NBCUniversal Snags Mobile Rights to ‘Sunday Night Football’

NBCUniversal inked a deal with NFL for the rights to stream “Sunday Night Football” to mobile phones, beginning in 2018 and including Super Bowl LII on February 4. The media titan, which will stream the games through its “TV Everywhere” mobile phone offering, has been streaming “Sunday Night Football” to various platforms since 2008, but this is the first time it will be able to stream the No. 1 primetime TV show on all digital platforms. Cable subscribers have had access to the games via apps for tablets and smart TVs. Continue reading NBCUniversal Snags Mobile Rights to ‘Sunday Night Football’

TDG: 40 Percent of U.S. Households Will Cut the Cord by 2030

Despite the increasing number of digital streaming services currently available, including Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, about 85 percent of U.S. households continue to subscribe to traditional cable television. However, The Diffusion Group suggests the tide is turning; the market analyst predicts that by 2030 as many as 40 percent of Americans will have cut the cord. TDG Research also expects the percentage of households subscribing to pay TV will drop to 60 percent during the same period. TDG suggests that by 2030, about 30 million households will be “without an MVPD service of any kind.” Continue reading TDG: 40 Percent of U.S. Households Will Cut the Cord by 2030

Sandvine Details Households Turning to Illegal TV Streaming

About 6.5 percent of North American households are now accessing illegal TV streaming services per month, according to data from a new Sandvine study based on broadband service provider customers. The illegal services earn an average of $10 per month in fees, which represents nearly $840 million for the pirates, notes Variety. Meanwhile, the percentage also represents a potential $4.2 billion in lost revenue for cable, satellite and telco providers based on a estimated $50 per month fee for pay-TV services. However, it is not known whether the households in question would even consider legal pay-TV or OTT options. Continue reading Sandvine Details Households Turning to Illegal TV Streaming

SoftBank Suspends Negotiations to Merge Sprint and T-Mobile

After nine months of merger talks, SoftBank has reportedly suspended its plans to combine Sprint with T-Mobile US. This marks the second time in three years that Sprint has backed out of negotiations. According to those familiar with the matter, directors of SoftBank Group Corp. (Sprint’s parent company) met in Tokyo and opted to suspend the merger plans. Insiders indicate that the news came as a surprise to T-Mobile officials. While discussions could be revisited in the future, the same insiders note that the two sides could not agree on the valuation of Sprint’s shares, and SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son had concerns about relinquishing too much control. Continue reading SoftBank Suspends Negotiations to Merge Sprint and T-Mobile

FCC Chair Takes Steps to Reverse Restrictions on Telecoms

FCC chair Ajit Pai is moving forward with plans to reverse regulation introduced during the Obama administration under former FCC chair Tom Wheeler. Two items expected to pass today — involving Internet connection fees and limits on the number of stations a TV broadcaster can own — “will empower big telecom and media firms that have lobbied aggressively for deregulation,” reports The New York Times, “but consumer groups say it may also eventually put consumers at risk of higher prices and fewer options for services and media.” The new Trump appointee “has abolished a plan to open the cable box market” and “suspended several participants from a program for low-income broadband subsidies.” Pai is expected to introduce a proposal to counter net neutrality soon. Continue reading FCC Chair Takes Steps to Reverse Restrictions on Telecoms

Research Indicates Another Drop in Number of Pay-TV Subs

According to new research from Kagan, pay-TV providers in the U.S. lost about 1.9 million subscribers in 2016. Additionally, OTT providers such as Sling TV, DirecTV Now and Sony PlayStation Vue “gained about 900,000 subscribers last year, rising from approximately 600,000 at year-end 2015 to 1.5 million at the end of 2016,” reports Variety. “While the gains on the OTT front would appear to be good news for cable programmers, the problem is that many broadband-targeted TV packages are stripped-down ‘skinny bundles’ that omit many of the channels included in traditional basic cable lineup.” Kagan estimates 94.7 million residential pay-TV subscribers for the close of 2016, down 2 percent from 2015. Continue reading Research Indicates Another Drop in Number of Pay-TV Subs

Survey Finds Binge-Watching by Younger Viewers on Upswing

Deloitte’s 11th annual “Digital Democracy Survey” found that 73 percent of U.S. consumers have binge-watched video, up from 68 percent two years ago. Binge-watching TV is more common with younger audiences — 90 percent of millennials (ages 20-33) and 87 percent of Gen Z (ages 14-19) — who are increasingly watching on mobile devices. While televisions are losing popularity among younger audiences for marathon-viewing, older demographics — 60 percent of Gen X (ages 34-50) and 80 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 51-69) — still prefer TV. Nearly 40 percent of younger viewers binge-watch TV on a weekly basis, averaging about five hours of content per session. Continue reading Survey Finds Binge-Watching by Younger Viewers on Upswing

Amazon Offers New Monthly Subs, No Annual Commitment

Amazon unveiled two new Prime plans on its website, introducing a video-only option for monthly subscribers. The new offering could ramp up the competition between its video service and Netflix. The first new plan costs $8.99 per month to stream TV shows and movies through a video-only version of Prime, while the second runs $10.99 per month for all Prime benefits, including video and music streaming, free two-day shipping on Amazon purchases, and more. Amazon hopes to reach consumers that have been reluctant to pay $99 up front for an annual Prime membership. Continue reading Amazon Offers New Monthly Subs, No Annual Commitment

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

Verizon Plans to Test 5G Network Technology in U.S. in 2016

Verizon is already developing a 5G cellular network, the next generation of wireless technology following 4G LTE. Chief financial officer Fran Shammo says the company plans to launch the first 5G network in the U.S. Verizon hopes to begin trials of the 5G network as early as this year, but the technology probably won’t be widely available until 2020. Verizon says the 5G network is different from the LTE network because 5G is designed to accommodate demands of the Internet of Things. Continue reading Verizon Plans to Test 5G Network Technology in U.S. in 2016

Advertisers Pay for Users’ Mobile Data in Verizon’s Beta Test

Verizon Wireless does not offer an unlimited data plan, but it’s got another idea on how users can watch mobile content to their heart’s content without racking up data charges: get media firms and advertisers to pay to deliver video and other content. The telco has launched a 1,000-user beta test of its sponsored-data program, FreeBee Data, that lets content providers opt to pay per-click or per-gigabyte fees. Just how many media companies will agree to pay data fees isn’t clear, and Verizon did not announce pricing. Continue reading Advertisers Pay for Users’ Mobile Data in Verizon’s Beta Test

DLNA: VidiPath Tech to Enable Subscription TV Across Devices

According to the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), wireless VidiPath technology will enable the secure delivery of subscription TV to all certified devices in the home. This could lead to eliminating the need to rent multiple set-top boxes. Wi-Fi-based VidiPath provides access to subscription TV across smartphones, tablets, Blu-ray players, game consoles and PCs. The first VidiPath-certified products are slated for availability in the first quarter. Comcast, Cox and Time Warner Cable are among those planning to offer VidiPath STBs. Continue reading DLNA: VidiPath Tech to Enable Subscription TV Across Devices

SK Telecom Introduces New LTE-Advanced Broadband Service

Korea’s largest mobile operator, SK Telecom rolled out its new LTE-Advanced broadband service last week. South Korean customers will now have access to 4G wireless network speeds up to 225Mbps (three times faster than other current mobile connections). This speed will allow users to download 800MB movies in less than half a minute. A new version of the Samsung Galaxy S5 will be the first to support LTE-A speeds, while LG and Pantech plan to launch compatible devices next month. Continue reading SK Telecom Introduces New LTE-Advanced Broadband Service

EU and South Korea Team Up for Faster Mobile Internet Access

South Korea and the European Union announced a new pact today to develop 5G networks for faster mobile Internet service. The two will launch a joint group with plans to develop systems, set standards and ready radio frequencies in order to help establish a global vision on 5G by the end of next year. According to EU data, the six minutes required to download a one-hour HD movie on a 4G mobile Internet would only take six seconds on a superfast 5G network. Continue reading EU and South Korea Team Up for Faster Mobile Internet Access

FCC Chair Tom Wheeler on the Power of Community Broadband

Tom Wheeler met this week with Andy Berke, mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee, to discuss the power of networks in driving economic growth. In an FCC Blog post titled “Removing Barriers to Competitive Community Broadband,” Wheeler writes about Chattanooga’s history and Berke’s recognition that tomorrow’s economic growth will be reliant upon effective high-speed networks, which is why the city “invested in building out one of the nation’s most robust community broadband networks.” Continue reading FCC Chair Tom Wheeler on the Power of Community Broadband

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