Hulu Considering Ad-Free Option for Its Subscription Service

Hulu is considering adding an ad-free option to its service, to better compete with Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, both of which do not stream ads to paid subscribers. While adding the option would show that Hulu recognizes consumer preference for ad-free streaming and would likely bring in new customers, it could also risk damaging the company’s current ad-supported business. TV channel owners are worried that consumers are becoming too used to ad-free TV, which is why Hulu’s original model appeals to them. Continue reading Hulu Considering Ad-Free Option for Its Subscription Service

Comcast and EA Partner to Test Streaming Games via Cable

Comcast and Electronic Arts have partnered to launch the beta test of Xfinity Games, showcasing around 20 video games for streaming via cable. EA will stream the games to Comcast’s cable boxes, in the same manner that video services stream TV shows and movies to set-top boxes. No game pads are used in the service, as the service is targeting mobile and casual gamers, instead of console gaming fans. Users can access a website with their iPhone or Android phones to use as game controllers. Continue reading Comcast and EA Partner to Test Streaming Games via Cable

Comcast Planning New Gigabit Pro, Competitor to Google Fiber

Comcast is aiming to deliver fiber Internet connectivity that is twice as fast as Google’s offering. However, providing speeds up to 2 gigabits per second is estimated to run more than four times the $70 monthly cost of Google Fiber in Kansas City, according to a page on the Xfinity website. The page notes that service would be made available within one-third of a mile of the company’s existing fiber network, with plans to expand to a list of cities. Comcast earlier announced that the new service would be available in Atlanta by May, but it has been delayed.

Continue reading Comcast Planning New Gigabit Pro, Competitor to Google Fiber

Comcast Plans Streaming TV Service as an Alternative to Cable

Comcast announced that it plans to launch a trial of its IP-based video service Stream by the end of the summer in Boston, followed by Chicago and Seattle. The $15-per-month streaming service will offer about a dozen broadcast networks and HBO. Subscribers will have access to some TV Everywhere applications, Streampix for movies and a cloud DVR service. As an add-on to broadband service meant for PCs, laptops and mobile devices, customers will need Comcast Internet service to subscribe. The company is planning a nationwide rollout for early next year. Continue reading Comcast Plans Streaming TV Service as an Alternative to Cable

Yahoo Hosting Lucrative Daily and One-Week Fantasy Sports

Yahoo now hosts daily and one-week fantasy sports games, one of the most popular activities on the Internet, with an estimated 57 million fans in the U.S. and Canada. Yahoo, similar to other online destinations, has long hosted season-long fantasy sports but the daily segment has grown rapidly in the last two years. Yahoo stands to make hundreds of millions in new revenue, say analysts. Two companies dominate the category: FanDuel and DraftKings, which are now drawing interest from big name investors. Continue reading Yahoo Hosting Lucrative Daily and One-Week Fantasy Sports

Hulu to Offer Showtime for an Added Fee Beginning Next Month

Hulu announced yesterday that its subscribers will have the ability to add Showtime for $8.99 per month starting in time for the July premieres of “Ray Donovan” and “Masters of Sex.” The deal represents the first time that the streaming VOD service has partnered with a premium cable channel to drive subscriptions. Hulu customers will still need to pay $7.99 per month to stream the other available content. Hulu, which originally launched as a free, ad-supported service, recently rebranded itself by removing the word “Plus” from the name of its paid tier. Continue reading Hulu to Offer Showtime for an Added Fee Beginning Next Month

Sony Announces New Markets for Cloud-Based Vue TV Service

After this week’s launch in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Sony’s cloud-based TV service PlayStation Vue is now available in four of the five largest U.S. cities (Vue is also offered in Chicago, New York and Philadelphia). The service starts at $49.99 per month, and features more than 50 channels of live TV from three major networks and a collection of popular cable channels. Addressed during the company’s E3 press conference, Vue is part of a larger effort to make the company’s PlayStation console a multi-purpose entertainment hub. Continue reading Sony Announces New Markets for Cloud-Based Vue TV Service

New Verizon Software Delivers Customer Service Intelligence

Verizon showed Rep Guidance, software that provides its FiOS sales and support representatives with individualized data designed to improve customer service and experience, at a recent NY Meetup event. According to a Verizon representative, “It’s about streamlining and simplifying the conversation, fostering a more intelligent, better-informed experience with customers rather than having a back and forth exchange and having the rep ask the customer questions that, frankly, they expect we should know anyway.” Continue reading New Verizon Software Delivers Customer Service Intelligence

Charter to Purchase Time Warner Cable in $55.3 Billion Deal

Charter Communications has agreed to purchase Time Warner Cable for $55.3 billion in cash and stock. Including the debt Charter will assume, the total deal is valued around $79 billion. The move follows in the wake of Comcast’s attempted bid to acquire TWC. Charter will also move ahead with its purchase of Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion, and the three combined companies would make Charter the second largest TV and Internet provider in the U.S. with 24 million customers. Comcast currently holds the top spot with 27.2 million. Continue reading Charter to Purchase Time Warner Cable in $55.3 Billion Deal

Vidity to Enable Download of 4K HDR Movies Across Devices

The Secure Content Storage Association (SCSA), the consortium of entertainment and storage companies, announced the final specifications for its new premium content playback technology and gave it a name: Vidity. The solution supports the secure delivery, storage and consumption of movies, including those mastered in 4K and HDR, across multiple devices. Vidity partners include Fox, Warner Bros., Universal, Samsung and Walmart, but neither Disney nor Apple are involved. Compatible products and services are expected to reach market late 2015. Continue reading Vidity to Enable Download of 4K HDR Movies Across Devices

Broadcast and Cable TV Join Forces to Form New Trade Group

In the face of declining ratings and a shift in ad dollars to digital platforms, television networks are expanding their data and analytics capabilities. On Monday, leading broadcast and cable TV companies announced the formation of the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), a new trade organization that plans to promote research and data that highlights the impact of TV commercials to Madison Avenue. The VAB intends to provide marketers with insights and measurement tools that help gauge whether video ads drive consumer purchases. Continue reading Broadcast and Cable TV Join Forces to Form New Trade Group

ISTS Calls for New Take on ‘Ineffective’ Copyright Alert System

The Internet Security Task Force (ISTS), a consortium comprised of motion picture companies, is requesting that U.S. Internet service providers abandon the Copyright Alert System (CAS), which ISTS views as “ineffective.” The system forwards up to six warnings to Internet users who are identified as sharing copyrighted material via BitTorrent and other resources, before potentially taking action. ISTS is calling for a new system with stronger measures, possibly modeled after Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act. Continue reading ISTS Calls for New Take on ‘Ineffective’ Copyright Alert System

Comcast Planning to Launch Short-Form Online Video Service

Comcast reportedly has plans to launch an online video service similar to YouTube, which would offer short-form content. By offering original content, Comcast hopes it would appeal to a younger demographic and create shows that could also be distributed as part of its traditional TV cable package. The company has yet to announce an expected launch date. Meanwhile, Comcast has unveiled Xfinity Share for its Triple Play customers, which allows users to beam live video to their TVs or those of their friends. Continue reading Comcast Planning to Launch Short-Form Online Video Service

ESPN is First to File Suit Against Verizon Over FiOS Bundles

ESPN filed a lawsuit Monday in New York Supreme Court against Verizon, claiming that Verizon’s new FiOS TV packages — which allow subscribers to purchase a basic set of channels starting at $55 per month, and add tiers of genre-based channels — are in breach of contract regarding ESPN distribution. While Verizon introduced the new packages to attract consumers looking for more flexibility, the company has met resistance from major players such as 21st Century Fox and NBCUniversal regarding current programming agreements. Continue reading ESPN is First to File Suit Against Verizon Over FiOS Bundles

Comcast Confirms That It Has Dropped $45 Billion Bid for TWC

Comcast issued a statement this morning that the proposed merger with Time Warner Cable has officially been terminated. “Today, we move on,” noted Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts. “Of course, we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn’t agree, we could walk away.” Reports had circulated in recent days that a merger of the country’s two largest cable operators was ending as Comcast faced intense regulatory scrutiny regarding the $45.2 billion acquisition. Continue reading Comcast Confirms That It Has Dropped $45 Billion Bid for TWC

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