Over 100 PBS local stations start streaming today on YouTube TV, NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service sets affordable price points and other top news
Few key things that happened around the Ad Tech & Media Tech world this week.
Over 100 PBS local stations start streaming today on YouTube TV
Earlier this year, PBS announced it had secured for its member stations streaming agreements on YouTube’s live TV service, YouTube TV. Today, that deal goes live. PBS says more than 100 of its local stations are now available on YouTube TV by way of dedicated live channels for both PBS and PBS Kids, as well through on-demand programming. More stations are expected to be added in 2020, PBS notes. PBS service is available to 75% of U.S. households via YouTube TV, significantly broadening PBS’ reach among cord-cutters. Before today, PBS programming has been available through the PBS.org and PBSKids.org websites, as well as the PBS Video app and PBS Kids app for iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung TV and Chromecast. Some of its programming has also been available on-demand via channels offered by Amazon and Apple, as well as through popular on-demand streaming services like Netflix. And of course, U.S. households can also pick up their local PBS station’s signal for free via their digital antenna, or subscribe to cable or satellite TV to access PBS channels. But YouTube TV is the first live TV service to offer PBS stations directly in its app. The partnership brings live and on-demand content, including the stations’ locally produced shows and PBS favorites, like “American Experience,” “Antiques Roadshow,” “Frontline,” “Great Performances,” “Masterpiece,” “Nature” and others. The kids’ stations, meanwhile, offer shows like “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Molly of Denali,” “Odd Squad,” “Pinkalicious & Peterrific,” “Wild Kratts” and “Sesame Street.” It’s worth noting, however, that it’s HBO Max, not PBS, that will be the new streaming home to first-run “Sesame Street” episodes starting in 2020. PBS gets them at some later point.
NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service sets affordable price points
NBCUniversal and Comcast’s streaming Peacock service, is expected to have a monthly ad-free option for $10, according to an article from The Information, a digital media news company.Additionally, there will be a monthly ad-supported option for $4.99, according to the report. If true, the price point Peacock undercuts its competitor CBS All Access’ $5.99 monthly ad-supported service. However, Peacock’s ad-free subscription would be a penny more than the ad-free CBS All Access. Similarly, Peacock’s other live TV and video-on-demand competitor Hulu is priced at a monthly $11.99 for ad-free streaming and a monthly $5.99 for limited ad streaming.The report suggested that Peacock’s low cost may be a strategic move to attract customers that are already subscribed to streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and growing newcomer Disney+.According to a press release in September, Peacock is set to roll out in April 2020 and will be loaded with over 15,000 hours of content. NBCUniversal will also use the summer Olympics as an additional push after launch. The service will have a mix of dramas, comedies, unscripted programs, timeless titles and films. This includes popular hits such as “Battlestar Galactica,” “Saved By the Bell,” “Jimmy Fallon,” “The Office,” “Shrek” and more. A month later, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said in a third-quarter earnings call that Peacock will be available on Comcast and Comcast Sky technology platforms. NBCUniversal TV subscribers will get to use the service for free as well. “We’re primarily working with the existing ecosystem and doing a lot of AVOD activity,” Burke said referring to advertisement-based video on demand. “It has cut the investment pretty substantially because I think we’re going to get to cruising altitude much more quickly than a subscription service.”
LEGO looks to Future for OTT channels
The LEGO Group is partnering with multi-platform video distribution company Future Today to launch The LEGO Channel, a free COPPA-compliant content app for kids across all major OTT streaming platforms in the US and Canada. Launching today on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV, the new channel will feature more than 1,000 videos, ranging in genres and animation styles. Some of the options will be from its LEGO Ninjago, LEGO Friends and LEGO City brands, as well as its YouTube series Rebrickulous and specials from franchises like LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Marvel. The content will also take viewers behind the scenes with LEGO Designer Set Reviews, showing off how pro designers and builders make their brick creations. The plan is to expand the channel to more territories in the future. Creating its own OTT channel was part of the brickmaker’s strategy to deal with the shifting way kids watch TV—“they are platform agnostic,” LEGO’s director of global content distribution Jay Shah said, in a statement to Kidscreen. The channel was developed with that in mind, and will accommodate the toyco’s current content partnerships already in place with companies like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. Future Today manages more than 200 channels, which reaches 150 million views. Some of its kids offerings include Outfit7′s Talking Tom, Cyber Group Studios’ slate of kids shows (such as Zou, The Bellflower Bunnies and Mini Ninjas), and One Animation’s OddBods.
Streaming Movie Service That Costs $2,500-a-Flick Struggles to Find Enough Plutocrats
Members of the jet-set who are too good to mix with the filthy hoi polloi can now pay a $15,000 fee and $2,500 per movie to skip the local Alamo Drafthouse and watch first-run films in the comfort of their gilded estates via Red Carpet Home Cinema, which launched in October. Its reverse-Moviepass business model is not going as well as planned, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. Red Carpet was previously reported to have signed contracts with major studios, but it’s “attracted just a sliver of the customers it hopes to sign up in the U.S. in the next two years,” Bloomberg wrote. Founders Fredric Rosen and Dan Fellman are seeking to enroll around 3,000 customers, which would rake in $45 million in signup and installation fees alone. The New York Times wrote earlier this year that customers are also required to have “a credit card with a limit of at least $50,000,” which would pay for access to 20 movies at the quoted going rate. We’ll spare you the runaround and skip straight to the infuriating quotes. Fellman, a former Warner Bros executive, characterized the project to Bloomberg as feasible specifically because it is “not disruptive”: “Everyone is looking for a new, ancillary business,” said Fellman, who spent 37 years at Warner Bros., retiring as president of domestic distribution. “So we thought: How do we start a small, ancillary business, but that’s not disruptive?” That’s certainly one way to describe selling more privileges to the ultra-wealthy. Rosen, former CEO of Ticketmaster, explained to Bloomberg that Napster co-founder Sean Parker’s Screening Room startup (which charged $150 for a set-top box and $50 per film to watch films at the same time they’re in theaters) failed to catch on because they didn’t charge enough to flatter the egos of rich people or something: “The ultra-affluent can afford a perfectly functional $150 leather purse, but wait in line to buy $25,000 Hermes Birkin bags. They want the experience of hosting a dinner party and whisking their friends to their private home cinema after dessert to surprise them with a film that’s otherwise only available in theaters, he said. “You can buy ‘Two-Buck Chuck’ or an expensive bottle of wine,” Rosen said. “People consume the way they can afford.”
Two men admit to working on illegal streaming sites that rivaled the size of Netflix and Hulu
As the streaming wars continue to heat up, the Department of Justice says two men behind some of the largest illegal streaming services have been taken out of play. Two computer programmers in Las Vegas pleaded guilty last Friday to criminal copyright charges after an FBI investigation revealed they had been working on two massive, illegal online streaming sites, iStreamItAll and Jetflicks, according to plea agreements. iStreamItAll’s content library featured more than 118,000 television episodes and nearly 11,000 movies, making it larger than Netflix (NFLX), Hulu or Amazon (AMZN) Prime, according to a release from the Justice Department. Both iStreamItAll and Jetflicks had tens of thousands of paid subscribers and were designed to work on many different devices and platforms, “including myriad varieties of computer operating systems, smartphones, tablets, smart televisions, video game consoles, digital media players, set-top boxes and web browsers,” the DOJ said, citing the two plea agreements. Pirating has long been a major concern for leaders behind streaming companies. In a 2015 letter to shareholders, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings called piracy one of the company’s “biggest competitors.” The world of streaming has changed significantly since then, but piracy may be an even bigger concern now that more legitimate players have entered and fragmented the market. Consumers now must subscribe to Disney+ if they want Disney movies and to Netflix if they want to watch popular original shows such as “Stranger Things.” There are now scores of streaming services. In 2017, 30 content creation companies, including Hulu, HBO, Amazon and others, formed an independent organization aimed in part at battling piracy (HBO shares CNN parent company WarnerMedia). Darryl Julius Polo, 36, pleaded guilty to charges related to running iStreamItAll, according to the DOJ. The site featured a huge trove of copyrighted television shows and movies that it was not authorized to use, the DOJ said. Thousands of US users paid for subscriptions that allowed them to stream and download the illegal content.
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