Latest Technology News


Will DirecTV Now Help To Save Traditional Pay TV – Or Speed Its Fall?

DirecTV 2016 logo

AT&T might follow this Thanksgiving weekend by cooking the pay TV industry’s golden goose. On Monday the telco formally unveils DirecTV Now, a streaming service that CEO Randall Stephenson has said will offer more than 100 networks for an astonishingly low price of $35 a month. And although the topic is much debated, several analysts say that could hasten the demise of pay TV’s expanded basic bundle — the most potent driver of Big Media profits. “Ma Bell is about to set… Read


Comcast Agrees To Add Sling TV App To Its X1 Platform

Sling TV Logo

Comcast seems to be growing comfortable with other companies’ streaming video services: Its X1 platform is preparing to offer Sling TV — a skinny bundle service from one of Comcast’s most vigorous competitors: Dish Network — the companies say today. Earlier this month Comcast agreed to add Netflix to the cloud-based platform, designed to give subscribers similar viewing experiences on their TVs and digital devices.  About 45% of Comcast’s  22.4 million video customers are… Read


Universal Cable Productions & Wattpad Team To Develop TV Content

UCP Logo 3

Wattpad, the global multiplatform entertainment company for original stories, and Universal Cable Productions are teaming to develop original content for TV. Under the deal, UCP will produce projects — determined by custom data and insights gleaned from Wattpad's 2.3 million monthly storytellers and research — across multiple categories including mystery/thriller, teen, science fiction, action and general fiction. “At UCP we're always looking for ways to find untapped… Read


NBCU Invests Another $200M In BuzzFeed

Buzzfeed logo 1

The cozy relationship between NBCUniversal and BuzzFeed just became a little cozier as Comcast’s entertainment arm invested an additional $200 million in the digital news and entertainment network. NBCU will sell ads for BuzzFeed; they’ll team to develop advertiser-friendly digital video content; and BuzzFeed will expand its food-oriented Tasty platform, as well as digital video operations in Los Angeles, New York and elsewhere. NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises President… Read


Warner Bros Agrees To Buy Machinima

Machinima 2016 logo

Time Warner just significantly beefed up its digital holdings with an agreement to buy Machinima, the digital video service that targets gamers. The company already was a major investor. Machinima generated about $25 million in revenue last year. It has raised nearly $98 million from several funding rounds, including one that Time Warner led last year for $24 million. Other investors included Redpoint Ventures, MK Capital and Allen DeBevoise. Warner Bros will fold… Read


Classic “Blaxploitation” Films Find SVOD Home At New Service: Brown Sugar


Fans of Shaft, Super Fly, and Foxy Brown have a new way to catch up on these other mostly action films targeted to African American audiences. Bounce TV — the network founded by Martin Luther King, III and Andrew Young — just launched a subscription VOD service for the movie genre called Brown Sugar. Viewers can try it for a month for free, and then will pay $3.99 a month. The films will be uncut, and commercial-free.  They’ll run on iOS and Android devices, with other… Read


AOL To Layoff 5% Of Workforce As It Sharpens Focus On Media And Platforms

AOL Logo 2

About 500 AOL employees, accounting for 5% of its workforce, are about to lose their jobs. Tim Armstrong, who’s CEO of the Verizon-owned company, disclosed the news to staffers today as he announced a restructuring to focus on two business units: Media, which will include Search and Communications, and Platforms. “The changes we are making are about setting the company on a path to successfully operating in today and tomorrow’s reality,” Armstrong said in a memo, disclosed… Read


China President & Propaganda Chief Urge Greater Cooperation On Internet Governance


China’s president Xi Jinping and its propaganda chief Liu Yunshan spoke at the World Internet Conference in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province today and said that China wants to “promote equitable global Internet governance” but not at the expense of “cyber sovereignty” for other countries. Their comments (Xi’s was via video remarks piped in) come as several Hollywood entertainment companies are doing deals with Chinese Internet giants like Alibaba and Tencent. The remarks also… Read


Snapchat Owner Submits Confidential Filing For IPO

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jeff Blackler/REX/Shutterstock (3487725q)
Logo of Snapchat photo messaging app

The parent of Snapchat has quietly filed papers with the SEC to go public, seeking $4 billion from an offering that would value the company anywhere from $25 billion to $40 billion, according to multiple published reports. That would be much higher than the $17.8 billion valuation in its most recent round of fundraising. Snap Inc’s plan would make it the priciest IPO in tech in at least three years — and, if successful, could drive a round of public offerings in the… Read


‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’: Strap In For 360° Video Ride As X-Wing Pilot


As the countdown to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story continues, a new 360° video gives fans the chance to pilot an X-wing fighter — sort of. The immersive clip experience created by ILMxLAB puts viewers in the cockpit as a rebel pilot who encounters Imperial ships and comes under fire — with only his R2 unit and wingman for company. Check it out above. The first of Disney and Lucasfilm’s stand-alone Star Wars pics aims to show that the nearly 40-year-old franchise can sustain… Read


Hulu Buys The Video Genome Project To Sharpen Recommendations


Hulu just enhanced its ability to target programming to user preferences with the acquisition, for an undisclosed amount, of the Video Genome Project, which was backed by venture capital firm Segel Group Limited. The companies describe VGP as “one of the largest, broadest and most granular structured databases of video content.” Hulu plans to feed the information into its recommendation engine to create what it describes as “a more powerful way to surface the right… Read


Comcast Will Offer Netflix To X1 Users Beginning Next Week

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Dan Goodman/AP/REX/Shutterstock (6091016a)
Netflix This June 24, 2015 photo shows the Netflix Apple TV app icon, in South Orange, N.J. Netflix, a vocal opponent of Comcast's failed bid for Time Warner Cable, on said it supports Charter Communications' bid to do the same in a deal that would create another cable giant
Charter Netflix, South Orange, USA

Netflix could see a bump in subscriptions starting next week when Comcast adds the streaming service to its X1 platform. The change, announced in July, is ready to go on “millions of X1 devices across the country,” the cable giant says today. That should make Netflix’s app and programming relatively easy to access. The integration “means our mutual customers will no longer need to change inputs or juggle remotes," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says. Netflix programming will… Read