Subscribe to:

Subscribe to :: ::

SportsCenter Show Comes To Snapchat

November 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

U.S. sports broadcaster ESPN rolled out its flagship SportsCenter program on messaging app Snapchat on Monday, reimagining the show that provides sports highlights and commentary into a short-form series.

The new show deepens the relationship between ESPN parent Walt Disney Co and Snapchat parent Snap Inc.

The sports network, which has made Snapchat content since 2015, is trying to reach a younger audience, while the social media app, whose messages disappear after viewing, is adding more content in an effort to grow its user base beyond its core youth demographic.

The partnership is a two-year deal and Snap and ESPN will share revenues, Snap said, though it declined to give specifics.

SportsCenter will air twice a day on Snapchat during weekdays, and once a day on weekends. A roster of six hosts will give commentary and perspectives, including ESPN anchors Katie Nolan and Elle Duncan, and ESPN Radio host Jason Fitz, Snap said.

Sean Mills, Snap’s head of content programming, said SportsCenter helps round out the app’s stable of daily shows, which already includes news shows from CNN and NBC News, as well as an entertainment show called “The Rundown” from E! Network.

Along with daily shows, Snap launched a joint venture studio with NBCUniversal last month to produce scripted shows to air on the app.

Disney Plans To Take On Netflix With Streaming Service

November 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Disney’s future streaming service will face off with Netflix, the reigning streaming champ, with lower prices, CEO Bob Iger said in an earnings call earlier this week.

In August, Disney announced its plans to pull movies like “Moana” from Netflix and instead stream them along with future films like the sequel to “Frozen” on its own service, which will launch in 2019.

Iger said:”I can say that our plan on the Disney side is to price this substantially below where Netflix is. That is in part reflective of the fact that it will have substantially less volume. It’ll have a lot of high quality because of the brands and the franchises that will be on it that we’ve talked about. But it’ll simply launch with less volume, and the price will reflect that.”

Iger went on to say that the company’s main goal starting out will be to attract as many subscribers as possible, diverting at least some of the wind out of Netflix’s sales.

Disney-owned brands include Pixar, Lucasfilm (of Star Wars), Marvel Studios (think of all those “Thor” and “Avengers”-themed shows and films) and the ABC television network. While Marvel shows developed for Netflix are expected to stay on that service, such as “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones,” features like “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” will likely move to Disney’s service.

Disney first signed a deal to stream content through Netflix in 2012.


YouTube Shows Unsavory Videos To Youths

November 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

YouTube is facing criticism for allowing troubling videos to get past its filters on an app designed specifically for younger viewers, according to a report this weekend by The New York Times.

The Google-owned website is the largest video site in the world, with more than a billion people visiting a month. The affected service, YouTube Kids, was launched in 2015 to be a family-friendly version of the site.

But the kids service reportedly has a dark side. One video showed Mickey Mouse in a pool of blood while Minnie looks on in horror. In another video, a claymation version of Spider-Man urinates on Elsa, the princess from “Frozen.” The videos were knockoffs depicting the beloved Disney and Marvel characters.

Representatives from The Walt Disney Company, which owns Marvel, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

YouTube called the content “unacceptable,” but said it isn’t rampant. In the last 30 days, less than .005 percent of videos viewed in the app were removed for being inappropriate, the company said. YouTube is trying to reduce that number.

“The YouTube Kids team is made up of parents who care deeply about this, so it’s extremely important for us to get this right, and we act quickly when videos are brought to our attention,” a YouTube spokeswoman said in a statement. “We use a combination of machine learning, algorithms and community flagging to determine content in the app as well as which content runs ads. We agree this content is unacceptable and are committed to making the app better every day.”

The videos made it onto YouTube Kids by getting past safety filters, either by mistake or by trolls gaming the software.

The controversy comes as tech giants find themselves under intense scrutiny from Congress over the power and influence they have over what billions of people see online. Google, Facebook and Twitter spent last week in marathon Senate and House hearings over the way Russian trolls abused their platforms to meddle in last year’s US presidential election. Lawmakers grilled the tech companies over accountability for the algorithms they used.

This isn’t the first time YouTube has faced a backlash for unsavory content. Earlier this year, advertisers boycotted YouTube after their ads appeared next to extremist and hate content because of YouTube’s automated advertising technology. Major brands including AT&T and Johnson & Johnson ditched advertising on the platform.

As for the issues with YouTube Kids, the company said parents can use additional controls to limit what their kids see. The controls allow for blocking specific videos or channels and turning off search. YouTube said the app was never meant to be a curated experience, and that parents flagging inappropriate videos would make the app better over time.

Google Signs Deal With CBS For Web TV Service

October 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

google-web-tv-150x150Alphabet Inc unit Google has inked a deal with CBS Corp to carry the network on its planned web TV service and is in advanced negotiations with 21st Century Fox and Viacom Inc to distribute its channels, three sources told Reuters.

The service, which will be part of Google’s YouTube Platform, is expected to launch in the first quarter and will include all of CBS’ content, including live NFL games, one of the sources said.

Google’s so-called “skinny bundle,” with fewer channels than a typical cable subscription, will cost $30 to $40 a month, the source said. It was unclear which Fox and Viacom networks would be part of the Google service, two of the sources said.

The sources requested anonymity because the discussions are confidential. A spokesperson for YouTube declined to comment.

Google will be launching into an increasingly crowded market. Dish Network Corp and Sony Corp, which in the past year have launched skinny bundles to appeal to younger viewers who do not want to pay for cable.

And both AT&T Inc and Hulu, the online video service owned by Disney, Fox, Comcast Corp and Time Warner Inc, have streaming television offerings that are expected to go live in the next few months.

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, said Google was also in advanced talks with Walt Disney Co.

A representative at Disney was not immediately available for comment. CBS, Viacom and Fox declined to comment.

Google has been talking to media companies about its web TV for years, but its plans have just ramped up over the past few months, one of the sources said. Apple Inc had looked at a similar service but has shelved that plan for the time being, sources had previously told Reuters.


ESPN Removing Content From YouTube

October 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Walt Disney Co’s sports network ESPN said it will no longer make its content available on YouTube, due to the recently announced ad-free subscription-based offering coined YouTube Red.

Alphabet Inc’s YouTube announced last week that it will launch YouTube Red, a $10-a-month subscription option that lets viewers watch videos without interruption from advertisements, in the United States on Oct. 28.

“ESPN is not currently part of the Red service. Content previously available on the free YouTube service will be available across ESPN digital properties,” ESPN said in a statement.

ESPN would not be part of the subscription service at launch due to “rights and legal” issues, a YouTube spokeswoman told Reuters.

Disney, ESPN’s parent company, however, has signed a deal to include its content on YouTube Red, the spokeswoman said.

Disney did not respond to requests for comments.



Amazon, Microsoft Linking Up With Disney’s Cloud Movie Service

September 9, 2015 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Walt Disney Co’s studio unit announced that customers of Inc and Microsoft Corp’s video services will gain access to the collection on its cloud-based movie storage service .

Studios like Disney, which has made blockbuster films like “Frozen” and Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” have been attempting to steer movie fans towards digital purchases as sales of DVDs decline.

Walt Disney Studios added that it would launch the app on video streaming-device maker Roku Inc and Google Inc’s Android TV on Sept. 15, coinciding with the DVD release of “Cinderella.”

The collection in Disney Movies Anywhere can be accessed through its new app for theMicrosoft Xbox 360 and for Amazon’s Fire tablets, Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.

The media company launched Disney Movies Anywhere in February 2014 with Apple Inc’s iTunes, and in November partnered with the Google Play online store and Walmart Stores Inc’s online store Vudu.

The two new additions come on the same day as its early digital release of Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”


Vudu Joins Disney Cloud Movie Service

November 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Walt Disney Co’s cloud-based movie storage service will allow customers to add purchases from Vudu, an online store operated by Wal-Mart Stores Inc, a Disney official announced on Friday.

Films bought on Vudu will be integrated with the Disney Movies Anywhere service starting on Tuesday, Jamie Voris, Disney Studios’ chief technology officer, said at an event where the company highlighted mobile initiatives.

Disney is building the service as studios try to steer movie fans to digital purchases while sales of DVDs decline.

The media company launched Disney Movies Anywhere in February with Apple Inc’s iTunes, and this month partnered with the Google Play online store. Customers can buy more than 400 Disney, Pixar and Marvel movies through those retailers and watch them on a variety of Internet-connected TVs, computers and mobile devices.

The addition of Vudu comes on the same day that Disney releases a sing-along version of animated blockbuster “Frozen” and digital versions of the Marvel hit “Guardians of the Galaxy.”




DirecTV And Disney Negotiating Deal Over Internet Rights

March 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Around The Net

DirecTV is having discussions with Walt Disney Co to license the rights to offer Disney’s broadcast and cable channels as part of an Internet-based product, DirecTV has confirmed.

The deal would mirror a first-of-its kind agreement that Disney and satellite rival Dish Network Corp announced earlier this week.

The Internet rights being discussed are part of a large-scale programming agreement that would replace a deal between the companies that expires in late December. Disney and Dish are in negotiations but the timing of the new deal could be not be learned.

“The deal and terms are not unexpected as the Dish contract was the most recent in the Disney timeline to expire,” DirecTV spokesman Darris Gringeri said on Wednesday. “The DirecTV contract is up next and we’re in the process of working with Disney on a similar long-term agreement of our own.”

A Disney spokesman declined to comment.

A new pact could give both Disney and DirecTV, the No. 1 satellite operator, an additional revenue source as consumers gravitate toward online video services such as Netflix Inc and watch more television online.

The agreement between Dish and Disney marked the first time that a U.S. pay TV operator has been given the flexibility to offer its content over the Web through smartphones, tablets and computers outside of a pay TV subscription.

In that agreement, Disney allows for Dish to stream linear and on-demand content from ABC broadcast stations as well as cable channels, ABC Family, Disney Channel, ESPN and ESPN2. Dish has not revealed plans for its streaming service.

DirecTV, which has 20.3 million subscribers, is expected to secure better rates on programming than Dish, which has 14.1 million subscribers, because of its size. Both companies have complained about the rising cost of programming and have been involved in high-profile blackouts over the past few years.

DirecTV Chief Executive Mike White has previously said the company is working on an “over-the-top” video package to suit niche audiences featuring Hispanic or kids programming, but has not yet given details on that offering.


Intel TV Service Advancing With Content Providers

June 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Intel Corp’s talks to purchase content from media companies for its new TV service are advancing, and the chipmaker is offering to pay as much as 75 percent higher premium than traditional cable rates, people familiar with the talks said.

But Intel has yet to close any programming deals, said the sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to comment.

CBS, News Corp and Viacom have reached agreements with Intel on certain details over how their content would be distributed on the service the chipmaker plans to begin later this year, one person familiar with the situation said.

Comcast’s NBC Universal is continuing its talks with Intel but its negotiations are not as advanced others companies, said another source familiar with the matter.

Intel has moved substantially on subscriber fees it is willing to pay since the negotiations began, one source said.

It has also suggested preventing viewers from skipping commercials on the first run of a show, said another source.

Representatives for Viacom, NBC, CBS, News Corp, Disney’s ABC and Time Warner declined to comment.

Media companies typically give better prices to operators with more viewers, such as large cable companies, and charge higher prices to smaller or newer entrants. Since Intel’s TV service has yet to start, and therefore has no viewers, it can expect to pay a premium, all the sources said.

SNL Kagan, a research firm that measures and publishes the average subscriber fees cable and satellite TV operators pay for television networks, recorded last year’s highest fees were $5.15 per subscriber per month and were charged by Disney’s ESPN.

While it was not clear exactly what amounts Intel had originally offered for specific channels, sources said the tech company was basing its 50 to 75 percent premium on listed average SNL Kagan subscriber fees.

Intel needs deals with the top five or six U.S. media companies to secure most of the popular TV channels, according to one source.

Intel said in February that it planned to compete with Apple, Amazon and Google and provide a set-top box and service that would offer live and on-demand programming.

Erik Huggers, the head of Intel Media, has said he plans to offer customers smaller bundles of content than those currently being offered by cable and satellite operators.

While Intel has not said how much it plans to charge for its TV service, Huggers has billed it as a premium product, rather than a cut-rate option for consumers hoping to save money by canceling their cable subscriptions. Higher prices for consumers would give Intel breathing room to pay more to media companies without sacrificing its own margins.

Intel spokesman Jon Carvill said the chipmaker still plans to launch its TV service this year, but declined to give details of negotiations with media companies.


Is Amazon Trying To Enter Netflix’s Territory?

April 23, 2013 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon announced the arrival of 14 homegrown TV shows today as it looks to take on Netflix with original programming.

Amazon has done things slightly differently than its new rival Netflix. The firm has unleashed 14 pilot episodes on its website that can be streamed in the US for free and in the UK via Lovefilm. Users can give their feedback on the shows, and the most popular shows will be made into a full series.

From what we can see, Amazon seems to have a pilot show to suit all tastes. There’s a selection of kids shows including the brilliant sounding Teeny Tiny Dogs and Annebots, which apparently follows a pint-sized scientist around the world.

Technology fans might enthuse over the pilot of Betas, which follows the story of four friends who think they’ve cracked the code for Silicon Valley success, like the idea of Onion News Empire, a show about Onion News Network journalists who will do anything to stay on top.

Other pilot shows available to watch include Zombieland, Dark Minions and Alpha House, for those looking for something similar to Netflix’s popular House of Cards series.

Amazon’s scheme is great for budding TV critics, as once you have watched a pilot you can leave feedback on the Amazon website. We just hope the scheme doesn’t get overrun by trolls.

Amazon hasn’t said when we can expect some of these pilots to be turned into full series, or whether customers will have to pay to view them.




Verizon Warns Users Of High Risk Mobile Apps

February 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Mobile

Verizon Wireless recently began publishing a list of “High Risk Android Apps” on its Web site and now alerts customers to 13 apps that prevent a smartphone or tablet from going into sleep mode, causing heavy battery and data usage.

“This page lists apps that may be especially risky for you to use at this time,” Verizon said in the post. The company noted that it is working with developers to fix the problems.

The high risk apps “might have serious negative effects on your device” through loss of functionality, unexpected high data or battery usage and security exposure, Verizon explained.

Six of the 13 high risk apps are also on the January’s list of Top 50 most popular Android apps that Verizon posts on another Web page along with a five-point system for judging security, battery consumption and data usage.

The six apps on both Verizon lists are games, mostly racing games.

They are: Asphalt 7: Heat, a paid racing game by Gameloft; Draw Something, a paid game by OMGPOP; Fruit Ninja Free, a free game by Halfbrick Studios; Grand Theft Auto III, a paid game by Rock Start Games; Hill Climb Racing, a free game by Fingersoft; Need for Speed: Most Wanted, a paid game by Rovio Mobile Ltd.; and Wreck It Ralph, a paid game by Disney.

The worst offender of the 13 on the high risk list is Need for Speed: Most Wanted, from Rovio Mobile Ltd., which Verizon says will drain a device battery about 4.5 times faster than normal if left untouched, Verizon noted.

None of the high risk apps are blocked for Verizon customers, but users are being educated to make their own decisions.

Nook Video To Debut This Fall

September 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Barnes & Noble announced on Tuesday that Nook Video will debut this fall in the U.S. and UK. The service will offer access to movies and TV shows for streaming and download.

In a statement, the bookseller said the videos will be stored securely in the Nook Cloud. The content will be available on the Nook Tablet and non-Nook devices via free Nook video apps that will be launched soon, it said.

The announcement underscores the importance of video content to users of an array of new tablet devices.

Barnes & Noble said its video content will be available across devices such as TVs and smartphones and will interoperate with digital video collections, such as UltraViolet.

A Netflix app already is a available in the Nook app store.

Barnes & Noble said the videos initially will come from HBO, Sony Pictures, STARZ, Viacom and Warner Brothers Entertainment. Some Disney movies will be available.

The maker of the Nook tablet didn’t reveal any details about plans to unveil a rumored second-generation Nook device. Barnes & Noble’s tablet is considered a strong competitor with Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HD and Google’s Nexus 7 tablets.

Amazon already has an instant video service which can be linked to its Amazon Prime service that costs $79 a year for access to some videos.

Barnes & Noble didn’t offer pricing for the video content, but officials said videos would be priced individually and won’t be distributed under a subscription service.


Disney Signs Content Deal With Amazon,Netflix

November 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Netflix and Inc revealed content deals with Walt Disney Co on Monday, a sign of increased competition between the two companies in the video streaming arena.

Netflix reported that it extended its license agreement with ABC Television Group, a division of Disney, to continue to stream TV shows over the Internet.

With the extension of the existing license agreement, Netflix will also add new TV show episodes from ABC Studios, Disney Channel and the ABC Family to its existing library, it said in a statement.

Netflix will now also carry episodes of ABC’s “Switched at Birth”, “Alias” and prior-season episodes of Disney Channel’s animated series “Kick Buttowski”.

Netflix will continue to carry every episode of ABC shows such as “Lost”, “Ugly Betty”, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Desperate Housewives”, and a number of programs from the Disney Channel.

Amazon announced a new licensing agreement with Disney-ABC Television Group that will allow Amazon Prime members to instantly stream a broad selection of library content from ABC Studios, Disney Channel, ABC Family and Marvel.

Amazon Prime costs $79 a year in the United States and gives members free 2-day shipping along with free access to almost 13,000 TV shows and movies from the company’s Internet streaming service.



Indiagames Acquired By Disney

October 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Gaming

Disney is poised to complete the acquisition of Mumbai-based developer and publisher Indiagames.

According to a report on the Wall Street Journal’s All Things D blog, sources close to the deal say it could be completed by the end of the day.

Earlier this year, Disney acquired the media conglomerate UTV, which owned around half of Indiagames. One source placed the value of the company between $80 million and $100 million, meaning that Disney would need to pay up to $50 million to complete the deal.

Indiagames was founded in 1999, and now has more than 300 employees spread across its Mumbai, Beijing, London and Los Angeles offices.

In February, the Disney Interactive Media Group’s co-presidents John Pleasants and James Pitaro pledged to make the division profitable by 2013.

Since then, financial reports have shown consistent losses, leading to redundancies at social developer Three Melons and the closure of Black Rock Studios.

Both Disney and Indiagames CEO Vishal Gondal have declined to comment on the deal.


Starz Ends Contract With Netflix

September 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Shares of Netflix Inc declined more than 10 percent in pre-market trading on Friday, a day after Pay-TV operator Starz Entertainment opted out of renewing its contract with the movie-rental company.

However, some analysts were unfazed by the move and were positive on the company’s prospects to secure alternative deals.

Starz, controlled by John Malone’s Liberty Media, ended talks to renew a deal that expires February 28. After that date, Starz will stop providing its content, which includes exclusive rights to first-run Sony Corp and Walt Disney Co movies, for streaming on Netflix.

Jefferies analyst Youssef Squali said while Starz will continue to hold the rights to Sony and Disney titles, Netflix could independently strike a deal with the production studios for streaming content.

“We believe Netflix has seen little overall pushback from subscribers since Sony content was pulled from the service more than 2 months ago in the related, but separate dispute between Sony and Starz,” Squali, who kept his rating and price target on the company’s stock, said.

Piper Jaffrey analyst Michael Olson said although the Starz provides a “larger” portion of new releases on the Netflix service, its share of overall  streaming content has declined in the last two years.

“Since signing the Starz deal in 2008, Netflix has added TV content from many suppliers and movie content from EPIX, Relativity Media, Millennium, Miramax and others.”

“We believe Netflix will now look to increasingly acquire movie rights directly from studios, in competition with pay-TV offerings,” Olson said.

Next Page »