Facebook Debuts Live Audio with HarperCollins, BBC, Others

Facebook’s Live Audio, a complement to its Facebook Live video streaming, launched with a handful of publishers and authors testing out the ability to deliver news radio, podcasts and other audio-based services. BBC World Service, British talk radio LBC, publisher HarperCollins, and authors Adam Grant and Britt Bennett are the first to use the service, followed next year, says Facebook, by more “publishers and people.” Broadcasters have a limit of four hours, which will allow a wide range of content. Continue reading Facebook Debuts Live Audio with HarperCollins, BBC, Others

Netflix Now Offers Mobile Download of Many But Not All Titles

Netflix now lets subscribers download shows for offline viewing on iOS and Android devices. But there’s a catch: many of its most popular shows aren’t available for this kind of viewing. Still, there are hundreds of titles that users can download, including “Stranger Things,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “Master of None,” as well as animated titles like “Kung Fu Panda,” and top TV series like “Breaking Bad” and “Cheers.” The company has said more titles will be released in the future, but hasn’t been more specific. Continue reading Netflix Now Offers Mobile Download of Many But Not All Titles

New European Proposals Outline Video Streaming Regulations

European officials have proposed new rules for video streaming companies as part of an effort to regulate online services for the region’s 500 million consumers. Part of that effort would be to require streaming companies to not only carry a certain amount of local content, but to chip in to pay for its development, as do national broadcasters. The goal, say officials, is to boost the region’s local economies. Apple, Facebook and Netflix, which dominate the European online space, would be the U.S. companies most impacted. Continue reading New European Proposals Outline Video Streaming Regulations

Spotify Now Producing Original Music-Focused Video Content

Music streaming service Spotify, which boasts 75 million users, plans to debut 12 new original video programs around music themes. The new programs, which will feature performances, pop culture, musical storytelling, animation and videos about music culture, will be produced and streamed beginning this summer. Spotify had announced a year ago that it planned to move into video. The content will initially be available in four regions — the U.S., U.K., Germany and its home market Sweden — out of the company’s 59 markets. Continue reading Spotify Now Producing Original Music-Focused Video Content

Amazon Expands Its Audible Programming to Include Podcasts

Amazon is recruiting comedians, radio producers, engineers, marketers and lawyers for almost 100 positions in the company’s growing Audible division. Audible currently offers more than 250,000 audiobooks and plays, but the new hires suggest that Amazon is investing in more original programming. Prominent comedians like Maria Bamford and Jonathan Katz, as well as producers from NPR, WNYC and the radio show “Fresh Air,” have already joined the Audible team. Continue reading Amazon Expands Its Audible Programming to Include Podcasts

Spotify Introducing Video Content to Music Streaming Service

Spotify will debut video content on its Android app this week, and the iOS app by end of next week, in the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Sweden. Originally, the music streaming service planned to offer video in May, but has focused on testing videos on its apps with less than 10 percent of its users in the four launch markets. The content is mostly comprised of short clips from ESPN, Comedy Central, the BBC, Vice Media and Maker Studios, among others. Some companies, like Tastemade, are creating original, music-themed series. Continue reading Spotify Introducing Video Content to Music Streaming Service

BBC Turns to Parrot Analytics AI to Measure Show Demand

BBC Worldwide has recently employed artificial intelligence to analyze global demand for specific TV shows. In the most notable case, the BBC turned to New Zealand company Parrot Analytics’ AI and data science to learn that Germany, China, India and Singapore had high demand for its contemporary “Sherlock” series. After extensive testing, the BBC has again used Parrot’s data for several other shows, to find territories and platforms where demand exists. Parrot’s research includes multiple screens and markets. Continue reading BBC Turns to Parrot Analytics AI to Measure Show Demand

CES: Emerging Opportunities and Equally Growing Risk of IoT

The Internet of Things will grow larger once again at CES 2016 with both incremental and innovative advances in objects, systems and simplicity, but for the entertainment industry the past year should also serve as a cautionary tale. Smart home sensors that track and analyze movements to enable new levels of seamless interaction will impact both the home and the world at large. Security will likely become an increasing concern as the infrastructure is created to effectively connect devices and systems. Continue reading CES: Emerging Opportunities and Equally Growing Risk of IoT

The BBC Experiments with TV Shows That Adapt to Personality

The BBC introduced “Visual Perceptive Media,” an experimental project out of its R&D unit in Salford, UK, which allows video stories to adapt in response to individuals’ personalities and tastes. The British broadcaster earlier created the audio-based Perceptive Media project; a radio drama makes adaptations based on the listener’s location, time of day and other factors such as proximity to the device and background noise. The video-based project begins with a mobile app that conducts a personalization process. Continue reading The BBC Experiments with TV Shows That Adapt to Personality

Simple.tv Plans to Debut ShowDrive Cloud DVR at Next CES

Simple.tv — the company that has been trying to reinvent the DVR since 2012 — is about to launch ShowDrive, which allows users to record and playback up to 1,000 hours of TV programming from the cloud to Internet-connected TVs, streaming devices and mobile phones. Unlike Aereo, whose live TV and time-shifted TV DVR was killed by a Supreme Court ruling that it didn’t substantially differ from a cable operator, Simple.tv’s technology is based on technology that has standing in past legal cases. Continue reading Simple.tv Plans to Debut ShowDrive Cloud DVR at Next CES

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

Apple Considers Move into Producing Original Video Content

Sources indicate that Apple has recently been meeting with Hollywood executives to discuss the possibility of the tech giant taking a more active role in the entertainment business by producing original programming. The group exploring the possibility reports to Eddy Cue, who handles content-related issues for Apple. According to one high-level exec who met with Apple, the goal is to launch development and production units by next year that would produce streaming content to take on Netflix and similar services. Continue reading Apple Considers Move into Producing Original Video Content

Discovery Acquires European Rights to Four Olympic Games

In a deal valued at 1.3 billion euros (about $1.45 billion), Discovery Communications has paid for exclusive rights to broadcast four Olympic Games across most of Europe from 2018 to 2024. The rights include broadcast and pay TV, the Internet and mobile. The deal, announced by Discovery yesterday, marks the first time that a single media company has paid for exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympics across Europe. Discovery plans to make at least 200 hours of the Summer Olympics and 100 hours of the Winter Games available on free-to-air television. Continue reading Discovery Acquires European Rights to Four Olympic Games

Apple Blends Streaming, Social, Radio for New Music Service

The new Apple Music service, unveiled during yesterday’s WWDC in San Francisco, will be released for iOS the end of this month and will be coming to Android devices this fall. The service will allow subscribers to stream their favorite music, access curated playlists, and watch music videos and exclusive clips in HD for $9.99 per month. The company is also offering a $14.99 family plan for sharing Apple Music with up to five other people. Apple is adding a global radio station called Beats 1 that will be run by DJ and music producer Zane Lowe. Continue reading Apple Blends Streaming, Social, Radio for New Music Service

Spotify Sweetens the Deal with New Video and Podcast Content

Spotify is no longer just about music streaming. The service — facing new pressure from emerging rivals — is adding podcasts, video clips, original music and video series, a better recommendation engine, and a special feature for runners. The new videos and podcasts will come from media partners like ABC, BBC, Comedy Central, ESPN and Maker Studios. Spotify has also developed some of its own original content, including music tracks that will change tempo based on how fast the user is running. Continue reading Spotify Sweetens the Deal with New Video and Podcast Content