Netflix Adds 9.3 Million Subscribers, $2.3 Billion in Profit in Q1

Netflix has added 9.33 million paid subscribers in Q1, a 16 percent year-over-year increase to 269.6 million worldwide. The growth, attributed largely to a password-sharing crackdown, has delivered the company’s strongest first-quarter customer expansion since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The dominant global streamer boosted Q1 revenue by nearly 15 percent year-over-year, to $9.37 billion, and drove profits to more than $2.3 billion for the quarter, a 78.7 percent gain over the same period last year (and a 148 percent leap from Q4’s $938 million). A surprise to many, Netflix announced it will cease reporting quarterly subscriber gains in Q1 2025. Continue reading Netflix Adds 9.3 Million Subscribers, $2.3 Billion in Profit in Q1

Supercut Improves Streaming of Netflix, Amazon on Vision Pro

Apple Vision Pro users disappointed by the Netflix webOS experience on the spatial computing wearable can now take advantage of the independently developed Supercut app, designed to enhance the streaming platform on Apple’s new headset, as well as to make Amazon Prime Video work better through a dedicated iPad app port. Created by Christian Privitelli, Supercut delivers the correct aspect ratio for each app, as well as eliminating black bars, and more. It also enables 4K streaming with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Privitelli is working on a version for streaming platform Plex. Continue reading Supercut Improves Streaming of Netflix, Amazon on Vision Pro

Amazon Stands to Gain $3 Billion a Year from Prime Video Ads

Amazon this week began serving advertising to Prime Video customers who did not elect to pay an additional $2.99 per month in addition to the basic annual Prime membership of $139 per year or $14.99 per month. Adding commercials is estimated to potentially bring in more than $3 billion a year for Amazon, which is expected to have 2023 revenue of around $567 billion. The surplus will come in handy to pay out $1 billion a year over 11 years for the rights to NFL’s “Thursday Night Football.” The ad-supported Prime Video service launches in the U.S., Canada, UK and Germany, with Mexico, France, Italy, Spain and Australia following later in the year. Continue reading Amazon Stands to Gain $3 Billion a Year from Prime Video Ads

PlayStation to Offer Streaming Movies via Sony Pictures Core

Sony is leveraging the power of its hardware platforms to expand its streaming efforts. What has since 2021 been known as Bravia Core is now rebranded as Sony Pictures Core and will be coming to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 game consoles, with access to 2,000 current and classic films available for rent or purchase. In addition to being able to order Sony Pictures content through Bravia XR TVs, users will be able to transact straight through their consoles, with access to popular films such as “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” “Uncharted,” “No Hard Feelings,” “Bullet Train” and “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” among others. Continue reading PlayStation to Offer Streaming Movies via Sony Pictures Core

Amazon Prime Video to Run TV Commercials Early Next Year

Amazon Prime Video plans to introduce commercial breaks to its popular streaming service early next year, following top platforms such as Disney+, Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max, which already offer ad-supported tiers. The company indicates it will run fewer ads than traditional linear TV broadcasters and broadband rivals but has yet to specify numbers. Subscribers in the U.S. who want to keep the streaming service ad-free have the option of paying an additional $2.99 per month. Amazon explained that its strategy to include ads would help it “continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time.” Continue reading Amazon Prime Video to Run TV Commercials Early Next Year

WBD Will Begin Streaming Live Sports on Max in Two Weeks

Warner Bros. Discovery will begin adding free live sports to its Max streaming service beginning October 5 as a promotional period. Beginning February 29, 2024, subscribers will be charged an additional $10 per month to keep it as part of the new “Bleacher Report Sports Add-On Tier.” Max streaming sports will include Major League Baseball playoff games, regular-season National Basketball Association and National Hockey League games, U.S. soccer and the NCAA men’s basketball March Madness. The sports fee will be in addition to the subscription price for ad-supported or commercial-free Max. Continue reading WBD Will Begin Streaming Live Sports on Max in Two Weeks

Amazon Integrating AI to Modernize NFL Viewing Experience

Amazon is using artificial intelligence to change the way viewers experience “Thursday Night Football” on Amazon Prime Video this season. Now in the second year of its 10-year NFL deal, Amazon joins Disney’s ESPN in using AI to change how people experience televised sports by parsing a variety of analytics and using machine learning to interpret 2D video into 3D for a variety of viewpoints on any play. Amazon is auto-generating highlights feeds for each game, so late arrivals can catch up. September 14 marks the debut of the new AI Prime features and the games in 1080p HDR. Continue reading Amazon Integrating AI to Modernize NFL Viewing Experience

Linear TV Viewership Dips Below 50 Percent for the First Time

Linear TV viewership fell below 50 percent for the first time in July, according to Nielsen’s The Gauge, which tracks total broadcast, cable and streaming consumption via television. Among total TV viewership, broadcast and cable accrued record low shares of 20 percent and 29.6 percent, respectively, representing a linear television total of 49.6 percent. Combined, it still topped TV set streaming viewership, at 38.7 percent, a 2.9 percent increase from June and that month’s streaming record-high share. YouTube (not including YouTube TV) was again the top streamer with a 9.2 percent TV share, up 5.6 percent versus June. Continue reading Linear TV Viewership Dips Below 50 Percent for the First Time

NBCUniversal to Introduce Dozens of FAST Channels in July

NBCUniversal has plumbed its vaults to fuel nearly 50 new FAST channels launching in July on Amazon Freevee and the new Xumo Play joint venture from NBCU parent Comcast and Charter Communications. The lineup, taken from NBCU’s Television and Streaming and Global Distribution libraries, includes verticals for “Saturday Night Live,” “Top Chef,” “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and “The Real Housewives,” as well as Spanish-language programs from Telemundo. There are also nostalgia channels featuring “The Lone Ranger,” “Little House on the Prairie” and “Murder, She Wrote,” and genre-based streams of comedy, criminality and monsters. Continue reading NBCUniversal to Introduce Dozens of FAST Channels in July

Amazon Explores Launching Ad-Supported Prime Video Tier

Amazon may be further leveraging its enviable position with Madison Avenue by launching an ad-supported Prime Video tier. The move makes sense given Amazon’s surging ad revenue from online sales. The company also owns the FAST service Freevee. Amazon’s ad savvy runs deep, and reports suggest the e-commerce giant is also in discussions with Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global to package the ad-supported versions of Max and Paramount+ under the Prime Video Channels banner. The news comes on the eve of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for the global marketing elite. Continue reading Amazon Explores Launching Ad-Supported Prime Video Tier

Prime Originals Head to Amazon Freevee, Fire TV Goes FAST

Amazon Freevee, formerly IMDb Freedive and then IMDb TV, is getting more than 100 Amazon Original programs from Amazon Prime Video. The ad-supported free streaming service will release the new original series and movies throughout the year. Some of the series will be limited to a few teaser episodes designed to drive customers to Amazon Prime. Amazon SVP of ad products and tech Colleen Aubrey touted this and other reveals at New York’s IAB NewFronts in the context of brands using Amazon’s ad-supported streaming TV solutions to reach an average monthly audience of more than 155 million viewers in the U.S. Continue reading Prime Originals Head to Amazon Freevee, Fire TV Goes FAST

Apple Reportedly Allocates $1 Billion for Theatrical Releases

Apple plans to spend $1 billion a year on theatrical release films, according to Bloomberg, which say the move is “part of an ambitious effort to raise its profile in Hollywood and lure subscribers to its streaming service.” The films will reportedly play in theaters for at least one month before debuting on Apple TV+. Martin Scorsese’s crime drama “Killers of the Flower Moon,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ridley Scott’s historical drama “Napoleon,” are among the Apple-funded projects expected to be released in “thousands of theaters,” though Apple still hasn’t finalized distribution arrangements. Continue reading Apple Reportedly Allocates $1 Billion for Theatrical Releases

Roku Updates OS, Adds News, Announces Best Buy TV Deal

Roku is upgrading to OS 12, which will offer improvements including to streaming live TV and sports, among other things. A concurrent mobile app update features a new home screen and new tools for account management and photo storage. The company also announced that new Roku-branded TVs will be sold exclusively through Best Buy and online. Unveiled at CES 2023, the Roku Select and Plus series TVs made by Roku are now shipping, with 11 models spanning two lineups that offer sizes ranging from 24- to 75-inches. Pricing starts at $150 and scales to $1,200. Continue reading Roku Updates OS, Adds News, Announces Best Buy TV Deal

CES: Samsung Neo G9 Curved Gaming Monitor Wows Crowd

The Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 is a 1000R curved 57-inch gaming monitor that uses quantum mini-LED technology for pixel resolution of 7,680 × 2,160 at 32:9. Announced in November as the first monitor with DisplayPort 2.1 support, it has 240Hz refresh rate and connects with the Samsung Gaming Hub for cloud gaming. Samsung, which is calling the Neo G9 “the world’s first single monitor with dual ultra-high-definition resolution,” says it will ship later this year and did not announce pricing. The company also announced the 49-inch Odyssey OLED G9. Continue reading CES: Samsung Neo G9 Curved Gaming Monitor Wows Crowd

Amazon Opens Stage 15: New LA Virtual Production Facility

Amazon Studios has officially opened its 34,000-square-foot virtual production stage in Culver City, California. On hand for the Monday ribbon-cutting ceremony was director Reginald Hudlin, whose Eddie Murphy-starrer “Candy Cane Lane” will be the first feature to shoot there. Once the set for films including “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “RoboCop,” Stage 15 has undergone a transformation from its original 1940 configuration, now housing a wall of more than 3,000 LED panels as well as 100 motion capture cameras in what is LA’s largest virtual production stage. Continue reading Amazon Opens Stage 15: New LA Virtual Production Facility