Netflix Rolls Out Audio Quality Upgrade For Its Programming

After noticing that the audio in episodes of the Netflix series “Stranger Things” wasn’t as crisp as it should be, the company’s internal sound technicians took steps to address the issue. For the past several months, they’ve been working to enhance the sound quality of all Netflix programming, original and licensed. This week and moving forward, subscribers will have access to what’s simply being called “high-quality audio.” The upgrade, which will not require Netflix users to change their Internet service speeds, is optimized for devices that support Dolby 5.1 and Dolby Atmos sound.

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Hulu Has 28 Million U.S. Users, Announces Original Content

At the Digital Content NewFronts in New York City this week, Hulu revealed that its streaming video service now has 26.8 million monthly paid subscribers in the U.S., plus 1.3 million promotional accounts. That’s an increase from about 20 million total users this time last year. Hulu announced a new “binge advertising experience” that intends to be a less intrusive way to target binge viewers. Hulu also detailed new content deals, including a multi-year partnership with Vox Media Studios for food-centric programming and two new live-action series from Marvel for 2020. Continue reading Hulu Has 28 Million U.S. Users, Announces Original Content

MoviePass Subs Down 90 Percent, Despite Unlimited Plan

Since MoviePass tweaked its formula, it has lost over 90 percent of its subscribers. Business Insider reported that, based on “internal data,” it found that the movie subscription company now has 225,000 subscribers. In June 2018, MoviePass stated it had signed up over three million subscribers for a plan that then cost $9.95 per month and allowed viewers to see one movie a day. The company pulled back on the plan in August that year, converting subscribers to a new plan permitting three movies per month. Continue reading MoviePass Subs Down 90 Percent, Despite Unlimited Plan

Netflix Facing New Competition as Domestic Growth Slows

Subscription video service Netflix is still growing, but the new subscription numbers come largely from the international market. In the U.S., Netflix reported 1.7 million new subs in Q1 2019 out of a total of 9.6 million new customers. The streaming giant’s slowed domestic growth — including predictions for a slower Q2 globally — is likely due to increased competition as well as its recently raised subscription fees. Netflix investors are also concerned that the company cannot maintain what has thus far been rapid growth. Continue reading Netflix Facing New Competition as Domestic Growth Slows

Hulu Positioned to Become Most Serious Netflix Competitor

Amazon, Apple, AT&T and Disney aim to compete against Netflix, the current giant in streaming video. The one contender that rises above is Hulu, which has gone through several owners (Disney, 21st Century Fox, Comcast and Time Warner). AT&T sold Time Warner’s stake, and with the purchase of Fox, Disney is now Hulu’s majority owner. Hulu originally streamed shows from other networks, but its profile changed with “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which became the first “streaming-native” show to win an Emmy for best drama series. Continue reading Hulu Positioned to Become Most Serious Netflix Competitor

Apple Music Now Has More Subscribers Than Spotify in U.S.

Apple Music now has more paid subscriptions in the U.S. than popular music streamer Spotify, as the global competition ramps up between the two rivals. According to those familiar with the matter, Apple Music surpassed 28 million U.S. subscribers by February, compared to Spotify’s 26 million subscribers (the figures only include paid subscriptions, not trial users). When including nonpaying music fans of its ad-supported offering, Spotify still holds the lead in the number of overall users in the U.S. To slow Apple’s progress, Spotify recently introduced new promotions, such as a discounted subscription bundle with Hulu. Continue reading Apple Music Now Has More Subscribers Than Spotify in U.S.

MPAA Announces Record Earnings in Global Entertainment

The Motion Picture Association of America revealed that the global entertainment market reached $96.8 billion in 2018, 9 percent over 2017 and a new record. Most notable was the growth of streaming video, 27 percent over 2017 to 613.3 million global subscriptions. Cable subscriptions, meanwhile, dropped 2 percent to 556 million subscribers, marking the first time that streaming bested cable (although cable still earns more money). Theatrical box office in the U.S. and Canada grew to $11.9 billion, while the overall global box office grew to $41.1 billion. Continue reading MPAA Announces Record Earnings in Global Entertainment

MoviePass Updates Service, Addresses Exhibitors’ Concerns

MoviePass is relaunching its service with a marketing campaign that includes a billboard in Times Square and print ads. With the tagline “let’s go to the movies,” MoviePass’s second incarnation has to rise above the failure of its unlimited $9.99/month movie plan that drew millions of subscribers but then continually changed its terms to keep the company afloat. The new model includes both basic and “red carpet” plans whose price varies based on geography, with more expensive plans for cities where movie ticket prices are higher. Continue reading MoviePass Updates Service, Addresses Exhibitors’ Concerns

Hulu Looks to Take On Streaming Rivals By Lowering Its Cost

Following the announcement that Netflix would be raising its subscription prices to help finance more original programming, Hulu is heading in the opposite direction to lure more streaming customers. The $7.99 per month cost of Hulu’s service will drop to $5.99 monthly. This new price could attract Netflix customers who are considering whether to cancel or downgrade their current Netflix subscriptions following the new price increase. Although the numbers widely vary, several recent surveys suggest that some Netflix subscribers are now considering a change. Continue reading Hulu Looks to Take On Streaming Rivals By Lowering Its Cost

Netflix Raises Subscription Prices to Fund Its Original Content

Netflix is raising its prices again, increasing the cost of its most popular plan to $13 per month, from $11, an 18 percent bump. The basic plan rose from $8 to $9 per month, a 13 percent increase. Netflix, which last raised prices in 2017, did so to offset its massive spending on original content. It is also a way to compete with rivals in streaming video from Amazon to Hulu as well as newcomers including AT&T’s WarnerMedia, Disney and Comcast’s NBCUniversal. In response to the news, Netflix shares rose 6.5 percent to $354.64. Continue reading Netflix Raises Subscription Prices to Fund Its Original Content

Amazon to Expand Whole Foods Stores, Prime Now Delivery

Amazon plans to build more Whole Foods stores across the United States, indicate sources, with the goal of adding more customers within reach of the company’s two-hour delivery service. The move is a transformation for the grocery store, which had slowed its growth in the years before Amazon’s 2017 purchase for about $13.5 billion. Although Amazon wouldn’t comment on expansion plans, sources say that Whole Foods staffers are searching for potential retail space in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming, which currently don’t have Whole Foods stores. Continue reading Amazon to Expand Whole Foods Stores, Prime Now Delivery

Netflix and Amazon Face Formidable Video Rival in YouTube

Netflix is strategizing ways to court the hundreds of thousands of people in places like India that are glued to watching YouTube on their mobile phones. Only a few months, ago, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings said sleep was Netflix’s biggest competitor. But since his company is also eyeing India for its next 100 million Netflix subscribers, that country’s focus on YouTube is concerning. Netflix and Amazon, both of which have spent billions to produce original content, still find it difficult to crack emerging markets. Continue reading Netflix and Amazon Face Formidable Video Rival in YouTube

NAGRA Helping Cable, Telecom Operators Deploy Android TV

Android TV, first unveiled in 2014 and updated by Google in 2017, is making a splash, and NAGRA is one of a handful of companies enabling mid-sized cable and telecom operators to add the offering. According to the company’s senior director of product marketing Simon Trudelle, NAGRA is currently helping to deploy eight active 4K Android TV projects, the most recent being the United Group, a telecom/media operator in South East Europe. NAGRA provides advanced content protection technology for its hybrid TV platform. Continue reading NAGRA Helping Cable, Telecom Operators Deploy Android TV

MoviePass Hopes New Subscription Plans Will Save Service

MoviePass has had a rough year, and now, it’s aiming for a reboot. Chief executive Mitch Lowe will hand over the reins of day-to-day operations to executive vice president Khalid Itum and focus on long-term strategy. Itum noted that the company has lost consumers’ trust, and that he will lead an effort to “fix” the product as well as empathize with the turmoil its members endured over the past year. Starting in January 2019, MoviePass will introduce three new plans, each of which offers up to 36 movies per year. Continue reading MoviePass Hopes New Subscription Plans Will Save Service

Criterion Collection Reveals Plans for New Streaming Service

Following the news that WarnerMedia would shutter its streaming service FilmStruck at the end of this month, The Criterion Collection announced that it plans to offer selections from its library of classic Hollywood, foreign language and notable art-house films via its own standalone streaming service to launch in spring 2019 (FilmStruck had an exclusive licensing deal to stream movies from the Criterion library). The announcement further revealed that The Criterion Channel would also be made available via “WarnerMedia’s new consumer platform when it launches late next year.” Continue reading Criterion Collection Reveals Plans for New Streaming Service

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