Verizon to Drop Cable Bundles in Favor of Customer Choice

To prevent further cord-cutting, Verizon Communications is abandoning traditional cable bundles. Fios customers will be able to select Internet speeds and TV packets separately, at preset rates, and can change their services on a monthly basis. Verizon senior vice president Frank Boulben stated that customers can then avoid promotional pricing that expires — and then skyrockets. Altice USA, Comcast and Charter Communications are offering lower cost wireless plans for Internet/TV customers. Continue reading Verizon to Drop Cable Bundles in Favor of Customer Choice

Apple Streaming TV Service to Launch Worldwide Next Year

Apple is reportedly planning to introduce its subscription streaming television service in more than 100 countries during the first half of next year. Such a global launch could help make Apple a serious competitor with established services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video that already have an international presence. The service is expected to offer original programming free to iOS device owners while allowing users to sign up for third party services and TV network subscriptions. It will launch in the U.S. a few months prior to the global rollout. Continue reading Apple Streaming TV Service to Launch Worldwide Next Year

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

Cable Providers Make Course Correction and Support Netflix

As part of an industry shift that began in Europe, an increasing number of cable operators in the U.S. have been forming agreements with Netflix. Charter Communications is expected to join more than a dozen pay TV providers, including Comcast, in making the streaming service available through its set-top boxes. “Some U.S. providers could start selling the streaming service as part of their Internet and video packages,” reports VentureBeat. “Altice NV is trying that approach in France, and the company aims to extend the deal to the United States.” Continue reading Cable Providers Make Course Correction and Support Netflix

Survey Finds Binge-Watching by Younger Viewers on Upswing

Deloitte’s 11th annual “Digital Democracy Survey” found that 73 percent of U.S. consumers have binge-watched video, up from 68 percent two years ago. Binge-watching TV is more common with younger audiences — 90 percent of millennials (ages 20-33) and 87 percent of Gen Z (ages 14-19) — who are increasingly watching on mobile devices. While televisions are losing popularity among younger audiences for marathon-viewing, older demographics — 60 percent of Gen X (ages 34-50) and 80 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 51-69) — still prefer TV. Nearly 40 percent of younger viewers binge-watch TV on a weekly basis, averaging about five hours of content per session. Continue reading Survey Finds Binge-Watching by Younger Viewers on Upswing

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

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

SMPTE 2015: Verizon’s Middleton Says Linear TV Is Not Dead

At the Industry Luncheon on SMPTE 2015’s second day, Verizon Digital Media Services chief product officer Ted Middleton delivered the keynote address, which was, in part, a paean to the joys of linear TV. The luncheon also honored Wendy Aylsworth, the first woman to be SMPTE president, and showed a trailer for “Moving Images,” a retrospective of the science and engineering behind the industry’s cinema and television, directed by Howard Lukk and sparked by SMPTE’s upcoming 100th anniversary. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Verizon’s Middleton Says Linear TV Is Not Dead

Execs Discuss the Future of SVOD in Netflix Q3 Earnings Call

North American pay TV providers recently experienced their worst quarter ever, losing nearly a half million subscribers. But where are these subs going for video services? Recent figures point to Internet TV. Juniper Research, for example, projects that subscriber numbers to over-the-top TV services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime will increase from 92.1 million in 2014, to 332.2 million globally by 2019. Netflix alone will generate $31.6 billion by 2019, up from just under $8 billion in 2014. The recent Netflix Earnings Call provides a revealing portrait that points out challenges and opportunities that reflect the state of the industry. Continue reading Execs Discuss the Future of SVOD in Netflix Q3 Earnings Call

Aereo Files for Bankruptcy Protection in Wake of Legal Battles

Aereo’s plan to upend the television industry with an online streaming service has come to an end. Chet Kanojia, Aereo’s chief executive, explained in a blog post Friday that legal and regulatory challenges have become too difficult for the Barry Diller-backed company. As a result, five months after the Supreme Court ruled that the startup had violated copyright laws by capturing broadcast TV via small antennas and retransmitting to subscribers, Aereo has filed for bankruptcy protection. Continue reading Aereo Files for Bankruptcy Protection in Wake of Legal Battles

CBS All Access Targets Cord-Cutters and Cord-Nevers Demo

Just one day after HBO announced its plans to launch a standalone Internet streaming service in 2015, CBS followed with news of its own subscription streaming service that will provide consumers with access to live programming in addition to thousands of current and past programs on demand. The announcements could be good news for cord-cutters who are increasingly turning to the Internet for content. The news may also have an eventual impact on how TV is offered by cable, satellite and telecoms. Continue reading CBS All Access Targets Cord-Cutters and Cord-Nevers Demo

Senators Propose to Unbundle Local Broadcast TV Channels

Senators Jay Rockefeller and John Thune have introduced a proposal to let cable and satellite subscribers choose which broadcast TV channels they receive. The proposal intends to limit the blackouts when cable and satellite companies must negotiate retransmission fees with broadcasters. Broadcast advocacy groups have expressed opposition to the proposal. They believe cable and satellite companies need to cut hidden fees, not the broadcast channels, to lower cable bills. Continue reading Senators Propose to Unbundle Local Broadcast TV Channels

Dish Plans to Launch its Internet TV Service Later This Year

Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen announced he has signed new deals with programmers to add channels to the company’s Internet TV service that he plans to launch by the end of 2014. The over-the-top (OTT) service is aimed at young cord-cutters who may opt to forgo an expensive cable package for a cheaper offering of channels that can be streamed on smart TVs and other devices. Dish Network already has a deal with Disney to offer channels such as ABC and ESPN. Continue reading Dish Plans to Launch its Internet TV Service Later This Year

Barry Diller Predicts Increase in Number of Aereo Subscribers

Aereo-backer Barry Diller has stated that the online service may grow to the point that 35 percent of U.S. households subscribe. However, this is largely contingent upon the service’s ability to overcome the legal challenges it currently faces from broadcasters. Individuals in their mid- to late-twenties aren’t highly inclined to pay $100 per month for TV cable packages, rendering Aereo’s $8 package highly attractive, according to Diller. Continue reading Barry Diller Predicts Increase in Number of Aereo Subscribers

Senate Commerce Chair Announces Bill to Bolster Online Video

Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) introduced the Consumer Choice in Online Video Act yesterday — legislation that intends to safeguard competition in the online video market, by preventing cable and satellite companies from stifling growth of services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. The proposal could be good news for consumers who complain about subscriptions that include channels they don’t watch, although industry pushback is likely. Continue reading Senate Commerce Chair Announces Bill to Bolster Online Video

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