Netflix has officially raised the monthly price of membership for new members, who will now have to fork over $9 a month. That’s a dollar more than the $8 price point the company has charged for several years. If you’re an existing Netflix subscriber, you don’t have to worry; the company has promised your monthly fee won’t go up for two years. Netflix says the price increase was needed to continue adding more movies and TV shows and delivering a great streaming experience. The move comes shortly after Netflix signed expensive deals with Comcast and Verizon to provide faster and more reliable access for its customers. While the improved speeds were a costly move for Netflix, the effects can already be seen. Since signing the deal with Comcast at the end of February, Netflix’s streaming speeds on Comcast have improved by 60 percent. No one likes price increases, but existing Netflix subscribers don’t have to worry yet – they can rest comfortably for the next two years and still enjoy a better streaming experience.
Apple has a new trick up its sleeve as it tries to launch a long-awaited television service: technology that allows viewers to skip commercials and that pays media companies for the skipped views. For more than a year, Apple has been seeking rights from cable companies and television networks for a service that would allow users to watch live and on-demand television over an Apple set-top box or TV. Talks have been slow and proceeding in fits and starts, but things seem to be heating up. In recent discussions, Apple told media executives it wants to offer a “premium” version of the service that would allow users to skip ads and would compensate television networks for the lost revenue, according to people briefed on the conversations. Consumers, of course, are already accustomed to fast-forwarding through commercials on their DVRs, and how Apple’s technology differs is unclear.
Read the full story at JessicaLessin.com.
Google has approached media companies about licensing their content for an Internet TV service that would stream traditional TV programming, people familiar with the matter say. If the Web giant goes ahead with the idea, it would join several other companies planning to offer such “over-the-top” services, delivering cable TV-style packages of channels over broadband connections. Chip company Intel and Sony are both working on similar offerings, while Apple has pitched various TV licensing ideas to media companies in the past couple of years. If launched, the Internet TV services could have major implications for the traditional TV ecosystem, creating new competition for pay TV operators that are already struggling to retain video subscribers. Existing online video players like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon offer on-demand TV, but the latest efforts are aimed at offering conventional channels, allowing consumers to flip through channels just as they would on cable.
Read the full story at the Wall Street Journal.
After several months of testing within the industry, Nielsen is finally ready to reveal its efforts to bake mobile viewing habits into its TV ratings system. In a wider roll-out of what the company already monitors, it’ll launch an SDK for participating broadcasters in mid-November that will encompass both old-fashioned screens and those not-so-new upstarts (including DVRs, internet-connected TVs, tablets, smartphones and browsers). To work out which stream is being watched where, Nielsen will parse together “big data and a census-style measurement approach.” This will apparently match demographic information through social networks, mentioning Facebook explicitly – the ratings monitor is already involved with Twitter. It’ll also know exactly which device viewers are watching content on thanks to “audio watermarks, metadata or tags associated with the content and related advertising.”
Read the full story at Engadget.