Google Play Makes It Easy to Track Streaming Movies and TV

This week, Google is rolling out an updated Google Play Movies & TV app, including changes to the Google Play Store that will help consumers more easily identify which streaming services feature their desired content and whether that content is available for rent or purchase. “The end result is something that’s similar to Apple’s own TV app,” reports TechCrunch, “which combines users’ own library of movies and TV with the ability to seek out what’s trending and available in the world of online video.” Continue reading Google Play Makes It Easy to Track Streaming Movies and TV

Sony to Launch Ultra 4K Movie Streaming Service Next Week

Sony is slated to roll out its 4K movie streaming service on Monday, April 4. First announced at January’s CES in Las Vegas, the new service will be called Ultra. Viewers will be charged $30 to purchase new Sony-produced films and $12-15 to upgrade pre-owned movies from their UltraViolet cloud locker. Ultra will also offer 4K HDR content such as extras previously only featured on discs. Consumers who buy a 2016 4K Sony TV will get four UHD movies bundled with their new television. Transactional VOD rentals are not expected to be an option featured with the launch. Continue reading Sony to Launch Ultra 4K Movie Streaming Service Next Week

GM Invests $500 Million in Lyft and Partners on New Initiatives

Ride-hailing service Lyft announced yesterday that General Motors recently invested $500 million in the San Francisco-based startup. The investment represents half of Lyft’s latest venture financing round, which values the company at $4.5 billion. GM and Lyft will work together to develop an on-demand network of autonomous vehicles, taking on companies such as Google, Tesla and Uber in the process. In addition, the two companies are planning short-term car rental hubs that would provide work opportunities for potential Lyft drivers who do not have their own vehicles. Continue reading GM Invests $500 Million in Lyft and Partners on New Initiatives

Walmart Launches its New Vudu Spark Streaming Media Stick

Walmart has begun selling its own HDMI streaming media stick — the Vudu Spark — for $24.95 at Walmart.com and select Walmart stores. The Wi-Fi device features a dedicated remote, is powered via USB, and supports 7.1 surround sound and video up to 1080p. It looks like the Spark is largely a single-purpose stick, loaded only with the Vudu app (Walmart’s streaming video service), but the stick is priced $10 less than Google’s Chromecast and currently includes $25 in Vudu credits over five months for customers who activate it. Continue reading Walmart Launches its New Vudu Spark Streaming Media Stick

Yekra Adds Blockbusters, Customized Playlists to Movie Player

Yekra, a Los Angeles-based startup, distributes movies by embedding them in websites. With Yekra’s improved movie player, websites can directly distribute relevant movies to their visitors, and make money doing it. Website owners can choose movies for their customizable playlists from Yekra’s 250-film library, including blockbusters such as “The Dark Knight,” “The Great Gatsby” and “The Lord of the Rings.” In the past two years, Yekra has made $2.5 million in sales. Continue reading Yekra Adds Blockbusters, Customized Playlists to Movie Player

Amazon Instant Video Offers Video Shorts to Rival YouTube

Amazon Instant Video offers more than 150,000 titles for purchase or rental, 40,000 movies and TV episodes for streaming, and now YouTube-like Video Shorts. The new category includes music videos, movie and game trailers, live performances, beauty tutorials, how-to videos and more. The short-form video category also adds YouTube to Amazon’s list of competitors, which already includes Netflix and iTunes. Currently, the service includes hundreds of thousands of videos.
 Continue reading Amazon Instant Video Offers Video Shorts to Rival YouTube

M-GO to Replace Samsung’s Video and Media Streaming Hub

Samsung is shifting away from direct media sales and ending its Video and Media hub, which directly sold and rented digital content to consumers. On July 31, Samsung’s video streaming service for Galaxy mobile devices and Samsung Smart TVs will no longer be available. On-demand streaming service M-GO will assume all Samsung Video accounts. Users who bought movies or TV shows through the Samsung Video and Media hub will be able to access their content through M-GO. Continue reading M-GO to Replace Samsung’s Video and Media Streaming Hub

NPD Reports Consumer Satisfaction with UltraViolet Service

According to a new study from NPD Group based on a survey conducted in February, 82 percent of consumers who currently have an UltraViolet account plan to continue using the digital locker service in the future. The NPD study also found that UltraViolet users were about 11 times more likely to make an electronic sell-through movie purchase than other consumers in the last year. UltraViolet launched in 2011, and there are now more than 16 million accounts. Continue reading NPD Reports Consumer Satisfaction with UltraViolet Service

Redbox Refocuses as Sales and Streaming Service Stagnate

Redbox, the nation’s largest DVD renter, is uninstalling more than 500 kiosks, renegotiating contracts with studios for more favorable content rights, and optimizing its streaming service, Redbox Instant. These changes come as the company faces several challenges: revenue rose only three percent last year after double-digit increases in past years, good locations for kiosks are dwindling, and Redbox Instant only accounts for less than 1 percent of video-on-demand rentals. Continue reading Redbox Refocuses as Sales and Streaming Service Stagnate

Digital Movie Revenue on the Rise While Home Video Sales Fall

According to first quarter reports, revenue from digital movies has grown 43 percent since last year, bringing in $330.25 million for the home entertainment industry. However, that number is still dwarfed by the revenue from disc sales. Even though disc sales dropped 13.7 percent, they still account for $1.82 billion in consumer spending on DVDs and Blu-ray discs. Revenue from subscription streaming is up 26.5 percent to $928.6 million. Continue reading Digital Movie Revenue on the Rise While Home Video Sales Fall

GameFly Will Take On Netflix with New Movie Rental Service

Video game rental service GameFly is launching a movie rental service (currently in beta) that aims to compete with the Netflix disc-by-mail business. GameFly will offer DVD and Blu-ray discs to subscribers, with the option of renting one or two movies at a time. While Netflix has predicted that shipping costs would bring an end to its own disc-based rental service, this may not be an issue for GameFly since mail rentals remain its core business. Continue reading GameFly Will Take On Netflix with New Movie Rental Service

“Veronica Mars” To Be Released in Theaters, VOD on Same Day

Warner Bros. is planning to release its Kickstarter-initiated “Veronica Mars” movie, starring Kristen Bell, in 270 theaters on March 14, the same day the film will be made available to rent or purchase online. While independent studios and theaters have been experimenting with same-day releases in recent years, the move will mark the first time that a major Hollywood studio has distributed a movie theatrically and for home viewing simultaneously in the U.S. Continue reading “Veronica Mars” To Be Released in Theaters, VOD on Same Day

Amazon to Launch Android Device for Games and Entertainment

Amazon is expected to launch a new sub-$300 games and entertainment device this year that runs Android. To compete with the likes of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, the product — the name of which has yet to be announced — is said to stream and download games, music, movies and television content. Key to the device’s success is its price point, on par with Amazon’s Kindle and Kindle Fire HD, which are priced comparatively lower than Apple’s iPad. Continue reading Amazon to Launch Android Device for Games and Entertainment

Online Streaming the Answer to Declining DVD, Blu-ray Sales?

According to a new report from U.K.-based Generator Research, online movie streaming can be as profitable as television downloads and disc sales. The report estimates that film producers are projected to earn $29.4 billion from television and home video sales in 2014. However, the report also recommends a shift in distribution strategies for home entertainment, as revenue from DVD and Blu-ray sales are expected to decline by 38 percent over the next four years. Continue reading Online Streaming the Answer to Declining DVD, Blu-ray Sales?

Will Books Follow Music and Video with Subscription Model?

The concept of “literary Netflixes” has been gaining momentum in the past few months. Oyster, a book subscription service that launched four months ago, recently raised $14 million to expand. Many members of the publishing industry are cautious about adopting a subscription model for e-books because they believe it could cannibalize sales and devalue books. However, Oyster notes that despite the apprehension, it has been signing publishers and already has a library of more than 100,000 titles. Continue reading Will Books Follow Music and Video with Subscription Model?

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