Authors Posts by Ryan Downey

Ryan Downey

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Netflix to the shock of nobody paying attention announced that it will not be pursuing a live TV strategy and instead continue to focus on creating original content and complementing TV services instead of competing directly against them. Netflix has been quietly building an original content lineup to rival any TV production company.  We just counted everything listed under Netflix originals. There over 300 selections at this point and that is just counting the titles. Many are full-fledged series with now multiple seasons of content. The only service streaming service that is comparable to Netflix is HBO Now which unlike Netflix is a traditional cable channel with decades of content to work with.

Media wants sports stories.

There is this tendency in the small but growing streaming media world to try and keep score between Amazon, Netflix and Hulu as though they are competing directly against each other or that they are the same types of companies. But they are not. We like apples to apples comparisons. They make easy stories because we can report on them like they are sports. “Netflix VS Hulu Who wins”? ” “Who has the most movies?” Politics has started being covered the same say “Who won the news cycle?” “This election is a heavy weight battle between two big punchers see it all here on (____) this Tuesday.” But just because Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video all offer online streaming video content does not make them the same types of company in the way the McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy’s are all fast food restaurants that sell burgers salads and chicken sandwiches. What you see with the big streaming companies is three products that look the same on the surface but are really the results of completely different goals. Much like the way a virus, a bacterial infection and simply over eating can make you feel rotten even though they are not caused by or treated by the same things.

Understanding the companies for what they are

The difference between Netflix’s approach to the live streaming game and the way that Hulu and Amazon have approached it is stark but makes a great deal of sense when you think about the major differences between the companies. Hulu is owned by traditional media companies like News Corp, Disney and Comcast. The fact that Hulu is now looking to launch a live TV service makes perfect sense. A great number of its content partners are already built in to the works. Hulu has also been breaking off partnerships with unrelated companies like CBS’s the CW and dropping its distribution partnership with Viacom. When it comes to first run content Hulu wants to be a first run TV service both on replay and live. While Netflix banks on people using the service as a way to catch up with content when it is not prime TV watching time or even use the service to dive into a show they have always meant to watch but never got around to it.

Amazon is also a totally different animal than Netflix. Netflix is just one thing. It is a streaming company that also ships DVD’s for rent. Amazon is a store that offers streaming as a digital bonus for customers using a loyalty system not too different from one of those little plastic cards on your key chain. Amazon did not start as a way to build prime video, It was an online book store selling paper books like Abe books. Prime video started as part of a massive portfolio included as a bonus with a program that includes free shipping on products ordered from Amazon’s website, discounts on electronic books, music services, cloud storage and more. As far as products go Amazon even has its very own branded box built around its content, an option Netflix opted against which led to the development of the first Roku. Its new partnership with the NFL is a sweetener to a service, not the basis of it. That being said I think Amazon is up to something much bigger, which we are going to be covering in an upcoming story.

In the end it’s all about understanding what you are and what you are not. The companies that lose their way and invest in too many unrelated products and services can really suffer in prestige by offering up a failed product. Google almost ruined its chances to market a smart TV interface with the failure of Google TV as a platform. Right now Netflix is a destination place for origional streaming content and the ability to binge series both origional and through partners commercial free at the user’s leisure is its major selling point. And I think it plans to stay that way. There are so many people who say, I’m to busy to keep up with (_________). I’m going to wait till I can just watch it all on Netflix. This is why Netflix and the CW put together the deal that will allow Netflix to stream the networks shows only weeks after they wrap up their runs on TV. Netflix uses viewer data directly to figure out what content its subscribers like and what they will watch through direct interaction and then delivers it. This is why it launched “Fuller House”.  It has become an institution as evidenced by the fact that it is crossing the 100 million subscriber count. By comparison Hulu nearly tripled its subscribers in the past year and has close to 10 million.

At the end of the day Hulu is an Internet channel owned by TV Networks and a very important distinction is that Hulu is only available in the US. Amazon Video is a product on a virtual shelf of the biggest online store in the US and Netflix is a streaming service that sees itself as an inexpensive premium network based on the Internet instead of the traditional delivery systems of the cable and satellite world.

Going forward you should expect Amazon to continue offering options more like new products. Maybe they will come up with a way to offer local network affiliates at a low cost. If the NFL turns out to be a big success for them maybe it will put together other sports related offers like UFC event streaming or packaging up internet sports options into a bundle for the NBA and MLB. Hulu will certainly expand on live TV offerings because that is its DNA. Netflix will continue to churn out origional content and likely continue to reduce content that is not exclusive. That has been its MO over the past 4 years. Netflix knows what it wants to be and has been focussed on becoming it since the company first started shipping DVD’s in those red envelopes. Online pundits and  wannabe experts should stop looking at what Netflix does in relation to Amazon and Hulu because there is no Apples to Apples comparison. It’s like comparing McDonalds to Nabisco.

 

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Press Release-Episode 210, the season finale of Crackle’s Emmy®-nominated show“SuperMansion” is available to stream starting today, Thursday, April 20th. SuperMansion will return for a third season in 2018, with two all-new specials, debuting this fall and early next year.

 

In today’s new episode of “Titanium Lex,” the Subtopian army has come to the Earth’s surface and their enslavement of the human race has begun. The League of Freedom must join forces with the villains of The Injustice Club in order to stand a chance against the Subtopian invasion but Rex, Lex, and Dr. Devizo cannot set aside their differences. Chris Pine voices Dr. Devizo, and Jillian Bell voices Lex Lightning.

 

Season one voiceover stars Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”), Emmy® Award-winner Keegan-Michael Key (“Key & Peele”), and Chris Pine (Star Trek) are joined by newcomer Yvette Nicole Brown (“Community”) for the second season of the hit animated show.  Additional season one regulars Jillian Bell (22 Jump Street), Heidi Gardner (The Groundlings), Tucker Gilmore (Frozen), and Zeb Wells (“Robot Chicken”) have all returned for season two.

 

From Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, “SuperMansion” follows the heroic misadventures of a dysfunctional yet well intentioned group of imperfect superheroes.  Titanium Rex (voiced by Bryan Cranston, who’s also the series’ executive producer) and the members of the League of Freedom battle public backlash while a computer hack threatens to reveal some of their worst secrets. Starting off in a hole, the League does what they always do: get to digging.  Throughout the season, our heroes confront villains, invaders and even themselves as they attempt to become trusted champions of Storm City and humanity itself.

 

“SuperMansion” is created and produced by Matthew Senreich (“Robot Chicken”) and Zeb Wells who also serves as a writer. Seth Green, John Harvatine IV, Eric Towner, Tom Root, Bryan Cranston, James Degus and Moon Shot Entertainment join as executive producers with production by Stoopid Buddy Stoodios.

 

Viewers can binge-watch all 13 episodes of season one for free on Crackle now.

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Sling TV has crossed another barrier jumping onto a new smart OS.  A Sling TV WebOS App launching on most LG Tv’s is now available on LG smart TV’s and WebOS.According to the company, the app will be supported on “most” LG webOS 3.0 and 3.5 Smart TVs. Sling Television is the first service of its type to be included on the LG interface which puts it leagues ahead of its competitors. The inclusion will allow the service to establish a beachhead on the very popular smart TV platform known for its “magic remote” interface.  

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San Francisco, CA (April 12, 2017)THX®, renowned for the certification of best-in-class cinemas and consumer electronics, has joined the Streaming Video Alliance, an organization that seeks to solve ongoing streaming challenges by developing best practices that enable anyone in the video ecosystem to create high-quality streaming services. Given its extensive experience benchmarking and setting quality standards, THX is uniquely qualified to make significant contributions to the Alliance. As a member, THX will actively participate in industry workgroups, such as those focused on Quality of Experience, a key component of the THX Streaming Certification Program. While much of the existing Alliance efforts focus on video delivery and procedures, THX also brings a wealth of complementary experience in audio, the other key aspect of improving the media-viewing experience.
“By joining the Streaming Video Alliance, we can provide our expertise and insights in the streaming space,” explained Ty Ahmad-Taylor, THX CEO & President. “THX just launched a new audio and video Streaming Certification Program with Conviva earlier this year. This partnership supports our continued efforts to establish new standards for quality in the streaming world – a market where mainstream audiences are increasingly consuming media today.”
With little guidance currently available, providers face many obstacles in creating a “broadcast quality” experience for online video. The Streaming Video Alliance, comprised of industry experts looking to shape the future of online video, was formed to address the critical challenges facing the industry as the popularity of digital, on-demand content consumption continues to grow. Focusing on best practices, members work together to tackle fundamental issues across a broad range of topics.
“We welcome THX to the Alliance. They join leading organizations from across the industry to help the Alliance shape the future of online video by collaborating, discussing and planning how the video ecosystem can operate openly and scale to best meet consumer demand,” said Jason Thibeault, Executive Director, Streaming Video Alliance. “We look forward to their contributions to solving specific industry challenges such as QoE through their participation in Alliance Working Groups.”
THX will be at the NAB Show in Las Vegas from April 22 – 26 if you would like to learn more about THX’s involvement in the streaming ecosystem or discuss THX Certification and technologies.

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Roku is rolling out a big update with Roku TV Update OS 7.6. The Roku TV platform will be getting a big facelift with new features that affect how people access OTA content and the ability to name HDMI ports according to what they are used for. This should be a welcome change for those looking to keep things easy to find. The Roku TV platform has proven very popular with consumers and has become a go to for some companies. Learn about Roku TV Update OS 7.6 bellow.

Key points in Roku OS 7.6 include:

More Ways to Watch
This feature provides an enhanced viewing experience based on what you watch through cable or satellite boxes, or

Roku is updating how users interact with OTA channels.

broadcast antennas, connected to your HD or Full HD Roku TV. You’ll be required to enable the feature via an opt-in prompt on your Roku TV once the feature is available or when setting up a new Roku TV. More Ways to Watch can recognize the show or movie you’re watching on these boxes and antennas using Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology and suggest additional viewing options via streaming to enhance your experience. Additional viewing options may include the ability to watch from the beginning, watch more episodes of the same show and/or view suggestions for similar entertainment available to stream. This is being rolled out on HD and FHD Roku TVs now, new 2017 4K Roku TV models and will move to 2016 4K Roku TV models this summer.

New Ways to Enjoy OTA Broadcasts:
In some regions, people may have access to over 100 channels via an OTA antenna but they may only watch a handful of them. You can now create a list of your favorite broadcast channels when you have a broadcast antenna connected to your Roku TV. To create your own favorite channels list, simply press the left button when watching over-the-air TV on your Roku TV to bring up the list of available channels. Press the options button “*” on your Roku TV remote to add individual channels to your favorites list. Once created, the favorites list will allow you to browse only the tuner channels you’ve added to that list. You can switch back to the all-channels list to view all available tuner channels at any time.

When using the Live TV Pause feature on your Roku TV, you’ll now see thumbnail images displayed on the screen while pausing, rewinding, or fast forwarding to make it easier to identify where you are in the movie or show to resume playing at the moment you want to watch. In addition, Live TV Pause now supports our Closed Caption on Replay feature. When this option is turned on, you can use the replay button on your Roku TV remote to go back a few moments in the movie or show you’re watching to view closed captions for dialog you may have missed.

Users will be able to name each HDMI input on their Roku TV.

Customize Your Home-screen with CustomInput Naming for Roku TV
In an effort to give Roku TV customers even more ways to customize their experience, you now have the ability to assign custom names to your inputs icons. To name an input, just highlight the input tile on your Roku TV home screen and press the options button “*” on your Roku TV remote. Scroll through the list of pre-populated input names until you reach “set custom name and icon” and press OK. Now you can enter any name you’d like (up to 15 characters) for the input device for easier identification on Roku TV home screen.

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Sling TV‘s Cloud is getting bigger but it’s not a dark scary cloud. It’s a Sling TV DVR cloud DVR. The service, which has been slowly rolling out to various devices, is now available to Roku and Android users. The Cloud DVR is optional and costs $5.00 a month for 50 hours of recordings. Users will still be able to access a number of programs from the channels on their Sling TV account via the on-demand options from individual channels for free.

Sling TV will be adding cloud DVR on Apple TV soon.

The optional choice to add the Sling TV DVR to their service is typical of the service that offers cable channels in small genre based bundles. This way if people have no need for the recording option they do not need to pay for it and even better they are not automatically charged for it and then told that they are getting some sort of favor in the process. Many cable providers include DVR in their more bloated packages whether customers use it or not.

Tip You can access the Sling TV DVR feature remotely on your phone to set recordings even if you plan to watch on another device later. Because it’s in the cloud the recordings will be available on any device that you sign into with your credentials.

Main features for the Sling DVR 

  • Watch anytime, anywhere – Record your favorites and watch whenever you want across all Amazon Fire TVs and Fire tablets, Android mobile devices, Android TVs, Roku streaming players and Roku TVs.
  • Conflict-free recording – Record multiple programs simultaneously, and forget about recording conflicts.
  • Keep recordings as long as you want – With Sling TV, your recordings won’t expire as long as you remain a Sling TV subscriber with Cloud DVR.
  • Auto-managed recordings – Sling TV will make room for new recordings by deleting your old recordings as you reach capacity, starting with your oldest ‘watched’ recording, so you can binge on your new favorite show.

Want to turn any Android box into a Kodi box? You can with the app called the XBMC Launcher. XBMC Launcher allows users to change their home default to Kodi instead of whatever the main home screen is on their device. This is a great way to help people who only want Kodi but find Android difficult to use.

 

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Streaming and retail service jumps to a new genre live sports

Is 50 million worth it for Amazon Thursday Night Football package? It is definitely something to take notice of. But it is not exclusive access. Apparently the water got too hot for Twitter, who paid 10 million for the rights last year. The biggest online retailer in the US may be trying to make the kind of move that Fox made when it grabbed the NFC broadcast rights from CBS back in the 1990’s. Let me tell you something, Amazon better not miss the chance to sign Deion Sanders s the perfect spokesmen.

Will it be worth more to Amazon than it was to Twitter?

It better be. Amazon has paid 40 million more than Twitter did. But it could prove to be a much more worthwhile

Amazon recently announced branded TV’s NFL fans will be able to use them for games next season.

investment. Why? Because it is a very good marriage of need and capability. There is a market for premium sports streaming options and Twitter was an awkward fit. While it could have been a hugely successful pickup the capability was almost forgotten about by the end of the season. I expected to see trending hashtags like “#TDonTwitter or #CanyoubelievethatBSCALL!. Instead, fans had to learn how to properly search for the game on the short burst style platform. Even more, Twitter had to create TV styled apps for people to watch on connected devices.  Amazon, on the other hand, has the platform. All It has to do is add a row of categories to the home screen of its apps or the Fire OS. The addition of NFL football as a Prime benefit vastly expands the appeal of the program. With the NFL Amazon can now offer free shipping (sometimes same day), Free Movies and TV Shows, a music service, sports eBooks and audio books. People already associate Amazon with television and the living room so they should not have a hard time getting their heads around the idea of watching sports through the service.

 

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 Roku makes revenue from more than the sales of boxes. Its platform is a major advertising space for those looking to reach its users. Now marketers can measure campaigns on the platform using detailed demographic metrics. The data is comparable to linear TV with Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings (DAR).

Roku Advertising To The New Generation Of Media Consumers

Roku uses banner advertising on its main menus and video ads on many free channels

The idea behind the approach is that their tools will help advertisers find those who are not watching linear TV including key younger demographics like Adults 18-34 which viewed 23% of their weekly video time via connected devices. Nielsen reports that Adults 18-24 watched 46% fewer hours of linear TV in Q3 2016 than in Q3 2010This means that if advertisers want to get the attention of the next generation of consumers they have to start advertising where they are, because they are unlikely to just come marching back to legacy models of distribution. Nielsen and Roku established a strategic partnership in 2015 to integrate Nielsen’s DAR solution directly into the company’s Ad Framework, and integrated universal ad SDK.

“Roku is pushing the industry forward to adopt verification standards for media buying,” said Britney Greenhouse, director of video and digital investment, Horizon Media. “We have been working together with Roku to pilot the audience guaranteed product. We’ve seen positive match rates with Nielsen which are a good sign.”

Ad-supported viewing is the fastest-growing segment on the Roku platform, accounting for half of the top 250 most-watched channels. Investment in OTT advertising has increased to match this shift in video viewing. In January 2017, MAGNA and Roku forged an industry-first strategic partnership to deliver targeted advertising to OTT audiences, enabling MAGNA clients to reach viewers who have shifted their TV consumption to OTT.

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PlayOn, the server based app program that just seems to solve issues for streaming fans will be rolling out a new gift. Soon there will be a way to get DirecTV Now on Roku Via PlayOn. The program, which uses web-based interfaces to make easy to an easy to use gui will be introducing an app for the service that will allow users to access it on anything that can run the PlayOn server. Roku users will be major beneficiaries of this because as of yet, Roku has been left out of the mix for DirecTV Now. My guess is that DTV Now does not want the millions of Roku users to jump into the mix at the moment when the company is still working out the kinks in the system. By the time Roku users have access to the online cable type service the major incentives that AT&T

Roku users have been left out of the DTV Now fun.

has been offering new users will be all but gone.

Other PlayOn Perks
DirecTV Now via PlayOn will utilize the servers tools to add a number of options that are otherwise unavailable to DirecTV Now users at the moment. PlayOn has a DVR function that will be compatible with DirecTV Now, which will be the first time people will be able to use a DVR with the service.