In The Frame – October ’16
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In The Frame October ’16

Streaming / Online / Tech

The Guardian this month asked:

Is the unthinkable happening – are people finally switching the football off?

The question was prompted by news that viewing figures for live football had fallen, and investigated whether this is a blip or a trend. Hundreds of readers agreed that TV subscriptions do not offer value for money, fans would often rather watch matches online and, as one man put it, “Even my 78-year old father streams his games now”.

Furthermore, football supporters often feel no guilt when watching matches live via streaming sites. The fierce competition between Sky and BT Sport pushed the latest Premier League TV deal beyond £8.3 billion over three seasons. But one fan, like many others, “realised I was part of a vicious circle. I was being asked to pay more so Sky could bid more for TV rights and players/clubs could get richer” and, presumably, went online.

AT&T has bought Time Warner in a deal worth around $85.4 billion and is planning to combine Time Warner’s vast library of content with its own pay-TV subscriber base – the world’s largest – to build a digital video platform to take on Netflix.

Owning content from HBO and Warner Bros, Hollywood’s largest studio, allows AT&T to offset the decline of its satellite television business, DirecTV, by building a new product – DirecTV Now – which launches next month, and will also feature programming from Disney and Viacom.

Apple has unveiled a new TV app for Apple TV, iPhone and iPad. The app “makes discovering and watching shows and movies even easier on Apple TV, iPhone and iPad,” says Apple, which has also introduced a new Siri feature for Apple TV that lets viewers tune in directly to live news and sporting events across their apps.

AOL UK is moving towards creating premium, series-based content, rather than one-off pieces to support editorial material from Engadget and The Huffington Post. Two in-house shows represent the first batch of original series – and a “huge leap” for the business.

Sony’s streaming OTT service, PlayStation Vue, is expanding to Android TVs, with web support for both PC and Mac coming soon. PlayStation Vue lets users watch live TV, movies and sports content without a cable or satellite subscription, and provides simultaneous streaming on a variety of devices from a single account, and allows viewers to save thousands of hours of content without recording conflicts on PlayStation Vue’s cloud DVR.

ITV News

Chief executive Adam Crozier has stated that he is planning £25 million of cuts in the wake of the EU referendum which will result in the company making 120 jobs redundant across its business to “future-proof” following Brexit.

“At a time of political and economic uncertainty in our key markets, it’s important that we are in the strongest possible position to continue to invest in our strategy and to meet any challenges and opportunities ahead, as we continue to grow a successful business,” a spokeswoman said.

The broadcaster had earlier said it expects advertising revenue to be down one per cent in the first nine months of 2016 and warned that 2017 could be “another difficult year”. Businesses operating under the ITV Studios umbrella have also been told to contribute to ITV’s savings drive.

ITV Encore, meanwhile, remains a “work in progress” in need of strategic refinement, according to leading drama producers and ITV’s director of television Kevin Lygo, who is “tired of endless murders” and wants more “happy, life-affirming” dramas on his network.

And finally…

  • The culture secretary, Karen Bradley – who recently described The Great British Bake Off as “the biggest programme with no adverts on it in the world” – has stated that she hopes to decide on the future of Channel 4 in the “near-ish future”, and that four privatisation options are being considered.
  • Black And British, a season of programming celebrating the achievements of black people in the UK and exploring the culture and history of black Britain, launches next month led by programming on BBC Two and Four, with other content across TV, radio and online.
  • Sky Sports has ordered a six-part series featuring Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy, which the Leicester City and England striker set up to discover the next generation of talent from non-league football.
  • Channel 4, the new home of the Great British Bake Off, takes on the show without most of its stars after a triumphant BBC finale and record viewing figures. The programme is scheduled to make its Channel 4 debut in 2018 without presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins and judge Mary Berry.
  • Frankie Boyle will be joined by fellow comics Katherine Ryan and Sara Pascoe in front of a live studio audience as the Scottish comedian gives his take on the result of the US presidential election. The show will premiere on the BBC iPlayer at 9pm on Monday 14 November and go out on BBC Two later that week.

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