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

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

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

With Xbox One S, Microsoft Is the Latest Supporter of HDR10

The new version of Xbox One S launched with the ability to output high dynamic range to compatible TV sets. The move highlights the current competition between two different HDR standards: HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Xbox One S adopted the open standard HDR10 promoted by Samsung, Sony, Sharp, 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate and Paramount. Many content creators (Netflix and Amazon are two) and TV set manufacturers (Vizio, LG and Philips) are hedging their bets by offering content or hardware in both HDR standards. Continue reading With Xbox One S, Microsoft Is the Latest Supporter of HDR10

After Consecutive Quarters of Decline, Disc Sales On Upswing

Consumers spent 4 percent more on movies, other content on discs and digital during Q2 2016 compared to the same period last year. According to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, disc sales increased 3 percent to $1.2 billion, including a 35 percent jump in Blu-ray Disc sales. Digital HD jumped 8.7 percent to $466 million. “Total consumer spending on home entertainment purchases is estimated at $1.67 billion for the three-month period that ended June 30, a healthy increase of 4.5 percent from $1.59 billion in the same period last year,” reports Variety. Ultra HD Blu-ray, which launched in March, could be a contributing factor. Continue reading After Consecutive Quarters of Decline, Disc Sales On Upswing

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

Dish and Comcast to Offer NBC’s 4K Rio Olympics Coverage

According to Multichannel News: “Dish Network and Comcast will be joining AT&T in offering access to NBCUniversal’s delayed 4K coverage of the Summer Olympics in Rio.” Comcast will provide content from Rio on demand via its Xfinity in UHD app for Samsung and LG smart TVs, while Dish will offer content on linear channel 146 and on VOD via the Hopper 3 DVR and 4K Joey box. Dish will also include a sports hub on channel 148 for access to NBCU’s coverage and integrate the NBC Olympics app on its Hopper and Joey devices. Dish’s Sling TV will also carry select coverage on its Sling Blue service. Continue reading Dish and Comcast to Offer NBC’s 4K Rio Olympics Coverage

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

NBC Inks Deals with Digital Celebrities to Promote Olympics

To lure millennials to watch the Rio Olympics, which run August 5 to 21, NBC is enlisting 24 Internet celebrities to build buzz. For the first time, NBC is using a portion of its marketing budget on digital influencers such as German DJ/comedian Flula Borg, who has 779,000+ YouTube fans, to appear in videos with U.S. Olympic athletes, including Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, Maya Moore and Claressa Shields. The YouTube celebrities tapped for videos have 120 million followers on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine. Continue reading NBC Inks Deals with Digital Celebrities to Promote Olympics

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

Twitter Continues its Push to Become Live-Streaming Service

Twitter is looking to strengthen its status as a social destination for sports fans by striking deals with Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League to host live video of games for users who are in out-of-market regions. The move follows a similar agreement with the National Football League that will bring “Thursday Night Football” to Twitter this fall, a partnership with the National Basketball Association to live-stream original programming (but not games), and deals with Pac-12 Networks and Campus Insiders to stream college sports during the 2016-2017 season. Continue reading Twitter Continues its Push to Become Live-Streaming Service

Sony to Debut TVs Combining Best OLED and LCD Features

This summer, Sony will begin shipping the new Z television set series, redesigned from the ground up to combine the best technical features of both LCD and OLED sets. Whereas OLED TVs can show a true pitch-black, they can’t match the brightness of LED-backlit LCD TVs. With the advent of high dynamic range (HDR), TV sets need both the control of individual pixels provided by OLEDs and the brightness of LCDs. Sony achieves that by adding more LEDs in its backlight and focusing their beams for less light leakage. Continue reading Sony to Debut TVs Combining Best OLED and LCD Features

Comcast to Roll Out its Xfinity Prepaid Services in Five States

Later this year, Comcast will debut a prepaid service similar to the plans wireless companies use to attract low-income households. Dubbed Xfinity Prepaid Services, the customer can buy TV or Internet services for seven or 30 days at a time, with a one-time equipment set-up fee. Upon completion of the term, the user can renew the service with no limitations. Xfinity Prepaid Services will first be available in Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Florida and Indiana. Comcast will extend the service to all its customers by end of 2017. Continue reading Comcast to Roll Out its Xfinity Prepaid Services in Five States

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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