HBO Now Service Has More Than 2 Million Subscribers in U.S.

During a conference call yesterday with analysts detailing HBO’s strong 2016 earnings, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes announced that the cable network’s standalone streaming service HBO Now, which launched in April 2015, has officially surpassed the 2 million domestic subscriber mark. “Wall Street has been keenly attuned to the pace of subscriber growth for HBO Now as a bellwether of how major media giants will evolve their businesses in the digital era,” reports Variety. The service is vital to Time Warner since “HBO is in the midst of carriage renewal deals with major MVPDs, including the two largest cable operators, Comcast and Charter Communications.” Time Warner is also looking to merge with AT&T, parent of DirecTV. Continue reading HBO Now Service Has More Than 2 Million Subscribers in U.S.

Android Users Can Download Netflix Content onto SD Storage

Netflix is accommodating Android users who are interested in offline downloads but face storage limitations with their mobile devices. The streaming video service now allows users to store TV shows and movies on microSD cards. “The latest version of the Netflix app gives you a choice of saving things to internal storage or, if your phone supports SD, picking the external option instead,” reports The Verge. Previously, customers could only save to internal memory, which frustrated those “with 32GB of built-in space and a ton of expandable storage.” The offline Netflix content has time limits, however, and eventually expires. Continue reading Android Users Can Download Netflix Content onto SD Storage

DirecTV Now Experiences Rocky Start During its Initial Launch

Since AT&T launched DirecTV Now on November 30, the streaming service has experienced its share of difficulties, including missing features, billing issues and interruptions. The streaming service, developed as a replacement for cable/satellite, offers access to about 60 channels for $35/month and about 120 channels for $70/month. The service competes in the same arena as Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. AT&T acknowledges the problems faced during the launch, but chief technology officer Enrique Rodriguez states that most issues have been addressed. Continue reading DirecTV Now Experiences Rocky Start During its Initial Launch

Anime Strike: Amazon’s First Branded Subscription Channel

Amazon is launching Anime Strike, its first on-demand subscription service for Amazon Channels, available in the U.S. to Prime members for $4.99/month. The channel will offer more than 1,000 ad-free series episodes and movies, including same-day-broadcasts from Japanese series including “Scum’s Wish” (“Kuzu no Honkai”) and “Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga” (“Ao No Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou-hen”). Also featured will be older anime titles including “Paprika,” “Tokyo Godfathers” and “Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS.” Continue reading Anime Strike: Amazon’s First Branded Subscription Channel

Hulu Relaunches with Live TV and UI, Home Screen Redesign

Hulu’s relaunch will feature a home screen with a personalized lineup that will be determined by the user’s set preferences and past viewing behavior. Among the options for that lineup are current TV shows, Hulu’s streaming exclusives and partner networks’ on-demand offerings. What won’t be there is a live TV feed or a traditional grid guide that allows the user to scroll through channels. In 2017, Hulu will offer live TV to its users for less than $40, while retaining its ad-supported and ad-free on-demand subscription plans. Continue reading Hulu Relaunches with Live TV and UI, Home Screen Redesign

DEG Report: Streaming Exceeds Disc Sales in Industry First

The Digital Entertainment Group reports that, for the first time, subscription streaming has surpassed disc sales, further evidence that Hollywood may need to reconsider traditional windows for theatrical distribution. While total home entertainment spending increased 1.36 percent, “the $5.4 billion in disc sales fell well short of the $6.2 billion tabulated from SVOD providers like Netflix,” notes Variety. Subscription streaming jumped nearly 23 percent in 2016 (although figures do not include Amazon Prime), while disc sales dropped almost 10 percent. In another first, “spending on electronic-sell-through, or EST, which totaled just over $2 billion, was edged by VOD by just $67 million.” Continue reading DEG Report: Streaming Exceeds Disc Sales in Industry First

LG Introduces First ATSC 3.0-Enabled TV for Winter Olympics

At CES 2017, LG Electronics introduced the first ATSC 3.0-enabled 4K UHD TVs for South Korea, which will begin deploying the new broadcast standard in anticipation of the 2018 Winter Olympics. The new 2017 models, which will go on sale in the spring, will have both ATSC 3.0 and ATSC 1.0 tuners. At CES, LG demonstrated a 65-inch LED TV with an embedded second-generation ATSC 3.0 tuner displaying 4K UHD HDR programming. The company also showed ATSC 3.0’s “advanced electronic service guide” capabilities. Continue reading LG Introduces First ATSC 3.0-Enabled TV for Winter Olympics

SkyLights and Gogo Bring Personal Entertainment to Airlines

People are accustomed to accessing on-demand video at will, so a flight on an airplane with a communal TV screen can be jolting. Now, startup SkyLights aims to let airline passengers don a virtual reality headset to watch the latest 3D Hollywood movies. French entrepreneur David Dicko’s company offers a headset with six-hour battery life and noise-canceling headphones, which has been tested on flights for almost one year. French carrier XL Airways will soon begin to offer SkyLights headsets for rent, at $16 per flight. Continue reading SkyLights and Gogo Bring Personal Entertainment to Airlines

Comcast Signs Deals with Four Studios to Offer Movie Extras

Comcast inked deals with Universal Pictures (which it owns), Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment for “movie extras” to accompany those studios’ film titles. The cable company, which will offer a free sample of the enhanced extras during the 10 days leading up to Christmas, says it is working on adding more studios and movies in the coming year. With the extra content, Comcast hopes to better compete with other digital movie providers, including Apple, which added extra content two years ago. Continue reading Comcast Signs Deals with Four Studios to Offer Movie Extras

As Viewing on Smart TVs Increases, Advertisers Gain Interest

More Americans are watching TV on-demand and over-the-top. Although some services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are ad-free, the number of OTT ads is growing. Pivotal Research reports that smart TV viewing skyrocketed 65 percent over the last year, accounting now for 8.1 percent of TV viewing for the 18-to-49 demographic. In line with that finding, Innovid, which serves ads to TV apps and web video outlets, says the share of ads now placed on connected TVs has quadrupled in the same time frame. Continue reading As Viewing on Smart TVs Increases, Advertisers Gain Interest

Google Play Sells Movies in 117 Countries, Launches 4K Titles

Launched less than four years ago, Google Play has become much more than the official Android app store, establishing itself as a top retailer in home entertainment. Users treat it like a digital media store, where they can buy movies or TV shows digitally — often sooner than they can on Netflix or other streaming services. Google is now selling movies in 117 countries. Next, Play Movies & TV will be offering 4K for over 125 movies in its collection, for sale via Web or mobile. Continue reading Google Play Sells Movies in 117 Countries, Launches 4K Titles

Fandango Brings Movie VOD Service to Xbox Game Consoles

Movie ticketing company Fandango launched its VOD service FandangoNOW on Microsoft’s Xbox One and Xbox One S consoles. FandangoNOW, which is already on Android TV among other platforms, offers 40,000 new-release and catalog movies as well as next-day TV shows for rent and purchase. The move puts Fandango in direct competition with Apple iTunes, Amazon Video and Walmart’s Vudu. Fandango’s end game is to deploy the rebranded FandangoNOW to increase overall revenues via a home entertainment offering. Continue reading Fandango Brings Movie VOD Service to Xbox Game Consoles

Watching Video on Mobile Devices Increases 85% Since 2010

According to the seventh annual edition of the Ericsson ConsumerLab TV & Media Report, the weekly amount of time that consumers spend watching TV and video via mobile devices has increased 85 percent over the last six years. The report notes that 1.1 billion consumers now use their smartphones or other connected mobile devices to watch streaming video. Average time watching mobile video has jumped more than 200 hours a year since 2012. Overall TV and video viewing is up 1.5 hours per week, while there has been a 2.5 hour per week decline in television fixed screen viewing. Continue reading Watching Video on Mobile Devices Increases 85% Since 2010

DEG Reports Increase in U.S. Home Entertainment Spending

Consumer spending on home entertainment was up 3.8 percent to $4.2 billion in Q3, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. “Leading the charge was subscription streaming, with sales up 23.9 percent,” reports TWICE. “Electronic sell-through followed with a 9.8 percent gain, while VOD trailed in third place among digital formats with a 4.8 percent increase.” Packaged media took a hit, with combined Blu-ray and DVD sales dropping 8.7 percent, while storefront, kiosk and subscription rentals declined 17.8 percent. DEG notes that 85 percent of U.S. homes now have a 1080p TV, and sales of 4K TVs are approaching 10 million units. Continue reading DEG Reports Increase in U.S. Home Entertainment Spending

Vimeo Plans to Become Next Major Subscription VOD Player

According to Variety, “Barry Diller’s IAC has outlined a new strategy for Vimeo to become a major new Netflix-style subscription video-on-demand player — but without spending the kind of dough that Netflix does on original content.” Joey Levin, IAC CEO and interim chief exec of Vimeo, introduced the new strategy during IAC’s Q3 earnings announcement, noting that the company plans to experiment with proprietary subscription services. He did not discuss launch dates or pricing. “Ultimately, our goal is for Vimeo to drive millions of subscriptions and transactions for our creators while also growing a proprietary subscriber base with millions of consumers directly,” wrote Levin. Continue reading Vimeo Plans to Become Next Major Subscription VOD Player

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