Survey Shows Netflix Subscribers Want Ability to View Offline

Netflix indicated recently that it is considering offering its subscribers the ability to download content and watch it offline. But, in an era in which Wi-Fi and 4G are everywhere, the question is: Is it necessary? How many subscribers think they would actually download content? And, if so, when do subscribers think they would watch downloaded videos? Since its 2007 introduction, Netflix has streamed videos (and mailed physical DVDs), an unchanged paradigm that has served it and its subscribers well. Continue reading Survey Shows Netflix Subscribers Want Ability to View Offline

Ads Are the Top Reason for Canceling Streaming Video Subs

According to a survey from IBM’s Cloud Video division, 31 percent of respondents indicated that they had canceled a streaming video subscription before, while that figure jumped to 40 percent among those who listed Amazon or Hulu as their primary service. When asked why consumers would cancel their subscription, 27 percent pointed to advertisements, 25 percent cited cost, and 20 percent blamed the amount of available content. These reasons topped tech issues (17 percent), while 73 percent of respondents indicated that buffering or start delays were the most commonly experienced problems. Continue reading Ads Are the Top Reason for Canceling Streaming Video Subs

Social Apps Creating More Young Stars Than Traditional Media

At VidCon, live-streaming mobile app YouNow showcased Internet stars such as singer Hailey Knox, who promoted her debut EP in person and to her 80,000 followers. Knox parlayed her online fame to a record deal and a tour, underscoring the reality that today’s young stars and wannabes are more likely to appear on YouNow, Musical.ly, Flipagram, Snapchat or Vine than “American Bandstand” or MTV. Although all these social media platforms skew young, “olds” are beginning to join Snapchat, endangering its “cool” status. Continue reading Social Apps Creating More Young Stars Than Traditional Media

The Number of U.S. Teens Who Own Smartphones on Upswing

The number of teenagers in the U.S. who own smartphones is expected to reach the 74 percent mark this year, compared to less than 50 percent in 2013, according to eMarketer. The survey found that ownership among adult millennials is more than 90 percent. EMarketer forecasts that 88 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds will have mobile phones by the end of the year, and among those, 84 percent will have smartphones. “Results of a February 2016 survey for Adestra by Flagship Research give an indication that older teens are more likely than younger ones to have smartphones,” reports eMarketer. “Among the 14- to 18-year-olds polled, 87 percent said they ‘own and use’ a smartphone.” Continue reading The Number of U.S. Teens Who Own Smartphones on Upswing

UN Human Rights Council Calls for an End to Internet Blocking

The 47-member United Nations Human Rights Council “passed a resolution condemning countries that prevent or disrupt access to the Internet,” according to The Hill. The nonbinding resolution, likely most useful for public pressure, calls on nations to address security and privacy concerns while securing freedom of expression. It also “condemns violence or intimidation against people for ‘exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms on the Internet.’” Digital rights group Access Now cited at least 15 Internet shutdowns around the world last year, and 20 so far this year. Continue reading UN Human Rights Council Calls for an End to Internet Blocking

Google Debuts Features to Enable Browsing the Internet in VR

Google has been a significant player in defining and deploying what’s called WebVR, which enables VR websites to provide content directly to virtual reality headsets via standard capabilities. But Google has a much broader vision: it would like users to be able to access all websites in VR including those not created with virtual reality in mind. Currently, a user would have to take the VR headset off and on as she jumped from site to site. Google thinks it’s a better idea to let the user remain in an entirely VR environment. Continue reading Google Debuts Features to Enable Browsing the Internet in VR

Live Streaming Will Get its Own Upfronts in NYC This October

“Today” show host Al Roker’s newly-formed Roker Media is teaming up with Brave Ventures to launch the “Live Fronts.” The NewFronts-style event, which will provide live-video companies with the chance to pitch to advertisers, will be held in New York City in October. Attendance will be open to “anyone in the business of live-streaming,” said Brave Ventures co-founder Jesse Rednis. Advertising Age describes the event “as a way to showcase the opportunities for marketers and content producers on platforms like Facebook Live, Periscope and YouNow, while at the same time hanging the open-for-business sign.” Continue reading Live Streaming Will Get its Own Upfronts in NYC This October

Dish Unveils New Sling TV Packages and Adds More Channels

Dish announced it is updating its Sling TV streaming service to include popular channels such as Bravo, BBC America, NBC, Syfy and USA. Sling TV will also offer new price packages intended to attract those without pay TV service. “Dish has named its basic $20 single-screen package Sling Orange, and added Sling Blue, a $25 multiscreen package, which will feature local NBC broadcasts in 10 cities,” reports Bloomberg. “Customers can buy a combination of Blue and Orange for $40 a month.” Sling currently has more than 700,000 subscribers. Continue reading Dish Unveils New Sling TV Packages and Adds More Channels

Pinterest Unveils Visual Search Tools to Enable E-Commerce

In the next few months, Pinterest will unveil a way to use the smartphone as a visual search tool. The user goes to search, taps the visual search button, points the camera and Pinterest will “recognize” objects in the camera’s view. The user can then tap any recognized object to get a recommendation for similar ones, and resize the image box to refine the search. Pinterest has always placed a major focus on visual search, and the most recent update now connects that visual search with e-commerce. Continue reading Pinterest Unveils Visual Search Tools to Enable E-Commerce

Apple Patents Technology to Disable Cellphone Photos/Video

A new Apple patent, spotted on Patently Apple, will enable venues from museums to concert arenas to enforce their often-flouted rules against photography. The patent describes a system whereby a venue can use an infrared emitter to remotely block the camera function on smartphones. The smartphone interprets the infrared beams as a command to block photos and videos. Musicians who routinely — and fruitlessly — ban cellphone photography at their concerts will likely welcome the technology. Continue reading Apple Patents Technology to Disable Cellphone Photos/Video

Internet Allies Unite to Create More Secure, Future-Proof Web

Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, most recently Google’s chief Internet evangelist, co-created Internet server protocols in 1973. Since then, he’s helped the Internet to mature, but one problem he didn’t foresee was the ephemeral nature of storage media, from floppy disks to Zip drives. Tomorrow’s browsers may be incompatible with today’s webpages. Worried about what he calls “a coming digital dark ages,” Cerf has now turned his attention to making the Internet more secure and future-proof. Continue reading Internet Allies Unite to Create More Secure, Future-Proof Web

PlayStation Vue on Roku Devices Offers Alternative to Cable

Sony’s PlayStation Vue streaming TV service is now available on Roku’s set-top boxes, media sticks and television sets. The Vue service enables users to stream dozens of cable channels such as CNN, Comedy Central, ESPN, Fox News and MTV over the Internet. Vue can be accessed as a Roku app in addition to apps for iPhones, iPads and Amazon’s Fire TV. Next week Vue will be offered for Android users. “Now that Vue is available nationwide and on many streaming-video devices, it’s truly a viable alternative to a traditional cable-TV service,” suggests The Wall Street Journal. Continue reading PlayStation Vue on Roku Devices Offers Alternative to Cable

Facebook Inks Video Deals with Media Brands and Celebrities

In a bid to fill the Facebook Live pipeline with high quality video, Facebook has inked deals with almost 140 media companies including CNN, The New York Times, Vox Media, Tastemade, Mashable and The Huffington Post, and celebrities including Kevin Hart, Gordon Ramsay, Deepak Chopra and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson. With these high-profile media contracts, Facebook plans to tap into a potentially lucrative advertising market, as well as more deeply engage its 1.65 billion monthly users. Continue reading Facebook Inks Video Deals with Media Brands and Celebrities

BitTorrent Launches Ad-Supported Music and Video Platform

BitTorrent has launched its open, ad-supported music and video platform that allows consumers to access media content via apps for Android, iOS and Apple TV. BitTorrent Now is the latest effort to shed the piracy stigma of the popular peer-to-peer technology for more legitimate uses. Up until now, BitTorrent offered free and paywall versions for artists to get their content to people. With the new ad-supported service, artists have an alternative for generating revenue while users can stream their content through an Android app launched yesterday, and iOS and Apple TV apps to follow. Continue reading BitTorrent Launches Ad-Supported Music and Video Platform

Netflix Updates Video Encoding, Aims to Use Less Bandwidth

According to a Sandvine study, Netflix has re-encoded some of its video library in order to make the streaming service more efficient and reduce its bandwidth demands. Netflix accounted for 37.1 percent of Internet traffic on fixed broadband networks during primetime hours six months ago in North America. Sandvine notes that Netflix represented 35.2 percent of downstream traffic under the same criteria during March of this year. “Last December, Netflix detailed changes in its video-encoding schemes, which the company said could reduce bit rates by up to 20 percent while delivering equivalent quality,” reports Variety. Meanwhile, “Amazon Video now represents 4.3 percent of peak-period traffic, up from 2 percent a year ago.” Continue reading Netflix Updates Video Encoding, Aims to Use Less Bandwidth

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