Spotify Adds Content to Compete With Radio, YouTube, Apple

Popular streaming music service Spotify plans to take on radio and podcasts from Apple and others by introducing news and political coverage to its content offerings. Spotify’s new Spotlight feature will include programming from partners such as BuzzFeed and Refinery29. BuzzFeed, for example, will provide daily newscasts that run four to seven minutes in duration. Spotify’s 70 million users already have access to music and new video and podcast offerings; Spotlight will add news, politics, pop culture and sports coverage. The strategy could position Spotify as a competitor to YouTube and Apple. Continue reading Spotify Adds Content to Compete With Radio, YouTube, Apple

Amazon Said to Be Looking Beyond Video to Streaming Sports

According to unnamed sources, Amazon is actively pursuing the rights to numerous sports, including the French Open tennis championship and professional rugby as well as golf, soccer, auto racing and U.S. sports such as basketball and baseball. Capturing rights in the U.S. will be challenging since CBS, NBCUniversal, Fox, Turner Sports and ESPN have inked long-term contracts for most major sporting events. In talks, Amazon points to the popularity of Amazon Prime, which reaches an estimated 63 million U.S. subscribers. Continue reading Amazon Said to Be Looking Beyond Video to Streaming Sports

NFL to Experiment Broadcasting One Game Online Next Season

For the first time, the NFL will allow one football game to be streamed on a national digital platform. The league relies heavily on television to broadcast its games, but for this single broadcast next season, it is letting digital platforms bid for the rights. The game will be a week-seven matchup between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars to be played in London. The broadcast is slated for 9:30 am Eastern time, but that will be primetime in China where the NFL hopes to attract viewers. Continue reading NFL to Experiment Broadcasting One Game Online Next Season

Dish Targets Cord Cutters with Upcoming Internet TV Service

With its planned Internet-based TV service, Dish is targeting consumers who are frustrated by traditional pay TV. Speaking at the TV of Tomorrow Show in San Francisco yesterday, Dish exec Adam Lowy said that “cord cutters, cord nevers and what we call cord haters” are on the company’s radar. The service plans to initially launch on Dish’s existing infrastructure, but will later move to an all-IP system. Dish is currently talking to television networks about licensing content for the new service. Continue reading Dish Targets Cord Cutters with Upcoming Internet TV Service

Congress: Should the First Sale Rule Include Digital Goods?

This week, publishing executives, technology leaders, and public interest groups gave testimony regarding ownership of purchased digital goods. The “first sale” rule currently allows people to resell or lend out physical goods like music and books, while this law does not cover digital goods, such as those sold by Amazon and Apple. Post-testimony, the House Judiciary Committee remained skeptical that property rights of physical goods should extend to the digital world. Continue reading Congress: Should the First Sale Rule Include Digital Goods?

Yahoo’s New Video Platform Plans to Compete with YouTube

After a few months of delays, Yahoo plans to launch its new video service this summer. Like YouTube, the service will allow users to post videos, create their own channels, and embed the Yahoo video player into other sites. Yahoo’s video service is different in its more generous revenue-sharing deals with video creators. Content producers with a Yahoo contract will also have the ability to publish their videos on Yahoo properties including the homepage and Tumblr. Continue reading Yahoo’s New Video Platform Plans to Compete with YouTube

AT&T-DirecTV Deal May Hinge on NFL Sunday Games Rights

Telecom giant AT&T is poised to acquire DirecTV for $49 billion, but that deal could fall through if DirecTV fails to renew its “Sunday Ticket” offering with the NFL. The current DirecTV deal with the NFL, which allows the satellite company to broadcast all out-of-market NFL football games on Sunday afternoons to TVs and mobile devices, expires at the end of the 2014 football season. AT&T hopes to become a major broadcasting partner of the NFL with the acquisition of DirecTV. Continue reading AT&T-DirecTV Deal May Hinge on NFL Sunday Games Rights

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

Netflix Turns to Original Series and Licensing 5-Star Content

According to Netflix CFO David Wells, the streaming service plans on spending $3.2 billion on streaming content in 2014. Netflix acknowledged that a large fraction of the currently available material is not necessarily popular with its audience and plans to spend more money on shows with higher potential. A content shift through the next few quarters toward more original series along with licensing exclusive and higher-rated shows will account for this extra spending. Continue reading Netflix Turns to Original Series and Licensing 5-Star Content

Kaleidescape Settles 10-Year Legal Battle with the DVD CCA

DVD server manufacturer Kaleidescape has ended its lengthy legal battle with the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA), the not-for-profit organization that governs copyright protection of DVDs. The organization sued Kaleidescape in 2004 for creating DVD servers that encourage users to illegally rip copyrighted movies. Shortly after a joint notice of settlement was filed, the Superior Court of California, Santa Clara, noted a “voluntary dismissal” of the case, and determined on Monday, “Case complete.” Continue reading Kaleidescape Settles 10-Year Legal Battle with the DVD CCA

VUDU Allows UltraViolet Users to Share Movies with Friends

Walmart announced that its VUDU media delivery service will introduce a new feature that allows customers to share content from their UltraViolet collections. The “Share My Movies” feature will enable users to share movies and TV shows with up to five friends or family members by simply entering their email addresses (they also need to be VUDU customers). The company hopes that the ability to share libraries will encourage more consumers to sign up for the service. Continue reading VUDU Allows UltraViolet Users to Share Movies with Friends

TV Networks to Benefit by Unbundling from Cable Packages?

Television networks are currently entangled in expensive negotiations with cable companies over retransmission fees and rights to stream content on other devices. However, if a TV network were to sell its shows directly online with a Netflix-like subscription, GigaOM speculates that the network could still remain profitable and consumers would not have to pay for expensive cable packages. This new model could potentially redefine content distribution via the Internet and television. Continue reading TV Networks to Benefit by Unbundling from Cable Packages?

Judge Rules in Royalty Lawsuit Between Pandora and ASCAP

In somewhat anticlimactic fashion, the lengthy, dramatic battle regarding what digital music service Pandora should pay ASCAP ended Friday when U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled that Pandora should continue to pay the performing rights organization what it has been paying through 2015. Pandora had argued that it should pay less than the current 1.85 percent of revenue, while ASCAP had argued for an escalating rate structure that would require Pandora to pay 2.5 percent of revenue for 2013 and 3 percent in 2015. Continue reading Judge Rules in Royalty Lawsuit Between Pandora and ASCAP

Google Buys Green Throttle’s Atlas Controller and Arena App

Google has acquired Green Throttle Games’ Atlas controller and Arena app-maker in a move that could point to new gaming features for its long rumored set-top box. Green Throttle’s Bluetooth Atlas controller and Android Arena app essentially allow users to transform tablets or smartphones into game consoles. As part of the deal, two of the three co-founders, Matt Crowley and Karl Townsend, will be joining Google. The third co-founder, Charles Huang (“Guitar Hero”) is reportedly keeping the rights to the Green Throttle business. Continue reading Google Buys Green Throttle’s Atlas Controller and Arena App

Amazon Prime Bumped to $99, Retailer Considers Music Service

Insiders say that Amazon is hoping to introduce an on-demand music-streaming service for its growing number of Amazon Prime customers. While the company has negotiated with record companies and music publishers in regards to licensing, financial terms are said to remain an obstacle. The music service is expected to be one of several new possible features the company may bundle with Prime as it raises the annual membership fee from $79 to as much as $119. Amazon already announced a $20 increase to take effect in April. Continue reading Amazon Prime Bumped to $99, Retailer Considers Music Service