This Week’s Headlines From Around The Web

New Study Shows A Rise In Cord Cutting – 8.2 Percent Ditched Pay TV In 2014, Up 1.3% YoY

“There’s been some debate about how many consumers are actually cutting ties with their pay TV providers and replacing them with over-the-top streaming media services – a trend generally referred to as “cord cutting.” But a recent study  indicates that the number of cord cutters in North America is, in fact growing – in 2014, 8.2 percent of former pay TV subscribers surveyed by TiVo subsidiary Digitalsmiths said they ditched their service – an increase of 1.3 percent over the prior year. Meanwhile, a much larger 45.2 percent said they reduced their cable or satellite TV service during the same time frame.  That latter item is sometimes referred to as “cord shaving,” as it’s reflective of the trend toward smaller pay TV bundles as consumers spend more time streaming video via over-the-top solutions like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Instant Video, for example.”

Gamers! Yes, gamers – they’ll rescue our streaming Fire TV box, hopes Amazon

“Amazon is hoping to crack the streaming media market with a new gaming app that lets you play many of the latest titles for $6.99 a month.  GameFly Streaming is available today as an app on the retail giant’s Fire TV and lets you rent bundles of games at a time. For example, the “Action Pack” contains seven titles including F.E.A.R. 3, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising and Red Faction: Armageddon. The “Gamer Pack” has 16 titles for $9.99 a month.  GameFly also officially bought the company whose technology the games run on – Israeli cloud gaming company Playcast – on Tuesday. Playcast has been rolling out slowly across a range of devices, such as Android gaming system Ouya.”

Hello, Newman! Hulu Lets New Yorkers Become Master of ‘Seinfeld’ Domain

“Jerry Seinfeld’s infamous Upper West Side 81st St. apartment has been brought to life (and moved downtown) for fans of the “show about nothing,” thanks to Hulu and Magnetic Collaborative.  The streaming company, with New York-based Magnetic and sponsorship from Toyota, opened the 3,500-square-foot exhibit, which features an apartment replica and miniature “Seinfeld” museum, to honor Hulu’s release of the show today. It’s the first time viewers can stream all 180 episodes of the ’90s TV hit.  The pop-up of the apartment is open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday at 451 W. 14th St. in New York, each day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. for free.  The strategy reflects a larger trend of pop-ups that many brands are using. Hulu’s Senior VP-Head of Marketing and Ad Age Woman to Watch Jenny Wall said pop-ups allow consumers to interact with an otherwise fictional experience.”

IS THE NFL-YAHOO STREAMING DEAL THE START OF A SPORTS TELEVISION REVOLUTION?

“Last week, National Football League fans heard their wind chimes flutter in a brief gust of wind. Entertainment lovers thought they felt a couple drops of rain. Tech-sector observers saw the barometer fall.  And that was it.  When the NFL announced that Yahoo had acquired global streaming rights to a single regular-season game, millions of people who love football, watch television and use the Internet didn’t even notice. Many of those who did notice didn’t care. And perhaps they were right to put it out of mind–maybe that’s the last we hear of the NFL partnering with tech companies for years to come.  Or maybe, just maybe, the deal foreshadows a coming media storm that could radically alter sports, TV and technology forever.  The game itself couldn’t be less significant, or more perfect: A mid-season snoozer between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars, kicking off at 9:30 ET on a Sunday morning. The two home TV markets (second- and third-smallest in the NFL, per StationIndex.com) will still get the game over the air—so only NFL diehards will be waking up early and directing their phones, tablets and computers to Yahoo.”

Amazon Prime Instant Video Adds Limited Support For HDR

“Amazon announced today that it has rolled out, in limited fashion, support for HDR (high dynamic range) on Amazon Instant Video. It will initially only offer HDR videos to Amazon Prime members in the U.S., and only for one full series: the Amazon Original “Mozart in the Jungle.” In addition, HDR is available for the pilot episode of the Amazon Original “Red Oaks.” The move makes Amazon the first video service to offer titles in this enhanced visual format, the company notes, though Netflix has also committed to expanding support for HDR video in 2015, beginning with its own original series “Marco Polo.”  HDR videos offer better picture quality, with richer colors, and improved contrast between the bright areas on the screen and the darker parts of the images. The end result is a more engaging picture format – outdoor scenes look more realistic, while you can also more easily pick out images and shapes from darker, shadowy scenes. The feeling is one where images are less washed out, making viewers feel like they’re there.”

Showtime and Hulu Partner to Launch Showtime Streaming Service

“Effective in July, Showtime will become the first premium service to be offered to Hulu’s close to one million subscribers worldwide. Hulu will offer Showtime for purchase for $8.99 per month (in addition to the $7.99 per month for their Hulu subscription) prior to the July12th season premieres of Showtime dramas “Ray Donovan” and “Masters of Sex.”  The pitch: New and existing Hulu subscribers will be able to sign up for Showtime on Hulu.com. Subscribers will be able to access Showtime through the Hulu app and stream programming on Android devices (phones, tablets and TV devices), iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch), Apple TV, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii and Wii U, Roku players and Roku TV models, PlayStation4 (PS4), PlayStation 3 (PS3), Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Chromecast, and the latest LG, Samsung and Vizio televisions and LG, Samsung and Sony Blu-ray players, as well as online at www.hulu.com.”

How One Analyst Envisions the TV Landscape in 10 Years

“It’s tough to predict exactly how we’ll be watching TV in 10 years. But one thing is for sure, according to Bernstein Research: it’s likely to be far less lucrative for big media companies.  While television networks face a host of pressures like a slump in live viewership and a weak upfront advertising sales environment,  TV services aren’t going away. But they are going to look “very different” a decade from now, as Bernstein media analyst Todd Juenger highlighted on Friday in a research report called, “This Report is Not Entitled ‘The Death of the TV Network.’”  Mr. Juenger pointed to streaming video on-demand services, notably Netflix, as a successful example of what a TV “network” may look like in an increasingly on-demand world (aside from sports and news, which are still largely watched live).”

 

 

 

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