Cable Provider Altice Plans Fall Launch For Smart Speaker

New York-based cable provider Altice USA, parent company to Optimum and Suddenlink, plans to launch a high-fidelity smart speaker this fall that features audio tech from French company Devialet. The $400 Altice Amplify will come with Alexa built-in for hands-free control of TV functions. The speaker, to be available through Altice’s cable stores and Amazon.com, will feature access to streaming apps on the Altice One cable system such as Netflix, Pandora and YouTube. Altice Amplify will work with additional TV systems and streaming devices and support apps including Amazon Music, Apple Music, Audible, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Tidal and TuneIn. Continue reading Cable Provider Altice Plans Fall Launch For Smart Speaker

Facebook Plans to Test Selling VOD Subs Directly to Users

Facebook will launch a small-scale test in the U.S. over the coming weeks to sell video subscriptions directly to its users for BritBox from BBC Studios and ITV, Dropout by CollegeHumor, Motor Trend On Demand and Tastemade Plus. Facebook will initially test the waters with these four smaller services. While no major streaming video services are scheduled to be part of the test, Facebook has contacted networks such as HBO and Showtime about selling their OTT services on the social platform and has reportedly talked with Disney, Hulu and Netflix about offering their streaming services via a new TV chat device rumored to be launching this fall. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Test Selling VOD Subs Directly to Users

New HBO Campaign Offers Recommendations by Humans

In a subtle swipe against Netflix’s algorithm-based TV/movie recommendations, HBO unveiled “Recommended by Humans,” a new marketing site featuring 36 video and 150 Twitter recommendations from HBO fans enthusing over new series “Chernobyl,” “Game of Thrones” and “Succession,” as well as older shows such as “Sex and the City,” “The Sopranos,” “The Wire” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” HBO put out a call for viewers willing to go on camera to recommend their favorite shows. “The best recommendations come from real people,” said HBO. Continue reading New HBO Campaign Offers Recommendations by Humans

AT&T Readies Streaming Service, Rebrands DirecTV Now

AT&T plans to rename streaming service DirecTV Now as AT&T TV Now. Its new streaming service AT&T TV will be tested in a handful of markets; customers will be able to access AT&T TV and AT&T TV Now via the same AT&T TV app on mobile devices and/or connected TVs. To continue service, DirecTV Now subscribers will have to accept AT&T’s terms of service, and will then be able to log in with the same credentials. AT&T, which has not released pricing information for the new services yet, lost about two million traditional pay-TV subs last year.  Continue reading AT&T Readies Streaming Service, Rebrands DirecTV Now

Streaming TV Service Locast Receives a Boost From AT&T

Locast is a streaming service that allows those without a pay-TV subscription to watch sports, news and primetime broadcast programming. Backed by the non-profit Sports Fan Coalition, Locast last week received a $500,000 contribution from AT&T. The service has launched in New York and Los Angeles among other large markets. But Locast has not received TV stations’ consent to carry their feeds, something required by federal copyright law, nor is it paying fees, which comprise a significant portion of broadcasters’ revenue. Continue reading Streaming TV Service Locast Receives a Boost From AT&T

Cable Providers Hope Wireless Deals Will Curb Cord-Cutting

New York-based cable provider Altice USA is planning to compete in the crowded wireless market by launching a new mobile service that offers consumers unlimited data at a $20-$30 monthly price point per phone, according to individuals familiar with the plans. Employees will test the new service, likely to be named Altice Mobile, in the coming weeks, with plans for a summer launch. The company will be joining cable rivals Charter and Comcast in offering wireless deals to subscribers. Cable providers are hoping that offering wireless service will discourage their customers from cord-cutting. Continue reading Cable Providers Hope Wireless Deals Will Curb Cord-Cutting

Walmart Plans to Launch Original Content For Vudu Service

As the world’s largest retailer, Walmart is known for selling many things, including TVs. However, it’s not typically known for what consumers watch on those TVs. That could soon change. This week, Walmart will unveil a sampling of a new slate of original programming to advertisers in New York with the goal of driving viewership to its Vudu streaming service. Unlike other streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon, Walmart doesn’t plan to sell subscriptions. Instead, it wants to use shows to advertise products directly.

Continue reading Walmart Plans to Launch Original Content For Vudu Service

Cable Providers Update Boxes to Retain Fleeing Customers

With its Xfinity X1, Comcast has remade the traditional cable box, with a voice-enabled remote that allows search across live TV, on-demand and sources such as Netflix. It combines the multiple apps, passwords and monthly fees of streaming services into one place, with one bill. Perhaps we don’t need to get rid of cable, but rather to improve it. With the advent of ever-more choices from Apple, Amazon, Roku to Verizon and T-Mobile, the major cablecasters have the chance to bring their services into the modern TV age. Continue reading Cable Providers Update Boxes to Retain Fleeing Customers

Digital Agency Exec Details Why Set-Top Box Needs to Die

At an NAB 2019 panel moderated by the organization’s vice president of advanced technology So Vang, Jason Brush detailed the case for why today’s set-top box needs to die. Brush, who is the global EVP for experiences and innovation at WPP’s flagship digital agency known as POSSIBLE, has designed interfaces for set-top boxes (as well as the Sony PlayStation 4 game console and Sony Xperia X10 mobile phones among others). His perspective on the topic arose from an epiphany he had looking at his cable bill. Continue reading Digital Agency Exec Details Why Set-Top Box Needs to Die

MPAA Announces Record Earnings in Global Entertainment

The Motion Picture Association of America revealed that the global entertainment market reached $96.8 billion in 2018, 9 percent over 2017 and a new record. Most notable was the growth of streaming video, 27 percent over 2017 to 613.3 million global subscriptions. Cable subscriptions, meanwhile, dropped 2 percent to 556 million subscribers, marking the first time that streaming bested cable (although cable still earns more money). Theatrical box office in the U.S. and Canada grew to $11.9 billion, while the overall global box office grew to $41.1 billion. Continue reading MPAA Announces Record Earnings in Global Entertainment

T-Mobile Delays Debut of its Streaming TV Service Until 2019

T-Mobile US is pushing back the introduction of its video service until 2019, although those plans might also change, said sources. The reason is that the project became more complex than anticipated; chief executive John Legere had said the carrier would create a “disruptive TV service” that would transform the television industry, setting a high bar that was difficult to meet given the time constraint. Sources said the delay is intended to provide the time for T-Mobile to deliver on Legere’s initial promise. Continue reading T-Mobile Delays Debut of its Streaming TV Service Until 2019

Facebook Renews Four Series, Aims to Distribute Premium TV

Facebook, which just renewed four original series that have proven popular, also highlighted the success of Facebook Watch, which debuted in the U.S. in August 2017. The renewed shows are Kerry Washington’s “Five Points,” influencer Huda Kattan’s reality show “Huda Boss,” fairy-tale-inspired series “Sacred Lies,” and drama “Sorry For Your Loss” with Elizabeth Olsen. Facebook Watch now attracts 400+ million users around the world who spend at least one minute on the site, with 75 million doing so on a daily basis. Continue reading Facebook Renews Four Series, Aims to Distribute Premium TV

NAGRA Helping Cable, Telecom Operators Deploy Android TV

Android TV, first unveiled in 2014 and updated by Google in 2017, is making a splash, and NAGRA is one of a handful of companies enabling mid-sized cable and telecom operators to add the offering. According to the company’s senior director of product marketing Simon Trudelle, NAGRA is currently helping to deploy eight active 4K Android TV projects, the most recent being the United Group, a telecom/media operator in South East Europe. NAGRA provides advanced content protection technology for its hybrid TV platform. Continue reading NAGRA Helping Cable, Telecom Operators Deploy Android TV

Social Media Tops Newspapers as Preferred Source of News

In a new first, social media platforms have surpassed traditional print newspapers as the preferred news source for adults in the United States. According to a new Pew Research Center report, American adults turn to social media more than newspapers, but not more than they prefer other news sources such as television and radio. While the percentages of those who preferred social media were about equal to those who opted for newspapers last year, Pew found that 20 percent of U.S. adults now get their news from social platforms, compared to 16 percent who prefer newspapers. Continue reading Social Media Tops Newspapers as Preferred Source of News

AT&T Chief Outlines Future WarnerMedia Streaming Platform

At the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson revealed that investing in more HBO programs is a target for the coming year, as WarnerMedia readies its direct-to-consumer subscription platform due to launch by end of 2019. HBO will anchor the as-of-yet unnamed service, which will also offer original programming and other WarnerMedia content year-round. Stephenson did stress, however, that AT&T won’t spend the $11 billion that is Netflix’s current annual budget for content. Continue reading AT&T Chief Outlines Future WarnerMedia Streaming Platform

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