Companies study potential antitrust hurdles
Comcast is reportedly mulling a potential takeover bid for competitor Time Warner Cable, unnamed sources have told CNBC. Although Time Warner Cable is said to be considering various buyers, the company is claimed to favor a merger with Comcast if it finalizes the decision to sell.
Apple allegedly racing to announce iRadio at WWDC
Over the weekend, Apple signed a new deal with Warner Music Group for recorded music and music publishing rights, say sources for the New York Times. The deal comes on top of one with Universal Music for recorded music. Apple is reportedly scrambling to secure new deals with the major labels, including Sony, so it can announce iRadio at WWDC, which starts on June 10th.
Archive-based catalog could serve niche audience
Warner Bros has opened up its catalog of historic movies and television shows on a new site for streaming subscribers, rather than more modern shows and theater productions. The Warner Archive Instant offers a selection of vintage films to watch instantly, and expands on the studio's existing Warner Archive store for DVD and Blu-ray discs. Currently, the service is only available in the US.
Theaters to use satellite, terrestrial service for digital film distribution
Five movie studios have signed an agreement with the Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition (DCDC) to distribute films through its satellite network. Disney, Warner Bros, Paramount, Universal, and Lionsgate will be using the network as a way to delivery movies and other content to theaters across North America.
New user monitoring system powered by error-prone MarkMonitor
As expected, the Center for Copyright Information's BitTorrent monitoring system has launched, but with all five previously-announced ISPs starting up in one day. Participating ISPs in the measure, also known as "six strikes," include Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Cablevision, and Time Warner, plus all subsidiaries of the parent companies.
Sources familiar with the matter claim all five ISPs commence this week
According to reports, the much-delayed "six strikes" copyright enforcement monitoring system will go live over the next week, with Internet provider Comcast launching on Monday. The Copyright Alert System (CAS), run by the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) has no official launch date, and has been held up by implementation issues, and the damaging effects of Superstorm Sandy. ISPs AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon are all signed up for the system.
Apple terms leaving record labels 'cold'
Apple is nowhere close to completing a deal with the major record labels for a music streaming service, say music industry sources contacted by CNET. The people say that the terms Apple has been offering for the service, nicknamed "iRadio," have left the labels -- Sony, Warner, and Universal -- unsatisfied. It's believed that even if one side or the other changes its position, it could take a long time to complete agreements.
Netflix Canada to get exclusive licensing for some Warner content
Netflix and Warner Bros. announced today an exclusive licensing agreement that will bring some Warner Bros. serialized dramas and feature films o Netflix customers in Canada. The deal will bring content such as The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, and more to Canadian streaming customers. More titles, such as The Dark Knight Rises and The Hangover Part II will be exclusively available online on Netflix Canada for a limited period following their pay television window.
Redbox deal with Universal lasts until mid-2014
While it recently ended its agreement with Warner Bros., budget DVD and Blu-ray rental kiosk operator Redbox has now signed a deal with Universal Studios. The deal extends until August 2014 and keeps the 28-day delay window Redbox had with Warner Bros following a home entertainment release. Redbox and Warner argued about the delay window, with the studio arguing 28 days is too early considering the $1.20 daily rental price for the movies.
Warner sees digital music revenue growth in Q4
Warner Music Group was reported its fourth quarter sales, and while they stayed consistent, at $780 million, revenue from digital music sales increased by 17 percent. What's more, it is now a 28 percent slice of the pie of all sales. This is a sign of the changing way music lovers access their music, and the label provided a further breakdown of these sales.
Redbox must buy discs but gets them faster
Disagreements between Redbox and Warner Bros. may have inadvertently benefited viewers after a deal between the two expired Tuesday. Redbox will now have to buy Blu-ray and DVD discs from retail to stock its catalog rather than at a lower price from Warner, but it will no longer face the 28-day delay instituted by Warner to try and shelter traditional rentals and sales. Warner earlier in the month had started insisting on an even longer 56-day delay that likely pushed Redbox into the more expensive but much faster arrangement.
Digital versions offer limited viewing options
Paramount has become the first movie distributor to sell movies using the UltraViolet digital distribution system directly to customers. Up until now, UltraViolet digital downloads were available only as part of a DVD/Blu-Ray disc
package deal or from a retailer such as Amazon.
Sony wants live Internet TV for PS3, TVs, players
Sony may be in an unintentional race with Apple to bypass the limits of traditional TV providers for its own live TV service, multiple sources might have disclosed on Tuesday night. The electronics giant is believed by the Wall Street Journal to be talking to media firms to get rights for streaming TV channels. The focus would be on Sony's own devices, ranging from Blu-ray players through to TVs and the PS3.
Google music store event may go minus Sony, Warner
Google's November 16 music event is still likely to see it go without some potentially critical deals. Follow-up details reportedly slipped to AllThingsD still had Sony and Warner holding out and unlikely to reach a deal in five days. EMI was the only certain prospect, and Universal was very likely, but not certain.
Google music shop may be days away
A handful of more details about Google's music store may have emerged on Monday. The service is now thought by unofficial WSJ sources to be going live within the next two weeks, and possibly this week. "At least two" major labels are unlikely to have signed on, however, with only EMI probably onboard and Universal in discussions that might not make the release date.
Claims Warner removed 100s of files it didn't own
The battle over software and video piracy took a turn yesterday when a Florida file hosting service sued Warner Brothers for allegedly engaging in copyright fraud and abuse of anti-piracy laws. Hotfile accuses the Warner Bros. of using the hosting company's anti-piracy tools to remove titles the studio doesn't own, including open source software. Hotfile is asking a court to make it whole for the losses they claim Warner Bros. caused.
Miramax first with multi-movie Facebook rentals
The latest company to offer movie rentals on Facebook is Miramax, over its Miramax eXperience app. The largest venture of its kind -- Warner offers much less -- it offers 20 titles for rent in the US and 10 each in the UK and Turkey. The rented movies can be watched on iPads through a browser-based player made by Ooyala, along with Google TV devices.
iTunes Replay may be months off
Talk of iTunes Replay bringing cloud movie streaming might have come too soon. Insiders claimed Monday that Apple didn't have deals with at least four of six major movie studios. Any deal would be months off at best, CNET was told.
Judge approves class-action status
US District Jude Loretta Preska has allowed a class-action lawsuit against RIAA music labels to continue forward. The lawsuit, which accuses major labels of conspiring to fix prices for digital music distribution, will be pursued under the Sherman Act to explore potential antitrust violations of federal law. Similar antitrust actions under New York state law will also be investigated, as well as other claims related to consumer protection and unjust enrichment.
Company set to enter closed market
Warner Brothers is reportedly preparing to launch a video-on-demand service in the Chinese market. The move is designed to bring the studio's movie content to a new region, which has proven a difficult country for foreign companies attempting to distribute films through traditional strategies. The studio has teamed with a local VoD company partnered with the state-run broadcaster China Central Television.
Spotify gets Universal and close to EMI
Spotify has landed what might be its most important deal for the US, sources claimed Friday. A deal was reportedly struck with Universal this week and left just Warner to come onboard. That deal was said by AllThingsD to be closer than before, although it wasn't expected to start anything until July at the earliest.
LimeWire ends lawsuit with 105m settlement
LimeWire on Thursday agreed to pay $105 million as part of its lawsuit settlement in what may be the last chapter in the company's history. The payout comes a quick week after a trial to determine the amount that should be paid to music label owners such as Sony, Vivendi, and Warner. The former peer-to-peer company said only that it was glad to be rid of the lawsuit.
YouTube major movies finally official
YouTube followed up its teaser with confirmation that it was bringing major movies to its rental service. Many of the 3,000-plus movie titles being added Monday are from three of the four major movie studios, including NBC-Universal, Sony, and Warner. The mix includes both classics like Reservoir Dogs as well as newer titles such as Inception.
Fox, Paramount blame piracy for YouTube exit
Fox and Paramount have supposedly backed out of YouTube's imminent major movie service in an attempt to force action on piracy. Unofficial comments from the two claim that they won't get onboard as long as Google is indexing pirate video sites in its search engine and allowing them AdSense placement. Disney, not mentioned before, was also leaning the same direction, The Wrap said.
YouTube may intro major movie service
YouTube's largely public plans for a major studio movie service could be realized as soon as this week or next, studio executives purportedly said Monday. The service would initially work through a video-on-demand rental system, presumably streaming, rather than permanent sales. Some studios like Lionsgate, Sony, Warner, and Universal would be onboard, The Wrap heard, but Google has allegedly had trouble getting support and would have to forsake movies from Fox and Paramount for the initial unveiling.
Warner said good for iTunes media locker deal
Insiders said Friday that Apple had managed to land a deal with Warner for its upcoming iTunes cloud media locker. It wasn't evident how recently it was signed or whether the label was one of the two supposedly already onboard in recent days. CNET in getting the new tip also wasn't given further details on how the service would behave.
Facebook and Warner offer more movies for rent
Warner Brothers has taken its Facebook movie rental service beyond its initial one-movie trial phase. In addition to the originally offered The Dark Knight, users can now rent five more movies. The more recent releases are also slightly dearer at 40 Facebook credits, or $4, to rent Inception, Life as We Know It and Yogi Bear, on the site.
MobileMe media locker may cost 20 a month
An industry publication claimed in a previously unmentioned rumor this past week that Apple had been making progress on its rumored MobileMe media locker. The service purportedly wouldn't be free but would drop to $20 per year. The Music Void's "informed sources" said Apple had already landed a deal with Warner to let users store music from the label online, and both EMI and Universal were likely to cede relatively quickly.
Napster founder Parker may buy Warner Music
Napster founder and early Facebook shepherd Sean Parker is helping to make a bid that may see him having some control over one of the very music labels that tried to shut him down, insiders said late Friday. He was reportedly teaming up with investors Ron Burkle and Doug Teitelbaum to buy Warner Music Group. While his own personal worth wouldn't be at stake, AllThingsD understood his interest was in a letter attached to the start of the bidding process.
LimeWire agrees to settle music publisher suit
LimeWire on Tuesday said it had reached a settlement deal with major music publishers that had sued it for alleged piracy in June of last year. The two sides reached a secret deal that would see the lawsuit dismissed without the possibility of its return. The publishers, including those representing EMI, Sony, and Universal, had wanted as much as $150,000 per song and would have made it impossible for LimeWire to pay them back.
Facebook and Warner test credit-based movie rental
Facebook tested a direct media service of its own today through a team-up with Warner. US visitors to the fan page for The Dark Knight can rent the movie using 30 Facebook Credits, or about $3, to watch it directly from the social network. Viewers have the same rights as they do through iTunes or other rentals, including unlimited views for the 48 hours afterwards, full-screen playback and the option of resuming from where they left off.
Spotify deal with Universal said weeks away
Spotify is near landing its most important and possibly last remaining deal before it can launch in the US, sources said Wednesday. The company is reportedly a "few weeks away" from a deal with Universal, the largest label and often considered the most important for the agreement. Its size would be enough that Reuters heard Spotify would be willing to forgo a deal with Warner.
Bypasses regional iTunes limitations
Warner Bros. has taken the unusual step of launching "App Editions" of some its movies. The only titles on the App Store so far are Inception and The Dark Knight, but each is a universal app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, and presents the option of either downloading the movie or streaming it over Wi-Fi or 3G. Included with each app is a collection of DVD-like extras, such as videos, games, music and wallpaper.
Spotify and Warner hint US service getting nearer
Spotify gave a hint that it might be getting closer to its long delayed US launch. The streaming music network told those few who have test accounts in the US to choose a payment method in prep for when the paid Premium access goes live "over the coming months." While it had a copy of the notice, AllThingsD didn't get an indication of what the price might be or whether plans would change.
Warner Music talks to Goldman for sale and buyout
Warner Music is consulting with Goldman Sachs to at once sell itself off and looking into a buyout of its rival EMI. Sources said on Thursday night that it had reacted to multiple buyers, including professional acquirer Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, making offers by having Goldman start a formal look into the process where it would sell all or just of the company, such as its Warner/Chappell publishing wing. The New York Times' contacts didn't say how close Warner might be to a deal.
Supreme Court drops review of digital music suit
The US Supreme Court later on Monday declined to review a lawsuit accusing RIAA music labels of price fixing for digital music. Officials cleared the lawsuit to go ahead after an appeal brought back the case, which had initially been dismissed in 2008. No comment accompanied the decision to uphold the appeal and the case.
Sony intros Qriocity streaming service to devices
Sony will soon bring its Qriocity service to the PSP and connected Bravia TVs, Blu-ray players and home theater systems in the UK. In the PSP, this means access to Sony's Music Unlimited library, while the other devices will have access to streaming access. The PSP requires a software update, v6.35 that's coming soon. This will bring with it a new icon under the XMB interface's Music category.
WiLAN sues three top cable companies
WiLAN, a Canadian company that, in its own words, is charged with "developing, protecting, and monetizing technology intellectual property," has filed another ambitious lawsuit, this time against cable companies Charter, Comcast and Time Warner. The Eastern District of Texas complaint claims that the three allegedly infringed patented technology through their use of cable modems. The 1998 patent covers the broadcasting of data to a number of remote networks and computers.
eMusic changes to pay-per-track to fight iTunes
eMusic has this weekend changed its pricing model to get major labels and more directly compete with Apple's iTunes and Amazon MP3. The deal drops eMusic's distinctive bulk song credits in favor of a variable price, pay per track model that finally adds wider access to major label music, including current music from Sony and Warner as well as year-old music from Universal. Most independent music will still cost the equivalent of the base song credit plan, at 49 cents per song, but will see major label songs sell for 69 to 89 cents.
Report confirms "cord cutting" trend
A report released by research firm SNL Kagan appears to confirm the "cord cutting" trend, as pay-TV businesses lost 119,000 subscribers in the recent quarter. The effect is even more significant for cable providers, such as Warner and Comcast, which lost 741,000 customers as the satellite providers and other companies gained 621,000 customers.
Warner renews Spotify Euro deal in hint at US deal
Warner Music today renewed a deal with Spotify to keep offering its music. The deal is the first among the major labels and was touted as a positive by Warner chief Edgar Bronfman, who in the past had previously criticized free, ad-based music. He wouldn't confirm US plans but was "hopeful" a deal would come soon, AllThingsD heard during the call.
Apple iTunes 90s deal done with majors, not indies
Apple's 90-second iTunes sample deal has already been reached with major music labels but is simply being pushed on indies, tips from the inside revealed today. EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner have all reportedly signed off so far along with some individual publishers, while the blanket notice to smaller labels was sent without them having reached an agreement. Labels talking to CNET couldn't provide detailed comment but, in two cases, agreed Apple was using hardline tactics by making labels automatically accept the deal just by staying in the store.
Reinforces industry importance of iTunes
Warner Music Group's senior VP and head of digital legal affairs, Elliott Peters, is leaving the company for a position at Apple, says Billboard. Starting next month, Peters will become Apple's corporate attorney director for iTunes Europe and Internet services. There he will manage the European legal team for both MobileMe and iTunes.
Spotify said very close to US through cash advance
Spotify may finally be edging closer to its promised US launch as a leak this afternoon hinted that it had taken drastic steps to get music label deals. A number of tips maintained that it was still without US deals but has been promising large cash advances to labels to earn their confidence. Multiple touching points are left, but Spotify has "never been closer" to a deal, CNET understood.
Spotify claims rumors of Apple talks are false
Spotify was quick to dismiss recent rumors that it was in talks with Apple over a possible sellout. Company spokesman Jim Butcher said the company normally avoided discussing rumors but wanted to stress that the music streaming service had "absolutely no intention" of selling itself off. It had never talked to Apple about a deal, the representative told CNET.
Spotify US launch may be held up by Apple
Apple may be raising doubts among music labels that are keeping Spotify from a US launch, insiders alleged on Thursday. Senior officials from Apple reportedly told record studios in Los Angeles that they had "serious doubts" Spotify's model, which is led by ad-supported free service and $10 monthly subscriptions, could be profitable. The unnamed CNET sources also noted that Apple thought the service could take away from per song sales at not just its own iTunes store but others as well.
Spotify yet to get deals with any US labels
Spotify's problems getting US deals may still be ongoing if claims from music industry sources are accurate. None of the major labels have signed deals and might not have time to make one before the end of the year, the contacts told CNET. Publicly, Spotify has been insisting it was close to striking a deal for much of the year.
Samsung Media Hub debuts for US Android devices
Samsung as part of its Galaxy Tab unveiling we attended tonight kicked off the launch of Media Hub, a companion video store for its devices. The initial version will offer movies and day-after TV shows from NBC, Paramount, Universal and Warner, with more expected later. Content is DRM-protected but can be shared between five phones or tablets.
Spotify may not launch Euro-like service in US
Spotify has been all but pushed into restarting its US plans from scratch due to label negotiations, more than one tipster claimed today. The company has reportedly been frustrated with a lack of progress and has decided to approach the music labels as though new to see what they would accept. A 2010 launch is still hoped for, Billboard notes, but it's unclear how labels would be taking to the new proposals.
Group demands $150K per download
Eight music publishers have sued Limewire for copyright infringement. David Israelite, chief executive of the National Music Publishers’ Association, said his organization decided to pursue its claim after record companies won a similar lawsuit last month. The publishing group is claiming damages of $150,000 per download, the same as the record industry sought.