Lovefilm to stream Universal Pictures films in the UK
Lovefilm has signed a multi-year agreement with NBC Universal to stream Universal Pictures films to its Lovefilm Instant users. The addition of Universal extends the roster of films that currently includes movies from Disney, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, Entertainment One, and Studio Canal. The streaming agreement would help the Amazon-owned movie rental company fight off Netflix, which launched in the UK in January.
Hulu owners may back out of sale after low bids
Earlier rumors of Hulu going back on its decision to sell itself off are proving true, two sources have told SAI. The bids, while they are still rolling in, aren't as high as initially hoped. Hulu's parent companies are reportedly looking for $2 billion for the online service.
Meredith Baker to lobby for Comcast-NBC
Comcast has announced that it has hired Meredith Attwell Baker, an FCC Commissioner. The Republican Commissioner will join the cable provider as Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for NBC Universal, a leadership position in the company's Washington DC-based lobbying division. The move has raised eyebrows, considering the Commissioners recent role in approving Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal.
Boyout expected to have impact on wider industry
Regulators are reportedly considering the deeper implications of Comcast's proposed buyout of NBC Universal. Although any conditions placed on the deal may only have an immediate effect on Comcast and NBC, such terms are expected to serve as a potential basis for new regulations that could be applied to the entire industry, according to an Associated Press report.
Claim studios blocked Boxee may be false
NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker asserted at hearings today that Hulu, not NBC, was responsible for blocking Boxee from accessing its videos. When questioned about the move in justifying the Comcast NBC merger, Zucker said Hulu executives made the decision themselves since Boxee was "illegally" taking content from the streaming TV site without having agreed to a deal. Outside deals are acceptable with formal terms, he said.
Hulu to stay the same, but cable channels out
Hulu won't undergo a shakeup following the Comcast buyout of NBC, the cable provider said during a conference call to discuss the merger. Comcast chief operating officer Stephen Burke called Hulu's existing business model "smart and appropriate" and said there weren't any plans to change the way the streaming video site works. He points out that the split already works in Comcast's favor, as much of Hulu's content comes from basic cable and leaves out the premium channels that Comcast would want to reserve for On Demand Online.
Comcast has controlling stake, GE minority
Comcast today confirmed late rumors and bought a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal that gives it control of the studio. The deal sees GE maintain a 49 percent stake and receive about $6.5 billion from Comcast; NBC Universal in turn is borrowing $9.1 billion to pay GE. While the new combined company doesn't yet have a name, but Comcast has created a second division known as the Comcast Entertainment Group that will handle the content aspects of the venture.
Comcast poised to control content from Hulu
Comcast and General Electric have allegedly finalized a deal that will land Comcast a 51 percent majority stake in NBC Universal, unnamed sources told CNBC. The sources claim only paperwork remains to be finished as the companies prepare to officially announce the merger. Vivendi is expected to quickly finish signing an agreement to sell its stake, which sits at 20 percent.
Hulu coming to the UK?
The free online video-on-demand (VOD) service, Hulu, may be expanding for the first time to a market outside of the US, with a launch in the UK as soon as September, the UK's Telegraph reported on Wednesday. Sources close to the negotiations tell the daily newspaper that Hulu is in talks with the UK's ITV and Channel 4 for content partners, and the service would bring over more than 3,000 hours of American TV content. Content from the BBC is also being negotiated.
Disney Joins Hulu
Disney this morning said it has obtained an equity stake in Hulu. The deal, which puts three Disney executives on the Hulu board, gives the studio equal influence along with original founders NBC Universal and News Corp. (Fox) in addition to the ability to publish content on the streaming web video service. Most of its initial lineup will center on current and back-catalog TV shows from ABC and Disney, such as Lost and Dancing with the Stars, but should also include "popular library titles" from Walt Disney Studios.
GE to get into HDTV market
GE announced on Tuesday it will start selling GE-branded HDTVs as part of a joint venture with Taiwan’s Tatung Company. The newly formed venture is called General Displays & Technologies (GDT), and will produce GE-branded HDTVs with Internet connectivity via an Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) connection. Eventually, say GDT executives, the idea is to allow users to download widgets and services straight to their HDTVs.
Studios Form DECE
Several movie studios and hardware manufacturers have unwrapped plans to produce a universal approach to copy-protected video that would escape a dependence on any one format and would also loosen some restrictions on video. To be called the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), the initiative currently includes Fox, NBC Universal, Paramount, Sony and Warner Bros. as well as Windows Media creator Microsoft, Comcast and hardware makers that include Cisco, Philips and Toshiba. Best Buy and Verisign are also involved.
NBC Universal Profit 4Q07
Media giant NBC Universal has had "record performance" in 2007, according to statements by its chief executive Jeff Zucker. Profit for the past year amounted to $923 million on revenue of $2.1 billion and represented a 10 percent jump over the year before. Most of this increase is attributed to success from its cable and film businesses, which include networks such as CNBC and Sci-Fi as well as major movie releases such as The Bourne Ultimatum. This was despite the firm enjoying already increased successes from broadcasts such as the 2006 Olympics, Zucker noted to employees in an e-mail sent to the company.