Showtime, HBO and Starz are among the pay-TV channels in talks with Facebook about offering their content on its platform, as well as on other devices, such as Roku, after using Facebook to subscribe. Also, the social media giant is planning to offer its Watch platform on Lite and desktop, and it is expanding the reach of its 15-second ads into upward of a dozen countries.
Smithsonian Networks has launched its new streaming service, Smithsonian Channel Plus, which offers content in genres such as history, nature and travel. The ad-free service costs $4.99 per month and is available in the US on platforms including Amazon, Apple and Roku players.
Morgan Stanley is projecting that 1.6 million people will sign up for mobile service in 2019 via cable companies Charter, Comcast or Altice. Comcast, which unveiled its Xfinity Mobile service in 2017, reported the biggest growth in business, with 1 million mobile lines at the end of its most recent quarter.
Jared Newman writes of the improvements Sony has made to its PlayStation Vue streaming service, including adding local channels to its lineup and enhancing the video quality. Vue is also now offering "On Demand," a feature that allows customers to add content they like.
Comcast is working on allowing more virtual network functions with its SD-WAN and plans to have a cost-friendly universal customer premises equipment option that offers a variety of virtualized services within the first half of 2019. "The ability to provide multiple VNFs to a common uCPE is tantamount to success in the SDN world," says Comcast Vice President of Product Management Jeff Lewis.
Google reports that at least four of the 10 most-searched toys of 2018 were featured in unboxing or store haul videos on YouTube. Clothing was the featured purchase in 59% of store haul videos, with Dollar General being mentioned in 26% of store haul videos; toys were featured in 29% of unboxing videos.
A Magazine Media 360 report states that video audience for magazines increased 23.7% in 2018, with video now representing 9% of the Magazine Media 360 total audience. Popular Mechanics had the largest video audience increase among the 114 magazine brands in the report, at 2,474%; Road & Track was second, at 1,252%.
Nielsen Media reports that Fox News was the highest-rated cable news network in prime time for 2018, raking in an average of 2.5 million people watching its programs. MSNBC came in second, with 1.8 million, up 12% from last year to hit a record for the network.
Comcast is rolling out the xFi feature on Xfinity; the feature will automatically import the customer-provided names of devices as they connect. The new feature will also simplify functions such as screen time monitoring and new device connection.
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