Rakuten TV Gets Direct-Access on Samsung, LG, Philips and Hisense TV Remotes

Rakuten TV March 14 announced partnerships with Samsung Electronics, LG, Philips and Hisense to introduce a remote control button on their smart TV units in Europe and Pan America directly linking to the streaming video service.

The move comes about eight years after Netflix began incorporating its logo/button on TV remote controls in the United States. The SVOD pioneer followed up in Europe in 2015.

Barcelona-based Rakuten TV, which offers digital retail, rental of Hollywood movies, in addition to subscription streaming video throughout Europe, said incorporating its logo/button on TV remotes would increase its presence worldwide, including reaching more than 30 Million households and tripling its distribution from 12 to 40 countries in 2019.

The platform, which is owned by Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten, was previously known as Wuaki.tv. A year ago, Rakuten acquired British-based TalkTalk TV, which was previously known as Blinkbox.

The service said it would also increase selection of 4K HDR movies in all the 40 European countries involved in the expansion. Last year it became the first in Europe to offer 4K UHD content in Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Dolby Atmos on LG smart televisions.

“This is a major step that our company is undertaking within a plan of expansion, which aims at making Rakuten TV the first choice of entertainment for Smart TV owners,” founder/CEO Jacinto Roca said in a statement.

“This is proof of our commitment with providing an always better experience to cinema lovers. With this move, Rakuten TV will triple its presence on a continental level, strengthening its commitment to deliver the best cinematic experience at home.”

Comcast Cuts Spain’s Llega Sky SVOD Pricing 31%

Llega Sky, the British satellite operator’s nascent streaming video service in Spain, is cutting the monthly subscription price 31% to €6.99 from €9.99.

Launched in September 2017, Llega Sky offered TV series and on-demand movies from around the world in Spanish, predominantly in HD.

Despite including 12 popular pay TV channels, combined with access to TV shows “The Walking Dead,” “Big Bang Theory” and Grey’s Anatomy,” and hundreds of movies, the service has struggled to resonate with consumers.

Llega Sky reportedly has generated just 114,000 paying subscribers – significantly behind market leader Netflix with 2 million, HBO (475,000) and Rakuten (147,000).

The move follows Hulu’s decision in the United States to reduce the basic subscription plan (with advertising) to $5.99 from $7.99. The SVOD service recently disclosed it had topped 25 million subscribers, which includes online TV platform, Hulu with Live TV.

Sky’s corporate parent Comcast last week revealed it plans to expand over-the-top video platform Now TV platform across Europe.

Now TV offers monthly entertainment packages targeting movies (Sky Cinema), general entertainment, Premier League soccer (Sky Sports), children’s programming (Sky Kids) and reality TV-based Hayu – which is owned by NBC Universal and available in the U.K., Ireland, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Canada, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg.

 

 

 

Dolby, Rakuten TV, LG Partner for 4K UHD with HDR

Spanish-based digital service Rakuten TV has become the first in Europe to offer 4K UHD content in Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Dolby Atmos on LG smart televisions.

Of the 100 movies available in 4K UHD, about 25 feature Dolby Vision and Atmos enhancements, including Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Blade Runner 2049, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s Star Wars: The Last Jediand Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Baby Driverand Elysium, among others.

“Our collaboration with Rakuten TV magnifies the dedication from Hollywood to bring Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos to a broader global audience,” Javier Foncillas, VP, commercial partnerships Europe, Dolby Labs, said in a statement.

Initial availability will be limited to the U.K., Germany, Italy, Spain and France – with another 12 countries added over the next few weeks.

“Our mission is to deliver a premium cinema experience in your home,” said Sidharth Jayant, global product director at Rakuten TV. “The only way we can do it is merging content and technology in a unique formula and with premium partners allowing us to realize it.”

Josep Mitjà, COO at Rakuten, said it took nine months of collaboration with LG and Dolby to get the platform operational.

“It’s a cloud service, so the aim is to maintain quality across a range of devices,” Mitjà said. “It’s new movies, it’s something that customers want.”

Last month, Dolby announced 20 titles available from Disney to be screened at exhibitors featuring Dolby Vision/Atmos technology. Titles included live-action and animated releases from Disney, Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Pixar, and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Theatrical releases included Black Panther, A Wrinkle in Timeand Avengers: Infinity War, in addition to upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Incredibles 2 and The Ant-Man and the Wasp,among others.