As predicted, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) introduced a newly redesigned Chromecast at its press event, with a sleeker form factor that it says will be easier to plug into TVs with crowded ports. It also has improved Wi-Fi capability, supporting the latest standards, and features an updated content discovery capability on the Chromecast app. Furthermore, the new device supports Sling TV. Google also debuted Chromecast Audio, a device that plugs into existing speakers so users can stream music, podcasts and other audio-only files from their Android or iOS device to anywhere in the home. The TV-compatible Chromecast will retail for the same price as the earlier version, at $35, while the audio device also retails for $35.
It looks like patent licensing administrator HEVC Advance has finally realized that the fees they are charging content owners to license patents from their pool are too high. In a press release announcing that integrated circuit designer MediaTek has agreed to join HEVC Advance, they also mention that they have, “received significant market feedback, particularly on content fees, and will adjust fees to support widespread use of HEVC”. They haven’t yet said how the fee structure will change, but mention that HEVC Advance is actively soliciting input from market participants and considering adjustments to arrive at a royalty structure that enables continued and rapid adoption of HEVC. [see: New Patent Pool Wants 0.5% Of Every Content Owner/Distributor’s Gross Revenue For Higher Quality Video ] It’s a bit of a confusing message as they say they will “consider” adjusting fees, but then later say they “will adjust” them. Either way, it sounds like the companies that make up HEVC Advance are coming to their senses and realizing the rates they are charging are not ones that content owners are willing to pay
Disney-owned ESPN, which charges the highest per-subscriber fees for retransmission rights to pay-TV providers and linear OTT service Sling TV, may lay off 200 to 300 of its employees as it looks to slash $100 million from its budget next year. The network has reportedly struggled to maintain its margins as the number of pay-TV subscribers continue to drop off and the cost of sports programming spirals upward. FierceCable 's Daniel Frankel has in-depth coverage on ESPN's troubles here.
Tribolet with Michael Tribolet, Chairman, Co-Founder CEO, YipTV Since launching its SVOD service on May 7 with 50 international linear channels, YipTV, a Fierce 15 winner, has been on a growth trajectory content-wise, boosting its available streamed channels to 73 with 25 more pending. The company tweaked its business model in July to attract more subscribers, offering 17 of its channels for free with no strings attached — no credit card required, just an email address and phone number.
Fixed-line content distributors such as Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and new mobile-first distributors like Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) go90 service all have the potential to be hugely popular OTT services, but only if they can figure out how to turn a profit on the data traffic around that service, a new report from Macquarie Research reveals. And even though Verizon is taking a bold step into a new business model with go90, and Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) has an early-to-market product with Sling TV, both are at risk as new OTT competitors enter the market. In a 96-page industry report available to its subscribers, “Global OTT: 2020 Vision,” Macquarie detailed the current state of the media and entertainment industry and served up several caveats on profiting in this rapidly changing segment. “Ultimately, we believe both fixed and mobile distributors are potential beneficiaries of OTT but only if they improve their ability to monetize incremental data traffic to offset higher spectrum and networks costs,” the research firm said. Content distributors have to be agile and rapidly adapt to a newer, software-defined network (SDN) architecture to deliver new multiscreen services, Macquarie added
To date, HEVC has been a term that’s primarily used by those in the content, broadcast and video ecosystem industries. Very few consumers know what HEVC is outside of those who are tech nerds or video quality fanatics. But that may change over time as Amazon is now promoting the value of HEVC to consumers and the impact it has on video quality.
Server-side ad insertion has normally been about tackling the problems of ad blocking and device fragmentation. But we are now seeing platform shifts that change the sweet spot of ad stitching towards live and catch up TV. Client side ad SDKs have grown in sophistication, the platforms they run have become more capable and the transition to native apps brings tools for platform normalization. This enables publishers to deliver VOD client side ads very effectively. Even with these improvements, client SDKs don’t deliver a live broadcast experience for live or catch up TV
Rumor mill: Netflix reportedly talking to Disney about licensing ‘Star Wars’ films for Latin America
Could Latin America be getting the chance to stream the older Star Wars films on Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX)? According to a report by The Wall Street Journal , the SVOD provider is negotiating streaming rights for five of the six films with the Walt Disney Co. The publication cited unnamed sources in the report. A spokesperson for Netflix told FierceOnlineVideo that the company doesn't comment about negotiations.
When the BBC discontinued its iPlayer service worldwide earlier this summer, industry pundits speculated as to what its next move would be in the streaming space. That strategy is now clearer as Tony Hall, director-general and chairman of BBC Worldwide, announced it will launch a new over-the-top service in the United States “offering BBC fans programmes they wouldn't otherwise get” according to Broadband TV News . The new service will not be a reiteration of iPlayer, which brought a number of British shows to viewers outside the UK (but not in the U.S.) for a fee. Hall didn't elaborate further on the planned service, other than to say that it will launch in 2016. The reason for the renewed OTT focus
For the past few days, transparent caching provider PeerApp has been monitoring apple.com activity for almost 70 of their telco and university customers across the globe. Not surprisingly, around 1pm ET on Wednesday after iOS 9 was released, combined traffic from iOS 9 downloads spiked to almost 13Gbps. Nearly 80% (over 10Gbps) of this traffic is being delivered through PeerApp’s cache, avoiding congesting of the operator and University network. Looking at individual systems, PeerApp said they are seeing speed improvements on the order to 10-20x; meaning customers served by their caches are getting the apple.com traffic 10-20x faster from cache. One University in particular is experiencing up to 100x speed improvement in downloads