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

Netflix’s New Flixtape Site Lets Users Create, Share ‘Mixtapes’

Netflix has debuted Flixtape, a standalone website that allows users to make playlists of their favorite movies and TV shows. The lists can be created on the basis of genre (comedy, drama, documentary) or any kind of theme. According to Netflix, these lists can either be shared, via text message, email or social networks including Facebook and Twitter, with family and friends, or simply created for the user’s own reference. The list, however, is limited to a total of six titles. Continue reading Netflix’s New Flixtape Site Lets Users Create, Share ‘Mixtapes’

Netflix Scores Emmy Noms, Reaping Value Per Dollar Spent

Netflix has scored big with 54 Emmy nominations, compared to last year’s 34 nominations. The number of nominations puts Netflix in third place, behind HBO (94 nominations) and FX Networks (56 nominations). Its long-standing series “House of Cards” continued to garner nominations, as did new series “Bloodlines” and “Narcos.” Netflix is also besting its competitors in terms of how it creates value for the money it spends on productions, with efficiencies an estimated three-times better than Amazon and Hulu. Continue reading Netflix Scores Emmy Noms, Reaping Value Per Dollar Spent

NBCUniversal Awarded Patent to Halt Illegal BitTorrent Piracy

NBCUniversal just received a patent to track files, in real-time, shared by groups on peer-to-peer networks, part of an anti-piracy effort. “Early detection of high volume peer-to-peer swarms,” the title of the patent, looks for a popular swarm so that the copyright holders can take action before it is “too late to do much good.” Detection relies on a data feed of peer-to-peer swarm activity, augmented by a data analytics engine that processes the data to identify swarms with parameters exceeding a threshold. Continue reading NBCUniversal Awarded Patent to Halt Illegal BitTorrent Piracy

Fox Livestreams Primetime Programs to Pay-TV Subscribers

As of Monday, Fox is livestreaming all its primetime shows to digital platforms in all 210 U.S. TV markets, the first broadcaster to do so. The first live-streaming show out of the gate was a live performance episode of “So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation.” Among the entertainment programs that will be livestreamed every night of the week and late-night Saturdays are “Wayward Pines,” “Master Chef,” ‘Hotel Hell,” “Home Free,” “Teen Choice 2016,” “Scream Queens” and new series “Lethal Weapon.” Continue reading Fox Livestreams Primetime Programs to Pay-TV Subscribers

ABC Targets Cord Cutters with Expanded Streaming Offerings

ABC relaunched its streaming service yesterday to attract cord cutters with an increased number of TV shows and a collection of new digital originals. The network is introducing seven digital short-form series that focus on comedy and lifestyle, with more than 40 digital programs in development. The content is available via the free, ad-supported app and online at ABC.go.com. The app is debuting a redesigned user interface for iOS devices and Apple TV boxes. In addition, pay TV subscribers will have access to exclusive content and, in select markets, the ability to view live television. Continue reading ABC Targets Cord Cutters with Expanded Streaming Offerings

USA Gets Creative with Social Marketing of ‘Mr. Robot’ Return

The second season of the series “Mr. Robot” debuts this evening. But three days earlier, fans of the USA Network series who tuned into Facebook Live to watch a Q&A with the cast of the series, moderated by comedian Keegan-Michael Key, got a surprise showing. In a twist that emulates the show’s themes, fsociety, the show’s hacker organization, broke into the live Q&A to deliver a rant about the interview, followed by a sneak preview of the debut episode of Season 2. Then the full episode disappeared. Continue reading USA Gets Creative with Social Marketing of ‘Mr. Robot’ Return

Unplugged: YouTube’s Online TV Service Expected Next Year

YouTube has been developing an online TV service for today’s cord cutters, expected to launch early in 2017, and has reportedly been working on deals with ABC, CBS, ESPN and other major broadcasters. However, the video platform may pass on smaller cable networks, in hopes of creating YouTube channels with related video content. In May, Bloomberg reported that the $35-per-month service would be called Unplugged and could include smaller bundles of add-on channels. “Online TV services are still young, and there’s plenty of market for YouTube to go after,” suggests The Verge, noting that current obstacles include the availability of networks on services such as Sling, and the emergence of standalone services from CBS and soon, ESPN. Continue reading Unplugged: YouTube’s Online TV Service Expected Next Year

Sharing HBO GO or Netflix Passwords Is Now a Federal Crime

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled that using another person’s password to access online services such as HBO GO and Netflix is now considered in violation of federal computer laws. “But don’t panic,” suggests Variety. “It’s not likely that subscription VOD providers will suddenly have the feds descend on people swapping their login credentials.” While a 2015 study from Parks Associates projected that SVOD services could lose up to $500 million in revenue from password sharing, several services have downplayed the impact. During CES, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings even noted that many violators often become paying customers. Continue reading Sharing HBO GO or Netflix Passwords Is Now a Federal Crime

Comcast, Netflix Ink Deal to Stream Videos on X1 Set-Top Box

Comcast just announced that it will allow Netflix to stream videos onto its X1 platform. According to a statement, both companies say they still have “much work to do” before they will be able to rollout the new service to consumers before the end of the year. Sources say that the deal will ultimately be similar to those that Netflix has created with smaller cable services across the country. In those arrangements, the Netflix app is seen on the platform, making it easier for users to sign in and access it. Continue reading Comcast, Netflix Ink Deal to Stream Videos on X1 Set-Top Box

Survey Shows Netflix Subscribers Want Ability to View Offline

Netflix indicated recently that it is considering offering its subscribers the ability to download content and watch it offline. But, in an era in which Wi-Fi and 4G are everywhere, the question is: Is it necessary? How many subscribers think they would actually download content? And, if so, when do subscribers think they would watch downloaded videos? Since its 2007 introduction, Netflix has streamed videos (and mailed physical DVDs), an unchanged paradigm that has served it and its subscribers well. Continue reading Survey Shows Netflix Subscribers Want Ability to View Offline

Ads Are the Top Reason for Canceling Streaming Video Subs

According to a survey from IBM’s Cloud Video division, 31 percent of respondents indicated that they had canceled a streaming video subscription before, while that figure jumped to 40 percent among those who listed Amazon or Hulu as their primary service. When asked why consumers would cancel their subscription, 27 percent pointed to advertisements, 25 percent cited cost, and 20 percent blamed the amount of available content. These reasons topped tech issues (17 percent), while 73 percent of respondents indicated that buffering or start delays were the most commonly experienced problems. Continue reading Ads Are the Top Reason for Canceling Streaming Video Subs

Disney to Buy Stake in BAM Tech, MLB Streaming Video Unit

Disney is acquiring a 33 percent stake in the streaming video unit of Major League Baseball’s MLB Advanced Media tech arm. The deal values the unit, dubbed BAM Tech, at $3.5 billion. Terms of the deal also reportedly include a four-year option for Disney to purchase an additional 33 percent stake. The deal raises the prospect that Disney “is poised to expand its range of online-video services,” reports Variety. “The league formed MLBAM in 2000 to launch MLB.tv, one of the earliest Internet-delivered video subscription services. Since then, it has grown the division to operate streaming services of several other companies — including Disney’s WatchESPN.” Continue reading Disney to Buy Stake in BAM Tech, MLB Streaming Video Unit

New MoviePass CEO Hopes to Get Theater Owners on Board

Mitch Lowe, a Netflix co-founder and former Redbox president, is now chief executive at New York-based MoviePass, a company that pitches a subscription service for moviegoers. The user gets a debit card, which starts at $30 a month, to attend as many movies as she likes, in movie theaters that cover 90 percent of the country. But movie theater owners are reluctant to fully adopt the non-traditional idea. To gain acceptance, Lowe plans to launch the company’s first major marketing campaign, expand its services and raise more money. Continue reading New MoviePass CEO Hopes to Get Theater Owners on Board

Netflix Plans Debut of Video Download Feature By End of Year

Earlier this year, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings said the idea of offering video downloads was a possibility — but he wasn’t more specific. Now, industry insider Dan Taitz, whose company Penthera Partners offers video downloading technology, reports that, by the end of the year, Netflix will allow subscribers to download some programs for offline viewing, a feature already in place at Amazon, Comcast and elsewhere. Frost & Sullivan principal analyst Dan Rayburn confirms Taitz’s prediction. Continue reading Netflix Plans Debut of Video Download Feature By End of Year

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