TV Networks to Benefit by Unbundling from Cable Packages?

Television networks are currently entangled in expensive negotiations with cable companies over retransmission fees and rights to stream content on other devices. However, if a TV network were to sell its shows directly online with a Netflix-like subscription, GigaOM speculates that the network could still remain profitable and consumers would not have to pay for expensive cable packages. This new model could potentially redefine content distribution via the Internet and television. Continue reading TV Networks to Benefit by Unbundling from Cable Packages?

Microsoft Planning Original TV Programming for Xbox Console

Microsoft is expanding beyond video games in an effort to make its Xbox console more of an entertainment media hub. The software giant is planning to produce TV-like original programming including an expected series from Steven Spielberg based on “Halo,” a version of Swedish sci-fi show “Humans,” a soccer reality-style series and a documentary about discarded Atari games. Microsoft joins a growing field as companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Yahoo are tackling original content. Continue reading Microsoft Planning Original TV Programming for Xbox Console

HBO Signs Exclusive Licensing Pact with Amazon Prime Service

In a first of its kind deal for Time Warner’s HBO, the premium cable channel has agreed to license older episodes of its programming to Amazon Prime’s subscription streaming service. The agreement is the first such HBO deal with an online video provider, and will make original series such as “The Wire” and “The Sopranos” available for online streaming. Prior to this deal, HBO shows were only available for digital purchase through Amazon or Apple’s iTunes, or via rental services such as Netflix. Continue reading HBO Signs Exclusive Licensing Pact with Amazon Prime Service

New Sony Media Player to Access 4K Library and Stream Netflix

As a follow-up to its original $700 4K media player, Sony has announced a new model, the FMP-X10, that will provide access to Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K download library and be able to stream 4K Netflix content. The new player, available this summer, will be compatible with Sony Ultra HD sets and include 1 terabyte of storage. A price has yet to be announced. Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K library currently features more than 200 titles (45GB-60GB files), about 50 of which are available for free. Continue reading New Sony Media Player to Access 4K Library and Stream Netflix

Sesame Street Unveils Sesame Go Video Subscription Service

Sesame Workshop, the maker of the long-running children’s television show “Sesame Street,” has launched an exclusive, standalone video subscription service. For $4 per month or $30 per year, subscribers will have access to hundreds of ad-free episodes, including shorter 30-minute episodes that have never been seen in the U.S. before. The interface with its simple and colorful buttons was designed especially for kids. Children can watch Sesame Go via the Web, tablets or smartphones. Continue reading Sesame Street Unveils Sesame Go Video Subscription Service

Fire TV: Amazon Unveils its $99 STB-Game Console Hybrid

Amazon announced its new video streaming device called Amazon Fire TV that intends to take on products such as Roku and Apple TV. During a presentation this morning, Amazon’s Peter Larsen suggested that Amazon’s new hardware will address areas in which competing devices struggle including search, performance, and a closed ecosystem. The $99 Fire TV features a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. Larsen claims it provides speeds three times faster than the latest Roku and Apple boxes. Continue reading Fire TV: Amazon Unveils its $99 STB-Game Console Hybrid

Pluto.tv Creates Curated Channels Based on Online Videos

As online videos continue to become more popular, many viewers are faced with the challenge of navigating a flood of content. Pluto.tv has created topic-based video channels in the hopes of addressing this problem, and aims to give viewers the feeling of watching a 30-minute packaged television show compiled of a dozen or more short video clips. There are about 100 channels featuring categories such as Comedy, Music, Sports, Tech, Education and Kids. Pluto.tv has designed its interface to mimic a standard TV guide. Continue reading Pluto.tv Creates Curated Channels Based on Online Videos

Amazon Announces Six New Shows After Another Pilot Season

Amazon.com announced yesterday that it has picked up two dramas, two comedies and two kids shows from the batch of 10 television pilots it was testing with viewers. Amazon considered feedback and ratings submitted by users, as it did with an earlier pilot season. However, this time twice as many viewers (more than two million) were involved with the process. While Amazon’s streaming service normally does not include ads, the pilots were sponsored by Geico so they could be available to all users, not just Prime subscribers. Continue reading Amazon Announces Six New Shows After Another Pilot Season

Viewers Pick Up New Shows After Seeing TV-Related Tweets

Fox, Twitter, and the Advertising Research Foundation recently released a study that suggests people are likely to pick up a new series or start watching a show they previously stopped following after seeing related tweets. The study found that when people remember seeing a TV-related tweet, they are likely to take immediate action. The study included 12,577 people who were recruited on Twitter, and were surveyed within 24 hours of primetime Twitter activity. Continue reading Viewers Pick Up New Shows After Seeing TV-Related Tweets

Will the Future of Visual Effects be Modeled on TV Production?

ETCentric member and contributor Adrian Pennington recently posted an interesting perspective on the direction of visual effects in TV production, including an interview with Adobe’s Steve Forde. “While the feature film visual effects business is in flux, the TV VFX business is thriving by delivering creativity to tight timescales on a budget,” writes Adrian. “Indeed the future of all VFX production could be modeled on the workflows built to support CGI-intensive series like ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Doctor Who.'” Continue reading Will the Future of Visual Effects be Modeled on TV Production?

NBC Offers Digital Spinoffs of Shows During Olympic Coverage

TV fans who may be missing their NBC comedies and dramas during the network’s primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics can now go online to catch up with some of their favorite characters. NBC has produced four-part digital-only spinoffs of “Chicago Fire,” “Grimm,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Parenthood.” The webisodes are available for streaming via NBC.com, Hulu and YouTube this month while the network continues to cover the Olympics from Sochi. Continue reading NBC Offers Digital Spinoffs of Shows During Olympic Coverage

CNN Turns to Films and Original Series to Help Boost Ratings

As the ratings for television news channels decline, broadcasters are looking for new ways to draw an audience. CNN is working toward gaining viewers by airing original films and series like the documentary “Blackfish,” which aired back in October, and “Chicagoland,” a reality TV show that will begin airing next month. Jeff Zucker, the newest president of CNN, took over in January and has been hands-on since, pointing the network in a slightly different direction. Continue reading CNN Turns to Films and Original Series to Help Boost Ratings

Hulu Announces Slate of New Originals and Returning Series

Hulu plans to air 12 returning series and four new series under its Hulu Originals banner this season. The streaming video service recently announced its lineup, including renewed shows such as Seth Meyers’ animated superhero series “The Awesomes,” Chris O’Dowd’s comedy “Moone Boy,” docuseries “Behind the Mask,” western comedy “Quick Draw” and popular drama “East Los High.” Premiering this year includes “The Hotwives of Orlando,” “Deadbeat,” “The Bridge” and “The Next Step.” Continue reading Hulu Announces Slate of New Originals and Returning Series

Netflix Plans Streaming Traffic Across Amazon Cloud Regions

To avoid possible outages, Netflix is now running its streaming-video service across two regions of the Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud platform, balancing its traffic between the two. The major service disruption that occurred Christmas Eve of last year took down the site’s streaming, forcing Netflix to scramble. Now, the company will run its streaming service across AWS’ East and West regions, allowing for rerouting of traffic if necessary. Continue reading Netflix Plans Streaming Traffic Across Amazon Cloud Regions

Comcast Plans New Advertising Approach for Video On Demand

More television fans are turning to “catch up viewing” for their favorite TV shows. Although video on demand is increasing in popularity, TV outlets do not really benefit. Advertisers do not see a point in supporting TV episodes more than a few days after the initial air date. Comcast plans to experiment with allowing advertisers to place the same commercials on older streamed episodes of TV shows that are featured with current episodes. Continue reading Comcast Plans New Advertising Approach for Video On Demand

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