Roku to Offer Subscription Video Market Similar to Amazon’s

According to sources, Roku will debut a marketplace similar to Amazon Channels, allowing consumers to sign up for video subscription services without downloading separate apps on Roku devices. Roku already offers access to HBO Now, CBS All Access and other subscription services via its channel store, but, up until now, consumers have needed to download a dedicated app (which Roku calls a “channel”) onto their device and then sign up for the service. The new marketplace is expected to make it much easier to access such services. Continue reading Roku to Offer Subscription Video Market Similar to Amazon’s

Amazon Channels Making a Splash in Subscription Video Sales

According to The Diffusion Group (TDG), Amazon is now responsible for 55 percent of a la carte direct-to-consumer video subs. Amazon Channels is “the company’s platform for reselling subscription services like HBO and Showtime,” explains Variety. TDG’s new research indicates that “53 percent of all consumers who don’t get HBO through their pay TV provider are purchasing it via Amazon Channels,” notes the article, adding that “72 percent of Showtime subscribers get the network’s direct-to-consumer offering via Amazon Channels, and 70 percent of Starz a la carte subscribers receive it from Amazon.” Continue reading Amazon Channels Making a Splash in Subscription Video Sales

Amazon Cancels Plans to Launch a Skinny Bundle TV Service

Amazon has decided to cancel its plans to create an online streaming service that would have bundled broadcast and cable TV networks. The decision was reportedly based on the challenges involving how to generate a profit from the proposed service. The e-commerce giant has also experienced difficulties drawing interest from networks for its Amazon Channels a la carte TV platform. The company has been looking to leverage more television content, especially to attract younger cord cutters who are increasingly viewing media on mobile devices. Continue reading Amazon Cancels Plans to Launch a Skinny Bundle TV Service

Sony, National Cable TV Group Ink Deal for PlayStation Vue

Sony Interactive Entertainment America and the non-profit organization National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) inked a deal that will allow local cable companies to offer Sony’s PlayStation Vue’s “cable TV bundle.” NCTC is a programming-and-hardware purchasing group for 850 cable and broadband systems in the U.S., serving more than nine million customers, mainly located in rural areas. In addition to the Sony deal, NCTC also made a deal with fuboTV, a startup that offers streaming sports channels. Continue reading Sony, National Cable TV Group Ink Deal for PlayStation Vue

Following U.S. Success, Amazon Brings Channels to Europe

For a year-and-a-half, Amazon has been promoting subscriptions to HBO, Starz and other streaming services. Now, it plans to expand Amazon Channels to Austria, Germany and the U.K. with between 25 to 42 live and on-demand channels from its content partners, thus offering the kind of a la carte TV that many viewers want. Apparently, the success of Channels took Amazon by surprise, and it has created two new channels — Anime Strike and Heera for Bollywood fans — while postponing plans for its own live service. Continue reading Following U.S. Success, Amazon Brings Channels to Europe

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

Mossberg Questions the Direction of Streaming TV Services

Streaming TV is now mainstream, with even cable and satellite subscribers paying for services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. Television networks also make their fare available for streaming via apps or smart TVs. But the typical streaming service model — whereby the subscriber doesn’t pay for a fat bundle of disparate channels and a DVR — is changing. Dish Network’s Sling TV and AT&T’s DirecTV Now, nominally streaming services, offer bundles of TV networks delivered in a linear fashion, just like cable or satellite. Journalist/author Walt Mossberg is concerned by the change.  Continue reading Mossberg Questions the Direction of Streaming TV Services

Amazon Expands its A La Carte Offerings with HBO, Cinemax

Prime video members can access premium cable content from HBO and Cinemax now that Amazon has introduced the channels to its add-on packs in Amazon Channels, which now features more than 70 add-ons available to subscribers willing to pay more each month. “HBO is an additional $14.99 per month, and Cinemax is $9.99 monthly, with both offering 30-day free trials,” notes TechCrunch (HBO’s standalone HBO Now also runs $15/month). “The HBO add-on provides access to HBO’s current hits and past hit shows and limited series, as well as their current licensed movies, and news shows. Likewise Cinemax provides access to their original shows, as well as movies.” Continue reading Amazon Expands its A La Carte Offerings with HBO, Cinemax

Media Companies Turn to A La Carte Sales in Foreign Markets

Viacom, 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company are among the numerous entertainment companies offering their content a la carte — in Europe, Latin America and Asia. In the U.S., these networks are still parts of more expensive bundles proffered by Comcast, DirecTV and other pay TV services. That reflects a much lower penetration of homes outside the U.S. that have a cable or satellite subscription, which makes it possible for media companies to make a la carte offers without running afoul of pay TV providers. Continue reading Media Companies Turn to A La Carte Sales in Foreign Markets

Showtime, Starz Now On Tap For Amazon Prime Members

Amazon just began offering some enticing add-ons for its Prime members: on-demand programming from Showtime, Starz and other channels, for as much as $8.99 a month. The goal is to lure more consumers to become Prime members, a $99 a year program that offers unlimited two-day shipping among other benefits, since Prime members spend more money on the site than non-Prime members. The add-on channels can be accessed via Amazon’s apps on mobile devices, streaming boxes and connected TVs. Continue reading Showtime, Starz Now On Tap For Amazon Prime Members

Amazon Plans to Acquire Portland-Based Video Formatting Firm

Amazon announced that it has agreed to purchase Elemental Technologies in an all-cash deal valued at about $500 million, marking Amazon’s biggest deal since last year’s $1 billion acquisition of videogame streaming site Twitch. Elemental helps media companies encode and transcode video content for viewing on the Web and via mobile devices. Amazon plans to add Elemental to its Amazon Web Services cloud computing division, one of the company’s faster-growing units. Amazon reportedly beat out both Ericsson AB and Cisco Systems to acquire Elemental. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Acquire Portland-Based Video Formatting Firm

NHL and MLB Advanced Media Team Up on Digital Global Hub

Major League Baseball’s fast-growing technology arm and the National Hockey League have announced a $600 million deal involving TV and digital rights to NHL games and related content. MLB Advanced Media will pay $100 million annually for six years to take control of NHL digital and broadcast operations, including NHL.com and distribution of live out-of-market games. The deal is also expected to lead to a fully integrated global hub including live game streaming, video, social media, apps, and statistical and analytical content. Continue reading NHL and MLB Advanced Media Team Up on Digital Global Hub

Research Points to Increase in Cord Cutting and Cord Shaving

According to a recent study, the number of consumers in North America who are cutting the pay TV cord in favor of OTT streaming video services is growing. TiVo subsidiary Digitalsmiths reports that 8.2 percent of survey respondents were no longer paying TV subscriptions as of 2014, a 1.3 percent increase over the previous year. Interestingly, an impressive 45.2 percent indicated that they downsized their cable or satellite TV bundles during the same period in the wake of paying for services such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Instant Video (a trend referred to as “cord shaving”). Continue reading Research Points to Increase in Cord Cutting and Cord Shaving

Sony Announces New Markets for Cloud-Based Vue TV Service

After this week’s launch in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Sony’s cloud-based TV service PlayStation Vue is now available in four of the five largest U.S. cities (Vue is also offered in Chicago, New York and Philadelphia). The service starts at $49.99 per month, and features more than 50 channels of live TV from three major networks and a collection of popular cable channels. Addressed during the company’s E3 press conference, Vue is part of a larger effort to make the company’s PlayStation console a multi-purpose entertainment hub. Continue reading Sony Announces New Markets for Cloud-Based Vue TV Service

ESPN is First to File Suit Against Verizon Over FiOS Bundles

ESPN filed a lawsuit Monday in New York Supreme Court against Verizon, claiming that Verizon’s new FiOS TV packages — which allow subscribers to purchase a basic set of channels starting at $55 per month, and add tiers of genre-based channels — are in breach of contract regarding ESPN distribution. While Verizon introduced the new packages to attract consumers looking for more flexibility, the company has met resistance from major players such as 21st Century Fox and NBCUniversal regarding current programming agreements. Continue reading ESPN is First to File Suit Against Verizon Over FiOS Bundles

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