YouTube to Launch its Subscription Service in U.S. Next Week

At the YouTube Space in Los Angeles yesterday, YouTube execs formally introduced the company’s anticipated $9.99 per month subscription service. YouTube Red will offer consumers ad-free access to YouTube’s enormous catalog of music, gaming and how-to videos. The company also unveiled YouTube originals during the event, a collection of original programming that will be available exclusively through the new subscription service. YouTube Red will launch next week across the YouTube site, YouTube’s gaming app and the Google Play music service. Continue reading YouTube to Launch its Subscription Service in U.S. Next Week

With Elemental Buy, Amazon May Be Planning Pay TV Service

According to several sources, Amazon is reportedly looking into the logistics and costs of creating an online pay TV service by talking with multiple content owners about carrying their channels. These talks — with CBS and Comcast’s NBCUniversal — have been going on for several months, say the sources. Amazon already offers content via its Prime Instant Video streaming service, as well as producing its own TV content. A live service would put it in direct competition with other pay TV providers such as Comcast and AT&T. Continue reading With Elemental Buy, Amazon May Be Planning Pay TV Service

Hulu Introduces Ad-Free Option to Streaming for Additional $4

For an additional $4 ($11.99 per month), Hulu is offering an ad-free option to streaming movies and TV shows. Those who prefer to pay $7.99 will still have to sit through ads. The move could help Hulu better compete with popular streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon that do not include advertising. It could also present the company with an opportunity to increase its revenue in order to invest in more content. This could prove vital since premium cable networks such as HBO and Showtime are making their programming available outside traditional cable bundles. Continue reading Hulu Introduces Ad-Free Option to Streaming for Additional $4

Apple Considers Move into Producing Original Video Content

Sources indicate that Apple has recently been meeting with Hollywood executives to discuss the possibility of the tech giant taking a more active role in the entertainment business by producing original programming. The group exploring the possibility reports to Eddy Cue, who handles content-related issues for Apple. According to one high-level exec who met with Apple, the goal is to launch development and production units by next year that would produce streaming content to take on Netflix and similar services. Continue reading Apple Considers Move into Producing Original Video Content

Nielsen to Track Viewership Across Netflix, Amazon and Hulu

Nielsen is rolling out a program to track views of almost 1,000 shows on Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Instant Video and Hulu, relying on the same 25,000 U.S. households used to track traditional TV ratings. The idea is that, by having access to that data, large media companies such as Comcast NBCUniversal can hammer out better content licensing deals, especially with Netflix. Currently, Nielsen provides data only to studios that own the programs and pay for the information, but it plans to syndicate the data in the future. Continue reading Nielsen to Track Viewership Across Netflix, Amazon and Hulu

Netflix to Offer Original Programming Produced for Teenagers

As part of its effort to meet the entertainment needs of the postmillennial generation, Netflix is adding exclusive films and TV series to its service that target teenagers and tweens. Netflix has picked up a half-hour original series about a group of musicians called “Lost & Found Music Studios,” a series called “Degrassi: Next Class” that addresses the issues teens face as they get ready to enter adulthood, and “Fuller House,” the sequel to the popular 90s sitcom “Full House.” Netflix has also licensed two movies featuring YouTube stars — “Smosh: The Movie” and “Bad Night.” Continue reading Netflix to Offer Original Programming Produced for Teenagers

Netflix Looking to Build its Brand with Original Feature Films

Netflix is ready to expand its original content beyond TV series to feature films. First, the service will release Cary Fukunaga’s “Beasts of No Nation” on October 16. The film will debut via Netflix and select U.S. theaters, which will make it eligible for industry awards. On December 11, Netflix will release “The Ridiculous Six,” the first of four Adam Sandler films it plans to distribute. And in Q1 2016, the sequel “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend” will be released globally on Netflix, theatrically in China and on IMAX. Continue reading Netflix Looking to Build its Brand with Original Feature Films

HuffPost Announces Online Video Network, Film and TV Units

The Huffington Post announced plans to expand its video capabilities with a new 24-hour online video network called HuffPost 24. The announcement arrived just days after Verizon closed its $4.4 billion acquisition of Huffington Post parent company AOL. The network’s range of programming will be made available via apps, the HuffPost website, OTT platforms and as VOD. HuffPost Films and HuffPost TV divisions will also be established to produce content for the new network and beyond. Video GM Nathan Brown is currently hiring as part of the the new initiatives. Continue reading HuffPost Announces Online Video Network, Film and TV Units

Amazon Prime Instant Video Intros HDR Support for New Series

Amazon announced that it is introducing limited support for high dynamic range content on its Amazon Instant Video service. The HDR support will initially launch for Amazon Prime members in the U.S. with the full original series “Mozart in the Jungle” and the pilot episode of the original “Red Oaks.” Netflix announced earlier that it also plans to support HDR video this year, starting with its original series “Marco Polo.” However, most consumers have yet to purchase televisions that support HDR, so it may take a while for the technology to gain mainstream adoption. Continue reading Amazon Prime Instant Video Intros HDR Support for New Series

Hulu to Offer Showtime for an Added Fee Beginning Next Month

Hulu announced yesterday that its subscribers will have the ability to add Showtime for $8.99 per month starting in time for the July premieres of “Ray Donovan” and “Masters of Sex.” The deal represents the first time that the streaming VOD service has partnered with a premium cable channel to drive subscriptions. Hulu customers will still need to pay $7.99 per month to stream the other available content. Hulu, which originally launched as a free, ad-supported service, recently rebranded itself by removing the word “Plus” from the name of its paid tier. Continue reading Hulu to Offer Showtime for an Added Fee Beginning Next Month

Amazon Streams U.S. Premiere of British Comedy on Facebook

British comedy “Catastrophe” made its streaming debut in the U.S. this week exclusively on Amazon’s Facebook page. The move is a new approach to promoting Netflix competitor Amazon Prime Instant Video. Two days after Monday night’s premiere, the show will be made available for streaming only to Amazon Instant Video subscribers (the entire season will be available Friday). This is not the first time social media has been leveraged this way. Hulu has been posting select videos on Facebook, while studios have been offering movie rentals and purchases via social platforms. Continue reading Amazon Streams U.S. Premiere of British Comedy on Facebook

TBO: Alibaba Announces Plans for Subscription Video Service

Liu Chunning, president of Alibaba’s Digital Entertainment arm, announced that the Chinese e-commerce giant is planning to launch a new subscription video service in two months called Tmall Box Office (TBO). “We aim to become [the equivalent of] HBO and Netflix in the U.S.,” he said during the Shanghai International Film Festival. The service will stream local movies and TV shows, imported content and original programming produced by Alibaba. The service will be available on Alibaba’s smart TVs and OTT box. Continue reading TBO: Alibaba Announces Plans for Subscription Video Service

Streaming Services Luring Viewers from Ad-Based Television

PwC recently released its annual five-year forecast for entertainment and media, dropping the growth rate for ad spending on TV. Last year’s report projected a 5.5 percent annual increase in ad spending over the next five years. PwC has revised that figure to 4 percent through 2019, as original programming from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon continues to compete with traditional television content. In the U.S., the number is even lower; ad spending on TV has been growing 3 percent annually on average. Continue reading Streaming Services Luring Viewers from Ad-Based Television

Showtime to Debut its Internet Streaming Service This Summer

Showtime is joining HBO in introducing its own Internet streaming service that will offer unlimited on-demand access to original series, movies and sports programming without requiring a traditional TV subscription. In addition, it will include a live feed of Showtime’s broadcasts for both coasts. The cable network announced yesterday that it plans to debut the standalone service in July to coincide with the season premieres of “Masters of Sex” and “Ray Donovan.” The service will initially be available on Apple devices for $11 per month. Continue reading Showtime to Debut its Internet Streaming Service This Summer

AOL and NBCUniversal Plan to Share Content Across Platforms

AOL and NBCUniversal have reached a licensing and distribution agreement that will allow the two companies to share and develop content. Shows from NBC, CNBC and Telemundo could start streaming via online video platform AOL On. NBCUniversal and AOL may also start developing original content together to be distributed on the platforms of both companies. The agreement means that advertisers will be able to reach consumers watching this shared content on television as well as mobile and desktop devices. Continue reading AOL and NBCUniversal Plan to Share Content Across Platforms

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