Apple Considering Change to iTunes Charge for App Partners

Apple charges app publishers 30 percent of subscription amounts initiated through apps, the same percentage it collects for in-app revenue. Some companies have been working around the charge by not enabling subscriptions through their mobile iOS app or charging consumers more. However, the company is reportedly considering a change to the agreement, but only for subscriptions that are delivered via Apple devices rather than the App Store. Such a revision suggests that only services offered through Apple TV would likely be exempt from the 30 percent fee. Continue reading Apple Considering Change to iTunes Charge for App Partners

Ericsson: 70 Percent of World Will Have Smartphones by 2020

There are currently 2.6 billion smartphone subscriptions worldwide, and while developing markets have been leveling off, less mature markets are starting to experience significant growth. According to the latest annual Mobility Report from Ericsson, we should expect to see 6.1 billion smartphones in circulation by 2020, at which point phones will exceed the number of active fixed line subscriptions globally. Ericsson projects that the total number of mobile subscriptions will reach 9.2 billion in five years, as less developed markets continue their expansion. Continue reading Ericsson: 70 Percent of World Will Have Smartphones by 2020

Showtime to Debut its Internet Streaming Service This Summer

Showtime is joining HBO in introducing its own Internet streaming service that will offer unlimited on-demand access to original series, movies and sports programming without requiring a traditional TV subscription. In addition, it will include a live feed of Showtime’s broadcasts for both coasts. The cable network announced yesterday that it plans to debut the standalone service in July to coincide with the season premieres of “Masters of Sex” and “Ray Donovan.” The service will initially be available on Apple devices for $11 per month. Continue reading Showtime to Debut its Internet Streaming Service This Summer

Study: Declining Customer Satisfaction with TV, Internet Service

Customer satisfaction with cable TV, Internet and phone service providers has fallen to a seven-year low, according to a study from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. When surveyed about satisfaction involving 43 industries, consumer response placed television and Internet companies tied for last place. Recent merger talks have placed TV and Internet providers under particular scrutiny, while disappointing customer service and rising prices have taken on a different dynamic in an era of streaming options such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Continue reading Study: Declining Customer Satisfaction with TV, Internet Service

Android TV Blends Online Video and Broadcast Programming

At last week’s Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco, Google announced a new initiative to mix online video services with popular television content. Via Android TV Channels, Internet video app publishers have the ability to add linear channels of programming to Google’s Android TV platform on the same program grid used for broadcast TV networks. According to Google, the initial launch partners include AOL, Bloomberg, the Huffington Post, Pluto, TED, Vevo, the Weather Network, and European live streamer Zattoo. Continue reading Android TV Blends Online Video and Broadcast Programming

Microsoft Scheduled to Release its Windows 10 OS on July 29

Microsoft announced yesterday that Windows 10 would launch in 190 countries by the end of July. The upgrade will be free for PC and tablet users running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, while the $119 Home version and $199 Pro version will be available for all others. (The company has yet to announce when Windows 10 will be available for phones.) New features include the personal assistant Cortana, the new Microsoft Edge browser, integration with Microsoft’s Xbox platform, and the return of the iconic Start Menu. Continue reading Microsoft Scheduled to Release its Windows 10 OS on July 29

Netflix Continues to Dominate Internet Traffic in North America

According to a new report by broadband networking company Sandvine, Netflix continues to dominate North American Internet traffic. The streaming service currently accounts for 36.5 percent of downstream fixed network traffic during peak evening hours. YouTube also accounts for a significant share with 15.56 percent of peak downstream traffic. The report notes traffic growth for HBO and Amazon Instant Video, while BitTorrent file-sharing traffic is declining, accounting for 6.3 percent of total traffic in North America. Continue reading Netflix Continues to Dominate Internet Traffic in North America

Now Live on Android, Periscope Part of New Social Strategies

Periscope, Twitter’s new mobile live streaming app (and Meerkat competitor), is starting to draw the attention of advertisers and programmers. The app, which Twitter purchased this year for a reported $100 million, allows users to live stream content directly to and from their smartphones. The app was initially released only for iOS devices, but went live on Android phones this week. VH1 recently used the social tool to promote the wedding of two stars on “Love & Hip Hop” by providing users access to the ceremony’s red carpet arrival. Continue reading Now Live on Android, Periscope Part of New Social Strategies

E-Commerce Giant eBay Starts Shipping Program in Germany

Another Amazon Prime competitor has entered the mix. San Jose-based eBay is experimenting with a program that offers its customers free, fast shipping and returns for about $20 per year. The e-commerce company does not control shipping, so it has to work with sellers that agree to send items the same day they are ordered. In return, eBay gives those sellers discounts on selling fees and subsidies to help with the cost of shipping. The shipping program, eBay+, is only available in Germany for now. Continue reading E-Commerce Giant eBay Starts Shipping Program in Germany

Spotify Sweetens the Deal with New Video and Podcast Content

Spotify is no longer just about music streaming. The service — facing new pressure from emerging rivals — is adding podcasts, video clips, original music and video series, a better recommendation engine, and a special feature for runners. The new videos and podcasts will come from media partners like ABC, BBC, Comedy Central, ESPN and Maker Studios. Spotify has also developed some of its own original content, including music tracks that will change tempo based on how fast the user is running. Continue reading Spotify Sweetens the Deal with New Video and Podcast Content

Broadcast and Cable TV Join Forces to Form New Trade Group

In the face of declining ratings and a shift in ad dollars to digital platforms, television networks are expanding their data and analytics capabilities. On Monday, leading broadcast and cable TV companies announced the formation of the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), a new trade organization that plans to promote research and data that highlights the impact of TV commercials to Madison Avenue. The VAB intends to provide marketers with insights and measurement tools that help gauge whether video ads drive consumer purchases. Continue reading Broadcast and Cable TV Join Forces to Form New Trade Group

Report Predicts Surge in Subscriber Numbers for OTT Services

According to Juniper Research, global subscriber numbers for streaming video services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video are expected to climb from 92.1 million in 2014 to 333.2 million by 2019. Juniper predicts that adoption will be driven by connected TVs, streaming devices like Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, as well as connected game consoles and set-top boxes. Newer streaming devices like affordable media sticks will continue to make watching OTT services easily accessible on living room screens. Continue reading Report Predicts Surge in Subscriber Numbers for OTT Services

Kim Dotcom Claims Hollywood is to Blame for Piracy Problems

Kim Dotcom, the man accused in the biggest case of copyright infringement in U.S. history, criticizes Hollywood studios for failing to effectively utilize Internet technology to distribute their content. The creator of file-sharing website Megaupload.com predicts that Netflix and other companies “will ultimately take over these dinosaurs.” Currently, studios including 20th Century Fox and Disney are suing Dotcom for $100 million. Dotcom is also facing a civil suit from the U.S. government. Continue reading Kim Dotcom Claims Hollywood is to Blame for Piracy Problems

Walmart to Test New Shipping Service Similar to Amazon Prime

Walmart plans to launch a new loyalty program that will offer online customers unlimited free shipping for $50 per year. The program is half the cost of Amazon Prime, but does not include some of Prime’s popular perks such as streaming movies and TV shows, photo storage, and e-books. Walmart’s new service is part of a larger competition between retailers and e-commerce marketplaces for loyal customers. Walmart did not specify which markets will be part of the initial launch. Continue reading Walmart to Test New Shipping Service Similar to Amazon Prime

ISTS Calls for New Take on ‘Ineffective’ Copyright Alert System

The Internet Security Task Force (ISTS), a consortium comprised of motion picture companies, is requesting that U.S. Internet service providers abandon the Copyright Alert System (CAS), which ISTS views as “ineffective.” The system forwards up to six warnings to Internet users who are identified as sharing copyrighted material via BitTorrent and other resources, before potentially taking action. ISTS is calling for a new system with stronger measures, possibly modeled after Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act. Continue reading ISTS Calls for New Take on ‘Ineffective’ Copyright Alert System

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