Twitter And Sling TV Venture Into Conversational Interfaces

What Happened
Twitter and Sling TV are expanding the ways users can interact with their services as they add support for voice-activated digital assistants. Twitter developed an Alexa Skill that leverages Amazon’s voice assistant service to let users hear trending topics, top tweets, notifications, and more. Sling TV has integrated with Cortana, Microsoft’s voice assistant service, on Windows 10 devices to allow users to search for specific shows or channels via voice commands.

What Brands Need To Do
Conversational interfaces have been gaining traction and voice-based interfaces in particular are changing the way consumers interact with their gadgets, creating a new paradigm for human-computer interaction. Therefore, brands should take a cue from Twitter and Sling TV and start exploring how to integrate your brand’s service into this type of interface.

For more information on how brands can take advantage of the rise of conversational interfaces, please check out the Conversational Interfaces section in our Outlook 2016.


Sources: Tech Times & Engadget

New Chromecast To Support Spotify, Sling TV, And More

What Happened
Google announced yesterday that the new Chromecast 2 will have native support for a slew of popular streaming services including Showtime, Sling TV, NBA, and NHL. Google also introduced Chromecast Audio that connects speakers to Wi-Fi for wireless audio streaming from services like Spotify. The Chromecast Android app also received a major update that added features like content discovery, multiple device control, and a more comprehensive video search tool, vastly improving the user experience.

What Brands Need To Do
So far, Google has reportedly sold an impressive 20 million units of the original Chromecast, which helps users enjoy a living-room viewing experience powered by mobile devices and laptops. All brands that have video content should consider adding support for Chromecast in their branded apps. For media owners that have content apps that already support Chromecast, this upgrade brings some new opportunities in increased audience reach and improved content discovery, and content owners need to make efforts to ensure the consistency and quality of viewing experience as viewers consume content on bigger TV screens.


Source: TechCrunch

On Trend: TV Streaming Market Continues To Expand And Fragment

Three significant new developments emerged in the OTT market this past week as the TV landscape continues to evolve.

  1. Sling TV is coming to Android TV after Dish Network struck a deal with Google. As part of the agreement, Sling TV will offer new customers 50% off Nexus Player devices when they pre-pay for three months’ subscription.
  2. Netflix confirmed a new user interface on the web is rolling out next month. The new UI is said to be closer to what Netflix has been offering on mobile devices, which eliminates the slow scrolling carousels for content discovery in favor of larger, expandable thumbnails.
  3. Meanwhile, Comcast finally added support for HBO GO And Showtime Anytime for its Xfinity customers, after purposefully blocking the two premium channel’s streaming apps for years. However, the unlocked services will only work on Amazon’s Fire TV devices for now.

Taken together, these three news items not only prove the fragmenting effect OTT services have on the traditional sector of the TV business, but also points to the complexity within its own ecosystem. As TV content continues to move away from cable companies’ control towards web-based streaming services, brands would be wise to follow where the eyeballs are going.



The Growing Pains Of Web-Based TV

Web-based live TV might have finally arrived, but it’s still got a long way to go to achieve the reliability of cable, especially during big events. Last Saturday night, Dish’s over-the-top streaming service Sling TV suffered outages during the March Madness Final Four match ups: around one thousand users reported choppy live streams during the broadcast. Earlier today, Sling TV apologized for underestimating the heavy live streaming demand, and blamed the issues on a classic humblebrag of “extreme sign-ups and streaming.”

According to Sling’s CEO Roger Lynch, the problem only affected “a fraction” of its user base. Still, this seems a bit disconcerting for the cord-cutters. TV Networks providing programming content to Sling TV have also reportedly limited the number of subscribers it can sign up to two million in the US, which could further stall the growth of web-based TV. Overall, streaming providers will need to find a way to work with content delivery networks and Internet service providers in order to overcome growing pains.

Sling TV To Get HBO Thru Dish-Turner Deal

Read original article on: TechCrunch

In an interesting turn of events, it looks like Apple TV’s claimed exclusivity on the standalone HBO streaming service is over before it started. As part of a Dish and Turner distribution deal, Sling TV, the new over-the-top TV service Dish launched at CES this year, announced today that it will offer HBO’s on-demand content starting on April 12, just in time for the season premiere of HBO’s hit series “Games of Thrones. The new HBO add-on will cost Sling users $15 per month – the same price that Apple TV got for carrying HBO NOW. Steadily gaining traction since its launch, this might just be the big push that Sling TV needs to compete.