What Amazon Has Been Up To This Week

Read original story on: VentureBeat

It’s only Tuesday, but Amazon has already unveiled a trifecta of new services with one-hour delivery in NYC, 4K Streaming for Amazon Instant, and a new price-negotiation feature.

  • Trialing now in New York City, Amazon Prime Now uses bike messengers to deliver Amazon-ordered packages within an hour, helping the ecommerce giant better compete with brick-and-mortar stores, as well other instant-delivery services.
  • Amazon Instant has started offering 4K or Ultra HD resolution for a limited number of movies and TV titles to its Prime members at no extra charge. Similarly, fellow streaming service Netflix also has offered 4K streaming, but for a $3 monthly markup.
  • Amazon is taking a leaf out of eBay’s playbook by introducing a new “Make an Offer” feature that lets consumers negotiate prices with sellers. Right now this feature is limited to categories only—namely Sports & Entertainment Collectibles, Collectible Coins, and Fine Art, and is entirely opt-in from the merchant’s side—so don’t expect Amazon to turn into a haggle-friendly bazaar just yet.

Walmart To Challenge Chromecast and Roku with Vudu

Read original story on: The Verge

Walmart is ready to compete with the likes of Chromecast and Roku in the increasingly saturated market of streaming dongles. The “Vudu Spark” will be launched this coming holiday season to help push Vudu—the Walmart-owned video streaming service—and Vudu only, into more living rooms. With such limited functionality, the massive retailer may need to set a competitive price to be a true contender.


Theater Play To Be Broadcast Live Online

Read original story on: THR

A theater production called The Noir Series running this weekend in Los Angeles has managed to be both a stage play and live Internet TV: tickets are available to see the show in person while special “online viewing tickets” for live streaming are also available. It’s an interesting twist on companies such as BroadwayHD and Broadway Near You that have been working to bring hit Broadway shows to movie screens around the world. These dual models could potentially open up new revenue streams for the struggling theater business.


On Trend: Music Streaming Growing Strong Despite Swift Boycott

One of the biggest stories in media this week has been Taylor Swift abruptly removing all her back catalogue from Spotify, sparking debate on the monetization strategy and shifting audience behavior of today’s music industry. Some artists have voiced their support for Swift’s decision and criticized the unfair compensation granted by streaming services.

Although Swift’s current popularity may let her defy media consumption trends, the move from ownership to subscribed access seems all but inevitable, as Spotify royalties have reportedly overtaken iTunes earnings by 13% in Europe.

Impressive as that sounds, Spotify still got beaten by Pandora in App Annie’s new Music App Index report released today, which ranked the latter as No. 1 among music apps for most downloads and monthly revenue with a reported $100 million in mobile ad revenue for the recent quarter.

Both services, however, might need to watch out for SoundCloud, an up-and-coming challenger who just signed a licensing deal with Warner Music Group. In an effort to alleviate the tension between musicians and digital music services, the deal mandates that Warner artists will get paid when all versions of their music, including the D.J. remixes and fanmade mash-ups, are played on SoundCloud.

All in all, one could say that music streaming services are taking the “breakup” with Taylor Swift pretty well.

London Zoo’s Now Using Leftover TV Signals To Livestream Cute Animals

The Zoological Society of London has teamed up with Google to use TV white spaces (vacant frequencies in the TV spectrum) to livestream footage of selected zoo animals on YouTube. The main aim of the trial is to figure out how white space transmissions could be used by conservationists out in the field. If successful, dormant spectrum could be used to provide Internet connectivity in hard-to-serve locations.

GoPro Cameras Now Support Real-Time Broadcasting

With the help of Livestream iOS app, proud owners of GoPro cameras can now broadcast their adrenaline-pumping shenanigans over WiFi or 4G connections in real time. The live-streamed video quality won’t be what you usually expect from a professional HD camera like GoPro, but it does open up new opportunities in experience sharing and news reporting while serving as a potent marketing tool.

Roku: 10 Million Sold; Most Popular Streaming Device

Roku announced today that it has sold 10 million of its set-top boxes in the United States, claiming itself as “the most popular choice among streaming players”. Launched in May 2008, Roku caught the rising tide of OTT market and has been standing strong against a tsunami of formidable competitors, including Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Google Chromecast. Seeking to expand its revenue stream, Roku has even teamed up with manufacturers to produce TV sets with built-in Roku service.

Why Piracy Surges In Times Of Sudden Demand

Since the sad news of Robin Williams’ untimely death broke, the Internet has been coping in its own ways. Amazon has seen a sharp rise in sales of DVD titles featuring the nationally beloved comedian. More interestingly, however, a large portion of the grieving Internet has turned to piracy in honor of the late Academy Award winner, highlighting how digital media can meet sudden spikes of demand. 

Yahoo Acquires Streaming Platform RayV

Following rumors that surfaced back in May, Yahoo has officially acquired RayV, a Cali-based video streaming start-up that specializes in delivering high-quality video streams to a large audience. It makes sense for Yahoo to acquire RayV’s HD broadcasting platform with the aim of improving its streaming tech. After all, competition in current OTT video market is already quite fierce, and Yahoo would need more than a new season of cult favorite Community to help establish Yahoo Screen’s market awareness and presence.

Verizon Strikes Back At Netflix Over Streaming Congestion

In the on-going feud between OTT content providers and Internet service providers over who is responsible for low streaming speed, the ISPs — oft-reviled cable and telephone companies — make convenient villains. But after receiving a public shaming from Netflix, Verizon has decided to point the finger right back at the dominating streaming service. It accuses Netflix for “purposely select congested routes”, which Netflix has denied, so as to manipulate the ISPs to cover the cost of upgrading their infrastructure, while essentially blaming the humongous Internet traffic caused by Netflix on its vast popularity.

But taking a step back, it’s easy to see the bottom-line here: congestion at the interconnection point is in fact controlled by ISPs like Verizon. And if the customers are paying the their ISPs monthly to stream Netflix at a decent speed, then no other excuses would be valid for ISPs to jettison that responsibility. Maybe the ISPs are conveniently villainous for good reasons after all.