streaming service

‘Hamilton’ gives Disney+ a holiday weekend bump in US, with app downloads up 74%

Posted by | Apps, apptopia, cord cutting, Disney, Disney Plus, Mobile, streaming, streaming service | No Comments

The much-anticipated addition of “Hamilton” seems to have paid off for Disney+. According to new data from app store analytics firm Apptopia, Disney’s streaming service saw a big jump in downloads over the July 4 holiday weekend in the U.S., following the worldwide debut of “Hamilton” on Friday, July 3rd. Between Friday and Sunday, that translated to over half a million new global downloads (752K+) for the Disney+ mobile app, excluding India and Japan. Some 458K+ of those downloads were in the U.S, the firm estimated.

These figures represent a 46.6% increase over the average seen during the previous four weekends in June (Friday through Sunday), Apptopia noted. But the numbers don’t include India or Japan as Disney+ is streamed via Hotstar in the former; and in the latter via a partnership with NTT Docomo through an existing service that later transitioned to Disney+.

Image Credits: Apptopia

The download figures also represented a 74% increase over the four prior weekends in June, in the U.S, indicating that a significant amount of interest in “Hamilton,” not surprisingly — given its “founding fathers” subject matter — comes from U.S. subscribers.

Notably, these downloads represent paid subscribers, not free trial users, as Disney+ ended its free week-long trial offering back in June. 

Rival firm Sensor Tower estimates a slightly different “Hamilton”-related bump for Disney+. During the week of June 29 to July 5, downloads spiked 64% over the week prior, Yahoo reported. Its preliminary estimates for July 3-5 put installs at 1 million across all available markets.

Image Credits: Apptopia

Apptopia also found that “Hamilton” represented the biggest content launch of all of 2020, so far, in terms of downloads. That means it also outpaced the streaming launch of “Frozen 2,” which arrived while consumers were under coronavirus lockdowns. It was also bigger than “Onward,” “Artemis Fowl,” and others, the firm found.

Image Credits: Disney

Of course, mobile download numbers don’t provide a full picture of how many signed up just for “Hamilton.” Many of the new Disney+ subscribers likely only signed up via a TV app and have yet to download the mobile companion.

If Roku’s online channel store offered a “top charts” section with rankings, we would have another window into Disney+ popularity given its status as a top streaming device and TV maker in the U.S. But it’s worth pointing out that Roku’s user base has given the Disney+ app a 4.3-star rating across 1,55,006 total reviews. For comparison, Netflix has 3,675,383 reviews — which shows how quickly the still relatively new service Disney+ is gaining on the market leader.

In May, Disney announced its streaming service had grown from 33.5 million subscribers as of March 28 to 54.4 million Disney+ subscribers as of May 4.

The service appeals to those who follow Disney’s top brands like Star Wars and Marvel, for example, but it’s also found a lot of growth among families who now more than ever need content to keep kids entertained amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has limited families’ usual activities and kept kids indoors.  At the $6.99 per month price point (or $69.99/yr), it’s one of the more affordable streaming services available.

Updated 7/6/20 3 PM ET: Apptopia revised its estimates this afternoon to indicate a larger increase of 74%, not 72.4% as the earlier headline stated. We’ve updated the article with its most recent data as well as the firm’s latest estimates on downloads. We’ll continue to update if newer numbers arrive. 

Powered by WPeMatico

T-Mobile customers on unlimited wireless family plans get a free year of Quibi

Posted by | Media, Mobile, Quibi, streaming, streaming service, T-Mobile, TC | No Comments

T-Mobile this morning officially announced its exclusive partnership with the new streaming service, Quibi, set to launch on April 6. The service will be made available for free for a year to T-Mobile customers on its unlimited wireless family plans.

The streaming service, founded by Hollywood media mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, has been specifically built for on-the-go viewing on mobile devices. Its “shows” can be watched in 10 minutes or less and take advantage of the mobile device’s ability to be held different ways to enable seamless switching between portrait and landscape modes.

Thanks to Katzenberg’s industry connections, Quibi original content will feature A-Listers and other big names, including Jennifer Lopez, Chrissy Teigen, Chance the Rapper, Liam Hemsworth, Sophie Turner, Lena Waithe, Nicole Richie, Reese Witherspoon and others.

Typically, Quibi subscriptions are offered at $4.99 per month for its ad-supported plan or $7.99 per month for its ad-free option.

Quibi had confirmed last October that a deal with T-Mobile was in place, in statements made to various news outlets. But the details of the deal itself were not yet announced nor confirmed by T-Mobile at that time.

According to T-Mobile’s release, Magenta and ONE plans with taxes and fees included will be eligible for the free Quibi add-on, as will discounted First Responder, Military and Magenta Plus 55 plans, and small business customers with up to 12 lines.

T-Mobile customers can go to now through July 7 to sign up, or they can use the T-Mobile Android or iOS app beginning on April 6 to add Quibi.

In addition, until April 3, T-Mobile customers who use the T-Mobile Tuesdays app for Android or iOS can get early access to three bonus episodes of the new Jennifer Lopez series “Thanks a Million” when it launches on April 6. That means customers will have a total of six episodes to watch at launch. And on April 7, five people who enter the T-Mobile Tuesdays sweepstakes will win a free Google Pixel 4 XL.

“T-Mobile customers have always been ahead of the curve – streaming more data, watching more mobile video – so when we first heard about Quibi, we knew our customers would love it,” said Mike Sievert, president and CEO of T-Mobile, in a statement. “And, with more of us staying home right now, Quibi’s never been more needed. It comes on the scene with a totally different experience, made for mobile, quick to watch and as entertaining as anything you’ve ever seen!”

Teaming up with a mobile carrier to gain traction among customers for a streaming service is a viable strategy. Disney+ did it with Verizon, which ultimately accounted for 20% of its early customers.

However, Quibi isn’t Disney — it’s not a known brand with pent-up consumer demand for a streaming service. What’s more, its initial marketing no longer makes sense in the post-COVID-19 era.

Quibi has had to reposition its service in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak as something that works for at-home viewing. But in reality, the service had been intended to fill those empty moments in your on-the-go lifestyle — like riding the subway, standing in line, sitting in a waiting room before an appointment and more. Now, with people stuck at home in government lockdowns and home quarantines, the minutes stretch out endlessly. There’s plenty of time to watch long-form content and the living room TV has more draw over the small phone screen. 

But ultimately, Quibi’s success may not come down to its technology, tricks or episode length. It will come down the quality of its shows and their ability to capture an audience.

Powered by WPeMatico

Quibi’s streaming service app launches in app stores for pre-order

Posted by | Apps, cord cutting, Media, Mobile, Quibi, streaming, streaming service, streaming video | No Comments

Quibi, the mobile-only streaming service from Jeffrey Katzenberg, is now open for pre-orders. The company declined to fully show off its app only a month ago during demos of its “TurnStyle” technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but it appears the app is ready nonetheless. Quibi is listed on both Apple’s App Store and Google Play, where it’s been given a pre-order date of April 6, 2020 — the date Quibi’s new service goes live.

The app was actually published to the app stores in January, according to data from Sensor Tower and App Annie. Quibi confirmed the app actually opened up for pre-orders on January 30, but this hadn’t been reported yet by media. (Chrissy Teigen tweeted it, however.)

Apple first introduced pre-order functionality for apps and games in late 2017, allowing interested consumers to have a new app or game automatically download to their device on launch day. And in the case of paid apps, customers aren’t charged until the app becomes available.

Since launch, the pre-order system has largely been used with mobile games. Apple even devotes part of its iOS App Store to a “Coming Soon” section where you can find upcoming games for pre-order.

It’s far less common for non-games to utilize a pre-order system. By doing so, it’s a signal that the company plans to do a significant marketing push ahead of the app’s release, likely in hopes of achieving a higher number of day-one downloads than it would otherwise.

That’s important in Quibi’s case, given the competition that awaits it. Disney+, for example, blew past expectations to reach nearly 29 million subscribers in less than 3 months after its U.S. debut. Quibi, meanwhile, will arrive in the spring, just ahead of when WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and NBCU’s Peacock also begin rolling out. Quibi can’t wait until the market is even more crowded to start pushing users to download its app — it needs to capture users’ attention now.

With Quibi’s app store listings now live, we also have our first glimpse of the streaming service’s user interface.

Much has been made about Quibi’s potential to reimagine TV by taking advantage of mobile technology in new ways, but the app itself looks much like any other streaming service, save for its last app store screenshot showing off its TurnStyle technology.

The app appears to favor a dark theme common to streaming apps, like Netflix and Prime Video, with just four main navigation buttons at the bottom.

The first is a personalized For You page, where you’re presented a feed where you’ll discover new things Quibi thinks you’ll like.

A Search tab will point you toward trending shows and it will allow you to search by show titles, genre or even mood.

The Following tab helps you keep track of your favorite shows and a Downloads tab keeps track of those you’ve made available for offline viewing.

Otherwise, Quibi’s interface is fairly simple. Shows are displayed with big images that you flip through either vertically on your home feed or both horizontally and vertically as you move through the Browse section.

The company does promote its TurnStyle viewing technology in its app store description, though it doesn’t reference the technology by name. Instead, it describes it as a viewing experience that puts you in full control. “No matter how you hold your phone, everything is framed to fit your screen,” it says.

In vertical viewing mode, it also introduces controls that appear on either the left or right side the screen — you choose, based on whether you’re left or right-handed.

Quibi did not formally announce the app was open for pre-order.

The startup, founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, is backed by more than a billion dollars — including a recently closed $400 million round.

Katzenberg explained at CES that every great innovation in Hollywood has been driven by new technology, but today’s streaming services haven’t fully capitalized on the way many people consume content — meaning, on their phone. Quibi plans to make its service mobile-first, with TurnStyle for better viewing. And later, by using the phone’s other sensors and features to create different types of stories, like a horror show you can only watch at night or interactive fitness programs that can track your steps, among other things.

But Quibi could easily come across as gimmicky if it doesn’t get the experience right with quality content, too. Even if Quibi doesn’t pan out as a standalone streamer, it could license its TurnStyle tech to others in the streaming space — that would make Quibi one of the most expensive demo apps of all time.

Updated 2/20/20, 6 PM ET to clarify the app was opened to pre-orders on Jan 30, according to Quibi, but it wasn’t publicly announced. Sensor Tower had earlier said the app was only made available for pre-order today. The app was updated today, however. 

Powered by WPeMatico

Netflix fights new streaming rivals with Samsung partnership

Posted by | Media, Mobile, Netflix, Samsung, Samsung Unpacked 2020, streaming, streaming service | No Comments

As the streaming battles heat up, Netflix is hoping a new partnership with Samsung will help it fend off rivals. At Samsung’s Unpacked event this week, the mobile device maker announced a deal with Netflix that will bring to its Galaxy smartphones special bonus content associated with several Netflix original shows. The partnership also allows Netflix to more deeply integrate its streaming service with Samsung devices.

The latter part of the partnership involving device integration is fairly standard. In Netflix’s case, Samsung will allow users to launch Netflix content by way of its voice assistant Bixby. Netflix will also deliver recommendations to Samsung users, and will be better integrated into specific Samsung mobile features, like search and its discovery platform, Samsung Daily.

It’s not unusual for Samsung to work with tech companies to offer tighter integration and distribution for their app. For example, Samsung and Spotify announced a formal partnership in 2018, which has since resulted in consumer-facing features like Spotify’s deep integration with the new Galaxy Buds+, Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Z Flip.

The new Netflix content partnership, on the other hand, is unique.

Though Netflix didn’t go so far as to announce original series or movies only available to Samsung users, it will offer bonus content to Samsung device owners that won’t be found elsewhere. This includes behind-the-scenes footage, companion stories and other bonus content — much of it filmed by the Samsung Galaxy S20’s new camera, of course.

Initially, bonus content will be available for shows including “Narcos: Mexico,” “Sintonia,” “Elite” and “Netflix is a Joke.” Netflix says more bonus content will become available in the future.

The two companies have a decade-long relationship, which has seen them working together on joint marketing campaigns and other advertising. However, they’ve not before done a content deal like this.

“The mission of this partnership [is] to make the Netflix viewing experience on Samsung mobile the absolute best it can be,” said Netflix CMO Jackie Lee-Joe, announcing the company’s plans at Samsung’s event. “This means that even more users can enjoy our best-in-class stories across all genres through even better product integration with Galaxy mobile devices,” she noted.

The partnership comes at a critical time for Netflix. Its subscriber growth in the U.S. has gone flat, even as its international growth is booming. More importantly, perhaps, is how Netflix is coming up against a whole host of new streaming competitors with money to burn — including Disney+, Apple TV+, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, NBCU’s Peacock and Quibi.

What’s worse is that these new streaming services already have ways to tightly integrate with mobile devices or have partnerships allowing them to distribute their service to millions.

For example, [TechCrunch parent] Verizon is offering its mobile subscribers a free year of Disney+. Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile streaming service Quibi is partnering with T-Mobile. NBCU owner Comcast has its own mobile network, Xfinity Mobile, and HBO Max hails from AT&T’s WarnerMedia. And Apple, for now, is just giving away Apple TV+ for free to anyone who buys a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV or Mac.

That leaves Netflix without a competitive distribution strategy. And its only viable option to get similar global scale is Samsung, which had an 18.8% worldwide market share in Q4 2019 (in terms of shipments), compared with Apple’s 20%. Samsung also has solid distribution in key international markets where Netflix is seeing its strongest growth.

One argument against the Samsung partnership is that offering bonus content to Samsung users could alienate those watching Netflix on other platforms. Forbes even referred to the move as “controversial.” However, a Netflix spokesperson confirmed with TechCrunch that the special content will be published on Samsung Daily, plus, and Samsung’s social channels “for all to enjoy.”

They also told us that Samsung won’t have the exclusive rights to the content — in fact, Netflix has the right to publish the content to its own social media channels, if it chooses.

“We believe this significant partnership will provide millions of Samsung Mobile users across the globe the best mobile entertainment experience, and make discovering new stories around the world easier than ever,” said Lee-Joe.

Update, 2/13/20 4:30 PM ET to add that Netflix has the rights to publish the bonus content, too, making this a non-exclusive deal. 

Powered by WPeMatico

Spotify launches a dedicated Kids app for Premium Family subscribers

Posted by | Apps, children, family, kids, Media, Mobile, Music, parents, Spotify, streaming music, streaming service | No Comments

In a move to boost family subscriptions to its app, Spotify this morning announced the launch of a dedicated Kids application which allows children three and up to listen to their own music, both online and offline, as well as explore playlists and recommendations picked by experts, and more. The music selection is also filtered so songs won’t have explicit content.

The launch is a first in the online music streaming space, where kids on parents’ music plans typically sign in through the same app — just with a different login. But Spotify believes children deserve their own space, where the music they listen to is available in an ad-free environment, where they won’t accidentally encounter lyrics that parents disapprove of, and where content is hand-curated by editors.

Spotify Kids, essentially, is a set of hand-picked playlists across categories.

Comp 2 Browse 2

The app includes categories like Movies & TV, top hits, Activities (bedtime, homework, playtime, etc.), genres, seasonal, Spotify Originals, artist/groups, and Stories.

The playlists are all programmed by human editors, not algorithms, and are chosen by way of a set of guidelines about what’s appropriate for children.

The editors, Spotify says, have backgrounds from some of the most well-known brands in the children’s entertainment business, including Nickelodeon, Disney, Discovery Kids, Universal Pictures, Public Service (Sweden), and BookBeat (a family and kids-oriented audio streaming service).

The new app isn’t just for the preschool set. Instead, it can grow with the kids as they get older — but still aren’t ready for the parents’ application yet.

Comp 1 Home 2

In the younger kids’ version, children can listen to things like singalongs, lullabies, and soundtracks aimed at little kids. Older users have access to tracks and playlists of their own, including some popular tracks, that are appropriate and relevant for their age group. Parents will select their child’s age group upon launch.

In time, Spotify will expand the app with more content — including stories, audiobooks, and podcasts — and build enhanced parental settings and controls that allow parents to customize the Kids app further.

The new app also looks nothing like the main app — it’s colorful and bright, and has a look and feel that varies by the kids’ age group. For example, the younger kids see artwork that’s softer and character-based, while older kids have a more detailed experience.

Kids 1920x733

“Spotify is committed to giving billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by music and stories and we’re proud that this commitment now includes the next generation of audio listeners,” said Spotify’s Chief Premium Business Officer Alex Norström. “We are excited to be expanding the Spotify Premium Family experience with a dedicated app just for our youngest fans. Spotify Kids is a personalized world bursting with sound, shape and color, where our young listeners can begin a lifelong love of music and stories.”

The launch of the Kids app follows Spotify’s surprise earnings success this week, where it beat Wall St. estimates with net income of 241 million euros ($267.34 million), or 36 cents per share. Analysts had expected a loss of 29 cents per share.

The company also added 5 million new subscribers in the quarter to reach 113 million paying premium subscribers — up 26 million from the year-ago quarter.

Today, a Spotify Premium plan costs slightly more than a regular Premium account ($14.99 vs. $9.99 in the U.S., respectively). But many parents often just share their account with the whole family — often ruining their recommendations and special features, like Spotify Wrapped, along the way. A Kids app is a good incentive to convince customers to upgrade, as it’s not only solving those problems but also giving kids a safer, more curated experience within the larger music ecosystem.

There’s another incentive for Spotify to separate out Kids’ listening into its own space: targeted advertising. While the Premium experience has typically been ad-free, a new product lets artists buy a full-screen ad about their new music release and show it to interested users, based on listening history — even if they’re Premium subscribers.

This isn’t the first move Spotify has made in recent months to better cater to families. The company this summer launched a dedicated streaming hub in partnership with Disney, where families could find favorite songs, playlists and soundtracks. It also added parental controls to Premium Family accounts soon after, and launched a special “family mix” with songs everyone can agree on.

Spotify Kids is initially available in beta, while Spotify works to refine the experience based on additional insights gained from use as well as parentsfeedback. It requires a Premium Family plan to use.

The app is immediately available today in Ireland on iOS and Android, but is rolling out to all markets, the company says.

Powered by WPeMatico

Streaming service Quibi sells out of its $150M in first-year ad inventory

Posted by | Apps, Media, Mobile, mobile advertising, Quibi, streaming service, TC | No Comments

Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile-only streaming service Quibi hasn’t even launched, but it’s already sold out of its $150 million first-year advertising inventory, the company announced this morning. The service, which officially debuts in April 2020, added new advertisers Discover, General Mills, T-Mobile and Taco Bell, which join Quibi’s existing lineup of ad partners Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, ABInBev, Walmart, Progressive and Google.

In addition to being an advertiser, T-Mobile only days ago announced a partnership with Quibi, as well.

The streaming service had cited T-Mobile’s “impressive 5G roadmap” as one of the reasons it went for the deal, but T-Mobile’s advertising contribution probably didn’t hurt either.

For an entirely unseen product, it’s notable that Quibi is already sold out for year one. That speaks to its ability to sell brands on its core concept — a sort of Netflix for the mobile era, where higher-quality content is chopped up into smaller bites (or “quick bites”), and viewable no matter how you hold your phone.

Advertisers are offered either a six, 10 or 15-second pre-roll spot before the Quibi content streams. And unlike on YouTube, where some of the ads can be skipped after a few seconds — or removed entirely by way of subscription — Quibi’s ads won’t have a “skip” button. Quibi also hints at a unique offering for advertisers, saying that it will be “experimenting with a number of other innovative ad formats.”

In addition, Quibi is tackling one of the issues advertisers have with YouTube, where a brand’s message is often run against extremist content. YouTube has tried to fix the problem with better controls, and brands have at times left YouTube. Some brands even got together to form a global alliance for “responsible media,” which basically means they’re ready to more formally fight this problem.

It’s no surprise, then, that these companies are willing to help boost a potential YouTube competitor — one which promises they won’t find their ad played ahead of child exploitation or white supremacist content, among other things — as has been the case on YouTube, at various points.

However, what may be most responsible for the early ad sales is Quibi’s founder, Jeffrey Katzenberg. He’s not someone the industry is willing to bet against at this point.

“We are seeing a tremendous response from advertising partners who recognize the value of Quibi’s premium, brand-safe, mobile platform that is focused on the highly coveted millennial audience,” said Meg Whitman, CEO, Quibi. “The world-class brands that are partnering with us in advance of our launch is remarkable, and it speaks to the opportunity in front of us,” she said.

Quibi announced in June it had already booked $100 million in ad sales, with $50 million to go. But even if it hadn’t sold out, Quibi still would have been a go for launch — Quibi is backed by $1 billion in funding, and was reportedly going to double that.

Powered by WPeMatico

Get ready to see more looping videos on Spotify, as Canvas launches into beta

Posted by | Media, Mobile, Music, Spotify, streaming, streaming service, videos | No Comments

Spotify is opening up its Canvas feature to more artists, the company announced this morning, which means you’ll see a lot more of those looping videos on the app starting soon. The feature has been in limited testing before today with select artists. When available, you don’t just see the album artwork behind the player controls — you see a moving, visual experience that plays in a short loop.

So far, Canvas has had mixed reviews from Spotify users. Some find the looping imagery distracting, while others simply prefer seeing the album art. Some people seem to like the feature. But others only like it with certain content and artists.

The challenge is in designing a video loop that works well. That means it shouldn’t be an attempt to try to lip sync to a part of a song. It shouldn’t include intense flashing graphics or text, nor should it distract people from being able to see the player controls and track information.

Screen Shot 2019 10 10 at 12.07.54 PM

Spotify also suggests trying to tell a full story in the loop rather than just drastically trimming a music video down to the time allotted (three to eight-second clips). Other recommended Canvas experiences are those that help develop the artists’ persona across their profile and tracks, or those that are updated frequently. Billie Eilish, for example, uses the feature to share animated versions of fan art.

Since launching, Canvas has been seen by millions of users, Spotify says. But the company seems to acknowledge the impact varies, based on how the Canvas is designed. When it works, it can “significantly increase” track streams, shares and artists page visits. But Spotify didn’t say what happens when the feature fails to engage fans.

However, based on social media discussions about the feature and how-to guides detailing how to turn the thing off, it would seem that some users choose to opt out of the experience entirely.

Today, Spotify says Canvas will no longer be limited to select artists, as it’s opening more broadly to artists in an expanded beta. With the beta, Spotify hopes artists will treat Canvas as a critical part of their release strategy, and will continue to use it across their catalog.

“It’s a way to get noticed and build a vision — and an excellent way to share more of who you are with your listeners, hopefully turning them into fans,” the company writes in an announcement. “The goal is for you to have richer ways to express yourself and to allow listeners to engage with you and your music even more deeply. We’re continuing to work on additional features, as well as more tools and metrics to help you better understand how your art is reaching your audience,” the company says.

It’s hard not to comment on the timing of this launch. At the end of September, Google announced that YouTube Music would not be preinstalled on new Android devices, taking the place of Google Play Music. With YouTube Music, streamers gain access to a visually immersive experience where they can watch the music videos, not just listen to the audio, if they prefer.

Spotify, however, has traditionally been a place to listen — not to watch. That’s not to say there aren’t music videos on Spotify, they’re just not well-highlighted by the app nor a core part of the Spotify experience.

The company says it’s now sending artists their invites to join the beta. Those who haven’t received the invite can instead make a request to be added here.

Powered by WPeMatico

YouTube Music is launching three new personalized playlists

Posted by | Apps, Media, Mobile, Music, personalization, streaming service, TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2019, YouTube, YouTube Music | No Comments

YouTube Music is preparing to better challenge Spotify and others with the launch of three new personalized playlists — Discover Mix, New Release Mix and Your Mix — said YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan in an onstage interview this morning at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2019.

Discover Mix, YouTube Music’s version of Spotify’s Discover Weekly, had already been spotted in the wild back in September. But it wasn’t yet broadly available. The other two hadn’t yet launched.

“Our YouTube Music app has been out now for a couple of years, we’ve launched the YouTube Premium service and the app and now 71 different countries,” noted Mohan. “And as we’ve rolled it out, we’ve gotten lots of feedback from our users about what they’d love to see,” he continued. “And one of the things that they tell us repeatedly is, they love the fact that, through a combination of things like machine learning and human beings that are music lovers, we put all this great music in front of our users in the YouTube Music app,” he said.

disrupt neal mohan youtube 0142

According to Mohan, the Discover Mix will focus on helping users uncover new artists and music they might like, including tracks from artists you’ve never listened to before as well as lesser-known tracks from artists you already love.

The playlist takes advantage of your historical listening data on YouTube Music and on YouTube, he said.

New Release Mix, meanwhile, is YouTube Music’s version of Spotify’s Your Release Radar, and features the most recent release from your favorite artists.

Finally, Your Mix is a playlist that combines the music you love with songs you haven’t heard yet but will probably like, based on your listening habits.

The mixes will be updated weekly, and will be made available to all users worldwide, where they’ll be found on the “Mixed for You” shelf on the home screen, or by searching in the app.

All three will launch sometime later this month, but YouTube doesn’t have an exact date.

The additions arrive at a time when Google is preparing to transition its Google Play Music users over to YouTube Music, which makes it a much bigger threat to existing music streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora and others.

While YouTube Music hasn’t yet replaced Play Music entirely or shut down the older app, it did just make YouTube Music the default music app that ships with new Android devices, instead of Google Play Music.

Powered by WPeMatico

Spotify expands its new Premium Duo plan to Latin America

Posted by | Media, Mobile, Music, Spotify, streaming, streaming music, streaming service | No Comments

Spotify’s newest paid subscription, the Premium Duo plan designed for two people, first launched this spring as a pilot test in Ireland, Colombia, Chile, Denmark and Poland. Today, Spotify says the plan is being more broadly rolled out to 14 more Latin American markets.

The new markets include: Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

The Duo plan is meant mainly for couples, though it could apply to roommates or any other two people who share the same home address.

In terms of pricing, it’s a step up from a single Premium subscription but more affordable than a Family Plan, as it’s limited to just two accounts. However, the Duo plan is discounted so it’s a better deal than buying two separate Premium accounts.

The benefits are similar to those on the Family Plan. Like the larger group plan, Duo keeps each user’s music preferences and recommendations separate from one another. And like the Family Plan, which recently added a custom mix composed of tracks everyone in the family enjoys, the Duo subscription also includes its own shared playlist, the Duo Mix. Members can easily share their playlist libraries with one another, too.

Despite now reaching 19 total markets, Spotify still refers to the Premium Duo plan as a “pilot,” which typically means the company hasn’t fully committed to bringing the service to all its users at some point. Instead, that terminology typically implies the company is continuing to evaluate the new service’s impact.

In Spotify’s case, Premium Duo’s launch in March hasn’t yet led to a massive subscription bump. When reporting its Q2 2019 earnings, the company said it added 8 million new subscribers in the quarter, which was below the estimated 8.5 million figure. It now has 232 million monthly users and 108 million paying subscribers.

That said, Duo hasn’t reached many of Spotify’s key markets where such a plan could have more of an impact to subscriber counts, including the U.S.

If you live in a supported market and already have a Premium plan you can visit your Account page on Spotify’s website to add a partner and upgrade. Both plan members will need to share the same home address.

Powered by WPeMatico

Amazon’s free streaming service IMDb TV comes to mobile devices

Posted by | Amazon, imdb, imdb freedive, Media, Mobile, streaming service | No Comments

IMDb TV, the free ad-supported streaming service launched by Amazon-owned IMDb at the beginning of the year (originally called Freedive), is today arriving on mobile devices. With the updated version of iOS and Android IMDb app rolling out now, users can stream from the app’s growing library of free movies and TV series.

Prior to IMDb TV’s launch, the movie website had experimented with video content in the form of trailers, celebrity interviews and other short-form series. But consumers today are more interested in services where they can stream premium content for free, without a subscription — as they can on IMDb TV competitors like Walmart-owned Vudu’s “Movies on Us,” Tubi or The Roku Channel, for example.

At launch, IMDb TV offered a collection of TV shows like Fringe, Heroes, The Bachelor and Without a Trace, as well as Hollywood movies like Awakenings, Foxcatcher, Memento, Monster, Run Lola Run, The Illusionist, The Last Samurai, True Romance and others.

This summer, it expanded its lineup through new deals with Warner Bros., Sony Pictures Entertainment and MGM Studios.

This brought movies like Captain Fantastic and La La Land to the service, the latter which has since become one of the service’s most-streamed movies this summer. Other popular titles included Jerry Maguire, Practical Magic, A Knight’s Tale, Drive, Max, Step Dogs, Zookeeper, Paddington and The Neverending Story.

More recent deals with Paramount and Lionsgate have also brought new content to IMDb TV, like Silver Linings Playbook, Age of Adaline, In the Heart of the Sea and the TV show, The Middle.

The company hasn’t said how many customers IMDb TV has, but the service has benefited from integrations with Amazon’s Fire TV.

Earlier this year, Marc Whitten, vice president of Fire TV, noted that Fire TV customers’ use of free, ad-supported apps had increased by more than 300% during the last year. IMDb TV is expected to contribute to that, with its placement on the “Your Apps & Channels” row on Fire TV and its availability as a free channel within the Prime Video app.

The updated iOS and Android IMDb app is rolling out starting today, the company says.

Powered by WPeMatico