With Elemental Buy, Amazon May Be Planning Pay TV Service

According to several sources, Amazon is reportedly looking into the logistics and costs of creating an online pay TV service by talking with multiple content owners about carrying their channels. These talks — with CBS and Comcast’s NBCUniversal — have been going on for several months, say the sources. Amazon already offers content via its Prime Instant Video streaming service, as well as producing its own TV content. A live service would put it in direct competition with other pay TV providers such as Comcast and AT&T. Continue reading With Elemental Buy, Amazon May Be Planning Pay TV Service

Google Announces New Chromecast Devices for TV and Music

Google unveiled two new Chromecast streaming devices yesterday, in addition to a new tablet and a pair of Nexus phones. Google has already sold more than 20 million Chromecasts, which now offers access to thousands of apps, including HBO Now and Netflix. The $35 Chromecast extends the mobile apps already on our phones to our TV, whereas a competitor such as the $149 Apple TV is more a device for storing apps to run on television. One of Google’s new silver dollar-sized Chromecasts is available to work with your TV, while Chromecast Audio plugs into speakers to play music sent from your phone. Continue reading Google Announces New Chromecast Devices for TV and Music

FCC May Consider New Standard to Open Up Control of STBs

The Federal Communications Commission is deliberating whether cable and satellite TV companies should have exclusive control of the set-top box, an idea applauded by Google and TiVo and vigorously opposed by the cable/satellite TV industry. Increased competition would lower costs and drive improvements in functionality, say Google and TiVo. Among the supporters of this idea is the COMPTEL trade group, whose membership includes Amazon and Netflix. The cable industry, already suffering losses to cord cutting, strenuously opposes the move. Continue reading FCC May Consider New Standard to Open Up Control of STBs

Cord-Cutting Trend Spurs Hollywood to Tweak Netflix Deals

As more consumers are cutting the cord and watching broadcast and cable TV shows via Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, network executives are rethinking their deals with those streaming services. They’re especially eyeing contracts with Netflix, which pays a flat fee, doesn’t have advertising and has upped its production of original content. Just how volatile the field is was reflected in an August sell-off of media stocks during which entertainment companies lost over $60 billion in value in two days. Continue reading Cord-Cutting Trend Spurs Hollywood to Tweak Netflix Deals

Simple.tv Plans to Debut ShowDrive Cloud DVR at Next CES

Simple.tv — the company that has been trying to reinvent the DVR since 2012 — is about to launch ShowDrive, which allows users to record and playback up to 1,000 hours of TV programming from the cloud to Internet-connected TVs, streaming devices and mobile phones. Unlike Aereo, whose live TV and time-shifted TV DVR was killed by a Supreme Court ruling that it didn’t substantially differ from a cable operator, Simple.tv’s technology is based on technology that has standing in past legal cases. Continue reading Simple.tv Plans to Debut ShowDrive Cloud DVR at Next CES

Philo, Mobile Cable TV Startup, Expands to More Universities

Philo, which brings live TV and DVR use to mobile devices, was launched to entice young audiences that are not interested in traditional cable television. The company, backed by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and HBO, just expanded to an additional 15 U.S. universities, bringing its total presence on campuses to 40. The expansion comes in the wake of an additional $10 million raised in venture funding. Among the new campuses to sign on are University of Houston, University of Utah and Virginia Commonwealth University. Continue reading Philo, Mobile Cable TV Startup, Expands to More Universities

Hulu Introduces Ad-Free Option to Streaming for Additional $4

For an additional $4 ($11.99 per month), Hulu is offering an ad-free option to streaming movies and TV shows. Those who prefer to pay $7.99 will still have to sit through ads. The move could help Hulu better compete with popular streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon that do not include advertising. It could also present the company with an opportunity to increase its revenue in order to invest in more content. This could prove vital since premium cable networks such as HBO and Showtime are making their programming available outside traditional cable bundles. Continue reading Hulu Introduces Ad-Free Option to Streaming for Additional $4

Hulu Pursues Programmatic Advertising, Powered by LiveRail

Hulu will try its hand at programmatic advertising with a private ad exchange that should make buying ads more similar to the experience on Facebook or Twitter. The new automatic ad buying service will rely on Facebook video ad exchange LiveRail, but won’t leave the company’s traditional salespeople out of the equation. To make ads more valuable, Hulu will combine its own data with that of the advertiser to more narrowly target relevant viewers. Show-specific sponsorships won’t initially be offered. Continue reading Hulu Pursues Programmatic Advertising, Powered by LiveRail

Pay TV Industry Loses 532,000 Subscribers in North America

Cord cutting continues to impact the pay TV industry. According to a new report from Strategy Analytics, the top 20 cable and satellite TV providers lost 479,000 subscribers in the U.S. between April and June, while operators in Canada lost 53,000 customers, marking the highest rate of decline experienced thus far in North America. The report comes after the first net drop of pay TV subscribers for the first three months of a year, following a disappointing Q1. Additionally, digital IPTV subscriptions fell by 62,000 in the U.S. and 9,000 in Canada. Continue reading Pay TV Industry Loses 532,000 Subscribers in North America

Comcast to Debut Latest Streaming Video Platform, Watchable

The video platform skirmishes just heated up with news that Comcast is about to launch its own, dubbed Watchable. The streaming video platform will feature content from a list of major publishers, including NBC Sports, AwesomenessTV, Refinery29 and The Onion as well as two companies it has already invested in, Vox and Buzzfeed. Deals are non-exclusive, allowing publishers to also post on Facebook, one of Comcast’s chief rivals in online video. Comcast is also up against YouTube and Verizon’s as-of-yet unnamed video platform. Continue reading Comcast to Debut Latest Streaming Video Platform, Watchable

Apple Delays Live TV, Lacking Licensed Content and Network

At Apple’s upcoming September 9 event, the Silicon Valley company will announce a more powerful version of its Apple TV set-top box. But what it won’t be introducing is a live TV service streamed over the Internet. Although Apple insiders are mum, those close to the project say that Apple hasn’t licensed enough content from TV networks and that talks to do so are moving slowly. Another obstacle is a sufficiently robust computer network to guarantee the content will stream properly. The company is reportedly now targeting a 2016 launch date. Continue reading Apple Delays Live TV, Lacking Licensed Content and Network

NBCUniversal Buys Into Publisher Vox Media With $200 Million

NBCUniversal just made a $200 million investment in digital publishing house Vox Media, as part of a strategy to collaborate on programming, advertising and technology. According to comScore, Vox, a hub for eight digital media brands, had 54 million unique U.S. visitors in June, about 41 percent of who are 18 to 34 years old. NBCUniversal also plans to invest another $200 million in BuzzFeed, valued at $1.5 billion. The two deals are more evidence of a trend of established media companies partnering with digital startups. Continue reading NBCUniversal Buys Into Publisher Vox Media With $200 Million

Fox Offers Titles for WD’s Consumer 4K Ultra HD Movie Drive

A new 4K Ultra HD movie drive aimed at consumers is now on offer from WD, Western Digital’s storage company. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is partnering with WD by offering several movies and TV shows on the drive, dubbed My Passport Cinema. The drive plays back 4K/UHD, HD and HDR on Samsung SUHD TVs and a select range of other Vidity-enabled devices. Vidity is a 4K movie service backed by Warner, Universal, LG, SanDisk, Dolby, M-GO, Comcast and others in addition to Fox, WD and Samsung. Continue reading Fox Offers Titles for WD’s Consumer 4K Ultra HD Movie Drive

Comcast Commits to Theme Parks with Billions in Investment

Comcast has turned to its theme park portfolio, which it acquired four years ago with its purchase of NBCUniversal, as a serious source of revenue. The company just committed to invest $1.6 billion to expand the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park in California — featuring a snow-capped Hogwarts Castle — and build a $3.25 billion theme park in Beijing, in partnership with Chinese companies, slated to open in 2019. Comcast invested $100 million for a new “Transformers” ride at Universal Orlando in 2013. Continue reading Comcast Commits to Theme Parks with Billions in Investment

NBA to Offer Individual Out-Of-Market Games for First Time

Starting next season, the NBA will let fans watch individual out-of-market games for $6.99 on smartphones, tablets and PCs, as well as from any cable or satellite provider that offers NBA’s League Pass. Providers such as AT&T, Comcast, DirecTV, Dish, Time Warner Cable and Verizon currently offer League Pass. A $120 package for all out-of-market games of an individual team will also be available. Although $6.99 per game is not exactly cheap, it may be a good deal for fans who want to watch a particular matchup, and costs only a fraction of League Pass. Continue reading NBA to Offer Individual Out-Of-Market Games for First Time

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