NBCUniversal Unveils Peacock to Media Prior to April Debut

NBCUniversal presented its Peacock streaming service to journalists, ahead of the planned April 15th launch. The service, which relies on ads not subscriptions, will offer news, sports and other live broadcasts in addition to 15,000 hours of TV shows and movies. NBCUniversal chairman Stephen Burke described Peacock as “the equivalent of a 21st century broadcast business, delivered on the Internet.” Tina Fey, Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon were on hand as well as NBC News anchors Rachel Maddow, Lester Holt and Savannah Guthrie. Continue reading NBCUniversal Unveils Peacock to Media Prior to April Debut

YouTube, Facebook Step Back From Their SVOD Strategies

Although YouTube made a splash announcing its plans to produce scripted entertainment, the platform is pulling back from that ambition, which it once saw as the tip-of-the-spear for its $12-per-month ad-free YouTube Premium. The arena of Subscription VOD has become more crowded than ever, as Apple, Disney, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and, next year, NBCUniversal’s Peacock join stalwarts Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and HBO. YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl calls the sector “as crowded as L.A. traffic.” Continue reading YouTube, Facebook Step Back From Their SVOD Strategies

Apple Drops More on Ads for iPhone Than Its OTT Platform

Apple’s debut of its streaming service, Apple TV+, has garnered outsized attention. But an examination of Apple’s spending on marketing indicates the Silicon Valley company’s main priority is its new iPhone. In September and October this year, Apple spent a total of $71.9 million on iPhone ads and $40.3 million on Apple TV+ ads. In October, for example, Apple spent $19.9 million on television commercials for Apple TV+, but, according to measurement company iSpot.tv, only $38.6 million on the new iPhone. Continue reading Apple Drops More on Ads for iPhone Than Its OTT Platform

Defense Dept. Taps Microsoft For Cloud Computing Project

Microsoft won a $10 billion, 10-year technology contract with the Department of Defense for its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) project. Although Amazon was the front-runner, President Trump had upped his criticism of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and stated he might intervene to prevent Bezos’ company from getting the JEDI contract. Google, IBM and Oracle also competed for the contract. A group of Microsoft employees has protested the company’s involvement in the military project. Continue reading Defense Dept. Taps Microsoft For Cloud Computing Project

Microsoft Targets Phone Market with Foldable Surface Duo

Having exited the smartphone market in 2017, Microsoft will rejoin it by the 2020 holiday season with the Surface Duo, a foldable, dual-screen device. Developed in collaboration with Alphabet, Microsoft’s Surface Duo will run on the Android operating system and feature the Google Play Store. Microsoft stated its intent to develop its own software for the device. The company also announced its Surface Pro X, a thinner version of its Surface Pro laptop, which features a custom-designed chip co-developed with Qualcomm. Continue reading Microsoft Targets Phone Market with Foldable Surface Duo

Game Engines Are Becoming Vital Tool for Many Industries

Game engines are now being used by different industries for their ability to create realistic images and manipulate them in 3D. Epic Games with its Unreal Engine and Unity Technologies both enjoy a revenue stream from licensing their game engines, which also power popular games from “Fortnite” to “Pokémon Go.” Designers and engineers combine game engines with virtual reality headsets to build products and other assets in an environment they find helps them be more creative and quicker to solve problems. Continue reading Game Engines Are Becoming Vital Tool for Many Industries

Ubisoft to Launch Its Uplay Plus Game Subscription Service

At the E3 conference in Los Angeles this week, Ubisoft announced its entrance into subscription PC gaming with Uplay Plus, which will offer 100 titles published by Ubisoft. The service is slated to launch on September 3 and is designed as a monthly fee in exchange for unlimited access to the games. Although that model is similar to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass and EA’s Origin Access, Uplay Plus is more expensive, at $14.99 per month. Among the games available on Uplay are “Assassin’s Creed” and “Rainbow Six” titles, which will also be on Google’s Stadia service next year. Continue reading Ubisoft to Launch Its Uplay Plus Game Subscription Service

Snap Maintains User Numbers, Aims for Profitability in 2019

The number of Snapchat app users will remain the same this quarter, news that was a relief to investors and helped propel Snap shares up 22 percent, to $8.62 in after hours trading. Since it went public in March 2017, Snapchat has competed with Facebook’s Instagram, which adopted many Snapchat features. Snap also redesigned the app, to the dismay of some advertisers and users. In Q4, Snap, with 186 million daily active users, was on a par with the previous quarter, although down one million from the same period a year ago. Continue reading Snap Maintains User Numbers, Aims for Profitability in 2019

Netflix Raises Subscription Prices to Fund Its Original Content

Netflix is raising its prices again, increasing the cost of its most popular plan to $13 per month, from $11, an 18 percent bump. The basic plan rose from $8 to $9 per month, a 13 percent increase. Netflix, which last raised prices in 2017, did so to offset its massive spending on original content. It is also a way to compete with rivals in streaming video from Amazon to Hulu as well as newcomers including AT&T’s WarnerMedia, Disney and Comcast’s NBCUniversal. In response to the news, Netflix shares rose 6.5 percent to $354.64. Continue reading Netflix Raises Subscription Prices to Fund Its Original Content

Microsoft Develops Hybrid Cloud Solution Strategy with Azure

Microsoft’s major investment in the cloud is beginning to pay off. In the last several quarters, this sector has grown so fast that the company’s market cap has soared to about $785 billion. Now, Microsoft reported that the results of its latest quarter have exceeded analyst expectations. When Satya Nadella became chief executive, Microsoft’s revenue largely came from marketing its Windows operating system on personal computers. Nadella turned the company towards cloud computing, with Azure as its core offering. Continue reading Microsoft Develops Hybrid Cloud Solution Strategy with Azure

MoviePass Has Service Interruption, Borrows $5M to Survive

MoviePass has experienced what its parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics is calling a “service interruption” after the company could not pay its bills. Chief executive Mitch Lowe apologized to its three million subscribers who could not see movies, and the company borrowed $5 million to stay afloat. Analysts and others have long doubted the company’s long-term viability, suggesting its $10 per month subscription fee cannot cover costs. The recent service outage has amplified those voices. Continue reading MoviePass Has Service Interruption, Borrows $5M to Survive

Prime Day Breaks Records, Boosts Sales for Large Retailers

Amazon Prime Day — extended to a 36-hour period this time around — broke a number of online shopping records. According to Amazon, this week’s sale was the biggest shopping event in the company’s history, defeating Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and last year’s 30-hour Prime Day. While Amazon does not release specific sales figures, it noted that Prime members around the globe purchased more than 100 million products, while small and medium-sized businesses exceeded $1 billion in sales. In addition, Adobe Analytics reported that large retailers (those with more than a billion dollars in yearly revenue) experienced a 54 percent jump in sales as compared with an average Tuesday. Continue reading Prime Day Breaks Records, Boosts Sales for Large Retailers

Netflix Q2 Subscriber Dip Likely Just a Blip in Overall Picture

In Q2 2018, Netflix reported lower subscriber growth numbers than Wall Street predicted, causing its stock to fall 14 percent in after-hours trading. The company added 670,000 subscribers domestically and 4.47 million internationally, which significantly missed predictions of 1.23 million in the U.S. and 5.11 million international. The streaming content company also made predictions on its Q3 growth below the forecasts of analysts. Company executives said they did not know why subscriber growth was less than expected. Continue reading Netflix Q2 Subscriber Dip Likely Just a Blip in Overall Picture

Facebook to Spend $1B–$2B on Original Content This Year

Facebook will spend between $1 billion and $2 billion on original content in the next year, say analysts, with the goal of transforming Watch, its interactive video channel into a “TV-like habit” that brings in advertising dollars. Tarnished by the fake news it disseminated, Facebook has funded ABC News, CNN, Fox News channel and Univision to create news programs that will go live this summer. The shows will feature personalities such as Fox News’ Shepard Smith and CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Continue reading Facebook to Spend $1B–$2B on Original Content This Year

Skyrocketing Membership Threatens the Viability of MoviePass

MoviePass chopped its prices eight months ago, bringing membership to two million people — and the company to the brink of bankruptcy. Parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics, which owns 92 percent of MoviePass, reported that it was down to just $15.5 million in cash at the end of April, with $27.9 million on deposit with merchant processors. The question now is if subscribers can slack off on movie-going before the company runs out of money. A recent SEC filing indicates that the company’s auditor has “substantial doubt.” Continue reading Skyrocketing Membership Threatens the Viability of MoviePass

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