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Rokus free, ad-supported streaming channel is now live on the web

Charmaine Blake

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“Roku is today bringing its free, streaming entertainment destination, The Roku Channel, to non-Roku devices for the first time, with a launch on both the web and on select Samsung smart TVs, ahead of a wider cross-platform rollout. The channel, which offers free, ad-supported movies and TV shows, will be available across PCs, mobile phones and tablets, the company says. In addition, Roku is updating the navigation on its own devices, including Roku players and Roku TVs, to include a new feature called “Featured Free,” which will directly point users to free content from The Roku Channel, as well as other apps, like ABC, The CW, CW Seed, Fox, Freeform, Pluto TV, Sony Crackle, Tubi and more.

The Roku Channel first launched last September, as a way for Roku to differentiate its connected media devices and TVs running Roku software from rivals like Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Chromecast.

Despite Roku’s popularity — it’s leading the internet video streaming device market — the company hadn’t really used its platform to promote its own content — the way Amazon pushes Prime Video shows on Fire TV owners, for example — until then.

The channel itself is populated with movies that Roku gained access to through licensing deals with studios like Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Brothers. However, it also leveraged Roku’s strength as…………………..”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/08/08/rokus-free-ad-supported-streaming-channel-is-now-live-on-the-web/

New Movie Tech

YouTube quietly added free, ad-supported movies to its site

Charmaine Blake

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“YouTube quietly added around 100 ad-supported Hollywood movies to its site, beginning last month, according to a new report from AdAge. The titles include a mix of classics like “Rocky” and “The Terminator,” as well as other family fare like “Zookeeper,” “Agent Cody Banks,” and “Legally Blonde,” among others.

Before, YouTube had only offered consumers the ability to purchase movies and TV shows, similar to how you can rent or buy content from Apple’s iTunes or Amazon Video.

Currently, YouTube is serving ads on these free movies, but the report said the company is open to working out other deals with advertisers – like sponsorships or exclusive screenings.

YouTube’s advantage in this space, compared with some others, is its sizable user base of 1.9 billion monthly active users and its ability to target ads using data from Google .

The addition of a an ad-supported movies marketplace on YouTube follows Roku’s entry into this market, which began last year with the launch of its free collection of movies, called The Roku Channel.

This year, Roku has been expanding the type of content on that channel to also include things like live news from ABC News, Cheddar, Newsmax, Newsy, People TV, Yahoo and The Young Turks, and – more recently – entertainment and live sports. 

Walmart also offers its own free movies collection through Vudu, and recently teamed up with MGM on original content for the service. Tubi operates a streaming service with free, ad-supported content, too. And Amazon is rumored to be working on something similar.”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/11/16/youtube-quietly-added-free-ad-supported-movies-to-its-site/

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New Movie Tech

Apple partners with A24, the studio behind Moonlight and Hereditary

Charmaine Blake

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“Apple has signed a multi-year agreement with A24, which will see the film studio producing multiple movies for Apple.

Not much else is known about the deal yet — not the number of films, their genres or the talent involved. Still, the deal suggests that Apple is going to be investing seriously in original films, along with TV shows.

Over the past year or so, Apple’s been releasing a steady drumbeat of content announcements, for shows like an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” novels, a drama set in the world of morning TV starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon and a series from “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle. What’s less clear is how Apple plans to distribute theses shows and movies, though there have been reports that it will give the content away for free to people who own iOS and tvOS devices.

A24, meanwhile, is a relatively new studio launched in 2012. It’s quickly established itself as a home for critically acclaimed films like “Moonlight” (winner of the Oscar for Best Picture) and “Lady Bird.” It’s also released some of the best science fiction and horror movies of the past few years, including “Ex Machina,” “The Lobster” and “Hereditary” (which gave me nightmares for a solid week).

The studio’s films have had a significant presence on streaming, thanks to an early, exclusive deal with Amazon Prime, but A24 has also had success in theaters — particularly noteworthy at a time when ambitious, original films seem increasingly likely to premiere on services like Netflix. In fact, Variety notes that this year has been A24’s most financially successful yet, thanks in large part to ‘Hereditary.'”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/11/15/apple-a24/

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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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