Industry Leaders Join Forces to Form Streaming Video Alliance

In an effort to develop universal standards and best practices for high-scale Internet video services, 17 content companies, service providers and technology vendors have gathered to create the Streaming Video Alliance. Together, these companies hope to improve the online video experience. SVA will initially focus on open architecture, quality of experience, and interoperability. Formation of the group comes as net neutrality continues its path as a complex and controversial issue. Continue reading Industry Leaders Join Forces to Form Streaming Video Alliance

Kumo Aims to Break TV Bundle by Offering Specific Channels

Kumo, a startup that hopes to offer consumers access to individual channels rather than entire bundles, has raised $50 million in financing. The company may face significant hurdles, since content creators and owners have historically avoided this type of model, fearing a negative impact to their revenue streams. Unlike Aereo’s failed attempt at pairing an antenna with a cloud storage service, however, Kumo is reportedly working to license content for its a la carte approach. Continue reading Kumo Aims to Break TV Bundle by Offering Specific Channels

Blockbuster to Shutter U.S. Stores and DVD by Mail Services

DISH Network announced that its Blockbuster subsidiary will close approximately 300 remaining U.S.-based retail stores and its DVD by mail distribution operations by January 2014. The Blockbuster By Mail service will end mid-December. Blockbuster has recently divested itself of U.S. and international assets, including operations in the UK and Scandinavia. However, DISH plans to continue its support of Blockbuster’s domestic and international franchise operations. Continue reading Blockbuster to Shutter U.S. Stores and DVD by Mail Services

Netflix Loses Almost 1,800 Movies from Streaming Catalog

Netflix is clearing nearly 1,800 movies from its library this week. The service is dropping certain titles due to expiring licensing deals with studios MGM, Universal and Warner Bros. The list is largely comprised of lesser known, older titles and is not being viewed as significant as when Netflix lost many newer films after it failed to renew its streaming agreement with Starz. However, the move may still be seen by some as a sign of future change. Continue reading Netflix Loses Almost 1,800 Movies from Streaming Catalog

Microsoft: Xbox Video Service Features Voice and Motion Controls

  • Microsoft is getting a boatload of new content for its Xbox video service intended to help it serve as a digital media hub. The company has struck deals with Comcast, Verizon, HBO and others.
  • Verizon and Comcast will be joining AT&T’s U-Verse to provide content, although while Verizon will include live video TV and video on demand, Comcast is testing the waters with its VOD library only. HBO Go streaming access will provide HBO original programming and movies from Warner Bros., Fox Searchlight and Universal Studios. Bravo, EPIX and Syfy are among the cable networks that will be available. Xbox’s international content will include the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and LOVEFiLM in the UK; Antena 3, RTVE and Telefonica in Spain; and Televisa in Mexico.
  • But how do you get to the movies, TV shows, games and music that you want? Microsoft hopes you will command your Xbox with voice control, motion control and a Windows smartphone.
  • “This is incremental stuff but it’s still interesting. A source who’s played with the new service says it’s genuinely cool. Just as important, given that Microsoft has sold some 50 million compatible machines, it has (potential) leverage to do some really interesting stuff,” reports All Things D. “This is where Google TV would like to be, and it’s why Google is out pitching content guys for a relaunch this fall.”

Epix Everywhere: The Future of Premium Cable Networks?

  • Premium cable network Epix has had its library of Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate movies available for streaming for nearly two years.
  • Since its launch in 2009, Epix has added original programming to its library of 3,000 film titles and has expanded its number of distribution partners.
  • “The channel is now available through Dish Network, Verizon FiOS, Cox, Charter, Mediacom, Suddenlink and the National Cable and Telecommunications Cooperative,” reports GigaOM. “Together, those distributors have more than 30 million subscribers, of which Epix has managed to sign up 9 million to its network.”
  • But now that TV Everywhere has become the trend with other networks, Epix is looking to differentiate itself in additional ways.
  • Epix is building apps for new devices (the network is already available on more than 100 devices), producing more of its own exclusive content, adding video that complements its library of movies, and leveraging partnerships that provide original video content.
  • Clearly, premium cable (and perhaps all television) needs to look beyond traditional practices to survive. Is Epix becoming the model of what a premium cable channel needs to be in the era of TV Everywhere?

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