Hulu adds Cast button to mobile apps to support Chromecast streaming
The Google Chromecast media-streaming dongle is now able to support video from Hulu. An update to the Hulu Plus mobile app for the iPad and Android will add a Cast button to the menu, which then starts playing the selected TV show through the Chromecast device, with the app acting as the remote control. Support for the iPhone is "coming very soon," according to the Google blog.
Amazon adds 5 NBC shows exclusively to Prime Instant Video catalog
Amazon has signed a deal with NBCUniversal to add the previous seasons of five shows exclusively to its Prime Instant Video Roster. Grimm, Suits, Covert Affairs, Hannibal, and Defiance will be available on the streaming service over the course of this year and 2014. A number of other shows, including Smash, Alphas, and Warehouse 13, will also appear on the service, though under a non-exclusive distribution deal.
Deal expected to complete with little interference by end of 1Q
Comcast has announced today that it is acquiring GE's 49 percent common equity share of the NBCUniversal joint venture. The deal, worth $16.7 billion -- plus $1.4 billion for 30 Rockefeller Plaza and the CNBC headquarters -- will be funded with $11.4 billion in cash, $4 billion of unsecured notes, $2 billion in new debt, and $725 million of stock issued to GE as terms of the agreement.
Android, iOS apps for streaming NHL, PGA Tour coverage
NBC has rebranded its recent sporting app releases for more general use, now than the London 2012 Summer Games are over. The same app used to stream official Olympic Games video feeds and information has been turned into the NBC Sports Live Extra app, with the update taking place on both the Android (Google Play) and iOS (App Store) versions.
Apps intended as 'second screen', complements TV coverage
NBC and Adobe have unveiled apps for the network's coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The standard NBC Olympics app will give medal counts, schedules and other statistics on the games, while the NBC Olympics Live Extra app will offer live video streams to users of all 302 events across the 32 sports. The apps will be available in separate smartphone and tablet editions for both Android and iOS.
Hulu steps up original video content
Hulu used its turn at upfronts for TV content to reveal that it was adding four original shows beyond those teased earlier in the year. The strategy would be headlined by The Awesomes, a superhero comedy show due in 2013 that would draw on Saturday Night Live actors Seth Meyers and Michael Shoemaker. A nearer-term committed show, the 2012 basketball series We Got Next, would have The Game's Hale Rothstein and Kenya Barris along with The Office's Danny Leiner.
Al Franken speaks out about privacy breaches
Senator Al Franken on Thursday spoke (PDF) at the American Bar Association's Antitrust Section, pleading for more government supervision of large media and technology firms. This would ensure greater privacy to Americans, and the chair of the Senate subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law specifically named Google and Facebook as the major threats. Franken said consumers don't have any legal protection when it comes to their personal information.
Demonstrates difficulty of copyright enforcement
Broadcaster NBC has put up a temporary "casting" and promotional web page for a forthcoming show called Home Transformers that is modelled on the current home-construction and remodeling trend in reality TV shows. In putting together the site, however, the web developer the network is using appears to have "borrowed" a graphic straight from the most valuable corporation on the planet -- Apple. The page is using the icon for Xcode as part of its layout.
Aereo expands countering lawsuits
Aereo on Tuesday grew its countersuits against TV networks to include several more networks. Fox, PBS, Univision, WPIX, and WNET were all targeted under a complaint that wanted the judge to rule that Aereo wasn't violating the networks' copyrights. It had already sued ABC, CBS, and NBCUniversal a week ago.
Aereo demands clearance to keep broadcasting
Aereo started off the week with a countersuit hoping to stop a broadcaster lawsuit targeting its fledgling mobile TV streaming service. The service wanted the court to declare that Aereo didn't violate the copyrights of ABC, CBS, and NBCUniversal, effectively negating the original complaint. None of the services had formally tried to stop the launch of Aereo, which goes live on Wednesday.
Comcast tries Internet VOD to fend off rivals
Comcast on Tuesday tried its hand at mitigating the impact of Internet video on traditional TV by launching Streampix. The service will include a mix of movies and TV shows across its own NBCUniversal as well as Disney, Sony, and Warner Bros. Access won't be confined to Comcast's own network and should include mobile and computer access to some content that would normally go through Comcast's traditional video on demand.
Amazon now offers Viacom content, library at 15K+
Amazon on Wednesday officially confirmed earlier rumors that it has inked a deal with cable provider Viacom to bring its TV shows to Amazon's Instant Video streaming service. As part of the deal, Amazon will allow customers to access thousands of episodes from MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, TV Land, Spike, VH1, BET, CMT, and Logo. This will include past seasons of shows like Chappelle's Show, Hot in Cleveland, Jersey Shore, Yo Gabba Gabba, and iCarly, among others.
Hulu starts up own online-only TV series
Hulu followed in Netflix's footsteps Sunday by launching its first fictional, original TV series. Battleground covers a fictional political campaign in Wisconsin and is produced by JD Walsh, 500 Days of Summer's Marc Webb, and Hagai Shaham. It should be followed up by more documentaries, including a second season of Morgan Spurlock's A Day in the Life and Richard Linklater's new Up to Speed.
Citi study shows Netflix stil in comfortable lead
A new Citi Investment Research study from analyst Mike Mahaney points to Netflix still increasing its share of Internet movie and TV viewing. Between May and December, Netflix's share of those watching movies on TV grew from 20 to 27 percent. Most of that came at the expense of Hulu, which was down from 19 percent to 15.
Super Bowl leaves TV-only limits
The NFL on Tuesday dropped a longstanding barrier and said it would stream the Super Bowl, and the Pro Bowl, online. Both its own site and NBC's will provide the games alongside Verizon's NFL Mobile apps for the iPad and iPhone (free, App Store) and Android (free, Android Market). Either version will be an improvement on the TV version, with multiple camera angles, highlights, and live stats.
Comcast begins offering $10 Internet plan in DC
When Comcast bought NBC Universal, it volunteered to offer $10-per-month broadband to any household that makes less than $24,000 per year for three years. The offer has just been launched in the Ballou High School in the District of Columbia, where FCC chairman Julius Genachowski was present. The Internet Essential Program includes 1.5Mbps download speeds and 384kbps upload speeds.
App moves beyond clips and previews
NBC has released an update to its iPad app, which finally enables users to watch full episodes. Earlier versions had limited content to short clips and relevant material such as show information, however the latest release adds the ability to stream full-length television shows. Users can also access photo galleries, recaps and games.
Hulu Plus now active in Japan
Hulu on cue has launched Hulu Plus for Japan. The country is the first outside of the US to get Hulu and gives it a very different business model. Plus is the only option in the country and costs the equivalent of $19 per month, almost twice as much as the $8 it does in the US.
TWC to reduce competition with Insight deal
Time Warner is about to try and consolidate the cable industry further by buying Insight, a last-minute leak brought out Sunday night. The deal would buy Insight out from the Carlyle Groupe for $3 billion and absorb the cable provider's debts. Final bidding had wrapped up at the start of the July, WSJ said, and the new deal was just Insight reaching a promised target of picking a winning buyer within a month's time.
Qriocity coming to Xperia minis on Monday
Sony on Monday, August 1 will begin the phased roll-out of its Qriocity service for Xperia smartphones. At first, the Xperia mini and Xperia mini pro will get access. Available content to rent or buy will include movies and TV shows from NBC and its partner Universal, Paramount, Sony, Fox, and Warner Bros., in addition to local and more independent studios.
Ads already present in trial markets
Comcast and NBC have announced a new initiative that will bring advertisements into on-demand television programming. The companies have partnered to develop dynamic ad injections, enabling advertisers to change between different advertisements or engage local markets. Most of the existing advertisements in on-demand programs are said to be permanently placed for the entire duration of the show's availability.
Amazon and CBS deal dampens Hulu buy rumor
Amazon.com and CBS Corporation on Wednesday announced they have entered into a non-exclusive licensing agreement that will let Amazon Prime customers stream CBS TV shows. The deal will see 2,000 additional episodes from 18 CBS TV shows such as The Tudors, Cheers, and the complete Star Trek series collection, among others. Also, later this summer, regular Amazon Instant Video customers will get access to dozens of CBS shows.
No time frame given for sale
For the past few weeks, rumors have swirled around the possible sale of Hulu. Today, Disney CEO Bob Igor confirmed that Disney, NBCUniversal and News Corp., the TV streaming service's owners are indeed looking to sell off. Igor declined to provide a timeframe for a deal or to hint who might be the acquirer.
Hulu talks to Amazon, ATT, Verizon, more
Hulu's shopping itself around also includes Amazon, AT&T, and Verizon, insiders revealed Tuesday. The companies are part of a "short list" that included Microsoft as its first stop last week and will include Yahoo and Google next. AllThingsD's sources didn't learn how Microsoft had reacted but also heard Hulu will bring up the idea to Facebook, Liberty Media, Netflix, and Samsung.
Hulu content to stay exclusive after sale, more
More details regarding the upcoming and expected sale of Hulu have been dug up by AllThingsD. Hulu's content partners, including known deals for Disney and Fox, have extended their licenses and these will stay in place after a sale of the video streaming company. Comcast/NBCUniversal will be forced to follow these partners, and the content from the three will be mainly exclusive to Hulu.
Hulu shopping itself to diverse mix of companies
Hulu has responded to a proposed buyout by shopping itself around to a very wide range of companies, insiders have said Monday. The TV streaming site has been reaching out to "media, technology and communications" firms to see how interested they might be. The WSJ understands Hulu could still go unsold.
Hulu close to Disney deal following Fox
Tipsters said Friday that Hulu was wrapping up a deal to keep getting ABC and Disney shows. A pair of sources said a rough deal had already been set that would keep shows going in return for more than the 2.5 minutes of ads Hulu normally runs. The deal seen by AdAge could be completed within "weeks."
Hulu rumored selling itself off
Two insiders said Tuesday night that Hulu was considering selling itself after having been given a buyout offer. The source hadn't been identified but, according to CNBC's Julia Boorstin, was "not Google." Hulu hadn't decided what to do about the offer other than exploring its possibilities.
Bloomberg complains against Comcast-NBC deal
News company Bloomberg has filed a complaint with the FCC regarding the deal Comcast made with NBC Universal. It argues the largest cable operator in the country violated terms of the deal by moving the financial news TV network to Siberia, which is far away from existing news networks such as MSNBC, CNBC and Fox. This mirrors earlier objections, which state that Comcast may use its power to favor its own channels instead of rivals, including Bloomberg TV.
Time Warner Cable iPad app gets channels back
Time Warner Cable started the weekend with word that it had recovered some of the channels for the TWCable TV iPad app (free, App Store) that it had lost to disagreements just weeks earlier. The streaming app now has Discovery's namesake channel as well as Animal Planet and TLC. Fox News, FX, and National Geographic have also arrived along with Lifetime Real Women, Military History, Sundance Central, and Wedding Central.
Netflix near deal with Lions Gate for Mad Men
Netflix may be close to landing at least a pair of key content deals based on scoops Tuesday night. Talks are reportedly underway with Lions Gate to get streaming rights for every produced episode of Mad Men, which Lions Gate makes for AMC. The deal spotted by the WSJ would be worth $75 million to $100 million and would go live in mid-July, though the fifth season starting March 2012 wouldn't be available until it finished airing.
CBS brings classic TV shows to Netflix
CBS today showed a rare willingness to bring its TV shows to a subscription Internet service today and gave Netflix some key content. Classic shows such as Cheers, Star Trek and Twin Peaks will now be viewable through a streaming plan, as will two newer shows, Flashpoint and Medium. The non-exclusive deal lasts for two years and has an option for a two-year renewal.
Hulu exec could be forced out for defiant speech
Hulu's chief executive Jason Kilar might be removed from the top spot for a post that challenged traditional TV from studios. A News Corp executive said on Thursday that the Internet video maven would very likely be forced out as Comcast-NBC, Disney and News Corp's Fox are upset that he would criticize their TV business. The SAI tipster suggested Kilar was aware of it and was risking a 'poison pill' gesture that would lead to retaliation.
FCC accused of creating "two Internets"
Senator Al Franken has publicly bashed the FCC over several recent decisions, including the NBC/Comcast merger and new regulations for net neutrality. In a speech at a Netroots Nation event, Franken declared that the latest net-neutrality rules are "not strong enough" without stricter terms for wireless networks and paid prioritization.
FCC approves Comcast-NBC with Internet conditions
The FCC on Tuesday approved (PDF) the long delayed Comcast-NBC merger but with conditions. It will require that the new company provide its video to Internet and traditional sources on "non-discriminatory" terms if that content is already available to its own online users and to others. Comcast-NBC would be barred from trying to artificially inflate online prices and would have to give Internet rights at prices that are competitive with conventional TV.
FCC said approving Comcast-NBC Jan 28 with limits
The FCC should approve the Comcast-NBC merger withnet neutrality conditions by the end of the month, a pair of sources said Monday night. The merger will reportedly be submitted this week with approval any time between now and January 28. TheWrap in obtaining the date noted an FCC meeting was on January 25 but that it could vote early this week, implying a decision as soon as Tuesday.
Comcast-NBC deal terms leak, push neutrality
A merged Comcast and NBC would have to live under net neutrality conditions for at least seven years, according to escaped details from the FCC's proposed terms. Regardless of what would happen with neutrality rules, it would be banned from blocking or throttling rival content as well as from prioritizing its own services, such as Hulu. It further couldn't use set-top boxes or other hardware to steer customers towards its own content at others' expense, Bloomberg heard from FCC tipsters.
Comcast tells FCC NBC deal brings cheap broadband
Comcast in a letter to the FCC (PDF) has proposed that it might offer very low-cost broadband Internet access as part of the approval of its NBC merger. The company suggested that it would give access to its usually unpublished Economy speeds for $10 per month to any household making $20,000 or less per year. They would skip installation fees and could even get a refurbished netbook or similar device as well as computer training.
Comcast-NBC merger may force non-exclusive
The FCC's leaked Comcast-NBC merger terms may host Hulu its main advantage, an early analysis brought out. Hulu's requirements for semi-exclusivity with free content, where studios can only either offer it on Hulu or on their own sites, might be challenged by an FCC mandate to syndicate video to competitors. NBC might have to not only allow syndication to outside providers but might have to do so outside of Hulu, possibly depriving any chance for Hulu to do so itself.
FCC makes net neutrality order public
The FCC as promised has published the official order (PDF for its newly approved net neutrality rules. The 194-page text reiterates much of what was discussed at the official vote but clarifies some of the more contentious points, including its lighter wireless limits. the no-blocking rule would focus on direct competition, such as voice and video apps, but would include the web and would include creating a new Open Internet Advisory Committee to regularly report on whether fairer rules were needed.
FCC to push Comcast-NBC neutrality and video rules
The FCC today said through unofficial channels it would likely demand tough conditions of the proposed Comcast-NBC merger. The deal will require Comcast to obey net neutrality rules more specifically and will prevent it from blocking or otherwise interfering with competitors' Internet traffic. It would further prevent 'positive' violations of neutrality, the WSJ heard, by prioritizing its own Internet video above others.
Level 3 says FCC must limit Comcast-NBC
Level 3 has tried to bring the FCC more directly into its net neutrality dispute with Comcast with a letter sent later on Thursday. The message to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski and the Department of Justice's Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney to impose conditions on the proposed Comcast-NBC merger to keep it fair. Comcast's insistence on higher rates for Level 3 to reach its network "adversely changes the nature of the Internet" and, buy implication, might get worse if it owned a TV network.
Netflix hoping to get streaming of new TV episodes
Netflix has been pressing hard to get current TV shows on Watch Instantly, according to rumors surrounding negotiations. The company reportedly said it was willing to pay between $70,000 and $100,000 per episode if it meant getting access to a given season while still on the air. Most of the "friction" in the discussions, the New York Post's sources said, has been TV broadcast owners arguing that they have rights over current-season TV that even the show producers themselves would lack.
FCC chair puts net neutrality rules to vote
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski today outlined a new set of net neutrality rules that would be put to a vote at the agency's December meeting. The rules will guarantee a "right to know" for Internet access that focuses on transparency, including a "meaningful" transparency rule that tells users and developers what would be blocked or throttled. Subscribers would also have a right to send and receive any legal Internet traffic using any safe device.
Report claims option coming soon
NBC may be ready to allow 99-cent TV show rentals on iTunes, a report suggests. 9to5Mac is basing the claim on a screenshot unearthed in iTunes, depicting 99-cent rentals as an option for season five of The Office. The image could simply be a mockup, suggesting that Apple was or still is expecting NBC to come on board for rentals. At present, only shows from ABC and Fox stations can be rented.
Level 3 claims Comcast extorting fees for video
(Update: Comcast response) Level 3 today raised alarms with claims that Comcast was engaging in anti-competitive behavior with a new charge for online video. The Internet backbone provider said that Comcast had suddenly started charging extra for video to its customers and threatened to block video traffic from Level 3, which supplies streams for Netflix and other major providers. It agreed to pay the fee to avoid a disruption but accused Comcast of setting up a "toll booth" deliberately designed to prevent competition with both cable TV and its own Internet features.
Comcast, NBC push FCC to allow withholding video
A filing today revealed Comcast and NBC have been pressing the FCC to withdraw its proposal that they must allow online video deals if their merger is approved. The two hoped to cloud the issue by arguing that programming access rules were designed for "traditional linear delivery" and that it should be allowed to withhold video from companies like Amazon or Apple because of the Internet. Online video is too new to make it clear what would be unfair, it argued.
Sony intros Qriocity streaming service to devices
Sony will soon bring its Qriocity service to the PSP and connected Bravia TVs, Blu-ray players and home theater systems in the UK. In the PSP, this means access to Sony's Music Unlimited library, while the other devices will have access to streaming access. The PSP requires a software update, v6.35 that's coming soon. This will bring with it a new icon under the XMB interface's Music category.
FCC calls Comcast confidence, actions arrogant
The Comcast and NBC merger that is still being looked over by regulators is not finalized, anonymous Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officials said today. Comcast's recent announcement of new management allegedly upset regulators, as Comcast and NBC promised in September they would refrain from making personnel announcements until the deal is approved, according to two unnamed sources speaking in a New York Times report. One of the officials said Comcast's actions are "presumptuous and arrogant."
Viacom blocks Google TV for Comedy Central, more
Google TV was dealt another major blow on Sunday after viewers discovered that Viacom had blocked the platform on its networks. Websites for Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and other networks now show that the "content is unavailable for your device" rather than loading the Flash video. The restriction was expected earlier given Viacom's failed lawsuit against YouTube but comes relatively late.