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Viewers still using TiVo will soon see ads before their recordings

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The digital TV recording company TiVo is back in the spotlight with some upcoming changes and new products. 

TiVo had its heyday back in the early 2000s before DVR and streaming were everywhere, but it still has a few million subscribers. Those viewers will soon be subjected to ads playing before their TV recordings. 

It’s a bit ironic for the company that gained popularity for letting you scrub through ads during TV shows and programs. On its website, TiVo still lists this as a benefit: “[We] give you the power to skip ads.”

According to an industry news outlet, the ads will go out to all users with the latest software version known as TiVo Experience 4, but will be skippable. That’s a relief. But users aren’t too happy. On a TiVo online forum one user wrote, “If they start doing this to me I’m out. No way they’re forcing me to watch ads on a device I paid almost $1,000 for with lifetime service.” Read more…

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Ninja accuses Twitch of pushing porn on his unused account

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Ninja has beef with Twitch, the platform where he first found fame.

The superstar streamer whose real name is Richard Tyler Blevins now reps Microsoft’s competing Mixer, as of Aug. 1. But he left behind a community of 14.7 million followers on Twitch, and now he’s claiming Twitch is exploiting the community he built without his permission.

Blevins laid it all out in a video posted to Twitter on Sunday. He starts by explaining his new streaming situation on Mixer and describes what he says was a “smooth” transition off of Twitch. “Super professional, we haven’t said anything bad or negative about Twitch, obviously, because we haven’t needed to.” Read more…

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Apple’s subscription TV service might be coming sooner than you think

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Apple’s competitor to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video is apparently just around the corner.

According to a report by The Information, Apple is set to launch a subscription TV service in the U.S. within the first half of next year.

In the months following the U.S. launch, the service will become available in more than 100 countries around the world, matching the availability of the aforementioned streaming giants.

The service will feature original Apple series, of which the tech giant has been slowly building on, and allow users to subscribe to TV network subscriptions as one can already do through Amazon Channels or Roku.  Read more…

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Here are all 47 artists featured in Netflix’s ad highlighting black representation

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Netflix recreated a legendary photo for its new ad showcasing black artists who create original content with the streaming giant.

Aired during Sunday’s BET Awards broadcast, the ad dubbed “A Great Day in Hollywood” features 47 black actors, writers, showrunners, and producers from over 20 Netflix original shows, films and documentaries.

Notably, the ad comes just days after Netflix fired its top communications chief Jonathan Friedland for “insensitive” remarks, which included repeated use of the N-word.

Directed by Lacey Duke (who also did Janelle Monae’s “I Like That” music video), the ad directly references Art Kane’s infamous 1958 Esquire photograph, “A Great Day in Harlem,” which featured 57 jazz legends sitting on the steps of a brownstone in Harlem, New York, including Thelonious Monk, Count Basie, and Charles Mingus. Read more…

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Subscription video services’ recommendations aren’t working, study claims

Streaming video services invest heavily in technology to improve their ability to show users a set of personalized recommendations about what to what next. But according to a new research study released today by UserTesting, it seems that consumers aren’t watching much recommended content – in fact, only 29 percent of the study’s participants said they actually watched something the service recommended.

On some services, those figures were extremely low – for example, only 6 percent of HBO NOW users said they watched recommended content.

That’s probably because consumers found it difficult to locate HBO NOW’s recommendations in the first place. The service was given a low 16.8 “customer experience” score on this front, the study says. That’s a much lower score than all other services analyzed, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and YouTube TV – all of which had scores in the 80’s. (See first chart, below).

To be fair, HBO NOW doesn’t really do recommendations in the same way as the others.

Its app offers a “Featured” selection of content for all users, and, if you scroll down further, there are a couple of editorial collections, like “Essential HBO” or “14 Hidden Gems You Missed the First Time.” A separate “Collections” section includes more of these suggestions, like “New Movies,” “Just Added,” “Last Chance” and others.

The lack of personalized, easily located recommendations also impacted HBO NOW’s overall score in the UserTesting study, which rated the services across a variety of metrics including availability of content, friction-free viewing, ease of scrubbing and episode scanning, and other factors. HBO NOW was also was dinged by survey respondents for lagging, freezing and buffering issues, though they said they appreciated its clean design.

Netflix’s overall score was 89.5, making it the highest-rated streaming service among those analyzed due to having the most relevant recommendations, overall high ease-of-use, and a speedy service. It was followed by Hulu (86.8), Amazon Prime (85), YouTube TV (80.7), and then HBO NOW (71.8).

Coincidentally, Netflix also just beat HBO in a survey related to consumer appreciation for original programming, put out by Morgan Stanley. 39 percent of respondents in that survey said Netflix had the “best original programming” compared with HBO’s second place rank of 14 percent.

UserTesting’s study also backed up earlier research from Deloitte, as it found that subscription video customers are having to subscribe to more than one service in order to find all the content they want to watch.

More than half said they subscribe to at least two apps. For example, 90 percent of HBO NOW customers also subscribed to Netflix, while 80 percent subscribed to Amazon Prime.

The study additionally found that much of viewing (45%) takes place on TV or via streaming media devices like Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV. 37 percent preferred laptops, and 11 percent said their smartphone or tablet was their primary streaming device. For some services, TV viewing is even higher – Hulu recently said that the majority – 78 percent – takes place on TVs.

UserTesting’s study involved 500 subscription video customers, 74 percent of whom said they watched streaming media every day. The full report is available here.

 

 

Spotify, Netflix, LINE, Pandora & HBO NOW top the list of 2016’s biggest apps by revenue

2016-top-apps-hero According to a new year-end report from Sensor Tower detailing the top apps of 2016, streaming services dominated when it came to which apps, outside of games, pulled in the most revenue over the past year. At the top of the list is Spotify, which not only scored the number one spot on the iTunes App Store, but also was the number one revenue earner across both platforms, including both… Read More

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Bryan Cranston, Giovanni Ribisi talk about Amazon's 'Sneaky Pete'

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Growing up, Bryan Cranston’s family called him a “Sneaky Pete.”

The Breaking Bad actor, who had a challenging childhood, used to try and find shortcuts to chores and conducted mini-scams like reselling used sun tan lotion.

That nickname was the jumping point for Cranston’s new show of the same name, Sneaky Pete. The Amazon series, which originally was for CBS, was co-created by Cranston and House‘s David Shore. The show, which debuted Friday, follows a recently released con man Marius (played by Giovanni Ribisi), who assumes the identity of his cellmate Pete in order to escape urban kingpin Vince (played by Cranston) who he owes $100,000 to. Read more…

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