Pandora Premium Looks to Take On Spotify and Apple Music

Fifteen months after Pandora acquired Rdio’s key assets, the company is launching its anticipated $10-a-month on-demand music service. Pandora Premium, which begins rolling out in the U.S. today, offers access to tens of millions of songs and the ability to save tracks offline. While it still touts the playlisting engine powered by data and people that made its curation approach famous, the service is aiming to distinguish itself from other offerings such as Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud by focusing on personalization features, a new design and ease-of-use. Continue reading Pandora Premium Looks to Take On Spotify and Apple Music

Music Recognition App Shazam Taps into Augmented Reality

Shazam has introduced a new augmented reality platform that will let brands connect with users of the popular music recognition app. The Shazam app also has visual recognition technology, so users can scan objects and packaging. Now, when users scan mini Shazam codes on products, the app will open interactive content such as games, animations and product visualizations. Starting next month, Shazam is bringing the AR technology to its existing user base that numbers in the millions. Continue reading Music Recognition App Shazam Taps into Augmented Reality

BrightLine, Nielsen Partnership Aims to Better Target OTT Ads

Aiming to improve digital advertising for the OTT market, BrightLine is partnering with Nielsen Marketing Cloud, with its 60,000 audience segments, to enable advertisers to better target their messages on connected TVs and over-the-top streaming devices. Hulu, Discovery Communications and Viacom already use BrightLine technology to add interactivity and personalization to linear ads for ordinary TVs. For example, on OTT devices, a user can click on a car ad to see related video content or access dealer information. Continue reading BrightLine, Nielsen Partnership Aims to Better Target OTT Ads

Expanded Pinterest Tagging Feature Enables In-App Shopping

Pinterest has introduced a new feature that makes it easier for users to buy items in the photos pinned on the social platform. “Shop the Look” lets Pinterest users click on items in the photos to buy them or, if the items aren’t for sale, see similar items that can be purchased through the network. Brands or Pinterest employees can tag the items in question. The company previously offered “buyable pins,” which allowed users to make purchases, but only on a single item per pin. With the new feature, a user can buy multiple products in the same pin. Continue reading Expanded Pinterest Tagging Feature Enables In-App Shopping

Hulu Relaunches with Live TV and UI, Home Screen Redesign

Hulu’s relaunch will feature a home screen with a personalized lineup that will be determined by the user’s set preferences and past viewing behavior. Among the options for that lineup are current TV shows, Hulu’s streaming exclusives and partner networks’ on-demand offerings. What won’t be there is a live TV feed or a traditional grid guide that allows the user to scroll through channels. In 2017, Hulu will offer live TV to its users for less than $40, while retaining its ad-supported and ad-free on-demand subscription plans. Continue reading Hulu Relaunches with Live TV and UI, Home Screen Redesign

The Binge TV Model and Its Impact on Advertising and Search

The metrics that define binge viewing of television are astounding. According to Deloitte Consulting’s U.S. media & entertainment leader Kevin Westcott, 70 percent of the population binge-views TV, watching an average of five episodes at a time of any given series. At a Digital Hollywood session at CES 2017, Westcott quizzed industry leaders on how binge viewing has impacted advertising, viewers and content creators. Also highlighted was the need for a new kind of EPG (electronic programming guide) to enable search and discovery in a binge TV environment. Continue reading The Binge TV Model and Its Impact on Advertising and Search

How to Navigate 2.5 Million Square Feet of CES Exhibit Space

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, CES opens in Las Vegas this week with 3,800 companies showcasing their latest products across almost 2.5 million square feet of exhibit space. Broad but logical thematic lines distribute the exhibits across three venues: Tech East at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), Tech West at the Sands and Venetian Complex, and Tech South at the Aria. Fifty years after 117 exhibitors dazzled 17,000 visitors with transistor radios and small-screen televisions, CES presents itself as the place “where tomorrow is on display.”  Continue reading How to Navigate 2.5 Million Square Feet of CES Exhibit Space

Watching Video on Mobile Devices Increases 85% Since 2010

According to the seventh annual edition of the Ericsson ConsumerLab TV & Media Report, the weekly amount of time that consumers spend watching TV and video via mobile devices has increased 85 percent over the last six years. The report notes that 1.1 billion consumers now use their smartphones or other connected mobile devices to watch streaming video. Average time watching mobile video has jumped more than 200 hours a year since 2012. Overall TV and video viewing is up 1.5 hours per week, while there has been a 2.5 hour per week decline in television fixed screen viewing. Continue reading Watching Video on Mobile Devices Increases 85% Since 2010

Dish Is First Pay-TV Company to Offer YouTube Vids via STB

Dish Network’s Hopper 3 DVR now offers access to YouTube video content, marking the first time a U.S. pay-TV provider will allow consumers to access the online videos through its set-top box. The Hopper 3 YouTube app offers access to YouTube’s video offerings and, for subscribers, the YouTube Red SVOD service. Other apps available on Hopper include Netflix, Pandora and Vevo. “Dish customers can search, browse and play YouTube videos without switching inputs and devices,” explains CNET. “With YouTube now at greater parity with regular television programming on Dish’s box, pay-TV customers can decide for the first time if YouTube is actually ‘premium’ for them, too.” Continue reading Dish Is First Pay-TV Company to Offer YouTube Vids via STB

StubHub Rolls Out First Ticketing App Available for Apple TV

StubHub has become the first ticketing service to be made available on Apple TV. Users of the fourth-gen connected-TV device can now browse, check seating options, and buy tickets to concerts and sporting events through their televisions (although, to make a purchase, explains TechCrunch, “the Apple TV app will redirect users back to your mobile phone to complete the process”). StubHub, which was acquired by eBay in 2007, currently sells tickets via mobile apps for iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch and Android devices. According to Variety, “the company has partnerships with more than 60 teams in the MLB, NBA, NHL, Major League Soccer and NCAA, as well as AEG, AXS and Spectra.” Continue reading StubHub Rolls Out First Ticketing App Available for Apple TV

Plex Media Player System Adds DVR Feature for Broadcast TV

Client-server media player system Plex has debuted beta DVR functionality, enabling users to record broadcast TV programs and stream them to other devices. Recorded content can be watched on TV/mobile devices with Plex apps for Apple TV, Android, iOS, Roku, Chromecast, game consoles and many smart TVs. For now, scheduling shows is only available via Plex’s Web interface. The DVR feature also requires the use of a networked TV tuner to access broadcast TV signals; Plex has partnered first with tuner maker SiliconDust. Continue reading Plex Media Player System Adds DVR Feature for Broadcast TV

Pinterest Buys Instapaper, Next Step in Becoming Media Portal

Pinterest is acquiring Instapaper, the app that allows consumers to save content for later viewing. The deal provides San Francisco-based Pinterest with access to vital behavioral data and technology that could help it better target content and ramp up its capabilities to compete with Facebook as a next-generation, insular media portal. Instapaper is expected to remain a standalone app, and Pinterest will invest in its further development. The majority of Instapaper’s team, including CEO Brian Donohue and community manager Rodion Gusev, will relocate from New York to California. Continue reading Pinterest Buys Instapaper, Next Step in Becoming Media Portal

Instagram Adds Events Channel to Explore Concerts, Sports

Instagram’s Explore tab for displaying personalized content has evolved from a simple algorithm to a more sophisticated discovery platform for photos and videos. Through its “Picked For You” feature, Instagram added custom channels inside Explore for more personalization. Now, the social platform is introducing a new video channel called Events that “will be personalized for each user and feature videos from concerts, sports games, and other live events depending on what’s happening around the world, what types of live events users are interested in, and what type of accounts the user follows,” reports TechCrunch. The new feature could compete with Snapchat’s Discover channels. Continue reading Instagram Adds Events Channel to Explore Concerts, Sports

Facebook Unveils Tools, Metrics to Improve Video Production

Not long ago, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg predicted that video would be the dominant means of communication on the social platform. To give that goal a leg up, the company unveiled tools to help video creators improve the odds of engaging audiences. The video analytics include the ability to break down minutes of a video view by age, gender and geographic location. Facebook also introduced tools to help creators tell stories with 360 videos, by enabling a “guide” of story points that viewers can opt to follow. Continue reading Facebook Unveils Tools, Metrics to Improve Video Production

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

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