CES: Streaming Digital Citizenship as Societal Experiment

After years of development, direct-to-consumer streaming is poised to actively provide new choices for how the world consumes entertainment content. While it started as a response to the one-size-fits-all model offered by cable companies, it now offers choice of separate walled gardens, each with a different gate. Aggregators in the streaming space are quickly bulking up to what traditional providers charge based on the cost of channel acquisition. To some consumers this will seem like déjà vu. Others will choose carefully among the direct offerings to customize the content entering their world.  Continue reading CES: Streaming Digital Citizenship as Societal Experiment

CES: Anticipating New Era of Streaming Digital Citizenship

It’s almost a new year and a whole new crop of technology is about to introduce a phase change into our collective psyche. It’s time to reflect before we dive into the shameless and enthusiastic possibilities it portends. Let’s take a moment to muse about our new realities. With 5G no doubt to be pervasive at CES 2020 next month, some of the new effects of the streaming marketplace will soon be apparent to the consumer. As each entertainment giant introduces new streaming services at what appears to be astounding value, when cobbled together they increasingly grow to approximate a consumer’s old aggregated service bill from a cable provider.  Continue reading CES: Anticipating New Era of Streaming Digital Citizenship

Big Tech, DARPA Ramp Up Deepfake Research, Detection

Movies and TV shows have combined real and CG images for decades, for the purpose of entertainment. But we’re seeing the rise of deepfakes, which mix fake and real elements in still images or videos with a malignant or harmful aim. Many Big Tech companies that have benefited from letting users post and share photos are now turning their attention to battling deepfakes. According to cybersecurity startup Deeptrace, the number of deepfakes online has nearly doubled to 14,678 from December 2018 to August 2019. Continue reading Big Tech, DARPA Ramp Up Deepfake Research, Detection

‘The Mandalorian’ Uses Epic’s Unreal Engine for Production

“The Mandalorian,” one of the original exclusive shows on Disney+, follows a mysterious bounty hunter who takes on secretive jobs after the fall of the Empire. Recent data reveals that the show was the third most “in demand” digital original show since its debut. Epic Games is listed in the show’s end credits because series creator Jon Favreau used it in his production process. Epic Games’ Unreal Engine is a popular platform for creating games, such as “Fortnite,” but it’s now being used in more Hollywood productions. Continue reading ‘The Mandalorian’ Uses Epic’s Unreal Engine for Production

Nielsen Will Split into Two Firms Following Activist Pressure

Following pressure from activist investor Elliott Management, Nielsen Holdings announced plans to split the media research firm into two independent publicly traded companies. Nielsen revealed it would create two separate companies by spinning off its Global Connect business. In a deal expected to close in 9-12 months, the two companies will be named Global Connect and Global Media. “Both the Global Media and Global Connect businesses are independently essential to the industries they serve, but each business has unique dynamics,” explained CEO David Kenny, who will stay on as chief exec of the Global Media business.  Continue reading Nielsen Will Split into Two Firms Following Activist Pressure

Discovery May Target Cord Cutters With Streaming Service

Discovery Inc. revealed yesterday that it is considering a streaming service that would directly offer content from its collection of television channels to U.S. viewers. The company envisions “an opportunity to take content on a broader basis to mount an attack on those who are not existing cable subscribers,” explained CEO David Zaslav during Thursday’s earnings call with Wall Street analysts. Discovery is considering “aggregating all of our content in the U.S. and having something that looks very different.” Such a move would mark a major shift for Discovery, which has been comparatively cautious in providing content to consumers without cable subs. Continue reading Discovery May Target Cord Cutters With Streaming Service

Apple Experiences Mixed Q3, Launches Apple TV+ Today

Apple’s revenue climbed 1.8 percent to $64.04 billion, due to sales in wearables and services such as apps, mobile payments and streaming-music subscriptions. Meanwhile, iPhone sales fell 9.2 percent and profit fell 3 percent to $13.69 billion. The company’s operating expenses have also risen 9 percent as it embraced facial recognition for the new iPhone and increased R&D spending. In advance of the Apple TV+ debut on November 1, Apple held a gala event for “The Morning Show” at New York’s Lincoln Center. Continue reading Apple Experiences Mixed Q3, Launches Apple TV+ Today

AT&T Reveals More Info About HBO Max, Debuting in May

AT&T revealed more information about its HBO Max streaming service, scheduled to debut in May 2020. The service, priced at $14.99 per month, will be free for existing HBO and HBO Now subscribers, and premium AT&T customers, and feature shows from TV producer Greg Berlanti and actress/producer Mindy Kaling as well as content from HBO and Warner Bros. movie/TV library, including “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory.” It is also acquiring streaming rights for shows such as Comedy Central’s “South Park.” Continue reading AT&T Reveals More Info About HBO Max, Debuting in May

Creatives Are Concerned by Netflix Variable Speed Feature

Netflix is testing variable playback speeds with a small group of Android users, much to the dismay of many Hollywood creatives. Judd Apatow, Brad Bird and Aaron Paul were among those who spoke against the feature, with Apatow noting that “distributors don’t get to change the way the content is presented.” There is evidence that some users prefer to consume media at faster speeds, to improve concentration and cover more material. Netflix vice president Keela Robison said subscribers had “frequently” requested the feature. Continue reading Creatives Are Concerned by Netflix Variable Speed Feature

Verizon Offers Free Disney+ for Unlimited Data Customers

Verizon Communications, the largest U.S. wireless provider, will provide a year of free access to Disney+ for its customers who have unlimited data plans. About half of Verizon’s 100+ million customers currently pay for an unlimited data plan. Disney’s new film and television streaming service will debut November 12 and cost $6.99 per month. Verizon will also offer a year of free Disney+ to its FiOS Internet and 5G home broadband subscribers. Disney+ is one of several new streaming services targeting Netflix’s dominance. Continue reading Verizon Offers Free Disney+ for Unlimited Data Customers

On-Demand Television Is Giving the Music Industry a Boost

“Stranger Things,” “Breaking Bad” and “Transparent” are just a few examples of popular television shows that have been a boon to the music industry in recent years. During an era when physical music sales are at a low, artists and labels are eager to license their music to play during TV episodes for royalties and publicity. According to numbers provided by UK music collecting society PRS for Music — home of the Performing Right Society (PRS) and the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS), the use of music across on-demand platforms has increased 238 percent over the past five years.

Continue reading On-Demand Television Is Giving the Music Industry a Boost

Netflix Remains Confident, Despite Increased Competition

For the second straight quarter, Netflix fell short of its subscriber-growth target. For some, this raises questions about Netflix’s ability to fend off competition in an increasingly crowded market, particularly as traditional media companies continue flooding the space with video-streaming services. On Wednesday, however, Netflix shares rose 8.5 percent based on news that the overall subscriber base did grow in the 3rd quarter, it didn’t lose domestic numbers, and it also saw strong international subscriber growth.

Continue reading Netflix Remains Confident, Despite Increased Competition

Hulu Advances Personalization With Like/Dislike Buttons

Ahead of the launch of two new streaming services, Disney+ and Apple TV+, Hulu is taking steps to add more personalization to its platform. After launching an enhanced recommendation engine that takes into account what viewers watch and when, it’s now introducing Like and Dislike buttons that will enable more personal and accurate content recommendations. The new buttons now appear across the Hulu platform. When using a living room device, you’ll see them on the Details page; when using a computer, you’ll see them on the Homepage.

Continue reading Hulu Advances Personalization With Like/Dislike Buttons

Facebook Falls, Amazon Rises, and Apple Holds Top Spot

In Interbrand’s latest Best Global Brands report, Facebook fell out of the top ten, dropping to 14th due to an estimated declined value of 12 percent. Amazon moved up to 3rd and The Walt Disney Company moved up to 10th. Apple remains in the top spot, with Google right behind. Previously, Facebook had grown in value each year of its existence up until 2017, when it came in 8th place on the list. But with incidents like the Cambridge Analytica scandal on its heels, the company’s value has dipped. 

Continue reading Facebook Falls, Amazon Rises, and Apple Holds Top Spot

TiVo Introduces Its Free, Ad-Supported Streaming Service 

On Tuesday, TiVo officially entered the streaming content service arena with the release of its ad-supported streaming service, TiVo Plus. The new service appears to be the company’s answer to The Roku Channel. TiVo Plus is available for free but only to those who own TiVo devices, and it’s enabled by a partnership with XUMO, Jukin Media, and other publishers, allowing TiVo to offer a wide range of content. TiVo indicates that, in total, there will be thousands of movies and TV shows available to consumers. 

Continue reading TiVo Introduces Its Free, Ad-Supported Streaming Service 

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