Amazon Prime Video to Run TV Commercials Early Next Year

Amazon Prime Video plans to introduce commercial breaks to its popular streaming service early next year, following top platforms such as Disney+, Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max, which already offer ad-supported tiers. The company indicates it will run fewer ads than traditional linear TV broadcasters and broadband rivals but has yet to specify numbers. Subscribers in the U.S. who want to keep the streaming service ad-free have the option of paying an additional $2.99 per month. Amazon explained that its strategy to include ads would help it “continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time.” Continue reading Amazon Prime Video to Run TV Commercials Early Next Year

Amazon Integrating AI to Modernize NFL Viewing Experience

Amazon is using artificial intelligence to change the way viewers experience “Thursday Night Football” on Amazon Prime Video this season. Now in the second year of its 10-year NFL deal, Amazon joins Disney’s ESPN in using AI to change how people experience televised sports by parsing a variety of analytics and using machine learning to interpret 2D video into 3D for a variety of viewpoints on any play. Amazon is auto-generating highlights feeds for each game, so late arrivals can catch up. September 14 marks the debut of the new AI Prime features and the games in 1080p HDR. Continue reading Amazon Integrating AI to Modernize NFL Viewing Experience

NFL+ Boosts Prices as It Bundles with NFL Network, RedZone

The National Football League is raising the price of its streaming service, NFL+, now in year two, as live streams of the NFL Network and NFL RedZone cable channels are becoming part of the package. Cost of the premium plan will be $14.99 a month (or $99.99 per year), up 50 percent from $9.99, with the bundled NFL Network and its exclusive regular-season games, and fan-favorite RedZone, which carries live action from all Sunday afternoon games. A subscription to NFL+ with only the NFL Network added will increase 40 percent to $6.99 per month (or $49.99 per year), from $4.99. The changes will coincide with the start of the new season on September 10. Continue reading NFL+ Boosts Prices as It Bundles with NFL Network, RedZone

AWS, Advertising Drive Amazon to 11 Percent Revenue Gain

Amazon’s AWS cloud-computing unit generated $22.1 billion in Q2, a 12 percent year-over-year gain that was a highlight in a strong quarter for the e-commerce giant. The company generated a total of $134.4 billion in revenue for the period ending in June, an 11 percent increase over the prior year. Advertising was also strong, jumping 22 percent to $10.68 billion. Cost-cutting and rebounding e-commerce helped propel the Seattle-based company to a quarterly profit of $6.75 billion (its strongest performance since Q4 2021), which contrasted sharply with a loss in the same period last year. Continue reading AWS, Advertising Drive Amazon to 11 Percent Revenue Gain

Amazon Explores Launching Ad-Supported Prime Video Tier

Amazon may be further leveraging its enviable position with Madison Avenue by launching an ad-supported Prime Video tier. The move makes sense given Amazon’s surging ad revenue from online sales. The company also owns the FAST service Freevee. Amazon’s ad savvy runs deep, and reports suggest the e-commerce giant is also in discussions with Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global to package the ad-supported versions of Max and Paramount+ under the Prime Video Channels banner. The news comes on the eve of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for the global marketing elite. Continue reading Amazon Explores Launching Ad-Supported Prime Video Tier

Amazon Offers New Ad Model for Thursday Night NFL Games

Amazon is offering advertisers a unique marketing opportunity within “Thursday Night Football,” inviting them to take advantage of new streaming tech by programming different creative messages within the same 30-second slot. “For the first time in NFL history, fans across the country will no longer view the same national commercials while enjoying live coverage provided by Prime Video on Fire TV devices,” Amazon said at the NewFronts. For example, an automotive brand could promote sports cars to younger adults, SUVs to outdoor enthusiasts and a general spot for everyone else — all in the same 30-second window. Continue reading Amazon Offers New Ad Model for Thursday Night NFL Games

Peacock Now Streaming VR Content on Meta Quest Headsets

Peacock struck a deal with Meta Platforms that will allow its subscribers to view movies, TV shows and sports in virtual reality on Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro headsets. That includes MLB and NFL games, “all in VR on your own giant, personal screen.” VR will be available to all Peacock subscribers, starting with the ad-subsidized $4.99 per month Premium tier, but those who sign-up with a qualifying Quest 2 or Quest Pro before April 11, 2024 will be eligible to receive Peacock Premium for 12 months at no additional cost. Those who had qualifying Meta headsets registered on or before April 11, 2023 will be eligible for three free months of Peacock Premium. Continue reading Peacock Now Streaming VR Content on Meta Quest Headsets

Apple Reportedly Allocates $1 Billion for Theatrical Releases

Apple plans to spend $1 billion a year on theatrical release films, according to Bloomberg, which say the move is “part of an ambitious effort to raise its profile in Hollywood and lure subscribers to its streaming service.” The films will reportedly play in theaters for at least one month before debuting on Apple TV+. Martin Scorsese’s crime drama “Killers of the Flower Moon,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ridley Scott’s historical drama “Napoleon,” are among the Apple-funded projects expected to be released in “thousands of theaters,” though Apple still hasn’t finalized distribution arrangements. Continue reading Apple Reportedly Allocates $1 Billion for Theatrical Releases

YouTube TV Launches Its ‘Multiview’ Display, Ideal for Sports

YouTube TV is rolling out a new feature aimed at live sports fans. Called “multiview,” it lets people watch up to four different streams at once. Just in time for March Madness, multiview is debuting in early access to select U.S. subscribers and only for sports content, YouTube says, adding that it’s exploring how to apply the quad-screen format across a variety of content and will gradually make it available to more users. Slow-walking the initial launch will allow the platform to collect feedback and improve the feature in time for the fall NFL football season. Continue reading YouTube TV Launches Its ‘Multiview’ Display, Ideal for Sports

Dish Network’s Sling TV Is Reimagined as ‘Sling Freestream’

The Dish Network’s Internet-streaming division Sling TV is being rebranded as Sling Freestream, offering free, ad-supported streaming television (FAST) and free, ad-supported VOD in attempt to better connect with consumers who don’t want to pay monthly subscription fees. Although the Sling live TV service was already free, the move sees it doubling down in the sector by expanding from 150 to 210 free channels with 41,000-plus on-demand titles. Sling Freestream users will also be able to subscribe to 50-plus standalone streaming services, including Showtime, Discovery+, MGM+ and AMC+. Continue reading Dish Network’s Sling TV Is Reimagined as ‘Sling Freestream’

Senators Grill Live Nation on Antitrust After the Swift Debacle

Anticompetitive practices, outrageous ticket fees and poor customer service were among the allegations leveled at Live Nation Entertainment Tuesday at a contentious Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing over botched Taylor Swift concert ticket presales by the company’s Ticketmaster subsidiary. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) called the Live Nation relationship to Ticketmaster “the definition of monopoly,” adding that venues fearful of losing the company’s concerts don’t have the ability to push back because Live Nation is “so powerful that it doesn’t even need to exert pressure, it doesn’t need to threaten because people just fall in line.” Continue reading Senators Grill Live Nation on Antitrust After the Swift Debacle

NFL Sunday Ticket Is Coming to YouTube TV and Primetime

Over the holidays, the National Football League announced a multi-year deal with Google that will provide YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels with exclusive rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket package, which includes all out-of-market Sunday games broadcast via CBS and FOX. Beginning with the 2023 football season, NFL Sunday Ticket will be available for U.S. consumers “on two of YouTube’s growing subscription businesses as an add-on package on YouTube TV and standalone a-la-carte on YouTube Primetime Channels,” according to Google. The agreement is valued at about $2 billion annually over seven years. Continue reading NFL Sunday Ticket Is Coming to YouTube TV and Primetime

Technoblade and MrBeast Among YouTube’s Most-Streamed

YouTube’s U.S. Top 10 Trending Videos of 2022 were viewed more than 650 million times over 55 million hours, according to the platform, which said the channels hosting the top 10 collectively have more than 225 million subscribers. At No. 1, with more than 87 million views, was “so long nerds,” the farewell message from the “Minecraft” gamer known as Technoblade, who this year died of cancer at age 23. Actor Will Smith’s infamous Oscar smackdown of host Chris Rock, uncensored from Guardian News, was the second most viewed clip of 2022. Continue reading Technoblade and MrBeast Among YouTube’s Most-Streamed

Netflix Ad-Supported Plan to Debut Nov. 3 for $6.99 per Month

Netflix is introducing its ad-supported tier in the U.S. starting November 3, at a monthly subscription fee of $6.99. The Netflix economy service will reportedly average between four and five minutes of ads per hour, with individual spots running 15 seconds to 30 seconds. Certain TV shows and movies won’t be included on the ad-supported tier due to contract restrictions. To provide advertisers with viewership measurement, Netflix will begin using Nielsen’s digital measurement service in the U.S. starting in 2023. This will mark the streaming giant’s first third-party ratings. Continue reading Netflix Ad-Supported Plan to Debut Nov. 3 for $6.99 per Month

NBA and Microsoft Team on New DTC Mobile Streaming App

The NBA becomes the latest sports league to court digital viewers, launching an app for streaming, personalization and socializing. The app is free to download, and NBA League Pass will be integrated into the app, with promotional pricing of $14.99 per month ($99.99 per season) for a standard package and $19.99 per month ($129.99 per season) for a premium subscription. The NBA App is a product of NBA Digital, the league’s joint venture with Turner Sports, and was built in partnership with Microsoft, the NBA’s cloud and artificial intelligence partner. Continue reading NBA and Microsoft Team on New DTC Mobile Streaming App