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

Amazon Upgrades HDR Content with Support for Dolby Vision

Amazon, which has been offering 4K HDR content since last year, now supports the Dolby Vision high dynamic range format. “The second season of Amazon’s original series ‘Bosch’ is now available in Dolby Vision through Amazon Prime Video,” reports The Verge. The company also announced that Sony Pictures films including “Elysium,” “Fury,” “Hancock,” “Men in Black 3,” “Pineapple Express” and “Salt” are available in Dolby Vision for purchase through Amazon Video. Streaming competitor Netflix already supports Dolby Vision and the industry standard HDR 10. Continue reading Amazon Upgrades HDR Content with Support for Dolby Vision

PlayStation Vue on Roku Devices Offers Alternative to Cable

Sony’s PlayStation Vue streaming TV service is now available on Roku’s set-top boxes, media sticks and television sets. The Vue service enables users to stream dozens of cable channels such as CNN, Comedy Central, ESPN, Fox News and MTV over the Internet. Vue can be accessed as a Roku app in addition to apps for iPhones, iPads and Amazon’s Fire TV. Next week Vue will be offered for Android users. “Now that Vue is available nationwide and on many streaming-video devices, it’s truly a viable alternative to a traditional cable-TV service,” suggests The Wall Street Journal. Continue reading PlayStation Vue on Roku Devices Offers Alternative to Cable

Netflix Updates Video Encoding, Aims to Use Less Bandwidth

According to a Sandvine study, Netflix has re-encoded some of its video library in order to make the streaming service more efficient and reduce its bandwidth demands. Netflix accounted for 37.1 percent of Internet traffic on fixed broadband networks during primetime hours six months ago in North America. Sandvine notes that Netflix represented 35.2 percent of downstream traffic under the same criteria during March of this year. “Last December, Netflix detailed changes in its video-encoding schemes, which the company said could reduce bit rates by up to 20 percent while delivering equivalent quality,” reports Variety. Meanwhile, “Amazon Video now represents 4.3 percent of peak-period traffic, up from 2 percent a year ago.” Continue reading Netflix Updates Video Encoding, Aims to Use Less Bandwidth

Networks Use Data From Social Media to Produce New Shows

Entertainment companies are increasingly paying attention to trends on tweets and Facebook posts to create content that will appeal to viewers. The idea is that giving viewers what they want, as judged by their current conversations, is a barometer of success and loyalty. At NBCUniversal Media’s leadership conference last year, the focus was on this topic: how to use big data — as found on a variety of social media platforms — to create content that resonates with today’s viewers. Big data is now becoming a key factor in the development process. Continue reading Networks Use Data From Social Media to Produce New Shows

Google Chromecast Shipments Top Apple TV for the First Time

According to researcher IHS, Google Chromecast shipments surpassed Apple TV numbers for the first time. During Q1, 3.2 million Chromecast devices shipped, compared to 1.7 million Apple TV units. The $35 Chromecast has become more competitive since launching its new version in September, designed for easier use with televisions than the previous model. Chromecast also supports “thousands” of popular apps such as Google Play Movies, HBO Now, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Showtime Anytime, Spotify, Twitch, WatchESPN, YouTube, and many others. Continue reading Google Chromecast Shipments Top Apple TV for the First Time

Fortune 500 Lists Apple as the Highest Tech Company in Sales

In its annual ranking of companies based on revenue, the latest Fortune 500 lists Apple third on the list, followed by Walmart and Exxon Mobil. With $233 billion in revenue, Apple is the top tech company on the Fortune 500. “Apple jumped two slots from last year, and it was also the most profitable company, with $53 billion in profits in 2015,” reports Business Insider. Amazon is listed as number 18, with $107 billion in sales, while Verizon is ranked 13th, HP 20th, Microsoft 25th, IBM 31st and Alphabet 36th. Meanwhile, Facebook jumped 85 spots to number 157, and Netflix moved from 474 to number 379. Continue reading Fortune 500 Lists Apple as the Highest Tech Company in Sales

Time Inc. and Wochit Partner to Help Publishers Create Videos

Time Inc., which purchased ad tech network and Myspace owner Viant earlier this year, is planning to publish 40,000 pieces of video content in 2016. To help achieve this ambitious goal, Time has partnered with New York City-based Wochit, a startup that helps online publishers produce short videos. Wochit provides pre-licensed content, editing tools and publishing options for social media and mobile platforms. The service analyzes article text and finds related graphics, photos and videos to build a video. Publishers can then add voice-over, music and more. Continue reading Time Inc. and Wochit Partner to Help Publishers Create Videos

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