Posts Tagged ‘internet’

Netflix Will Stop Telling Customers Verizon Is Making Their Movies Load Slower

June 9, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Netflix said Monday it would comply with Verizon's cease-and-desist letter, sent to both the general public and Netflix general counsel David Hyman from Verizon general counsel Randal S. Milch. The letter's complaints against Netflix were that the streaming service was misrepresenting the "many different factors that affect traffic on the Internet," including the controversy over whether or not Verizon is obliged to provide free access to its network based on user preference. In response, Netflix said that as part of a "transparency campaign" to tell users when the network they were using was choking Netflix content, "we started a small scale test in early May that lets consumers know, while they’re watching Netflix, that their experience is degraded due to a lack of capacity into their broadband provider’s network. "We are testing this across the U.S. wherever there is significant and persistent network congestion," the company said in a blog post bylined to communications vp Joris Evers. "This test is scheduled to end on June 16. We will evaluate rolling it out more broadly." While this is sort of a non-denial-denial—we don't admit that what we're doing is wrong but coincidentally, we're going to stop doing it—on the heels of the Verizon C&D letter, it comes with yet another dig at Verizon: a post from the company's ISP speed ranker, a fascinating tool you can check out yourself here . With the new site, which appears to dynamically measure average bandwidth—that's actual bandwidth, not advertised bandwidth—you can see that Netflix's data streams a lot slower from Verizon's DSL service (which is definitely incredibly slow), but you can also see, among other things, that the U.S. has some of the slowest streaming speeds in the developed world, below every European country except Ireland and lagging behind much poorer countries elsewhere in the Americas like Mexico and Brazil.

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Netflix Creates the Best Worst Website for Its New Cartoon, BoJack Horseman

June 3, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Netflix has done quite a bit of clever marketing in its recent past, from the minimalist teasers for House of Cards to its fake listings for shows featured in Arrested Development. The streaming service's newest oddity is part of the promotion for BoJack Horseman, an upcoming Adult Swim-ish show about a talking horse who's fallen on hard times after the demise of his 1990s sitcom.

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ScreenHits to Launch Free Internet Site to Let Consumers Watch ‘Broken’ TV Pilots (Exclusive)

May 22, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

ScreenHits, a startup that runs an online marketplace for global buyers of TV shows and films, is gearing up to launch a service that will let consumers watch television pilots that haven’t been picked up — promising a new revenue stream for producers and studios. The direct-to-consumer Pilot Showcase is slated to go live July 1, 2014,... Read more

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Why AMC Wants You to Watch the Whole First Episode of Halt & Catch Fire Early on Tumblr

May 20, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

If AMC's corporate strategy has embraced a single ethos over the last few years, it's that more people watching is better, period. So it's probably not a surprise that the network elected to release the premiere episode of its new drama Halt & Catch Fire, a period show about the competitive 1980's personal computing scene, on Tumblr

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TV Creators Warn FCC: Don’t Let Internet Become ‘Like Cable Television’

May 13, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

As the FCC prepares new rules of the road for the Internet, more than 240 TV showrunners and creators have signed on to a Writers Guild of America West letter urging the commission to avoid regulations that would allow content companies to pay for speedier delivery to users. The letter, sent on Tuesday, was the... Read more

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AT&T in Talks to Acquire DirecTV

May 12, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

DirecTV and AT&T are in talks to merge, with AT&T taking a stake in the smaller company in a deal composed of both cash and shares, according to multiple reports. Stock at both companies took a serious jump on the news; it's the most recent example of consolidation in the cable and telco industries and it's unlikely to be the last, especially if everything goes smoothly between Comcast and Time Warner Cable and the regulating bodies who have to sign off on that merger transaction. Indeed, things got a little simpler in the latter transaction today, as the TWC's divestiture of several cable systems—to competitor Charter, which is a condition of the merger—was combined with the docket to merge the two larger companies. Both DirecTV and AT&T declined to comment this evening, but reports, most prominently at The Wall Street Journal , say the deal could close within the next two weeks. AT&T would pay $50 billion in cash and stock for a majority stake in DirecTV. It's a proposition that would give AT&T a much larger stake in the cable industry, but its long-term implications are far-reaching and interesting: With a satellite cable provider as part of its suite of services, an Internet and telephone service provider like AT&T would have a major reason to start backing traditional TV against Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and the other streaming video services that make AT&T's service valuable but erode the marketability of a service like DirecTV. (It's true the the company has its U-Verse cable outfit, but that's available in fewer than 5 million homes across 22 states). If AT&T and DirecTV file with the regulators before Comcast, Time Warner and Charter complete the complicated docket that will be needed to finish that deal, it's possible that the agencies involved will want to look at both deals simultaneously, gumming up the works for all parties involved. It's also worth noting that AT&T's bid to take over T-Mobile was stifled by regulators in 2011. Mind you, though the specific parties are unexpected, consolidation in the cable industry is not. The U.S. pay-TV market has matured enough that its low end is occupied not by basic cable packages, but by streaming services including Netflix and the others listed above—and anyone offering traditional cable and satellite service is competing mostly for customers belonging to his competition. So rather than build out AT&T's fledgling U-Verse network or enter a bidding war for another geographically limited part of the market like TWC or Cox, AT&T is going for a satellite partner that will allow it to market over a much broader region. And it strengthens DirecTV's position as the rest of the industry huddles together.

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Dems and GOP Reach Compromise on Reauthorization of Satellite Bill

May 7, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

A bill to reauthorize the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act, which ensures that 1.5 million rural cable subscribers will be able to receive programming from all the TV networks, has a good chance of getting voted favorably out of the House commerce committee on Thursday. The bill, which would reauthorize what is known as STELA for five years, now has bipartisan support, according to communications and technology subcommittee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who has been working with ranking member Anna Eshoo (R-Calif.) to resolve differences over the bill. Reauthorization of STELA (it expires at the end of the year), is critical to DirecTV, which relies on the bill to deliver out of market network affiliated TV stations to 1.5 million subscribers. With an election bearing down on lawmakers, the number of days left in Congress to get anything done is limited, putting extra urgency to move the bill forward before it expires. The House judiciary committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday on the copyright portion of the bill. "It's imperative that we get this legislation to the president's desk before the end of the year, and I thank ranking member Anna Eshoo and other members of the committee for their hard work and collaboration to help make this happen," said Walden. "I look forward to advancing this 'must pass' legislation this week and its speedy approval by the full House." The bill had a few goodies tacked on, like prohibiting TV stations from jointly negotiating retransmission-consent negotiations and lifting the cable box integration ban, but it was a provision that would delay the Federal Communications Commission from going ahead with its new rule to limit TV joint sales agreements that put the two sides of the aisle at odds.

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AOL Relaunches Moviefone with New Look, Expands Into TV Content

May 5, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

AOL’s Moviefone has a brand-new look and an expanded mission that now encompasses TV. The Internet media company teamed on the Moviefone relaunch with Whalerock Industries, which changed changed its name from BermanBraun after the exit of Gail Berman earlier this year. The new Moviefone website and apps are designed to span all entertainment content,... Read more

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‘Star Wars” Next Challenge: Making Its Cast Matter

April 30, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

“Star Wars” announced its new cast this week, which of course lit up the Internet like someone had just blown up the Death Star. Which is kind of strange, since at least in the last “Star Wars” trilogy, George Lucas’ clumsy scripting and emphasis on digital filmmaking managed to make actors almost irrelevant to the... Read more

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FCC Net Neutrality Proposal Still Fuzzy

April 24, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The Federal Communications Commission did damage control today to try to convince critics that the chairman's net neutrality proposal would not create a "payola Internet,” would not end the end the Internet as we know it, and would not lead to a host of Internet price increases for consumers. "This notice decides nothing," an FCC official explained during a call with reporters that followed a tsunami of negative press . Even after the commission votes May 15 to proceed with the notice of proposed rulemaking, there will still be plenty of unanswered questions, including what would constitute a net neutrality violation. The public will have plenty of time to comment before the FCC finalizes the rules by the end of the year. Let's take the easy part of chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal first. The FCC proposes to reinstate the 2010 "no blocking" rule for legal content and enhance the 2010 rule that requires ISPs to disclose their network policies and practices. The biggest question, and what remains unclear in Wheeler's proposal, is how the FCC will determine what fast lane agreements between ISPs and content providers is "commercially reasonable." "We don't know, the rulemaking will decide it," said an FCC official. "We want a broad public debate before we make those kinds of decisions. We'll ask first and answer later," he said. So depending on a bunch of details that haven't been written yet, that could mean the FCC might allow deals that give some Internet content priority over another. But no one at the FCC seems to know how that will work, except that each deal will be reviewed on a "case-by-case basis." In his blog post , Wheeler said the FCC "will propose rules that establish a high bar for what is 'commercially reasonable.'" "The allegation that it will result in anti-competitive price increases for consumers is also unfounded. That is exactly what the 'commercially reasonable' test will protect against: harm to competition and consumers stemming from abusive market activity," Wheeler wrote. When asked if that means a deal between Netflix and Comcast that raises prices for consumers would be a violation, the FCC official responded that: "if it limits competition, that's a problem." OK, are we clear now?

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