ABC, ESPN, Fox News to Join Hulu’s Live Streaming Service

Hulu announced it has signed deals with 21st Century Fox and Disney to include the media giants’ broadcast and cable channels in Hulu’s planned live streaming service, expected to launch in early 2017. ABC, ESPN and Fox News will join channels including CNN, TBS and TNT, following an earlier deal with Time Warner. All three companies are part owners of Hulu. The fourth owner, Comcast, has not yet reached an agreement for channels under the NBCUniversal banner. According to The New York Times, “Hulu’s live offering will be the latest cheaper and slimmer television package at a time when more people are canceling traditional — and more expensive — cable subscriptions.” Continue reading ABC, ESPN, Fox News to Join Hulu’s Live Streaming Service

AT&T to Purchase Media Giant Time Warner for $85.4 Billion

Over the weekend, AT&T announced it has agreed to acquire Time Warner for $85.4 billion in cash and stock. If the deal passes regulatory hurdles, AT&T would become home to Turner cable networks (such as TBS, CNN and TNT), premium cable channel HBO and the Warner Bros. film and TV studios. The telco, which already owns DirecTV, would also pick up a stake in Hulu. The new business would combine the carrier’s millions of wireless and pay-TV subscribers with Time Warner’s major media entities, enabling AT&T to produce and distribute an array of content across wireless phone, broadband and satellite TV. Continue reading AT&T to Purchase Media Giant Time Warner for $85.4 Billion

Turner Tests New Ad Countdown Clock with ‘Animal Kingdom’

Turner Broadcasting is experimenting with a way to keep viewers from skipping ads: a countdown clock showing how much time is left in each ad break. The idea was first tested this season on TNT’s new crime drama “Animal Kingdom,” via a timer at the bottom of the screen for both live TV and pay TV affiliates’ VOD systems. The timer appears when there is 60 seconds left in a break. NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” have also used countdown clocks, but “Animal Kingdom” may be the first primetime show to do so. Continue reading Turner Tests New Ad Countdown Clock with ‘Animal Kingdom’

Time Warner Invests in Hulu with Plans to Join Pay TV Service

Time Warner announced it is investing $583 million for a 10 percent stake in Hulu, joining forces with existing owners Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast’s NBCUniversal. However, Time Warner does not plan to offer its television programming via the current version of Hulu’s video service, which features repeats of recently aired shows. Instead, the media giant will license its content for the new pay TV service that Hulu plans to launch in 2017. That means channels such as Cartoon Network, CNN, TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies would be available to viewers through the planned live TV service. Continue reading Time Warner Invests in Hulu with Plans to Join Pay TV Service

Networks Test Sponsored Content and Fewer 30-Second Ads

On Monday, NBC tested out a new concept: airing more content and fewer ads. Sponsored by American Express, the additional content included “Blindspot” interviews with the show’s creator and stars, and a segment with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb of the “Today” show. NBC isn’t alone; Vice Media has embraced a similar advertising strategy for its new Viceland cable channel. TV networks hurting from ratings declines and cord cutting are taking a serious look at swapping out 30-second spots for sponsored content. Continue reading Networks Test Sponsored Content and Fewer 30-Second Ads

CES 2016: VR, Game Platforms, eSports Coming to Las Vegas

The increasing interest in virtual reality and rise of the app stores are expected to help make gaming a hot topic at January’s CES. Coming off its crowd-pleasing debut at the show last year, and with its consumer launch only months away, expect Oculus to monopolize the floor. And with it comes an array of manufacturers hoping to add a new dimension to the immersive gameplay experience with new peripherals. Meanwhile, the widespread adoption of game systems as entertainment hubs has created a new pipeline for indie developers to reach consumers. And let’s not forget the rise of eSports. Turner Broadcasting certainly hasn’t, and will be bringing its largest-ever showcase to prove it. Continue reading CES 2016: VR, Game Platforms, eSports Coming to Las Vegas

Cord-Cutting Trend Spurs Hollywood to Tweak Netflix Deals

As more consumers are cutting the cord and watching broadcast and cable TV shows via Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, network executives are rethinking their deals with those streaming services. They’re especially eyeing contracts with Netflix, which pays a flat fee, doesn’t have advertising and has upped its production of original content. Just how volatile the field is was reflected in an August sell-off of media stocks during which entertainment companies lost over $60 billion in value in two days. Continue reading Cord-Cutting Trend Spurs Hollywood to Tweak Netflix Deals

Apple Delays Live TV, Lacking Licensed Content and Network

At Apple’s upcoming September 9 event, the Silicon Valley company will announce a more powerful version of its Apple TV set-top box. But what it won’t be introducing is a live TV service streamed over the Internet. Although Apple insiders are mum, those close to the project say that Apple hasn’t licensed enough content from TV networks and that talks to do so are moving slowly. Another obstacle is a sufficiently robust computer network to guarantee the content will stream properly. The company is reportedly now targeting a 2016 launch date. Continue reading Apple Delays Live TV, Lacking Licensed Content and Network

Verizon to Debut New Options for its FiOS Service Next Week

To better compete in the changing pay TV landscape, Verizon is planning to introduce more flexibility for subscribers of its FiOS service. Beginning April 19, viewers will have the option of a slim package of channels and will also be able to add “channel packs” that feature genre-based channels (for example: pop culture, lifestyle, sports). Plans will start at $55 per month. Additional packages including 10-17 channels will run $10 a month. In addition, subscribers will have the ability to switch between channel packs after 30 days. Continue reading Verizon to Debut New Options for its FiOS Service Next Week

NCAA March Madness Gets First Dedicated YouTube Channel

Under its deal with the NCAA, Turner Sports will manage a March Madness channel on YouTube for the tournament that kicks off March 17. This marks the first official YouTube channel dedicated solely to providing updates of the NCAA basketball tournament. The channel will feature highlights and recaps from all 67 games in addition to news, analysis and press conferences from CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV. However, sports fans that want to watch entire games from the tournament online will require a pay TV subscription. Continue reading NCAA March Madness Gets First Dedicated YouTube Channel

Dish Goes National with Sling TV Service, Adds AMC Networks

Dish Network’s new Sling TV service is transitioning from its invitation-only beta phase to public availability, starting at $20 per month (various add-ons are available for $5 each per month). Unveiled during CES, the pay TV service features access to channels ranging from ABC Family, CNN and the Disney Channel — to ESPN, TBS and TNT. It also includes access to a VOD library, the WatchESPN app, and content from Maker Studios. Yesterday, the company announced that AMC Networks would become another programming partner. Continue reading Dish Goes National with Sling TV Service, Adds AMC Networks

Sling TV Benefits Both Advertisers and Multi-Channel Networks

During CES, Dish announced its $20 per month, OTT subscription service that provides access to Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, CNN, Disney Channel, ESPN, Food Network, HGTV, TBS, TNT, and YouTube videos from Maker Studios. Sling TV could finally help position the enormously popular YouTube content at the same advertising value as television. Advertisers would be able to reach the younger demographic that increasingly watches less television, while multi-channel networks like Maker Studios may grow in value. Continue reading Sling TV Benefits Both Advertisers and Multi-Channel Networks

Viewers Turn to Time-Shifting, Except for Sports and Animation

TiVo Research & Analytics has released its first “TiVo State of TV Report,” which provides insights into television viewing habits, advertising and commercial retention rates, and the top streamed and time-shifted programs. The team analyzed viewing data from multiple datasets, including TiVo and non-TiVo households, from July to September. The results point to a significant increase in time-shifted viewing and binge watching, while sports programming and primetime animation led the charge for live viewing. Continue reading Viewers Turn to Time-Shifting, Except for Sports and Animation

Cord-Shaving Becoming New Concern for the Pay TV Industry

The number of cable channel subscribers has decreased over the past four years, but it is not necessarily a result of viewers completely “cutting the cord.” Rather, many viewers are now “cord shaving,” or opting for smaller, cheaper cable bundles. These bundles do not include popular channels like CNN, ESPN or TNT. Those channels, and the others in the top 40 most distributed channels have lost more than 3 percent of their distribution, 3.2 million subscribers, in the past four years. Continue reading Cord-Shaving Becoming New Concern for the Pay TV Industry

NCAA Tournament Marks New Record for Live Video Streaming

Turner Sports announced that NCAA March Madness Live set a new record with 69.7 million live video streams collectively across platforms. The 2014 tournament’s live video streams were up 42 percent compared to the previous year. NCAA March Madness Live — in partnership between the NCAA, Turner Sports and CBS Sports — netted 15 million hours of live video consumed, which is also a new all-time record. Live streams via tablets and smartphones were up 71 percent this year. Continue reading NCAA Tournament Marks New Record for Live Video Streaming

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