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Twitch will livestream Pokémon TV series and movies, while viewers ‘catch’ badges

Twitch has teamed up with The Pokémon Company to allow viewers to binge watch the  Pokémon: The Series TV show and related movies on its site, and “catch” Pokémon badges along the way. While the former is one of Twitch’s many retro binge watch fests – it’s previously streamed old shows like Bob Ross, Julia Child, Mister Rogers , SNL , and most recently, Knight Rider – the interactive feature it’s debuting is something new. According to the company, Twitch will launch its own Pokémon extension to accompany the broadcast. This overlay, called “Twitch Presents: Pokémon Badge Collector,” will encourage viewers to collect Pokémon badges that appear on the screen for points, which places them on a leaderboard. This is only the second time Twitch has added an interactive element like this to one of its viewing events, and its addition could see users watching for longer periods of time, as a result. The first was a “watch and win” extension during a Doctor Who broadcast, but it was different as it focused on collecting contest entries. Twitch also notes this will be the longest viewing event it’s ever held. The binge will see 16 movies and 19 TV seasons with 932 episodes streamed across Twitch’s network, starting on August 27, 2018, and spanning until 2019. This will kick off with the first season, Pokémon: Indigo League at 10 AM PDT on the 27ths for audiences in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America, and Australia. The content will air on TwitchPresents and on its companion channels in French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Brazilian Portuguese. “The Twitch community has a passion for Pokémon based on the warm embrace the series received when we celebrated the brand’s 20th anniversary, as well as the cultural milestone that was set when over a hundred thousand Twitch members played Pokémon together,” said Jane Weedon, Director of Business Development at Twitch, in a statement about the launch. The viewing event comes at a time when reports claim Twitch is going after a wider audience than just gamers. The company has been wooing creatives like vloggers, cooks, artists, and others to come to its site, instead of only broadcasting on YouTube. And it’s been airing non-esports content through marathon events like this new one with Pokémon. According to Bloomberg , TV show livestreams are one of the two fastest-growing genres on the site, the other being “IRL” (in real life) content

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A ‘Vampyr’ TV show is on the way

If you're looking for a new supernatural television series, you're in luck (if you don't mind waiting a while). Fox 21 Television Studios will produce a new show based on the video game Vampyr by the developer of Life is Strange, Dontnod. The title c...

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Streaming TV services now reach 5% of U.S. Wi-Fi households, up 58% since last year

The number of U.S. households watching streaming TV services – those that deliver cable TV-like programming over the internet – has grown a remarkable 58% over last year, according to new data from comScore . However, these services still account for a small portion of the overall market, as only 5 percent (4.9 million) of U.S. households with Wi-Fi streamed TV over one of these services in April 2018. In citing that number, comScore was specifically looking at what it called “pure-play” vMVPDs (virtual multichannel video programming distributors) – a variation on a fancy industry term that refers to live TV services like Sling TV. These services stream multiple channels over the internet without supplying infrastructure like coax cable to do so, and don’t offer other content like original programming or user videos. Today’s lineup of these “vMVPDs” includes: Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Playstation Vue, fuboTV, Philo, YouTube TV, and Hulu with Live TV. These “pure-play vMVPDs,” as comScore referred to them, are basically that same list, excluding Hulu Live and YouTube TV, as those also include access to non-linear, digital-only content like original programming. The firm found that consumer adoption of these “pure-play” live TV services is growing significantly, as more people cut the cord with traditional pay TV. For example, these “pure-play” streaming services accounted for 10% of all the time spent streaming shows and movies over-the-top during the month of April 2018. That’s up 53% from last year. And in households where one of these live TV services is present, nearly half the time that household spends streaming programming over-the-top is via that service.

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HQ Trivia downloads spiral downward as it hits Apple TV

HQ Trivia’s app store ranking has continued to sink the past three months, but it’s hoping a new version on your television could revitalize growth. HQ today launched an Apple TV app that lets users play the twice-daily live quiz game alongside iOS Android players. “Everything about the game is still the same – same questions, same time, same rules,” says a spokesperson, except you’ll play with the Apple TV remote instead of your phone’s screen. But that might not be enough to get HQ’s player count rapidly growing again. According to App Annie’s app store ranking history , on iOS HQ has fallen from the No. 1 U.S. trivia game to No. 10, from the No. 44 game to No. 196, and from the No. 151 overall app to No. 585. It’s exhibited a similar decline on Android.

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‘Star Trek: Discovery’ has its Spock

CBS just cast one of the most important roles in Star Trek: Discovery's future. The network has chosen Ethan Peck to play the iconic Spock in its streaming sci-fi series. According to the broadcaster, the In Time actor "effortlessly" reflected Spoc...

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Disney may offer a discounted bundle of Hulu, ESPN+ and its new streaming service

Disney may offer its customers the option to purchase a discounted bundle of its three streaming apps — Hulu, Disney’s upcoming streaming service and ESPN+ — according to comments made by Disney CEO Bob Iger during the company’s’ earnings call this week. He said Disney would rather keep the three properties separate, rather than trying to combine them into a more robust “aggregation play,” so as to better address cord cutters’ desire to pick-and-choose the services they want. The company will own 60 percent of Hulu when its $71.3 billion deal to acquire 21st Century Fox closes . It already owns ESPN, which now offers a streaming service called ESPN+ , and is launching its own Disney-branded streaming service in 2019 that will feature Pixar, Marvel, Disney, Lucasfilm (Star Wars) and, eventually, it now says, National Geographic content. While Disney’s service is meant to be more family-friendly, Hulu will cater to a more adult market. And the plan is to keep those two separate. Iger had previously said the idea that a bundle could exist in the future wasn’t out of the question, but had not been definite about Disney’s plans in that area. Now, he’s making it more clear that Disney believes there’s value in offering a discounted bundle of its services, rather than combining all their content under one roof. “So rather than one, let’s call it, gigantic aggregated play, we’re going to bring to the market what we’ve already brought to market with the sports play. I’ll call it Disney Play, which is more family-oriented. And then, of course, there’s Hulu. And they will basically be designed to attract different tastes and different segment or audience demographics,” Iger explained, in response to a question about whether or not it would ever build an aggregated streaming app instead of pursuing the different market segments. “If a consumer wants all three, ultimately, we see an opportunity to package them from a pricing perspective,” Iger continued.

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Roku’s free, ad-supported streaming channel is now live on the web

Roku is today bringing its free, streaming entertainment destination, The Roku Channel, to non-Roku devices for the first time, with a launch on both the web and on select Samsung smart TVs, ahead of a wider cross-platform rollout. The channel, which offers free, ad-supported movies and TV shows, will be available across PCs, mobile phones and tablets, the company says. In addition, Roku is updating the navigation on its own devices, including Roku players and Roku TVs, to include a new feature called “Featured Free,” which will directly point users to free content from The Roku Channel, as well as other apps, like ABC, The CW, CW Seed, Fox, Freeform, Pluto TV, Sony Crackle, Tubi and more. The Roku Channel first launched last September , as a way for Roku to differentiate its connected media devices and TVs running Roku software from rivals like Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Chromecast. Despite Roku’s popularity — it’s leading the internet video streaming device market — the company hadn’t really used its platform to promote its own content — the way Amazon pushes Prime Video shows on Fire TV owners, for example — until then. The channel itself is populated with movies that Roku gained access to through licensing deals with studios like Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Brothers. However, it also leveraged Roku’s strength as a platform by pulling in free content from its existing channel partners (with permission), including American Classics, FilmRise, Nosey, OVGuide, Popcornflix, Vidmark and YuYu. The content itself is monetized through advertising, which Roku’s in-house ad sales team is in charge of selling, with some portion going to partners. The company’s goal has been to smartly place the ads to respect the content they interrupt, and not to inundate viewers with the same ad over and over again. With the channel’s expansion to the web and other TV platforms, Roku can further grow its advertising business, while also making the case for itself as a device platform. For existing Roku device owners, the channel is just another value-add for being a Roku user — and one that may keep them from jumping ship to another player in the future. “Roku is the leading platform for free entertainment and our users love it

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Amazon Prime Video is coming to Comcast’s cable boxes

Comcast and Amazon today announced a new partnership that will see Amazon’s Prime Video service integrated into Comcast’s Xfinity TV set-top boxes. This is the first time that Prime Video content would be added to a cable operator’s platform in the U.S.. It’s also a particularly interesting choice on Comcast’s part,  given that Amazon is directly competing with pay TV providers through its Prime Video Channels a la carte TV subscriptions. And these will be available to Comcast’s customers via the Xfinity X1 set-top box as a result of this deal. Today, Amazon offers over 160 premium Prime Video channels, including HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax and others that have been previously sold as add-ons to cable TV subscriptions. Being able to access to these channels over-the-top – without a traditional TV subscription – is one of several factors that have convinced some consumers to cut the cord with cable TV entirely. In other words, Comcast is really embracing the enemy here. Of course, Prime Video Channels aren’t all that Prime Video offers. Members can also stream from Amazon’s library of TV shows and movies that come with a Prime subscription, as well as watch Amazon’s original programming, including shows like “Goliath,” “Sneaky Pete,” “Mozart in the Jungle,” “Man in the High Castle,” “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and soon, the recently rescued “The Expanse,” among others. Plus, Prime Video features live events at times, and offers series and movies for rent or purchase. “Amazon Prime Video’s growing list of originals, movies, shows, documentaries, and kids’ programming will be an excellent complement to the overall X1 viewing experience,” said Dana Strong, Comcast’s President of Consumer Services, in a statement.

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