Arrested Development Season 4 comes exclusively to Netflix in 2013

Netflix has been in a downswing lately, with customer support waivering as prices rose and the company’s structure came into question with the Qwickster debacle. The latest news may do something to raise consumer confidence, as Netflix has secured the exclusive rights to stream the final reunion season of Arrested Development. The long awaited project is finally set to roll out in 2013 as a lead-in for the upcoming movie, serving as a way to catch up with the series’s memorable characters. The season will run for 10 episodes, each focusing on a different character with increasingly interweaved plots until the end of the season. The whole central cast from the previous three seasons will return, with filming to slated to take place next summer.

This move signals Netflix’s desire to enter the original content game, adding value to their service above and beyond a back catalog of content provided by networks. Chief Content Officer Ted Sarantos commented favorably upon their strategy and working with Fox to get the ball rolling:

Arrested Development is one of the finest American comedies in TV history and its return through Netflix is a perfect example of how we are working closely with studios and networks to provide consumers with entertainment they love. [....] It’s also a perfect example of how broad and successful our relationship has become with Fox as we work together with their film, television, international and digital divisions on several exciting initiatives.

Source: The Next Web, The Film Stage

Amazon announces Netflix, Facebook and many more will be ready for the Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire is just five days away from launch. A few days ago Amazon announced that it will have a whole host of Kindles, including the Fire, on shelves at more than 16,000 retail locations worldwide on November 16, and now it has sweetened an already amazing looking product.

Amazon announced today that the Kindle Fire will have a whole host of popular apps ready for launch. The list includes Netfix, Facebook, Rhapsody, Pandora, Twitter, Comics by comiXology and more. On they games front, titles from Zynga, EA, Gameloft, PopCap and Rovio are on the way. Any holes that were in the Fire’s facade are quickly being filled.

The apps mentioned above are of course in addition to the suite of apps already available on the Amazon Appstore. Five days people.

Source: Amazon

Amazon cuts deal with Fox for Prime Instant Streaming service

In another big reach to gain parity with Netflix, Amazon has now signed a deal with Fox to bring a huge chunk of their catalog to their Prime Instant Streaming service. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sneaked out the following announcement over the weekend:

I have big news for Amazon Prime members – we’ve just signed a deal with FOX to add a broad selection of movies and TV shows to our unlimited instant streaming service later this fall. The new additions from the FOX library include 24, Arrested Development, The X-Files, Ally McBeal, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and – available on digital video for the first time – The Wonder Years. We now have deals with CBS, NBCUniversal, Sony, and Warner Bros, and adding FOX will bring the total to more than 11,000 movies and TV shows available for unlimited instant streaming.

As you can see, not only does this deal bring plenty of Netflix’s more popular television offerings to Amazon’s fledgling video service, but it also brings exclusive content – The Wonder Years – to the table. Amazon also notes that this new influx of content brings their library over 11,000 titles, which compares quite favorably to Netflix’s 12k+ titles (according to instantwatcher). With a competitive catalog, comparable device support, and cheaper annual subscription cost, Amazon will truly have a chance at catching up and maybe even surpassing Netflix.

Source: Amazon | Via: TechCrunch

Netflix snatches Dreamworks from HBO

Netflix continues to make the news, and this time there is little bad that can be said about it. The New York Times reports that Netflix has successfully struck a $30 million per movie deal that will bring Dreamworks content to Netflix in 2013.

Dreamworks’s current deal exclusive deal with HBO is coming to an end, and with it goes all the studios film and TV offerings. This accounts for a rather large chunk of content including the popular Dreamwroks Animation films like Shrek, Ice Age and others. Much like the HBO deal, films will be exclusively available via Netflix during their pre-DVD, pay-TV window.

The New York Times quotes Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, as saying: “You’re seeing power moving back into the hands of content creators. When a company like DreamWorks ends a long-running pay TV deal — when a new buyer in the space steps up — that’s a really interesting landscape shift.”

To quote Dreamworks chief exec Jeffrey Katzenberg, this is “game-changing deal.” It not only show that Netflix is serious about its content licensing business, but that Hollywood is now viewing the web-streaming as a real alternative to traditional channels for content delivery.

Source: The New York Times

Facebook F8 Conference 2011

The Facebook F8 Conference is a developer’s conference that shows the latest and greatest that the social media colossus has to offer. Past years have featured the open graph, Facebook credits, and Facebook Connect, giving a strong idea of both the new tech and the new aesthetic focus of the company. This year is no different, with the premiere of the new Timeline interface and associated new class of ‘social apps’.

The Timeline UI replaces the previous Facebook interface with a new paradigm based on your life as a whole. Rather than focus exclusively on the here and now, Timeline allows all of the posts that a user has made throughout their history on Facebook accessible in one way or another. It takes the most important posts that both you and Facebook’s algorithm determines and produces them in greater prominence in the timeline of your activity. In essence, Facebook is becoming a kind of smart scrapbooking service, though with a much more svelte appearance than the classic die-cut shapes and double-sided tape in the physical incarnation.

Beyond the timeline interface, social apps will add functionality for synchronous and/or shared access to apps. Music and video apps were the two major headlines to this new class of apps, with Spotify making the first appearance. Essentially, linking your Facebook account to your Spotify account will allow your status of listening to a song to appear in a new feed called the ‘Ticker’. The Ticker indexes small updates of what someone is doing here and now, which is of less importance to the meticulous cataloging central to the Timeline interface but essential to current social interaction. When someone sees a user listening to a song in the Ticker, they can push the embedded play button to begin listening in sync with the original user. A chat window appears as well, allowing the users to share that experience. This also carries over to the featured video services, allowing users to watch their favorite shows and movies together with people all over the world.

Facebook added a host of other features and supported services that can be found on Facebook’s blog and further reading sources below.

Source: Facebook Blog | Further Reading: This is my next liveblog, Engadget, All Things D liveblog

Netflix now available to Android 2.2 and 2.3 users

Here’s some totally sweet news for those of you who are Netflix fans and on Android 2.2 and 2.3 devices: You now get Netflix! Going by Google’s developer page, 80% of Android users are on 2.2 or 2.3, so it is likely that you are in that camp. Previously, Netflix on Android compatibility was determined by specific handsets, but this latest update delineates between versions of Android, not devices, so regardless of your handset of choice, if you are running either of the supported version, you are good to go.

As This is My Next points-out, this doesn’t carry over to tablets though. In the tablet space, your specific device must be supported. Bummer. Hopefully Ice Cream Sandwich will streamline this situation.

If you are running Android 2.2 or 2.3 and want to get your Netflix on, make sure you hit the Android Market for your small-screened streaming needs. Also worth noting, the Android Market Netflix page specifies that a “broadband Internet connection are required to watch instantly,” so don’t expect to be watching your favorite movies and TV shows on-the-go.

Source: Android Market | Via: This is My Next

Dish rumored to be launching Blockbuster-branded Netflix competitor

Bloomberg has reported on a rumor from “a person with direct knowledge” concerning Dish Network’s plans with the Blockbuster brand. After their acquisition of the bankrupt company last April, many were scratching their heads wondering why a satellite television company would have interest in a video rental service. This source suggests that Dish seeks to expand Blockbuster’s online on-demand offerings to support a subscription-based model much like Netflix’s Instant View or Amazon’s Prime Instant Video services.

This move would come in the wake of Netflix’s rising prices coming into effect this month and the recent news that Starz has let their contract with Netflix end due to unfulfilled demands for more licensing costs. With Blockbuster.com’s established presence in the on-demand market, the launch of a subscription arm seems a logical next step. To add insult to injury, Bloomberg’s source suggests that this new service will co-opt the scorned Starz catalog to bolster initial offerings. These two facts could make this Blockbuster not only a credible competitor to Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu but also bring them into the market much more quickly than any other company might be able.

Source: Bloomberg

Starz content leaving Netflix in February

Netflix is on the verge of losing a sizable chunk of their streaming movie offering. Starz has decided not to renew their licensing agreement with Netflix going forward, and that means that all Starz content will disappear from Netflix on February 28th, 2012.

The LA Times Company Town blog reports that the relationship between the two companies broke down over Netflix’s disinterest in introducing a teired pricing structure for the streaming offering.

Starz is responsible for many of the newer movie releases available via Netflix, including Disney titles. This may not be the huge bummer it seems to be though. Speaking to the loss of Starz content, Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey said that they are going to “evaluate new opportunities” and make changes that will “maintain or even improve the Netflix experience.”

Now that Netflix has freed-up $300 million in their licensing budget, they are likely to be searching-out new approaches for securing content.

Source: Company Town blogEngadget

Netflix separates DVD and streaming plans, $7.99 and up each

Netflix has offered a tiered pricing structure for years, but one thing that has been a constant is that all plans included unlimited streaming. Those days are now over.

In the new pricing structure announced by Netflix earlier today, DVD and streaming services are now sandboxed. If you want both, you will have to pay for them separately. Here are the newly available plans:

  • Unlimited Streaming – $7.99
  • Unlimited DVD (1 out at a time) – $7.99
  • Unlimited DVD (2 out at a time) – $11.99

There is no arguing that this is a price hike — and where is the 3 DVD option? Now, if you want both streaming and DVD options, you will be paying at least $15.98 instead of the old base price of $9.99. While never like to see prices go up for services we depend on, hopefully placing a bigger priority on their streaming service will allow for renegotiated content deals and a larger streaming library.

[Source: Netflix]