Comcast’s Stream TV Does Not Affect Subscriber Data Caps

Comcast just launched Stream TV, its live streaming TV service, in the Chicago and Boston areas (including eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine), and plans to debut the service in all its territories by early 2016. What makes Stream TV of interest is that its usage does not count against the 300GB data plans available in some Comcast territories or use a customer’s Internet bandwidth measured in bits per second. Stream TV is an IP cable service delivered over Comcast’s managed network rather than the public Internet. Continue reading Comcast’s Stream TV Does Not Affect Subscriber Data Caps

Networks Cautious of Canceling Shows as TV Viewing Evolves

The television industry is experiencing an unusually long cancellation-free streak for its current season, as networks struggle to adapt to a changing landscape with more viewing alternatives than ever before. Network execs are being extra cautious not to drop a series that may have potential as consumers turn beyond the major broadcasters to cable, on demand, and online streaming alternatives. In addition, overall TV ratings are down and there are more shows than ever before (more than a record-setting 400 are expected by the end of the year across broadcast, cable and online services). Continue reading Networks Cautious of Canceling Shows as TV Viewing Evolves

Univision Launches Subscription Video with Live Broadcasts

Hispanic media powerhouse Univision Communications has launched Univision Now, a $5.99-per-month Internet video service that features live broadcasts of the Univision and UniMás networks for Spanish-speaking viewers. The SVOD service features DVR-style replays of its live programming for up to three days after broadcast, in addition to on-demand access to primetime shows up to seven days after airing. Univision Now — offering the networks’ full slate of news, sports, telenovelas and award shows — is available via the Internet and iOS and Android apps. Continue reading Univision Launches Subscription Video with Live Broadcasts

NY State Attorney General Goes After Fantasy Football Sites

New York State attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman is on a mission to shut down daily fantasy sports websites FanDuel and DraftKings, calling them illegal. Most recently, he sought an injunction to prevent both companies from operating in the state. FanDuel says it will comply by temporarily banning New York consumers from playing. DraftKings, however, says it’s still open for business with New York clientele. Schneiderman is also focusing on other daily fantasy sports sites, subpoenaing Yahoo. Continue reading NY State Attorney General Goes After Fantasy Football Sites

FTC Studies Privacy Issues Inherent in Cross-Device Tracking

Prompted by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), the Federal Trade Commission has scheduled a workshop to discuss cross-device tracking technologies. Using ultrasonic, inaudible pitches, the technology allows a user’s online behavior to be tracked across phones, TVs, tablets and computers. The pitches can be — and are already — embedded in TV commercials, ads in a computer browser and apps. The consumer is not made aware that the tracking technology has been activated and there is no way to opt out. Continue reading FTC Studies Privacy Issues Inherent in Cross-Device Tracking

Ruling Against FilmOn Shows Aereo Issues Are Not Resolved

FilmOn just lost its latest court case, with U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer’s ruling that the company is not a cable system, denying it the statutory license cable companies receive. Collyer’s ruling comes as good news to the coalition of TV and movie companies — including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and Telemundo — that sued FilmOn in 2013. The new ruling goes against the July ruling from a Los Angeles Federal judge that went in favor of FilmOn, and also revives many of the same questions behind the Aereo ruling. Continue reading Ruling Against FilmOn Shows Aereo Issues Are Not Resolved

Netflix Doubles Down on Movie Production with $50M for ‘Okja’

On the heels of its first original theatrical film acquisition, “Beasts of No Nation,” Netflix is financing “Snowpiercer” director Bong Joon-ho’s next film, “Okja,” to the tune of $50 million. The film, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton and Paul Dano and will be produced by Brad Pitt/Dede Gardner’s Plan B, marks the next step of the streaming media company’s transition to film production studio. Netflix’s 2016 releases include a “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel and the Weinstein’s “Marco Polo.” Continue reading Netflix Doubles Down on Movie Production with $50M for ‘Okja’

CTA Predicts Decline in CE Sales Growth This Holiday Season

During last week’s CES Unveiled event in New York, the newly named Consumer Technology Association (former Consumer Electronics Association) released its annual holiday purchase pattern study. According to Shawn DuBravac, CTA’s chief economist and senior research director, consumer electronics will have a strong showing this holiday season, but spending is expected to shift from high-end TVs to less expensive audio devices, mobile electronics and emerging technologies. The shift is expected to result in a drag on industry sales growth. Continue reading CTA Predicts Decline in CE Sales Growth This Holiday Season

Programming Free-for-All Favors Consumer Power of Choice

Traditional TV networks are pulling out all stops to succeed with their non-traditional streaming platforms. CBS is launching a new “Star Trek” series in 2017, which will air exclusively on its CBS All Access app; HBO inked a deal with former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart to create new content for HBO Now; and NBCUniversal is cranking out original series and specials for its Seeso comedy channel, due to launch in January. Meanwhile, Vice Media plans a 24/7-cable channel with A+E Networks. Continue reading Programming Free-for-All Favors Consumer Power of Choice

ABC Developing Original Programming for Streaming Initiative

ABC is said to be exploring a new approach to streaming original content online. Rather than launching a standalone subscription service similar to CBS All Access or NBCUniversal’s upcoming comedy offering Seeso, the network is reportedly planning to introduce new series exclusively through its WatchABC app. In addition to offering expanded original programming on an alternative platform, the Disney-owned network could also use the model as a means of trying out new concepts and talent that could eventually make their way to broadcast television. Continue reading ABC Developing Original Programming for Streaming Initiative

T-Mobile Launches Binge On: Video Streaming, No Data Cap

T-Mobile US will stream 24 video services including Netflix, Hulu and HBO for free, albeit at lower quality. The wireless company has already used this tactic — called zero rating, which means the data will not be counted against the subscriber’s data limit — for its Music Freedom service, which includes music streaming apps Spotify and Apple Music among others. The new video exemption, dubbed Binge On, does not, however, include video from YouTube, Facebook and Netflix and requires users to have a 3GB plan or larger. Continue reading T-Mobile Launches Binge On: Video Streaming, No Data Cap

Pluto TV Aggregates Digital Channels to Remix Traditional TV

Pluto TV chief executive Tom Ryan sees the company as a “remix” of traditional linear TV, a place where viewers don’t have to pick what they want to watch. The company just announced new content deals with NBC News, Reuters, Paramount, 120 Sports, CNET, Legendary Digital, and Corus Entertainment, but the majority of its content is YouTube or Vimeo videos that have been repackaged to resemble linear channels. New executive chair Ken Parks says the service plans to be an aggregator for digital subscription services. Continue reading Pluto TV Aggregates Digital Channels to Remix Traditional TV

Vizio Smart TV Tracks Users’ Viewing, Shares with Advertisers

In an October IPO filing, Vizio described its ability to provide “highly specific viewing behavior data on a massive scale with great accuracy.” This refers to Vizio’s Smart TVs ability to track the user’s viewing habits and share that information with advertisers, who use it to connect with that user’s devices. Vizio dubs this “Smart Interactivity” and it is turned on by default for the more than 10 million Smart TVs the company has sold. Users who do not want to be tracked in this fashion must opt-out. Continue reading Vizio Smart TV Tracks Users’ Viewing, Shares with Advertisers

Flare MeTV: Cox to Roll Out New Streaming Content Service

In an attempt to attract and maintain the youth demographic, Cox Communications plans to debut Flare MeTV, featuring a variety of streaming offerings, by the end of 2015. Similar to Comcast’s “Watchable,” which debuted in September, and Verizon’s go90, Flare MeTV will aggregate online video content and may in the future carry some licensed traditional TV content. Flare MeTV will be introduced as free without ads, but may eventually become ad-supported or subscription-based. The app will initially only be available on the iPad.   Continue reading Flare MeTV: Cox to Roll Out New Streaming Content Service

Activision to Open Film/TV Studio to Repurpose Game Library

Gaming company Activision Blizzard is creating an internal film/TV studio, headed by former Walt Disney Company executive Nick van Dyk, to produce content based on its 1,000-title library. The first production is animated TV series “Skylanders Academy,” based on the “Skylanders” game that’s earned $3+ billion since its 2011 launch. The first film is likely to be based on “Call of Duty.” This move comes on the heels of Activision’s stated intent to acquire King Digital Entertainment, creator of “Candy Crush,” for $5.9 billion. Continue reading Activision to Open Film/TV Studio to Repurpose Game Library

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