Dish Adds IBM to Tech Arsenal in 5G Wireless Cloud Buildout

Dish Network has contracted IBM to help automate its new 5G smart network, which will largely target enterprise clients. The deal supports Dish’s goal of becoming the first cloud-native, OpenRAN-based 5G network in the U.S. IBM will provide “AI-powered automation and network orchestration software and services to bring broad 5G network orchestration to Dish’s business and operations platforms,” the companies jointly announced. Dish has spent the past few years acquiring 5G spectrum as part a transition from satellite TV provider to major player in the broadband wireless services space. Continue reading Dish Adds IBM to Tech Arsenal in 5G Wireless Cloud Buildout

Amazon Readies Launch of Fire TV Sets with Alexa Assistant

E-commerce giant Amazon is readying the October launch of its own Fire TV sets featuring its Alexa voice assistant. The Amazon Fire TV Omni Series 4K, which starts at $409.99, and the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series 4K, which starts at $369.99, will be available on Amazon’s website and at Best Buy stores. Toshiba and Insignia, Best Buy’s house brand, have sold TVs powered by Amazon’s Fire TV operating system, the latter since 2018. Amazon adds TVs to its other branded products including clothing, groceries and even batteries. Continue reading Amazon Readies Launch of Fire TV Sets with Alexa Assistant

NBC Sets New Record for Price of Super Bowl Commercials

NBCUniversal announced that it has been selling 30-second ad spots for the NFL’s Super Bowl LVI for as much as $6.5 million, marking an 18 percent increase over the last Super Bowl and establishing a new rate record. Notably, the ad rate suggests that advertiser demand remains strong for the live broadcast despite shrinking audiences. The game is slated for February 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. In addition, NBC has nearly sold out its advertising for the Beijing Winter Olympics, also scheduled for February. The Super Bowl and Winter Olympics have a schedule overlap for the first time. Continue reading NBC Sets New Record for Price of Super Bowl Commercials

Spotify Deploys ‘Blend’ Feature to Enable Sharing of Playlists

Spotify has globally launched Blend, a two-party playlist generator designed for social listening. The feature allows both paid and free mobile users to tag-team song streams that can be shared across all platforms. Using the technology behind Spotify’s Family Mix and Duo Mix multi-person apps, this variation offers a twist; after creating a Blend participants receive a “taste match score” that reveals similarities and differences between the pair’s listening preferences and can compare their preferences to those of their friends. Continue reading Spotify Deploys ‘Blend’ Feature to Enable Sharing of Playlists

Turner Classic Movies Promotes Logo and Content Makeover

Warner’s pay-TV network Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is unveiling a new logo, colorful on-air promos, new sets for Ben Mankiewicz and other hosts, new openings for shows including “The Essentials” and “Noir Alley,” and new branding that explores the interplay between past and present cinema. The aesthetics update will not change the vintage movie collection but intends to “help the cable channel stay relevant and reach a wider audience.” TCM executives are also weighing the future of a linear cable channel in a growing streaming media ecosystem. Continue reading Turner Classic Movies Promotes Logo and Content Makeover

More Americans Now Subscribing to Multiple SVOD Services

According to Leichtman Research Group, the number of U.S. consumers subscribing to more than one of the big three SVOD services — Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu — more than doubled to 58 percent in 2021, up from 28 percent 2016. Overall, 78 percent of U.S. households now subscribe to one of the three, compared to 59 percent in 2016. Among those that have any of the three top-tier SVOD services, 74 percent also pay for a second service of some sort, versus 47 percent in 2016. Findings from LRG’s Emerging Video Services study are based on a survey of 2,000 households nationwide. Continue reading More Americans Now Subscribing to Multiple SVOD Services

Major TV Broadcasters Prevail in Court Case Against Locast

Locast, a non-profit organization founded by lawyer and former FCC legal advisor David Goodfriend, streamed local TV to those who couldn’t access local signals, declaring that U.S. copyright law allows third parties to boost local signals. Major broadcasters ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX disputed that claim, believing that Locast simply wanted to avoid carriage fees, and have now won a court battle finding that Locast violated their copyrights. The court also stated that Locast cannot use its non-profit status as a defense against further action. Continue reading Major TV Broadcasters Prevail in Court Case Against Locast

Apple Buys Primephonic, Plans to Debut Classical Music App

Apple officially inked a deal to acquire Primephonic, a popular classical music streaming service. The tech giant reportedly plans to launch a standalone classical music app sometime in 2022. Due to the acquisition, Primephonic stopped accepting new customers immediately and will temporarily go offline on September 7, when Apple begins to integrate the app into Apple Music. Apple told worried fans that it will combine Primephonic’s classical user interface “that fans have grown to love with more added features.” Continue reading Apple Buys Primephonic, Plans to Debut Classical Music App

Spotify Opens Podcast Subscription Service to U.S. Creators

Swedish audio streaming service Spotify is now allowing all U.S.-based podcasters to use Anchor, its podcast creation and distribution platform, to sell subscriptions for exclusive episodes available via a private RSS feed and within the Spotify app. The company is increasing its pricing options and enabling podcasters to download email addresses of paying subscribers who opt in. Spotify will not take a revenue cut until 2023, when it will begin to take 5 percent. It still does not offer a “subscribe” button, meaning listeners have to go to an external website to sign up. Continue reading Spotify Opens Podcast Subscription Service to U.S. Creators

Global Movie Piracy Skyrockets with Day-and-Date Releases

When the opening weekend of “Black Widow” fell below expectations, theater owners were suspicious that it didn’t match the well-attended Thursday night preview. That’s because, as reported by TorrentFreak, “Black Widow” was the most pirated movie in the world for three weeks following its July 9 debut. Likewise, pirated copies of “The Suicide Squad,” “Jungle Cruise” and “Godzilla vs. Kong” proliferated shortly after their releases, shooting to the top of The Pirate Bay and LimeTorrents, two popular piracy websites. Continue reading Global Movie Piracy Skyrockets with Day-and-Date Releases

Movies Anywhere Debuts Feature for AI-Enabled List Making

Movies Anywhere, the cloud-based digital locker and OTT streaming platform that allows users to pull together streaming movies from multiple digital stores into a single hub, is now adding an AI-enabled ability to generate personalized lists of those movies. Users have wanted a list-making capability, which will allow them to streamline their lockers, removing multiple listings of the same movie and funneling them into categories. An AI algorithm will keep track of user behavior and organize the list. The “My Lists” tab will be located next to “My Movies.” Continue reading Movies Anywhere Debuts Feature for AI-Enabled List Making

FOX’s Tubi Plans to Expand Sports Programming in the U.S.

FOX is introducing a sports content hub on its free streaming service Tubi. “Sports on Tubi” will add 10 live-streaming sports channels to its existing offerings, including FOX Sports, FOX Deportes, NFL, MLB, beIN Sports Xtra and beIN Sports Xtra en Español, Fubo Sports Network, Pac-12 Insider, Stadium and USA Today SportsWire, as well as channels for the ACC and Real Madrid later this year. The channels, which will only be available in the United States, will debut first on Amazon Fire TV and Roku and Android devices. Continue reading FOX’s Tubi Plans to Expand Sports Programming in the U.S.

NBCU Proposes It Is Time to Develop a New Ratings Service

In the wake of widespread discontent with the Nielsen national television ratings service, NBCUniversal issued a request for proposals to 50 media companies on August 2 to create a “new measurement ecosystem for us that reflects the future.” The media giant said it is working to assemble “a full suite of interoperable measurement solutions that are as advanced, diverse, easy-to-use, and multi-platform as the ways people watch content.” Earlier this month, Nielsen asked to suspend accreditation of its national service. Continue reading NBCU Proposes It Is Time to Develop a New Ratings Service

Disney: Streaming Subscription Growth, Theme Parks Reopen

At the end of Q3, Disney+ had 116 million subscribers, exceeding the 112-115 million analysts had predicted. The most popular content included the Pixar animated feature “Luca,” superhero series “Loki” and live-action film “Cruella.” Meanwhile, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products earned a profit of $356 million. Disneyland in California reopened with limited capacity on April 30 after being closed for 14 months. Disney chief executive Bob Chapek said that park bookings are “really strong” despite the surge of COVID-19 cases with the Delta variant.  Continue reading Disney: Streaming Subscription Growth, Theme Parks Reopen

Netflix Blocks Home IP Addresses in Geo-Fencing Crackdown

Netflix now blocks residential IP addresses in its efforts to stymie VPN and proxy users from bypassing geographical restrictions. But some ordinary Internet users without a VPN have been impacted and now report “missing content” on Netflix. When Netflix began this crackdown six years ago, it was in response to copyright holders complaining about piracy. But the ban hit a lot of legitimate VPN users and VPN pirates found other ways to get around geographic blocking including using residential IP addresses as proxies. Continue reading Netflix Blocks Home IP Addresses in Geo-Fencing Crackdown

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