Netflix trials single-stream, standard definition tier with some customers
Netflix is testing a possible new price plan for customers that do not require a HD stream. The new tier spotted by Adweek offers the user a single stream at standard definition for $6.99 per month, $1 cheaper than the normal two-stream standard and HD version typically offered by the service. Netflix has since confirmed its tests, advising "Not all people will see this option and it may not be something we ever offer generally."
ABC president, Aereo CEO interviews show differing views
At the Wall Street Jourmal D11 conference, ABC Television president Anne Sweeney and online television streaming service Aereo CEO Barry Diller were interviewed separately, with vastly differing opinions on the recently expanded startup which has seen its share of lawsuits both instigated by and delivered unto it. The ABC president called Aereo "wrong," adding that she believes that "it is illegal, and it is opportunistic piracy" despite no court yet agreeing with her sentiment.
Live Button rolls out to viewers in New York, Philadelphia first
Broadcaster ABC is said to be updating its iOS app to offer live streams of shows from local ABC stations later this week. New options for a "Live" button in the Watch ABC app for iPhone and iPad will mark it as the first major US broadcaster that provides live streams of its channels to app users, with the first markets to gain the service being New York and Philadelphia.
Hulu steps up original video content
Hulu used its turn at upfronts for TV content to reveal that it was adding four original shows beyond those teased earlier in the year. The strategy would be headlined by The Awesomes, a superhero comedy show due in 2013 that would draw on Saturday Night Live actors Seth Meyers and Michael Shoemaker. A nearer-term committed show, the 2012 basketball series We Got Next, would have The Game's Hale Rothstein and Kenya Barris along with The Office's Danny Leiner.
Aereo expands countering lawsuits
Aereo on Tuesday grew its countersuits against TV networks to include several more networks. Fox, PBS, Univision, WPIX, and WNET were all targeted under a complaint that wanted the judge to rule that Aereo wasn't violating the networks' copyrights. It had already sued ABC, CBS, and NBCUniversal a week ago.
Aereo demands clearance to keep broadcasting
Aereo started off the week with a countersuit hoping to stop a broadcaster lawsuit targeting its fledgling mobile TV streaming service. The service wanted the court to declare that Aereo didn't violate the copyrights of ABC, CBS, and NBCUniversal, effectively negating the original complaint. None of the services had formally tried to stop the launch of Aereo, which goes live on Wednesday.
Hulu starts up own online-only TV series
Hulu followed in Netflix's footsteps Sunday by launching its first fictional, original TV series. Battleground covers a fictional political campaign in Wisconsin and is produced by JD Walsh, 500 Days of Summer's Marc Webb, and Hagai Shaham. It should be followed up by more documentaries, including a second season of Morgan Spurlock's A Day in the Life and Richard Linklater's new Up to Speed.
Comcast and Disney sign new 10-year TV, web deal
Cable provider Comcast has renewed its distribution deal with Disney, signing on for another 10 years. Programming from ABC, ESPN and 68 other channels or services is included in the deal, as is streaming to portable devices such as notebooks, iPhones and iPads through dedicated apps. Under the deal, Comcast will pay more money to Disney with each successive year as license fee schedules are introduced over time, which will more than likely translate to increased bills for Xfinity users.
Citi study shows Netflix stil in comfortable lead
A new Citi Investment Research study from analyst Mike Mahaney points to Netflix still increasing its share of Internet movie and TV viewing. Between May and December, Netflix's share of those watching movies on TV grew from 20 to 27 percent. Most of that came at the expense of Hulu, which was down from 19 percent to 15.
CBS says Apple planned stream TV with shared cash
CBS chief Les Moonves may have inadvertently confirmed Apple's negotiations for a streaming TV service during the company's fiscal results call. He claimed that CBS had turned down a deal for a service because it would have split ad revenues. The executive didn't give details of what the service would have involved.
ABC and Disney stay online with Amazon, Netflix
Disney and its ABC division on Monday recommitted themselves to Internet video Monday with separate deals for Amazon Instant Video and Netflix. Both deals give it access to all prior seasons of both active and recently ended shows as well as back catalog access. Amazon's deal gives it both access to on-demand Instant Video as well as unlimited access for Prime subscribers.
Starz claims 'appropriate' pricing need
(Update: Netflix responds) Netflix took a large hit on Thursday after Starz said it had broken off talks to renew a content deal. Under current conditions, the TV channel provider would pull the movies and other pay TV content it licenses out to Netflix on February 28, 2012. Its statement tried to portray Netflix as cheapening its service and that it was purportedly doing its content a service by shopping for deals elsewhere.
Hulu Plus now active in Japan
Hulu on cue has launched Hulu Plus for Japan. The country is the first outside of the US to get Hulu and gives it a very different business model. Plus is the only option in the country and costs the equivalent of $19 per month, almost twice as much as the $8 it does in the US.
Apple sheds mention of TV show rentals
(Update: official explanations) Apple has dropped the 99-cent TV show rentals that it used to launch the second-generation Apple TV. Along with dropping the option from the store itself, the Apple TV product page no longer makes mention of the option. Rentals are now limited to movies, and TV shows are back to being purchase-only.
ABC working on authenticating online video views
ABC will join Fox in requiring users to log in while viewing online TV content. This solidifies earlier rumors that the Disney-owned network will do this, sources said to AllThingsD. During an earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger indicated he back distributing his company's content over nontraditional outlets like Hulu and Netlfix as long as it doesn't disrupt the current relationship with cable companies.
Hulu talks to Amazon, ATT, Verizon, more
Hulu's shopping itself around also includes Amazon, AT&T, and Verizon, insiders revealed Tuesday. The companies are part of a "short list" that included Microsoft as its first stop last week and will include Yahoo and Google next. AllThingsD's sources didn't learn how Microsoft had reacted but also heard Hulu will bring up the idea to Facebook, Liberty Media, Netflix, and Samsung.
Hulu content to stay exclusive after sale, more
More details regarding the upcoming and expected sale of Hulu have been dug up by AllThingsD. Hulu's content partners, including known deals for Disney and Fox, have extended their licenses and these will stay in place after a sale of the video streaming company. Comcast/NBCUniversal will be forced to follow these partners, and the content from the three will be mainly exclusive to Hulu.
Hulu close to Disney deal following Fox
Tipsters said Friday that Hulu was wrapping up a deal to keep getting ABC and Disney shows. A pair of sources said a rough deal had already been set that would keep shows going in return for more than the 2.5 minutes of ads Hulu normally runs. The deal seen by AdAge could be completed within "weeks."
Hulu rumored selling itself off
Two insiders said Tuesday night that Hulu was considering selling itself after having been given a buyout offer. The source hadn't been identified but, according to CNBC's Julia Boorstin, was "not Google." Hulu hadn't decided what to do about the offer other than exploring its possibilities.
App simplifies searching to find content
Fanhattan has used the D9 conference to launch a new iPad app (free, App Store) that provides a consolidated view of movie and TV content from multiple media sources. Using the app, a viewer can browse or search for content by title, genre, or actor regardless of where it's located. Current media sources include Netflix, Hulu Plus, iTunes and ABC Player.
Vudu adds TV shows for first time
Vudu chose Tuesday to throw itself into more direct competition with iTunes and Netflix by carrying TV shows. The deal gives it access to shows from ABC, AMC, Fox, HDNet, Palm, Showtime, Sony, Starz, and The CW, such as Weeds and The Walking Dead. As a paid service, its episodes will show a day after the air date rather than weeks or months like on Netflix.
CBS brings classic TV shows to Netflix
CBS today showed a rare willingness to bring its TV shows to a subscription Internet service today and gave Netflix some key content. Classic shows such as Cheers, Star Trek and Twin Peaks will now be viewable through a streaming plan, as will two newer shows, Flashpoint and Medium. The non-exclusive deal lasts for two years and has an option for a two-year renewal.
Hulu could move to bundles and toss free video
Hulu is considering a major shakeup of its business model that could move away from its free format and towards a paid service with live TV, insiders claimed early Thursday. While it wouldn't drop the current model, the service is pondering the option of mimicking cable services by offering live TV in package bundles as well as video on demand. The plan would still be under discussion, the WSJ heard.
Netflix gets fuller ABC and Disney streaming TV
Netflix landed another major content deal today as it reached a new deal with Disney and ABC. In exchange for a minimum 15-day delay between a first TV appearance and the online version, Netflix will get a much deeper catalog that includes prior-season access to current shows like Grey's Anatomy and full seasons of past shows like Lost and Scrubs. Disney's TV content is expanding, and ABC Family is reaching the Internet for the first time.
Netflix hoping to get streaming of new TV episodes
Netflix has been pressing hard to get current TV shows on Watch Instantly, according to rumors surrounding negotiations. The company reportedly said it was willing to pay between $70,000 and $100,000 per episode if it meant getting access to a given season while still on the air. Most of the "friction" in the discussions, the New York Post's sources said, has been TV broadcast owners arguing that they have rights over current-season TV that even the show producers themselves would lack.
Viacom blocks Google TV for Comedy Central, more
Google TV was dealt another major blow on Sunday after viewers discovered that Viacom had blocked the platform on its networks. Websites for Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and other networks now show that the "content is unavailable for your device" rather than loading the Flash video. The restriction was expected earlier given Viacom's failed lawsuit against YouTube but comes relatively late.
Fox website blocks Google TV browser
Google today faced another major setback as viewers discovered that Fox had joined SyFy and other majors in blocking Google TV. Anyone trying to watch Bones, The Simpsons and other shows on Fox.com are given an error claiming the content is "not compatible with your device." Fox was thought to have been uncertain but now appeared to have settled on banning the platform's Chrome web browser.
SyFy latest to block Google TV browser
Viewers discovered this weekend that SyFy has begun blocking Google TV devices from its site. The NBC-owned channel began telling users that video is not "currently available on this device." It joins blocks by other major studios, including NBC itself as well as ABC and CBS. Hulu has blocked Google TV from its free access since before launch.
Google TV set back by TV agency blocks
Google TV is being blocked by TV studios at least partly out of piracy fears, tips alleged on Thursday [sub. required]. Disney's ABC as well as CBS have all confirmed that they prevent the TV OS from watching their free Flash video sites. The WSJ understood from leaks that at least Disney and NBC had objected because it didn't think Google was doing enough to stop piracy.
Verizon gets ESPN deal for tablets and FiOS
Verizon and Disney today formalized a deal that will bring the ESPN sports channel's content to tablets as well as more to FiOS TV. The plan will give access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Buzzer Beater and Goal Line both on computers and in a tablet-optimized format. The approach is limited to FiOS TV subscribers but will let them authenticate themselves for access when the service goes live in "coming months."
Broadcasters claim copyright infringement
Several broadcasters have filed a lawsuit against Ivi TV after the startup defied cease-and-desist demands to stop retransmitting broadcast TV signals via the Internet without permission. Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS have accused the small company of copyright infringement for its web-based streaming service, which provides access to over 20 channels for $5/month.
ABC My Generation iPad app 1st to sync live TV
ABC today put out the first mobile app known to sync directly with a live TV show. My Generation for the iPad (free, App Store) changes in real time with the TV show of the name through audio watermarking technology from Nielsen. By listening to cues from the show with the iPad's built-in mic, the app can provide background knowledge, polls and trivia games as the show progresses, without spoiling the rest of the episode.
ABC, Fox, Netflix sign on as early partners
Apple today exposed a major overhaul of the Apple TV, long the company's neglected "hobby" product. The new set-top is roughly a quarter the size of the original, and all black. It includes HDMI, USB, Ethernet and optical audio connections, as well as 802.11n Wi-Fi. In terms of interface it continues to use a button-based remote, and the firmware resembles earlier versions. Inside, however, there is no longer any option of permanent storage.
ABC and Fox lined up for iTunes TV rental pilot
Apple has managed to line up two major TV networks for its 99-cent iTunes TV rentals ahead of tomorrow's event, a late leak may have confirmed this evening. Previously undecided Fox as well as ABC have reportedly agreed to offer at least some of their shows. The WSJ sources warned that Fox might only offer rentals for a short time as a trial balloon and that it wouldn't include shows where rights aren't uniformly in its favor, like American Idol.
More details of 99c iTunes TV rentals emerge
Apple's ongoing discussions for 99-cent iTunes TV rentals were given support today by a pair of sources Tuesday evening. Anonymous contacts told the WSJ this evening that Disney was the closest to a deal and could agree to allowing some ABC shows soon. It's speculated that Apple chief Steve Jobs' position on Disney's board of directors would be a strong influence on the plan.
Google TV not very welcome at TV providers
Google is getting significant resistance from TV networks for its Google TV strategy, insiders said Wednesday. It has reportedly talked with ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC about scraping video site data and TV-ready reformatting but has so far been turned down, the WSJ wrote. Studios are allegedly worried that the info, which would help mix TV and web results, could lure customers away from more profitable traditional TV or put pirated material ahead of legitimate content.
Hulu subscription testing said imminent
More Hulu news has surfaced this evening as a leak now suggests the paid Hulu Plus service will start running in a matter of days. Anonymous contacts said a trial version of the subscription TV streaming is due to go live before the end of June. It would be invite-only at first, and negotiations with studios are believed to still be in later stages.
Hulu could have four studios in subscription TV
Hulu is in talks with CBS and Time Warner to add their TV shows in time for the paid subscription service, a leak from within the negotiations may have given away today. While terms of the deal haven't been outlined in full, CBS would start supplying shows for the paid service by September, as the new TV season starts. Time Warner's staging wasn't outlined by the Bloomberg source.
Hulu paid subs for iPad could be ready soon
Hulu's rumored paid subscription service should be ready considerably sooner than thought, a pair of sources claimed Tuesday night. The TV streaming service should be ready within the "next month or two" and at some point should involve the iPad and Xbox 360. Rates weren't discussed, but the Reuters contacts echoed views that the free web-based service would still offer newer shows while the paid version would allow for older shows and other, unspecified content.
NBC and Time Warner hoping Flash bites Apple
A number of major studios that include NBC and Time Warner are deliberately rejecting HTML5 video in favor of Flash, rumors maintained today. TV networks have allegedly told Apple they have no plans to switch as the cost and results wouldn't be worthwhile. None of the involved companies has confirmed or denied the remarks.
Hulu Plus won't make May 24 date
The Hulu Plus subscription service is in "no way" ready for its rumored May 24th trial date, a follow-up leak claimed today. While an updated schedule isn't available, the $10 plan is said to be still far too distant. The AllThingsD tipster didn't explain what was holding up the expanded service, although negotiations with ABC, Fox and NBC are possible candidates.
Wei: Technology 'not ready yet'
Hulu -- the TV streaming service owned by ABC, NBC and Fox -- will not be switching to HTML5 anytime soon, according to the company's product VP, Eugene Wei. "We continue to monitor developments on HTML5, but as of now it doesnít yet meet all of our customers' needs," Wei writes in a blog post. "Our player doesnít just simply stream video, it must also secure the content, handle reporting for our advertisers, render the video using a high performance codec to ensure premium visual quality, communicate back with the server to determine how long to buffer and what bitrate to stream, and dozens of other things that arenít necessarily visible to the end user."
Rights issues vanished?
Confirming earlier reports, US network ABC has already released an updated version of ABC Player for the iPad. Users can now stream TV shows over cellular networks, eliminating a limitation discovered by buyers of the new 3G iPad models. It had been suggested that 3G was blocked because of rights concerns.
Update already submitted to Apple
ABC is reportedly ready to launch an updated version of its iPad app, according to the Business Insider. The app will allow users to stream videos across 3G networks, overcoming the Wi-Fi limitation of the current version. An ABC representative recently blamed the restriction on a "variety of business and technical considerations."
iPad app devs scale back 3G features
Certain iPad apps are dramatically scaling back or even blocking their video when on the 3G-ready iPad, new owners have been discovering today. The YouTube app significantly degrades the quality of video; ABC's TV viewer doesn't allow video at all unless it's on Wi-Fi. Only a few apps, such as Netflix, appear to work normally.
Hulu Plus may use library as incentive for subs
Hulu is about to test a paid subscription service that would count on accessing its back library to drive business, a rumor late Wednesday said. The Hulu Plus plan would give the five most recent episodes of any TV show for free but would charge $10 per month for access to older episodes. When it would start wasn't said by the LA Times sources, but a trial service would start May 24th.
ABC iPad app hits 205K downloads in 10 days
ABC late Tuesday said that its iPad app has been extremely successful in the first 10 days since launch. The TV studio saw 205,000 downloads, or about 41 percent of the 500,000 iPad owners as of Wednesday. Viewers have also seen 650,000 episodes, or almost 3.2 TV shows per person.
iPad would get Hulu and Netflix streaming soon
Two of the most important Internet video websites are planning native iPad apps, a pair of leaks showed in the past few hours. One set of tips claims that the Hulu iPad app is real and will carry a subscription that will also cover other services. Core details have reportedly been worked out, with only rights negotiation is left over.
New ABC News, ESPN apps in development
The iPad has "a lot of potential," claims Disney CEO Bob Iger. In talking about the device following a quarterly earnings conference, Iger notes that the company is already working on updated ABC News and ESPN Score Center apps, which will provide new ways of viewing content. The CEO argues however that the tablet could allow for "essentially new forms of content," since it has a high-quality display while being distinct from a TV or a normal desktop computer.
Popcorn Hour sequel handles 1080p
Syabas preluded CES today with its most ambitious media hub to date. The Popbox replaces the Popcorn Hour as the flagship media hub and revolves around a major, much more polished interface overhaul designed by Moxie's inventor and former Microsoft executive Dewey Reid. In addition to showing visual thumbnails of virtually everything and universal search, the interface has applets known as Infopops that show weather, Twitter feeds and other data whenever the viewer pauses what's playing. As with the previously available Popapps, new Infopops can be added over time.