Rotten Tomatoes OTT Channel Launching on Samsung TV Plus

Rotten Tomatoes is launching its over-the-top (OTT) channel on Samsung TV Plus, Samsung’s free ad-supported video service.

The Rotten Tomatoes Channel features 24/7 linear programming, more than a dozen originally produced shows and nearly 200 hours of premium long and short-form video content on entertainment.

Debuting on the channel are four new shows: “Behind the Movie,” “Trailer Trivia,” “Year in Review” and “Binge Battle.” “Behind the Movie” delivers scene breakdowns, deep-dive interviews and behind-the-scenes tales from the biggest names in Hollywood. “Trailer Trivia” revisits the trailers that got fans pumped for some of the biggest movies of all time and dishes on trivia and Easter Eggs from those films. “Year in Review” relives Hollywood’s biggest hits, misses and forgotten gems. Each episode focuses on a single year of movies and TV, showcased through trailers, clips, interviews and more. In “Binge Battle,” comedian and host Mark Ellis pits two teams against each other to debate some of the biggest questions surrounding the most bingeable TV series and movie franchises ever made. Debating topics such as “Best Character,” “Best Episode” and “Most Surprising Twist,” contestants are judged by the viewers before Mark crowns a “Binge Battle” champ.

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“The expansion of The Rotten Tomatoes Channel to Samsung devices is an important step to reaching as many entertainment fans as possible and connecting them to movies, TV and streaming they’ll love,” Sandro Corsaro, Rotten Tomatoes SVP and chief creative officer, said in a statement. “We’re excited to be working with Samsung and serving their loyal customers with high-quality entertainment recommendations and tools that only Rotten Tomatoes can deliver.”

The launch of The Rotten Tomatoes Channel on Samsung TV Plus comes on the heels of its debut earlier this year on The Roku Channel, Peacock, Xumo TV and other vMPDs (virtual multichannel programming distributors). Most recently, clips from The Rotten Tomatoes Channel started airing on Reach TV, a live streaming network available on more than 2,500 screens in airport bars, restaurants, lounges, departure gates and concourses across the United States and Canada.

Samsung TV Plus Adds Impact Wrestling

Professional wrestling organization Impact Wrestling, a subsidiary of Anthem Sports & Entertainment, has inked an agreement with Samsung TV Plus, giving viewers access to its library of wrestling content through both a dedicated Impact Wrestling Channel and on VOD.

Samsung TV Plus is a free ad-supported streaming (FAST) service, offering viewers instant access to more than 160 channels. Samsung TV Plus comes pre-installed on 2016-21 Samsung Smart TVs and is available on select Samsung Galaxy devices. Impact’s dedicated channel is on channel 1,164 on Samsung TV Plus.

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“This new partnership presents an invaluable opportunity for us to bring Impact Wrestling’s exclusive premium content to even more viewers across the country,” Jaime Pollack, Anthem’s chief revenue officer for its sports media group, said in a statement. “We are excited to share our deep, generation-spanning library with Samsung TV Plus’ audience — giving wrestling fans both old and new a chance to enjoy all of the larger-than-life personas, legendary matches, and gripping story-telling that Impact Wrestling is known for.”

Impact Wrestling includes almost two decades of new and classic original content, with classic stars, including Ric Flair, Sting, Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash and AJ Styles, as well as a current roster of athletes, including Rich Swann, The Good Brothers, former NFL player Moose, Deonna Purrazzo, Sami Callihan, Eddie Edwards, Jordynne Grace, Eric Young and Chris Bey.

Impact programming is televised globally in 120 countries including AXS TV in the United States.

PBS Kids Channel Available on Samsung TV Plus

The PBS Kids channel has been added to Samsung TV Plus and is available for free on tens of millions of Samsung smart TVs across the country.

It joins eight other free kids’ channels on Samsung TV Plus.

PBS Kids includes such shows as “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Wild Kratts” and “Odd Squad.”

Other family friendly channels on Samsung TV Plus include The Lego Channel, Moonbug Kids and KiDoodle.TV. The Samsung TV Plus platform includes more than 160 free channels of movies, news, sports and more.

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Movies Anywhere Launches on Samsung Smart TVs, Bows ‘Deal of the Day’ Feature

The Movies Anywhere personal digital library service app is now available on Samsung smart TVs, and the service has also launched a “Deal of the Day” feature.

By expanding to Samsung for its 2017-21 smart TVs, the Movies Anywhere app can now be found on a majority of big-screen devices in the United States, according to the service.

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Consumers can download the free Movies Anywhere app from the Samsung smart TV app store.

Movies Anywhere brings together more than 8,000 movies from Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures (including DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment), The Walt Disney Studios (including Disney, Pixar, Twentieth Century Studios, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm) and Warner Bros. Entertainment.

The service syncs purchased movie libraries from multiple digital retailers across devices and platforms.

With the addition of the Samsung platform, the Movies Anywhere app is now available on the largest network of smart TVs in the United States, according to the service.

Movies Anywhere has also launched a “Deal of the Day” widget. After automatically crawling all current eligible deals, the widget curates and displays personalized deal recommendations based on users’ watch history and movies in their digital locker. “Deal of the Day” is available now for iOS 14 users who have installed Movies Anywhere’s 1.42.0 build. After installing this update and opening the Movies Anywhere app, the “Deal of the Day” widget will appear in the widget gallery and can be added directly to the Movies Anywhere app’s home screen.

 

Samsung, Roku, Sonos Among Top Brands in NPD’s Consumer Electronics Awards

The NPD Group’s technology division announced the winners of its annual Consumer Electronics Industry Performance Awards, honoring Samsung for its LCD TVs, Sonos for its soundbars and Roku for its streaming media player, among other companies.

Among the top increases in market share in North America, Samsung took the top prize for LCD TVs. Among the fastest-turning brands per item in the United States, Canada and Mexico, Sonos was the top U.S. soundbar. And among the top increases in online market share in the United States, Roku was the top streaming media player.

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“After an unprecedented year, we at NPD are excited to take a moment to acknowledge the many silver linings the consumer technology market experienced in the midst of the pandemic,” Ian Hamilton, president, technology sector, The NPD Group, said in a statement. “In this fifth year of our CE Industry Performance Awards we are recognizing brands that saw success providing consumers with products that enabled them to work and learn from home, as well as stay entertained and connected in their downtime. Congratulations to all award winners — we wish everyone a healthy and successful 2021.”

Samsung: More TV Owners Stream Video Than Watch Linear Programming

Samsung, the largest manufacturer of Internet-connected televisions, or smart TVs, in the United States (ahead of LG Electronics), says consumers in the United Kingdom accessing over-the-top video on its TVs now exceeds consumers accessing linear programming.

The data from Samsung Ads Europe from January through June mirrors TV consumption habits of 50 million Samsung smart TVs in the United States the South Korean manufacturer disclosed in June. Specifically, Samsung found a 59% increase (or 38 minutes daily) in OTT video consumption across the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. About 72% of survey respondents said they stream and watch pay-TV.

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“Streaming is no longer just an emerging behavior, but rather a central viewership method,” Alex Hole, VP of Samsung Ads Europe, said in a statement. “As such, advertisers need to adjust strategies to reach all TV viewers as they consume a wider selection of content from both linear and OTT sources.”

Hole said consumption of linear TV continues, but advertisers should consider avoiding “over-exposure” to this viewer at the expense of OTT video consumption.

Samsung has a vested interest in streaming video. It launched a few years ago an ad-supported VOD platform dubbed “Samsung TV Plus,” featuring 135 channels across various news, sports and entertainment genres.

Indeed, Samsung said it saw the largest spike in ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) consumption among consumers in the U.K., up more than 30%, or about 1 hour and 39 minutes per day. SVOD use increased 26%, while on-demand broadcast content increased 9% and TVOD remained flat.

“A media plan that understands the importance of targeted advertising across the connected TV environment is pivotal for advertisers looking to reach consumers across all their viewership habits,” Hole said. “This is heightened as households move seamlessly from linear to VOD services.”

NAB Show to Bow ‘Streaming Experience’ Content Showcase

The NAB Show is introducing The Streaming Experience, a new content showcase curated by streaming and online video expert Dan Rayburn that will feature more than 50 OTT platforms and streaming devices.

The showcase, which will give NAB Show attendees a first-hand look at the latest streaming video services, according to organizers, will be located in the Central Lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center and is open to all registered attendees during exhibit hours starting April 19.

The NAB Show takes place in Las Vegas April 18-22.

A living-room setting will allow attendees the opportunity to test OTT services side-by-side to compare content, video quality, ad formats, playback features and delivery methods. The Streaming Experience will feature hardware from Amazon, Apple, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, LG, TCL and Samsung. Streaming services on display will include Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access, Disney+, Hulu, NBC Sports, Netflix and YouTube TV, among others. New services from HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi may also be showcased, dependent on their launch dates, according to organizers.

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“Streaming is a major focus of the 2020 NAB Show, and the new Streaming Experience is the largest showcase of its kind in the industry,” said NAB EVP of conventions and business operations Chris Brown in a statement. “We are excited for attendees to join their industry peers in this living room environment and experience nearly every live and on-demand streaming service on the market today.”

Additional details of the Streaming Experience, including renderings of the new space, can be found here.

 

CES 2020 Concludes Its Run With More Than 20,000 Product Debuts

LAS VEGAS — CES 2020 concluded its four-day run Jan. 10 after seeing more than 20,000 product debuts, most of them in the technology sector.

Over 4,400 exhibiting companies launched their latest products to 170,000 attendees across more than 2.9 million square feet of exhibit space. The focus, as it’s been in recent years, was on innovation, with large show floor areas devoted to smart cities, smart homes and automobiles, both connected and autonomous.

“CES 2020 inspired and connected every major industry across the globe,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), owner and producer of CES, said in a statement. “The innovation unveiled at CES 2020 will reshape industries, create jobs, fuel the global economy and improve lives around the world.”

The show’s legacy consumer electronics, meanwhile, dominated the huge central hall, where large CE manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, LG Electronics and TCL set up massive displays exhibiting their latest 8K TVs. TV makers are lining up behind either QLED or OLED. QLED stands for “Quantum Dot LED,” which uses a backlight. When light reflects on the quantum dots, they emit light. OLED, which stands for “Organic Light Emitting Diodes,” doesn’t require a back light. QLED TVs offer a greater range of colors and can reach higher levels of brightness without losing saturation, but due to their LCD chips, they cannot reach absolute black.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) was dominant throughout the show floor and will be a “key ingredient technology” over the next decade, CTA says. Companies debuting their latest AI solutions included Brunswick, Doosan, John Deere and Kyocera.

5G, the next-generation wireless technology that began its global rollout in 2018, also generated a buzz at CES 2020. Delivering data 20 times faster than 4G, the technology also has lower latency — meaning much less of a delay when requesting data — and massive capacity that will allow it to handle not only current devices, but also emerging technologies such as autonomous cars and connected home products.

5G deployment and adoption is spreading more rapidly than expected, according to the June 2019 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report. By 2024, 45% of the world’s population will have 5G coverage, according to the report, a number that could surge to 65% as spectrum sharing technology allows for 5G deployments on LTE frequency bands.

CES 2020 also saw the launch of innovative technologies not connected to entertainment or communications. Digital health technologies were a major theme, with advancements in digital therapeutics, wearables and remote patient monitoring as digital health addresses issues like opioid dependence, mental illness and chronic disease. The Health & Wellness category saw an increase of nearly 25% with more than 135 exhibiting companies at CES 2020.

The Smart Cities exhibit area expanded by nearly 25% over 2019, the CTA says, with companies and organizations including the Department of Transportation, Hitachi and Siemens highlighting products designed to bring cities fully into the digital age.

CES 2020 was also a key startup event, with more than 1,200 companies from 46 countries featured within Eureka Park, offering disruptive innovations, attracting investors and big-name brands. Technologies unveiled within Eureka Park include the Oval Home smart sensor that analyzes temperature, light, humidity and movement in the home; Yoganotch, which applies motion capture technology to help users improve poses; and Caregiver Smart Solutions with sensors that track movement and patterns to provide caregivers reassurance and patients with more independence at home.

CES 2020 also featured an expanded automotive section, split between connected cars and the latest advances in autonomous driving. The north hall featured exhibits from nine leading car manufacturers, including Audi, BMW, Daimler (Mercedes), FCA, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and Toyota, and more than 150 vehicle tech exhibitors.

CES 2020 also brought together content creators, Hollywood, the advertising and music industries, media and leading CMOs to explore the future of brand marketing and entertainment, including streaming services, through the return of C Space. The 2020 program featured more than 60 exhibitors, including AT&T Services, Comcast, Google, HP , Hulu, iHeart, NBC Universal, Pandora, Reddit, Roku, Sirius XM, Snap, Twitch, Turner, Univision and WWE.

The CES stage featured more than 1,100 speakers representing major global industries, including keynotes from Samsung president and CEO of Consumer Electronics Division Hyun-Suk Kim; Daimler chairman Ola Källenius; Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian; NBCUniversal chairman of Advertising and Partnerships Linda Yaccarino; Quibi CEO Meg Whitman and founder Jeffrey Katzenberg; U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao; Salesforce chairman and co-CEO Marc Benioff; Unilever CEO Alan Jope; and presidential advisor Ivanka Trump.

UHD Alliance’s Filmmaker Mode Picks Up Support From Hollywood Guilds, Samsung, Philips

Three Hollywood guilds, the Film Foundation, consumer electronics companies Samsung and Philips (TP Vision, Europe), and Kaleidescape have joined others in support of Filmmaker Mode, the UHD Alliance announced at CES Jan. 6.

The guilds include the Director’s Guild of America, the American Society of Cinematographers and the International Cinematographers Guild. The CE companies join LG Electronics, Panasonic and Vizio, which announced support for the program in August. Also in August, several high-profile directors and Hollywood studios hailed Filmmaker Mode, which brings a more cinematic viewing experience to the home by turning off motion smoothing on the TV, among other setting adjustments.

“[Filmmaker Mode] sets the television in a way that maintains filmmaker intent,” said Warner’s Michael Zink, UHD Alliance chairman, at the press conference.

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“Preserving intent is an important part of our creative rights work,” said director and co-chair of the DGA creative rights committee Christopher Nolan in a statement.

“Most people today are watching classic films at home,” said director Martin Scorsese, founder and chair of the Film Foundation, in a statement. “With Filmmaker Mode, different works will be presented accurately as they were created and designed by the filmmaker. Filmmaker Mode is a long overdue and welcome innovation.”

See more photos from the UHD Alliance press conference

The Film Foundation is a film preservation and education organization.

“The ASC’s mission has always centered around advancing the art and science of cinematography,” said Kees van Oostrum, president of the American Society of Cinematographers, in a statement. “Filmmaking is a true art-form and Filmmaker Mode allows that artwork to be enjoyed as envisioned by the artist not just in the theater, but in the home.”

With the addition of more CE companies, “we really do have that strong worldwide presence,” said UHD Alliance president Mike Fidler.

Tim Alessi, senior director, product marketing, LG Electronics, who announced the company’s support for Filmmaker Mode earlier in the day, also appeared at the UHD press conference. “We will include it in every new 4K and 8K TV that we introduce in 2020,” he said, adding LG would “aggressively promote it at retail.”

“We want to help the consumer watch all the great movies on a great TV without having to give it a second thought,” he said.

Panasonic’s Makoto Morise also showed up at the UHD event and noted that the company’s 2020 OLED HD 2000 series will support Filmmaker Mode, an announcement also made earlier at the Panasonic press conference. More models will be added, he said.

Ken Lowe, co-founder and VP, Vizio, also appeared at the event. Vizio will use the automatic feature that engages Filmmaker Mode, “but customers may also activate it manually as well,” he said.

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CES 2020 Alphabet Soup: 8K, QLED, 5G Look to Up Profiles

In a world gone streaming mad for video, the 52nd annual CES Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas promises myriad technological updates and hype for the consumption of video in greater resolution (8K) and across enhanced wireless (5G) networks, among other marketing improvements.

More than 4,500 exhibitors will launch nearly 20,000 new tech products to more than 170,000 attendees, encompassing 5G, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, smart cities and resilience, sports, robotics and more.

The trade show will feature new and expanded exhibit areas, 300 conference sessions with 1,100 speakers, and more than 1,200 startups from 45+ countries.

On the home entertainment front, expect media companies such as ViacomCBS, Disney and WarnerMedia, among others, to negotiate embedding proprietary streaming services into connected devices such TV and tablets.

“Eventually, all of these services will work with everything,” said Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

Pachter remains doubtful TV manufactures will rush to embed digital video games since he said it still takes a Chromecast stick to work the Google-owned Stadia game streaming system.

Stadia is the biggest effort yet by tech to take on Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft in video games.

Closer to home, Pachter said he’s looking for a big screen TV with the Disney+ streaming service embedded.

“I have a 65-inch Samsung LED TV that doesn’t work with Disney+,” he said. “Bought it in 2015, and it isn’t upgradeable, apparently. Gonna have to buy another [Amazon] Fire TV or Chromecast to make it work.”

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Meanwhile, Sharp Electronics is set to return to CES with an exhibit showcasing the latest installments in its evolving ecosystem of products and services that leverage the benefits of Ultra-HD 8K video and advanced 5G wireless technology.

What that actually means for consumers is questionable. 4K, which is now the standard resolution format in most TVs marketed at retail, continues to underwhelm when it comes to broadcast content — unlike 4k UHD Blu-ray content. 8K programming, it seems, will likely be limited to video games, the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

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Regardless, Sharp’s 8K+5G Ecosystem at CES will include a drone-mounted system developed in conjunction with various external stakeholders for the real-time capture and transmission of 8K footage for purposes including racehorse training and infrastructure surveys. It’s one of various cross-disciplinary collaborations currently undergoing trials in order to bring the practical benefits of 8K and 5G directly to businesses and consumers.

“We are conducting trials with a range of external partners, all with the aim of realizing a comprehensive 8K+5G ecosystem as soon as possible,” Bob Ishida, EVP and head of ICT Group, said in a statement. “And as our CES exhibit will show, we firmly believe that, in conjunction with the introduction of 5G, our 8K technology can make a major contribution to the society of the future.”

Samsung, a major player at CES, broke ranks from the traditional CES media day (Jan. 6 ending with Sony Electronics’ 49th product showcase) unveiling a bezel-less 8K QLED TV (Q950TS) model on Jan. 4. Bezel is the perimeter space around a TV screen.

Irvine, Calif.-based Vizio launched its first QLED TV available in 55-inch and 65-inch models. LG Electronics unveiled a line of “Real 8K TV” models that consumers can presumably afford and the company claims will help it surpass Samsung.

The company also bowed a new Vizio Elevate Sound Bar, along with new M-Series and V-Series sound bar lines pairing higher audio performance at every price point with a simple user interface.

The Elevate Sound Bar includes auto-rotating speakers for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X content. The M-Series brings Dolby Atmos and DTS:X to a variety of accessible configurations.

The 2020 models offer a more intuitive user interface with select models receiving backlit remotes, better wireless connections through Bluetooth 5.0, HDMI inputs for added convenience, and HDMI 2.1 inputs with eARC support in premium models.

“We’re announcing the most competitive and immersive sound bar series we’ve ever launched,” said CTO Bill Baxter. “Not only do our sound bars bring a design and finish that stands out from the rest of the market, but we’re providing new levels of audio performance and ease-of-use to every price point.”

5G Going Mainstream?

Delivering data 20 times faster than 4G, the new 5G network boasts lower latency and massive capacity that will allow it to handle not only current devices, but also emerging technologies such as autonomous cars and connected home products.

How that translates to home entertainment is unclear. That’s because 5G is made for wireless products such as mobile phones and tablets. Whether the new technology means greater consumption of video on portable devices depends whether the average consumer wants to watch TV shows and movies on a small screen rather than on a huge screen in the home.

It also depends when telephone manufacturers roll out 5G-compatible units. Indeed, it is estimated that by 2022, 5G phones will only account for less than 50% of all phone units shipped in the United States.