Dish Goes National with Sling TV Service, Adds AMC Networks

Dish Network’s new Sling TV service is transitioning from its invitation-only beta phase to public availability, starting at $20 per month (various add-ons are available for $5 each per month). Unveiled during CES, the pay TV service features access to channels ranging from ABC Family, CNN and the Disney Channel — to ESPN, TBS and TNT. It also includes access to a VOD library, the WatchESPN app, and content from Maker Studios. Yesterday, the company announced that AMC Networks would become another programming partner. Continue reading Dish Goes National with Sling TV Service, Adds AMC Networks

Matchstick Delays Shipping; Opts for Hardware, DRM Updates

Matchstick, the first HDMI streaming media stick based on the Firefox OS, announced that its originally planned February shipment date has now been pushed to August. The company says it has “decided to release the product when it is ready.” The decision to delay is the result of updating the hardware to a faster quad core chipset, improving the antenna to avoid the Wi-Fi connectivity issues experienced by similar products, and developing DRM support in order to attract more premium video apps such as Netflix. Continue reading Matchstick Delays Shipping; Opts for Hardware, DRM Updates

JustWatch Is a Search Engine That Scans Streaming Services

JustWatch is a new service that allows cord cutters to search many streaming services simultaneously to find their desired video content. This streaming aggregator is unique because it is aimed at an international audience, instead of just a U.S. audience. JustWatch also provides updates on new content added to streaming services. The service debuted in the U.S., and will soon be available in Germany and Brazil. Eventually, the company wants to help movie studios target cord cutters using an integrated adtech system. Continue reading JustWatch Is a Search Engine That Scans Streaming Services

Parks Research Predicts Early Adopters of HBO Online Service

HBO is expected to offer its Web-only subscription service this spring. According to Parks Associates, the move could have an impact on the pay TV business since 17 percent of homes with high-speed Internet indicate plans to subscribe to the OTT service. And while 88 million U.S. households currently have broadband, that percentage potentially represents nearly 15 million subscribers. Following a strong media reaction, Parks followed up by clarifying that the data is a measure of sentiment and placing numbers on potential cord cutters may be premature. Continue reading Parks Research Predicts Early Adopters of HBO Online Service

The Pirate Bay Returns After Being Shut Down by Authorities

Popular file-sharing site The Pirate Bay is back online following a two-month outage after police in Stockholm raided a data center and seized servers. Responding to complaints from Swedish anti-piracy group Rights Alliance, authorities shut down numerous peer-to-peer and torrent-related services on December 9. Later that month, The Pirate Bay page returned, went through several iterations, and eventually replaced its pirate ship with a phoenix logo. A countdown clock indicated a February 1 return, and the site now appears to be live. Continue reading The Pirate Bay Returns After Being Shut Down by Authorities

Netflix Plans to Add Original Series, Expand to 200 Countries

Following news of record quarterly earnings, Netflix told Wall Street investors that it plans to expand its video service to 200 countries in the next two years. Netflix added 2.43 million international subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2014 after expanding to 50 countries and its stock jumped more than 20 percent. As part of its ambitious expansion plans, Netflix also wants to start producing 20 original scripted series per year, which could help the company become more successful in international markets. Continue reading Netflix Plans to Add Original Series, Expand to 200 Countries

Walmart Launches its New Vudu Spark Streaming Media Stick

Walmart has begun selling its own HDMI streaming media stick — the Vudu Spark — for $24.95 at Walmart.com and select Walmart stores. The Wi-Fi device features a dedicated remote, is powered via USB, and supports 7.1 surround sound and video up to 1080p. It looks like the Spark is largely a single-purpose stick, loaded only with the Vudu app (Walmart’s streaming video service), but the stick is priced $10 less than Google’s Chromecast and currently includes $25 in Vudu credits over five months for customers who activate it. Continue reading Walmart Launches its New Vudu Spark Streaming Media Stick

Vimeo Announces Launch of its New VOD Publisher Network

Streaming video platform Vimeo announced during the Sundance Film Festival yesterday that it has launched a new publisher network for content creators to reach their audiences directly. The Vimeo On Demand Publisher Network will provide partners with the ability to rent or sell premium, ad-free content from the Vimeo library via a transactional video player. While Vimeo already allows publishers to embed content on other sites, partners can now sell videos directly on their sites within articles or from VOD storefronts. Continue reading Vimeo Announces Launch of its New VOD Publisher Network

Following its Record Quarter, Netflix Eyes Global Expansion

Yesterday’s fourth-quarter earnings report indicates that Netflix added 13 million subscribers in 2014, including 4.3 million during the final three months (marking the company’s strongest quarter of subscriber gains to date). Netflix earnings also grew to a quarterly high of $83.4 million. “Internet TV is growing globally and Netflix is leading the charge,” claims CEO Reed Hastings. Netflix continues to invest heavily in original content and expand internationally as part of its effort to fend off growing competition from Amazon, HBO and YouTube. Continue reading Following its Record Quarter, Netflix Eyes Global Expansion

Overstock.com to Launch Streaming Video Service This Year

It looks like Overstock.com is the latest to throw its hat into the streaming video ring. The Salt Lake City-based company is planning to introduce a streaming video service later this year that will compete in a crowded field that includes its e-commerce rival Amazon. During the National Association of Television Program Executives conference, Overstock Chief Exec Patrick Byrne said the online retailer would launch with about 30,000 movies and TV shows available for rent or purchase and eventually offer original programming. Continue reading Overstock.com to Launch Streaming Video Service This Year

YouTube to Support its Top Talent with Programming Initiative

Google-owned YouTube plans to launch a new original programming initiative by the end of 2015, different from its 2012 channel-centric initiative. Alex Carloss, head of originals at YouTube, told attendees at this week’s National Association of Television Program Executives conference that the program would provide financial support for top YouTube talent to produce more original content. However, he stopped short of specifying which talent would be supported and how much would be spent. Continue reading YouTube to Support its Top Talent with Programming Initiative

Fandometrics: Tumblr Launches Hub for All Things Pop Culture

Yahoo-owned blogging platform Tumblr launched a new pop culture hub yesterday that highlights top conversations from its community related to categories such as celebrities, TV shows, movies, music and video games. Since Tumblr blends online publishing tools with social features, the platform has grown popular for those who like to follow blogs and share posts. It has also become popular with fan communities, which makes the Fandometrics hub a natural fit for Tumblr — and a potential new marketing opportunity for brands. Continue reading Fandometrics: Tumblr Launches Hub for All Things Pop Culture

Amazon Studios Looks Beyond Original Series to the Big Screen

Amazon announced yesterday that it plans to expand its original programming efforts by producing and acquiring movies for theatrical release and distribution via Prime Instant Video. In a significant departure from the traditional windowing system, the films are expected to be available for streaming in the U.S. 4-8 weeks following their theatrical debuts (movies normally have to wait 39-52 weeks before streaming). The move is part of Amazon’s plan to grow its entertainment arsenal while competing with Netflix. Continue reading Amazon Studios Looks Beyond Original Series to the Big Screen

New comScore Measurement to Include Mobile and Streaming

Measurement firm comScore will introduce a new metric this week that goes beyond tracking video audiences on desktops and laptops to additionally tracking audiences across mobile and streaming devices. The new metric is expected to provide advertisers and television networks with vital information that has so far been challenging to collect. The addition is part of a broader initiative by comScore to track shifting, more diverse viewing habits of consumers and better compete with ratings provider Nielsen. Continue reading New comScore Measurement to Include Mobile and Streaming

UltraFlix Aims to Become Your Choice for Streaming 4K Content

NanoTech Entertainment is hoping that its 4K movie-streaming service, UltraFlix, will become the Netflix of Ultra HD. However, its immediate obstacle is a lack of 4K content, which is expected to change now that more companies are embracing the format. Consumers who already purchased a 4K smart TV from Hisense, Samsung, Sony or Vizio likely already have the UltraFlix app (next up is LG, Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba, according to NanoTech). Competing with Netflix and Amazon could prove an additional obstacle. Continue reading UltraFlix Aims to Become Your Choice for Streaming 4K Content

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