Amazon Prime Ready to Launch its Anticipated Music Service

Amazon has reportedly reached agreements with record labels in order to launch a streaming music service by June or July. The Prime music service does not plan to feature recent song releases, but will offer a catalog of tracks and albums that are six months old and older — providing an additional benefit to Prime members who already enjoy access to movies and TV shows via Instant Video, an e-books lending library, and free two-day shipping on products ordered through the retail site. Continue reading Amazon Prime Ready to Launch its Anticipated Music Service

Fox Now Video App Offers Personalized Recommendations

The Fox Now video app allows users to watch recent episodes of Fox series the day after they air. In a new update to its version for Apple devices, Fox has added a feature that suggests shows to the user based on preferences and viewing history. The upgraded user interface, which is based on the iOS 7 design, intends to keep fans watching more video by providing useful recommendations. Fox Now also features expanded TV Everywhere access with more current and past programming. Continue reading Fox Now Video App Offers Personalized Recommendations

Netflix Turns to Original Series and Licensing 5-Star Content

According to Netflix CFO David Wells, the streaming service plans on spending $3.2 billion on streaming content in 2014. Netflix acknowledged that a large fraction of the currently available material is not necessarily popular with its audience and plans to spend more money on shows with higher potential. A content shift through the next few quarters toward more original series along with licensing exclusive and higher-rated shows will account for this extra spending. Continue reading Netflix Turns to Original Series and Licensing 5-Star Content

Pay TV: AT&T Agrees to Purchase DirecTV in $49 Billion Deal

AT&T has agreed to acquire DirecTV for $49 billion. The two companies’ boards approved the agreement yesterday. The deal, which comes just three months after Comcast’s $45 billion agreement to purchase Time Warner Cable, will create a new pay TV giant as video consumption continues to move online. Combining AT&T and DirecTV would result in a company with 26 million pay TV subscribers in the U.S., second only to Comcast and Time Warner Cable if regulators approve their deal. Continue reading Pay TV: AT&T Agrees to Purchase DirecTV in $49 Billion Deal

Screenvision, SoundHound Connect Mobile Users to Cinema Ads

Cinema ad network Screenvision announced this week that it is launching a new mobile engagement platform created in partnership with audio recognition leader SoundHound. Levi’s and Warner Bros. Records will be among the first brands to participate as advertisers. The partnership will help marketers target moviegoers with mobile ads tied to Screenvision’s pre-show programming on cinema screens. SoundHound’s audio recognition tech will be used for mobile devices to unlock related content from the Web. Continue reading Screenvision, SoundHound Connect Mobile Users to Cinema Ads

Major Record Companies Invest $3M Each in Shazam Music App

Music-identification app Shazam has landed investments from the industry’s biggest record labels, including Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. London-based Shazam’s most recent valuation was $500 million. Its value for the labels involves its potential as a marketing partner. Not only does the app enable users to identify music playing on the radio or TV, but it lets them share a song’s name via social media, download it from iTunes, or stream it via services such as Spotify. Continue reading Major Record Companies Invest $3M Each in Shazam Music App

Cox Announces Plans to Increase Broadband Service Speeds

As online entertainment grows in popularity, leading to demand for faster access, Cox Communications is planning to make its broadband service for residential customers much faster this year. Cox is planning on offering Internet speeds of 1 gigabit-per-second, which is 100 times faster than the average Web access. This service will closely compete with AT&T and Google who are also trying to introduce fiber-optic broadband services, and offer customers 1 gigabit-per-second speeds. Continue reading Cox Announces Plans to Increase Broadband Service Speeds

Media Execs Gather at HITS 2014: Hollywood’s Digital Makeover

The Hollywood IT Society (HITS) — a community of IT professionals representing the studios of the MPAA and supporting information tech partners — hosted its annual day-long Hollywood IT Summit at the Hyatt Regency in Century City this week. Adapting to rapidly changing expectations for IT-related content production and distribution was the running theme at the April 22 event, where execs and creatives gathered to discuss network connectivity, cloud resources, big data, analytics, content management and more. Continue reading Media Execs Gather at HITS 2014: Hollywood’s Digital Makeover

Netflix Passes 34 Million Subscribers, Previews Price Increase

Netflix announced on Monday that it plans to raise the price of its streaming video service for new members by a dollar or two per month. The service, which now has more than 34 million paid U.S. subscribers, is justifying the rate increase based on its continued investment in original programs, including series such as “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.” In addition to its first-quarter earnings report yesterday, Netflix announced opposition to Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Continue reading Netflix Passes 34 Million Subscribers, Previews Price Increase

Labels File Copyright Suit Against Pandora Under State Law

Major record labels Sony, Universal and Warner Music, along with indie label ABKCO, filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan last week, claiming that streaming music service Pandora is violating New York’s common-law copyright protections by using songs recorded prior to 1972 without licenses. The suit acknowledges that older songs are not protected under federal copyright, but contends that Pandora needs permission to use them under state law. Continue reading Labels File Copyright Suit Against Pandora Under State Law

Small Theaters Face Challenges in Shift to Digital Distribution

As Hollywood studios are shifting from distributing movies on film to digital distribution via hard drives and satellite, many small theaters cannot afford $60,000 or more to upgrade and support the new technology. Theater owners are faced with the difficult decision between investing in new equipment or closing down their theaters. Meanwhile, most major U.S. cinema chains have already converted to digital cinema, many with the support of Wall Street-financed programs. Continue reading Small Theaters Face Challenges in Shift to Digital Distribution

Studios and Music Labels File Lawsuits Against Megaupload

Major film studios — including 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros. — have filed a civil lawsuit against the now defunct entertainment website Megaupload and its founder, Kim Dotcom. The studios claim that visitors to the Hong Kong-based site illegally downloaded thousands of copyrighted works. Damages could reach a maximum of $150,000 for each infringement. In addition, four music labels filed a similar lawsuit yesterday. Continue reading Studios and Music Labels File Lawsuits Against Megaupload

Warner Bros. Exec Discusses Moving Studio Archive to the Cloud

As part of the “Media Management in the Cloud” conference running at the NAB Show in Las Vegas this week, Brian McKay, executive vice president of production operations at Warner Bros., discussed the challenges and opportunities of moving the studio’s archive into the cloud. In one of the final sessions of the conference, which concluded late Wednesday, McKay appeared onstage with David Cohen, senior editor at Variety, for a one-on-one conversation. Continue reading Warner Bros. Exec Discusses Moving Studio Archive to the Cloud

Chris Cookson Speaks at NAB’s Technology Summit on Cinema

“It’s all about the story” was the message of Chris Cookson’s keynote address, and a recurring theme throughout the first day of the NAB Show’s Technology Summit On Cinema: The Future of Motion Imaging and Sound (TSC), produced in partnership with SMPTE. The essence of cinema is storytelling, he said. Cinema is the canvas for storytellers to convey their ideas to the audience. Throughout his talk, Cookson used cinema in the broadest sense, to include content viewed in theaters, on TVs, and on laptops, tablets and phones. Continue reading Chris Cookson Speaks at NAB’s Technology Summit on Cinema

CreativeFuture: Coalition Looks at Solutions to Online Piracy

Independent film executive Ruth Vitale — who has held positions at New Line Cinema, Paramount Classics and First Look Studios — was recently named executive director of CreativeFuture, a coalition of movie and television producers, unions and companies that is aiming to steer Hollywood’s digital future. After tech giants convinced Congress that proposed antipiracy laws were too restrictive of online freedom, the film and television industries remain threatened by online piracy. CreativeFuture hopes to change that. Continue reading CreativeFuture: Coalition Looks at Solutions to Online Piracy

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