T-Mobile Launches Binge On: Video Streaming, No Data Cap

T-Mobile US will stream 24 video services including Netflix, Hulu and HBO for free, albeit at lower quality. The wireless company has already used this tactic — called zero rating, which means the data will not be counted against the subscriber’s data limit — for its Music Freedom service, which includes music streaming apps Spotify and Apple Music among others. The new video exemption, dubbed Binge On, does not, however, include video from YouTube, Facebook and Netflix and requires users to have a 3GB plan or larger. Continue reading T-Mobile Launches Binge On: Video Streaming, No Data Cap

Pluto TV Aggregates Digital Channels to Remix Traditional TV

Pluto TV chief executive Tom Ryan sees the company as a “remix” of traditional linear TV, a place where viewers don’t have to pick what they want to watch. The company just announced new content deals with NBC News, Reuters, Paramount, 120 Sports, CNET, Legendary Digital, and Corus Entertainment, but the majority of its content is YouTube or Vimeo videos that have been repackaged to resemble linear channels. New executive chair Ken Parks says the service plans to be an aggregator for digital subscription services. Continue reading Pluto TV Aggregates Digital Channels to Remix Traditional TV

Vizio Smart TV Tracks Users’ Viewing, Shares with Advertisers

In an October IPO filing, Vizio described its ability to provide “highly specific viewing behavior data on a massive scale with great accuracy.” This refers to Vizio’s Smart TVs ability to track the user’s viewing habits and share that information with advertisers, who use it to connect with that user’s devices. Vizio dubs this “Smart Interactivity” and it is turned on by default for the more than 10 million Smart TVs the company has sold. Users who do not want to be tracked in this fashion must opt-out. Continue reading Vizio Smart TV Tracks Users’ Viewing, Shares with Advertisers

Flare MeTV: Cox to Roll Out New Streaming Content Service

In an attempt to attract and maintain the youth demographic, Cox Communications plans to debut Flare MeTV, featuring a variety of streaming offerings, by the end of 2015. Similar to Comcast’s “Watchable,” which debuted in September, and Verizon’s go90, Flare MeTV will aggregate online video content and may in the future carry some licensed traditional TV content. Flare MeTV will be introduced as free without ads, but may eventually become ad-supported or subscription-based. The app will initially only be available on the iPad.   Continue reading Flare MeTV: Cox to Roll Out New Streaming Content Service

Activision to Open Film/TV Studio to Repurpose Game Library

Gaming company Activision Blizzard is creating an internal film/TV studio, headed by former Walt Disney Company executive Nick van Dyk, to produce content based on its 1,000-title library. The first production is animated TV series “Skylanders Academy,” based on the “Skylanders” game that’s earned $3+ billion since its 2011 launch. The first film is likely to be based on “Call of Duty.” This move comes on the heels of Activision’s stated intent to acquire King Digital Entertainment, creator of “Candy Crush,” for $5.9 billion. Continue reading Activision to Open Film/TV Studio to Repurpose Game Library

Report Shows YouTube Views Rise as Social TV Gains Traction

The third edition of the Social TV Index Report, from digital services company Ring Digital, reveals that YouTube is quickly increasing as a platform where “consumers vote, post, share or comment about something on TV.” The Social TV Index Report states that 37 percent of adults aged 18 to 24 have engaged in social TV, and 29 percent of the overall U.S. Internet population, up 5 percent from last year. Among those social TV users, 14.5 percent posted TV-related comments to YouTube, more than twice last year’s 6.3 percent. Continue reading Report Shows YouTube Views Rise as Social TV Gains Traction

Networks Turn to Neuroscience, Biometrics to Study TV Viewing

Up until now, the methodology to find out what TV viewers like — based largely on written surveys and machines with dials to indicate their degree of enjoyment — has been fairly primitive and, most likely, not very reliable. Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Viacom are now both trying to dig deeper using biometrics, including eye movements, facial reactions, skin sensors, heart monitors, and EEGs to monitor brain waves. Viewing measurement company Nielsen even bought a neuroscience firm, Innerscope Resesarch, to add these skillsets to its lab. Continue reading Networks Turn to Neuroscience, Biometrics to Study TV Viewing

Netflix Chief Exec Tells Conference: “There’s Not Enough TV”

At The New York Times’ DealBook conference, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings pointed to a broad, sustained growth of consumer spending on entertainment as proof that there is not enough television content currently available. Great content, he said, will find viewers. The bar for quality is rising, he noted further, and said Netflix is maintaining its high standards by working with other production companies. As an example, he pointed to “Narcos,” which was produced with French company Gaumont. Continue reading Netflix Chief Exec Tells Conference: “There’s Not Enough TV”

Viacom Marries Madison Ave. and Silicon Valley for Better Ads

Viacom is introducing a new strategy involving the use of big data to optimize the placement of ads. Initially known as Project Gemini (after an early NASA human spaceflight program), and now called Vantage, Viacom’s new big data capabilities were created by data scientists and other technologists hired away from Microsoft and elsewhere. As Viacom leverages Silicon Valley technology in an effort to capture Madison Avenue dollars, competitors are ramping up similar big data strategies. Continue reading Viacom Marries Madison Ave. and Silicon Valley for Better Ads

Vice Media, Valued at $5 Billion, Keeps Growing, Inking Deals

Vice Media has generated more buzz, media partnerships and revenue than most new media companies. Traditional media companies following young male viewers fleeing TV find the coveted demographic at home at Vice, making it a particularly attractive target for investments, partnerships and, potentially, acquisition. One recent blip, however, is an accounting snafu: whereas Vice says company revenue will hit nearly $1 billion this year, others have said that number is much closer to $500 million. Continue reading Vice Media, Valued at $5 Billion, Keeps Growing, Inking Deals

Internet Service Providers Compete for OTT Video Dominance

Competition in the OTT video market has heated up over this last year, and will likely build over the coming year, say some experts. Currently in online video, the top five online video destinations account for 85 percent of the market share. High-trafficked video destinations include YouTube and Facebook and TV brands such as ESPN, CNN and Fox Sports. But the mid-to-long tail sites have almost no video — which is worth significantly more than display advertising — making it an opportunity that’s been waiting to happen. Continue reading Internet Service Providers Compete for OTT Video Dominance

BeBop Launches New Virtualized Editing Platform on IBM Cloud

BeBop Technology has built a virtualized editing platform that uses IBM Cloud to offer a secure, cloud-based film and video editing service. The platform intends to facilitate greater speed and efficiency of media production while reducing costs. Software developer Teradici provides cloud media management with its Pervasive Computing Platform tech that enables secure virtual workspaces. Rather than moving content files between locations, which can result in errors and piracy risks, Teradici’s solution transmits only the pixels, securely on IBM Cloud. Continue reading BeBop Launches New Virtualized Editing Platform on IBM Cloud

SMPTE 2015: Examining HDR Tech Challenges and Solutions

High dynamic range is lauded for its more vivid colors and life-like imagery. Initially introduced by TV set manufacturers, an increasing number of gear manufacturers have introduced HDR capabilities and SMPTE just released standard specifications. But implementing HDR into production, post production and distribution can also create problems that degrade the image, with artifacts and banding. Several experts talked about the challenges in implementing HDR, and the potential solutions to them. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Examining HDR Tech Challenges and Solutions

SMPTE 2015: Experts Greenlight IP Technology for Broadcast

Television production facilities began incorporating IP, or Internet Protocol, technology several years ago, and an increasing number of broadcast equipment manufacturers are supporting the video/audio signal transport format. But is IP networking mature and robust enough for broadcasters to consider replacing their now-standard SDI networks with “all IP” versions? Broadcasters and broadcast equipment manufacturers have been busy trying to answer that question, and some of their results were presented at SMPTE 2015. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Experts Greenlight IP Technology for Broadcast

SMPTE 2015: Preserving and Archiving for the Next 150 Years

In addition to tackling issues related to new technologies — from Ultra HD to high dynamic range and high frame rates — SMPTE also considers how to preserve film and assets of the past. In a wide-ranging morning of sessions, experts considered the factors required to view archival content on HDR projectors or HDR displays; how the Library of Congress maintains the viability of over 7 million audio-visual assets for a mandated 150 years; and how to restore the original, variable frame rates of silent films for digital projection. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Preserving and Archiving for the Next 150 Years

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