YouTube Plans to Launch Internet TV Service for $35 a Month

YouTube announced yesterday that it plans to launch a new subscription Internet TV service in the next few months. As the latest entry in the growing collection of skinny bundle offerings that target cord cutters and cord nevers, YouTube TV will offer more than 40 broadcast and cable television channels for $35 per month. Google’s YouTube is hoping the timing may be right for such a service; there are an estimated 10 million homes that currently subscribe to a broadband service, but not television. Continue reading YouTube Plans to Launch Internet TV Service for $35 a Month

SoftBank Reportedly Ready to Sell Sprint to Deutsche Telekom

When the U.S. spectrum auction ends in April, Japan’s SoftBank Group plans to approach Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile US about taking over Sprint, for a merger of the two wireless carriers. Until then, SoftBank is restricted by FCC anti-collusion rules preventing discussions between competitors. SoftBank ran into U.S. antitrust regulations two-and-a-half years ago when it was forced to stop negotiations to acquire T-Mobile for Sprint, a deal that would have put SoftBank in control with Deutsche Telekom a minority shareholder. Continue reading SoftBank Reportedly Ready to Sell Sprint to Deutsche Telekom

FCC Wireless Spectrum Auction Bidding Closes at $19.6 Billion

The FCC’s wireless spectrum auction has concluded, generating $19.6 billion in total bids, less than many analysts’ expectations but still “an amazing success,” according to former FCC chair Julius Genachowski, who said the auction will lead to additional investment and innovation. AT&T, Comcast, Dish Network, T-Mobile and Verizon were among the 62 bidders who made upfront payments last year. More than $10 billion of the money raised will go to broadcasters that opted to relinquish spectrum rights, more than $6 billion to the federal deficit, and up to $1.75 billion to broadcaster costs for changing channels. Continue reading FCC Wireless Spectrum Auction Bidding Closes at $19.6 Billion

Mossberg Questions the Direction of Streaming TV Services

Streaming TV is now mainstream, with even cable and satellite subscribers paying for services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. Television networks also make their fare available for streaming via apps or smart TVs. But the typical streaming service model — whereby the subscriber doesn’t pay for a fat bundle of disparate channels and a DVR — is changing. Dish Network’s Sling TV and AT&T’s DirecTV Now, nominally streaming services, offer bundles of TV networks delivered in a linear fashion, just like cable or satellite. Journalist/author Walt Mossberg is concerned by the change.  Continue reading Mossberg Questions the Direction of Streaming TV Services

Amazon Reportedly Scouting for Live Sports Rights for Prime

Amazon, looking into the possibility of streaming live sports, has been in conversations with the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Football League, as well as soccer, lacrosse and surfing leagues, say sources. The company’s idea would be to create a premium sports package that would be made available via its Amazon Prime, with the goal of bringing new members to the $99 per year membership program. Amazon could also market a “skinny bundle” of live sports channels. Continue reading Amazon Reportedly Scouting for Live Sports Rights for Prime

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

AT&T Set to Launch DirecTV Now 100-Channel OTT Service

On the heels of acquiring DirecTV for almost $50 billion, AT&T plans to roll out DirecTV Now, an Internet video service, by the end of 2016. This new over-the-top service challenges the pay-TV industry with its ability to stream a 100-channel line-up to TVs and mobile devices without a satellite dish, cable set-top box or annual contract. Sources say that AT&T is likely to charge about $50 a month for the service. Currently 25.3 million subscribers pay an average of $117 a month for AT&T’s pay-TV business. Continue reading AT&T Set to Launch DirecTV Now 100-Channel OTT Service

AT&T to Roll Out Streaming TV Service Aimed at Cord-Nevers

By the end of 2016, AT&T plans to debut DirecTV Now, a streaming service targeting cord-nevers, the 20 million households with no cable or satellite service. Sources say that AT&T intends DirecTV Now, which will deliver multiple live-feeds via broadband to the home, to become its primary video platform within five years. The platform will offer more than 100 channels and the ability to stream to two devices simultaneously, all without the need for cable or satellite service. AT&T bought DirecTV for $48.5 billion last year. Continue reading AT&T to Roll Out Streaming TV Service Aimed at Cord-Nevers

AirTV Combines HD Antenna and Sling TV for Local Channels

A new draft listing for Amazon.com features a $149.99 hardware device called AirTV that addresses the limitation of Dish Network’s Sling TV regarding access to over-the-air, local channels. “The device works with an antenna and Sling TV’s app in order to offer a combination of local live television programming and Sling TV’s content, including its program guide and optional add-on packages,” reports TechCrunch. According to the product listing, free local TV is accessible via the app on any compatible device via Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV and Roku. For more channels, “you can subscribe to paid Sling TV packages — all from the same app.” Continue reading AirTV Combines HD Antenna and Sling TV for Local Channels

Dish and Comcast to Offer NBC’s 4K Rio Olympics Coverage

According to Multichannel News: “Dish Network and Comcast will be joining AT&T in offering access to NBCUniversal’s delayed 4K coverage of the Summer Olympics in Rio.” Comcast will provide content from Rio on demand via its Xfinity in UHD app for Samsung and LG smart TVs, while Dish will offer content on linear channel 146 and on VOD via the Hopper 3 DVR and 4K Joey box. Dish will also include a sports hub on channel 148 for access to NBCU’s coverage and integrate the NBC Olympics app on its Hopper and Joey devices. Dish’s Sling TV will also carry select coverage on its Sling Blue service. Continue reading Dish and Comcast to Offer NBC’s 4K Rio Olympics Coverage

YouTube to Launch its Paid Subscription TV Service in 2017

YouTube has long expressed interest in creating a live TV package, but now its plans for a paid subscription service have firmed up. With executives Christian Oestlien and Jonathan Zepp among those leading the charge, the company will launch Unplugged in 2017 and is now seeking content deals with major media companies, say those familiar with the plan. The new urgency in pursuing this long-held plan may be due to the fact that Dish Network and Sony have debuted online services, and Apple and Amazon plan to as well. Continue reading YouTube to Launch its Paid Subscription TV Service in 2017

Hulu to Launch Pay TV Service, Joining Other Digital Players

Hulu is the latest platform to compete with traditional pay TV services. Separate from its current on-demand programming model, Hulu plans to launch a cable TV-style online service in Q1 2017, say those familiar with the company’s plans. Hulu co-owners 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company are likely to strike agreements to license many of their channels. ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, the Fox network, Fox News, FX and Fox national and regional sports channels are also anticipated to be part of the lineup. Continue reading Hulu to Launch Pay TV Service, Joining Other Digital Players

New Sling TV Package Offers Fox Channels and Multi-Streams

Dish Network just rolled out a beta version of a new Sling TV package, priced at $20 per month, that will include 21st Century Fox channels for the first time. The new Sling TV package also allows for three simultaneous streams, aimed at families with multiple viewers, and will contain Fox channels FX, regional sports networks and, in 17 markets initially, the Fox broadcast network. What it won’t include is channels from Disney, which continues to be part of the earlier, single-stream Sling TV bundle. Continue reading New Sling TV Package Offers Fox Channels and Multi-Streams

Nielsen Breaks into Set-Top Box Data with Dish Network Deal

In a major breakthrough, Nielsen has signed a multi-year deal with Dish Network to use data from its 14-million set-top boxes for ratings, in addition to its long-standing 40,000-household panel. The deal comes on the heels of comScore’s merger with Rentrak, which also measures set-top-box data, as that company attempts to challenge Nielsen’s dominance in TV audience measurement. The Dish deal, which is not exclusive, will let Nielsen improve ratings in local, smaller markets where panelists aren’t measured electronically. Continue reading Nielsen Breaks into Set-Top Box Data with Dish Network Deal

Sony PlayStation Vue Debuts OTT Tiers, Skinny to Full Bundles

Sony’s PlayStation Vue, which recently added ESPN, is offering OTT service throughout the U.S., although most markets still won’t get live local TV programs. The national OTT offering competes head-on with Dish Networks’s Sling TV, priced at $20+ per month, and AT&T’s DirecTV pay-TV packages, slated to launch in Q4 2016. PlayStation Vue’s Slim packages, which start at $30 per month and are on offer in 203 U.S. markets, provide on-demand access to ABC, NBC and Fox primetime content, with CBS on board later in some markets. Continue reading Sony PlayStation Vue Debuts OTT Tiers, Skinny to Full Bundles