Posts Tagged ‘netflix’

French Resistance Crumbles in Netflix Debut

September 15, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Netflix broke through some heavy French telecom resistance today as it debuted its video-on-demand service in six more European countries. One of France’s major telecom companies, Bouygues, announced that it would integrate Netflix in its TV set-top boxes starting in November, according to the Nasdaq news. Bouyges' move is just the news Netflix wants to hear because its video-on-demand service counts on reliable broadband pipelines, and the set-top boxes are how French TV viewers access their programming. France’s largest telecom company, Orange SA, has also signaled it would consider offering Netflix if the service is successful, according to the Nasdaq report. This last-minute breakthrough comes amid reports last week that European countries didn’t have the bandwidth to handle Netflix, an assertion flatly denied by a company spokesperson. Just to be safe, Netflix is increasing its server capacity in Paris. The pieces appear to be coming together from a technical standpoint, but when it comes to content, there is ample French pushback

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Alibaba’s IPO May Be Biggest In History

September 15, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Analysts are divided over Chinese e-commerce giant, but with shares priced at $60-66 each, it measures up against Internet rivals.

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China Clamps Down on Foreign TV Streaming

September 12, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

China is reportedly getting ready to regulate the number of foreign television programs that online providers can stream in its country, The Wall Street Journal reported . The move means even fewer U.S. programs will make it onto the Chinese viewing menu. As of today, about half the content on popular Chinese streaming services comes from outside the country. But that all will change as the country limits foreign, streamed TV shows to 30 percent. (The Journal said it's unclear if that figure refers to the number of TV shows or episodes.) The U.S. shows that stand to lose are Netflix's wildly popular House of Cards and Warner Brother’s 2 Broke Girls. House of Cards, which is distributed by Sohu, one of the country’s largest video streaming services, reportedly attract millions of viewers a day despite its edgy storylines that criticize China. But popularity doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll stay on the air. In April, the country’s regulators yanked NCIS, The Practice, The Good Wife and The Big Bang Theory off Chinese video streaming services without giving a reason. The Big Bang Theory was reportedly pulling in 120 million viewers a month. The sudden blackout of popular U.S. shows is seen as an example of Chinese leaders keeping a tight grip on foreign media to counter the U.S.'s soft power and shore up China's own television industry. Last year, Chinese censors withheld box office receipts while negotiating a rise in tariffs on Western importers. Now, Chinese leaders want to become not only international exporters of finished goods but also dramas and soap operas, which amount to about 10,000 episodes a year

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Does Europe Have Enough Bandwidth to Handle the Netlflix Strain?

September 8, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

It's been established that the French in particular are skeptical about Netflix's upcoming continental rollout. But will French cinephiles even be able to stream their favorite Louis Malle films once the service shows up? Doubters worry that Netflix video traffic will crash European servers, especially in France and Germany, where Netflix plans to begin offering streaming video this month. According to Ookla’s Net Index , neither country is among the top 20 with the fastest download speeds. That concerns the head of media services for Deloitte LLP, who recently speculated that European networks “could be forced to their knees” by Netflix bandwidth requirements. A spokesman for Netflix in Europe told Bloomberg that countries where it currently operates, including the UK and the Netherlands, have never experienced “noticeable” problems with video traffic.

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Netflix Grabs Distribution Rights to Fox’s Gotham

September 4, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The era of distributing a new TV series on traditional channels has been turned on its head in a deal that makes Netflix a legitimate second-tier distributor. Netflix has sealed worldwide distribution rights to the first season of Gotham—the Fox television series based on the Batman franchise—even before the series has begun. The deal opens the gate for similar agreements via rival global streaming services that may be at the forefront of a new wave of primetime programming . The Netflix/Fox/Warner Brothers Gotham trifecta illustrates that studios financing TV productions are hedging their bets with global multi-channel distribution strategies. That's where Netflix enters the picture. Warner Brothers Worldwide Television Distribution gains access to the company’s entertainment streaming service , which reaches 50 million subscribers in more than 40 countries who collectively watch an estimated one billion hours of TV shows and movies each month. The head of content development at Netflix labelled the deal a new model for distributing a show that's designed to appeal to both domestic and international audiences. Warner, Netflix and Fox are betting that viewers will be hooked by what amounts to a prequel of the Batman movies in television series format—even though the Batman movie franchise produced some duds at the box office. Gotham digs deeper into the characters of Commissioner Gordon and Batman’s enemies in a storyline penned by Bruno Heller, the man behind the The Mentalist. The Gotham distribution rights give Netflix first crack at its existing global footprint, but Warner Brothers retains rights to distribute Gotham in countries where Netflix is absent, such as France and Germany. Another proviso in the deal: Netflix will distribute the first season after it airs on Fox, which won a bidding war for the series. Fox hopes to broadcast the second season simultaneously. Also, the Gotham creators can still shop their show to syndicators and cable channels. The Fox, WB and Netflix nexus leverages streaming services with traditional television revenues, spreading the risk into a global marketplace that increasingly is embracing subscription-based, video on demand services. The studios also are betting that the crossover audience from Netflix to Fox will boost TV ratings. It was not immediately clear how much Netflix paid Warners for the distribution rights to Gotham. The company reportedly paid Sony $2 million per episode to distribute the NBC hit TV drama, The Blacklist.

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Netflix Sides With Government-Run Broadband Providers

September 3, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Netflix filed a startling comment with the FCC today: the company wants the Telecommunications Act amended to allow for "a pro-consumer policy of limitless bandwidth," or to put it plainly, so government-run broadband providers can exceed limits set by the law. The company is echoing FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler's post from June on the FCC blog, in which Wheeler said with surprising candor that phone and cable companies "chose to delay improvements in broadband service to the Chattanooga area market." If Chattanooga seems tangential to debates that are going on in Washington, D.C. and Silicon Valley, it's worth noting that the city does something unusual: it runs the broadband service available in its area. As the city's power authority says on its website, "Only in Chattanooga, Tennessee is 1 Gigabit-per-second Internet speed available to every home and business—over 150,000 of them—throughout the entire community." Why is it doing this? Well, to attract businesses—the city's unemployment rate is 7.7 percent, well above the 6.2 percent national average—and to improve its network infrastructure, which previously had been served by a cobbled-together union of T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T's more interpid broadband arms. Nobody wanted to build the pipe necessary to fix the place up all the way out into rural Tennessee, so the city took on the task. "Federal preemption is appropriate when state laws unduly interfere with municipal broadband," said Netflix, in its comments on the petition to overturn the Tennessee law. It remains to be seen whether the FCC will agree but Wheeler has been dinged more than once as too soft on the cable industry and overturning these local laws would be a major blow to industry stalwarts like AT&T.

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Fox’s ‘Gotham’ Goes to Netflix After First Season

September 3, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Warner Bros. will deliver the upcoming Fox drama series “Gotham” to Netflix worldwide after its first season, the companies announced Tuesday. The pact is unusual because the series has yet to air an episode. But Netflix proved its willing to take risks for what it perceives to be top-shelf content, as evidenced by the streaming... Read more

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Jim Parsons Hits the Stratosphere

September 1, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Honestly, if this keeps up, they’re just going to have to rename the Emmy Award for Lead Actor in a Comedy the Jim Parsons Award. Last week, the 41-year-old won the prize for a fourth time for his role as Sheldon Cooper, main character on CBS’ The Big Bang Theory . It was a busy August for Parsons. Two weeks earlier, he and his cast mates Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting signed a three-year deal with the show for $1 million per episode each, and more than one observer suggested CBS should be happy to pay so little. (Big Bang returns for Season 8 on Sept. 22.) Jim Parsons was photographed Aug. 27 by Randall Slavin on the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles. Parsons in particular is worth it. The sitcom is the most-watched show on broadcast, averaging a 6.2 rating in the dollar demo (the next-most popular show gets a 4.4). It’s also an incredibly valuable rerun, bringing in $2 million per episode for studio Warner Bros. Domestic TV. In many ways, it’s the swan song of the multicamera, laugh-track comedy era, with Parsons’ Sheldon at its center. Parsons, an accomplished stage actor, took time between seasons to play Tommy Boatwright in a revival of Larry Kramer’s groundbreaking autobiographical play about the AIDS crisis, The Normal Heart, in 2011, and then again in 2013 to reprise the role for Ryan Murphy’s adaptation for HBO . Over the phone, Parsons is warm and deferential, discussing his career successes the way you’d talk about finding a $50 bill on the ground. But it’s clear after a moment or two of conversation that he’s also a guy who takes nothing for granted. Adweek: You started your career on the stage, and you’ve come back to New York to work in The Normal Heart on Broadway in between seasons. Do you miss that part of your career? Parsons: Yes, without a doubt

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Canada Getting New Video Streaming Service

August 26, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Two of Canada’s largest cable television companies are putting their differences aside and joining forces to launch a new video streaming service as the industry responds in kind to competition from online players such as Netflix. The new service, called shomi (pronounced: show me), will debut in November at a suggested retail price of $8.99 (Canadian) a month. It will be available on tablet, mobile, online, Xbox 360 and set top boxes, to Rogers and Shaw Internet and television customers. Shomi will feature prior seasons of popular television shows, as well as iconic series from the past, cult classics and fan favorite films, the two companies said in a statement. At launch, the shomi catalog will contain 11,000 hours of television shows and 1,200 movies; 30 percent of the content will be Canadian. Shomi has exclusive past-season streaming rights to a number of popular titles, including Modern Family, Sons of Anarchy, Sleepy Hollow, Vikings, New Girl, 24: Live Another Day, Chicago Fire, The Strain and American Horror Story. "We've taken the time to talk with Canadians to find out what they want and to create an unbelievable user experience," said Rogers Media president Keith Pelley. "They told us loud and clear—they want all the past seasons of the most popular, current TV shows and they want it to be easy. Shomi takes the guesswork out of finding what to watch, acting like a new-age video clerk serving up all the best content based on individual viewing habits." Netflix in particular will prove to be a formidable competitor. Although the company does not disclose how many Canadian customers it has, estimates range as high as 5.8 million. However, there’s one point in shomi’s favor: Netflix Canada’s content is considered inferior to the content available in the United States, a weakness the programmers at shomi could exploit.

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Canada Getting New Video Streaming Service

August 26, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Two of Canada’s largest cable television companies are putting their differences aside and joining forces to launch a new video streaming service as the industry responds in kind to competition from online players such as Netflix. The new service, called shomi (pronounced: show me), will debut in November at a suggested retail price of $8.99 (Canadian) a month. It will be available on tablet, mobile, online, Xbox 360 and set top boxes, to Rogers and Shaw Internet and television customers. Shomi will feature prior seasons of popular television shows, as well as iconic series from the past, cult classics and fan favorite films, the two companies said in a statement. At launch, the shomi catalog will contain 11,000 hours of television shows and 1,200 movies; 30 percent of the content will be Canadian. Shomi has exclusive past-season streaming rights to a number of popular titles, including Modern Family, Sons of Anarchy, Sleepy Hollow, Vikings, New Girl, 24: Live Another Day, Chicago Fire, The Strain and American Horror Story. "We've taken the time to talk with Canadians to find out what they want and to create an unbelievable user experience," said Rogers Media president Keith Pelley. "They told us loud and clear—they want all the past seasons of the most popular, current TV shows and they want it to be easy. Shomi takes the guesswork out of finding what to watch, acting like a new-age video clerk serving up all the best content based on individual viewing habits." Netflix in particular will prove to be a formidable competitor. Although the company does not disclose how many Canadian customers it has, estimates range as high as 5.8 million. However, there’s one point in shomi’s favor: Netflix Canada’s content is considered inferior to the content available in the United States, a weakness the programmers at shomi could exploit.

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