New Daily Talk Show from E! Now Livestreaming on Facebook

On March 21, the NBCUniversal-owned cable network E! debuted a daily live talk show — “Live From E!” — on Facebook Live. The show, which runs 15 to 20 minutes each weekday at 12:30 pm Eastern time, is shot with an Apple iPhone 6s Plus smartphone, and is also available on eonline.com and the E! Online app. The show represents a success for Facebook, which has been pitching TV networks, media companies, sports leagues (including the NFL) and celebrities to bring premium live content to its streaming service. Continue reading New Daily Talk Show from E! Now Livestreaming on Facebook

Media Companies Turn to A La Carte Sales in Foreign Markets

Viacom, 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company are among the numerous entertainment companies offering their content a la carte — in Europe, Latin America and Asia. In the U.S., these networks are still parts of more expensive bundles proffered by Comcast, DirecTV and other pay TV services. That reflects a much lower penetration of homes outside the U.S. that have a cable or satellite subscription, which makes it possible for media companies to make a la carte offers without running afoul of pay TV providers. Continue reading Media Companies Turn to A La Carte Sales in Foreign Markets

CBS Five-Year Plan Looks to Expand OTT and Skinny Bundles

During an investor day in New York on Tuesday, CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves unveiled the network’s five-year business plan, which intends to ramp up business online and overseas, and cash in on retransmission fees in order to increase overall revenue by $3.75 billion. To help achieve its goal, the company plans to reach 8 million subscribers for its OTT services — CBS All Access and Showtime streaming — and add another 4 million subs for its skinny bundle packages. Sources also indicate that CBS has expressed interest in adding Starz to its cable portfolio. Continue reading CBS Five-Year Plan Looks to Expand OTT and Skinny Bundles

AT&T, with Videology, to Sell Programmatic Ads on Linear TV

AT&T has partnered with ad technology company Videology to introduce a “private marketplace” for a handful of select advertisers, who will be able to buy linear TV ads reaching 26 million households. Beginning in Q3, advertisers can use their own data and data from third parties to reach targeted audiences on cable networks on AT&T’s U-verse service or DirecTV, which AT&T acquired last year for $49 billion. Advertisers will be able to purchase ads via a self-serve website, although the back-end will operate manually. Continue reading AT&T, with Videology, to Sell Programmatic Ads on Linear TV

HPA Tech Retreat Looks at Approaching Tipping Point in Media

The annual HPA Tech Retreat opened in Indian Wells, California, near Palm Springs. The sold-out event hosts 600 executives and technologists in broadcast, cable, digital and feature film industries. In addition to an “Innovation Zone,” the new term for the former demo room, the HPA Tech Retreat is known for its days-long series of lectures and panels, all of which are a deep dive into technology. All of Tuesday was devoted to a single topic: Snowflake Workflows are Turning into Distribution Snowstorms! Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat Looks at Approaching Tipping Point in Media

Dr. Dre Stars In, Exec Produces Apple’s First Scripted Series

Funded by Apple, Beats co-founder/rap star Dr. Dre is starring in and executive producing a six-episode series, “Vital Signs.” Although it isn’t known whether any Apple platform — including Apple TV and the iTunes store — or traditional TV distributor will be involved, it is likely that Apple Music will distribute the series. Sources who have seen show descriptions report that Sam Rockwell (“Poltergeist,” “Seven Psychopaths”) and Mo McCrae (“Murder in the First,” “Sons of Anarchy”) are among the additional cast. Continue reading Dr. Dre Stars In, Exec Produces Apple’s First Scripted Series

Super Bowl 50 Sets New Streaming Record, According to CBS

Although CBS has yet to release official figures, the network claims yesterday’s Super Bowl matchup between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers drew a record number of viewers who streamed the game. NBC broke streaming records last year with 800,000 viewers per minute on average and about 1.3 million concurrent users. Eclipsing the previous year’s numbers should come as no surprise since today’s consumers are more comfortable with streaming, and CBS made the game easy to access for free via OTT devices including Apple TV, Roku and Xbox One. Continue reading Super Bowl 50 Sets New Streaming Record, According to CBS

Aereo Founder Introduces Starry, Low-Cost Wireless Internet

Chet Kanojia, who founded the now-shuttered Aereo, is attempting to circumvent Internet service providers with a new startup dubbed Starry. In development for a year, Starry will offer low-cost wireless Internet at speeds the company claims will be faster than wired broadband — and without any of the hassles of getting a technician out to the home to install and maintain the network. Needless to say, ISPs that provide broadband networks are not happy. Starry Internet will be offered first in Boston, beginning February 5. Continue reading Aereo Founder Introduces Starry, Low-Cost Wireless Internet

FCC to Shake Up Set-Top Box Dominance, Impact Competition

Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler has just proposed updating rules for television set-top boxes, in order to lower cable bills and provide more access to Internet-based programming. Consumer advocates supporting the change say the move would increase competition, giving the consumer choices over whether to use the service provider’s set-to-box/cable app or competing devices and apps. That competition could be advantageous to TiVo, Alphabet’s Google unit and other alternative STB providers. Continue reading FCC to Shake Up Set-Top Box Dominance, Impact Competition

ESPN.com Debuts eSports Vertical Dedicated to Video Gaming

ESPN launched a new vertical on its website to cover all things related to competitive gaming, including news articles, event coverage, profiles of prominent eSports figures, and analysis. The network started broadcasting professional video game tournaments in 2014 and released a special edition of ESPN The Magazine focusing on eSports in 2015. The success of those projects helped spur the launch of the new vertical, which currently covers popular games such as “League of Legends.” Continue reading ESPN.com Debuts eSports Vertical Dedicated to Video Gaming

Amazon, Streaming Services Dominate 73rd Golden Globes

Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards ceremony delivered a number of surprises that have since sparked commentary from traditional and social media outlets. Aside from the surprise wins and snubs, memorable or disappointing speeches, and debate over the most appropriate category for “The Martian,” it’s worth noting that streaming services — especially Amazon — scored major wins this year. In another sign of how our entertainment media delivery and consumption is shifting, Netflix beat out broadcast and cable powerhouses in nominations, while Amazon scored a number of major wins. Continue reading Amazon, Streaming Services Dominate 73rd Golden Globes

NBCUniversal’s Burke: Netflix is Friend, Enemy and Frenemy

NBCUniversal chief executive Steve Burke did not anticipate the big impact of time-shifting and over-the-top services such as Netflix and Hulu on the cable business, he said during CES 2016. Instead, he believed cable entertainment ratings would be stronger than they are today. At the same time, he doesn’t consider Netflix to be just an enemy but, rather, a friend and frenemy as well. More puzzling to him is how advertisers discount television in favor of digital outlets, which, he notes, do not have the reach or emotional impact of TV. Continue reading NBCUniversal’s Burke: Netflix is Friend, Enemy and Frenemy

Media Networks Look at Platforms, Brands, Game-Changers

In a multi-channel, multi-device and multi-platform world, any given network finds it increasingly difficult to differentiate itself from the others. Good programming isn’t enough when so many outlets are producing so many quality shows. This was the dilemma that panelists wrestled with in a conversation on “Hollywood Media: Platforms and Brands.” One clear message was that a younger generation doesn’t make distinctions among screens, as long as they are getting the content they want. Continue reading Media Networks Look at Platforms, Brands, Game-Changers

Cord Cutting Gaining Steam as Digital Video Services Grow

Television companies have been telling their investors that the slow decline of pay-TV subscribers will continue at a gentle pace. But new studies show that cord cutting has accelerated, most likely driven by an increased number of digital video services. By 2019, almost 23 percent of U.S. households are expected to have cut the cord. Among the newest services is a Yahoo app that helps viewers find TV shows from a variety of digital services and launch the titles in the smartphone’s video apps. Continue reading Cord Cutting Gaining Steam as Digital Video Services Grow

DirecTV Planning to Debut Live 4K Broadcasting in Early 2016

DirecTV has joined the ranks of those looking to bring more 4K content to consumers. During New York’s TranSPORT conference, DirecTV’s Phil Goswitz confirmed that the company plans to launch a live 4K broadcast service sometime early next year. He said live sports transmissions are currently being tested and DirecTV has the ability to transmit up to 50 new UHD channels. Goswitz explained that DirecTV is “moving into working with partners” for more 4K content. CBS, ESPN and Fox are among the networks that have also been experimenting with live 4K production. Continue reading DirecTV Planning to Debut Live 4K Broadcasting in Early 2016

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