Disney-ABC to Produce Short Form Video Series for Snapchat

Disney-ABC Television Group has signed an agreement with Snapchat to produce several original shows for the social media platform. The first production will be “Watch Party: The Bachelor,” an aftershow for ABC’s “The Bachelor” that will debut Jan. 3, the day after the premiere of that reality dating show’s 21st season. The original episodes will run three to five minutes each and be available for 24 hours on Snapchat, appearing in the Discover section. The season finale will be produced as a Snapchat Live Story. Continue reading Disney-ABC to Produce Short Form Video Series for Snapchat

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

Daily Fantasy Sports: FanDuel and DraftKings Agree to Merge

Former rivals DraftKings and FanDuel announced they plan to merge their daily fantasy sports operations into one company, to be run by DraftKings CEO Jason Robins. FanDuel chief exec Nigel Eccles will become chairman. The board will include three directors each from DraftKings and FanDuel, plus an independent director, while headquarters will be divided between New York and Boston offices. The deal, which aims to increase innovation by freeing up money, is expected to close during the second half of next year. Continue reading Daily Fantasy Sports: FanDuel and DraftKings Agree to Merge

Activision Blizzard Plans E-Sports League Around ‘Overwatch’

Activision Blizzard, the biggest videogame company in the U.S. by market value, is taking steps to create an e-sports league that more closely resembles a traditional sports league. The company is in conversation with more than 100 e-sports and traditional sports teams to drum up interest in a league for its game “Overwatch” that would function like the National Football League. Competitive videogaming has gained in popularity and viewership, heading towards an estimated 10 percent of all U.S. sports viewing by 2020. Continue reading Activision Blizzard Plans E-Sports League Around ‘Overwatch’

ABC, ESPN, Fox News to Join Hulu’s Live Streaming Service

Hulu announced it has signed deals with 21st Century Fox and Disney to include the media giants’ broadcast and cable channels in Hulu’s planned live streaming service, expected to launch in early 2017. ABC, ESPN and Fox News will join channels including CNN, TBS and TNT, following an earlier deal with Time Warner. All three companies are part owners of Hulu. The fourth owner, Comcast, has not yet reached an agreement for channels under the NBCUniversal banner. According to The New York Times, “Hulu’s live offering will be the latest cheaper and slimmer television package at a time when more people are canceling traditional — and more expensive — cable subscriptions.” Continue reading ABC, ESPN, Fox News to Join Hulu’s Live Streaming Service

Disney Accelerator Supports Nine Startups for Mutual Benefit

Disney founded its own accelerator a few years ago, providing financial and logistical support to a range of startups from Hanson Robotics, which makes lifelike robots, to Jaunt and its VR cameras. Disney chooses the startups it supports wisely, selecting companies that are creating things that could potentially align with Disney’s media and business pursuits. Take virtual reality for example; Disney isn’t likely to build its own camera, but it can certainly benefit from supporting a company with the expertise to do so. Continue reading Disney Accelerator Supports Nine Startups for Mutual Benefit

Amazon’s New Fire TV Stick Includes Alexa Digital Assistant

Amazon’s newly debuted $40 Fire TV Stick is the cheapest way to access Alexa, the company’s digital assistant which enables users to find TV programs, purchase products on Amazon’s online store, hear news updates, play a song on Spotify or check the weather. According to Amazon, Alexa is currently capable of understanding 3,000 different commands and can also offer shows from 90 apps and channels. Fire TV Stick’s more than 4,000 apps include Netflix, Hulu, HBO, ESPN and Major League Baseball. Continue reading Amazon’s New Fire TV Stick Includes Alexa Digital Assistant

In Landmark Deal, 76ers Acquire Stake in Two eSports Teams

Competitive videogaming just got a boost when the National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers acquired a controlling interest in two so-called eSports squads, Dignitas and Apex. The move marks the first time an organization in any of the four major U.S. sports leagues invested in eSports. Prior to this landmark purchase, professional athletes have invested in eSports and both Time Warner’s TBS and Disney’s ESPN have live-broadcast the competitions. Specifics of the 76ers deal were not disclosed. Continue reading In Landmark Deal, 76ers Acquire Stake in Two eSports Teams

Disney Said to Be Considering Possible Bid for Twitter Merger

Following the CNBC report that Google and Salesforce.com were among those being considered for a Twitter takeover, TechCrunch added that Microsoft and Verizon have also expressed interest. Today, headlines indicate that Disney is considering a possible bid. Bloomberg reports that Disney is working with an adviser on a potential deal, in what would be the company’s latest investment in a string of tech-related media businesses including Hulu, Vice and MLB’s BAMTech. The Wall Street Journal suggests that “a Twitter acquisition would be Disney’s biggest technology deal yet” and “could benefit ESPN as cord-cutting becomes more widespread.” Continue reading Disney Said to Be Considering Possible Bid for Twitter Merger

Amazon Said to Be Looking Beyond Video to Streaming Sports

According to unnamed sources, Amazon is actively pursuing the rights to numerous sports, including the French Open tennis championship and professional rugby as well as golf, soccer, auto racing and U.S. sports such as basketball and baseball. Capturing rights in the U.S. will be challenging since CBS, NBCUniversal, Fox, Turner Sports and ESPN have inked long-term contracts for most major sporting events. In talks, Amazon points to the popularity of Amazon Prime, which reaches an estimated 63 million U.S. subscribers. Continue reading Amazon Said to Be Looking Beyond Video to Streaming Sports

Turner Tests New Ad Countdown Clock with ‘Animal Kingdom’

Turner Broadcasting is experimenting with a way to keep viewers from skipping ads: a countdown clock showing how much time is left in each ad break. The idea was first tested this season on TNT’s new crime drama “Animal Kingdom,” via a timer at the bottom of the screen for both live TV and pay TV affiliates’ VOD systems. The timer appears when there is 60 seconds left in a break. NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” have also used countdown clocks, but “Animal Kingdom” may be the first primetime show to do so. Continue reading Turner Tests New Ad Countdown Clock with ‘Animal Kingdom’

Disney, Major League Baseball Partner for Streaming Sports

The Walt Disney Company just invested $1 billion for a 33 percent stake in BAMTech, Major League Baseball’s streaming division, with an option to buy “a controlling interest” in the future. BAMTech, which also handles streaming for HBO among other media entities, will be Disney’s partner in creating an ESPN subscription streaming service that will most likely debut by the end of the year, according to Disney chief executive Bob Iger, and offer baseball, hockey, tennis, cricket and college sports. Continue reading Disney, Major League Baseball Partner for Streaming Sports

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

Disney Accelerator’s New Startups Address Robotics, AI, VR

The Walt Disney Company has invited nine new companies into its 2016 Accelerator program. Disney Accelerator, now in its third season, has gained a desirable profile as several alumni have inked partnership deals with Disney. Among them are Sphero, creator of the BB-8 droid “Star Wars” toy and sports data platform StatMuse, which now works with Disney’s ESPN. One of this year’s invited startups, says The Walt Disney Company’s senior vice president of innovation Michael Abrams, is an internal project team. Continue reading Disney Accelerator’s New Startups Address Robotics, AI, VR

Unplugged: YouTube’s Online TV Service Expected Next Year

YouTube has been developing an online TV service for today’s cord cutters, expected to launch early in 2017, and has reportedly been working on deals with ABC, CBS, ESPN and other major broadcasters. However, the video platform may pass on smaller cable networks, in hopes of creating YouTube channels with related video content. In May, Bloomberg reported that the $35-per-month service would be called Unplugged and could include smaller bundles of add-on channels. “Online TV services are still young, and there’s plenty of market for YouTube to go after,” suggests The Verge, noting that current obstacles include the availability of networks on services such as Sling, and the emergence of standalone services from CBS and soon, ESPN. Continue reading Unplugged: YouTube’s Online TV Service Expected Next Year

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