Cord cutters rejoice: live TV streaming is coming to Hulu in 2017.
Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins announced that Hulu will expand to live TV broadcasts at the company's event in New York, confirming past reports. Hopkins didn't reveal any pricing information or channels, but the Wall Street Journal claims it could cost around $40 per month and possibly include--but not limited to--Bravo, E!, MSNBC, CNBC, Oxygen, Syfy, USA, ABC, ESPN, Disney, Fox, Fox News, FX and Fox Sports.
"This means our viewers will be able to enjoy live sports, news and events all in real-time without a traditional cable or satellite subscription," Hopkins said at the event. "We're going to fuse the best of linear television and on-demand in a deeply personalized experience optimized for the contemporary, always-connected television fan."
In response to changing viewing habits, Google is debuting next month what it calls "Bumper ads": six-second ads that can't be skipped as displayed alongside the content you came for.
The company says the new format is "ideal for driving incremental reach and frequency, especially on mobile, where 'snackable videos' perform well" and lends itself well to serialized ads, like Audi Germany's cuts of a longer ad for its Q-series SUVs.
Time will tell how viewers at large respond to Bumper ads, but in the meantime, advertisers seem very happy with the new option.
The newest episode of Game of Thrones -- "The Red Woman" -- has been pirated via BitTorrent one million times in about 12 hours, according to TorrentFreak.
Those downloading the show are fairly evenly spread out across the world: 12.5% are in Australia, 9.7% are in India, 8.5% are in the US, and 6.9% hail from the UK, with Philippines, Canada, the Netherlands, Greece, South Africa and Saudi Arabia not far behind. Mind you, time differences will favor some regions more than others; a more complete and accurate picture will unfold soon.
It's expected piracy this time is less than before in the US, as HBO was made free in the region over the weekend while the new season premiered.
Back in January, Netflix began getting serious about cracking down on VPN users, which utilize various software to gain access to other countries' broader catalogues. It made good on its word which has since prompted over 40,000 people to sign a petition demanding the company back off. Despite this, it's not concerned, calling the uproar 'inconsequential' in its earnings call this week.
"It's a very small but quite vocal minority," said CEO Reed Hastings. "So it's really inconsequential to us, as you could see in the Q1 results."
That said, Netflix sympathizes strongly with that minority, having stated publicly many times it eventually wants all of its content to be globally available, thus eliminating the demand for VPNs among its users.
Streaming services like Spotify and Amazon Instant Video offer the option for offline playback -- the key benefit of which is the ability to listen to or watch content in situations where Wi-Fi is not available -- and it may only be a matter of time before Netflix offers the same. Its CEO Reed Hastings, when questioned on the prospect in an earnings call this week, clearly indicated it's not something he's opposed to.
"We should keep an open mind on all this... as we expand around the world where we see an uneven set of networks, it's something we should keep an open mind about."
Should the service one day implement it, it's likely stored content would disappear after 48 hours.
Comcast is America's cable giant and Netflix is the poster child for new wave programming, so it's only logical to compare the two in light of their recent company reports. As fate would have it, Comcast boasts 33,347,000 cable subscribers, but Netflix does them about 22 million better with 44,740,000: a 100.2% differential.
Mind you, Comcast does business by charging a lot lore to fewer customers, whereas Netflix charges a lot less to a lot more. So while the user gap is major, the revenues for the competing services would tell a different story.
Meanwhile, subscriber growth rates show Comcast doesn't really have a growth rate (not too surprising given how long cable has been around), whereas Netflix has been increasing its base steeply each year.
Amazon is now directly competing with Netflix and Hulu: the company today offers Prime Video, an $8.99/mo service that streams movies and TV shows.
Previously, it only offered Amazon Prime as a bundle for $99/yr ($8.25/mo), which included movies, TV shows, and music -- a better deal overall, but with a higher upfront cost. The bundle will also be offered at a $10.99/mo rate, while the $99 option will remain.
Netflix and Hulu are priced at $9.99/mo and $7.99/mo, respectively.
Netflix has begun rolling out high dynamic range (HDR) content, meaning millions more shades of colour and added brightness levels for more realistic images in your favourite shows and movies.
To take advantage of it, you'll need an "Ultra HD Premium" TV (a few current Sony TVs fit the bill; some say OLED will be great for it), a premium-priced Netflix account (£8.99 or about $12.99), and a 25 megabits per second internet connection or better.
For now, just Marco Polo season one supports HDR, but more content will come, including Daredevil (thanks to a collaboration with LG).
Netflix's original content is growing about 185% per year with an even higher rate expected next year and the results are strong on the user end: Netflix original programming is rated 11.5% higher than syndicated content on average, according to data mined by AllFlicks.
Netflix documentaries do best, rating 4.08 stars on average; shows do worst, but still beat out syndicated shows by 6.5%. Meanwhile, other content rates an average of 3.47 stars.
It's important to keep in mind total Netflix content has dropped 31.7 percent in two years as the company has emphasized original content, indicating a significant drop in syndicated works. As such, with more selection, it's possible syndicated works would be rated higher overall.
Movie rental service Redbox tried its hand at movie streaming in partnership with Verizon back in 2013, but killed the project about 18 months later. Now sources say it's trying again with Redbox Digital, a closed beta for which may launch soon.
Responding for comment, a Redbox spokesperson said, "Redbox continually looks for ways to enhance our customer experience. For tens of millions of consumers, Redbox is their source for new release rentals without a subscription. As such, we regularly conduct tests of potential new offerings, that may or may not be brought to market, as part of our ongoing commitment to provide additional value."
This time around the service will be on-demand, as with iTunes and similar services, as opposed to the Netflix subscription model seen with its Redbox Instant venture. TV shows as well as movies can be rented for streaming or purchased for indefinite storage.