Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 17, 2013 04:08 PM
The streaming race between Netflix and Amazon is neck and neck again as both service providers have inked new streaming deals for in-demand programming.
The news comes just a week after Netflix suffered a blow as it relinquished its deal with Viacom and saw Amazon quickly scoop up its rights to popular kids programming like Dora the Explorer, Blue's Clues and others. But now, Netflix is back on the horse thanks to a new deal with DreamWorks.
The long-in-the-making deal with DreamWorks Animation will supply Netflix with 300 hours of original programming inspired by much-loved DreamWorks characters like Shrek and The Croods, as well as series featuring Casper the Friendly Ghost and Lassie, which DreamWorks has rights to through its purchase of Classic Media.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 12, 2013 07:17 PM
Comcast Corp. may be the largest US cable provider, but it still has some work to do on its digital side. After this year, critics may not be saying that anymore as the company is rolling out a cloud-based interactive TV guide, a voice-activated set-top box, and the ability to watch programming on tablets and smartphones and then move it to larger television screens at will.
The cloud-based X2 TV guide that will come out later this year will help viewers find content they desire faster by segmenting it into different groupings, such as kids, movies, sports, and recommended, Bloomberg reports.
Also, for Comcast subscribers who don't want to bother pushing a bunch of remote buttons, the company has come up with a new set-top box that allows users to push one button and speak commands, Bloomberg reports. To add to the interactivity, the box will also give access to “Facebook, Pandora and other online media” as well as provide reviews of movies by Rotten Tomatoes and the ability to see what people are tweeting about a show as it happens, USA Today notes.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 10, 2013 05:18 PM
Apple's annual developer conference, WWDC, began as expected with a keynote from CEO Tim Cook that reflected upon the brand's hometown inspiration, as well as a thorough run-down of Apple's latest user statistics.
Notably, the afternoon event introduced a new operating system—Mavericks— for Mac, ending the company's cat-themed era. Brand executives also unveiled a new, cylindrical MacBook Pro, a MacBook Air with an 11-hour battery, and a near-complete overhaul of its iOS interface, introducing iOS 7.
Top of mind, though, were the swirling rumors about a supposed music streaming service. Not long into the presentation, execs confirmed the new iTunes Radio service, which will be built into the music app.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 6, 2013 10:29 AM
Sunday Night Football was the most-watched show on TV last year even though millions of fans were also able to stream the big game on their smartphones. Now the NFL is going a step further and will offer up Sunday afternoon games on smartphones as well.
The NFL’s new $1 billion, four-year deal with Verizon Wireless will help make this happen, expanding the number of games being streamed to smartphones from just the evening games on Sunday, Monday and Thursday to all of the games in a customer’s home market, the Wall Street Journal reports. The broadcasts will begin next year after Verizon’s current four-year, $720 million contract concludes.
"I can see viewers for NFL games on mobile continuing to double for the foreseeable future," Lee Berke, a media consultant who has worked with Verizon Wireless, told the Journal. "At this point, nobody knows where the upper limit is, and that's why these deals are being done. In the 1970s people predicted cable would reach an inflection point at 30 percent penetration, but now we're at 80-90 percent with pay television."Continue reading...
video killed the _____ star
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 5, 2013 05:12 PM
Riding high on nearly 30 million domestic subscribers and over 4 billion hours of streamed video, Netflix continues to be the streaming darling. Though, that reputation may come into question with one important demographic now that Netflix no longer has the rights to stream content from Viacom, which holds the rights to popular children's shows like Blue's Clues and Dora The Explorer. However, Amazon Prime, Netflix's main competitor, wasted no time scooping up the Viacom licensing deal in a reported $200 million, two-year contract, Reuters reports.
Amazon won’t divulge how many customers subscribe to its $79 annual Prime membership, but it did say that children’s shows are “one of the most watched TV genres" on their service, CNN reports. The company couldn’t be prouder of its new deal, devoting a major chunk of its homepage to a note to its customers, particularly highlighting the major increase in kid shows on the service. The deal is quite the dig at Netflix, whose CEO Reed Hastings told CNBC last week, "If you're a parent and your child's looking for Blue's Clues, you know, that is definitely a problem," while also noting that his company still offers plenty of kids’ programming.Continue reading...
let's make a deal
Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 3, 2013 12:46 PM
Say good-bye to low-ball bidding. After a handful of offers that severely under-valued video streaming giant Hulu, it looks as if those interested have keyed up their game.
The behind-closed-doors bidding war heated up over the weekend with bids of up to $1 billion from Yahoo, Time Warner and DirecTV as well as bids from Silver Lake Management, Guggenheim Digital, investment firm KKR and media executive Peter Chernin.
"Today, 89 million people in the US will watch 1.2 billion online videos,” notes VentureBeat. “By 2016, online video viewers are expected to double to 1.5 billion.” It's no doubt that whoever snatches up Hulu will have a very lucrative addition to the family. Hulu recently announced more than 4 million paid subscribers of Hulu Plus, its $7.99 per month subscription service that lets users watch content on mobile devices and set-top boxes not available to those with a free account. First-quarter 2013 saw nearly one million people sign up and combined subscriptions and ad revenues saw Hulu generate $695 million last year.Continue reading...
video killed the _____ star
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 29, 2013 04:36 PM
Netflix released all 15 new episodes of Arrested Development on May 26 to mixed reviews after the streaming service announced to much fanfare that it would revive the defunct series after seven years off-air.
With a built-in fanbase of millions, Arrested was set to be the next big hit for Netflix, which has found success in producing original content like House of Cards and Hemlock Grove, however the series, while attracting a significant amount of viewers, got mixed comedic reviews from critics. “At its worst, the new/old Arrested Development is reduced to doing a shaky imitation of itself: the characters and themes are there but the beats are slightly off, as is the tone," the Wall Street Journal wrote. Variety said it "plays a bit like a reunion special." The reviews were so mixed, in fact, that it affected Netflix's stock prices, which were down 6 percent on Tuesday.Continue reading...
let's make a deal
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 29, 2013 01:08 PM
While anticipation continues to build around the possible buyout of video streaming service Hulu, the price, however, is a bit underwhelming.
Despite its $2 billion valuation, the service is attracting bids from big players like Yahoo, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable somewhere in the $500 million to $800 million range—arguably a small amount of money compared to recent deals like Tumblr's $1.1 billion price tag and Instagram's $1 billion one. Yahoo’s bid (between $600 million and $800 million) is the largest so far while others, like Chernin Group, have issued a $500 million bid. Other companies interested in the service include private equity firms Guggenheim Digital, KKR & Co and Silverlake Partners.
One reason for the low-ball bids could be the fact that Hulu has been hemorrhaging market share to Google's YouTube as well as ad-supported services including LiveRail, Adap.TV, and BrightRoll. It served up only 1.4 million ads in April 2013, down 13 percent from 1.6 million video ads in March, according to comScore.Continue reading...