A Rebranded ‘Paramount+ with Showtime’ Will Roll Out Soon

Paramount Global will be fully integrating Paramount+ and Showtime across both streaming and linear platforms later this year, according to president and CEO Bob Bakish, who said both the premium streaming tier on Paramount+ and the Showtime linear cable network will be known as “Paramount+ with Showtime” in the U.S. Pricing was not disclosed. In September, the studio began offering Paramount+ bundled with Showtime for prices ranging from $11.99 to $14.99 for premium. Paramount+ with Showtime will include Showtime original content, while Showtime will also get some Paramount+ original fare. Bakish said details will be shared in upcoming weeks. Continue reading A Rebranded ‘Paramount+ with Showtime’ Will Roll Out Soon

CES: Tech Industry Aims for Connectivity to Everyone via 5G

Government and industry executives discussed their roles in ensuring Internet connectivity to all Americans via 5G. Moderated by CTA vice president of regulatory affairs J. David Grossman, panelists touched on the major obstacles to ubiquitous connectivity. Qualcomm senior director of government affairs Leslie Barnes noted that, “it’s important we consider all the technologies for last mile connectivity.” “Where fiber is impractical or cost prohibitive, fixed wireless access is a possibility, and it’s cost effective,” she said. “It’s a fast-growing solution that now covers over 35 million households and 2 million businesses.” Continue reading CES: Tech Industry Aims for Connectivity to Everyone via 5G

CES: Nanoleaf Debuts New Matter-Compliant Smart Lighting

LED lighting firm Nanoleaf is debuting innovations at CES that include “learning smart light switches” under the banner Sense+ Controls. The devices span categories such as hardwired Smart Light Switch, Wireless Smart Light Switch and Nala Learning Bridge, all of which work with Matter, a global interoperability protocol designed to help smart homes run smoothly, running on the low-powered Thread mesh networking standard. The new Sense+ Controls products feature motion and ambient lighting sensors that automate routines. The Nala Learning Bridge facilitates color-differentiated, soft-glow night lights and connects via Thread to Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Continue reading CES: Nanoleaf Debuts New Matter-Compliant Smart Lighting

Netflix Open Connect Program Helps ISPs and All Networks

Netflix is tooting its own horn for 10 years of Open Connect, an initiative designed to provide customers with improved technical performance. Since launching the program in 2012, Netflix has worked with global ISPs to optimize servers in high-density customer areas so programming will stream at high quality and with minimal lag time. Open Connect identifies the most efficient delivery route based on ISPs’ preferences, and ensures that the show or film is available on local servers ahead of time, ensuring access even when demand is at its highest, according to Netflix. Continue reading Netflix Open Connect Program Helps ISPs and All Networks

AMC Announces the Launch of its Ad-Free Streaming Service

AMC is introducing AMC Premiere, its new $5 per month streaming service that offers commercial-free versions of current programs, movies, trailers, bonus scenes, and the ability to stream shows at the same time they air on television. However, the cable network is not targeting cord cutters yet. “For now at least, you have to be a pay TV subscriber to use AMC Premiere — and specifically, a Comcast Xfinity TV customer,” reports TechCrunch. “That’s because launch of the new service is currently tied to a deal with Comcast, whose Xfinity TV customers will be able to stream the service via their set-top boxes as well as the Xfinity Stream website and mobile app.” Continue reading AMC Announces the Launch of its Ad-Free Streaming Service

Netflix Continues Push to Become the First Global TV Network

Journalists were recently invited to the Silicon Valley offices of Netflix for a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s distribution efforts for its latest Marvel series, “Iron Fist.” Through a series of talks that emphasized how the streaming service is essentially becoming a global Internet-based television network for more than 93 million subscribers, the “Netflix Lab Days” event addressed the tech and business considerations involved with programming for an international audience, creating “taste communities” for recommendations and personalization, initiating deals with TV operators and ISPs around the world, language translations for original content, and translating the Netflix apps and catalog into multiple languages. Continue reading Netflix Continues Push to Become the First Global TV Network

Boomerang: Turner and Warner to Offer Streaming Animation

Time Warner properties Turner and Warner Bros. are planning the spring launch of a new subscription streaming service. Boomerang, which will run $5 per month or $40 per year, “will offer more than 5,000 animated titles from Hanna-Barbera, Looney Tunes and MGM,” notes The Hollywood Reporter. Franchises will “include Scooby-Doo, Tom & Jerry, The Jetsons and The Flintstones.” The streaming service will also serve as the exclusive outlet for new animated series and new episodes of iconic franchises. Boomerang will be powered by DramaFever tech, and “will be available online and on iOS and Android devices at launch,” explains THR. “It expects to add support for additional platforms, including set-top boxes, after the service starts running.” Continue reading Boomerang: Turner and Warner to Offer Streaming Animation

HBO Now Service Has More Than 2 Million Subscribers in U.S.

During a conference call yesterday with analysts detailing HBO’s strong 2016 earnings, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes announced that the cable network’s standalone streaming service HBO Now, which launched in April 2015, has officially surpassed the 2 million domestic subscriber mark. “Wall Street has been keenly attuned to the pace of subscriber growth for HBO Now as a bellwether of how major media giants will evolve their businesses in the digital era,” reports Variety. The service is vital to Time Warner since “HBO is in the midst of carriage renewal deals with major MVPDs, including the two largest cable operators, Comcast and Charter Communications.” Time Warner is also looking to merge with AT&T, parent of DirecTV. Continue reading HBO Now Service Has More Than 2 Million Subscribers in U.S.

Consortium Unveils Blockchain Platform for Financial Services

More than 70 of the world’s biggest financial institutions publicly released Corda, a blockchain platform that may become an industry standard. R3, a New York-based financial tech company, created a consortium that is behind Corda. Blockchain, which evolved from the digital currency Bitcoin, is similarly a digital means of replacing the use of hard currency with a Web-based transaction system. Via a “shared record” of data in a secure network, Blockchain avoids the need for third-party verification. Continue reading Consortium Unveils Blockchain Platform for Financial Services

Verizon Plans to Launch New Internet Data Service for Drones

After two years of working on the technology, Verizon will soon connect drones to its wireless network, with drone data plans starting at $25 a month for 1 gigabyte of data and $80 for 10 gigabytes, similar to what consumers are already paying for data. The company just demonstrated the technology with drone manufacturer American Aerospace Technologies at Cape May, New Jersey. The new drone data plan will allow consumers to connect their drones to the Internet, streaming videos and photos to earth. Continue reading Verizon Plans to Launch New Internet Data Service for Drones

Univision Outbids Ziff Davis, Buys Gawker in $135 Million Deal

TV network and digital publisher Univision will purchase Gawker Media for $135 million, a deal that includes all seven of the blog network’s sites, including Jezebel, Deadspin and Gawker.com. The only other bidder in the auction, Internet publisher Ziff Davis, originally offered $90 million. “I am pleased that our employees are protected and will continue their work under new ownership — disentangled from the legal campaign against the company,” said Gawker Media owner Nick Denton. “We could not have picked an acquirer more devoted to vibrant journalism.” Continue reading Univision Outbids Ziff Davis, Buys Gawker in $135 Million Deal

ABC Targets Cord Cutters with Expanded Streaming Offerings

ABC relaunched its streaming service yesterday to attract cord cutters with an increased number of TV shows and a collection of new digital originals. The network is introducing seven digital short-form series that focus on comedy and lifestyle, with more than 40 digital programs in development. The content is available via the free, ad-supported app and online at ABC.go.com. The app is debuting a redesigned user interface for iOS devices and Apple TV boxes. In addition, pay TV subscribers will have access to exclusive content and, in select markets, the ability to view live television. Continue reading ABC Targets Cord Cutters with Expanded Streaming Offerings

Weather Channel Turns to AR Tech for 2016 Hurricane Season

The Weather Channel has launched three new augmented reality tools to help bring tropical storms and hurricane season to life during its broadcasts. SurgeFX offers a realistic to-scale surge forecast, Shear Factor displays real data in three dimensions, and 3D visualization tool Tropical Replay tracks past storms to provide historical context. Last year, the network unveiled its AR capabilities with an in-studio tornado simulation. “For the 2016 hurricane season, the network is adding a data dimension to its augmented reality features,” reports Mashable. “Instead of just simulating weather phenomena, the products will incorporate real-time data through dazzling graphics.” Continue reading Weather Channel Turns to AR Tech for 2016 Hurricane Season

Lionsgate to Purchase Premium Channel Starz for $4.4 Billion

Lionsgate announced it has agreed to acquire premium cable network Starz for $4.4 billion in cash and stock. Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht, who just signed a new contract that runs through 2020, is expected to continue running Starz. It is not clear if the deal would have any impact on Lionsgate’s stake in Epix, which the company owns with Viacom and MGM, and serves as the pay TV home to Lionsgate films. The deal will bring 17 Starz- and Encore-branded channels and Anchor Bay Entertainment video distribution to Lionsgate. Continue reading Lionsgate to Purchase Premium Channel Starz for $4.4 Billion

BitTorrent Plans to Launch a Streaming News Network by Fall

San Francisco-based BitTorrent is in the process of launching a TV news network in time for the fall elections. The company has posted a job opening for a news director, who would have the opportunity of starting with a blank slate to create the streaming “BitTorrent News,” described as a “tent-pole live news channel.” When queried, BitTorrent would not describe specifics of the upcoming channel but instead commented that the company has “a lot of exciting initiatives focused on media across all our platforms.” Continue reading BitTorrent Plans to Launch a Streaming News Network by Fall