Nielsen: 21 Million Years Worth of Video Was Streamed in 2023

In 2023, U.S. audiences streamed the equivalent of 21 million years of video, according to Nielsen, which says that’s a record, surpassing by 21 percent the 17 million years’ worth of video streamed in 2022. Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” was the most streamed original, while “Suits” was the most-streamed show in a single year. Its 57.7 billion viewing minutes on Netflix and Peacock surpassed “The Office,” which generated 57.1 billion viewing minutes on Netflix in 2020. According to Nielsen’s Gracenote, “audiences had 90 different streaming services to choose from at the end of last year, up from 51 at the start of 2020.” Continue reading Nielsen: 21 Million Years Worth of Video Was Streamed in 2023

Hulu Is Joining Netflix in Cracking Down on Password Sharing

Hulu has revised its Terms of Service in an effort to ban password sharing amongst friends and family members outside of a subscriber’s primary personal residence. Hulu has been announcing via email that subscribers will have until March 14 to comply. According to the revised Terms of Service: “If we determine, in our sole discretion, that you have violated this Agreement, we may limit or terminate access to the Service and/or take any other steps as permitted by this Agreement.” The move by Hulu follows what has been reported as a successful crackdown on password sharing by Netflix in addition to a record number of subscribers in the fourth quarter. Continue reading Hulu Is Joining Netflix in Cracking Down on Password Sharing

Netflix Adds WWE, Touts 12.5 Percent Revenue Growth in Q4

Netflix added 13.1 million subscribers in Q4 2023, its biggest gain in a year-end quarter, and the streamer continues to try to broaden its demographic reach by investing in new content, including a new deal for live WWE wrestling matches. The expansion into live-streaming provides an opportunity to draw regular, appointment viewers, something advertisers like. “No entertainment company has ever tried to program at this scale, and for so many tastes and cultures,” Netflix wrote in a shareholder letter that says it plans to spend up to $17 billion on content in 2024. Continue reading Netflix Adds WWE, Touts 12.5 Percent Revenue Growth in Q4

FAST Platform Plex to Roll Out Movie, TV Rentals Next Month

After announcing in 2020 plans to launch a movie and TV show rental marketplace, media streaming platform Plex is finally taking the plunge. Following what has been described as “false starts,” including delays due to COVID-19, news broke at CES 2024 that the company will go public with its rental offering in February. The streaming media software maker has confirmed it will enter the TVOD (transactional video on demand) market to augment the ad-supported streaming that is its primary revenue source. Plex reportedly has “most studios” onboard, though it has yet to specify which ones. Continue reading FAST Platform Plex to Roll Out Movie, TV Rentals Next Month

Apple Pushes Immersive Entertainment for Vision Pro Headset

Apple’s Vision Pro launches February 2 with pre-orders starting today. The mixed reality headset will have more than 150 3D movies available at launch, including content from Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video, as well as “immersive originals,” Apple says. While the company is positioning the $3,500 headset as “the ultimate entertainment device,” touting mind-blowing specs and a transformative experience, gaming currently drives an estimated 30 percent of immersive hardware revenue and non-gaming entertainment accounts for only 8 to 13 percent. Apple’s announcement focuses more on TV, movies, and sports than the Apple Arcade game hub. Continue reading Apple Pushes Immersive Entertainment for Vision Pro Headset

CES: Amazon Offers Casting from Prime Video App to Devices

Amazon is rolling out Matter Casting, which lets customers cast directly from supported streaming apps on iOS and Android to Fire TV and Echo Show 15 devices. Viewers can begin watching a movie or browse for a Prime Video show on their phone, then cast it to a compatible Fire TV or Echo Show screen. Amazon called the CES announcement “an industry-first demonstration of implementing Matter Casting,” referring to the open-source Matter standard protocol for connectivity between smart home and IoT devices. Amazon is a founding member and active contributor to the Matter standard. Continue reading CES: Amazon Offers Casting from Prime Video App to Devices

CES: Xgimi Announces First IMAX Enhanced Home Projector

Xgimi wants to bring the IMAX experience to your living room. The China-based company has unveiled what it says is the first long-throw home projector to earn certification as IMAX Enhanced, a designation previously limited to premium units. Xgimi’s Horizon Max projector is intended for mass market viewing enthusiasts. The IMAX Enhanced specifications include Dolby Vision and DTS:X sound. The Horizon Max promises 3,100 ISO lumens brightness and a contrast ratio of 2,000:1. Pricing was not disclosed at the CES 2024 product announcement, but the projector is expected to ship in the second half of this year. Continue reading CES: Xgimi Announces First IMAX Enhanced Home Projector

Netflix Releases Engagement Report, Reveals Hours Viewed

In a move toward increased transparency, Netflix has begun sharing specifics regarding program consumption data. This week, the streamer released the first “What We Watched: A Netflix Engagement Report,” detailing how many hours the most popular content was viewed January to June 2023. On a call with reporters, co-CEO Ted Sarandos described the information as “a continuum” of improvements to viewership measurement. The report “covers more than 18,000 titles — representing 99 percent of all viewing on Netflix,” which for the six-month period totaled “nearly 100 billion hours worldwide,” according to Netflix. Continue reading Netflix Releases Engagement Report, Reveals Hours Viewed

Google Will Relocate Play Movies & TV Purchases in January

Alphabet-owned Google, which announced the end of its Play Movies & TV app in October 2022, now has a plan for relocating the video content that users have purchased on the service. Starting January 17, customers will be able to access their past Play Movies & TV purchases as well as active rentals on YouTube, Android TV devices, Google TV devices and the Google TV mobile app (including the iOS version). “We are making some changes to simplify how you purchase new movies or access the movies and TV shows you’ve purchased through Google,” the company explained. Continue reading Google Will Relocate Play Movies & TV Purchases in January

Merged Disney+ and Hulu App to Launch as Beta Next Month

Disney, which is in the process of completing its purchase of NBCUniversal’s 33 percent stake in Hulu, will begin beta testing a combined Disney+ and Hulu bundle next month for subscribers of both services, according to CEO Bob Iger. Last week, Disney announced it would pay Comcast at least $8.61 billion for the Hulu stake, indicating the final cost could be higher, based on market value estimates by each party’s investment bankers. “We remain on track to roll out a more unified one-app experience domestically via Disney+,” Iger said in discussing the September quarter on an earnings call. Continue reading Merged Disney+ and Hulu App to Launch as Beta Next Month

Disney to Purchase Remaining Stake in Hulu from Comcast

Disney announced it plans to purchase the remaining one-third stake in Hulu from Comcast’s NBCUniversal in a move that has been widely expected. The announcement follows Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s entertainment assets in 2019, which gave the entertainment giant two-thirds of streaming service Hulu. Disney, which is expected to pay at least $8.61 billion for the remaining stake, currently offers the Hulu service as part of a streaming bundle with its Disney+ and ESPN+ platforms. “The acquisition of Comcast’s stake in Hulu at fair market value will further Disney’s streaming objectives,” explained the company in a press release. Continue reading Disney to Purchase Remaining Stake in Hulu from Comcast

Netflix Raising Rates After Profitable Q3, Subscriber Growth

Netflix can chalk up another solid quarter, with Q3 revenue of $8.5 billion, up 8 percent year-over-year, with 9 million new subscribers for a total of 247 million worldwide. Netflix attributes the strong subscriber growth in part to its ongoing password-sharing crackdown. The company has now officially rolled out what it calls “paid sharing” in all regions in which it operates, reporting that there were fewer resulting cancellations than expected. Rather, it says it has largely effectuated its desired result of converting piggybacking customers into paid subscribers. Meanwhile, Netflix is raising its rates as it continues to add originals and “license titles from around the world.” Continue reading Netflix Raising Rates After Profitable Q3, Subscriber Growth

BBC Studios Offers Five FAST Channels on Amazon Freevee

BBC Studios, which first entered the FAST space in 2019, announced a deal with ad-supported video-on-demand streamer Amazon Freevee, which will exclusively provide five new FAST channels for U.S. audiences starting October 17. The editorially-curated FAST channels will feature more than 1,000 hours of content across categories including comedy, science fiction, game shows, travel and crime dramas. Thus far, BBC has launched 17 FAST channels in the U.S. Freevee content is available via its Android and iOS apps in addition to Fire TV, Prime Video and numerous smart TVs and delivery platforms. Continue reading BBC Studios Offers Five FAST Channels on Amazon Freevee

New PS5 Model Adds Option for Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Drive

Sony announced it is introducing a new PS5 shipping in November, timed for the holiday shopping season. The slimmer form factor, which features a detachable Blu-ray Disc drive and 1TB SSD for internal storage, has been reduced in volume by more than 30 percent and is 18- 24 percent lighter, depending on the choice of two models. The PS5 Digital Edition will run $449.99, while the PS5 with Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive will cost an additional $50. For those who purchase the base PS5 Digital Edition, a $79.99 Blu-ray disc drive can be added later. The new PS5 includes a horizontal stand; a new $29.99 vertical stand is compatible with all PS5 models. Continue reading New PS5 Model Adds Option for Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Drive

Likewise: Startup Backed by Bill Gates Launches Pix Chatbot

Likewise, a startup discovery platform backed by Bill Gates, is launching its own free chatbot named Pix. Billed as “the world’s first personal entertainment companion,” Pix helps users find TV shows, movies, books and podcasts, drawing from 600 million consumer data points. Trained on OpenAI models, Pix uses natural-language processing to answer user questions submitted by text, email or on the web at Likewise.com. Responses are promised “within seconds,” and Pix will learn users’ preferences over time. Likewise claims to have more than six million registered users. Continue reading Likewise: Startup Backed by Bill Gates Launches Pix Chatbot