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AT&Ts low-cost TV streaming service WatchTV goes live

Charmaine Blake

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AT&T’s newly announced WatchTV, a low-cost live TV streaming service announced in the wake of the AT&T / Time Warner merger, is now up and running. The company already has one over-the-top streaming service with DirecTV Now, but this one is cheaper, has some restrictions and doesn’t include local channels or sports (to keep costs down).

At $15 per month, the service undercuts the existing low-cost leader Philo by a dollar, but offers a different lineup (Fomopop has a nice channel-by-channel comparison between the two, if you’re in the market).

Both have 25 of the same channels in their packages, including A&E, AMC, Comedy Central, Food Network, Discovery, HGTV, History and others, but AT&T WatchTV is missing MTV, Nickelodeon and Travel Channel.

In total, WatchTV has more than 30 live TV channels, plus 15,000+ TV  shows and movies on demand, and allows you to subscribe by way of updated AT&T Wireless plans. Non-AT&T customers can subscribe for $15 per month directly.

AT&T has been monkeying around with its wireless plans to best take advantage of its Time Warner acquisition. With the new unlimited plans, it removed the previously free HBO perk and raised the entry-level plan by $5 per month, Ars Technica reported, detailing the changes that coincided with the launch of WatchTV. (Existing customers were grandfathered in to free HBO.)

Instead, wireless customers on the top-tier AT&T Unlimited & More Premium plan can choose to add on another option — like HBO — for free. Other services they can opt for instead include Showtime, Starz, Amazon Music Unlimited, Pandora Premium and VRV.

The company also quietly raised its “administrative fee” for postpaid wireless customers from $0.76 to $1.99 per month, Ars noted as well, citing BTIG Research. This will bring in $800 million of incremental service revenue per year, the analyst firm said.

Despite the price hikes and valid concerns over AT&T’s behavior, there’s likely going to be a market for this low-cost live TV service. The company’s DirecTV Now streaming service, launched in December 2016, reached 1.46 million subscribers in April. It’s catching up to longtime leader, Dish’s Sling TV, which debuted at……”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/29/atts-low-cost-tv-streaming-service-watch-tv-goes-live/

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New Movie Tech

Roku expands its free streaming channel with entertainment and live sports

Charmaine Blake

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“Roku’s ad-supported free streaming channel is expanding. No, not to more platforms — it already did that. But rather, it’s expanding its content lineup. While before the channel offered free-to-stream movies and news, it will now feature live and linear sports and entertainment content, the company says.

As of earlier this year, The Roku Channel added live news from ABC News, Cheddar, Newsmax, Newsy, People TV, Yahoo and, most recently, The Young Turks, from the TYT Network.

It will now add entertainment content from partners including TMZ, AFV, FailArmy, People Are Awesome, Pet Collective and more. As with the channel’s other offerings, none of these streams will require a subscription.

Meanwhile, the channel will also begin to stream live sporting events from the Adventure Sports Network, COMBT GO, EDGEsport, Stadium and Wham Network, among others.

The additions come on the heels of Roku’s Q3 earnings, which saw the company beat Wall Street expectations on hardware, but saw platform revenue falling short — causing the stock to drop.

The company has been trying to move beyond being only a hardware device maker selling TVs and streaming players, to grow its platform business and advertising revenues. A key part of that strategy is The Roku Channel, which opens up Roku’s platform to a wider audience, and allows the company to sell ads against content.

The plan may work in the long run, but it’s taking time to ramp up, it seems.

However, Roku did report a growing user base with 23.8 million active users, streaming 6.2 billion hours in the quarter. That was ahead of expectations of 23.1 million users and 5.8 billion hours.”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/11/08/roku-expands-its-free-streaming-channel-with-entertainment-and-live-sports/

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Disney to invest in more original content for Hulu & expand service internationally

Charmaine Blake

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“In addition to plans to launch its own Netflix rival, Disney+, next year, the company says it also plans to increase investment in its other streaming service, Hulu. Thanks to its buyout of 21st Century Fox, Disney now own 60 percent of the TV streaming service, which it gives it “considerable say” in how Hulu is run, noted Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger on this week’s earnings call with investors. He said the plan now is to invest in more original content for Hulu and expand the service internationally.

Disney would also be open to acquiring more of a stake in Hulu, the CEO later said.

Disney sees the value in both Hulu’s IP and talent, particularly on the television and movies side, Iger told investors. And it plans to use the television production capabilities of the now-combined company to “fuel Hulu with a lot more original programming,” he added. This, Disney believes, will help make Hulu more competitive in the marketplace…………………………………..”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/11/09/disney-to-invest-in-more-original-content-for-hulu-expand-service-internationally/

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Hulu adds Starz to its premium add-ons

Charmaine Blake

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“Following news of Hulu’s plans to move towards skinnier bundles, including those consisting of premium add-ons, the streaming service this morning announced the addition of Starz to its service. The Starz premium add-on will be available across all tiers of Hulu’s service, including its Limited Commercials and No Commercials plans, as well as its Live TV service.

It costs an extra $8.99 per month – the same price it sells for on rival services, like Amazon’s Prime Video Channels, for example.

This is the fourth premium add-on to come to Hulu, and the most affordable, following HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax, which cost $14.99/month, $10.99/month, and $9.99/month, respectively. Hulu, so far, has been surprisingly slow to roll out a customizable set of add-on subscriptions for those who want access to premium entertainment or sports programming.

Meanwhile, rival live TV service YouTube TV offers the NBA League Pass, Fox Soccer Plus, Curiosity Stream, Showtime, Starz, AMC Premiere, Shudder, and Sundance Now. Sling TV breaks up its extras into bundles customers can pick and choose from, and AT&T’s DirecTV Now offers programming tiers with optional add-ons, too……………………………….”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/10/23/hulu-adds-starz-to-its-premium-add-ons/

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