FuboTV Getting ESPN, Disney Television Content

Disney Media Networks has inked a distribution agreement with FaceBank Group to deliver news, sports and entertainment content from ESPN and Walt Disney Television to streaming platform fuboTV.

Beginning this summer, customers who subscribe to fuboTV’s fubo standard base package will have access to ABC, ABC News Live, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, in-market for SEC Network and ACC Network, FX, FXX and National Geographic. Additional networks will also be available on fuboTV’s other packages, including out-of-market for SEC Network and ACC Network, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, FXM, Fox Life, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Mundo and BabyTV.

The deal includes both live television and VOD.

“With the addition to our lineup of the ESPN suite of channels, we continue to make good on our promise to sports fans to be the undisputed home of professional and college sports,” David Gandler, co-founder and CEO of fuboTV, said in a statement.  “Fubo is equally delighted to add the storied Disney, ABC, FX and Nat Geo networks to round out a robust programming portfolio for the whole family to enjoy.”

“Launching Disney’s networks strengthens our sports-focused live TV platform and brings a diverse range of content for the entire family,” Ben Grad, head of content strategy and acquisition for fuboTV, said in a statement. “Our base package offers consumers significant value, while consumers who want even more great sports and entertainment content can access it with our premium packages. As live sports return but without spectators, streaming games at home will be even more important than ever. We’re thrilled to bring more sports, as well as entertainment and news, to our consumers this summer.”

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“Adding Disney’s array of networks across news, sports and entertainment content with ABC, Disney Channel, ESPN, FX, and Nat Geo delivers a more comprehensive channel lineup and tremendous value to customers’ subscriptions,” Sean Breen, EVP of platform distribution for Disney Media Networks, said in a statement. “With fuboTV’s multiple access points across all major streaming platforms and a competitive price point, we continue to serve a growing audience that consumes video on multiple screens and attract new customers into the pay TV ecosystem.”

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In April, fuboTV merged with FaceBank, combining fuboTV’s direct-to-consumer live TV streaming platform for cord-cutters with FaceBank’s IP in sports, movies and live performances.

FuboTV Names Simone Nardi CFO

Live streaming platform fuboTV has named Simone Nardi CFO.

Nardi is based in New York City and reports directly to CEO David Gandler.

As CFO, Nardi leads all financial operations and strategy for fuboTV. He joins the streaming platform as it prepares to uplist to a major stock exchange following its merger in April with FaceBank Group.

“Simone has already been instrumental in guiding fuboTV through our recent merger,” Gandler said in a statement. “With his deep experience managing finance and strategy for companies undergoing transformations in their business, Simone is an integral new member of fuboTV’s executive team.”

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“I’m extremely honored to join the outstanding team at fuboTV,” Nardi said in a statement. “It’s an exciting time to be joining a proven leader in the media industry at the forefront of the streaming revolution. I look forward to playing a key role as the company continues to expand, drive cost efficiencies and growth and focus on delivering shareholder value.”

Prior to joining fuboTV, Nardi served as SVP and CFO, international for lifestyle content producer Scripps Networks Interactive. In this role, Nardi was responsible for all finance and strategic planning for the company’s international business across Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America. In this role, Nardi was also responsible for leading the company’s international program licensing business and coordinating branding, marketing, technical operations and digital outside of the United States. He was also a member of the board of directors of Scripps’ joint ventures with the BBC in the United Kingdom and with Corus Entertainment in Canada.

Previously, Nardi served as SVP and CFO for NBC Universal’s international channels and television production businesses where he helped build and grow the international TV production operation for NBC Universal, green-lighting and monetizing key franchises such as “Downton Abbey.” Previously, he served as CFO of NBC Universal’s business development division in New York, where he assumed a lead role in launching Hulu.

Nardi began his career with General Electric in Italy and the United States.

FuboTV merged with FaceBank Group in April 2020, combining fuboTV’s direct-to-consumer live TV streaming platform for cord-cutters with FaceBank’s technology-driven IP in sports, movies and live performances.

Netflix and Instagram Partner for ‘Wanna Talk About It’ Live Q&As During Pandemic

Netflix and Instagram have partnered to create a live Q&A series called “Wanna Talk About It,” featuring young Netflix stars discussing how to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Instagram series, which starts April 9 at 4 p.m.PST/7 p.m. EST live from @netflix, will feature stars of some of Netflix’s popular young adult content “talking about taking care of yourself during a global pandemic,” according to a Netflix release.

The series will run every Thursday through May 14.

Participating stars, including Noah Centineo (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), Joey King (The Kissing Booth), Ross Butler (“13 Reasons Why”), Caleb McLaughlin (“Stranger Things”), Lana Condor (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), Jerry Harris (“Cheer”), and Alisha Boe (“13 Reasons Why”), will go live from @netflix on Instagram to talk with mental health experts from organizations including National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mental Health America, The Trevor Project, Crisis Text Line and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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The young stars will discuss the questions and challenges young people are facing during the COVID-19 global pandemic, covering topics such as: what helps if you’re having trouble sleeping? how do you stay connected during social distancing? how do we manage anxiety? and what self-care means

The first Instagram Live will launch on @netflix with Noah Centineo (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before) in conversation with Dr. Ken Duckworth, Chief Medical Officer at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) on self-care.

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Viewers can follow @netflix on Instagram for more details on the upcoming events throughout the month.

Watch the trailer here.

Sling TV Offering 14 Days of Sling Blue for Free

Sling TV has opened its Sling Blue service to consumers for 14 days at no charge (through April 5) as a public service.

Sling TV’s Blue service offers more than 45 live channels, free cloud DVR, more than 50,000 on-demand titles, and allows simultaneous viewing on three screens. It features news channels including CNN, Fox News, HLN, MSNBC, Bloomberg TV, Cheddar News, Newsy and Local Now.

“With more states and municipalities issuing shelter-in-place orders, everyone needs the latest information to do their part,” Warren Schlichting, group president of Sling TV, said in a statement. “We’re hoping to motivate Americans to stay home, and stay informed during this critical time.”

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As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, television news consumption on Sling TV has climbed by triple digits over the last month, according to the service. Since Feb. 24, Sling TV’s viewership of top news channels increased by 121 percent.

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“Now more than ever American’s are anxious to stay up to date, and no other streaming service offers the depth of live news available on SLING Blue,” said Schlichting in a statement.

The offer is part of Sling TV’s “Stay in & Sling” initiative launched last week.

Hulu Launches Free 24/7 Stream of ABC News Live to On-Demand Subscribers

Hulu has partnered with ABC News Live to bring the channel’s 24/7 live coverage to Hulu and Disney billed on-demand subscribers.

“More than 45 percent of Hulu viewers have either cut the cord or never had cable, and may not have access to live, televised news to receive critical information during times of national crisis,” according to a Hulu release. “Given the rapidly-evolving situation around COVID-19, and to ensure that our viewers can stay informed during this time, we’re partnering with ABC News Live to bring the channel’s 24/7 live coverage to Hulu and Disney billed on-demand subscribers as part of their subscription.”

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Beginning March 20, subscribers to Hulu’s ad-supported and Hulu (no ads) plans can access the ABC News Live stream by visiting the “Hulu Picks” collection.

“With this live stream, we aim to keep our viewers informed during this unprecedented time when having access to information is vital to our communities,” read the Hulu release.

 

Sling TV Markets Service With ‘National Cut the Cord Day,’ Discounts

Sling TV announced Feb. 9 is National Cut the Cord Day, to commemorate the service’s fifth anniversary and as part of a five-day celebration with deals available on sling.com Feb. 7-11.

New and returning customers can sign up for one month of discounted Sling TV for $5.

“For the past five years, we’ve been dedicated to making live TV streaming simple, easy and affordable — helping Americans save $1.2 billion through cord-cutting,” said Warren Schlichting, Sling TV group president, in a statement. “National Cut the Cord Day is designed to take away any excuse to cling to cable. We want to help future Slingers find out how easy it is to cut the cord and get started on Sling TV.”

Sling users start with a base service, plus 10 hours of free Cloud DVR ($30 per month), and select any “Extras” they need (starting at $5 each). Users can also add on-demand content from other subscription video on-demand streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu, as well as an over-the-air antenna (OTA) for free access to local broadcast channels.

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“Sling TV has pioneered cord-cutting by giving customers only the channels they want and the ability to integrate local channels into the interface for free, saving hundreds of dollars from their cable bill,” Schlichting said in a statement. “So while making the leap from cable to live TV streaming may feel a little daunting at first, it’s easier than you think, and absolutely worth it. Not only is it incredibly easy to get the most popular channels on your favorite devices, Sling TV seamlessly integrates your free local channels for a whole-home solution, when paired with an OTA antenna and AirTV.”

Cut the Cord Day offers include:

  • the first month of Sling Orange for $5 (originally $30), giving subscribers 30-plus channels with one single stream, including ESPN, Disney Channel, A&E, TNT, HGTV, CNN, TBS, Food Network, Lifetime and Freeform;
  • the first month of Sling Blue for $5 (originally $30), giving subscribers 40-plus channels with three simultaneous streams, including FOX (select markets), NBC (select markets), USA, Bravo, TLC, FX, Fox News and Comedy Central; and
  • the first month of Sling Orange and Sling Blue for $20 (originally $45), giving subscribers both services for 50-plus channels and four simultaneous streams.

Sling TV is also offering new customers a Cord Cutter Bundle to provide full integration of free locals via an OTA antenna, including an AirTV 2, AirTV Mini and OTA antenna for $5 when prepaying for three months of either Sling Orange or Sling Blue at full price (originally $99).

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The registrar at National Day Calendar declared National Cut the Cord Day to be observed on Feb. 9, annually, memorializing Sling TV as the first streaming service to deliver live television over-the-top since its Feb. 9, 2015 debut, according to a Sling press release.

As part of National Cut the Cord Day, Sling TV created a Cord Cutter Hotline (855-553-2862) to support people who are thinking about cutting the cord.

 

Sony to Shutter PlayStation Vue

Sony Interactive Entertainment announced in a blog post that it would be shutting down its PlayStation Vue live TV streaming service on Jan. 30, 2020.

“Unfortunately, the highly competitive pay-TV industry, with expensive content and network deals, has been slower to change than we expected,” read the blog from deputy president John Kodera. “Because of this, we have decided to remain focused on our core gaming business.”

The service launched more than four years ago.

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“PlayStation fans can continue to access movie and TV content through the PlayStation Store on PS4 and via our partnerships with top entertainment apps,” read the blog. “With 100 million PlayStation 4s in the market today, our community continues to grow and thrive. We will continue to deliver the best entertainment experiences across the network, along with other key gaming services, including PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus.

“We are very proud of what PlayStation Vue was able to accomplish. We had ambitious goals for how our service could change how people watch TV, showcasing PlayStation’s ability to innovate in a brand-new category within the Pay TV industry. We want to thank all of our customers, some of whom have been with us since PlayStation Vue’s launch in 2015.”

Sony reportedly had been looking for a buyer for the service, with roughly half a million subscribers and plans starting at around $50 a month.

NBC Sports: Super Bowl, Soccer, Winter Olympics Drove Record 2018 Digital Streaming Year

On the strength of live streaming three of the biggest sporting events in the world — Super Bowl LII, the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and Spanish-language coverage of the FIFA World Cup  — NBC Sports Digital delivered its best year ever in 2018.

The year is highlighted by 6.5 billion minutes of consumption for more than 90,000 hours of streaming coverage across more than 30,000 events. The year also set new streaming records for “Sunday Night Football,” the Stanley Cup Final, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Premier League, Notre Dame Football, the Triple Crown, and the NASCAR Cup Series, as well as regional streaming records for MLB, NBA, and NHL.

In 2018, NBC Sports Digital also grew Playmaker Media, its technology backend service, by adding NBC News, Formula One, and NESN as clients. It also added six sports passes to NBC Sports Gold, expanding its direct-to-consumer streaming service to 14 sports.

Fueled by NBC Sports’ digital coverage of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Super Bowl LII, NBCSports.com and Yahoo.com set a new sports category record in February with 93 million unique visitors. This marks the most unique visits since August 2016 when comScore’s sports category record was set on the strength of the 2016 Rio Olympics (110 Million).

“Sunday Night Football” achieved its most-streamed season to date. Through 17 games, SNF live streaming has already delivered 11.8 million unique viewers and 1.2 billion minutes, up 76% and 72%, respectively, over last season.

The 2017-18 NHL season (194 games) set digital streaming records in all key metrics delivering a record 4.7 million unique viewers and 753 million minutes, up 80% and 15%, respectively, over the previous season.

Justify’s Triple Crown horse racing victory set streaming records in all key metrics, delivering 653,000 unique viewers and 21 million minutes, up 26% and 125%, respectively, vs. American Pharoah’s Triple Crown in 2015, making it the most-streamed Triple Crown in history.

Live streaming of the 2018 Notre Dame Football season totaled 768,000 unique viewers and 53.4 million minutes, up 52% and 54%, respectively, over 2017, the most for a Notre Dame Football season on record.

Across NBC Sports digital platforms, NASCAR saw its best season ever, finishing with 1.2 million unique viewers and 151 million minutes, up 11% and 14%, respectively, over 2017.

Golf Channel had its best year ever for live streaming, short-form video, monthly unique viewers, and page views – which crossed the one billion page views annual mark for the first time ever. In total, Golf Channel’s digital properties delivered a record 4.5 million unique viewers and 645 million live minutes, up 62% and 60%, respectively, over 2017.

The 2017-18 Premier League Season (230 matches) set records with four million unique viewers, up 35% from the previous season. In calendar 2018, the Premier League earned three of its Top 8 most-streamed matches ever.

Through November, the year was already the most-streamed year in NBC Sports Regional Network history, with 579 million minutes across more than 1,500 MLB, NBA, and NHL games.

Super Bowl LII was the most live-streamed Super Bowl ever and the most-streamed single-game ever among all sports. Fans live streamed 633.7 million minutes of Super Bowl Sunday coverage across 6.1 million unique devices, up 185% and 112%, respectively, from NBC Sports’ last Super Bowl live stream in February 2015.

The PyeongChang Winter Olympics delivered 1.86 billion live minutes and was consumed across 32.8 million unique devices. It supported an Average Minute Audience of 211,000 viewers for the primetime presentation of the Games across 10 different platforms. The PyeongChang Winter Olympics delivered more than four times the live minutes of the Sochi Games (420 million minutes).

Telemundo’s Spanish-language live streaming coverage of the FIFA World Cup delivered 1.96 billion minutes and reached 15.5 million unique viewers, generating a record-setting 130 million live streams.

FuboTV Approaching 250,000 Paid Subscribers

Live TV streaming service FuboTV approached 250,000 paid subscribers in September, more than double the 100,000 subscribers it had a year ago, according to the company.

FuboTV users on average spent 51 hours per month in the app last month, up from 11 hours in September 2017, the company reported. Also, the average revenue per user hit $40 in September 2018 versus $22 in the same month last year.

“What our team of less than 150 employees has built — from the ground, up, despite our competition having access to tens of thousands of engineers alone — impresses me every day, and it should put the streaming TV industry on notice,” said David Gandler, FuboTV co-founder and CEO in a statement. “Our September results and year-over-year growth are proof of our success. We have and will continue to deliver the most optimal quality experience for our customers and strong value to our investors, as we take the company to the next level.”

Amazon Announces Fire TV Recast DVR for Recording Over-the-Air TV

Amazon has announced Fire TV Recast, a DVR that lets consumers watch, record, and replay free over-the-air TV programming on Fire TV, Echo Show, and on compatible Fire tablet, iOS and Android devices.

Consumers can connect Fire TV Recast to a HDTV antenna (sold separately) for access to free over-the-air TV content, such as live shows, local news, and sports, and from channels such as ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, and The CW with no monthly fees.

“We are focused on making Fire TV an easy way to watch all the entertainment you love, whether it’s through streaming video services, cable and satellite providers, or even local broadcast stations,” said Marc Whitten, VP of Amazon Fire TV, in a statement. “Now with Fire TV Recast, we’ve made it simpler to find, watch, and record live over-the-air TV at home and on your mobile devices.”

Consumers can place Fire TV Recast and a HDTV antenna anywhere in their home, and all compatible devices will automatically connect, giving them access to local over-the-air TV programming, according to Amazon. Fire TV Recast allows consumers to record up to four shows at once, and stream to any two compatible devices at a time, according to the company.

“Advanced wireless technology automatically optimizes the use of bandwidth on your local network, delivering the best HD picture quality possible — even when streaming across multiple devices in a congested Wi-Fi environment,” according to Amazon.

Consumers can also take over-the-air shows on-the-go by using the Fire TV companion app for Fire TV Recast to watch live and recorded content over Wi-Fi or when connected to a cellular network. Mobile streaming for Fire TV Recast is available on all compatible mobile devices with no extra monthly charges or subscription fees.

Fire TV Recast is available for pre-order in the United States and will begin shipping Nov. 14. It is available in two models: a two–tuner model with 500GB of storage that allows consumers to record up to two shows at once and holds up to 75 hours of HD programming for $229.99, and a four–tuner model with 1TB of storage that allows consumers to record up to four shows at once and holds up to 150 hours of HD programming for $279.99. Consumers soon will be able to expand the built-in storage of their Fire TV Recast by connecting an external hard drive to the USB port on the back of the device, according to Amazon.