Facebook Plans to Test Selling VOD Subs Directly to Users

Facebook will launch a small-scale test in the U.S. over the coming weeks to sell video subscriptions directly to its users for BritBox from BBC Studios and ITV, Dropout by CollegeHumor, Motor Trend On Demand and Tastemade Plus. Facebook will initially test the waters with these four smaller services. While no major streaming video services are scheduled to be part of the test, Facebook has contacted networks such as HBO and Showtime about selling their OTT services on the social platform and has reportedly talked with Disney, Hulu and Netflix about offering their streaming services via a new TV chat device rumored to be launching this fall. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Test Selling VOD Subs Directly to Users

BBC and ITV Join Forces to Launch Rival to U.S. Streamers

In the U.K., Amazon and Netflix now own about two-thirds of that country’s video streaming market and, for the second time, the BBC and ITV are trying to pool their assets to launch their own streaming platform. Their first effort to do so, in 2007, was squelched by regulators. The new platform, dubbed BritBox (a version of which has been available in North America), is expected to make its U.K. debut later in 2019, with the two broadcasters’ popular shows and new content. But the BBC and ITV are still struggling to resolve issues of budget, audience data sharing and content exclusivity. Continue reading BBC and ITV Join Forces to Launch Rival to U.S. Streamers

CES Panel: Defining TV Across Primetime and Multi-Platforms

Altman Vilandrie & Company director Jonathan Hurd presided over a panel at CES on how TV has evolved and will continue to change. Viacom’s Stefanie Schwartz noted that her company is making “hours of original content to drive viewership and engagement on all the social platforms.” “We’re experimenting with all kinds of formats and seeing what works,” she said. MAGNA North America president David Cohen said his company is doubling down on OTT. “We’re looking to think about where to put the dollars as consumers migrate,” he said. Continue reading CES Panel: Defining TV Across Primetime and Multi-Platforms

Mobile Video Service ‘Quibi’ Is Scheduled to Launch in 2019

At Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman revealed that the name of their new mobile video startup will be Quibi (short for “quick bites”). The subscription service, originally known as NewTV, is scheduled to launch next year. Producer Jason Blum and filmmakers including Sam Raimi, Guillermo del Toro and Antoine Fuqua are among those slated to create content for the new venture. “These people are so excited about doing something new. They want to be the pioneers. They want to be able to show the path in doing this,” said Katzenberg. “We are going to do be able to do extraordinary storytelling.” Continue reading Mobile Video Service ‘Quibi’ Is Scheduled to Launch in 2019

NewTV Plans to Bring Hollywood’s A-Game to Mobile Video

Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman formed NewTV to offer short original programming designed for smartphones. They believe they’re creating the next-generation HBO or Netflix, and many big players in Hollywood are betting they’re right. Katzenberg said that the holding company he co-founded, WndrCo, closed a $1 billion seed-funding round on July 31. Other backers include Disney, 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Viacom, AT&T’s WarnerMedia, Lionsgate, MGM, ITV and Entertainment One. Continue reading NewTV Plans to Bring Hollywood’s A-Game to Mobile Video

European Broadcasters Partner to Fend Off Amazon, Netflix

Spain’s three major broadcasters — state-run RTVE and privately run Mediaset España and Atresmedia — are joining forces to launch LovesTV, an 18-channel streaming platform featuring programs from all of them. This paradigm is also taking place in the U.K., France, Germany and Italy, as competitors join forces to co-produce programs or stream programs online. It’s a strategy to fend off Netflix, Amazon and HBO, all of which are increasing their budgets to offer streaming programming for European audiences. Continue reading European Broadcasters Partner to Fend Off Amazon, Netflix

Following U.S. Success, Amazon Brings Channels to Europe

For a year-and-a-half, Amazon has been promoting subscriptions to HBO, Starz and other streaming services. Now, it plans to expand Amazon Channels to Austria, Germany and the U.K. with between 25 to 42 live and on-demand channels from its content partners, thus offering the kind of a la carte TV that many viewers want. Apparently, the success of Channels took Amazon by surprise, and it has created two new channels — Anime Strike and Heera for Bollywood fans — while postponing plans for its own live service. Continue reading Following U.S. Success, Amazon Brings Channels to Europe

HPA Tech Retreat: Impact of OTT Video on TV/Film Production

The Digital Production Partnership (DPP), formed and funded by UK broadcasters BBC, ITV and Channel 4 to help broadcast companies maximize the potential benefits of digital TV production, conducted in-depth research into how OTT video is produced. It reports that more audiovisual content is now commissioned for uses other than broadcast distribution, with many production companies now producing entirely for the non-broadcast market. At the HPA Tech Retreat in Indian Wells, DPP managing director Mark Harrison addressed how this is impacting the film/TV production industry. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Impact of OTT Video on TV/Film Production

Vice to Decide on TV, Mobile, OTT Expansion Deals in Europe

A large number of potential partners are vying to cut deals for Vice TV channels across Europe, expected to launch in the next 12 to 18 months. But plans aren’t moving fast enough for chief executive Shane Smith who is eager to ink agreements not just for TV but mobile, online and OTT. The company is already set to launch a U.S. channel, and expected to partner with A+E for that venture (although Smith more recently declined to say who his U.S. partner would be), and has a Canadian outlet with Rogers Communications. Continue reading Vice to Decide on TV, Mobile, OTT Expansion Deals in Europe

Simple.tv Plans to Debut ShowDrive Cloud DVR at Next CES

Simple.tv — the company that has been trying to reinvent the DVR since 2012 — is about to launch ShowDrive, which allows users to record and playback up to 1,000 hours of TV programming from the cloud to Internet-connected TVs, streaming devices and mobile phones. Unlike Aereo, whose live TV and time-shifted TV DVR was killed by a Supreme Court ruling that it didn’t substantially differ from a cable operator, Simple.tv’s technology is based on technology that has standing in past legal cases. Continue reading Simple.tv Plans to Debut ShowDrive Cloud DVR at Next CES

World Cup: New Records for ABC, Univision, Facebook, Twitter

The numbers keep rolling in for the FIFA World Cup. Last week we reported that the Germany-Brazil semifinal set new viewing records and knocked out this year’s Super Bowl for the most Twitter activity during a sports event. Now it’s being reported that Sunday’s championship match between Germany and Argentina drew 30 million U.S. viewers, shattering the previous record for a final, thanks in part to the Spanish-language audience. Additionally, new usage records were set for Twitter and Facebook. Continue reading World Cup: New Records for ABC, Univision, Facebook, Twitter

Imagining Ways That Google Glass Could Interact with Your TV

Dutch telecommunications provider KPN has teamed with Accenture for a proof-of-concept demo that uses Google Glass for numerous interactive TV applications. Although Glass is not yet available commercially, the companies are looking at ways that consumers could control their televisions with voice-activated commands via the wearable tech. The companies are showing three TV applications this week at Mobile World Congress: remote control, second screen, and TV Everywhere. Continue reading Imagining Ways That Google Glass Could Interact with Your TV

Showtime Network Syncing Interactive Content on LG Smart TVs

Premium cable network Showtime has begun syncing interactive elements for its shows directly onto LG’s smart TVs using Web-based technology. This service is unique in that there are no extraneous downloads or devices. Although not all Showtime viewers own the compatible technology for interactive TV, this will likely change in the future as more TV manufacturers adopt the standard HTML5 and JavaScript technologies used by LG’s LivePlus service. Continue reading Showtime Network Syncing Interactive Content on LG Smart TVs

Turness Appointed President of NBC News in Industry First

NBC News announced on Monday that Deborah Turness, formerly the editor of ITV News in the UK, will become the news division’s president beginning August 5, filling the seat vacated by Steve Capus in February. Turness will report to Pat Fili-Krushel, chairman of NBCUniversal News Group. The appointment marks the first time a female executive has been named network news division president in the United States. Continue reading Turness Appointed President of NBC News in Industry First

New Report Indicates Apple Will Launch HDTV This Year

Apple’s HDTV, which has reportedly been in development for years, is expected to finally debut later this year. While meeting with supply chain sources in China and Taiwan, Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White has gathered information from unnamed sources that suggest Apple will launch its iTV in the second half of 2013. White says innovative new features of the HDTV could make it a game-changer. Continue reading New Report Indicates Apple Will Launch HDTV This Year

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