New MoviePass CEO Hopes to Get Theater Owners on Board

Mitch Lowe, a Netflix co-founder and former Redbox president, is now chief executive at New York-based MoviePass, a company that pitches a subscription service for moviegoers. The user gets a debit card, which starts at $30 a month, to attend as many movies as she likes, in movie theaters that cover 90 percent of the country. But movie theater owners are reluctant to fully adopt the non-traditional idea. To gain acceptance, Lowe plans to launch the company’s first major marketing campaign, expand its services and raise more money. Continue reading New MoviePass CEO Hopes to Get Theater Owners on Board

Netflix Plans Debut of Video Download Feature By End of Year

Earlier this year, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings said the idea of offering video downloads was a possibility — but he wasn’t more specific. Now, industry insider Dan Taitz, whose company Penthera Partners offers video downloading technology, reports that, by the end of the year, Netflix will allow subscribers to download some programs for offline viewing, a feature already in place at Amazon, Comcast and elsewhere. Frost & Sullivan principal analyst Dan Rayburn confirms Taitz’s prediction. Continue reading Netflix Plans Debut of Video Download Feature By End of Year

Amazon Upgrades HDR Content with Support for Dolby Vision

Amazon, which has been offering 4K HDR content since last year, now supports the Dolby Vision high dynamic range format. “The second season of Amazon’s original series ‘Bosch’ is now available in Dolby Vision through Amazon Prime Video,” reports The Verge. The company also announced that Sony Pictures films including “Elysium,” “Fury,” “Hancock,” “Men in Black 3,” “Pineapple Express” and “Salt” are available in Dolby Vision for purchase through Amazon Video. Streaming competitor Netflix already supports Dolby Vision and the industry standard HDR 10. Continue reading Amazon Upgrades HDR Content with Support for Dolby Vision

PlayStation Vue on Roku Devices Offers Alternative to Cable

Sony’s PlayStation Vue streaming TV service is now available on Roku’s set-top boxes, media sticks and television sets. The Vue service enables users to stream dozens of cable channels such as CNN, Comedy Central, ESPN, Fox News and MTV over the Internet. Vue can be accessed as a Roku app in addition to apps for iPhones, iPads and Amazon’s Fire TV. Next week Vue will be offered for Android users. “Now that Vue is available nationwide and on many streaming-video devices, it’s truly a viable alternative to a traditional cable-TV service,” suggests The Wall Street Journal. Continue reading PlayStation Vue on Roku Devices Offers Alternative to Cable

Netflix Updates Video Encoding, Aims to Use Less Bandwidth

According to a Sandvine study, Netflix has re-encoded some of its video library in order to make the streaming service more efficient and reduce its bandwidth demands. Netflix accounted for 37.1 percent of Internet traffic on fixed broadband networks during primetime hours six months ago in North America. Sandvine notes that Netflix represented 35.2 percent of downstream traffic under the same criteria during March of this year. “Last December, Netflix detailed changes in its video-encoding schemes, which the company said could reduce bit rates by up to 20 percent while delivering equivalent quality,” reports Variety. Meanwhile, “Amazon Video now represents 4.3 percent of peak-period traffic, up from 2 percent a year ago.” Continue reading Netflix Updates Video Encoding, Aims to Use Less Bandwidth

Networks Use Data From Social Media to Produce New Shows

Entertainment companies are increasingly paying attention to trends on tweets and Facebook posts to create content that will appeal to viewers. The idea is that giving viewers what they want, as judged by their current conversations, is a barometer of success and loyalty. At NBCUniversal Media’s leadership conference last year, the focus was on this topic: how to use big data — as found on a variety of social media platforms — to create content that resonates with today’s viewers. Big data is now becoming a key factor in the development process. Continue reading Networks Use Data From Social Media to Produce New Shows

Google Chromecast Shipments Top Apple TV for the First Time

According to researcher IHS, Google Chromecast shipments surpassed Apple TV numbers for the first time. During Q1, 3.2 million Chromecast devices shipped, compared to 1.7 million Apple TV units. The $35 Chromecast has become more competitive since launching its new version in September, designed for easier use with televisions than the previous model. Chromecast also supports “thousands” of popular apps such as Google Play Movies, HBO Now, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Showtime Anytime, Spotify, Twitch, WatchESPN, YouTube, and many others. Continue reading Google Chromecast Shipments Top Apple TV for the First Time

Fortune 500 Lists Apple as the Highest Tech Company in Sales

In its annual ranking of companies based on revenue, the latest Fortune 500 lists Apple third on the list, followed by Walmart and Exxon Mobil. With $233 billion in revenue, Apple is the top tech company on the Fortune 500. “Apple jumped two slots from last year, and it was also the most profitable company, with $53 billion in profits in 2015,” reports Business Insider. Amazon is listed as number 18, with $107 billion in sales, while Verizon is ranked 13th, HP 20th, Microsoft 25th, IBM 31st and Alphabet 36th. Meanwhile, Facebook jumped 85 spots to number 157, and Netflix moved from 474 to number 379. Continue reading Fortune 500 Lists Apple as the Highest Tech Company in Sales

Time Inc. and Wochit Partner to Help Publishers Create Videos

Time Inc., which purchased ad tech network and Myspace owner Viant earlier this year, is planning to publish 40,000 pieces of video content in 2016. To help achieve this ambitious goal, Time has partnered with New York City-based Wochit, a startup that helps online publishers produce short videos. Wochit provides pre-licensed content, editing tools and publishing options for social media and mobile platforms. The service analyzes article text and finds related graphics, photos and videos to build a video. Publishers can then add voice-over, music and more. Continue reading Time Inc. and Wochit Partner to Help Publishers Create Videos

Latest Cisco Study Predicts Internet Traffic Will Triple by 2020

Cisco’s 11th annual Visual Network Index predicts that one billion new Internet users will be connected by 2020, driven in large part by the introduction of 10 billion new connected devices. Cisco forecasts that by the end of the decade smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic — and the demand for video services will serve as the greatest driver, representing nearly 80 percent of data traffic. The report suggests that annual global IP traffic will surpass the zettabyte (1,000 exabytes) milestone this year, and will reach 2.3 zettabytes by 2020. Continue reading Latest Cisco Study Predicts Internet Traffic Will Triple by 2020

Warner Bros. Digital Networks is the Studio’s Latest OTT Effort

Warner Bros. just opened a new unit, Warner Bros. Digital Networks, to create content for online video entertainment and the cord-cutters who watch it. The studio is the largest U.S. producer and distributor of TV shows, and parent company Time Warner has been making efforts to appeal to consumers who choose not to subscribe to cable services. According to the studio’s statement, the new unit will create new online video channels, expand its current online services, seek strategic alliances and work with Turner and HBO. Continue reading Warner Bros. Digital Networks is the Studio’s Latest OTT Effort

Dish Ships HopperGO, Mobile Video Solution for Hopper Users

The Dish HopperGO, originally announced at CES, is now shipping, and early reviews deem it a good device for specific uses. About half the size of a smartphone, the tiny device is basically a 64GB USB drive with built-in wireless access that connects to the user’s Dish Hopper 3 or Hopper 2 and offers a capacity of up to 100 hours of TV. The user can unplug the device and then watch four hours on one charge through the Dish Anywhere app. The device’s interface consists of an “on” button and a USB port. Continue reading Dish Ships HopperGO, Mobile Video Solution for Hopper Users

New European Proposals Outline Video Streaming Regulations

European officials have proposed new rules for video streaming companies as part of an effort to regulate online services for the region’s 500 million consumers. Part of that effort would be to require streaming companies to not only carry a certain amount of local content, but to chip in to pay for its development, as do national broadcasters. The goal, say officials, is to boost the region’s local economies. Apple, Facebook and Netflix, which dominate the European online space, would be the U.S. companies most impacted. Continue reading New European Proposals Outline Video Streaming Regulations

The Netflix Zone: Virtual Video Store Showcased at Hack Day

One of the more compelling demos during Netflix’s latest Hack Day was a virtual reality showroom using HTC Vive’s room-scale VR. Developers Joey Cato, Marco Caldeira and Adnan Abbas created “The Netflix Zone,” where subscribers can peruse titles on shelf racks arranged by categories and personal recommendations. Movies and original shows such as “Orange Is the New Black” and “House of Cards” appear on shelves as VHS cassettes. When you select certain cassettes, the shop morphs into a setting that reflects the title. Continue reading The Netflix Zone: Virtual Video Store Showcased at Hack Day

Facebook Overlays Live Video with Viewer Comments, Emoji

Facebook now puts viewer comments and reaction emoji as an overlaid graph on Live videos. That enables a user who fast-forwards through a recorded Live clip to identify which parts of the video are worth watching and which can be skipped. The new capability could encourage amateurs to pay more attention to how their videos are shot and paced, ultimately making their content more compelling. Periscope offers a similar ability to leave real-time feedback in the form of “hearts” on live streams. Continue reading Facebook Overlays Live Video with Viewer Comments, Emoji

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