The BVC-min

Netflix to add data saving feature to Apps

Industry News

Netflix makes constant changes to its movie and TV streaming platform. Some of those are small, and some are major; most don’t make a huge difference to the way you watch videos though.

One major floor of the popular streaming service is that it uses gargantuan amounts of data, especially if you’re streaming in high definition.

Yes, that’s great when you’re connected to a WiFi network with the capabilities, but what about when you’re on a data plan?

Sadly, we’re not all blessed with unlimited data plans, so Netflix is going to be incorporating a data saver option that doesn’t go all-out on video quality, in order to save your precious mobile data. This will be in the form of an opt-in option in its mobile apps for iOS and Android.

It is understood that Apple devices will get the feature first, but it’ll roll out completely soon after. Unfortunately, the company isn’t specifying just how much data you’ll save, but it will be based on Netflix’s own algorithms that they can adjust in the future rather than a specific bitrate or resolution cap, which the company thinks might be confusing for users.

One last thing to note is that this feature will also be separate to the existing per-profile playback quality settings, which are global across the web and smart TV and mobile devices.

The BVC-min

Could a new joint BBC and ITV streaming service be on the cards?

Industry News

The BBC has reportedly held talks with ITV over the launch of a new Netflix-style streaming service.

The talks, which are understood to also involve NBC Universal, the owner of the producer of shows including Downton Abbey, centre on the potential to develop a subscription TV service.

The service is likely to mostly focus on providing older, archive TV content, not the first-run of shows, although it is understood there would be a certain amount of original commissions.

While Britons pay £145.50 per year for free access to BBC content, the corporation has noted that streaming services such as Netflix have successfully extended the shelf life of a number of series.

Unlike BBC iPlayer and ITV player, which remove content after 30 days, this new service would retain programmes for a much longer period of time.

In contrast, Netflix has more than 75 million subscribers globally. Since launching in the UK in 2012, it has attracted more than 5 million users paying £5.99 a month.

The BVC-min

Netflix cracks down on Proxies

Industry News

Netflix might be cool with you sharing your password, due to complex licensing issues with content providers and now it’s spreading its reach around the world, the streaming service is cracking down on proxy users.

Netflix Vice President of Content Delivery Architecture David Fullagar explained in a blog post that the company will frown upon any users spoofing a fake US IP address through proxies and “unblockers.” Essentially telling users to be patient, Netflix is in the process of working out the content licenses to make all of the same movies and TV series available in 190 countries.

“Over time, we anticipate being able to do so,” Fullagar said. “For now, given the historic practice of licensing content by geographic territories, the TV shows and movies we offer differ, to varying degrees, by territory.”

“In the meantime, we will continue to respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location,” he added.

Don’t think this isn’t just a polite request, either. In the coming weeks, the service will also begin penalizing those using proxies and unblockers. When this goes into effect, Netflix subscribers outside of the US will only be able to access content normally available to the country in which they reside.

So get in your last few days of your sweet, sweet US Netflix access if you’re a proxy user. It won’t be here for much longer.

The BVC-min

YouTube Red takes on Netflix

Industry News

YouTube has taken off the velvety red wraps off its subscription-video service, dubbed YouTube Red, no it’s nothing to do with other video services with Tube and Red in the name, it’s actually a freemium service without any ads.

The service will be available on Android, desktop, and mobile Web for $9.99 per month, however, iOS users will have to fork out over $12.99. This means that YouTube Red $9.99 monthly price plan matches the current subscription price of Netflix’s standard two-stream HD plan. Members will have unlimited access to videos and the ability to download them for offline viewing.

With today’s launch, the company says that it hopes to eventually start providing members with more original series and films — putting YouTube more directly in competition with Netflix. YouTube’s originals are set to debut next year which will be overseen by global head of original programming Susanne Daniels who was previously at MTV. Some of the titles are as follows:

  • Scare PewDiePie: In this reality-adventure series from the creator and executive producers of The Walking Dead at Skybound Entertainment and Maker Studios, experience thrills, chills and laughter asPewDiePie encounters terrifying situations inspired by his favorite video games.
  • Sing It!: From Fine Brothers Entertainment and Mandeville Films comes SING IT!, a scripted comedy that lovingly satirizes the reality singing competitions that have become a centerpiece of pop culture.
  • Lazer Team: In this feature-length action-comedy from Rooster Teeth and Fullscreen Films, four small-town losers stumble upon an alien ship carrying a mysterious cargo, leading to a battle to save Earth from an all-powerful enemy.
  • A Trip to Unicorn Island: From the team at Astronauts Wanted, this feature-length movie gives fans an extraordinary look inside the life and journey of Lilly Singh as she embarks on a challenging 26-city global tour where she has to remember to practice what she preaches: happiness is the only thing worth fighting for.
  • Untitled Joey Graceffa project: In this all-new reality adventure series, Joey Graceffa brings together an ensemble of top YouTubers for a murder mystery they’ll never forget. They’ll form alliances to survive, but little do they know that most won’t make it out alive.
  • 360 Project from MatPat of Game Theory: YouTube educator and pop culture expert MatPat fromThe Game Theorists invites the audience to come along for the ride in an innovative new series and 360 VR experience. In each episode, Matt explores the real-life science behind popular video games by throwing gamers into the high-stakes scenarios they play through every day, from water jetpacks to haunted pizzerias.
  • Single by 30: In this romantic drama series from Wong Fu Productions and New Form Digital, two high school best friends make a promise to get married if they’re still single at 30. A decade later, with 30 quickly approaching, their attempt at upholding their vow unfolds in unexpected ways. Starring Harry Shum, Jr. and Kina Grannis.
  • Untitled CollegeHumor project: Written by and starring the cast of CollegeHumor, along with special guests, this new anthology series will take a dark and comedic look at the absurdity of Internet culture.
  • Fight of the Living Dead: In an unprecedented social experiment reality show from Alpine Labs, Fight of the Living Dead takes popular YouTube talent and traps them in a frighteningly realistic zombie apocalypse. They must use their instincts and gaming skills to survive as they battle the elements for the ultimate prize of survival.
  • I Am Tobuscus: From the mind of Toby Turner, this scripted comedy explores the world of a self-involved YouTube creator pursuing bigger stardom. The show features original music and satirizes the hilarious details of being an eccentric, new-age celebrity.

YouTube will also launch a new YouTube Music app that is expected to be available in the near future. It’ll be a music-specific app just like YouTube Gaming and YouTube Kids.

YouTube Red will officially launch on 28 October 2015 in the United States. Members can try the service free for one month. The company says it plans to expand to other markets in 2016.

The question for many in the industry, even among YouTube’s most loyal partners, is whether YouTube Red will get any significant traction among users who have been trained for 10-plus years to expect free video on YouTube, although thankfully Google has stated that the free, ad-supported version of YouTube we all know and love isn’t going anywhere.

The BVC-min

50p extra for Netflix

Industry News

If you’re a newcomer to Netflix you’re going to have to spend a little bit more to get the basic HD subscription package.

Subscribers were informed by email of the price hike, boosting the price of the basic HD package, but were promised their current plan and price wouldn’t be changing. Yet. They’ll get to keep their current price plan for another year.

Netflix is investing heavily in new TV originals, and maintaining the standard set by House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Daredevil doesn’t come cheap. With that in mind, it should come as little surprise to hear that Netflix is raising the price of its basic HD subscription from £6.99 to £7.49 per month in the UK. When the rate was last changed in May 2014, Netflix promised a two-year price freeze for existing subscribers paying £5.99 per month.

There is to be no change to the pricing on either the basic £5.99 SD package or the uber £8.99 four device 4K package.

Is there any finer way to spend an evening than with a pizza and a movie?

Industry News

The guys at Pizza Hut Hong Kong don’t seem to think so, so they, along with marketing firm Ogilvy, have come up with a pizza box that doubles as a movie projector, but unfortunately Hong Kong the only place where it’s available.

Dubbed the Blockbuster Box, it comes with a lens and phone stand, taking on the form of a projector when the user inserts the lens into a perforated hole in the cardboard and puts their handset in position.

Once the pizza is removed, the box can be transformed by punching a hole through the side and placing the lens in the gap.

Next, users scan a QR code on the box with a smartphone in order to access to a selection of short films which are then ready to play.

Other options include tuning into videos from YouTube, Netflix or any other website accessible from your phone, although in all cases, an expanse of clean white wall will be needed.