impact on traditional pay TV. According to a new survey from RBC Capital Markets, only 55 percent of respondents said they would continue their pay-TV subscriptions. While 2016 saw a loss of 2 million subscribers, a future increase exceeding 5 million per year “does not seem impossible,” wrote RBC analyst Steven Cahall. “The RBC survey found that 21 percent of current cable, satellite or telco TV customers were considering switching to a lower-cost virtual pay-TV service,” reports Variety, “like Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV or DirecTV Now.” Continue reading Pay TV Losses Could Jump to 5 Million Households per Year

Mobile Companies Offer TV, Video and Music to Slow Churn

AT&T and T-Mobile are luring in new subscribers and holding on to existing ones by offering popular television content, including “Game of Thrones” and “Stranger Things.” T-Mobile, which now has an exclusive deal with Netflix, is offering free access to the streaming video service for subscribers who buy its unlimited family plan. AT&T expanded its HBO promotion to a larger circle of subscribers. In April, it offered free HBO to its Unlimited Plus Choice subscribers, and now expanded that to anyone with an Unlimited Choice plan. Continue reading Mobile Companies Offer TV, Video and Music to Slow Churn

Paid Subs for Streaming Music Services Top 30 Million in U.S.

The music business is experiencing significant growth, thanks in large part to the increasing popularity of streaming services. According to RIAA’s midyear report, leading services such as Spotify and Apple Music currently have 30.4 million paid subscribers in the U.S. (up from 20.2 million the previous year). Streaming services are now responsible for 62 percent of total industry revenue, followed by 19 percent for digital downloads, 16 percent for physical sales, and 3 percent for synch rights. Continue reading Paid Subs for Streaming Music Services Top 30 Million in U.S.

W3C Officially Recommends EME Spec for DRM Protection

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) published the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) specification as a recommendation, although W3C members only voted 58.4 percent to approve, with 30.8 percent opposing and 10.8 percent abstaining. EME is a standard interface for digital rights management (DRM) protection of content delivered through the browser, defining how Internet content works with third-party Content Decryption Modules (CDMs) that provide proprietary decryption and rights management. In response to the EME recommendation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has resigned from the W3C. Continue reading W3C Officially Recommends EME Spec for DRM Protection

Hulu Has a Big Emmy Night Thanks to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Hulu had a breakthrough Emmy year, taking home five awards last night in addition to the three Creative Arts Emmys it won last week. “The Handmaid’s Tale” was awarded the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy, marking the first time any streaming offering has won for the category. In addition to best drama, “The Handmaid’s Tale” earned several additional wins: Elisabeth Moss took home Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Ann Dowd was awarded for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama, Reed Morano earned the Outstanding Directing award, Bruce Miller won the Best Writing Emmy, and Alexis Bledel was recognized as Outstanding Guest Actress. Continue reading Hulu Has a Big Emmy Night Thanks to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

VR Industry Forum Draft Guidelines Push for Open Ecosystem

Over the weekend, the Virtual Reality Industry Forum (VRIF) released its draft VR and 360 video production and distribution guidelines at IBC 2017 in Amsterdam. The draft document begins with an intro section suggesting best practices for VR/360 production, including experiences with three degrees of freedom (3DOF). It then makes specific recommendations for the technical aspects of visual and audio VR/360 content production, media and presentation profiles, and content security. VRIF aims to release the full guidelines, with an emphasis on an open ecosystem, at CES 2018 in January. Continue reading VR Industry Forum Draft Guidelines Push for Open Ecosystem

YouTube Video Is Increasingly Popular as Viewers Go Mobile

Video consumption is continuing its transition from the living room to mobile devices. Android users in the U.S. watched nearly 1 billion hours worth of YouTube video content in July — the most time ever spent over a month in a single streaming video app. According to App Annie, the Android version of YouTube’s app accounted for about 80 percent of the 12 billion hours Americans spent between July 2016 and July 2017 using the top 10 Android apps for streaming video. Total time spent by consumers using video streaming apps jumped 45 percent from the previous year. Following YouTube is Netflix, Twitch, Hulu and Amazon Video. Continue reading YouTube Video Is Increasingly Popular as Viewers Go Mobile

Amazon to Debut Two New Fire TVs, One With Built-In Alexa

Amazon will soon introduce two new Fire TV models, both of which will playback 4K HDR video at 60 fps. The first is a dongle that hangs off a permanently attached HDMI cable, similar to Google Chromecast, and the second is a new Fire TV shaped like a set-top box that will be the new flagship model. The dongle is positioned between the existing Fire TV Stick and a new high-end model. The new Fire TV cube has far-field microphones, a built-in speaker and LED light bar, with functionality similar to an Amazon Echo. Continue reading Amazon to Debut Two New Fire TVs, One With Built-In Alexa

Apple Unveils New iPhones, Watch Series and 4K Apple TV

Apple CEO Tim Cook led a press event yesterday from the Steve Jobs Theater at the newly constructed Apple Park campus in Cupertino. Among the top announcements, Apple unveiled three new iPhones (including the much-hyped 10th anniversary iPhone X), provided details for the swim-proof Apple Watch Series 3 with new dual-core processor, and debuted an updated Apple TV streaming box with 4K Ultra HD and HDR support (starting at $179). Apple also announced it is working with Qi to develop its AirPower wireless charging standard, walked through details for watchOS 4, and revealed a September 19th release date for iOS 11. Continue reading Apple Unveils New iPhones, Watch Series and 4K Apple TV

Streaming Service to Debut Without Pricey Sports Channels

Discovery Communications, Viacom, AMC Networks, A+E Networks and Scripps Networks Interactive are joining forces to create a new streaming service catering to people who don’t want sports in their streaming TV bundles. According to sources, the service will have a soft launch in the next few weeks, cost less than $20 per month, and offer nonfiction, lifestyle, children’s and scripted drama programs from the channels owned by these networks. Media outlets have discussed a bundle without sports for some time. Continue reading Streaming Service to Debut Without Pricey Sports Channels

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