AT&T to Purchase Media Giant Time Warner for $85.4 Billion

Over the weekend, AT&T announced it has agreed to acquire Time Warner for $85.4 billion in cash and stock. If the deal passes regulatory hurdles, AT&T would become home to Turner cable networks (such as TBS, CNN and TNT), premium cable channel HBO and the Warner Bros. film and TV studios. The telco, which already owns DirecTV, would also pick up a stake in Hulu. The new business would combine the carrier’s millions of wireless and pay-TV subscribers with Time Warner’s major media entities, enabling AT&T to produce and distribute an array of content across wireless phone, broadband and satellite TV. Continue reading AT&T to Purchase Media Giant Time Warner for $85.4 Billion

Google Signs Deal with CBS for Planned YouTube TV Service

Google has signed an agreement with CBS to feature the network’s content on Unplugged, YouTube’s soon-to-be-launched Web TV service, expected to roll out early next year. While CBS is the first major network to join Unplugged, Google is reportedly close to signing deals with 21st Century Fox, Disney and NBCUniversal. The company is targeting cord cutters and consumers growing wary of traditional pay-TV subscription costs with its YouTube alternative — a skinny bundle of channels priced at $25 to $40 per month. Google will join a crowded field of OTT offerings, including Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and a planned service from Hulu. Continue reading Google Signs Deal with CBS for Planned YouTube TV Service

Discovery Invests $100 Million in Digital Content Conglomerate

To expand its social media presence, Discovery Communications invested $100 million in Group Nine Media, a new holding company composed of NowThis, The DoDo, Thrillist, Discovery’s digital network Seeker and digital production company SourceFed Studios. In two years, Discovery will be able to buy a controlling stake in Group Nine. German media company Axel Springer will continue to be the second-largest shareholder. NowThis, The DoDo and Thrillist are said to be valued at $400 million, for a total deal value of $550 million. Continue reading Discovery Invests $100 Million in Digital Content Conglomerate

FCC, Market Trends Push Move to Unlock Set-Top Box Market

Federal Communications Commission chair Tom Wheeler continues to promote his plan to “unlock” the set-top box marketplace, ending the dominance of cable and satellite TV companies. Opposing the plan are, no surprise, those same cable and satellite companies, including Comcast and AT&T’s DirecTV, which reap profits of $20 billion a year in set-top-box rentals. CBS also opposes the plan, as do other studios that believe regulation will get in the way of quickly making their content available on multiple platforms. Continue reading FCC, Market Trends Push Move to Unlock Set-Top Box Market

Netflix CFO Explains Plans to Ramp Up Original Programming

Speaking at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia conference yesterday, Netflix CFO David Wells explained that the streaming service’s goal over the next few years is to offer more original programming. The company is aiming for half of its content to be represented by original productions and the other half licensed movies and TV shows. According to Wells, original programming will continue to be content produced by Netflix in addition to a range of co-productions and acquisitions. Netflix is “one-third to halfway” toward reaching its goal, he said. Continue reading Netflix CFO Explains Plans to Ramp Up Original Programming

Comcast Plans to Launch its Own Wireless Service Next Year

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts confirmed yesterday that the company plans to launch a wireless cell service by mid-2017. Speaking at a Goldman Sachs conference, Roberts said the company would leverage its 15 million Wi-Fi hotspots and use airwaves leased from Verizon to handle much of the traffic. “Comcast has a deal with Verizon dating back to 2011 that allows the cable company to sell wireless service using the telecom carrier’s network at set terms and pricing,” explains The Wall Street Journal. Since “Comcast is essentially renting Verizon’s network,” it will not need to invest in major infrastructure. Continue reading Comcast Plans to Launch its Own Wireless Service Next Year

Startup Layer3 Streams 200 HD Channels on Private Network

For the high-end customer, startup Layer3 TV is offering a high-end solution: a wide selection of HDTV networks, delivered over the Internet, and installed by technicians driving all-electric BMW i3s. Unlike other streaming services, such as Hulu and Netflix, which use the public Internet, Layer3 has contracted the use of privately managed networks, a more costly option that provides better, more robust results. Layer3 debuted in Chicago in early September and plans to expand to major markets in the next 18 months. Continue reading Startup Layer3 Streams 200 HD Channels on Private Network

Time Debuts People/Entertainment Weekly Streaming Network

Time is launching its People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN) today — a streaming, ad-supported video service also available as an app, on numerous Web-connected devices and People’s website. The venture, Time’s latest effort to leverage digital advertising, is free and available to watch live and on-demand, with a focus on celebrities, coverage of popular entertainment franchises (such as “Star Wars” and “Game of Thrones”), live events (such as the Emmy Awards) and human interest stories. Continue reading Time Debuts People/Entertainment Weekly Streaming Network

CBS Debuts Ad-Free Version of All Access Streaming Service

CBS has introduced an ad-free, $9.99 per month option for its All Access on-demand service. The new option eliminates nearly all advertising, except for promotional interruptions during select series. The original version of the service, with reduced commercials, costs $5.99 per month. “The addition of a commercial-free plan gives our subscribers even more ways to customize their CBS viewing experience — from which devices to whether they watch in or out of the home, and now with commercials or without,” said Marc DeBevoise, president and COO of CBS Interactive. Continue reading CBS Debuts Ad-Free Version of All Access Streaming Service

Latest Chips from Intel Designed for Playing 4K Video on PCs

Intel just debuted its seventh generation of PC chips, featuring a built-in ability to play and edit Ultra HD and 4K video. The chips reflect the fact that an increasing number of younger consumers use portable computers as their go-to device for viewing video content. Although Netflix, most notably among others, has created 4K video programs, consumers have been limited in their ability to see it in its native resolution. The new chips accommodate both HEVC and VP9 compression and support copyright protection software. Continue reading Latest Chips from Intel Designed for Playing 4K Video on PCs

Cable TV Revenue to Decline, Broadband Subs on Upswing

SNL Kagan forecasts that video revenue for U.S. cable operators will decrease 4.7 percent by 2026, despite higher monthly cable TV bills. Residential video revenue for “cable operators is projected to fall from $57.7 billion in 2016 to $55.0 billion annually in 2026, declining at a compound annual growth rate of 0.5 percent over the next 10 years,” reports Variety. While basic video subs are projected to fall from today’s 53 million to 45.4 million in 2026, there will be a 13 percent jump in broadband subs, representing $11 billion. Cable broadband subs are expected to reach 71 million by 2026, driving up revenue to $47.3 billion. Continue reading Cable TV Revenue to Decline, Broadband Subs on Upswing

Hulu Winds Down its Free Service, Partners on Yahoo TV Site

Hulu is shutting down the free, ad-supported version of its service. The company announced it is transitioning to a subscription-only model following investments in more movies and TV shows. Hulu’s two subscription tiers include an ad-free plan for $11.99 per month and a limited-commercial offering for $7.99 per month. Hulu is also expanding its distribution deal with Yahoo by partnering on Yahoo View, a new ad-supported streaming site that will carry the five most recent episodes of series from Hulu co-owners ABC, FOX and NBC, eight days after their original broadcast. Continue reading Hulu Winds Down its Free Service, Partners on Yahoo TV Site

NBCU Signs Deal to Produce Original Programs for Snapchat

NBCUniversal has signed a multiyear deal with Snapchat to bring new programming based on its popular brand names to the app’s media hub. What the content will look like has not been specified, but will launch with “The Voice on Snapchat,” followed by weekly pop culture series from E! News, “The Rundown.” NBCU will rely on other popular franchises such as “Saturday Night Live” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” for additional programming. NBCU will not simply provide repurposed clips like it does on YouTube and Facebook, but will produce original content. Continue reading NBCU Signs Deal to Produce Original Programs for Snapchat

Apple’s New Plan for TV Ecosystem Influence is Digital Guide

Apple is now working on a digital TV guide that shows what’s playing on video apps from HBO, Netflix, ESPN and others, so consumers don’t have to open individual apps to discover content. The TV guide will work on a range of Apple devices, including Apple TV and iPhones. Last year, Apple’s goal was to sell TV programs to consumers, with an interface to make it easy to find content. By focusing on the interface, Apple leaves the financial arrangement to programmers, distributors and consumers. Continue reading Apple’s New Plan for TV Ecosystem Influence is Digital Guide

Time Warner Invests in Hulu with Plans to Join Pay TV Service

Time Warner announced it is investing $583 million for a 10 percent stake in Hulu, joining forces with existing owners Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast’s NBCUniversal. However, Time Warner does not plan to offer its television programming via the current version of Hulu’s video service, which features repeats of recently aired shows. Instead, the media giant will license its content for the new pay TV service that Hulu plans to launch in 2017. That means channels such as Cartoon Network, CNN, TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies would be available to viewers through the planned live TV service. Continue reading Time Warner Invests in Hulu with Plans to Join Pay TV Service

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