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Digital Content

Streaming & New Media Updates

Contact the editor at karina@plainlanguagemedia.com

NBCUniversal is launching a new in-house streaming service in early 2020. Similar to Hulu’s service, there will be a mix of ad-supported and free tiers—and the ad-supported tier will be available free to all 52 million subscribers of Comcast and European broadcaster Sky. However, unlike Disney’s new service launching this year (Disney+), NBCUniversal will continue to license its content to other studios and platforms.

Speaking of Hulu, Disney lost an estimated $580 million in the last fiscal year from its 30% stake in the streaming media business—for a total loss of over $1 billion attributable to streaming. The House of Mouse will soon own another 30% of Hulu once its buyout of 21st Century Fox is completed.

Endeavor launches Endeavor Streaming, the banner for its video streaming products and services. Endeavor Streaming will continue servicing the NFL, NBA, UFC, and Euroleague as well as new clients that include WWE and their WWE Network, U.K.-based BT and their new service, BT Sport Box Office; and OSN, the Middle East and North Africa’s leading entertainment network.

Sinclair Broadcast Group launches 24/7 ad-supported streaming service Stirr. The service offers location-based content as well as 20 national networks—Cheddar, Buzzr, and Dove Channel among them—with plans to carry over 50 nets by the end of 2019.

CBS Films will be folded into CBS Entertainment Group over the next 12 months. While CBS will release the four scheduled films on its slate, it will shift toward finding content for its streaming services.

Imagine Kids & Family, the recently formed division under Imagine Entertainment and Meredith Corp.’s in-house television production company, Four M Studios, partner to develop premium children’s television programming from the archives of LIFE magazine.

Netflix adds 8.8 million subscribers in Q4 2018 for a total of 139 million streaming members worldwide—up from last year, when it had 58.4 million U.S. customers as of the end of Q3 2018 and 137.1 million globally. In a letter to investors, the streamer cited Fortnite as its biggest competitor—and claimed that it is now responsible for 10% of total U.S. TV screen time, or 100 million hours per day. Netflix is expected to release 90 movies this year.

With the increase in viewership, Netflix bumps up its rates. Its Standard tier jumping to $12.99 in price, Ultra HD to $15.99, and Basic plan to $8.99 (for the first time). The increases will first impact first-time, U.S. subscribers, but will eventually be enforced across the board. Netflix reported negative cash flow of $3 billion for 2018, thanks to estimated gross content costs of $13 billion.

New research from The Diffusion Group finds that while subscriber reaction to Netflix’s recent price increase varies relative to degree, even minor variations may have significant implications. At $1 more per month, 16% of subscribers are likely to either downgrade to a lower tier or cancel.

In South Korea, Netflix and other western streamers are facing ramped up competition from the country’s three major local broadcasters—KBS, MBC, and SBS—who have partnered with telecom firm SK Telecom to launch a new video steaming platform. Launching in Southeast Asia later this year, the platform boasts an original content budget of $8.9 million (KRW10 billion). The three broadcasters already jointly own another streamer with 3.7 million subscribers and SK Broadband operates Oksusu, the country’s largest video streaming service, with some 9.5 million subscribers.

Collectables and trading card company Panini partners with esports outfit compLexity Gaming to develop multiple projects including a Panini Twitch channel. The companies will work to engage fans from both esports and traditional sports through original content collaborations, onsite activations, and collectible memorabilia. Complexity influencers and streamers from Madden, Fortnite, card games, and other gaming communities, will stream on the official Panini Twitch channel, alongside a dedicated monthly YouTube video, and social media posts.

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