Spotify Rolls Out Premium Feature for Party Mode Streaming

Spotify just debuted Group Sessions, a feature in beta testing for exclusive use of Premium subscribers. Group Sessions acts as a kind of “party mode” to allow two or more users in the same space to share control of the music being played in real time as well as contribute to a collaborative playlist for the group. The company points out that it is ideal for those quarantining together during the COVID-19 pandemic. Spotify anticipates the feature will now encourage more free users to convert to subscribers. Continue reading Spotify Rolls Out Premium Feature for Party Mode Streaming

Netflix Adds About 16 Million New Subscribers, New Content

At the end of Q1 2020, Netflix added 15.8 million new subscribers, more than double the company forecast. The growth spiked in March when people began to be confined due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Netflix stated that viewing and membership growth will decline when those circumstances end. As chief executive Reed Hastings put it, “We, too, are really unsure of what the future brings.” The company is still adding to its stock of original programs, buying the rights to a period piece set in the world of Sherlock Holmes. Continue reading Netflix Adds About 16 Million New Subscribers, New Content

Spotify Still Dominates Podcast Space, Acquires The Ringer

Spotify, reporting its Q4 results, revealed that it now has 271 million subscribers, up 31 percent from a year ago, with paying subscribers up 29 percent to 125 million. The company’s overall revenue reached $2 billion, up 24 percent from the previous year, with a gross margin of 25.6 percent. Spotify is still posting operating losses, with Q4’s pegged at $85 million, with its loss per share now at $1.26. Spotify also acquired Bill Simmons’ sports and pop culture website and podcasting network The Ringer. Continue reading Spotify Still Dominates Podcast Space, Acquires The Ringer

Verizon Adds More Wireless Subscribers via Disney+ Offer

Verizon Communications added 790,000 prepaid phone connections during Q4 2019, compared with 653,000 during the same period a year earlier, surpassing the expectations of JPMorgan Chase analysts who predicted 750,000 such connections. A free one-year Disney+ subscription for Verizon wireless customers may have helped lure new customers. AT&T added 229,000 postpaid connections and T-Mobile US added 1,000,000. Postpaid customers typically pay monthly under longer-term contracts and are less likely to change providers. Continue reading Verizon Adds More Wireless Subscribers via Disney+ Offer

Netflix Still Avoids Ads, But Heats Up Its Brand Partnerships

Netflix, which makes almost $16 billion in annual revenue from its 158 million global subscribers, prides itself on being free of advertising. But the company also is $12 billion in debt and facing increasing competition in the streaming video sector from rivals including Apple and The Walt Disney Company. According to eMarketer, Netflix’s “days at the top may be numbered,” and many experts believe that Netflix will eventually have to turn to advertising. Even without ads, however, Netflix is increasing brand engagement. Continue reading Netflix Still Avoids Ads, But Heats Up Its Brand Partnerships

Netflix Targets International Markets as U.S. Growth Slows

For the first time, Netflix released subscription details and numbers for global regions, including Asia, Europe and Latin America. The company stated in October that it would begin to release this information. It comes after another first: Netflix’s loss of U.S. subscribers — 126,000, to be exact — in Q2 2019. With 60 million Netflix subscribers in the U.S., Netflix appears to have saturated the U.S. market, which is valued at $9 billion annually, making its focus on global markets more crucial. Continue reading Netflix Targets International Markets as U.S. Growth Slows

Apple to Bundle News+, TV+, Music as Early as Next Year

According to sources, Apple, in a bid to gain more subscribers, plans to bundle its paid Internet services, including Apple News+, Apple TV+ and Apple Music, as early as 2020. Apple included a proviso in its recently inked media deals that allows it to bundle the News+ service with other paid digital content. Debuted in March, Apple News+ is a $10 per month subscription service that provides access to many publications, splitting the revenue in half with the newspaper and magazine publishers. The Apple TV+ streaming video service launched earlier this month. Continue reading Apple to Bundle News+, TV+, Music as Early as Next Year

Facebook Will Pay For News, But Will Not Mine or Sell Data

Facebook, which has had a mixed relationship with news media, debuted Facebook News, a section devoted to news stories from a range of publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed and Business Insider. Most notably, Facebook is paying for use of the content, inking some deals that top $1 million, and letting professional journalists choose some of the stories to be published. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg urged all online platforms to support professional news outlets. Continue reading Facebook Will Pay For News, But Will Not Mine or Sell Data

TiVo Confirms That Ads Will Appear Prior to DVR Recordings

TiVo confirmed that it plans to introduce commercials that will play before DVR recordings, including movies and TV shows recorded by customers with a lifetime subscription plan. The introduction of pre-roll video ads will impact the company’s current devices (running TiVo Experience 4 software) within the next 90 days and will become a permanent part of the service. Some publications speculate that the update will eventually affect devices with TiVo Experience 3 as well. TiVo’s Roamio, Bolt and Vox will be the first models eligible for pre-roll ads. Customers will have the ability to skip an ad once it starts playing. Continue reading TiVo Confirms That Ads Will Appear Prior to DVR Recordings

MoviePass Officially Shutters its Cinema Subscription Service

MoviePass notified its subscribers last week that its cinema plan would interrupt service on Saturday, September 14. At one point, the MoviePass subscription service enabled customers to watch up to one movie per day in theaters for $9.95 per month, a model that proved unsustainable. Parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics (HMNY) announced that it is considering options, which includes a possible sale of the MoviePass company. While the business model was seen as a bold experiment by some, the company reportedly burned through cash, ultimately disappointing its shareholders. Continue reading MoviePass Officially Shutters its Cinema Subscription Service

Study Suggests Early Interest in Disney Streaming Service

According to a new study by UBS, more U.S. consumers plan to subscribe to the Disney+ streaming service than the company earlier projected. The study found that 43 percent of respondents plan to subscribe to the service, which is rolling out November 12. Of the 43 percent, UBS learned that 57 percent plan to cancel at least one other subscription service after they sign up for the new Disney offering (37 percent said they would likely cut pay TV; only 19 percent referenced dropping networks such as HBO or Showtime). Meanwhile, Disney revealed that consumers who sign up for the D23 Official Disney Fan Club and are willing to commit to a three-year Disney+ subscription, will be offered a significant discount. Continue reading Study Suggests Early Interest in Disney Streaming Service

Taylor Swift Returns to Streaming With Her Seventh Album

Taylor Swift, the last streaming holdout among major musical artists, embraced the technology by releasing her seventh studio album, “Lover,” on Spotify and other streaming services. She had pulled her music from Spotify in 2014, and, in 2017, withheld her sixth album, “Redemption,” from streaming services for three weeks. According to Nielsen, in that year, streaming accounted for about 60 percent of all U.S. music consumption; this year it’s up to 80 percent. Spotify is making the most of Swift’s move with a very visible marketing campaign. Meanwhile, Swift has also helped launch an industry-wide conversation about copyright. Continue reading Taylor Swift Returns to Streaming With Her Seventh Album

AT&T Readies Streaming Service, Rebrands DirecTV Now

AT&T plans to rename streaming service DirecTV Now as AT&T TV Now. Its new streaming service AT&T TV will be tested in a handful of markets; customers will be able to access AT&T TV and AT&T TV Now via the same AT&T TV app on mobile devices and/or connected TVs. To continue service, DirecTV Now subscribers will have to accept AT&T’s terms of service, and will then be able to log in with the same credentials. AT&T, which has not released pricing information for the new services yet, lost about two million traditional pay-TV subs last year.  Continue reading AT&T Readies Streaming Service, Rebrands DirecTV Now

Spotify Reaches 108M Subs, But Revenue Per User Drops

Top streaming music service Spotify announced that it added 8 million subscribers during the most recent quarter ending in June, bringing its total to 108 million paying subscribers and 232 million monthly active users (paying and non-paying). The subscriber tally includes those who signed up for Spotify’s 30-day free trial. The company also recently launched its biannual campaign that offers the premium service for only $1. As a result, its average revenue per user dropped to $5.42, which is a 1 percent reduction compared to the previous quarter. Continue reading Spotify Reaches 108M Subs, But Revenue Per User Drops

Instagram Expands Tests of Hiding Likes to Reduce Anxiety

Facebook’s Instagram began testing a new approach with users in Canada two months ago and this week expanded its efforts to include users in Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. The experiment removes emphasis on the “Like” feature to minimize the pressure to compete, while hopefully creating a more personal and enjoyable experience. Users are still able to see who liked other people’s posts or watched their videos, but there is no longer a running tally of the number of likes and views (however, users can still privately see the counts for their own posts). Continue reading Instagram Expands Tests of Hiding Likes to Reduce Anxiety

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