Lionsgate to Purchase Premium Channel Starz for $4.4 Billion

Lionsgate announced it has agreed to acquire premium cable network Starz for $4.4 billion in cash and stock. Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht, who just signed a new contract that runs through 2020, is expected to continue running Starz. It is not clear if the deal would have any impact on Lionsgate’s stake in Epix, which the company owns with Viacom and MGM, and serves as the pay TV home to Lionsgate films. The deal will bring 17 Starz- and Encore-branded channels and Anchor Bay Entertainment video distribution to Lionsgate. Continue reading Lionsgate to Purchase Premium Channel Starz for $4.4 Billion

PlayStation Vue on Roku Devices Offers Alternative to Cable

Sony’s PlayStation Vue streaming TV service is now available on Roku’s set-top boxes, media sticks and television sets. The Vue service enables users to stream dozens of cable channels such as CNN, Comedy Central, ESPN, Fox News and MTV over the Internet. Vue can be accessed as a Roku app in addition to apps for iPhones, iPads and Amazon’s Fire TV. Next week Vue will be offered for Android users. “Now that Vue is available nationwide and on many streaming-video devices, it’s truly a viable alternative to a traditional cable-TV service,” suggests The Wall Street Journal. Continue reading PlayStation Vue on Roku Devices Offers Alternative to Cable

Comcast Rolls Out X1 Search & Record Tool for Rio Olympics

Comcast developed X1, a voice-controlled remote technology that allows its subscribers to search, similar to virtual assistants from Amazon and Apple. Now chief executive Brian Roberts has a good reason to roll it out: the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. NBC plans to broadcast every event live on TV or online — a programming equivalent of 24 hours a day for 250 days — and X1 will make it all searchable, by event, athlete or country. Subscribers can even get alerts when an American is close to winning gold. Continue reading Comcast Rolls Out X1 Search & Record Tool for Rio Olympics

Altice Closes Cablevision Deal to Become Major U.S. Operator

The $17.7 billion acquisition of New York-based Cablevision Systems Corp. by European cable company Altice NV is now complete. The new company, Altice USA, will become the fourth largest broadband provider in the country with 4.6 million customers across 20 states. Cablevision will join with Suddenlink, acquired by Altice last year. “Altice has vowed to invest more in improving the infrastructure of the Cablevision and Suddenlink networks with a focus on boosting broadband speeds, improving Wi-Fi service and updating the programming guide and interface to more user-friendly designs,” reports Variety. Continue reading Altice Closes Cablevision Deal to Become Major U.S. Operator

Tablo Premieres Live TV and DVR App for 4th Gen Apple TV

Canadian-based Tablo has launched an app for Apple TV 4th generation devices that, with the company’s $200 Tablo DVR, will allow users to stream live TV and watch recorded programs. The Tablo DVR, seen as an alternative to TiVo, includes an over-the-air broadcast antenna, and two tuners for the $200 price. A $300 version offers four tuners; TV Guide data is an add-on at $5 a month. Tablo’s only downside may be that it requires some technical know-how to attach the user’s external drive to store the recordings. Continue reading Tablo Premieres Live TV and DVR App for 4th Gen Apple TV

Court Rejects Telecom Industry’s Challenges to Net Neutrality

In a 2-1 vote, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has upheld the FCC’s net neutrality rules, “handing a defeat to cable and telephone companies trying to fend off tighter oversight of the consumer broadband business,” reports The Wall Street Journal. The ruling is also considered a victory for the Obama administration and companies such as Google and Netflix that see net neutrality as a defense against unfair competition from ISPs. The decision “opens the door to further pending FCC regulatory steps that cable and wireless firms have resisted,” notes WSJ. “It also sharpens a growing policy divide between Internet firms and the broadband-access industry.” Continue reading Court Rejects Telecom Industry’s Challenges to Net Neutrality

Cable and Telecom Companies Lobby Against FCC Proposals

Last month, 60 lawmakers signed a letter objecting to an FCC regulation that would open up the cable TV set-top box market. More recently, Democratic congressman Bobby Rush’s staff pushed his colleagues to sign another letter, this one opposing an FCC proposal to limit how broadband providers can share users’ personal data. These are just recent efforts by the cable industry to oppose what it sees as unfair advantages enjoyed by tech companies such as Google in the light of new FCC proposals. Continue reading Cable and Telecom Companies Lobby Against FCC Proposals

Latest Cisco Study Predicts Internet Traffic Will Triple by 2020

Cisco’s 11th annual Visual Network Index predicts that one billion new Internet users will be connected by 2020, driven in large part by the introduction of 10 billion new connected devices. Cisco forecasts that by the end of the decade smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic — and the demand for video services will serve as the greatest driver, representing nearly 80 percent of data traffic. The report suggests that annual global IP traffic will surpass the zettabyte (1,000 exabytes) milestone this year, and will reach 2.3 zettabytes by 2020. Continue reading Latest Cisco Study Predicts Internet Traffic Will Triple by 2020

Facebook, Microsoft, Telefónica Partner on Trans-Atlantic Link

Facebook and Microsoft have partnered on Marea, a project to build a new fiber optic cable that will run for 4,000 miles under the Atlantic Ocean between Virginia and Spain. Telefónica SA, a Spanish Internet service provider, joins them in the project. The fiber link, composed of eight pairs of strands, will be the highest capacity link across the Atlantic. Marea, the Spanish word for tide, is just the latest such project that Microsoft, Facebook, Alphabet, and Amazon have invested in to lower costs of moving massive amounts of data. Continue reading Facebook, Microsoft, Telefónica Partner on Trans-Atlantic Link

BitTorrent Rolls Out New P2P-Based Live TV Streaming App

BitTorrent is debuting BitTorrent Live, a new live TV streaming app for the latest generation Apple TVs and computers, which offers live streams from 13 niche programmers. The goal is to build a virtual MVPD (multichannel video programming distributor), with more prominent cable networks. For now, the BitTorrent package is comprised of channels such as Clubbing TV, Filmbox Arthouse, FightBox, Newsmax TV, Heroes TV and TWiT. Although these aren’t well-known networks, the offering is free, unlike other TV streaming services. Continue reading BitTorrent Rolls Out New P2P-Based Live TV Streaming App

AMC Takes New Approach to Promoting Series on Snapchat

On Monday, AMC began an advertising campaign within Snapchat for its much-hyped new series “Preacher,” with the intent of drawing in younger viewers. The new series’ first five minutes will be featured on Snapchat’s Discover section, and marks the first time that an extended clip of a network TV show will be available on the social platform. After a 24-period of exclusivity on Snapchat, the clip will be released to other platforms. It will continue to run on Snapchat for six more days. “Preacher” debuts May 22. Continue reading AMC Takes New Approach to Promoting Series on Snapchat

Niche Audiences, Binge Watching Impact Testing of TV Pilots

Television networks are in the midst of their annual process of testing new shows to decide which ones they’ll pick up. The typical test audience is made up of 50 people, recruited based on age, sex and race, and a network’s core demographic. The audience members watch the show, judging it via a handheld device that has a knob enabling them to express like and dislike. Not every media outlet embraces the concept of test audiences, and the testing services are modifying their criteria to better reflect today’s viewing behavior. Continue reading Niche Audiences, Binge Watching Impact Testing of TV Pilots

Growth Slow for Skinny Bundles, Attracting Younger Demos

In-home video entertainment is expected to be a $381 billion global business by 2019, of which about $100 billion represents the North American market. That’s why TV conglomerates aren’t eager to offer skinny bundles, and Apple, for the meantime, has given up on it. In the U.S., video entertainment tends to be spread among five different apps on at least two different hardware platforms, costing between $120 and $14o a month, including a TV package of 200+ channels from providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Dish. Continue reading Growth Slow for Skinny Bundles, Attracting Younger Demos

IAB: Younger Viewers Prefer Internet Video Over Primetime TV

According to GfK research commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, digital video has surpassed primetime television in popularity among Internet viewers for the first time. IAB’s 2016 Original Digital Video Study found that adult respondents who view online video at least monthly indicated they were “most likely” to watch Internet video if given the option, followed by primetime broadcast or cable, and then local and national TV news, live televised sports and daytime TV (in that order). Meanwhile, Nielsen says 95 percent of time spent viewing video in Q4 2015 involved live or time-shifted TV. Continue reading IAB: Younger Viewers Prefer Internet Video Over Primetime TV

Web Video is the New TV, But MCNs are Fading for Ad Buyers

Streaming video services, including Hulu and Crackle, are now defining themselves as TV networks to capture some of the $63 billion TV advertising market, still much more lucrative than Web video’s $10 billion in annual sales. Rather than differentiate themselves from cable and network TV by emphasizing their millennial viewers, these streaming video companies are focusing on the ways they are similar to traditional media outlets, even changing their events from “NewFronts” to “Upfronts,” the moniker used by TV outlets. Meanwhile, ad buyers are losing interest in MCNs. Continue reading Web Video is the New TV, But MCNs are Fading for Ad Buyers

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