Category: streaming

June 6, 2019 Off

Destiny 2 goes free to play and gains cross-saving on all platforms

By Jill T Frey

Bungie aims to fortify the popular but flagging Destiny 2 with an expanded free-to-play plan and universal cross-platform saving, the company announced today. It’s an interesting and player-friendly evolution of the “games as a service” model, and other companies should take note.

The base game, which is to say the original campaign and the first year of updates, will be available on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Google Stadia. You can play as much as you want, and your progress will be synced to your account, so you can do some easy patrols on console and then switch to your PC’s mouse and keyboard for the more difficult raids.

The PS4 cross-save ability is a surprise, since Sony has resisted this sort of thing in the past and rumors had it before the announcement that they would be left out of the bargain. It’s heartening to see this level … Read the rest

May 17, 2019 Off

Winter is coming for HBO NOW subscriber growth

By Jill T Frey

Fan reaction to Game of Thrones’ final season may be mixed, but the show has been undeniably good for HBO’s network — and for its over-the-top streaming service, HBO NOW. The Season 8 premiere drew in 11.8 million live viewers and 17.4 million viewers across all platforms on the day of airing, as well as a record number of sign-ups to HBO NOW, which in March was reported to have 8 million subscribers. But the show’s finale airs this Sunday, and HBO is set to see a huge exodus of streaming subscribers, as result.

According to new research from Mintel released this week, HBO NOW users are twice as likely as those from any other streaming service to cancel their subscription when a specific show ends.

The only service that performed worse on this front was YouTube Premium. And that’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, given that … Read the rest

May 16, 2019 Off

Rivals in gaming, Microsoft and Sony team up on cloud services

By Jill T Frey

For the last two decades, Sony and Microsoft’s gaming divisions have been locked in all-out war against one another: on price, on hardware, on franchises, on exclusives… you name it. But it seems they’ve set their enmity aside temporarily that they might better prevent that filthy casual, Google, from joining the fray.

The official team-up, documented in a memorandum of understanding, was announced today, though details are few. But this is clear enough:

The two companies will explore joint development of future cloud solutions in Microsoft Azure to support their respective game and content-streaming services. In addition, the two companies will explore the use of current Microsoft Azure datacenter-based solutions for Sony’s game and content-streaming services.

Of course there is no doubt that Sony could have gone with a number of other cloud services for its gaming-on-demand services. It already runs one, PlayStation Now, but the market is expected … Read the rest

May 10, 2019 Off

Sports streamer fuboTV to expand into ad-supported free streaming, original content

By Jill T Frey

The sports-focused streaming service fuboTV will soon follow the rest of the industry by offering its own free and ad-supported streaming channel, in addition to its paid subscription, sometime later this year. The news was exclusively shared with The Wrap (paywalled) in an interview with fuboTV co-founder and CEO David Gandler.

FuboTV confirmed the accuracy of the report to TechCrunch, but declined to provide further details about its forthcoming plans.

Gandler characterized its ad-supported video plans as being “a little bit smaller and more straightforward” than others on the market, but said the company believes it will help fuboTV’s profitability.

The company has been steadily expanding its streaming service beyond sports over the past couple of years, with deals to add channels to its lineup, including Cheddar, CBSN, CBS Sports Network, The CW, Pop and others. Last year, it also launched an “Extra” tier that offers other lifestyle and … Read the rest

May 9, 2019 Off

Netflix acquires kids’ educational content co. StoryBots

By Jill T Frey

Netflix is further investing in its children’s programming ahead of the launch of a highly anticipated rival: Disney+. The company announced today it has acquired StoryBots — a children’s media company and brand created by JibJab’s founders, Gregg and Evan Spiridellis.

The streaming service isn’t disclosing the acquisition price, but CNBC says the price was “immaterial to Netflix,” citing sources.

Netflix doesn’t often make acquisitions, as it prefers to spend directly on content. However, it does rarely buy content companies — as it did with its first acquisition, indie comic book maker MillarWorld in 2017.

StoryBots’ show “Ask the StoryBots” first launched on Netflix in 2016, and features five curious creatures who track down answers to the questions that kids are often curious about — like how night happens, or why we brush our teeth, for example.

Over the years, it has featured several celeb voices to accompany its … Read the rest

May 8, 2019 Off

Pandora expands its music-and-podcasts product Pandora Stories with help from SiriusXM’s guests

By Jill T Frey

Pandora’s integration with new owner SiriusXM continues today, as the music streaming service will now benefit from the numerous SiriusXM guests and artists who come through its New York studios on a regular basis. Now, those guests’ interviews will contribute to Pandora Stories — the recently launched product that combines music and podcasts in a new format.

Launched in February, the idea behind Pandora Stories is to allow music listeners hear from their favorite artists as they play their music. For example, the artist might talk about the song’s back story, or what inspired them to write it. These are the sorts of insights that might otherwise be covered by an interview with an artist on a podcast program, but typically the podcast would then only play a clip from the song. In Pandora Stories, however, the storytelling is interspersed with full tracks.

The product launched with just over a … Read the rest

May 3, 2019 Off

Spotify’s leanback instant listening app Stations hits iOS

By Jill T Frey

Spotify has launched its instant listening app Stations on iOS, but only in Australia for the time being. The release comes nearly a year and a half after the Stations app first arrived on the market, initially for Android users in Australia. Dubbed an “experiment,” the app allows users to jump right into streaming instead of having to curate their own playlists or stations, or save favorite music to their library.

Unlike Spotify’s flagship application, the Stations app presents users with a minimalist interface where available playlists are displayed with an oversized font. You can scroll up and down between the playlists to select one, instead of typing in a search box or searching through voice commands.

When launching Stations, music begins playing automatically — a feature that had some calling it a “Pandora copycat” at the time of launch, given that instant music playback is something that Spotify’s … Read the rest