streaming

Spotify Is Testing Adding Personalized Song Picks to Curated Playlists

This week Spotify began testing adding personalized song selections to its editor-curated playlists. The new function will work with algorithmic song…

Spotify Announces Departure of Chief Marketing Officer Seth Farbman

Spotify has signaled a big change in its marketing organization with the upcoming departure of Seth Farbman, the music streaming service's…

Apple Music Gains Popularity Worldwide, Spotify & Amazon Hold Market Shares: Study

Apple Music's global market share grew 2 percent in the first half of the year, reaching 19 percent of worldwide streamers, according to a study…

Indian Music Culture Thriving in the Streaming Age, Shows Nielsen Report: Exclusive

With a population of over 1.2 billion, there's a reason India has been called a "sleeping giant" in the global music landscape. Now,…

Plex Cloud will shut down November 30 due to technical challenges

Plex today announced it’s shutting down its troubled Plex Cloud service, via a forum post that hasn’t found its way over to the company’s official blog – likely a choice the company made in order to downplay the news, or avoid media scrutiny. Plex Cloud, launched in fall 2016, was meant to serve as a way for Plex customers to save their files to online storage services like OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive, instead of having to host their saved files locally on their own machines or network-attached storage devices. But now that will no longer be an option, as the service will stop functioning on November 30, 2018, Plex says. Plex Cloud had struggled from the beginning with technical issues. Almost immediately, its debut launch partner, Amazon, stopped working wit...

Netflix tests video promos in between episodes, much to viewers’ dislike

Netflix is testing video promos that play in between episodes of shows a viewer is streaming, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. The promos are full-screen videos, personalized to the user, featuring content Netflix would have otherwise suggested elsewhere in its user interface – like on a row of recommendations, for example. The promos also displace the preview information for the next episode being binged, like the title, description, and thumbnail that previously appeared on the right side of the screen. The test was first spotted by Cord Cutters News, following a Reddit thread filled with complaints. A number of Twitter users are angrily tweeting about the change, too. (See below examples.) We understand the introduction of promos in between the episodes is not a feature Netflix is r...

Facebook’s Kodi box ban is nothing new

According to recent reports, Facebook has updated its Commerce Policy to specifically ban the sale of Kodi boxes on its site – that is, devices that come with pre-installed Kodi software, which are often used for illegally streaming digital content. However, the ban is not a new one – Facebook confirms its policy on Kodi box sales hasn’t changed since last summer, and its external Policy Page – the one being cited as evidence of the new ban – was updated in December. It’s true that the changes have flown under the radar until now, though. The policy change was first reported by Cord Cutters News, and later linked to by TorrentFreak and Techdirt. The original report claims that Facebook added a new rule on its list of “Digital Media and Electronic Devices” under “Prohibited Content,” which ...

Spotify is falling behind on lyrics and voice

Spotify’s lack of full lyrics support and its minimal attention to voice are beginning to become problems for the streaming service. The company has been so focused on the development of its personalization technology and programming its playlists, it has overlooked key features that its competitors – including Apple, Google, and Amazon – today offer and are now capitalizing on. For example, in the updated version of Apple Music rolling out this fall with iOS 12, users won’t just have access to lyrics in the app as before, they will also be able to perform searches by lyrics instead of only by the artist, album, or song title. And Apple Music is actually playing catch up with Amazon on this front. Amazon Music, which has quietly grown to become the third largest music streaming service, al...

Roku’s free, ad-supported streaming channel is now live on the web

Roku is today bringing its free, streaming entertainment destination, The Roku Channel, to non-Roku devices for the first time, with a launch on both the web and on select Samsung smart TVs, ahead of a wider cross-platform rollout. The channel, which offers free, ad-supported movies and TV shows, will be available across PCs, mobile phones, and tablets, the company says. In addition, Roku is updating the navigation on its own devices, including Roku players and Roku TVs, to include a new feature called “Featured Free,” which will directly point users to free content from The Roku Channel, as well as other apps, like ABC, The CW, CW Seed, Fox, Freeform, Pluto TV, Sony Crackle, Tubi, and more. The Roku Channel first launched last September, as a way for Roku to differentiate its connected me...

GameFly to shutter streaming service this month

GameFly, the video game rental company, will be shutting down its streaming service at the end of the month, Variety reported earlier this week. This closure comes just over three years after the streaming service launched in 2015. GameFly, the no-console streaming service for gamers, offered packages for $7 and $10 per month that gave users unlimited access to titles — as long as they had a smart TV like an Amazon Fire or Samsung Smart TV, in addition to a controller and access to the internet. Just as GameFly’s original snail-mail rental service for games mimicked Netflix’s from days of yore, many touted the streaming service as the Netflix of gaming. Support for the service will be maintained through the end of August and accounts will not be charged for the service after that date, acc...

Vizio launches its own streaming service powered by Pluto TV

Think there are too many streaming services? How about one more? Today, Vizio says it’s launching its own streaming service called WatchFree that will be available on nearly all its Vizio SmartCast TVs via a separate input. The service itself will be powered by streaming TV provider Pluto TV, and will include access to over 100 live and linear channels featuring news, entertainment, sports, movies, and more. Pluto TV is a differentiated player in the busy streaming video market. Instead of trying to get cord cutters to pay for a skinny bundle of channels, its over-the-top service delivers content from a number of networks and other sources for free. The service primarily generates revenue through advertising. For example, the company has content deals with dozens of partners like Warner Br...

Viacom acquires Gen Z digital media company AwesomenessTV

Viacom today confirmed it’s acquiring digital media company AwesomenessTV, whose network reaches 158 million subscribers and approximately 300 million monthly views. The news follows a report from earlier this week that said the two were in talks about an acquisition, which priced the deal at “well below $300 million,” according to Variety. Viacom did not confirm the deal terms, but an under $300 million price point would be less than half of AwesomenessTV’s previous $650 million valuation, cited by Bloomberg. [update: The Hollywood Reporter pegs the price at $25M + debt] Prior to this, AwesomenessTV was majority owned by Comcast/NBCUniversal which has a 51 percent stake in the company; Hearst and (TechCrunch parent company by way of Oath), Verizon, are minority shareholders with 24.5 perc...

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