Apple TV App Now Available on Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Oct. 24 announced that Fire TV users in more than 60 countries can download the Apple TV app — affording first-time access to iTunes movies, TV shows and channels purchased.

The app will enable Fire TV users on Nov. 1 to subscribe to Apple TV +, Apple’s new SVOD service featuring original and catalog programming, including “The Morning Show,” “Dickinson,” “See,” “For All Mankind” and “The Elephant Queen.”

The announcement is significant as it underscores Apple’s willingness to expand beyond its branded iOS ecosystem.

Viewers can also use the Alexa Voice Remote or a paired Echo device for far-field voice control.

The Apple TV app is available for Fire TV Stick (2nd Gen) and Fire TV Stick 4K, in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and India. Fire TV Basic Edition can also start using the app in more than 50 countries, including Australia, Austria, New Zealand, Brazil, Ireland and Mexico.

The app will be coming soon to the Fire TV Cube (1st- and 2nd-gen), Fire TV (3rd-gen pendant design), Fire TV Edition smart TVs and Nebula sound bar.

Study: Android Bridging Apple iOS Divide

Apple’s operating system, iOS, had dominated mobile video market share for years due in large part to the success of the iPhone and iPad tablet.

That supremacy is now in question as longtime rival Android ratchets up market share, according to new data from Brightcove.

The Boston–based software company found that while the market share of videos played on Android phones and tablets topped 64% in the second quarter (ended June 30) — up from 56% a year ago, Apple iOS saw its share slip to 36% from 44%.

Indeed, consumption of video on Android phones reached 68% in Q2, up from 59% a year ago. Smartphone share for iOS declined to 32% from 41% 12 months earlier.

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Video plays on tablets remained flat, with iOS still dominant at 60% (down from 61% a year ago) and Android tablet plays at 40%, compared to 39% in Q2 2018.

Brightcove found viewers are more likely to watch a video to completion on a tablet (44% of the time) compared to a smartphone (35% of the time). They’re also slightly more likely to consume a video in its entirety on an iOS device than an Android device.

The average minutes spent watching video on iPhones and Android phones increased over the past year.

The report found that Android use increased 6% to 16.8 minutes, while iPhone use increased 20% to 22.3 minutes. Android maintains the lead in total video consumption at 62%.

With tablets, iOS maintains its advantage in average minutes watched and share of time watched overall. Both due to the continued strength of the iPad in the market compared to other tablets, according to the report.

iPad viewers watched an average of 23.8 minutes, up from 23.4 minutes a year ago. For Android tablets, the average was 21 minutes, slipping from 23.9 minutes a year earlier. iPad video consumption is double compared to Android tablets.

“Over the past several years, tablets have become a smaller segment of the [mobile video] market, although they still see significant use and shouldn’t be ignored,” read the report.

Report: Long-Form Mobile Video Viewership Surges as iOS Use Declines

Consumption of short-form video on mobile and connected devices in the home is being challenged by long-form video, according to new data from the Q2 Brightcove Global Video Index, analyzing how viewers are watching video content, which devices they are using, and what types of content they are consuming across these various devices.

Long-form video (21-40 minutes) and ultra-long-form video (41+ minutes) saw faster growth in the share of “time watched” on every device, from connected TVs to smartphones.

Ultra-long-form content took the highest total share of “time watched” across all devices, despite short-form video (0-5 minutes) having the highest number of assets published.

The report found that 53% of global video views begin on mobile devices, smartphones, and tablets, taking away share from traditional desktop computers. Smartphones saw the highest growth, to 45% from 38% only one year ago.

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In emerging markets, especially Asia Pacific, mobile is king, where 84% of all video consumption is on mobile phones, and with Japan/Korea at 58%.

In the Middle East and Africa, smartphone use tops 57%. In every region but U.S. and Canada, mobile devices took share away from desktop computers.

The report found that the increasing quality of delivery to mobile devices, cheaper data plans, and more affordable Android smartphones from China has had a significant impact on how content is consumed.

“Leveraging mobile video continues to be crucial for OTT providers, as they look to not only reach younger viewers — who traditionally have been mobile first — but also older viewers who have discovered that mobile video is a convenient way to consume content outside the home,” Jim O’Neill, principal analyst, Brightcove, said in a statement.

O’Neill said the amount of content being consumed on mobile devices has more than doubled over the past year. He cites the fact content owners and distributors are making premium content available to consumers on any device.

“This growth will continue as more content — especially high-value sports content — becomes more prevalent and easily accessible on mobile devices,” O’Neill said.

“Mobile is no longer dominated by snackable content — instead, it provides a multi-course meal to consumers,” O’Neill said, “At the International Broadcasting Conference (IBC) earlier this month, the discussion has changed from what’s included broadly in the content mix to delivering content direct-to-consumers with more personalization and fewer limitations.”

Separately, Brightcove said the dominance of iOS on mobile devices has eroded in the past year with video viewed on Android devices now more prevalent.

Globally, Android smartphone share has increased to 68% from 59% one year ago, with Apple iOS remaining dominant for tablet plays.

Android use is highest in Asia Pacific, where 92% of video plays are on Android phones and tablets. Europe is the next highest with 70% of video plays on Android devices. Only Japan/Korea continues to see growth in iOS.

 

Viacom Expands Pluto TV Access to Android Devices in Europe

Viacom has expanded access to its ad-supported streaming video service, Pluto TV, on Android devices in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Pluto TV will be available via its app on Google Play and connected televisions.

Acquired earlier this year for $340 million, Pluto TV represents Viacom’s most-ambitious attempt to expand brand awareness and exposure in the over-the-top video ecosystem worldwide.

Viacom brands include Paramount Pictures, BET, MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.

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With Netflix and Amazon Prime Video dominating the SVOD market, Viacom contends free ad-supported streaming video represents a competitive alternative.

Pluto TV users in Germany, Austria and Switzerland have access to more than 30 thematically-curated channels, including Pluto TV Movies, KultKrimi and recently-launched Comedy Central Pluto TV and Comedy Central — Made in Germany.

Pluto TV in the U.K. features more than 60 channels, including Pluto TV Movies, Pluto TV Indies, Pluto TV Inside and Pluto TV Crime.

Pluto TV launched earlier this month on Apple TV and iOS, and is now available on all major mobile devices and TVs.

Olivier Jollet, managing director Europe, Pluto TV, said that as today’s media consumption diversifies, premium video content isn’t limited to the TV.

“With the launch on Android tablets and mobile devices, Pluto TV is available right in our users’ pocket … on the couch, on their daily commute or at their holiday destination.”

Tubi Inks NBC Universal Catalog Deal

Ad-supported streaming video service Tubi Feb. 28 announced a content deal with NBC Universal, adding nearly 400 television episodes and movies. The deal is part of a strategy to invest over nine figures into content acquisitions in 2019.

Tubi users will have free access to catalog series, “Xena: Warrior Princess,” “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,” “The A-Team,” “Punky Brewster,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Quantum Leap” and the original versions of “Magnum, P.I.,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Bionic Woman” and “She-Ra: Princess of Power,” among others.

“We’re excited to be a home to this robust library of content … that appeals across generations,” chief content officer Adam Lewinson said in a statement. “We are aggressively working to expand our library, and this is one of many deals to come for Tubi.”

Tubi’s content library contains more than 12,000 movies and TV series –  claiming to double Netflix’s at 40,000 hours. The service’s app ranks as one of the most watched on Amazon Fire TV, Roku iOS, Android, and Xfinity X1, among others.

San Francisco-based Tubi ended 2018 with more than four-times the content on the service over the previous year. Viewers last December streamed nearly as much content as was consumed in all of 2017.

 

Netflix Bows Automatic Download, Delete Feature for Android

Netflix July 10 introduced “Smart Downloads.” The feature, initially available on Android phones and tablets, automatically deletes a downloaded episode when subscribers finish watching it and then automatically downloads the next episode, according to the company blog.

“We know how annoying it can be to go through all your apps and delete files you no longer need; we also understand that when it comes to Netflix, the faster you can get to the next episode you want to watch, the better,” read the blog from Cameron Johnson, director of product innovation. “Whether it is smart downloading or viewing a mobile preview, we realize the best part of Netflix is connecting with the stories you will love in an easier and more fun way.”

Members can choose when they want to use Smart Downloads, according to the blog. There are more details on the feature here .

Dish Debuts Google Assistant Voice Control

Dish July 9 debuted its integration with the Google Assistant for a hands-free TV entertainment experience.

Dish customers with a Hopper, Hopper Duo, Joey or Wally can control their TV using their voice when paired with an Assistant device, such as Google Home, Android phones or iPhones.

Dish is the first pay-TV provider to offer direct compatibility with the Assistant.

“Since we first introduced voice control technology, we’ve seen our customers really embrace the hands-free TV experience,” said Niraj Desai, Dish VP of product management, in a statement. “Our collaboration with Google is an exciting opportunity for us to continue meeting demand for voice and changing the way we interact with television.”

“We want to make it easy and fun for people to turn their living room into a smart entertainment center with the Assistant,” said Michele Turner, senior director, Google Smart Home Ecosystem, in a statement. “By working closely with Dish, we’ll ensure that customers can easily control their TVs through the Assistant, instead of searching for or having to share the remote.”

Customers can ask the Assistant to set recordings, adjust volume and launch apps such as Game Finder, Netflix and Pandora. Customers can also use the Assistant to navigate, play, pause, fast-forward, rewind and search content based on channel, title, actor or genre. When using search functionality, the results displayed include Dish’s live, recorded and on-demand titles, as well as Netflix’s selection of TV shows and movies.

Spanish-language support will be coming soon, according to Dish.

FandangoNow Bows 4K UHD Titles for Android TV for Arrival of Top Pre-order of All Time ‘Black Panther’

In time for the May 8 home entertainment debut of Black Panther, Fandango’s video on-demand streaming service, FandangoNow, has launched 4K Ultra HD titles for all Android TVs, bringing the service’s catalog to Sony Bravia-connected TVs, NVIDIA Shield 4K HDR streaming media players and Hisense brand connected TVs.

The new product rollout adds to FandangoNow’s support of 4K devices, including Roku, LG and VIZIO.

Marvel’s Black Panther, released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, ranks as the top pre-order of all time on FandangoNow and is available in 4K Ultra HD with HDR. FandangoNow is the only digital streaming service to offer 4K Ultra HD content from all of the major studios, as well as dozens of other content providers, according to the company.

“We’re excited to bring our 4K Ultra HD content from all the major studios and content providers, including Marvel’s Black Panther, to Android TV,” said Fandango VP Cameron Douglas in a statement. “We want to offer customers easy access to the best entertainment choices available for streaming and our latest product rollout on Android TV greatly expands our footprint for fans searching for 4K content.”

Fans ordering Black Panther on FandangoNow will receive an exclusive complimentary fan art poster of General Okoye (Danai Gurira) with every purchase or rental of Black Panther on FandangoNow, while supplies last (shipping and handling not included). The new artwork by illustrator Jon Moody marks the first time FandangoNow will offer an exclusive poster, in partnership with movie merchandise marketplace Fandango FanShop.

Dish Anywhere Available on Android TV Devices

The Dish Anywhere app is now available on Android TV devices, Dish announced.

While Dish Anywhere has been available on Android mobile devices since 2013, customers can now use Android TV media players and smart TVs for the first time to access their Dish programming, either at home or on the go, according to Dish.

Dish Anywhere gives Hopper customers the ability to watch 100 percent of their live and recorded content, plus thousands of on-demand titles, from any location on internet-connected mobile devices, including smart phones, tablets and computers, and televisions via Amazon Fire TV and now Android TV.

“Media players provide easy access to video content, so it’s no wonder one-third of U.S. broadband households own these devices,” said Niraj Desai, Dish VP of product management. “By expanding the Dish Anywhere app to Android TV, we’re giving our customers more ways to view their content on devices they already own, at no additional cost.”

Dish Anywhere can be accessed on Android TV devices, including media players such as the AirTV Player, Mi Box and NVIDIA Shield TV, and Sharp Aquos and Sony Bravia smart TVs. Dish set-top boxes that give customers access to live, recorded and on-demand content on Dish Anywhere include Hopper 3, Hopper with Sling, and first-generation Hopper or compatible ViP receivers connected to a Sling Adapter. All Dish customers may use Dish Anywhere to watch on-demand titles.

To watch Dish Anywhere on Android TV, consumer can download the free app from the Google Play Store.

Netflix Launches Mobile Previews

Netflix April 19 introduced mobile previews on iOS, according to a blog post by Cameron Johnson, director of product innovation.

The service is coming soon to Android, he wrote.

“Mobile previews present members with a fun, simple, and easy way to learn about all the new content on Netflix — and find something great to watch even faster,” he wrote. “Each preview is about 30 seconds long and presented in a vertical format, so you can watch them without turning your phone. The previews are shown like a slideshow, so if you see something you like, you can tap play or add to your list. If not, you can swipe or tap the screen to advance to the next preview.”

The move comes on the heels of video previews on the TV launched last year.

“Years of testing has made it clear that video previews help our members browse less and discover new content more quickly,” Johnson wrote. “With the launch of mobile previews, we are bringing a video browse experience to your mobile phone in a fun and mobile-optimized way.”

“Mobile previews load very quickly, are personalized to your specific tastes, and are easy to use.”