Facebook’s Rocket Icon Revealed as News Feed Experiment

Facebook just disclosed the meaning of the rocket ship icon next to the News Feed tab. According to the company’s News Feed head Adam Mosseri, the rocket ship is an experiment that connects a small number of users with people and pages they do not like or follow. At Variety’s Entertainment and Technology Summit, Mosseri said that the point is to expose people to stories they are interested in from sources they are not following. Facebook curates the information based on an algorithm that figures out a user’s interests. Continue reading Facebook’s Rocket Icon Revealed as News Feed Experiment

Facebook Likely to Launch Its TV-Like Programs in Mid-June

Facebook plans to debut two-dozen TV-like programs in mid-June. A few shows will be big-budget longer shows that cleave most closely to TV content; the rest will be lower-budget shows of five to 10 minutes that will refresh every 24 hours. According to sources, the social media company has already greenlit several shows. With scripted, high-quality programs, Facebook hopes to garner younger viewers. The move also puts it in competition with Amazon, YouTube and Snap among other platforms hoping to attract advertising dollars. Continue reading Facebook Likely to Launch Its TV-Like Programs in Mid-June

Ad-Supported Streamer Tubi TV More Than Doubles Funding

Investors believe Tubi TV may be on the right track with its ad-supported streaming service that now offers more than 50,000 premium movies and TV shows for consumers willing to sit through four to five minutes of commercials for every half hour of content. The San Francisco-based service, which launched in 2014, has more than doubled its funding to $34 million with a new $20 million infusion from four VCs led by Jump Capital. According to Tubi TV founder and chief executive Farhad Massoudi, the service now has “many millions” of users. Continue reading Ad-Supported Streamer Tubi TV More Than Doubles Funding

Amazon’s Twitch Weighs Original Programs With Interactivity

Twitch, the live streaming video and gaming site purchased by Amazon for $1 billion almost three years ago, is thinking about streaming original programming, says its chief operating officer Kevin Lin. But unlike all other new platforms streaming original content, Twitch is looking for its users to have input on the programs as they are written and produced. Twitch already lets its users comment on the videos in real time and Lin believes these comments can help guide a scripted show as it evolves from episode one onward. Continue reading Amazon’s Twitch Weighs Original Programs With Interactivity

YouTube Expands its Original Programming With 40+ Shows

YouTube plans to produce new original series to be available for free on its site. Actor and comedian Kevin Hart, talk-show host and producer Ellen DeGeneres and Internet comedy duo Rhett & Link are producing unscripted series to roll out in 2017. The Google-owned company will also invest more in its paid video and music streaming service YouTube Red, which launched in October 2015. YouTube will fund more than 40 original shows and movies in the next year. By devoting hundreds of millions of dollars to programming with high-profile stars, YouTube hopes to attract more advertisers. Continue reading YouTube Expands its Original Programming With 40+ Shows

Early Reviews Largely Positive for Hulu’s New Live TV Service

Hulu’s Live TV has rolled out in beta, offering more than 50 channels for just under $40 per month. What makes Hulu stand out from competing services is that it now offers a combination of streaming video plus live television. Among its live content, Hulu offers the four major broadcast networks, ESPN, HGTV and an array of news and animation content. Original content includes “The Handmaid’s Tale” and the service also boasts day-after TV shows and B-list movies, all melded into a single library. Continue reading Early Reviews Largely Positive for Hulu’s New Live TV Service

With NBCU Deal, Hulu Will Stream All Top Four Broadcasters

Hulu just inked a deal with NBCUniversal that will bring live coverage of NBC and Telemundo-owned stations to its live streaming service. The deal is a coup for Hulu, which, when it unveils its new service later this month, will offer the top four broadcast TV channels. Hulu previously made deals with CBS, Disney-ABC and Fox as well as USA, Syfy, Bravo, E!, MSNBC, CNBC, NBCSN, Sprout and others, for a total of 50 live TV channels. The new deal also allows Hulu to license NBC and Telemundo broadcast affiliates. Continue reading With NBCU Deal, Hulu Will Stream All Top Four Broadcasters

Netflix Inks Licensing Deal with Chinese Online Video Platform

Streaming video giant Netflix will finally enter the Chinese market, via a newly inked licensing deal with iQIYI, one of that country’s streaming platforms. When Netflix launched its efforts to go global a year ago, it failed to make deals in only a few countries, among them China, Iran and North Korea. Although not many details of the new arrangement have been made public, what is known is that Netflix content will be available on a day-and-date or near-simultaneous basis, as with other global territories. Continue reading Netflix Inks Licensing Deal with Chinese Online Video Platform

Hacker Releases Original Netflix Content, Threatens Networks

A hacker group that goes by the name “TheDarkOverlord” has reportedly stolen episodes from a number of television shows. Over the weekend, 10 episodes from the upcoming fifth season of “Orange Is the New Black” was shared after Netflix did not meet ransom requests. The hackers may have access to up to three dozen series from networks including ABC, CBS, Fox, FX, IFC, NatGeo and NBC. It provided a list of TV series and a few movies to cybersecurity blog DataBreaches.net, claiming that the content was stolen from audio post-production facility Larson Studios. Continue reading Hacker Releases Original Netflix Content, Threatens Networks

NAB 2017: ETC Charts Path From Big Data to Big Knowledge

At ETC’s conference on machine learning/AI at NAB, director of data and analytics Yves Bergquist talked about the work ETC@USC is doing to understand AI, storygraphics and audience intelligence. At the heart of the question, he said, is why we like or don’t like a movie or TV show. Getting an audience member to describe why she liked her favorite movie, he responded that the people who made that movie don’t know why she liked it. “Not because they’re stupid, but because it is a very complex, multi-faceted question,” he said. Continue reading NAB 2017: ETC Charts Path From Big Data to Big Knowledge

NAB 2017: Sling Announces New Hardware Plus AirTV Promo

Sling Media announced its $999 SlingStudio hardware this week, intended as a cost effective and easy-to-use alternative for video creators who plan to share live video streams via Facebook Live or YouTube. Sling TV is also offering a significant discount on its AirTV Player and AirTV Adapter for customers who prepay for at least three months of service. Introduced at CES in January, AirTV is an OTA/OTT box that runs on Android TV. According to Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch, a recent study found that four out of five pay TV subscribers are interested in a la carte TV. Continue reading NAB 2017: Sling Announces New Hardware Plus AirTV Promo

NAB 2017: Panasonic Establishes New North America Division

Just before NAB 2017, Panasonic opened a new company, Panasonic Media Entertainment Company, to specialize in the sports and entertainment sectors in North America. The company will be based in Newark, New Jersey, in Panasonic North America’s headquarters, with facilities in Denver, Los Angeles, Orlando and the greater Dallas area. The new company will also work closely with Panasonic Corporation’s new Connected Solutions Company, which will serve six industries, one of them media and entertainment. Continue reading NAB 2017: Panasonic Establishes New North America Division

Netflix Misses Subscriber Estimates, Rethinks Movie Releases

New subscriber numbers for Netflix, both in the U.S. and globally, were lower than expected, at 98.75 million total subscribers, up from 81.5 million a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters before Netflix released the number expected 98.9 million subscribers. Netflix has stated it expects to pass the 100-million subscriber mark this week. Netflix also indicated a willingness to debut its feature films first in large theater chains, saying that it should be up to the consumers who pay for these films to be made. Continue reading Netflix Misses Subscriber Estimates, Rethinks Movie Releases

Research Indicates Another Drop in Number of Pay-TV Subs

According to new research from Kagan, pay-TV providers in the U.S. lost about 1.9 million subscribers in 2016. Additionally, OTT providers such as Sling TV, DirecTV Now and Sony PlayStation Vue “gained about 900,000 subscribers last year, rising from approximately 600,000 at year-end 2015 to 1.5 million at the end of 2016,” reports Variety. “While the gains on the OTT front would appear to be good news for cable programmers, the problem is that many broadband-targeted TV packages are stripped-down ‘skinny bundles’ that omit many of the channels included in traditional basic cable lineup.” Kagan estimates 94.7 million residential pay-TV subscribers for the close of 2016, down 2 percent from 2015. Continue reading Research Indicates Another Drop in Number of Pay-TV Subs

Roku Signs Licensing Deal with TiVo, Gains Access to Patents

Roku and TiVo have signed a multiyear IP agreement that will provide Roku with access to thousands of patents. According to Variety, the license “agreement covers the TiVo and Rovi patent portfolios as well as the over-the-top patents in the Intellectual Ventures portfolio under the TiVo-IV licensing partnership. TiVo in its current instantiation was formed out of Rovi’s $1.1 billion acquisition of the DVR maker last year.” There are currently about 6,000 issued and pending patents in the combined company’s portfolio covering tech “including interactive program guides, DVR functions and mobile device media processes.” Continue reading Roku Signs Licensing Deal with TiVo, Gains Access to Patents

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