Архив метки: TV

Mark Cuban-backed streaming app Fireside acquires Stremium to bring live, interactive shows to your TV

Mark Cuban-backed streaming app Fireside, which today offers podcasters and other creators a way to host interactive, live shows with audience engagement, will soon expand to the TV’s big screen. Variety reported, and Fireside confirmed, it’s acquired the open streaming TV platform Stremium, which will allow Fireside’s shows to become available to a range of connected TV devices, including Amazon Fire TV, Roku, smart TVs and others.
Deal terms were not disclosed. Cuban retweeted Variety’s reporting but made no other public comment.
A company spokesperson confirmed the deal to TechCrunch, noting it was for a combination of IP and talent.
“Fireside has acquired all of Stremium including its full team and intellectual property,” the spokesperson said. “The company is the first interactive web3 streaming platform and the acquisition will help Fireside accelerate delivering on being the only platform that turns creators, celebrities, brands, and IP owners into the studio, networks, and streaming services of the future. Expect other major announcements coming soon on this front,” they added.
Launched just over a year ago, Fireside arrived on the heels of the pandemic-fueled demand for startups offering live entertainment as well as a growing number of startups catering to the creator economy.
Despite some early — and erroneous — comparisons between Fireside and other live audio platforms like Twitter Spaces or Clubhouse, the startup gained traction due to a differentiated feature set that also prioritizes video content. Shows on Fireside’s platform could be streamed live to its app, recorded, saved, or even simulcast to other social networks. The app additionally includes audience engagement tools and other features to aid creators with promotion, editing, measurement, distribution, monetization, and audience growth, all of which are part of Fireside’s end-to-end content production experience. More recently, the company had been exploring web3 technologies, including NFTs.
Co-founded by Cuban, early Yammer employee Mike Ihbe, and former Googler, YouTuber and Node co-founder Falon Fatemi, who sold her last company to SugarCRM, Fireside has managed to attract some high-profile creators like Jay Leno, Michael Dell, Melissa Rivers, Craig Kilborn, and screenwriter and Entourage creator Doug Ellin over the past year.
In a letter to Fireside investors published by Variety, Fatemi shared that the Stremium acquisition would help Fireside to offer a “second screen experience where the audience can use their phones to engage and interact in real-time while watching on their TVs.”
“Imagine watching a live cookalong show with your favorite chef simultaneously on your TV and your phone where you can interact and get invited to talk directly to them and even show them what you are cooking from the palm of your hand,” Fatemi explained. Plus, Stremium’s infrastructure would allow creators to upload, publish, program and distribute their live shows across both mobile and TV, she added. (Stremium confirmed to us the letter’s accuracy.)
TechCrunch this February reported Fireside was in talks to raise a $25 million Series A that valued its business at $125 million. That round has since closed, but Fireside hasn’t yet made a formal announcement about raise, investors, or its valuation. We understand this may be because Fireside is still adding some additional strategic investors to the deal, and it plans to detail the fundraise soon. Of course, the funding may have helped pave the way for Fireside to make this new acquisition.
Other investors in Fireside include the Chainsmokers, HBSE, Goodwater, Animal Capital, and NFL stars Larry Fitzgerald and Kelvin Beachum and former NBA star Baron Davis, in addition to Cuban. Ahead of its Series A, Fireside had raised around $8 million.
Stremium had been developing a service that allowed consumers to aggregate all their favorite channels using their “TV Everywhere” credentials and use a cloud DVR instead of downloading separate streaming apps. It also included a selection of free streaming channels. But the service faced an increasingly competitive landscape where there are now numerous ways to watch free streaming content, like Tubi, Pluto TV, The Roku Chanel, Freevee (formerly IMDb TV), Plex, and more. Meanwhile, cord-cutting is accelerating leaving fewer people with cable TV logins for Stremium to market its services to.
The Stremium website is now pointing visitors to Fireside and confirms the acquisition. Fireside is aiming to release its TV product sometime next year as a result of the deal.
Mark Cuban-backed streaming app Fireside acquires Stremium to bring live, interactive shows to your TV by Sarah Perez originally published on TechCrunch
Mark Cuban-backed streaming app Fireside acquires Stremium to bring live, interactive shows to your TV

Chris Rock is set to be the first to perform live on Netflix

After Netflix’s historic launch of an ad-supported tier, a very unexpected move from the streamer, Netflix will make history again with its first-ever livestreaming event starring comedian Chris Rock. The company announced on Thursday that Rock’s live comedy special is set to stream in early 2023, with more details to be announced later.
“Chris Rock is one of the most iconic and important comedic voices of our generation,” Robbie Praw, Netflix vice president of Stand-up and Comedy Formats, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled the entire world will be able to experience a live Chris Rock comedy event and be a part of Netflix history. This will be an unforgettable moment, and we’re so honored that Chris is carrying this torch.”
Netflix confirmed in May that it would roll out a livestreaming capability. The company said it would focus on unscripted content, competition shows, reality reunion specials, live comedy shows and a future “Netflix is a Joke” festival.
Rock is an easy choice for the streamer as he will likely draw in thousands, if not millions, of viewers. This will be his seventh stand-up special overall and his second Netflix special after “Tamborine” premiered in 2018. He also made an appearance at the 2022 “Netflix is a Joke” festival.
Plus, many people will want to tune into Rock’s live comedy special to hear all the Will Smith-related gossip. Rock has yet to talk about the Oscars slap incident with Smith. During a show in London, the comedian told the audience, “People expect me to talk about the bull****, I’m not going to talk about it right now. I’ll get to it eventually, on Netflix,” Deadline reported.

Netflix subscribers may be getting a livestreaming option for unscripted shows and stand-up specials

However, livestreaming tech is complex and typically more unreliable than video-on-demand. A few months ago, many live TV apps crashed across the sports streaming space. If Netflix’s first test with Chris Rock goes well, it will potentially clear the way for dozens of Netflix titles to get the live treatment.
Netflix will also get to compete head-to-head with other live TV streaming services. Most recently, Disney+ had its first-ever live TV show when it debuted Season 31 of “Dancing with the Stars.” While Disney+ didn’t experience any major crashes, there were still reports of the app crashing as well as minor delays and lags.
Now that Netflix has ads and eventually livestreaming, it’s a no-brainer that Netflix should invest in live sports next. Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the streaming giant is “warming up to the idea” of live sports coming to the platform.

Netflix is not yet considering live sports — but here’s why it should

Chris Rock is set to be the first to perform live on Netflix by Lauren Forristal originally published on TechCrunch
Chris Rock is set to be the first to perform live on Netflix

Peacock adds live TV from all local NBC stations to its Premium Plus tier

Peacock announced that on November 30, its Premium Plus subscribers will get 24/7 access to their local NBC station in all of NBC’s 210 markets, including live TV programming like local news, sports, weather and entertainment.
Subscribers will soon be able to livestream popular programs like “The TODAY Show,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Saturday Night Live” without paying for cable. As part of yesterday’s soft launch, some Premium Plus subscribers already gained access to their NBC local affiliate channel livestream.
“With Peacock’s local affiliate livestream, our subscribers are getting the unique combination of the ad-free on-demand content they love with the local news and NBC programming that is already part of their daily life,” Kelly Campbell, president, Peacock and Direct-to-Consumer, NBCUniversal, said in a statement.
NBC’s local affiliate stations join brands and channels like NFL, Golf, Premiere League, NBC News, Sky News, TODAY, Hallmark, WWE and others.
Peacock is likely including more live TV options to compete with rival Paramount+, which has always included local programming on its platform. Paramount+, with its 46 million subscribers, brings live TV to 99% of the United States, the company claims on its website.
After experiencing a slowdown in subscriber growth, it’s also possible that Peacock is urging more of its subscribers to upgrade to Premium Plus. Peacock recently revealed that its total paid subscriber base jumped from 13 million paid subscribers to over 15 million in the third quarter.
While it’s unlikely that many Peacock subscribers of its free ad-supported plan will switch over to the $9.99/month Premium Plus tier, its possible subscribers paying $4.99/month for the Premium plan will want to switch over to get 24/7 access to their local NBC station.
Plus, $9.99/month is a better deal than paying the hefty price for cable or live TV streaming services like Sling TV.
“This is an exciting new offering that expands our best-in-class broadcast and local programming to new audiences,” added Philip Martzolf, president, NBC Affiliate Relations.

Peacock grows its paid subscriber base to 15 million after pulling back shows from Hulu

Peacock adds live TV from all local NBC stations to its Premium Plus tier by Lauren Forristal originally published on TechCrunch
Peacock adds live TV from all local NBC stations to its Premium Plus tier

GIPHY comes to connected TVs with launch of a GIPHY Arts app for Roku

GIPHY Arts, the Giphy division dedicated to GIF art and artists, launched a free exclusive app on Roku today that allows users in select regions to view GIPHY Clips — 30-second original short clips with audio — with their Roku devices.
The new “Public Axis” channel is Giphy’s first app for connected TVs and brings short-form video content made by artists from mobile to the TV screen. It arrives on the same day that YouTube introduced its own plan to bring short-form video to TV viewers to challenge TikTok.
At launch, “Public Axis” is available to Roku users in the U.S., the U.K., Mexico, Canada, Germany, Ireland, France, Panama, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Australia, El Salvador, Peru, Argentina, Guatemala, Honduras and Brazil. It’s free to download in the Roku Channel Store and doesn’t have ads.
Users have access to various shorts, clips or “episodes” made by a commissioned artist. For instance, ListenMi released a three-episode series, “Remote Work Tales,” that features relatable animated shorts about the work-from-home experience.
Viewers can also check out Public Axis content on publicaxis.giphy.com.
GIPHY Arts launched the Public Axis app on Roku devices to help promote artists to “an even broader audience,” the company wrote in its blog. Roku reported a net add of 2.3 million active accounts for the third quarter, bringing the total to 65.4 million.
Roku, meanwhile, has recently embraced the short-form video trend, as well. The streaming media platform rolled out a new short-form video feature, “The Buzz,” to give users access to short content like trailers, interviews and images from AMC+, Apple TV+, BET+, SHOWTIME, Starz and other partners.

Roku’s latest update adds short-form video, a universal save list and ‘continue watching’ feature

Giphy has been in the short-form video space a bit longer. It made its first step into this market in 2019 when it launched “GIPHY Video,” which has since been renamed “GIPHY Clips.” Today’s announcement comes eight months after TikTok integrated GIPHY Clips into the new TikTok Library, an in-app creation tool.
Also, the company revealed a new 30-second ad last week, which is currently playing in movie theaters across New York City and Los Angeles.

TikTok partners with GIPHY on new video creation tool, ‘TikTok Library’

GIPHY comes to connected TVs with launch of a GIPHY Arts app for Roku by Lauren Forristal originally published on TechCrunch
GIPHY comes to connected TVs with launch of a GIPHY Arts app for Roku

Roku drops ~19% as it braces for a bumpy fourth quarter

As advertisers pull back on spending and supply chain disruptions persist, investors have braced themselves for an unpleasant quarter for Roku. And investors are probably right to be worried.
Roku released its fiscal third-quarter earnings results on Wednesday, revealing that it is still experiencing slow growth in revenue in a continuously challenging environment. The company also warned investors of a weak fourth quarter, telling shareholders it expects total net revenue of about $800 million, or a 7.5% decline year over year. Roku shares dropped nearly 19% in after-hours trading once investors saw the fourth-quarter guidance.
“As we enter the holiday season, we expect the macro environment to further pressure consumer discretionary spend and degrade advertising budgets, especially in the TV scatter market. We expect these conditions to be temporary, but it is difficult to predict when they will stabilize or rebound. We, therefore, anticipate Q4 Player revenue and Platform revenue to be lower year over year,” the company wrote in its letter to shareholders.
And while Roku reported a total net revenue that beat expectations, the results are still much lower than in the past. Roku noted that its total revenue grew 12% year over year to $761 million, above its own expectation of $700 million. Analysts predicted Roku’s total revenue to reach $696 million this quarter.
“Platform revenue grew 15% year over year, which was lower than our historical growth rates but positive given the difficult macro environment. Advertising spend on our platform continues to grow more slowly than our beginning-of-year forecast due to current weakness in the overall TV ad market, and the ad scatter market in particular,” the company said.

Roku points finger at advertising slowdown for missing the mark on quarterly results

Roku missed revenue expectations last quarter and reported a total net revenue of $764 million, which was $41 million less than Wall Street’s expectations. The company blamed the slowdown in TV ad spending for missing the mark.
Meanwhile, the company also reported a net addition of 2.3 million incremental active accounts in Q3, bringing the total to 65.4 million, up from 61.3 million active accounts in the second quarter. Roku also had total streaming hours of 21.9 billion, up 1.1 billion from last quarter.
Its free streaming service, The Roku Channel, saw a jump in streaming hours of 90% year-over-year.
Roku continues to invest in The Roku Channel. Just this past month, the company launched the streaming service in Mexico, which marked a significant move for the service. Previously, The Roku Channel was only available in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada.
The Roku Channel also launched 14 new linear channels through its Live TV Guide and added Paramount+ as a new premium subscription option.
Roku tries to be smart(er)
Roku made a bold move last month by stepping into the connected home space with the launch of various smart home devices. The Roku Smart Home lineup includes security cameras, video doorbells, smart lights and voice-enabled smart plugs.
With Google and Amazon already in the smart home market, it’s likely Roku doesn’t anticipate becoming the first choice for consumers. Still, it makes sense for the company to monetize the smart home experience to the many consumers that already have Roku smart TVs in their homes.
During a conference call with reporters, Roku chief financial officer Steve Louden said: “Expanding into the smart home ecosystem is a natural extension for Roku. Obviously, we’re a leading TV streaming platform, and smart TV is usually at the center of someone’s smart household. It’s a good extension to leverage our existing 65 million active accounts.”
The company added in its letter that it’s still “early days,” but Roku has the “necessary technology and expertise in hardware, software, and connectivity to deliver a smart home ecosystem that is simple, powerful, and delightful.”
Roku also recently launched the 2022 version of the Roku Express streaming player, a Roku Wireless Bass, as well as its software update, Roku OS 11.5, which includes new features like a universal watch list, a “continue watching” feature and a discovery hub that features short-form content.

Roku dives into smart home market with security cameras, video doorbells, smart lights and more

Roku drops ~19% as it braces for a bumpy fourth quarter by Lauren Forristal originally published on TechCrunch
Roku drops ~19% as it braces for a bumpy fourth quarter