MIT and Netflix Testing AI-Based Algorithms to Curb Buffering

Waiting for a video to buffer may become an annoyance of the past. Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) are working on streaming algorithms that use AI to improve load rates and, thus, reduce buffering. Dubbed Pensieve, the new technology relies on machine learning to navigate the often-chaotic and ever-changing conditions of networks in real-time, based on a system of rewards (when the video loads smoothly) and penalties (when it’s interrupted). Meanwhile, Netflix is working on its own AI solution to address buffering. Continue reading MIT and Netflix Testing AI-Based Algorithms to Curb Buffering

Rotten Tomatoes Brings Film & TV Debate Series to Facebook

“Rotten Tomatoes See It/Skip It” is a new show scheduled to debut on Facebook’s Watch video platform on November 1. New episodes will be available every Thursday for viewing via “Facebook’s Watch tab on mobile, desktop and connected-TV apps,” reports Variety. Film critic Jacqueline Coley and entertainment commentator Segun Oduolowu will host the series, debating topics about pop culture, movies and TV shows while fielding comments from Facebook users. Episodes will also feature new Tomatometer scores for movies and TV shows. Continue reading Rotten Tomatoes Brings Film & TV Debate Series to Facebook

Reelgood Buys Netflix Roulette for Picking Shows at Random

Streaming hub Reelgood, which offers viewers a guide for tracking content across more than 300 streaming video services, recently acquired Netflix Roulette, a service that randomly selects Netflix titles for its users. As part of Reelgood, the Netflix Roulette tech will be used as a feature to randomly select titles from a wide range of streaming services such as Amazon, HBO, Hulu, Showtime and Starz. This could appeal to viewers who are overwhelmed by choices or simply tired of switching between services looking for content. Continue reading Reelgood Buys Netflix Roulette for Picking Shows at Random

Ericsson Predicts Half of TV Viewing Will Be Mobile by 2020

Ericsson’s eighth annual ConsumerLab TV and Media study finds that massive television growth and a shift in platforms will bring linear and VOD viewing to nearly equal levels in three years, while 50 percent of viewing will occur via mobile screens (smartphones, tablets and laptops). About half of the mobile viewing is expected to take place via smartphones. The jump in mobile viewing marks an 85 percent increase since 2010. Ericsson ConsumerLab forecasts continued growth of on-demand viewing through 2020, at which point 1 in 3 consumers will also be VR users. Continue reading Ericsson Predicts Half of TV Viewing Will Be Mobile by 2020

Nielsen Begins to Measure Audience Data of SVOD Services

Nielsen has begun collecting Netflix viewership data via audio recognition software in 44,000 U.S. households, part of its planned initiative to measure TV audiences of subscription video on-demand services. So far, A&E Networks, Disney ABC Television Group, Lionsgate, NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. have subscribed to the service. Nielsen clients can opt to release the data publicly. By adding SVOD measurements, Nielsen continues efforts to capture viewing behaviors that have changed with the emergence of mobile and streaming video.  Continue reading Nielsen Begins to Measure Audience Data of SVOD Services

Focusing on Original Content, Netflix Plans 80 Films for 2018

Netflix will spend between $7 billion and $8 billion on content in 2018, from up about $6 billion in 2017. The company added 5.3 million subscribers this quarter and revenue of almost $3 billion, a 30 percent increase from the same quarter last year. Its net income also rose to $130 million, compared to last year’s Q3 total of $52 million, but not as much as the $143 million that Wall Street predicted. With 104 million paid subscribers, Netflix has seen the majority of its Q3 growth come from international markets. The company is planning a major push into original movies next year. Continue reading Focusing on Original Content, Netflix Plans 80 Films for 2018

Google Takes a Major Step in TV Ad Delivery With CBS Deal

In pursuit of a piece of the $72 billion U.S. TV advertising market, Google has its first big win in getting TV and video companies to embrace its video ad tech software. The company inked a partnership with CBS to provide the technology to deliver ads for its latest original “Star Trek: Discovery” series, the main attraction for CBS All Access, its new streaming subscription service. The new deal is a hoped-for win-win for both Google and CBS, and a challenge to other ad tech systems. Google also debuted an ad buying software tool last spring. Continue reading Google Takes a Major Step in TV Ad Delivery With CBS Deal

Americans Spend Half of Their Media Day Consuming Digital

According to new data from eMarketer, the average U.S. adult is expected to spend two more minutes each day consuming media than the average time per day last year, up two hours from a decade ago. The researcher estimates that adult consumers will average 12 hours and 1 minute per day with major media this year. This increase, not surprisingly, reflects a continued shift in consumer behavior toward multitasking, thanks in large part to mobile tech. The average American still spends the most time watching television (nearly four hours per day), while mobile continues its ascent (currently at three hours and 17 minutes per day). Continue reading Americans Spend Half of Their Media Day Consuming Digital

Netflix Bets Subscribers Are Willing to Pay More for Streaming

To help offset its investments in original programming, Netflix will raise prices starting next month for its streaming-video subscribers in the U.S. Marking the third price increase in four years, the company’s $9.99-per-month standard two-stream plan will be bumped to $10.99, while the premium four-stream $11.99 plan will now cost $13.99. The basic plan will remain at $7.99 for now. Wall Street reacted positively, as Netflix stock was up 4 percent following the announcement. Nearly four million consumers in the U.S. still subscribe to the company’s $7.99 DVD-by-mail service. Continue reading Netflix Bets Subscribers Are Willing to Pay More for Streaming

Roku Refreshes Product Line to Compete With Apple, Amazon

Following its recent Nasdaq debut, Roku is updating its product line with new specs and pricing in addition to a number of software enhancements. Roku’s entire line — from its streaming stick to home entertainment hub — is being upgraded. The $30 Roku Express gets a new processor, while the $50 Roku Streaming Stick now features a remote with voice control. The $40 Roku Express+ is the next step up from the Roku Express, offering analog component connections for those with older TVs. And the high-end 4K Roku Ultra will remain $100 for the holiday season (it recently had a $30 reduction), and gets a refresh for its remote and a wider selection of streaming options.  Continue reading Roku Refreshes Product Line to Compete With Apple, Amazon

DisneyNOW Consolidates Three Popular Kids Apps Into One

Until now, Disney had separate Watch apps for children 2-14 that featured entertainment content from the Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior. Now, the company has consolidated all three into a single app, thus boosting its pay-TV business. DisneyNOW will offer full episodes and live streaming from all the networks to customers whose cable, Internet TV, satellite or telco providers are participating. In addition to DisneyNOW, the company reportedly plans to create its own movie streaming service when its deal with Netflix expires in 2019. Continue reading DisneyNOW Consolidates Three Popular Kids Apps Into One

Netflix Makes Major Commitment to Canada With New Studio

Netflix is planning to invest a minimum of 500 million Canadian dollars ($400.8 million U.S.) over the next five years to build a studio in Canada, revealed Canada’s Heritage Minister, Melanie Joly. The studio will create original Canadian productions, some of which will be French-language, in recognition of Canada’s status as a bilingual country. Canada, which was the first foreign country where Netflix launched, is also home to the third most global subscribers. The Canadian studio will be Netflix’s first global content outpost. Continue reading Netflix Makes Major Commitment to Canada With New Studio

Comcast Rolls Out ‘Skinny Bundle’ for Its Internet Customers

Comcast is introducing an $18-per-month “skinny bundle,” a new service the pay-TV provider has been testing and is now ready to roll out across different regions over the next few weeks. Xfinity Instant TV, which is available for Comcast’s 25.3 million broadband customers, is designed for cord cutters (and cord nevers), and will compete with OTT services such as Hulu Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV. Comcast’s service can be streamed at home or anywhere with a broadband connection. The company is specifically marketing to its customers that pay for Internet but not TV, hoping they will one day switch to a larger bundle. Continue reading Comcast Rolls Out ‘Skinny Bundle’ for Its Internet Customers

Roku Goes Public Today, Sets its IPO Price at $14 per Share

Video streaming device maker Roku begins trading today on Nasdaq, setting its IPO price at $14 per share, which would give it a $1.3 billion stock market value. The 15-year-old company is competing with the likes of Amazon, Apple and Google that all offer streaming video boxes featuring popular apps such as Netflix and Hulu. Roku’s devices provide access to Amazon, Netflix, YouTube and dozens of online channels, but competition is a major consideration with today’s tech investors. Snap Inc., for example, the year’s biggest tech IPO, has watched its shares plummet in value as Facebook’s Instagram rolled out Snapchat-like functionality. Continue reading Roku Goes Public Today, Sets its IPO Price at $14 per Share

Netflix Aims to Bring More In-Flight Entertainment to Travelers

Netflix plans to extend bandwidth-efficient, mobile tech to airlines in an effort to offer passengers low-cost or free Wi-Fi entertainment. The company claims the mobile-encoding tech would allow travelers to “watch Netflix in high quality while airline carriers save up to 75 percent in bandwidth costs,” reports Variety. Netflix already has various deals involving in-flight Wi-Fi with Virgin America, Aeromexico, Qantas and Virgin Australia. On select flights with next-gen Wi-Fi, “such as those equipped with Ka-band and Gogo’s 2Ku Internet access, passengers are able to access Netflix from their carry-on devices and watch the streaming service at no extra charge.” Continue reading Netflix Aims to Bring More In-Flight Entertainment to Travelers

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