Amazon’s First ‘Thursday Night Football’ Game Tops Twitter’s

The numbers are in for Amazon’s first live-stream of NFL “Thursday Night Football,” the September 28 match between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. Amazon topped Twitter’s 2016 numbers with regard to average audience size and time spent viewing, with 1.6 million global viewers tuning in to the Amazon Prime stream. Prime Video views are just 2.5 percent of the total audience for the game, almost all of which came from TV. The game was broadcast by CBS and also streamed on the NFL Network. Continue reading Amazon’s First ‘Thursday Night Football’ Game Tops Twitter’s

Disney to Introduce Streaming Services Over Next Two Years

In a significant departure from its traditional business model, Disney announced it plans to pull its movies from Netflix and roll out two of its own online streaming services. Early next year the company will introduce an ESPN streaming service that is expected to cover 10,000 events each year, including MLB, NHL and MLS content. The company also plans to launch a Disney-branded streaming platform in 2019 that will offer its movies and TV programming as well as original content exclusive to the service. Following the news, Netflix stock dropped 7 percent in after-hours trading. Continue reading Disney to Introduce Streaming Services Over Next Two Years

CBS Bets on Digital, Expanding All Access Streaming Service

CBS is assertively growing its digital operations, with an expansion of its CBS All Access streaming service to global territories and the planned launch of a digital sports network in the U.S. later this year. By doing so, the company is following the money: Q2 results this year showed unexpectedly high sales and earnings, boosted by streaming subscription services and college sports. CBS All Access, available in the U.S. for $5.99 per month, is scheduled to launch in Canada in early 2018 and other international markets soon after. Continue reading CBS Bets on Digital, Expanding All Access Streaming Service

Charter and CenturyLink to Debut Streaming Skinny Bundles

Charter Communications and CenturyLink are the latest operators to introduce streaming skinny-bundle options for consumers looking for alternatives to conventional pay TV. The new services join a crowded field as an increasing number of companies face the challenges involved with attracting cord cutters and new customers. Charter will test its $20 per month Spectrum Stream that offers local broadcast and cable channels, VOD titles and optional premium channels. Meanwhile, CenturyLink Stream has introduced bundles that range from $15 per month to the Ultimate 45+ channel package for $45 per month. Continue reading Charter and CenturyLink to Debut Streaming Skinny Bundles

CBS Debuts its Combined Showtime and All Access Package

CBS has launched the anticipated bundle of its CBS All Access and Showtime streaming services. Available initially to current subscribers, sign-up for the skinny bundle is accessible via cbs.com or showtime.com. “CBS All Access today goes for $5.99 per month, or $9.99 per month if you want to ditch the ads,” reports TechCrunch. “Showtime’s over-the-top option is $10.99 per month. The new, combined pricing is $14.99 per month for both services, or $18.99 per month if you want the CBS All Access commercial-free plan.” CBS and Showtime are available for subscribers across Web, mobile apps, and TV platforms. Continue reading CBS Debuts its Combined Showtime and All Access Package

YouTube Expands its Original Programming With 40+ Shows

YouTube plans to produce new original series to be available for free on its site. Actor and comedian Kevin Hart, talk-show host and producer Ellen DeGeneres and Internet comedy duo Rhett & Link are producing unscripted series to roll out in 2017. The Google-owned company will also invest more in its paid video and music streaming service YouTube Red, which launched in October 2015. YouTube will fund more than 40 original shows and movies in the next year. By devoting hundreds of millions of dollars to programming with high-profile stars, YouTube hopes to attract more advertisers. Continue reading YouTube Expands its Original Programming With 40+ Shows

Roku Hires Lobbyists, Prepping for Changes to Net Neutrality

Roku seems to be gearing up for a battle regarding net neutrality, as the FCC is expected to repeal or change regulations that require ISPs to treat all Internet traffic equally. Such changes could make it more challenging and potentially more expensive for Roku and others to provide services at top download speeds. In a first for the company, Roku has hired two DC lobbyists to focus on net neutrality issues. The President Obama-era net neutrality rules treat telecoms similarly to utilities. Those who support the regulations believe they are necessary to prevent service providers from throttling speeds or charging media companies more for content delivery. Continue reading Roku Hires Lobbyists, Prepping for Changes to Net Neutrality

Apple Pursues Premium Bundle to Sell HBO, Showtime, Starz

In its latest pay TV proposal, Apple wants to offer a premium bundle that combines HBO, Showtime and Starz, three channels it already sells individually (sources say Apple does not yet have a deal with any of the networks for a package deal). The bundle would be different than a traditional subscription level offered by a conventional pay TV operator, since Apple could offer its proposed premium bundle as a “standalone product, delivered via its iOS devices and its Apple TV set-top box,” reports Recode. “Sony, AT&T and Dish all sell Web TV packages, and Google and Hulu have announced plans to sell their own.” Continue reading Apple Pursues Premium Bundle to Sell HBO, Showtime, Starz

Netflix Dominance Pushing Studios to Earlier Release Window

Big spending digital players Netflix and Amazon are shaking up traditional TV stalwarts. Netflix is expected to spend $6 billion on original and acquired programming this year, up $1 billion from last year. That figure is five times more than what cable outlets FX (owned by 21st Century Fox) and Showtime (owned by CBS Corp.) spend and more than twice that spent by Time Warner’s premium channel HBO. TV actors are demanding $250,000 an episode, twice their previous rate, and there’s a feeding frenzy for A-list below-the-line crews. Continue reading Netflix Dominance Pushing Studios to Earlier Release Window

Plex Integrates Alexa Voice Control with Popular Media Player

Media player Plex, joining many device manufacturers, has added Alexa voice control for its first foray into home automation. Now, via the company’s Plex Skill for Alexa, the user can ask for favorite content, even music, from her Plex media library without a remote control. But Alexa for Plex isn’t as simple as it is for Spotify or Pandora, which rely on the Alexa mobile app. Instead, users have to enable Remote Access for their media server in the software’s setting, to turn requests into API calls in Plex’s cloud services. Continue reading Plex Integrates Alexa Voice Control with Popular Media Player

Apple Cuts Fees Charged to Streaming Services in App Store

Apple is halving the amount it charges streaming services to sell video on its App Store, in response to widespread discontent among content partners. Earlier, Apple tried unsuccessfully to create its own live TV service, but instead released an app that relies on programs from streaming services including HBO, Hulu and Showtime. Apple is now cutting its share from 30 percent to 15 percent. Some non-video apps will also dip to 15 percent after the customer has been a subscriber for a year. Continue reading Apple Cuts Fees Charged to Streaming Services in App Store

AT&T Set to Launch DirecTV Now 100-Channel OTT Service

On the heels of acquiring DirecTV for almost $50 billion, AT&T plans to roll out DirecTV Now, an Internet video service, by the end of 2016. This new over-the-top service challenges the pay-TV industry with its ability to stream a 100-channel line-up to TVs and mobile devices without a satellite dish, cable set-top box or annual contract. Sources say that AT&T is likely to charge about $50 a month for the service. Currently 25.3 million subscribers pay an average of $117 a month for AT&T’s pay-TV business. Continue reading AT&T Set to Launch DirecTV Now 100-Channel OTT Service

Sony PS Vue Offers HBO, Cinemax as Standalones or Bundle

Following Sony’s recent announcement that the company’s PlayStation Vue streaming service would offer HBO and Cinemax, both premium cable channels are now available as standalones for $15 per month or as part of a new bundle. In addition, the HBO Now app launched yesterday on PS3 and PS4 consoles. According to The Verge, “the new Ultra bundle will include all of Vue’s current offerings, including HBO and Showtime, for $64.99 per month in most locations, and $74.99 per month in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, and Miami. PlayStation says Vue is the first streaming service to offer live programming from HBO and Cinemax without a bundle subscription.” Continue reading Sony PS Vue Offers HBO, Cinemax as Standalones or Bundle

FX Chief Warns of Runaway TV Production Fueled by Netflix

Next year is shaping up to see another record number of TV productions, mainly propelled by Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. According to FX Networks chief exec John Landgraf, who offered his predictions at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, networks will produce 500 original scripted shows in 2017, nearly 20 percent more than the 419 produced in 2015. As in past years, Landgraf warned of a glut of programming. He earlier coined the term “Peak TV,” suggesting the industry is producing content at a pace that is overwhelming critics and viewers. Continue reading FX Chief Warns of Runaway TV Production Fueled by Netflix

Lionsgate to Purchase Premium Channel Starz for $4.4 Billion

Lionsgate announced it has agreed to acquire premium cable network Starz for $4.4 billion in cash and stock. Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht, who just signed a new contract that runs through 2020, is expected to continue running Starz. It is not clear if the deal would have any impact on Lionsgate’s stake in Epix, which the company owns with Viacom and MGM, and serves as the pay TV home to Lionsgate films. The deal will bring 17 Starz- and Encore-branded channels and Anchor Bay Entertainment video distribution to Lionsgate. Continue reading Lionsgate to Purchase Premium Channel Starz for $4.4 Billion

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