News

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.

HBO ahead on profits for now, but Netflix is better positioned, analyst says

Netflix finally got one up on HBO in subscriber revenue last quarter, edging past with $1.146 billion versus HBO's $1.141 billion, but that may not be a one-time thing: Netflix is much better positioned for success, both in the U.S. and worldwide.

Ooyala acquired by Telstra, setting stage for global growth

Updated: Streaming video distribution provider Ooyala has been acquired by Australian telecom Telstra for an undisclosed amount. The company will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary, with its management and executive team remaining at its Silicon Valley headquarters.

4SeTV turns to Kickstarter as it looks to fill a TV Everywhere niche

As the tug of war for subscribers between cable operators and OTT providers continues, and with TV Everywhere still in its infancy in the U.S., startups are continuing to find niches that attempt to meet demand for anywhere, anytime video service. Case in point: 4SeTV, a startup looking directly to its target audience for its next round of funding.

NFL on track for live OTT streaming? Not yet

The release of a new second-screen app by the NFL this week featuring archived footage of games, highlights and interviews has some viewers speculating that the league will follow up with its own live streaming of NFL games. Not likely, experts say.

Dish Network slows subscriber losses in Q2, builds its OTT plans

Dish Network, which is moving ahead with an ambitious plan for over-the-top services that includes a new deal with A+E Networks to stream its online channels, posted a $216.3 million profit in the second quarter.

Apple TV sales reportedly slowing, while Fire TV revs its app engine

Even as Amazon announced the availability of more channels and apps on its new Fire TV, a sour note sounded for one streaming device maker. Apple TV sales are slowing, even as the market continues to grow, a new Strategy Analytics report says.