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Spotify, the leading streaming music subscription service, is expanding by adding video clips and audio shows - allowing its users to listen to news, take in a podcast, or watch some video clips. The service will recommend video and audio shows for users, and will adapt so it can recommend future content.
Content from ESPN, ABC, BBC, Adult Swim, Comedy Central, Maker Studios, TBS, TED, Vice News and NBCUniversal, and other broadcast partners will be made available.
"We're bringing you a deeper, richer, more immersive Spotify experience," said Daniel Ek, founder and CEO of Spotify. "We want Spotify to help soundtrack your life by offering an even wider world of entertainment with an awesome mix of the best music, podcasts and video delivered to you throughout the day. And we're just getting started."
AT&T will provide subscribers with Hulu on its websites and mobile apps starting before the end of 2015, in an effort to fight off Verizon - and hopefully convince customers not to cut the cord. There are more than six million subscribers to the AT&T U-verse TV service, and bringing the Hulu app to TV is a good sign for subscribers.
"We know that our customers want to be able to access video on multiple devices," said Andrew Goodman, associate VP of content acquisition at AT&T, in a press statement. "So we're excited to be able to expand our relationship with Hulu and make its innovative and vast video selections available to AT&T customers on multiple screens."
AT&T and Hulu already had a distribution plan for free streaming content, but this new agreement is focused on the premium subscription content. Hulu is trying to create new business partnerships to keep up with Netflix, the No. 1 online TV and movie service, and hopes new agreements can help close the gap.
Spotify has taken over the streaming music world, and the company is reportedly trying to expand into online video, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report. Spotify has approached a few different digital media companies, gauging interest in partnerships, in an effort to launch created material and acquire videos.
Time Inc, Maker Studios, Fullscreen and Tastemade are speaking with Spotify, with a possible announcement coming as soon as May 20.
"So many companies have doubled down in this space that differentiation and monetization are going to be increasingly difficult," said Paul Verna, analyst at eMarketer, in a statement to WSJ. Verna believes Pandora, one of Spotify's numerous rivals in the streaming music business, could also try for a streaming video service.
Saturday night will feature one of the most anticipated boxing matches in recent history - and that will bring with it a likelihood of major Internet piracy. HBO and Showtime already prevented two piracy websites from showing the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight, but there will be plenty of other illegal options for viewers.
"This could be one of the biggest live-streamed events, at least from the piracy side," said Ernesto Van der Sar, founder of TorrentFreak, in a statement to NBC News. "I think it will be bigger than the Super Bowl and the World Cup."
The standard definition pay-per-view will be $89.99, while the high-definition PPV will cost a whopping $99.99. Restaurants and bars have to invest thousands for the right to broadcast the fight, so a smaller number of establishments plan to air the fight, or pricing rather outrageous cover charges.
HBO CEO Richard Plepler isn't a "reflexive proponent of binge-watching," so don't expect Game of Thrones or True Detective to be dumped onto HBO Go or HBO Now. However, subscribers are able to watch entire seasons of older content on HBO, but newer shows will not be available for binge watching.
"I don't think it would have been a great thing for HBO or our brand if that had been gobbled up in the first week," Plepler recently said during a Washington Post event. "I think it was very exciting for the viewer to have that mystery held out for an extended period of time."
In case you have been living under a rock, a major boxing pay-per-view featuring a main event fight between Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao is taking place on Saturday night. The pay-per-view will be available for $89 (standard definition) and $99 (high-definition), and Internet PPV streams won't be aired.
HBO and Showtime, which typically aren't publicly active in anti-piracy efforts, sued boxinghd.net and sportship.org to prevent both sites from offering free streams. These sites profit by increasing traffic, leading to additional page impressions and more potential advertising revenue.
"There are no authorized online streams of the Coverage for delivery to United States audiences," according to the complaint, saying the defendants "are seeking to benefit from this high profile, live fight by infringing the rights of plaintiffs."
Streaming video service Hulu has reached an agreement with Sony Pictures TV to stream Seinfeld, agreeing to pay a little less than $1 million per episode. The financial agreement will be paid for all 180 episodes of the popular TV show, with Sony TV, Time Warner Castle Rock, Jerry Seinfeld and co-creator Larry David listed as profit participants.
Some Seinfeld episodes were available on Crackle, Sony's ad-supported streaming service, but the studio's deal with Hulu is a major deal. Hulu agreed to pay more than Yahoo, Amazon, and other video services for rights to the entire video catalog. Netflix purchased rights to stream Friends, and reportedly helped boost viewership, according to industry insiders.
Google-owned YouTube wants original video content, and will work with the site's four leading content creators to get the job done. This is an important step for Google to try to woo more premium video advertising to the site, an ongoing battle it has endured since purchasing YouTube in late 2006.
YouTube will work with the Fine Brothers, Prank vs. Prank, Joey Graceffa, and Smosh - with millions of subscribers and billions of video views - the No. 1 online video site wants to create a unique offering for visitors.
In its blog post, the company also announced a new partnership to create feature films with AwesomenessTV, with "several feature length films" planned over the next two years.
Netflix is generating success from its original content and an international expansion, as the online video service added 4.88 million subscribers during Q1. The Silicon Valley company estimated it would add 4 million subscribers during the first three months - with 2.6 million subscribers from international markets.
Netflix now has 62.3 million subscribers, racking up more than 10 billion hours of online videos consumed during Q1 this year. More than 50 countries can now access Netflix, including high-profile launches in Australia and New Zealand, where Netflix plans to continue adding users.
"Our original content strategy is playing out as we hoped, driving lots of viewing in an economic way for Netflix while bolstering the positive perception of our brand and service around the world," Netflix said in a letter to shareholders.
Sling TV and HBO have announced that HBO will head to the streaming Sling TV service, ahead of the Game of Thrones season launch on April 12. HBO will cost $15 per month as part of the "Best of Live TV" core package that costs $20 per month for Sling TV subscribers.
"Sling TV is bringing HBO to our customers on all of our supported devices in time for one of the most important TV moments of the year," said Roger Lynch, CEO of Sling TV. "HBO delivers hit shows and movies that TV viewers crave, and with this addition we're adding another heavy hitter to a lineup that includes ESPN, AMC, TNT and more."
Sling TV continues to add more channels and content for its subscribers, and has proven to be a legitimate cord cutting option for consumers.