video killed the _____ star

Continuing to Make Gains on HBO, Netflix Looks to a Collaborative Future

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 11, 2014 11:33 AM

Notoriously passive aggressive Netflix CEO Reed Hastings took to Facebook last week to announce the streaming network's latest milestone: with $1.146 billion in subscriber revenue, Netflix has officially passed HBO. 

"They still kick our ass in profits and Emmy's, but we are making progress. HBO rocks, and we are honored to be in the same league," Hastings wrote. 

The streaming king can attribute its most recent success to the brand's wildly successful original series, including "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black," the most-watched show ever. The network also recently announced a new season of "Arrested Development," as well as five new series based on Marvel characters, a comedy special, docu-series and talk show starring Chelsea Handler, and the debut of the brand's first adult cartoon later this month. 

The major investment in more shows makes sense, as nearly three-quarters of titles viewed by Netflix subscribers are TV series. But while Netflix may finally be making significant gains against HBO, its main competitor, Amazon's Prime Instant Video, is growing at a more rapid pace.Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

YouTube Creators are Commanding Major Money, Attention from Big Brands

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 22, 2014 06:15 PM

The proverbial casting couch has been replaced by homegrown YouTube stars, and this year's 18,000-plus attendees of VidCon's fifth annual conference is proof positive that online content creators are a big business. 

Google’s YouTube is the training ground for young, ambitious creatives seeking fame and with 72 hours of video uploaded every minute to channels with thousands of subscribers, the phenomenon of video bloggers is becoming more lucrative by the day—for creators, and the major brands that want to sponsor them. 

“I think [online video content] is a huge cultural phenomenon that no one can take credit for or explain or understand,” said VidCon co-founder Hank Green. “We’re all just sort of watching it happen and trying to reflect it and ride along with it in the most effective ways we can.”

Over the past four years, video has exploded into prime real estate for advertisers as digital video ad spend rose to $4.2 billion last year, and is projected to reach $6 billion this year. And with many vloggers speaking to younger audiences that are the target of big brands, the business opportunites seem endless.Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

YouTube Puts Creator Community at Center of Site Updates

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 30, 2014 11:22 AM

Content is often said to be king, and YouTube knows it. That's why the video giant is heavily investing in new features for its creator community, many of whom make a living off of their online personalities. 

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced a slate of new features at Vidcon late last week that could prove especially beneficial to its creators, such as a virtual tip jar that allows viewers to contribute up to $500 to a specific account. The site is also allowing for a direct line between YouTube and crowdfunding sites, and revealed a new mobile app that allows creators to track and manage metrics for their videos, as well as a much larger sound effects library. 

“It’s a focus of mine to bring more revenue to the YouTube ecosystem,” said Wojcicki, who took over the job less than six months ago, according to Variety. She's also spearheading another initiative to make the site more global, including crowdsourcing video translations.Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

Verizon Looks to Mobile Streaming for Entry into TV Content

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 5, 2014 07:34 PM

With net neutrality out the door and streaming the new "it" thing, TV providers and content producers are getting busy to strike deals.

Disney and Dish recently agreed to a long-term contract that will deliver all Disney-owned content, including ABC and ESPN, to the network's subscribers in exchange for Dish dropping its ad-skipping feature that was the focus of litigation between the two companies. And now Verizon is reportedly in talks with content providers to deliver web-based TV services to mobile phones. 

"I have personally had discussions with the CEOs of the large content companies, and we would love to partner with them to see how we can take FiOS contact mobilely across the country," Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said Tuesday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, Reuters reports. This comes after Verizon acquired Intel's OnCue service back in January to help it get into “next-generation video services” more quickly.Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

Netflix Cuts Deal with Comcast to Pay for "Excellent User Experience"

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 24, 2014 01:58 PM

Plenty of consumers complain each month about the amount of money they pay out to America's largest cable provider, Comcast, and now you can add Netflix to that list.

As a result of changes in net neutrality rules, Comcast has the ability to slow down video streams from any source it wishes. That’s bad news for a company like Netflix, whose millions of customers stream hundreds of bandwidth-sucking movies and TV series at all hours of the day. Recently, Netflix subscribers have been complaining of poor and slow connections, especially those who get their high-speed Internet from Comcast and Verizon's FiOS broadband networks.

In order to keep its own customer satisfaction high, Netflix and Comcast on Sunday confirmed last week's rumor that the companies had reached an undisclosed financial deal with a press release titled, "Comcast and Netflix Team Up to Provide Customers With Excellent User Experience."

The agreement will ensure Netflix's load time won't be slowed by Comcast's broadband nodes, a so-called "peering" deal that may likely be felt in US cable customers' bills down the line. It also got Net Neutrality crowd out in full force, on both sides of the debate.Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

Amazon Forges Ahead with Streaming Initiatives as Retail Quietly Builds

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 21, 2014 05:33 PM

Netflix may be grabbing the headlines lately, but Amazon has been hard at work building up its streaming arsenal and now presents a bigger threat than ever to competing brands. 

To the joy of advertisers, Amazon has started to include preroll ads ahead of its original series pilots, starting with a campaign from Geico. 

“The move combines two of advertisers' biggest wishes—premium content and a measurable audience—on a service that venture capitalist Mark Suster once called 'the biggest threat to YouTube,'" Ad Age notes.  

Geico, the presenting sponsor for Amazon's pilot season is running banners on program landing pages as well as 15-second repurposed television spots at the start of non-kids series including The After. Amazon users can choose which pilots they'd like to see green-lighted for future Prime Instant Video. Geico's pilot sponsorship also includes placements on Amazon.com, the Kindle Fire "wake" screen and movie site IMDb.com.

"We're testing and learning,” said Lisa Utzschneider, Amazon VP-Global Ad Sales. “It's early days, and we're looking at all different video formats. We're focused on creating a great experience for our customers."Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

Netflix's Biggest Foe isn't HBO, It's the Internet Providers that Move Its Content

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 19, 2014 07:32 PM

As the battle between Netflix and major internet service providers rages on, consumers are paying the price with degraded service.

The complicated plumbing required to deliver a Netflix video to a consumer’s computer or TV is near invisible to users, who are unaware of the bandwidth that companies have to put out in order to transmit such content. The actual data transfer occurs at global “interconnection” hubs, aka, “telecom carrier hotels” where companies like Time Warner Cable, Verizon and AT&T share space. Born in the days of high volume landline telephone traffic, the telcos shared amiably enough, but with the addition of high-bandwidth services like Netflix creating a drain, those relationships have broken down. And now broadband companies are increasingly charging "tolls" to third-party intermediate players like Level 3 and Cogent. 

“This is a scenario that open Internet advocates have been warning about for years," Time notes. “It’s no secret that the big telecom and cable companies resent the fact that they are obliged to deliver high bandwidth content like Netflix—which competes against their own video offerings—in addition to less bandwidth-intensive traffic like emails and chats.”Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

Netflix Embraces More Debt to Spread Its Wings Abroad

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 5, 2014 06:27 PM

During the first half of the Super Bowl this past Sunday, Netflix saw an expected drop in usage. The decrease was as much as 20 percent, Variety reports. But once Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers had done their thing at halftime and the Seahawks added on a quick seven points to start the second half, plenty of Americans ditched the game and headed back to Netflix.

The video-streaming company is hoping that it can be the distraction of choice around the globe. It has announced that it plans to raise $400 million to expand internationally. Most of the investment will be focused on its European expansion, but it will also reserve funds for investments, acquisitions and more original content that the company is becoming increasingly known for.

Last year, Netflix made news for winning its first Emmy with House of Cards while also collecting an Oscar nomination for its documentary, The Square. House of Cards will debut its second season on Valentine’s Day and has already been signed on for a third to be produced, according to the New York Times. Netflix has also seen plenty of critic and fan love for its newest series, Orange is the New Black. As a result, its fourth-quarter numbers were better than expected and added 2.3 million new domestic subscribers, bringing the total number to 33.4 million domestically.Continue reading...

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