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

Xbox One Likely to Add DVR Functionality Sometime This Year

In a post yesterday about the death of Windows Media Center, tech journalist and blogger Paul Thurrott cited unnamed sources regarding an update to Xbox One’s live TV functionality that would add television recording. This would allow Xbox One to replace TiVo and other DVRs in many households. Microsoft recently unveiled a tuner that enables the console to accept over-the-air broadcast TV signals. It also offers the options to pause live TV and stream live content to mobile devices via SmartGlass. Continue reading Xbox One Likely to Add DVR Functionality Sometime This Year

JetBlue to Offer More Inflight Entertainment via Amazon Prime

Beginning next quarter, JetBlue passengers on select aircraft will be able to stream movies, TV shows and music on seat-back display screens and personal devices through their Amazon Prime accounts at no additional charge. According to JetBlue, passengers who are not Prime members will have the option of registering inflight for a 30-day free trial to watch videos immediately. Passengers will also be able to rent or purchase content. The new service will be transmitted via JetBlue’s Fly-Fi inflight broadband. Continue reading JetBlue to Offer More Inflight Entertainment via Amazon Prime

SnapStream Unveils Affordable New DVR Targeting Businesses

SnapStream is known for making massive DVRs for media productions like “The Colbert Report,” but now the company is introducing a less expensive DVR that is still loaded with features. The SnapStream Express may prove too expensive to be a consumer product, but businesses may be drawn to the functionality and $499 price tag (plus $99/month service fee). It has 2TB of internal storage, an intelligent search function, and a Web-based interface designed for PCs. The DVR can also post clips directly to social media. Continue reading SnapStream Unveils Affordable New DVR Targeting Businesses

Study Indicates Streaming Video is More Popular Than Live TV

The Interactive Advertising Bureau recently found that one-third of Americans now own connected TV sets, while one-third of those consumers stream video to their TVs daily. According to new survey findings from consulting firm Deloitte, video streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have now surpassed live programming as the viewing method of choice for many consumers. The survey determined that 56 percent stream movies and 53 percent stream TV shows, while 45 percent still prefer watching live broadcasts. Continue reading Study Indicates Streaming Video is More Popular Than Live TV

HBO Sends Warnings to Torrent Users Sharing ‘Game of Thrones’

The first four episodes of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” fifth season were leaked online before the season’s premiere. Reportedly leaked from a review screener, the episodes have since been downloaded from public torrent sites millions of times. In response, HBO has distributed thousands of warnings to those Internet subscribers whose connections were determined to share leaked episodes. There are no legal ramifications for the subscribers, but HBO hopes that the warnings will prevent some of them from downloading future episodes. Continue reading HBO Sends Warnings to Torrent Users Sharing ‘Game of Thrones’

Verizon to Debut New Options for its FiOS Service Next Week

To better compete in the changing pay TV landscape, Verizon is planning to introduce more flexibility for subscribers of its FiOS service. Beginning April 19, viewers will have the option of a slim package of channels and will also be able to add “channel packs” that feature genre-based channels (for example: pop culture, lifestyle, sports). Plans will start at $55 per month. Additional packages including 10-17 channels will run $10 a month. In addition, subscribers will have the ability to switch between channel packs after 30 days. Continue reading Verizon to Debut New Options for its FiOS Service Next Week

Twitter Homepage Redesign Intends to Increase Visitor Count

In an effort to increase the number of visitors to its site, Twitter has redesigned its homepage, allowing visitors to view content they would otherwise not have access to unless they were logged in. With about 200 million monthly visitors, Twitter wants to improve user engagement by adding a section to its homepage where users can view the most trending tweets or viral content as sorted into different categories such as “Business News,” or “TV Shows & Stars.” Continue reading Twitter Homepage Redesign Intends to Increase Visitor Count

NAB 2015: Industry Leaders Discuss HDR and Wider Color Gamut

High Dynamic Range and wider color gamut were the focus of “The Next Generation of Consumer Experiences is NOW” panel at the NAB Show. Panelists expressed their excitement about the potential of producing and delivering HDR content. Moderated by Carolyn Giardina of The Hollywood Reporter, the discussion included Bryan Barber of Warner Bros., JoDee Freck of Lionsgate, Jim Mainard of DreamWorks Animation, Michael DeValue of Disney, Hanno Basse of 20th Century Fox Film Corp., and Jim Helman of MovieLabs. Continue reading NAB 2015: Industry Leaders Discuss HDR and Wider Color Gamut

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