Redbox in Public Beta for New On-Demand Streaming Service

Redbox, known for its red kiosks where users can rent DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, has unveiled a new on-demand streaming service for movies and TV shows. The new service is not subscription-based but, similar to iTunes or Google Play, allows the user to pay for each movie or show that they rent or buy; the on-demand service, currently in public beta, will offer the same kind of new release movies and shows available in the kiosks. The privately held company offers content from every studio except Disney. Continue reading Redbox in Public Beta for New On-Demand Streaming Service

T-Mobile Buys Layer3, Prepares to Debut Streaming Service

T-Mobile US is buying Layer3 TV, a streaming pay-TV distributor, to launch its own pay-TV streaming service. In doing so, T-Mobile, the third largest wireless carrier (by subscribers) in the U.S., joins a growing host of other companies, such as Sony, Dish and YouTube, that aim to lure cord-cutters to their streaming services. Some of those efforts have been successful; AT&T, for example, now has one million subscribers to its DirecTV Now streaming service, which debuted last year and is priced as little as $35 per month. Continue reading T-Mobile Buys Layer3, Prepares to Debut Streaming Service

Samsung and Amazon Join Forces to Stream HDR10+ Video

Amazon and Samsung have partnered to begin streaming videos in the high dynamic range format HDR10+ on the latter’s premium QLED and UHD TVs. Reported by Yonhap News, Samsung said it will be the first time that HDR10+ content will be available via a streaming service. Samsung and Amazon first announced their intent to rely on the HDR10+ open standard in April. Netflix also just announced that it is considering adding support of the HDR10+ standard. Netflix currently supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR standards. Continue reading Samsung and Amazon Join Forces to Stream HDR10+ Video

Deloitte Predicts 2018 Trends in AR, eSports, Phones and TV

In its 17th annual Technology, Media & Telecommunications Report, Deloitte released nine predictions regarding trends for the tech industry in 2018, covering everything from ad blocking and augmented reality to livestreaming programming. Deloitte vice president Paul Sallomi reports that, “we have reached the tipping point where adoption of machine learning in the enterprise is poised to accelerate, and will drive improved business operations, better decision making and provide enhanced or entirely new products and services.” Continue reading Deloitte Predicts 2018 Trends in AR, eSports, Phones and TV

Snapchat Debuts 30 Original Shows but Metrics Still a Mystery

In the wake of Instagram copying one of its most popular features, Stories, Snapchat pivoted to original video content, believing it crucial to the company’s long-term success. To produce this content, Snapchat turned to numerous television networks, including A+E Networks, Discovery, ESPN, NBCUniversal and Turner (owner of CNN, TBS and TNT). NBCUniversal, which invested $500 million in Snap’s IPO, is particularly bullish on Snapchat Shows. But Snapchat doesn’t reveal metrics, raising questions about the success of Shows. Continue reading Snapchat Debuts 30 Original Shows but Metrics Still a Mystery

Facebook Lifts Ban on Pre-Roll Ads, in Beta Tests for Watch

Facebook has resisted the practice of pre-roll ads. Now, according to knowledgeable advertisers, in a major shift the company says it plans to test such ads for Watch shows. The ban on pre-roll ads came directly from chief executive Mark Zuckerberg who stressed that users came to the site to look at a feed, not watch one specific piece of content. This year, however, Facebook debuted Watch, where TV studios, publishers and celebrities can try to sell advertising against their shows, an ideal format for pre-roll ads. Continue reading Facebook Lifts Ban on Pre-Roll Ads, in Beta Tests for Watch

TDG: 40 Percent of U.S. Households Will Cut the Cord by 2030

Despite the increasing number of digital streaming services currently available, including Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, about 85 percent of U.S. households continue to subscribe to traditional cable television. However, The Diffusion Group suggests the tide is turning; the market analyst predicts that by 2030 as many as 40 percent of Americans will have cut the cord. TDG Research also expects the percentage of households subscribing to pay TV will drop to 60 percent during the same period. TDG suggests that by 2030, about 30 million households will be “without an MVPD service of any kind.” Continue reading TDG: 40 Percent of U.S. Households Will Cut the Cord by 2030

Worldwide Ad Spending for Digital Beats TV for the First Time

For the first time, advertisers have invested more in digital ads than they did in traditional television spots. Magna, the research arm of IPG Mediabrands, reports that 2017 digital ad spending ($209 billion) represents 41 percent of the global market, while spending for TV ($178 billion) represents 35 percent. Magna predicts digital ads will reach 50 percent by 2020. According to Recode, “big TV advertisers have yet to move much of their budget over to digital, even though Facebook and Google are working hard to make that happen.” Magna expects digital spending to increase 13 percent next year, “while TV ads will grow 2.5 percent… thanks in part to one-off events like the Olympics and the U.S. mid-term elections.” Continue reading Worldwide Ad Spending for Digital Beats TV for the First Time

Comcast, Charter Reportedly In Talks to Ink Deals With Hulu

Comcast and Charter Communications are reportedly in talks with Hulu to offer its on-demand content via their set-top boxes. Currently, Comcast offers Dish Network’s Sling TV, Netflix and YouTube with its X1 service, which offers voice-activated search for movies and TV shows. Comcast’s goal is to become a “one-stop shop” for digital video services, says company executive vice president Matt Strauss. Sources say that Charter is also on track to add Netflix via a new user interface for web video. Continue reading Comcast, Charter Reportedly In Talks to Ink Deals With Hulu

Intel, Warner Bros. Unveil AV Entertainment Experience Plans

During this week’s LA Auto Show, Intel and Warner Bros. announced a partnership to develop in-cabin, immersive experiences for autonomous vehicles. The companies are creating the AV Entertainment Experience, which Intel chief Brian Krzanich describes as “a first-of-its-kind proof-of-concept car to demonstrate what entertainment in the vehicle could look like in the future.” Since Americans spend an average of 300 hours per year driving, there is a wealth of possibilities for using that time differently when automobiles become self-driving. The collaboration is looking beyond movies and TV programming to more immersive experiences. Continue reading Intel, Warner Bros. Unveil AV Entertainment Experience Plans

Plex DVR Exits Beta With New Commercial-Removal Feature

Plex started out as a simple home media server and has evolved into a cloud-based platform that offers streaming personalized news and a full-featured DVR. The company has now added a new DVR feature, via an update, that automatically removes commercials. Most of the update fixed bugs; this new feature must be manually enabled in the Plex DVR settings, which now offers a “Remove Commercials” option. Users should, however, pay attention to reports from other users and the setting’s description. Continue reading Plex DVR Exits Beta With New Commercial-Removal Feature

Snapchat Intros Wide-Reach Promoted Stories for Advertisers

On Black Friday, Snapchat introduced Promoted Stories, a new advertising format that allows marketers to get their messages to more users. The company’s existing Story feature is a stitched-together collection of photos and videos that disappears 24 hours after it is shared. Any Snapchat user (including a business or brand) can create a Story, but it will only be visible to that user’s followers. Promoted Stories, however, which will appear on the Stories page in the Snapchat app, will be pushed out around the country. Continue reading Snapchat Intros Wide-Reach Promoted Stories for Advertisers

Why Marketers Are Pursuing Gen Z YouTube Star Liza Koshy

The Gen Z audience, defined as those born after about 1996, gravitates to the kind of irreverent self-made YouTube stars embodied by Liza Koshy, a comedian with 1.6 billion views, who produces short content for social media platforms. Reaching this audience is a challenge since it values DIY stars as much or more than professionals and moves among platforms and apps with ease. Two years after she first appeared on YouTube, Koshy has been featured in Vogue’s 73 Questions (which she recently parodied) and advertisers are chasing her. Continue reading Why Marketers Are Pursuing Gen Z YouTube Star Liza Koshy

HBO Experiments with Branching Narrative TV Series and App

Against the backdrop of eroding live TV viewership and the expansion of video games and Web video, acclaimed filmmaker Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic,” “The Knick”) has directed “Mosaic,” an interactive series with branching narratives. Co-developed by Soderbergh and former Universal Pictures head Casey Silver with screenwriter Ed Solomon, “Mosaic” is a multi-episodic mystery that allows audiences to choose the story threads they experience. The series is now available for free download from Android and Apple stores and for viewing with Apple TV. Continue reading HBO Experiments with Branching Narrative TV Series and App

Meredith Expands its National Reach with Time Inc. Purchase

Over the weekend, the Meredith Corporation agreed to an acquisition of New York-based Time Inc. in an all-cash deal worth $2.8 billion. The deal includes a $650 million infusion from the private equity arm of billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. Through its National Media division, Iowa-based Meredith owns popular magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens, Family Circle, Living and Shape. The purchase will add notable publications including People, Sports Illustrated and Time to the Meredith line-up. The company’s Local Media division owns a collection of TV stations. Continue reading Meredith Expands its National Reach with Time Inc. Purchase

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