Nielsen Reports Streaming Leads Cable TV for the First Time

July was the first month in which streaming has overtaken cable viewing, according to Nielsen’s monthly snapshot The Gauge, which reports streaming captured a record 34.8 percent share of total U.S. TV viewership, cable 34.4 percent and broadcast 21.6 percent. While streaming has exceeded broadcast’s viewing share before, this is the first time it also exceeded cable, said Nielsen Global Media’s Brian Fuhrer, SVP of product strategy and thought leadership. Audiences spent 23 percent more time streaming content than they did in July 2021, 9 percent less time watching cable and 10 percent less time watching broadcast television. Continue reading Nielsen Reports Streaming Leads Cable TV for the First Time

Apple Pursues Podcasts as Subjects for Streaming TV Series

Apple is making a big push for original podcasts that have the potential to be turned into shows for Apple TV+. The company has signed a deal with Futuro, producer of the criminal-justice podcast “Suave,” and has already spent about $10 million on the push, led by Apple TV Studios. Apple recently announced original podcasts with companies including Pineapple Street Studios, Campside Media, Jigsaw Productions and At Will Media. Apple TV+ has already adapted existing podcasts including Wondery’s “The Shrink Next Door” (starring Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell) and “WeCrashed” (with Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway). Continue reading Apple Pursues Podcasts as Subjects for Streaming TV Series

Warner Bros. Discovery Explores Adding a New FAST Service

Warner Bros. Discovery reported Thursday that the number of direct-to-consumer subscribers to HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+ was up 1.7 million since the close of Q1, for a total of 92.1 million subs. As part of its effort to reach a broader streaming audience, the company plans to launch a combined subscription version of HBO Max and Discovery+ in summer of 2023. CEO David Zaslav revealed that the company is also exploring a free ad-supported TV service. “We see potential,” Zaslav said of launching a discrete FAST service, one that may offer different content from what is currently available on the premium VOD platforms. Continue reading Warner Bros. Discovery Explores Adding a New FAST Service

Apple realityOS Headset Reportedly on Deck for 2023 Release

Buzz is heating up on Apple’s new mixed reality headset, with the company reportedly securing “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau to create content for the new platform that brings to life the dinosaurs from “Prehistoric Planet,” the Apple TV+ documentary on which he served as executive producer. The headset, anticipated for 2023 release, is expected to offer both virtual- and augmented-reality experiences, and will run realityOS, or rOS software. Details broke on the eve of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, June 6-10, but has not been announced during WWDC. The device will position Apple to compete with Meta, Microsoft and soon Google in the AR/VR space. Continue reading Apple realityOS Headset Reportedly on Deck for 2023 Release

New Plex Features Help Viewers Navigate Streaming Services

Further to its goal of becoming a sort of Google-with-benefits for viewers who stream TV shows and movies across multiple platforms, Plex is reformatting its welcome screen to include a discover feature, universal search and universal watchlists. Rolling out in beta, the new Plex interface offers what amounts to personalized search-and-save “across virtually any streaming service,” from Plex’s own free movies and television series to subscription services like Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max. “As of today, Plex searches, personalizes, and organizes all of your content, no matter where that content lives,” the company announced. Continue reading New Plex Features Help Viewers Navigate Streaming Services

‘CODA’ Wins 3 Oscars, Including First Best Picture for Apple

Apple TV+ made history Sunday night as the first streaming service to win an Oscar for best picture when “CODA” took the top prize. The film’s title — an acronym for Children of Deaf Adults — won in all three categories in which it was nominated, sending Apple on its first-ever Academy Award victory lap. With its total of six nominations, Apple TV+ was a dark horse, as was “CODA,” upstaging Netflix and “The Power of the Dog,” the most nominated distributor and film, with 27 and 12 nods, respectively. Netflix earned just one Oscar, for Jane Campion’s direction of “The Power of the Dog.” Continue reading ‘CODA’ Wins 3 Oscars, Including First Best Picture for Apple

Apple Reportedly Has iPhone Subscription Plan in the Works

Apple is reportedly working on a plan that will make its popular iPhone and additional devices available on a subscription basis. Popular first among content providers, then software firms like Microsoft and Adobe, subscription contracts are less usual in the hardware space, other than the long-term payment plans mobile service providers add to a customer’s monthly bill for costlier phone models, including iPhones. Apple itself has been offering iPhones in monthly payments. A hardware “subscription” would possibly bundle other Apple products, like Apple TV and Apple Music. Continue reading Apple Reportedly Has iPhone Subscription Plan in the Works

Apple Joins Top Streaming Video Services in the Oscar Race

Streaming services had another strong showing with the latest Oscar nominations. Apple TV+ received six nominations, including its first in the Best Picture category for “CODA,” also groundbreaking as the first film with a majority deaf cast to contend in the top category. Apple acquired the film at last year’s Sundance Film Festival where it set a record with its $25 million bid. Apple also got noticed for Joel Coen’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” which earned Denzel Washington a Best Actor nod and is competing for Best Production Design and Best Cinematography. When the contenders were announced Tuesday morning, it was Netflix that tallied the largest haul, with 27 nominations, the most of any studio.  Continue reading Apple Joins Top Streaming Video Services in the Oscar Race

Spotify Launches Netflix Hub with Soundtracks and Podcasts

Spotify has launched a Netflix Hub designed to extend the experience of enjoying one’s favorite streaming films and shows through official soundtracks, playlists, podcasts and  exclusive Spotify content. Spotify explained the evolution of the pre-existing partnership by pointing out that within two weeks of the premiere of Netflix’s “Squid Game,” Spotify listeners “created more than 22,500 unique themed playlists.” The new Hub will include “experiences” like the recent Netflix collaboration on an “enhanced album” for the revisionist Western “The Harder They Fall,” featuring producer Jay-Z in a behind-the-scenes look at the soundtrack. Continue reading Spotify Launches Netflix Hub with Soundtracks and Podcasts

Apple to Expand Hollywood Ambitions with Regional Campus

Apple is expanding its Los Angeles footprint, building new regional headquarters in the northern part of Culver City. Construction is in progress on two adjacent buildings comprising more than 550,000 square feet on a lot flanked by National, Venice and Washington boulevards. Apple says the complex will house teams working on Apple TV+, Apple Music, engineering and artificial intelligence at a site near the new Ivy Station development and Metro Expo Line stop. Apple already has more than 1,500 employees working in a leased 128,000-square-foot Culver City office.  Continue reading Apple to Expand Hollywood Ambitions with Regional Campus

Disney+ Leverages Social Platforms to Draw Streaming Subs

After analyzing hundreds of social media ad campaigns by the top streaming ad platforms, BrandTotal has found that Disney+ is leading in paid share-of-voice, with 30 percent of all impressions. HBO Max is next with 23 percent, with Hulu in third place at 21 percent. The top-five included Peacock with 16 percent and Paramount+ at 7 percent. Meanwhile, the report found Apple TV+ and Netflix to be the least active social media advertisers, with 2 percent and 1 percent, respectively. BrandTotal’s report — Social Intelligence Competitive Snapshot: The Streaming Wars — analyzed paid social advertising campaigns over 90 days beginning June 23, 2021. Continue reading Disney+ Leverages Social Platforms to Draw Streaming Subs

Amazon Readies Launch of Fire TV Sets with Alexa Assistant

E-commerce giant Amazon is readying the October launch of its own Fire TV sets featuring its Alexa voice assistant. The Amazon Fire TV Omni Series 4K, which starts at $409.99, and the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series 4K, which starts at $369.99, will be available on Amazon’s website and at Best Buy stores. Toshiba and Insignia, Best Buy’s house brand, have sold TVs powered by Amazon’s Fire TV operating system, the latter since 2018. Amazon adds TVs to its other branded products including clothing, groceries and even batteries. Continue reading Amazon Readies Launch of Fire TV Sets with Alexa Assistant

Netflix Still Confident Despite New Rivals and Slowed Growth

In Q2, Netflix added 1.5 million new subscribers, slower growth after a peak at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the company isn’t worried, telling investors that it is “mostly competing with ourselves to improve our service as fast as we can.” “If we do that, we’re confident we can maintain our strong position and continue to grow nicely as we have been for the past two-plus decades,” Netflix said, adding that it doesn’t view any particular assets as “must-have,” and that consolidation isn’t impacting its growth. Meanwhile, the company is facing new competitors in the streaming space. Continue reading Netflix Still Confident Despite New Rivals and Slowed Growth

Facebook Targets Substack with Newsletter Platform Bulletin

Social media giant Facebook recently unveiled Bulletin, a near-clone of the newsletter platform Substack. Despite its complicated relationship with journalists, Facebook thinks it can succeed by offering them better terms; whereas Substack takes a 10 percent cut of writers’ revenue, Bulletin will take nothing — at least for now. Best-selling authors Malcolm Gladwell and Mitch Albom will be among the first Bulletin writers. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the goal is to “support millions of people doing creative work.” Continue reading Facebook Targets Substack with Newsletter Platform Bulletin

Steven Spielberg and Netflix Sign Multi-Year Filmmaking Deal

Influential and commercially successful filmmaker Steven Spielberg signed a multi-year deal with streaming service Netflix to make new films under the aegis of his Amblin Partners studio. Spielberg still retains his long-term relationship with Comcast’s Universal Pictures, where Amblin Partners is based. The deal is a win for Netflix, which faces increasing competition from new streaming services including Disney+, HBO Max and Amazon, which is acquiring the MGM movie and television studio with its James Bond franchise in a deal worth $8.45 billion. Continue reading Steven Spielberg and Netflix Sign Multi-Year Filmmaking Deal