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Netflix plans to bump streaming subscription prices for new members

New Netflix subscribers will have to pay an extra dollar or two for the online video site's streaming services, according to company officials. Current subscribers will have a "generous time period" where prices will remain $7.99 per month, a price that was initially rolled out in 2010.

 

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"These changes will enable us to acquire more content and deliver an even better streaming experience," Netflix said in a shareholder quarterly letter. In addition, CEO Reed Hastings said increased prices is necessary to add more original programming, additional movies and TV series, though it seems unlikely many Netflix subscribers will resist the price hike.

 

The company added 4 million new customers during Q1, and surpassed $1 billion in quarterly revenue. Netflix now has 36 million subscribers in the U.S., with more than 48 million users worldwide.

Amazon to launch free ad-supported streaming TV and music service

Amazon is expected to launch a free, ad-supported video service focused on television episodes and music videos, and could launch in the next few months. Both original content and licensed material might find its way to the service, with Amazon executives reaching out to potential partners.

 

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Amazon continues to expand efforts to dominate, with media invited to an event next week in which the Amazon set-top box could be announced. Although Amazon remains the most dominant e-tailer, the company wants to compete with YouTube in Netflix, especially as more users stream content in the living room.

 

In addition to providing content, Amazon will also be able to use the service to test its budding advertising capabilities.

 

Amazon currently only offers TV, movies, music and video content to its Prime members, which now costs $99 per year, though this offers a new twist.

Around 200 groups help police YouTube, flagging videos in bulk

Around 200 people now have the unique ability to flag up to 20 videos at once for review by YouTube violations, including the UK Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit.

 

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A report last week revealed the UK police unit had been granted "super flagger" ability, which allows for up to 20 videos to be reported at a single time, which was a pilot program launched in 2012.

 

The company said most of the participants are those responsible for spending a large amount of time flagging videos that violate YouTube's ToC. Less than 10 are reportedly government agencies or advocacy groups, such as anti-hate groups, according to media reports.

 

There is obvious concern of the British governments flagging videos it doesn't agree with, which is why Google chose to disclose more details of the program.

Continue reading 'Around 200 groups help police YouTube, flagging videos in bulk' (full post)

Dailymotion ready to invade US, thrown down with YouTube

Online video site Dailymotion has set its sights on the U.S. video market, and wants to steal YouTube market share by launching original content to woo viewers.

 

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In the first mini-series, Super chef Mario Batali will host fives episodes in which he speaks with musicians he is a personal fan of. Each episode will be 22 minutes in length and is a major gamble on Dailymotion's part, though was the brainchild of analytics that indicate many viewers enjoy music and cooking videos.

 

"It's our particular goal to package and distribute our own original IP that captivates and engages our existing community of over 127M global viewers season after season," said Roland Hamilton, Dailymotion US Managing Director, in a press statement. "We believe having original and exclusive content is a great way to differentiate so we're looking for interesting projects - passion projects from extraordinary people that deserved to get made, much like Mario's 'Feedback Kitchen'."

Continue reading 'Dailymotion ready to invade US, thrown down with YouTube' (full post)

Yamaha Blu-ray 3D BD-S677 player offers up streaming goodness

Yamaha Corporation has unveiled the BD-S677 Blu-ray 3D player able to stream video, music, games and other content from Apple iOS or Google Android smartphones and tablets.

 

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The Wi-Fi-enabled Blu-ray player adds a unique spin on a changing home entertainment market, where most new generation Blu-ray players include Blu-ray and streaming support - but to stream content from mobile devices should be a feature more widely adopted in the future.

 

"The BD-S677 is a very flexible Blu-ray player that strives to eliminate the line between home and mobile entertainment by providing users the ability to share and enjoy their portable device content on televisions within their homes," said Bob Goedken, Yamaha Corporation of America GM of AV products, in a press statement. "Its ease-of-use will provide our customers quick navigation to a wider array of their favorite videos, pictures and music."

Continue reading 'Yamaha Blu-ray 3D BD-S677 player offers up streaming goodness' (full post)

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella should end 'Scroogled' campaign

Newly selected Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will carefully push the company towards cloud computing and mobile technologies, while other less successful efforts will be shut down. There is growing sentiment that Microsoft should leave behind its "Scroogled" campaign notorious for trying to make fun at Google's expense.

 

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The Microsoft online store features Scoogled-branded t-shirts, hats, mugs, hoodies, and other products - though it's doubtful these items have been flying out of the warehouse.

 

Instead of giving Microsoft the edge with Scroogled, in which ads available in print and online, along with broadcasted TV commercials, consumers have largely thought the ads are silly and show desperation. However, Microsoft obviously believes its campaign has been a success, with some advertising industry experts also agreeing that the ads have been effective.

 

Nadella, only the third CEO in Microsoft history, obviously has more pressing concerns - but don't be surprised if it takes a while for a new Scroogled ad campaign, if ever again.

Super Bowl XLVIII online stream available for free from FOX Sports

For viewers looking to watch the Super Bowl and don't have access to a TV, or stuck at work and want to sneak a glimpse of the game, U.S. viewers can watch the game on the FOX Sports website. Super Bowl XLVIII, which will be contested by the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, starts just a few minutes from now at the Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

 

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The game is available online for free at the FOX website.

 

Providing an online stream is a great decision by FOX Sports, as the broadcaster will still be able to cash in on viewers - the stream requires bandwidth and infrastructure - but with 30-second TV spots that cost near $4 million, everyone seemingly wins here.

NFL nixes mobile Super Bowl streams for people in the stadium

Live streams of the Super Bowl this Sunday will not be permitted for those in the stadium, as cellular and Wi-Fi networks would become overburdened. The game will be streamed live by Fox Sports and NFL.com, but people inside the stadium will be unable to use mobile apps or Web browsers to stream the game.

 

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The cell and Wi-Fi at the stadium can support an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 users, but more than 80,000 people are expected to attend the game. During the Super Bowl last year, a last-minute decision was made to cut off coverage, as the local networks became overloaded with users.

 

The NFL will allow the game to be streamed over the Internet for free, so PC and connected HDTV owners can still see the No. 1 sporting event in the United States.

HBO puts NPD on blast, says TV subscriptions increasing

Subscription channels HBO, Showtime and Starz are fighting back against a recent NPD Group study that reported pay TV channels have dropped 6 percent of customers through the past two years.

 

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Following the public outcry, NPD clarified its statement sand said while subscribers have declined, TV subscribers are including more channels to their subscription package.

 

There is fierce competition among broadcasters, cable/satellite providers, and online video content services all vying for consumer attention. Subscribers have a number of different choices when it comes to video content, with HBO, Showtime, Starz, and other broadcasters opening up Web-based streaming for paying customers.

 

Meanwhile, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has taken aim at HBO and other subscription TV services, as the company recently hit 33 million subscribers during Q3.

Paramount Pictures leaves behind film, goes fully digital

The 35mm film format has been used by movie studios for more than 100 years, but the digital format continues to push the technological envelope. Movie studio Paramount Pictures is now the first studio to leave behind 35mm in favor of going fully digital - and it's a trend that could be mimicked by other companies in the future.

 

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"It's of huge significance because Paramount is the first studio to make this policy known,"said Jan-Christopher Horak, UCLA Film & Television Archive Director. "For 120 years, film and 35 mm has been the format of choice for theatrical presentations. Now we're seeing the end of that. I'm not shocked that it's happened, but how quickly it has happened."

 

Just 8 percent of U.S. movie theaters only use 35mm and haven't switched to digital, though Paramount will still ship 35mm to theaters in other countries. Movie studios like digital because it's significantly more cost-effective, with digital copies on discs running less than $100 - but the film versions cost upwards of $2,000.

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