Verizon’s Zero-Rating for Go90 Likely to Spur FCC Response

Up until now, “zero rating” has been a gray area in net neutrality, but Verizon’s recent action might force the FCC to clarify its stance. Zero rating means that an Internet provider allows certain video and/or music streams to not count against a subscriber’s data cap. Verizon just confirmed that it has applied zero-rating to its new go90 service, thus giving itself preferential treatment and putting competitors such as Netflix, YouTube and other streaming services at a disadvantage. Continue reading Verizon’s Zero-Rating for Go90 Likely to Spur FCC Response

Amazon and Netflix Focus on Film May Jumpstart Indie Cinema

Now that Amazon and Netflix have made such a powerful impact on television, the two companies are turning their sights to motion pictures. The result could jumpstart a faltering independent film sector, say the experts. Both companies have made tremendous inroads into TV in a short period of time: Amazon has won multiple Golden Globes and Emmy Awards for “Transparent,” and Netflix earned 34 nominations at the 2015 Emmy Awards for shows including “House of Cards,” “Orange Is the New Black,” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Continue reading Amazon and Netflix Focus on Film May Jumpstart Indie Cinema

Layer3 TV Launches Texas Beta of Its Umio Pay TV Service

Three years after its founding, Layer3 TV, a new player in the pay TV space, rolled out a beta test in two Texas markets. Launched by Broadbus Technologies founder Jeff Binder, and former Comcast/AT&T CTO Dave Fellows, the company’s new Umio service is based on a “state-of-the-art” set-top box with an integrated cable modem for Internet and TV services. The content bundle, however, appears to be fairly traditional, including local broadcasters and most cable networks, although Umio also offers some add-on channels. Continue reading Layer3 TV Launches Texas Beta of Its Umio Pay TV Service

Cord Cutting Gaining Steam as Digital Video Services Grow

Television companies have been telling their investors that the slow decline of pay-TV subscribers will continue at a gentle pace. But new studies show that cord cutting has accelerated, most likely driven by an increased number of digital video services. By 2019, almost 23 percent of U.S. households are expected to have cut the cord. Among the newest services is a Yahoo app that helps viewers find TV shows from a variety of digital services and launch the titles in the smartphone’s video apps. Continue reading Cord Cutting Gaining Steam as Digital Video Services Grow

Pandora and Sony/ATV No Longer Opponents in Streaming Wars

Pandora Media and Sony/ATV announced a multiyear licensing deal yesterday that brings the companies together to provide better rates for artists while allowing Pandora to “benefit from greater rate certainty” that could also help “add new flexibility to the company’s product offering over time.” The direct licensing deal arrives as the music industry prepares for potential changes regarding federal regulation of songwriting rights. Sony/ATV is the world’s biggest music publisher with songwriting rights to thousands of artists, including the Beatles and Taylor Swift. Continue reading Pandora and Sony/ATV No Longer Opponents in Streaming Wars

Pandora Buys Ticketfly, Boosting Ticket Sales for Live Events

Pandora just bought ticketing company Ticketfly, a move that furthers the company’s goal to improve relationships with the musicians whose music it plays. Ticketfly will enable artists to promote live events and sell tickets to local listeners. Pandora’s move will likely nudge other streaming music services to follow suit. The Ticketfly purchase comes on the heels of Pandora’s development of its Artist Marketing Platform, AMP, a portal for artists. Pandora currently has 80 million monthly listeners, almost all in the U.S. Continue reading Pandora Buys Ticketfly, Boosting Ticket Sales for Live Events

Facial Monitoring Software Could Impact Your TV Experience

TV technology is getting closer to monitoring and analyzing our facial expressions in order to distinguish between boredom and enthusiasm to better understand our viewing tastes. Software from media startup Affectiva could usher in a new frontier in television viewing, one in which our devices watch our reactions and offer content suggestions or enable brands to provide more targeted ads. If consumers are willing to allow their emotional data to be gathered, movie and TV show recommendations from Netflix, for example, could become more relevant. Continue reading Facial Monitoring Software Could Impact Your TV Experience

Disney COO Defends the Programming Bundle as TV Evolves

In the wake of pay TV subscriber losses and a falloff in content stocks, industry news has recently focused on the impact of the Internet, mobile apps and streaming services on traditional television. Disney chief operating officer Tom Staggs, who most analysts believe will be the successor to CEO Bob Iger, defended the future of ESPN and the programming bundle at an industry conference in Beverly Hills on Thursday. Staggs also suggested that Wall Street had overreacted to recent changes in the business and should not be so quick to dismiss the current model. Continue reading Disney COO Defends the Programming Bundle as TV Evolves

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

Music Fans Have Already Streamed One Trillion Songs in 2015

According to a new report from music analytics firm Next Big Sound, consumers streamed more than one trillion songs during the first six months of this year. The report acquired data from Pandora, Rdio, SoundCloud, Spotify, Vevo, Vimeo and YouTube. While digital downloads and CDs continue to experience a decline, streaming music generated $1.87 billion last year. Streaming music is clearly on the rise (Next Big Sound cites only 450 billion streams for all of 2014), yet companies are still looking for opportunities to profit. Continue reading Music Fans Have Already Streamed One Trillion Songs in 2015

Fan TV App Offers TV and Movie Discovery for Cord Cutters

Fan TV has launched a revamped mobile app that works as a discovery engine to help users keep track of the TV shows and movies they want to watch via streaming services or as paid downloads. To find a show or movie, users simply search the title and the app runs a query across the 44 different services that it tracks. If not readily available, the search is stored and users receive an update at a later date when a title has become available. The company also has a $149 device with a touch remote that combines live TV, VOD and streaming services. Continue reading Fan TV App Offers TV and Movie Discovery for Cord Cutters

Is Television Being Held Back by Traditional Cable Bundles?

While television continues to migrate online, live sports have been slow to follow. Many people are still tethered to their cable subscriptions because they want to watch their sports live. As soon as sports programming breaks from bundles and is streamed online, more consumers may become cord cutters and abandon their cable subscriptions altogether. Meanwhile, Canada has become one of the first countries to require companies to dismantle their cable bundles and allow customers to choose their channels. Continue reading Is Television Being Held Back by Traditional Cable Bundles?

Popcorn Time Accounts for One-Ninth of U.S. Torrent Traffic

In less than a year, Popcorn Time has become one of the most popular services to torrent pirated media content online. The slick grid interface looks similar to that of Netflix or Hulu, making the service look more legitimate and easier to navigate to find a TV show or movie. The program is actually an index of other BitTorrent sites. Popcorn Time’s popularity has been growing in the U.S. and abroad, especially in countries where streaming services are less established. Continue reading Popcorn Time Accounts for One-Ninth of U.S. Torrent Traffic

FCC Chair Hints That Broadband is Likely To Be Reclassified

Speaking at CES, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler hinted that the agency could reclassify broadband as a public utility (telecommunications service). Those in opposition of such a move, fearing increased federal regulation, include the broadband industry as well as some Republican lawmakers and conservative groups. Wheeler also accused broadcasters of slowing plans for spectrum auctions. While he remains optimistic that auctions would still begin next year, he expressed disappointment “that the broadcasters have slowed things down by filing suit.” Continue reading FCC Chair Hints That Broadband is Likely To Be Reclassified

New Holiday Sales Records Predicted for Digital Home Video

The home entertainment divisions of Hollywood studios are projected to generate record sales of movies and TV shows on digital platforms this holiday shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Digital sales are experiencing an upswing as more consumers access media via their mobile devices, smart TVs and connected game consoles. In addition, retailers such as Best Buy, Target and Walmart are pushing digital in an effort to make up for the downward trend in disc sales. Continue reading New Holiday Sales Records Predicted for Digital Home Video

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