News

Samsung announces 4K content deal with Amazon

TV manufacturer Samsung is hoping to boost 4K TV sales by giving consumers a good deal more content to actually watch in 4K, announcing a new deal with Amazon to deliver its original series and some movies in Ultra High Def (UHD, or 4K), starting in October.

Amazon, Netflix stock original series cupboard

Netflix's international expansion is continuing along its planned growth path, with the subscription video on demand provider announcing its first French-produced series, Marseille, slated to premiere in late 2015. Meantime, Amazon is sticking with its pilot-to-series original content model, debuting five new pilots this week for viewers to rate and review.

Chunghwa Telecom, Broadpeak trial 4K HEVC delivery

Broadpeak is working with Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom on a 4K trial, with the aim of delivering streaming content using HEVC compression.

Vimeo signs 7 distribution partners, including Drafthouse Films, to on demand platform

Vimeo is bulking up its content library with an eye to original, independently-produced video, and has signed distribution partnerships with seven media and entertainment companies that will see their content featured on the Vimeo On Demand platform.

Amazon nabs Twitch for $970M

Amazon announced it bought Twitch for $970 million in an all-cash acquisition. It's a bit of a head-spinner, since the online video industry was waiting for the sure-thing, soon-to-come announcement from Google that it had acquired the wildly popular live-streaming site.

Microsoft reportedly developing Chromecast rival: a Miracast dongle

Analysts can predict a decline in Google Chromecast usage all they want, but its users are a fairly loyal bunch. And it appears that Microsoft may be going after that customer base with its own dongle, reportedly called the Miracast Dongle but currently code-named HD-10 in an FCC filing.

Netflix has bright European future, but analysts sound caution about costs

Subscription video-on-demand provider Netflix is on a roll in Europe, with plans to launch in six new countries on the continent by the end of 2014. It reportedly has reached 1 million subscribers in the Netherlands, and a new IHS study projects that within four years its European base will make up one-fifth of its total subscribers worldwide.

RiffTrax, Snagfilms make leap to TV screen--at least for Chromecast users

JW Player has integrated Google Chromecast support into its platform, making it possible for viewers to watch content from sites such as Rifftrax and Snagfilms on their TV sets through the device's cast feature.

StudioNow takes a $5M growth path, bulks up executive team

AOL spinoff StudioNow, a digital-video-creation company that matches content producers with enterprises that need their services, announced that it has raised $5 million in a Series B round. It has also made four key hires to round out its executive team, all veterans in the finance, media and Web arenas.

Piksel targets legacy video providers with software-based OTT platform

Piksel is introducing a SaaS (software as a service) based OTT video platform. Targeting legacy content providers and distributors--like cable companies and broadcasters--the company said the platform will allow customers to launch over-the-top services quickly without having to invest in "static" infrastructure.

Netflix adds Time Warner Cable to its pay-for-faster-play list

Now there are four major ISPs being paid by Netflix to speed its over-the-top streaming video to subscribers. Time Warner Cable has signed an interconnection agreement with the SVOD service, similar to Netflix's earlier deals with AT&T, Verizon and Comcast.

PlayStation TV, Android TV crowd into streaming-device market

The streaming-device market is looking pretty saturated right now, but there are still more device announcements to come. Sony said it will debut its PlayStation TV device on Oct. 14 in North America. And Google is still working on its Android TV platform, which will run on smart TVs--it hasn't announced a release date yet. But according to analysts, neither of these products is going to shake up the streaming market.

UK to trial online-video age ratings

Coming soon to YouTube music videos in the UK: a ratings system that warns parents if the content of an online video is inappropriate for their kids.

Televisa and MiTu join forces to offer multiscreen content

Multichannel network MiTu has signed a multiyear agreement with Mexico City-based giant Televisa that will see the two Hispanic-focused companies work together to develop and distribute programming across multiple platforms.

Amazon tries to add heart to data-driven content creation

Although the use of metadata to help determine the kind of shows audiences want to watch has gotten a lot of attention over the past year or so–particularly with the success of Netflix's House of Cards, a show developed partly from data analysis–Amazon is trying to find the heart that drives the popularity of series as its original-content efforts evolve.

Digital advertising's biggest year ever isn't helping smaller firms

Spending on online advertising is taking a bigger share of marketing budgets than ever before–as much as 39 percent of all ad spending in the United States this year, eMarketer estimates–but that new money isn't helping smaller digital-ad firms, such as YuMe, Rocket Fuel and Tremor.

Comcast subs in Olympia, Wash., bear brunt of OTT's growing popularity

Over-the-top video is driving a tax hike in Olympia, Wash., where a generational shift from cable TV viewing to the cord-cutter lifestyle has lowered the revenue that the city gathers by taxing Comcast based on the number of subscribers.

Metadata gives closed captioning new utility

How accessible is online video to the hearing-impaired and those who speak other languages? Thanks to developing technologies, it's getting better all the time--something we explore in today's feature on closed captioning. We take a look at some of today's closed captioning providers, including startups challenging the captioning status quo.

Closed captioning's role becomes more complex in multiscreen world

In the wake of FCC rules that require television programs, movies, and short clips to have closed captions even in the online video space, broadcasters and OTT providers are scrambling to make sure their online catalogs are captioned. The captioning crisis has created an opportunity for startups using new technologies, including cloud platforms, to do the job faster and cheaper. But can they also do it better than established caption providers?

M&E executives say it's time to grow: report

Chief financial officers at major media and entertainment companies like Disney, Liberty Media, Microsoft and Time Warner are downplaying economic uncertainty and are setting themselves into the starting blocks for new growth. The focus this time: digital, an Ernst & Young report says.