streaming

There’s now just one Blockbuster remaining in the US

And then there was one. With the impending closures of Blockbuster locations in Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska, just one single store will remain in the country, Anchorage Daily News reported yesterday. The two locations in Alaska will officially close their respective doors on July 16, leaving just one location in Bend, Ore. “…it is sad to say goodbye to our dedicated customers,” Blockbuster Alaska General Manager Kevin Daymude said in a Facebook post announcing the closures. “Both [the district manager] and I have been with the company since 1991 and have had great memories throughout our career. Thank you for sticking by us throughout all these years. I can’t tell you how much it means to us.” Following the initial closures on the 16th, the locations will reopen on the 17th through the...

Redbox lands deal with Warner to rent DVDs on the same day they go on sale in physical stores

DVD and Blu-ray rental kiosk operator Redbox announced a deal with Warner Bros. today that allows it to begin offering new releases on the same day they go on sale in physical retail stores. Redbox’s former agreement with the studio meant they had to wait until seven days after the home-video release. In a statement, Redbox said this deal also maintains the availability of new releases in Redbox On Demand, its streaming rental service. According to Variety, this means Redbox now has same-day deals with almost all of the major studios. In addition to Warner Bros., they include Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Lionsgate (its deal with 20th Century Fox is similar to its previous one with Warner Bros ., in that it allows Redbox to rent its movies seven days after their home-...

Pandora and iHeartRadio subscription streams to impact Billboard’s charts

Billboard will begin using Pandora Premium and iHeartRadio subscription streams to inform its Billboard 100 and Billboard 200 charts, along with other streaming-inclusive charts, the company announced this week. Before, only Pandora’s radio spins were included. According to Pandora, the change goes into effect on July 14 and will bring nearly 6 million Pandora subscribers’ spins into the chart, from those who weren’t being counted before. iHeartRadio’s terrestrial radio stations nor its programmed radio streams will be reported to Billboard, and won’t impact chart rankings. Instead, its All Access and Plus subscription tiers will be added to the all-genre Hot 100, Billboard 200 and genre-based song and album charts, says Billboard. These changes are launching alongside a big revamp of how ...

Yes, Netflix was down, but it’s back up again

If you had trouble accessing Netflix earlier today, you weren’t alone. Netflix tweeted that it was “aware” of streaming issues, but said soon afterward that they had been resolved. We are aware of members having trouble streaming on all devices. We are investigating the issue and appreciate your patience. — Netflix CS (@Netflixhelps) June 11, 2018 The streaming issues we reported earlier have now been resolved. Thank you for your patience, and as always, happy streaming! — Netflix CS (@Netflixhelps) June 11, 2018 A map from Outage.Report shows that Netflix was down for users around the world, with outages going on for a couple of hours. Outage.Report map TechCrunch has contacted Netflix to ask what caused the issues.

Hulu re-org sees departure of Content Chief Joel Stillerman, top SVPs

On the heels of Hulu’s news of its growing live TV business, which has now reached 800,000 subscribers, the streaming service today announced a major re-organization of it business focused on four strategic priorities, effective immediately. These include “the subscriber journey, technology & products, content and advertising,” says Hulu. The changes see three major execs departing: Chief Content Officer Joel Stillerman, Senior Vice President of Partnerships & Distribution Tim Connolly and SVP Experience, Ben Smith. In addition, Hulu has hired two new executives to help it with its goals: CTO Dan Phillips, previously of TiVo, and Jaya Kolhatkar of Walmart Labs, who will claim the newly-created Chief Data Officer role. Phillips had previously led TiVo’s engineering, product and prof...

Is Apple ready to take on Netflix?

This super creepy Tom Waits number pops into my head every time I read about another Apple content acquisition. For a billion-dollar project from one of the world’s biggest companies, the company’s upcoming streaming service is shaping up to be a strange collection of original content.  Of course, I’m not really sure what I expected after Apple unleashed Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps on the world. Neither were the kind of thing that imbues you with confidence in a company’s programming choices. I wrote a review of sorts of the former here, but was willing to give the show the benefit of the doubt that it just wasn’t for me, like cilantro, cats or late-era Radiohead. But clearly I wasn’t alone on this one. And Planet of the Apps — the less said about that one the better, probably. ...

FCC asks Amazon and eBay to stop selling fake pay TV boxes

On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and eBay CEO Devin Wenig asking their companies to help remove the listings for fake pay TV boxes from their respective websites. These boxes often falsely bear the FCC logo, the letter informed, and are used to perpetuate “intellectual property theft and consumer fraud.” With the rise in cord cutting, a number of consumers have found it’s just as easy to use a software app like Kodi on a cheap streaming media device to gain access to content – like TV shows and movies – that they would otherwise miss out on by dropping their pay TV subscription. As an added perk, various software add-ons enable consumers to stream movies still in the theaters, too. It’s an easier way to access pirated content than visi...

Roku suffers major outage affecting Netflix, YouTube and other channels

Streaming service Roku got hit with its worst outage to date after a number customers suffered issues watching Netflix, YouTube and other channels for more than five hours. The issue — which Roku said is now fixed — saw some customers get FBI anti-piracy warnings instead of their chosen programming, as Variety first reported. A Roku spokesperson told TechCrunch that “a small percentage of customers” were affected. Once it had restored order, Roku claimed the “technical glitch” could be fixed by manually updating players inside the settings menu, while some channels would require users to log in again. The issue was a pretty major blow to Roku, which analyst reports suggest remains the top streaming service in the U.S. despite competition from the likes of Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Am...

iHeartRadio opens up its playlists to all users with launch of Playlist Radio

iHeartRadio is best known for its free service offering thousands of live, streaming AM and FM radio stations and its ability to create your own custom station, similar to Pandora. Today, the company is adding a new feature for all users – both free and paid – that blurs the lines between streaming radio and the typically premium-only option of using playlists: Playlist Radio. Like most playlists, Playlist Radio isn’t a random assortment of songs. Instead, the songs it plays are curated and programmed by radio DJs and other iHeartRadio staff. That means there isn’t an algorithm deciding what to play next – you’re listening to a selection of songs an actual person has put together. However, because it’s still “radio” you can’t do some of the things you could with the premium product’s playl...

Amazon Prime Video will now show pay-per-view UFC fights

If you’re a UFC fan you’ll now have another place to watch fights — Amazon Prime Video. The online retailers just announced that starting with UFC 222 on March 3rd, all pay-per-view UFC fights will be available to buy and watch on Amazon prime. Fights can be preordered and also purchased up to four hours after the start time (in case you want to tune in late just for a title fight) and purchasers will also be able to rewind during the event and replay it within a 24-hour window. It’s the first time live pay-per-view material is being made available on Amazon Prime Video, and is another reminder that the platform thinks live sports are an important component of an attractive content offering. While UFC’s fights are available to buy and stream on their own website, this deal is important bec...

India-based music streaming service Gaana raises $115M led by Tencent

Chinese internet giant Tencent is continuing to put its money in India and in music streaming services after it agreed to lead a $115 million investment in India’s Gaana. Gaana is a music streaming service that was started by Times Media, the company behind the Times of India newspaper and tech incubator Times Internet among other things, seven years ago. Gaana didn’t reveal its user metrics, but CEO Prashan Agarwal said the company is “only 10% of the way towards building a business useful for 500 million Indians.” The company plans to use this new capital develop artificial intelligence to create more personalized services and features for listeners. It said also it will develop its paid-user service, too. Aside from a Spotify-like subscription offering, it also provides an ad-based serv...

CBS launches a 24/7 streaming sports news network, CBS Sports HQ

As promised last year, CBS today launched its own sports news network, CBS Sports HQ, which will offer 24-hour streaming coverage of news, highlights and analysis for free online, via connected devices, and within the company’s over-the-top streaming service, CBS All Access. The network had originally said its plan for the sports streaming service was to replicate the success it found with its streaming news network, CBSN, which launched in 2014 to bring CBS news content to digital platforms. That network grew to 287 million streams in 2017, up 17 percent over 2016 – which was an Election year, CBS notes. Similarly, CBS Sports HQ will stream for free, 24/7, and work across a range of devices at launch, including smartphones and tablets (iOS and Android), connected TVs (Amazon Fire TV, Appl...