Dish Purchase Opens Door to Merger of T-Mobile and Sprint

Following weeks of negotiation, Dish Network has agreed to pay about $1.5 billion for T-Mobile and Sprint’s prepaid mobile businesses and about $3.5 billion for their spectrum. The deal’s terms prevent Dish from selling the assets or transferring control of them to a third party for a period of three years. The Justice Department is set now to approve the $26.5 billion merger of the two mobile phone carriers, said sources, which would position Dish to become the No. 4 wireless carrier in the U.S., replacing Sprint. Continue reading Dish Purchase Opens Door to Merger of T-Mobile and Sprint

MPAA Announces Record Earnings in Global Entertainment

The Motion Picture Association of America revealed that the global entertainment market reached $96.8 billion in 2018, 9 percent over 2017 and a new record. Most notable was the growth of streaming video, 27 percent over 2017 to 613.3 million global subscriptions. Cable subscriptions, meanwhile, dropped 2 percent to 556 million subscribers, marking the first time that streaming bested cable (although cable still earns more money). Theatrical box office in the U.S. and Canada grew to $11.9 billion, while the overall global box office grew to $41.1 billion. Continue reading MPAA Announces Record Earnings in Global Entertainment

CES 2019: Synamedia Offers AI Solution to Password Sharing

At CES 2019 this week, Synamedia will debut Credentials Sharing Insight, a service enabled by artificial intelligence to discover and halt password sharing, from the casual to the criminal. It’s part of a growing trend among pay TV and streaming video services to curtail the use of shared passwords, especially among friends and family. Synamedia chief product officer Jean-Marc Racine noted that, “the way you secure OTT is evolving.” Parks Associates estimates a loss of as much as $9.9 billion due to password sharing by 2021. Continue reading CES 2019: Synamedia Offers AI Solution to Password Sharing

Number of OTT-Only Households in the U.S. Continues to Rise

According to a new report from the Video Advertising Bureau, the number of households in the United States that are now using only OTT streaming services to watch movies and TV shows has reached 14.1 million, a figure that has almost tripled over five years. However, that number makes up just 11 percent of all U.S. TV households. The report also found that over-the-top services are often used in tandem with pay TV subscriptions; 70 percent of those with OTT services also pay for cable, satellite or telcos.

Continue reading Number of OTT-Only Households in the U.S. Continues to Rise

Tencent Signs Deal With NFL to Livestream Games in China

The National Football League and China’s Tencent Holdings have signed a deal to give the latter exclusive rights to livestream games and other NFL content online for three years. Tencent will stream the games and other content for free on its flagship social media app, WeChat, as well as other mobile and desktop platforms. WeChat has more than 960 million monthly active users. The NFL first made a move into China in 2009 when it produced a 16-episode reality TV series in which a Taiwanese pop band explored football culture. Continue reading Tencent Signs Deal With NFL to Livestream Games in China

Amazon Prime Members May Soon Top Pay TV Subscribers

According to new estimates from Morningstar, the number of Amazon Prime members may soon exceed the number of cable and satellite TV subscribers in the United States. Morningstar points to 79 million Prime members, up from 66 million at the end of 2016 (based on analysis of Amazon’s cash-flow statement). S&P Global projects 90 million U.S. households will pay for cable or satellite television this year. Recode reports, “According to these estimates, more U.S. households may have an Amazon Prime subscription than a pay TV subscription as soon as next year.” Continue reading Amazon Prime Members May Soon Top Pay TV Subscribers

Netflix Doubles Subscription Base in 5 Years, Surpasses Cable

According to Leichtman Research, Netflix has surpassed cable TV in number of total subscribers. Netflix recently reached 50.85 million subscribers, whereas U.S. cable companies presently have 48.61 million. “The numbers don’t count minor cable networks, which could in themselves amount to 5 percent of total cable customers,” explains Forbes. While Netflix has added 27 million subs in the last five years, cable subs are only down by 4 million, “not a massive drop off. It’s also worth bearing in mind that cable TV makes up only 50 percent of total TV viewership in pay TV.” Satellite TV presently has around 38 million subscribers. “In total there are 93,319,187 subscribers to cable, satellite and Internet streaming services in the U.S. Continue reading Netflix Doubles Subscription Base in 5 Years, Surpasses Cable

New Amazon Video API Turns Alexa Into a Remote Control

Amazon unveiled its Video Skill API, a new tool set to help content creators turn virtual assistant Alexa into a sophisticated TV remote. With the API, Alexa can search for titles, actors or genres; play or pause media and adjust the volume. Developers can also create their own Alexa commands. It keeps track of enabled services, which means the user won’t need to specify a provider or device or add any extra commands. Alexa already controls Fire TV, but the Video Skill API now opens up those controls to any cable or satellite TV company. Continue reading New Amazon Video API Turns Alexa Into a Remote Control

SMPTE 2015: Hollywood Engineers Examine OTT Deployment

As OTT becomes an increasingly compelling delivery platform, engineers born and bred on over-the-air, cable and satellite technologies are closely examining various schemes for deployment. On SMPTE 2015’s second day, sessions focused on that topic, featuring panelists from Prime Focus Technologies, Comcast and USC Viterbi School of Engineering. The big take-away was that going over-the-top might take some planning but it’s a worthwhile route to take, to engage viewers and provide more data for advertisers. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Hollywood Engineers Examine OTT Deployment

FCC May Consider New Standard to Open Up Control of STBs

The Federal Communications Commission is deliberating whether cable and satellite TV companies should have exclusive control of the set-top box, an idea applauded by Google and TiVo and vigorously opposed by the cable/satellite TV industry. Increased competition would lower costs and drive improvements in functionality, say Google and TiVo. Among the supporters of this idea is the COMPTEL trade group, whose membership includes Amazon and Netflix. The cable industry, already suffering losses to cord cutting, strenuously opposes the move. Continue reading FCC May Consider New Standard to Open Up Control of STBs

Apple Delays Live TV, Lacking Licensed Content and Network

At Apple’s upcoming September 9 event, the Silicon Valley company will announce a more powerful version of its Apple TV set-top box. But what it won’t be introducing is a live TV service streamed over the Internet. Although Apple insiders are mum, those close to the project say that Apple hasn’t licensed enough content from TV networks and that talks to do so are moving slowly. Another obstacle is a sufficiently robust computer network to guarantee the content will stream properly. The company is reportedly now targeting a 2016 launch date. Continue reading Apple Delays Live TV, Lacking Licensed Content and Network

Apple Redesigns Minimalist Remote Control for New Apple TV

With a new Apple TV expected later this summer, the company has revamped the design for the device’s remote control. While Apple has always pushed for minimalist design, its new remote control will supposedly have more features than the previous model, which has hardly changed since the debut of Apple TV back in 2007. According to sources, the new control, while still user-friendly, features two physical buttons, includes a touchpad and is slightly thicker than the device’s current design. Continue reading Apple Redesigns Minimalist Remote Control for New Apple TV

Report: TV Viewers Continue to Drop Cable and Satellite Subs

Third quarter reports indicate a greater reduction in the number of pay TV customers as compared to the previous year. The decline in pay TV customers suggest that a growing number of consumers are taking to “cord cutting” when it comes to media consumption. With a number of viable streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon currently available, customers are choosing to abandon traditional pay TV to avoid paying the steep cost of cable and satellite packages. Continue reading Report: TV Viewers Continue to Drop Cable and Satellite Subs

U.S. Consumers Upgrading Smartphones at Declining Rates

U.S. consumers are buying fewer smartphones and upgrading less often, a problem for device manufacturers and wireless carriers, such as Apple and AT&T respectively. The more advanced smartphones become, the less consumers feel the need to upgrade. Some consumers see the pace of innovation slowing, encouraging them to wait for breakthrough devices, and passing on the newest upgrades. Yet companies see a future in new services and technologies. Continue reading U.S. Consumers Upgrading Smartphones at Declining Rates