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

Amazon Streams U.S. Premiere of British Comedy on Facebook

British comedy “Catastrophe” made its streaming debut in the U.S. this week exclusively on Amazon’s Facebook page. The move is a new approach to promoting Netflix competitor Amazon Prime Instant Video. Two days after Monday night’s premiere, the show will be made available for streaming only to Amazon Instant Video subscribers (the entire season will be available Friday). This is not the first time social media has been leveraged this way. Hulu has been posting select videos on Facebook, while studios have been offering movie rentals and purchases via social platforms. Continue reading Amazon Streams U.S. Premiere of British Comedy on Facebook

TBO: Alibaba Announces Plans for Subscription Video Service

Liu Chunning, president of Alibaba’s Digital Entertainment arm, announced that the Chinese e-commerce giant is planning to launch a new subscription video service in two months called Tmall Box Office (TBO). “We aim to become [the equivalent of] HBO and Netflix in the U.S.,” he said during the Shanghai International Film Festival. The service will stream local movies and TV shows, imported content and original programming produced by Alibaba. The service will be available on Alibaba’s smart TVs and OTT box. Continue reading TBO: Alibaba Announces Plans for Subscription Video Service

Apple Building a Faster Network and Upgrading Data Centers

In an effort to better compete with major players such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft in cloud services, insiders indicate that Apple is developing a high-speed network and changing the way it builds data centers. While Apple has turned to network providers and tech suppliers in the past to support iTunes, iCloud, Siri and more, the company just announced a new streaming music service and is expected to launch an online TV service. Apple’s new initiatives will require faster, more efficient infrastructure to meet the increased demands for content delivery. Continue reading Apple Building a Faster Network and Upgrading Data Centers

Streaming Services Luring Viewers from Ad-Based Television

PwC recently released its annual five-year forecast for entertainment and media, dropping the growth rate for ad spending on TV. Last year’s report projected a 5.5 percent annual increase in ad spending over the next five years. PwC has revised that figure to 4 percent through 2019, as original programming from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon continues to compete with traditional television content. In the U.S., the number is even lower; ad spending on TV has been growing 3 percent annually on average. Continue reading Streaming Services Luring Viewers from Ad-Based Television

Showtime to Debut its Internet Streaming Service This Summer

Showtime is joining HBO in introducing its own Internet streaming service that will offer unlimited on-demand access to original series, movies and sports programming without requiring a traditional TV subscription. In addition, it will include a live feed of Showtime’s broadcasts for both coasts. The cable network announced yesterday that it plans to debut the standalone service in July to coincide with the season premieres of “Masters of Sex” and “Ray Donovan.” The service will initially be available on Apple devices for $11 per month. Continue reading Showtime to Debut its Internet Streaming Service This Summer

Apple Plans Music Streaming Service to Compete with Spotify

Facing a decline in download sales, Apple plans to launch a competitor to Spotify and other music streaming services. The announcement will likely be made at next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference. In 2003, the iTunes Music Store revolutionized how consumers buy music. While Apple currently sells about 80-85 percent of global music downloads, music consumption has changed, and the company only has a small fraction of the streaming business. Meanwhile, Spotify accounts for 86 percent of on-demand music streaming in the United States. Continue reading Apple Plans Music Streaming Service to Compete with Spotify

Cisco Projects 80 Percent of Internet Will Be Video by 2019

While Netflix and YouTube combined account for roughly half of all Internet bandwidth consumed during peak hours in North America, the latest projections from Cisco suggest even greater growth for online video. The company predicts that in five years, video will be responsible for 80 percent of the world’s Internet consumption (and 85 percent in the U.S.). Cisco explains that the growth will be the result of cord-cutting, mobile expansion, Internet users consuming more (and higher quality) video, and an increase in the overall number of global users. Continue reading Cisco Projects 80 Percent of Internet Will Be Video by 2019

Google Teams with Director to Create Mobile Spherical Videos

Justin Lin, who directed four films from the “Fast and Furious” franchise, has been collaborating with Google on a mobile movie project. “Help,” Lin’s five-minute short intended for mobile phones, is being released at the Google I/O developer conference this week. The film tells the story of an alien attack on Los Angeles. It is distributed via a mobile app that enables viewers to explore multiple angles by moving the phone around. Google also recently teamed with animation legend Glen Keane on three animated shorts. Continue reading Google Teams with Director to Create Mobile Spherical Videos

Oculus Story Studio Explores Ways to Make VR More Social

Oculus Story Studio, a lab program within Oculus VR dedicated to experimentation with the goal of helping virtual reality grow as a platform, is using “Lost Director’s Cut,” a new version of the studio’s short VR film as the basis for a new social experience that promises to change the paradigm of VR experiences from solitary to shared. The purpose of the new demonstration is to show filmmakers and other creatives how far they can push virtual reality beyond current single-person, isolated experiences. Continue reading Oculus Story Studio Explores Ways to Make VR More Social

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

E-Commerce Giant eBay Starts Shipping Program in Germany

Another Amazon Prime competitor has entered the mix. San Jose-based eBay is experimenting with a program that offers its customers free, fast shipping and returns for about $20 per year. The e-commerce company does not control shipping, so it has to work with sellers that agree to send items the same day they are ordered. In return, eBay gives those sellers discounts on selling fees and subsidies to help with the cost of shipping. The shipping program, eBay+, is only available in Germany for now. Continue reading E-Commerce Giant eBay Starts Shipping Program in Germany

Kim Dotcom Claims Hollywood is to Blame for Piracy Problems

Kim Dotcom, the man accused in the biggest case of copyright infringement in U.S. history, criticizes Hollywood studios for failing to effectively utilize Internet technology to distribute their content. The creator of file-sharing website Megaupload.com predicts that Netflix and other companies “will ultimately take over these dinosaurs.” Currently, studios including 20th Century Fox and Disney are suing Dotcom for $100 million. Dotcom is also facing a civil suit from the U.S. government. Continue reading Kim Dotcom Claims Hollywood is to Blame for Piracy Problems

Facebook Now Hosting Articles from Major News Organizations

After months of negotiations, media companies have finally started publishing their content directly to Facebook. Nine major news organizations, including BBC News, NBC News and The New York Times, have agreed to the Facebook deal. The articles will load faster and the news organizations will be able to sell advertisements and keep the entire revenue. However, some analysts believe that this deal might draw readers and advertisers away from the media companies’ own sites. Continue reading Facebook Now Hosting Articles from Major News Organizations

TiVo is Working on Legal Version of Aereo Distribution Model

DVR maker TiVo has confirmed that it is developing a legal version of the failed Aereo service, which combined cloud DVR tech with a system of antennas for capturing over-the-air TV and distributing the content online to subscribers via smartphones, tablets, connected TVs and Web browsers. Aereo filed for bankruptcy after the Supreme Court ruled it had violated copyright law, and then TiVo purchased Aereo’s trademarks and customer lists for about $1 million. The company has scheduled a July event in San Jose to discuss the new product. Continue reading TiVo is Working on Legal Version of Aereo Distribution Model

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